I’m starting to think more and more about food ideas for the trip.
Food is such a huge part of our daily lives. At home, I feel like I’m constantly in the kitchen. To be honest with you, I just don’t know where my little monsters put it all. The amount of food that they put into their mouths, that disappears into the black hole at the back of their throats and down their tummy tunnels, makes me think that their stomachs have the ability to stretch to an enormous size. But somehow, their bellies never look distended. There’s no evidence of swollen abdomens. They’re still their scrawny little selves. I think that their stomach acids must work overtime to instantaneously breakdown and obliterate anything that drops from the overhead pipe.
Don’t get me wrong, the process of actually sitting down and eating dinner feels like an eternity, but the minute they see that we’re about to hit the road, they must secrete digestive enzymes at an alarming rate. Maybe there’s a direct feedback loop from the sight of a car to their brains' food centres. Like dogs salivating at the sight of dog biscuits.
The kids can sloooooowwwwwly eat an entire meal just before getting into the car, and as soon as I put the key into the ignition, even before the engine turns over, I hear, “Mom, do you have anything?” I mean, seriously? Do I have anything? Of course I do. I have my mind, but just barely. I have my phone in case Daddy calls. I have my wallet so I can run into the convenience store and grab milk. But I know what they’re actually fishing for and what they really want to say is, “Hey Mom, are you packing?” And then I hear it, loud and clear, “Mom, I’m hungry.”
Really? Really? You’re hungry. For real? Is it possible that their satiety cannot be satisfied? Does it malfunction?** Over time I’ve gained some divine parenting skills that have made me wise enough not to sit in the car with the kids without "packing". And since we’re about to hit the road for an extended period of time, I’m starting to mull over dealing with all the food we’re going to need.
At the moment, I’m trying not to get too overwhelmed by the amount of times I will hear them ask me for a snack (though I think I should take a tally just for fun) and I’m focussing on the mornings. If on a given day, I anticipate a longer drive and I want to get an early head start, I’m thinking quick and easy options. Cereals and fruit. Oatmeal will work too, because although I don’t want to break out the stove for a big breakfast to do, the single burner will always be accessible to boil water because I cannot begin my day without a cup of coffee. Therefore, oatmeal works.
But my favorite breakfast, at home and in the outdoors, has got to be granola. There is only a small problem with that, and it's my husband. You see, he happens to have an anaphylactic allergy to tree nuts, and most every granola recipe on the planet has nuts in it. I love nuts, and all of those granola recipes sound delicious, but the fact of the matter is that I don’t want to kill him. Though I do love tree nuts, it just so happens that I love him a little bit more. So I’ve adapted my own recipe to suit our needs and today I made several batches because it keeps well.
So if you’re looking for a granola recipe that you can send to school or have in a nut-free environment, it’s your lucky day because I’m going to share it with you! I have been blessed without any dietary restrictions, but it turns out that I’m surrounded by great people who aren’t so lucky, so Van’s Granola is nut-free, gluten free, refined sugar free and vegan friendly. Enjoy!
Van’s Rolling Granola
5 cups Rolled Oats (I use Only Oats or Oats ordered from Libre Naturals. Libre Naturals offers products that are free of the top 11 food allergens including nuts and gluten)
3 cups Rice Puffs
1 ½ cups Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1 ½ cups Raw Sunflower Seeds (I get my sunflower and pumpkin seeds from Libre Naturals’ online store)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup Maple Syrup
½ cup olive oil
3 TBSP coconut oil
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Melt coconut oil.
In a large bowl, add melted coconut oil to maple syrup and olive oil. Mix until thickened.
Combine all dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients. Stir or mix with the hook attachment until dry ingredients are well coated.
Spread onto baking sheet and bake for 30 mins. Stir and flip every 10 mins. If you’re oven cooks fast, check it at 5 min intervals for the last 10 mins.
Let cool completely before storing.
You can add pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, or dried fruit. I keep it simple for the kids. They love the crunchy rice puffs in it but aren’t a fan of the pumpkin seeds. We generally serve it with yogurt and fresh fruit so I don’t usually include the dried fruit. And I say go nuts if they aren’t a problem in your household! Reduce the rice puffs and add the nuts. I’m positive it would be delicious!
Happy eating people!
**A VERY IMPORTANT VAN NOTE:
I want to take this opportunity to have a serious moment and raise awareness to a condition known as Prader-Willi Syndrome. It is a condition where a child is constantly hungry and never feels full. Can you imagine the challenges these families face? Although I write with sarcasm and humor, I think it is extremely important to take a moment to consider that there are people out there, where constant snacking is not at all a laughing matter.
This post is dedicated to a beautiful little girl, Ellie, who's family is faced with the challenges associated with this syndrome.
To read more about Prader-Willi syndrome or to donate to the cause visit: Prader-Willi Syndrome Canada
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