The Hunt for a Healthy Easter

When I was little, Easter was always a big celebration for the family. We would wake up, enjoy a large breakfast (my dad loved making us pancakes) and then head to church. Afterwards, the whole family would gather at one of our homes (we would alternate between my grandparents’, aunts’ & uncles’ and our’s), where all the cousins would wait in anticipation for the big Easter egg hunt, all of us ‘patiently’ hanging around outside. My grandmother would let us know that it was time to fetch our baskets by wildly running through the garden, trying to chase the Easter Bunny, calling on us to quickly look for the eggs.

Although I really want my son to have these amazing memories to look back on one day, I am very apprehensive about giving him a basket full of chocolate eggs to devour in one day.

(That was exactly what I did – and when they were all gone, my sister would get me to do her chores in exchange for her chocolates. My sister is cunning, I tell you. But, I digress.)

I have therefore come up with some healthy alternative treats, which he loves, and which will still allow him the excitement of an Easter egg hunt (without falling into the trap of bribery and corruption for the love of chocolate).

  1. Crunchy Oat Biscuit Easter Parcels

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I love these crunchy oat biscuits, not only because they are delicious, sweet and nutritious, but because Bean always helps me make the biscuits. For Easter, I decided to bake them in small ‘Easter’ themed baking cases, which I then wrapped in pieces of wax paper and tied with different colour ribbons.

Crunchy Oat Biscuit Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 cup Almond Butter (any nut butter will work – I always choose an organic option which has no added salt and sugar)
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup (approx. 100gr) Dates (chopped and pitted)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Place a container with the almond butter into a bowl with warm water, allowing the butter to soften
  • Combine the oats and the dates into a mixing bowl
  • Mix the almond butter with the maple syrup and pour into the mixing bowl, mixing the wet and dry ingredients together well
  • Using your hands, roll equal amounts of dough into little balls and place these into the baking cases. Place the baking cases onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes
  • Allow the biscuits to cool
  • Place the cooled biscuits onto equally-sized square pieces of wax paper and wrap the wax paper using a ribbon

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Other treat suggestions for these Easter parcels are:

  1.  Refillable Easter Eggs

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I bought these cute little refillable eggs and plan on filling them with the following snacks:

  • Raisins
  • Cranberries
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nuts (broken into smaller pieces as they could be a choking hazard)
  • Popcorn (I make this using coconut oil and a low sulphur salt)
  • Pretzels
  • Blueberries

Bean loves opening containers and mixing all the ingredients together, so, for Easter, I plan on giving him a bowl so that he can mix his ‘own’ trail mix using the ingredients in the eggs.

The filled eggs also make fun rattles.

  1. Easter Toys

Instead of treats only (let’s be honest, a 2-year-old can only eat so much), I plan on hiding a few small gifts in the garden as well. As far as possible, I looked for Easter-themed toys, i.e. in the shape of a duckling or a rabbit, or with Easter-themed pictures stuck on the toy etc.

Here are some examples based on what Bean would love to find (note that these are only guidelines – you can get really creative and make something or buy different toys according to your child’s preferences):

  • Bubbles
  • Ball
  • Magic growing pets
  • Small stuffed toy
  • Rattles
  • Crayons (non-toxic) with an Easter-themed picture
  • Small Puzzle
  • Book
  • Play-doh
  • Stickers

It has been so much fun thinking of ideas to make this Easter special (yet still healthy) for Bean, instead of simply going to the shops to buy some chocolate eggs. I cannot wait to see the excitement on his face and his bubbly exclamations of,  ‘Wow!’ when he finds his treats.

Happy Easter all!

 

Super Kale Muffins

Bean and I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately. He simply loves ‘posting’ the various ingredients into the mixing bowl, mixing it all together and, of course, tasting all the little titbits along the way. Not only is this a great sensory play activity for him, it creates a special bonding time for both of us and I get to make healthy meals and snacks for my Little.

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In an effort to impart a healthy lifestyle onto Bean, I have been including as many superfoods as possible into his diet, and today’s recipe includes Kale & Chia seeds. Here are the benefits:

Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence, containing iron, vitamins K, A & C, magnesium, potassium & calcium, to name a few. This superfood is also high in fibre and has a variety of antioxidants.

Chia seeds are high in fibre, omega 3 fatty acids (hooray for brain development), protein, antioxidants and other micronutrients.

Kale, Feta & Chia Savoury Muffin Recipe

I based this recipe on my ‘3 Ingredient Bread’ recipe (get it here).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • ¼ cup sugar or xylitol
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2  cups of packed kale leaves (trim the outer leaves off the hard centre stem)
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • 2 tbs chia seeds

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease a regular muffin tin (I like using coconut oil for this).
  3. Blend the kale leaves in a food processor until very finely chopped.
  4. Sift the flour, salt and chia seeds into a mixing bowl.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar/xylitol and egg until mixed and add the buttermilk. Mix again.
  6. Add the kale to the wet mixture.
  7. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  8. Spoon equal amounts of the dough into the muffin tin.
  9. Place the tin into the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  10. To test whether the muffins are baked, poke a skewer, knife or toothpick into the centre of a muffin – if it comes out clean (i.e. no sticky dough) then it’s in ready.
  11. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

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These savoury muffins freeze very well. Once defrosted, simply place them into the oven for a few minutes to crisp up before eating.

They are delicious with some butter or cheese spread.

Enjoy!

 

3 Ingredient Homemade Bread

This is such a quick, easy and versatile recipe for freshly baked bread, ideal for a picnic, a ‘braai’ or barbeque or simply because it’s so tasty and you feel like some bread. There is nothing better than biting into a warm slice of freshly baked bread, that delicious just-baked smell still wafting through the air, after all.

The base for the bread is really simple and the ‘flavour’ options are endless. I love making a raisin loaf if I feel like something sweeter, or a sweetcorn and cheese loaf for something a little more savoury. Making a kale and feta loaf is a great way to sneak in those extra greens into your child’s diet (with the added benefit of being able to serve up green bread).

I use the same recipe for savoury muffins as these are convenient to freeze and reheat as a quick meal or snack for Bean. Note: muffins only require 20 minutes in the oven. See recipe for Super Kale Muffins here.

Basic Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Grease a regular sized bread tin (I like using coconut oil for this)
  3. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl
  4. Add the egg and buttermilk and mix well
  5. Pour the mixture into the bread tin
  6. Place the tin into the oven and bake for approximately 75 minutes
  7. To test whether the bread is baked, poke a skewer, knife or toothpick into the centre of the bread – if it comes out clean (i.e. no sticky dough) then the bread in ready
  8. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container

Raisin Loaf

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Ingredients:

  • Same ingredients as listed above
  • ½ cup sugar or xylitol
  • 1 cup raisins

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Grease a regular sized bread tin (I like using coconut oil for this)
  3. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar/xylitol
  4. Add the egg, buttermilk & raisins and mix well
  5. Pour the mixture into the bread tin
  6. Place the tin into the oven and bake for approximately 75 minutes
  7. To test whether the bread is baked, poke a skewer, knife or toothpick into the centre of the bread – if it comes out clean (i.e. no sticky dough) then the bread in ready
  8. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container

Sweetcorn and Cheese Loaf

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Ingredients

  • Same ingredients as listed above
  • ¼ cup sugar or xylitol
  • 1 tin sweetcorn kernels (drained well)
  • 2 cups grated cheese (I use Cheddar but any hard cheese will do)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Grease a regular sized bread tin (I like using coconut oil for this)
  3. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar/xylitol
  4. Add the egg, buttermilk, corn & cheese and mix well
  5. Pour the mixture into the bread tin
  6. Place the tin into the oven and bake for approximately 75 minutes
  7. To test whether the bread is baked, poke a skewer, knife or toothpick into the centre of the bread – if it comes out clean (i.e. no sticky dough), then the bread in ready
  8. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container

Enjoy!

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