When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fun food on a stick: Nutty surprise sandwiches and fruit kabobs

There's something about adding a stick to food that can make the same ordinary fare suddenly seem new and fun for kids.  I thought we could use some "new and fun" around here as we make our way through a long, really cold week in January, so yesterday I greeted the boys after school with what I hoped would be a very appealing snack:  nutty surprise sandwiches and fruit kabobs.  The "surprise" in the sandwiches was a square of dark chocolate finely chopped and stirred into the nut butter, and appealing it certainly was -- the boys gobbled up their healthy treats in no time.  I even convinced them to eat a few fruits that they normally turn their noses up at by cutting them into small, interestingly shaped pieces.  The boys are now busy dreaming up what other foods we can put on a stick!

To make a nutty surprise sandwich, you will need:

two slices of sandwich bread (I used Silver Hills Bakery Squirrelly Bread for Noah, and Organic Works Bakery gluten-free Buckwheat, Oatmeal, and Flax Bread for Will)
1 - 2 tbsp of natural nut butter (cashew, almond, hazelnut, walnut, or peanut butter, or sunflower seed butter if nut allergies are a concern)
1 square of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), finely chopped
a few slices of banana
1 popsicle stick
a cookie cutter in a shape that will fit whichever bread you choose

Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut both slices of bread into the same fun shape.  You can toast the bread first if your children prefer toasted sandwiches. 

In a small bowl, stir together the nut butter and the finely chopped dark chocolate until combined. Spread the nut butter and chocolate mixture on one side of both pieces of the bread.

Add a few thin slices of banana on top of the nut butter and chocolate mixture on one slice of the bread, and then place the other slice of bread on top, so that the two nut buttered sides are sticking together. 

Carefully push a popsicle stick into the centre of the bottom piece of bread (parallel to the sandwich) and serve.

To make the fruit kabobs, I used bamboo skewers with raspberries, blackberries, banana slices, and pieces of canteloupe and honeydew melon cut into fun shapes using a pretty old set of aspic and hors d'oeuvres cutters that were my grandma's.  With the popularity of Bento lunches these days, I believe it's quite easy to find similar small cookie cutters at various kitchen stores. 

Nutty surprise sandwiches on sticks and fun fruit kabobs make it easy to give your children a snack or a lunch that contains protein, fibre, good fats, vitamins, and a healthy little treat as well.  What other fun ways can your family think of to put nutritious foods on a stick?

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