This winter I found myself faced with a family dinner party and no ingredients for a dessert, and whipped up these two-ingredient wonders on the fly. Not only did the kiddos gorge, the "gromups" (as Sweaty Kid #2 calls us) enjoyed a couple as well, with our post-dinner coffees. Okay, okay, there may also have been post-dinner Grappa...
Over the past two years, since my lovely nutrition buff and massage therapist sister turned me onto primal/paleo eating, I've been slowly reducing the amount of wheat and many other grains in our family's diet. The Sweaty Kids are pretty much on board. Out of necessity (and by necessity, I mean mommy forgot to shop and/or cook), they eat a sandwich 1-2 times per week at lunch. They have the odd piece of toast if we eat breakfast out, or pasta if we eat dinner out. We now get most of our carbohydrates from starchy vegetables, fruits, and occasional traditional grains and seeds such as quinoa, rice, and oats. I've seen great improvements in our family's health, particularly symptoms of allergy such as frequent cough and cold, skin irritations and even hive outbreaks that were too frequent for my liking.
Limited options = greater creativity! Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and having to be creative with what I have in the fridge has led me away from store-bought or prepared items, and to trying my hand at a few new kid-friendly and figure-friendly recipes.
Even if your tummy and skin are happy eating grains, changing your definition of a "treat" can also make processed foods and treats taste overwhelmingly sweet and artificial, and you won't feel the temptation to overindulge as you have in the past. Give it a try — cut out added sugars and processed foods for 2 weeks and the next time someone serves you a grocery store pastry or jarred tomato sauce, I guarantee you'll taste every bit of sugar, salt and hydrogenated fat. And not in a good way.
There's still room for treats in a wholesome diet. This recipe is easy to make with your little ones. The banana takes on an ice cream quality and the crispy chocolate coating is fantastic texture and just enough sweetness. Add it to your dessert repertoire and substitute some ice cream, cookies and candy out! Except when the ice cream truck comes around. Then you should definitely, definitely, hit that.
Chocolate Banana "Monkey Treats"
Place a saucepan over low-medium heat with a few cups of water; bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Create a "double boiler" (see photo, right) by placing a stainless steel or glass bowl over the simmering pot.
Melt chocolate chips, stirring frequently.
Turn element off so as not to overcook chocolate, and use a toothpick or fork (or your fingers) to dunk banana slices into melted chocolate, then place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Place in freezer at least 2 hours or more.