Homemade Larabars

I don’t know about you guys but I’m always looking for a healthy treat that’s great for “on-the-go” snacking. With that being said, I have fallen in love with the Larabar. They’re so delicious (the Coconut Cream Pie is my all-time fav)! Not only are they packed with protein but they’re naturally sweetened with dates and have endless variations with very basic ingredients (nuts, dates, dried fruit, cocoa, etc.).

What I don’t love however, is their price… a whopping $1.50 per bar. While an occasional bar here or there is fine, my husband and I were each eating a bar almost every day!   After a week of that, I decided I could probably just as easily make my own and I am happy to say that my copycat recipe is just as tasty as the store version. I usually make two batches every Sunday and we eat them throughout the week. I’ve made a couple of variations but the one posted below is still my favorite! Enjoy :)

Homemade  Larabars @ The Sassy Momma

Homemade Coconut Larabars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, not pictured)
  • A few tablespoons of water

Directions:

Place all of your almonds into food processor and process until finely ground (but not paste like). Add remaining ingredients and process until finely chopped and the Larabar mixture begins to stick together (it will clump on the sides of the bowl).

Homemade Larabars 1

Homemade Larabar 2

Pour mixture into loaf pan and use spatula to press down (so mixture is nice and even). Refrigerate for about 15 minutes and then cut into squares (or any other shape) and wrap in plastic wrap. We like to keep ours in the refrigerator and snack on them throughout the week.

Homemade Larabars 3

LARABAR VARIATIONS (prepare using directions above but substitute the following)

Peanut Butter: Substitute 1 cup dry roasted peanuts, 1 cup pitted dates, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter.

Brownie: Substitute 1 cup almonds, 1 cup pitted dates, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and dash of sea salt.

Xoxo Lindsey

May 28, 2014 - 8:09 am

What’s In My Diaper Bag? » The Sassy Momma - […] a must for mom and baby! My go-to’s include: sliced apples, sharp cheddar cheese stick, homemade Larabar, homemade trail mix (includes almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, dried blueberries, raisins, and […]

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

If you guys follow me on Instagram then you saw that I posted a picture of some gluten-free black bean brownies I made the other night. Now, the first time I came across this recipe, I thought “Really?? Black beans in brownies? How on earth could that be good?” Needless to say, I was a total skeptic. But, I was craving some chocolate and I had a lot on my mind (so I stress baked) and this was what I came up with. I’ve altered the original recipe a bit, removing the coffee and adding some vanilla and salt but I found them to be absolutely delicious and my husband was asking for seconds. Did I mention this took me just as long to make (from scratch) as box brownies do? Yeah, no more box brownies for this family. This is my new go-to recipe. Hope you all enjoy as much as we did!

And as a reminder, don’t forget to enter to win ONE of TWO great prizes (books + swaddle blankets) from Moms On Call. See yesterday’s post for details.

GF Black Bean Brownies @ The Sassy Momma

Happy Baking!

Xoxo Lindsey

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies adapted from skinnytaste.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14 oz) can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup coco powder
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. oil
  • 1 Tbl. milk
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbl. vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli 60% Cacao)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease nonstick 9 x 9” square baking dish.
  • Blend everything except chocolate chips in food processor until smooth.
  • Pour batter into bowl and fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Once combined, pour into greased baking dish and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top (the other 1/2 cup).
  • Bake for 27 minutes (this was the magic number for my oven but yours could be different so keep an eye on them) until toothpick once inserted comes out clean.
  • Let cool and enjoy :)

GIVEAWAY Time: Win MOC Swag!

Good Morning Sassy Mommas! As most of you probably know, last week I wrote about getting Harper to sleep through the night at 5 ½ weeks. It was such a popular post that I knew I had to do a GIVEAWAY. I’ve teamed up with the ladies at Moms on Call, who have generously offered two of their best selling packages and they’re up for grabs to our Sassy Momma readers.

MOC Giveaway @ The Sassy Momma

That’s right, there will be not ONE, but TWO winners. One winner will receive the MOC Swaddle/Book Package with an extra swaddle blanket (worth $54; this is exactly what I bought when Harper was 5 weeks old) and the other will receive all three MOC Books (worth $48; Infant- 4 years old). The contest starts today and will run through Thursday. Check back Friday morning to see who won!

Personally, I can’t think of anything better, especially because Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Wouldn’t getting your child to sleep through the night be the ULTIMATE Mother’s Day gift for you or a new mom in your life? I can’t say this enough, but if you haven’t checked out the MOC webpage, you need to because it is full of helpful information for babies-toddlers. I couldn’t have gotten where we are now without the help of Moms on Call, so thank you again Jen and Laura!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Xoxo Lindsey

May 6, 2014 - 9:06 am

Heather Thompson - Excited!

May 7, 2014 - 7:22 am

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies » The Sassy Momma - […] to win ONE of TWO great prizes (books + swaddle blankets) from Moms On Call. See yesterday’s post for […]

Homemade Baby Food: The Only Thing You’ll Miss Are the Little Jars

Homemade baby food.

Some friends think it’s crazy that I make my own, but when I explain the why and the how and how much money can be saved when you make your own, tiny light bulbs start to go off in their heads and they want to know more. So today, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to make your own baby food. And if you’re skeptical, just know this… you most likely have everything you need to make your own (the only thing I had to buy were the silicone ice cube trays)! Also, if you can cut vegetables, boil pasta, and make a smoothie then you, my friend, are capable of making your own baby food.

How to make homemade baby food- the easy way! Why make my own?

The main reason is I like knowing exactly what I’m putting into my baby’s mouth. I like the fact that I’m buying quality produce and using that to make her baby food. I’m not adding anything extra—no preservatives, no color, etc.—nothing except the food itself. Plus, I like that she’s able to discover the textures of different foods. I’ve only bought a few jars of baby food (for when we are out and about) and the texture of each one, regardless of what food it is, seems to be that of mushy soup. With the food I make her, each one is completely different. Sweet potatoes end up like mashed potatoes, peas feel a bit grainy, bananas have some chunkiness to them.

How to Make Homemade Baby Food As far as the monetary aspect, when you buy in bulk you can save! For example, I bought a 5-pound bag of organic carrots and I was able to make 44 one-ounce cubes. To give some context to this number, each cube is equal to two tablespoons. So two cubes (four tablespoons) is one serving. With that being said, those 44 cubes have now become 22 servings. I paid $5.00 for that bag of carrots, which comes out to $0.23 a serving. The cost of two servings of Gerber baby food is $1.09—per serving is $0.54—so by making your own you are saving nearly 50%!

Lastly, I will only give Harper what I myself will eat. So those canned meat and veggie meals…. They won’t ever make an appearance at our house. Just the smell alone makes me want to gag. This made my decision pretty simple: homemade baby food was (for the most part) the only way to go.

How to make it

When I tell you how simple it is, you’re going to laugh and say “Really”? So, get ready…

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh produce (or frozen if what you’re looking for isn’t in season)
  • Chopping block and knife
  • Stockpot
  • Blender or food processor (we use the real thing, not the baby version)
  • Silicone ice cube trays

What you need to make baby food

Directions:

  • First thing’s first, wash and peel your produce (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, apples, etc.)
  • Cut produce into chunks
  • Put your chopped produce into stockpot and add enough water to just cover the top of the vegetable/fruit.
  • Boil until fork tender. Drain most of the water from the pot.
  • Put food into food processor/blender and blend until it’s the consistency you want. You may need to add a bit of the leftover water (I always use the water that the food has cooked in) to get the consistency you’re looking for.
  • Once blended, put into silicone ice cube trays (I just pour on top of the trays and smooth with a spatula). Cover with plastic wrap and freeze immediately.
  • Once frozen, run the bottom of the ice cube trays under warm water for a few seconds (this helps release the cubes) and transfer frozen cubes to freezer bags.

How to make homemade baby food- the easy way! Helpful Tips:

  • Buy in BULK and make in BULK- you will save much more money and time if you just knock out everything in one session
  • For meat, we buy super lean chicken or turkey and brown it, drain the fat/oil, then add cooked vegetables and process all of it together. When Harper was older, we gave her meat that we were eating (e.g., white fish) and stopped doing the meat in the freezer trays.
  • A lot of things you don’t even have to blend and freeze (bananas, avocado, kiwi, ripe peaches, and the like).
  • Get creative! You are the chef here so the sky’s the limit. Make fun food combinations, like kiwi/pear/apple blend or spinach/chicken/carrot blend.
  • Offer your child everything (unless food allergies run in your family) and if they resist, try again. We offered everything under the sun to Harper and I’m so glad we did because she will eat almost anything we put in front of her. As her mom, that makes me so happy because unfortunately I am a very picky eater (which I hate) but I will never turn my nose up at something (at least in front of her).

Do you have any winning recipes or techniques for homemade baby food? Happy cooking!

Xoxo Lindsey

 

Sleeping Like a Baby

I would have liked to have written this post a loooooong time ago. But when we were in the trenches with Harper not sleeping, I was so afraid that if I actually wrote that what we were doing was working, I’d jinx myself and she’d be back to waking up at all hours of the night. So I waited. And waited…  Here I am, 13 months later and I’m super happy and super rested. Why? Because our 14-month old toddler sleeps 12+ hours and still takes 2 solid naps a day.  She has followed a great sleep routine since she was five and a half weeks old.  Yep, our little lady gave us 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep starting at the 5-½ week mark. At her two-month birthday it was 7-8 hours a night, at three months she slept 9-10 hours a night, and then from four months on we’ve had 11+ hours.

As you can see, we clearly did not know how to properly swaddle Harper. MOC teaches you how!

As you can see, we clearly did not know how to properly swaddle Harper. MOC teaches you how!

Now, I don’t say this to brag, I say this to suggest that it IS possible. Before I share what worked for us, and hopefully how it can help you, I want to say that I do realize that while this method worked for Harper (and us), every baby is completely different and it may not work for you. But when you’re completely sleep deprived and at your wits end, you’re willing to try anything. At least we were.

During her 1st month I pretty much let her sleep wherever and usually it never lasted for that long.

During her 1st month I pretty much let her sleep wherever and usually it never lasted for that long.

Let me set the stage… Harper was 4-½ weeks old and refused to sleep anywhere but on our chests (she’d scream bloody murder when we’d try to put her in her crib). I was balling my eyes out, completely tired, and wanting to give all of our life savings away if someone, anyone would watch her for the night so we could get a good night’s sleep. I very quickly realized that I couldn’t keep this routine going any longer. That’s when I called one of my best mommy friends (thank you Olivia!!!) and asked how in the world she got her son to sleep through the night. She told me, “Lindsey, you need to get the Moms On Call (MOC) app, it’s a sleep routine that will revolutionize your life. Also, get on their website and watch how they swaddle (their video is posted below). It’s like magic.”

That day, I bought the MOC iPhone app, their book and a swaddle blanket and I already felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I finally had a plan. I looked over the schedule and it was pretty simple. The order of things went like this: Feed, Play, Nap, Repeat. They offer schedules based on the age of your child (e.g., 0-2 weeks, 2-4 weeks, 4-8 weeks, etc.) and there are step-by-step directions on what to do. For example, we started on the 2-4 week schedule and it looked something like this: Between 6 & 7 am: Feed, 7:30 am: Nap, 9:00 am: Feed, 9:30: Play. This repeats until the end of the day and even has a midnight feeding built in. Under each Feed, Play, Nap you can tap the word (on your iPhone app) and a drop down will appear giving advice on the amount to feed, suggestions for fussy babies, etc.

Here is a partial screen shot of the MOC iPhone app. Two Words: BUY IT!

Here is a partial screen shot of the MOC iPhone app. Two Words: BUY IT!

The other golden ticket we learned about was the MOC method of putting babies to sleep. They have a tried-and-true method of swaddling (Harper didn’t like it at first but later on couldn’t sleep without it and to this day sleeps in a sleep sack), insist on using a sound machine (yes, I’ve read the recent articles on keeping the volume of these appropriate), and advocate letting your baby cry it out (but in short spurts). At first this all made me nervous but then I’d try to remember, “She’s fed, dry, not in pain, and all bundled up in her swaddle. She will be fine.” And she was. The first night was a struggle but the next day I closely followed the routine and guess what? She took to it! In fact, I’d say Harper thrives on routines, which is exactly what this is.

The swaddle is MAGIC! She would fall right asleep as soon as it was on.

The swaddle is MAGIC! She would fall right asleep as soon as it was on.

Even now, at 14 months old, our routine goes like this: 7 am: Wake, have sippy cup of milk; 7:30-8 ish: Breakfast then play; 9-9:30ish: Nap; 10:30: Sippy cup and snack, then play/errands; 12:00: Lunch; 1:30: Nap; 3:30: Sippy cup and snack then play; 5:15-5:30ish: Dinner then play; 6:30: Bath; 7:00: Bedtime. Harper has been going to bed at 7 pm since she was four months old.

Ryan became the "Master Swaddler" of our house.

Ryan became the “Master Swaddler” of our house.

Bottom line, this schedule was a lifesaver for us. I couldn’t (and neither could my husband) have survived the early months of motherhood without it. I know everyone says, “I need sleep” but for me, it is a medical necessity. Being an epileptic (have I ever mentioned that on here?), a lack of sleep is one of the triggers for seizures. So sleep is a must. If you’re looking for a sleep schedule then MOC is my recommendation. Our baby thrived on it and I hope yours does too!

Refusing to "say cheese" Moms, do you have any other tips you would like to share?

Xoxo Lindsey