I don’t know if it is just me or there are others that feel the same way, but sometimes I am so tired of being the ‘bad’ parent who says NO all the time…no, you cannot have more sweets….no chocolate….no ice cream….do not get me wrong I am not overly strict all the time forbidding him all the things children crave. We do go sometimes for a cake to our local coffee shop or we get an ice cream on the beach but in the same time I do not want him to binge on unhealthy sugars everyday. I try to avoid the world NO as it doesn’t seem to get much notice and usually ends with a tantrum. I rather try to explain why I do not want him to have it and offer an alternative, he will be almost 3 and he seems to understand more and more and especially if I offer something else instead.
Therefore, home made treats are the best option for us, I can see and control all the ingredients, no hidden additives and other nasties and almost every ingredient can be substituted depending if you want less sugar, no dairy or gluten free…if you know me you will know that I am not really good at baking. Sometimes I manage to create something amazing, but usually I do not have a clue how I done it and if I try to recreate it, it ends badly but I am not afraid to try it and Teddy absolutely loves being in the kitchen and help me!When he was 13 month old I have build him a learning tower from an IKEA stool and he has been with me in the kitchen daily ever since. It gave him the chance to observe, feel and smell all the different ingredients from a very early age.
It has also given him a great deal of independence as he can easily move the stool around the kitchen, reach a sink or a fridge. He can climb in an out as he pleases and most importantly he could be a part of everything that was happening above his level and he was so happy he could get stuck in.
He loves making cookies, gingerbread in an animal and a tractor shape, of course, and short bread biscuits. We have also tried few raw snacks and they were hit with the whole family too but his all time favourite treats are home made gummy bears and an ice cream! Both sugar free, easy and delicious!
We have been making gummy bears for long time now and recently he has been making them by himself from the start to finish, I am always right next to him when it comes to the cooking part but he is very sensible and very careful. The joy and pride when he accomplishes to make it all by himself is just priceless!
If you’d like to make them at home its very easy and all you need is some freshly squeezed juice (store bought juice works too!) or smoothie/puree and Agar agar which is jelly- like substance, it is obtained from algae and suitable for vegans. Any other gelatin can be used too! Teddy’s favourites are orange and apple flavour but you can make any flavour you’d like. Once we made kale, pine apple and apple and they were delicious!
To make it squeeze/press/blend your fruit or vegetable and add agar agar or other gelatin agent. We only use agar agar and add 5 g to 500 ml of liquid. Mix it in a pan and bring it to boil only for a few minutes. You will see the liquid changes its substance becoming more dense.
Fill your moulds, we have these gummy bear mould which you can buy in different colours on eBay or Amazon. They come with the little dropper. These moulds are not necessary, you can use anything, even a tray and then cut them into squares. Teddy loves them however and its great fine motor skill practise for him.
They set and are ready to eat within 10 minutes, no need to refrigerate. We usually make only small amount and they get eaten straight away but if you make more they will keep in a air tight container in the fridge for few days.
Since it has been getting warmer we have been making ice cream all the time. And because its made purely out of fruit I do not mind he eats one every day, its delicious! Last batch he made entirely by himself which was amazing to watch, I only helped him with assembling the food chopper and only because the knives are very sharp. He felt really proud and I won’t lie to you, I did too. He is also getting better in helping to tidy up after.
The most favourite one is banana and ‘chocolate’ flavour
We do it whenever we see our bananas are going black. Is best to use ripe banana as they are more sweet. All you have to do is to slice them and put them in a freezer for a bit. When they are frozen mash them up, you could do it with a fork but we use a food chopper/blender.
They are delicious as they are but Teddy likes to add a tea spoon of honey and a spoon of cocoa (we use 100% cocoa powder) and to make it smoother we add tiny bit of almond/hazel nut milk. Its not necessary but we find it makes it better, you can use any other milk.
You can eat it strait away, Teddy usually does at least some of it and the rest we scoop into a Tupperware or ice lolly moulds and pop them back to the freezer for at least an hour.
This is just one of the option, you can use absolutely any fruit. We also love mango or strawberry flavour. Just blend the fruit, no sugar is necessary and scoop the blend into the moulds. You can also add yogurt if you’d like a creamy ice cream better. We use natural white or Greek yogurt and add teaspoon of honey. The options are limitless!
Do you have favourite home made treats or other easy recipes that your children can do by themselves?
We would love to hear from you!
Teri & Teddy