I shared this recipe just before Easter in a hurry and I wanted to come back to it and tell you a little more about it and what we did to celebrate.
This recipe is taken from my new cook book – Real Food for Babies and Toddlers, which is due out in less than two weeks (argh!). In case you missed it, there’s some sneak peeks here and you can order it from this page.
There’s a small section of snacks at the end of my book, which includes these bites. They’re nut-free and perfect if you have a little one that goes to daycare or kinder where nuts aren’t allowed. I also used sultanas and sunflower seeds which are cheaper than the nuts and dates that snack balls are often based on. Like most of my recipes, they’re also free from added sugar (and that includes syrups such as maple or honey)a the carob gives them a mocha-chocolate flavour but without any of the stimulatory effects of caffeine.
So, back to our Easter – it’s obviously one of those holidays where it’s hard to escape the chocolate. This year we had a couple of Easter Egg hunts in the garden. The first one, Laurence hid (in plain sight!) little carob eggs that Jonathan went looking for, with his lovely friend Joan. It was quite funny… Laurence was so giddy with excitement that we (the grown-ups) spent most of our time asking him not to hand the eggs directly to the little ones (the sooner they’ve found them all the sooner they can be eaten, right?).
The second hunt the next day was when the Easter bunny came and hid the same eggs (different pack as the first ones got eaten) and Laurence and his friend spent much longer trying to find them all in the garden.
These are the eggs we used. They are just perfect when you want to involve the kids in Easter celebrations, without going overboard with the sugar (they are free of added sugar) and caffeine.
We did that one year, go overboard, as it were. It goes down as the single worst day in mine and Rob’s parenting lives so far, and I am not exaggerating.
We had planned a little egg hunt in the garden and invited one of Laurence’s friends over to join him. I’d done a similar thing in hiding a small number of tiny chocolates in difficult to spot places. However, when his friend came, he brought with him about 20 ‘palm-sized’ eggs and 8 large chocolate bunnies. Feeling it would be rude to decline these, especially in front of the children… they all got hidden in the garden.
What followed was Laurence gorging on all the chocolate until he was queasy and had tummy ache. Then, in the afternoon, when the sugar-high came down and the caffeine was out of his system, he had the biggest meltdowns we’d ever seen. When we speak of it, Rob and I look at each other like what we witnessed that day should never be spoken of. Kind of like, if you’d walked in on an in-law on the toilet (for clarity I have not done this, but a friend has).
Here’s a couple of pics of Laurence from that day (he looks so little!)
I think chocolate (or carob) is fine as part of any celebration or day-to-day life but it’s just about finding a balance I’m comfortable with, while being mindful of the message it’s sending. I don’t really understand why children need more than one big egg – maybe that seems mean to some? I just want to keep it in perspective. I wrote a little more about finding a balance with food in an earlier post here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that?
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this recipe.
- 105 g (3 3⁄4 oz or 2⁄3 cup) sunflower seeds, preferably soaked for 2 hours beforehand, then rinsed and drained
- 130 g (4 1⁄2 oz or 3⁄4 cup) sultanas (golden raisins)
- 50 g (1 3⁄4 oz or 1⁄2 cup) rolled (porridge) oats
- 90 g (3 1⁄4 oz or 1 cup) unsweetened desiccated (finely shredded) coconut
- 90 g (3 1⁄4 oz or 1⁄3 cup) tahini
- 2 tablespoons carob flour
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1⁄4 teaspoon unsweetened vanilla bean powder
- Put the sunflower seeds, sultanas, rolled oats and half the coconut in a food processor. Add the tahini, carob flour, chia seeds, coconut oil and vanilla bean powder, and blend until the mixture gets clumpy.
- Empty into a bowl, shape into golf-sized balls or egg shapes for Easter and roll/pat each in the remaining coconut. Place in an airtight container, and leave in the refrigerator for 1 hour to firm up before eating.