Summer holidays will start next week! I'm saying that like I've been saying it forever and yet, this is my li'll S's first summer vacation from school.
Here is the bee that is buzzing in my bonnet, what and how am I going to keep S busy with!?
Swimming classes, crafting classes for pre-k kids, some more indoor activities (yes, ONLY indoor activities, I am not flinging myself outdoors more than I can help, in the Texan heat).
All these and the fact that I will want to stuff my scrawny little boy (though M and the pediatrician may not agree on the term scrawny, I am a Mother and to me he is scrawny and needs some fattening up, humph!) with some food.
Like many 4 year olds, S, is picky and fanciful, he likes few things, dislikes anything that is healthy and would willingly run a mile in high heels at the very mention of 'bhaji' (vegetables)- Like Mother, like Son- as the husband puts it, humph!
S and I make a awesome team. We both love sweet. I like simple baking and S likes to eat what is baked. And my li'll one is now the age where he stands on a little step stool and offers to help me in the kitchen.
This is such a far cry from the time when he was a few months old, I would sit him in the high chair, in the kitchen , relaxing it all the way and talk to him as I cooked, I sometimes want to rewind life a bit, go back to holding the smiling infant in my arms, sit him in the high chair and just look at him, gaze into his soulful eyes and smile with him, no words exchanged, none needed.
Much as I want to go back in time, there isn't one minute that I want to lose now! Today we baked these breakfast bars, well, anytime bars, I think!
I borrowed Nigella Express from the library. Many a times, I just get books by the authors/ chefs, just to look thru the glossy pages , the beautiful pictures. Like reading a novel. But there are many recipes that are Vegetarian friendly and I was thrilled to try one so simple and kid- friendly!
So if you have a willing little chef at home, try these bars. Easy to make and good to eat, you will love them!
Adapted from: Here, with my substitutions ( in bold)
1 Can (14 oz) Condensed Milk
21/2 Cups Rolled Oats (not instant)
1 cup Shredded Coconut
1 cup Dried Cranberries
1 cup Mixed Seeds ( pumpkin, sunflower Sesame)
1 cup Natural Unsalted Peanuts
I did not have mixed seeds and I avoid peanuts, I used a mix of Almonds, Cashew and Walnuts.
I blitzed them in the food processor to make it into a powder, my little one will not eat chunky pieces of nuts. This is a personal choice, you could pulse the nuts slightly to break them or just leave them whole.
Preheat the oven to 250 F and oil a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Alternatively, use a disposable Aluminium foil pan.
Warm the condensed milk in wide pan
Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients together, add the warmed condensed milk, using a rubber spatula to fold and distribute
Spread the mixture into the oiled pan / foil and press down with the spatula or hands ( use latex gloves)
*I used a flat bottomed steel container (vati) to press down the mixture evenly.
Bake for 1 hour and after about 15 mins. cut into 4 across and 4 down to get 16 chunky bars
Let it cool completely.