DIY Power Bites, Granola Bars and other healthy snacks

I‘ve been feeling like we’re in a bit of a post-holiday baking slump here. I know, that didn’t take long.

But you can hardly blame me. For most of December, Saturdays were for swirl buns and Sundays for scones. The kids and I rolled, cut and frosted dozens of shortbread cookies and gingerbread men. It was a delicious few weeks, but hardly a balanced diet.

And so, to pass the time on a bad weather snow day, Clara and I met up in the kitchen this week to make power bites. This productive activity nicely filled our holiday baking void – and topped up the freezer with a healthy snack, perfect for my teatime and her lunchbox.

In case you’re also looking for a similar kitchen project with delicious results, today’s post contains a round-up of all my nutritious and portable snacks that are easy to make with kids.

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The best serve-yourself weekday breakfast ideas

This winter was the first time I’ve had to change up our breakfast routine since the children were babies.

Up until last fall, we’d always start our weekdays together as a family, as school and work were both close enough to afford a somewhat relaxed morning. Then everything changed.

My eldest is in junior high school, so he’s the first kid up and out the door in the morning. Danny started a new job in the new year and eats breakfast bright and early. My two youngest are just waking up as their dad is leaving – one of them is famished and the other needs to wake up slowly before eating. They wander into the kitchen on their own time.

Since I’m usually busy prepping bagged lunches and checking on homework, I tend to only sit down to eat after everyone has left. Five people, five breakfast slots. At the beginning, when we were adjusting to the new schedules, I found myself preparing multiple breakfasts to accommodate everyone. Until I got smarter, that is.

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Embracing winter with Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

During an interview, a podcast host once asked me if given the choice, would I prefer to stay in a cabin in the woods or a chic hotel in the city. You can probably guess my answer.

I find cities to be draining and nature is where I recharge. This is why I carved out an urban homestead for our family, even though we live in Greater Montreal suburbia. This is also why we jumped at the chance to hibernate for a few weeks in the deep woods when our extended family offered up their mountainside cabin to us last month.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to write about our trip to British Columbia yet (it would mostly be photos of mountains and the ski hill), but the decision to share this baked oatmeal recipe was inspired by those slow cabin mornings.

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Apple Almond Bircher Muesli with Winter Fruits

A regular brown package arrived via courier last week. Inside, all three hundred and four first pass pages of an uncorrected manuscript that is my next cookbook.

The words, the photos and the recipes all compiled together into a neat little package that has been my passion project for the last two years. What a thrill to hold the unbound pages in my hand.

I’ll get to introduce the cookbook to you soon, and share the cover as well as a sneak peek of the recipes to come, but for now, I need to pick up a pencil, put my head down and focus on these final corrections before it goes to print. Things may continue to be a little quiet here on the blog in January, but I’ll be back before you know it, along with more stories, ideas and recipes.

But for right now, let’s share breakfast in the form of Apple Almond Bircher Muesli with Winter Fruits.

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Make-Ahead Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Maple-Stewed Berries

This past week offered the opportunity to actually get outside and tromp around the homestead a bit. Hello Spring!

Among my discoveries, I noticed that the snow melted from the raised beds and small scarlet nubs of rhubarb are pushing through the mulch. The oregano patch is starting to show some green underneath the tangle of brambles and the raspberry canes are finally free of ice. Life is returning.

We’ve ordered our pullet hens from the farm and next weekend we’ll make repairs on the coop. Small brown eggs are synonymous with spring around here and in a few weeks production will start.

Say, if you haven’t toured our homestead yet, why not take a peek? And of course, find the expanded version, with recipes, stories and urban homesteading tips in my recent cookbook.

I’m holding out for local berries and our homegrown raspberries and (so far) have not been tempted by the imports from Mexico. Thankfully I still have a stash of Quebec strawberries and blueberries in the freezer from last summer. Gently stewed with some of this-season’s maple syrup, they make a delicious topping for nutty oatmeal.

Speaking of oatmeal, my favourite variety just became a lot more easily available, thanks to a new do-ahead method that I have been playing with for weeks.
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