Clean up your cookies!
Well here we are. Back in the land of home school!
Time to get back on the rollercoaster when it comes to the juggle! Working at home should make it easier to get things done; it’s fairly easy to pop something in the oven in your lunch break and have it bubble away all afternoon until dinner.
But, (and it’s a big but) factor in the tech requirements of a teen and a ten-year-old – and the incessant “Mummy? Mummy?????? MUMMY!!!” from the latter – and it’s enough to make you pour gin into your coffee cup. I also worry about them being on screens all day so want them to take breaks. But then the breaks trigger more questions. Arrrrggghhhh!! I saw a great little meme of a working mom who had duct taped her child to the floor. Is that legal? It’s so tempting! (Don’t call Social Services just yet, I am kidding. I think.)
Fortunately, one year on from the original home schooling debacle, we’re all older and a little wiser. I’m learning to let my teen just do her thing and be responsible, and to leave the clearing of the clutter to the end of the day. Also, the kids really are better in the kitchen these days, so rather than provide a 24-hour kitchen service, I am going to let them fend for themselves a bit more.
It's the constant request for snacks that drives me crazy, so I deal with that these days by putting a list on the fridge for what they can have each day. They tick it off as they go and once it’s done, it’s done (aside from the last one). Our list looks a little like this:
• One string cheese or Guacamole pot + crackers
• 1 halo orange + nuts
• 1 apple + nuts
• 2 cookies or microwave popcorn
• Unlimited fresh veggies and hummus
I mean, they are growing so I don’t want to starve them. But they’re getting three meals a day too! Quick tip for you: if you have a perpetual snacker and you don’t want to limit the snacks in the context of weight, then make the breaks from snacks about dental health instead. Shame regarding overeating and body image can kick in at an incredibly young age, so saying “it’s important to take a break from snacks to look after your teeth!” helps shift attention away from this. Boredom eating also gets expensive, so you can explain that too!
It's hard to have self-control around cookies, so setting parameters around the junk-type of items really helps. However, it also helps to upgrade the junk in the first place!
This recipe is a great example of how to clean up a classic chocolate chip cookie. I have road-tested this one over and over and it’s always a hit. At the end of the day, it’s still a cookie and it does contain sugar, so it definitely falls into the “moderation” category or the “yellow light” category as we call it in Natural Kids. But it’s also packed with oats and a healthy dose of chia seed. This provides lots of fibre to help create a more sustained energy release rather than a vicious peak and dip. This recipe is also gluten-free, but just uses a mix of almond and brown rice flour (in addition to the gluten-free oats) so there are no highly processed “alternative” flours or fats here. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Chocolate Chip Chia Cookies (Gluten-free; dairy-free)
1 scant cup small oats, gluten-free if need be
1/2 cup almond flour, or ground almonds from the baking section
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, gluten/dairy-free if need be eg Enjoy Life
1/8 cup chia seed
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, large
1/2 cup safflower, or grapeseed oil (you can use melted coconut oil if you like the flavour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Using a hand whisk, whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet in another.
2. Combine the two bowls and stir well with a wooden spoon, using your hands if necessary to completely form the dough.
3. Chill the dough in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 355F. Lightly oil a large baking sheet.
5. Roll the dough into small golf balls (should make approximately 14), flatten halfway and space apart on the tray.
6. Bake for 12 minutes. If they are spreading nicely at this point, leave them be and cook for another two minutes. If they are not spreading well, lightly flatten the top of each cookie, this time with the back of a fork. Bake for another 2 minutes, or until lightly golden! Leave to cool COMPLETELY on the rack before transferring to a plate or storage.
Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram