Often, afternoon snacks are as simple as peeling a piece of fruit or dumping some veggie straws in a bowl for my kids. Occasionally, the snacks are on the sweeter side when there are still fresh cookies around (they never last long). Then there are the days, like today, when the afternoon snack becomes an activity in itself and we work side by side preparing our food and getting messy together.
I consider the afternoon snack to be a rather important “meal” in itself. Non-negotiable even. Personally, my body needs that boost to make it to dinner time without becoming a snappish dragon mom/wife or merely fainting out from low blood sugar. I also know that the quality of food that I give my boys has a direct affect to their mood and behavior. We eat our share of treats around here, but I try to be sure that if I am giving them something sweet, I am balancing it with something more filling like proteins or whole grains. In this way, snack time can become another occasion to talk about food choices, what our bodies need, and how what we eat affects us.
Today’s snack was a good balance of sweet treat and nutritious components. It was also simple enough that we were able to prepare it together and enjoy eating it in thirty minutes or less. With some to save for tomorrow.
Coconut oil, popcorn, butter, honey, peanut butter, vanilla and chia seeds
A brief word about kids and stove-top safety:
First of all, you are the best person to judge if your child is ready to use the stove. Teaching safety rules like not touching the heating elements or the pots and pans while in use is an obvious place to start. Then, assessing his level of maturity and self-control are important– will he listen and be calm while using the stove? Another significant consideration is basic height and arm length– is he tall enough to safely reach and stir?
If you think he’s ready, give him a chance while closely supervising. Often our kids will surprise us with the things they are capable of doing if we will just take the time to teach them and then give them opportunities to learn.
Safety tips to teach a child learning to use the stove:
(this is not an exhaustive list, of course, but a good place to start)
Do not lean over a pot/pan while cooking. The steam or contents could burn you.
Keep one hand on the handle of the pot/pan and one handle on the spoon/spatula. This helps to keep the pot steady while stirring and keeps a child from accidentally setting his hand down on something hot.
Stir gently. Stirring too hard could cause the contents of the pot to splash out.
Pay attention. Generally be aware of what you are doing. If you get distracted, move away from the stove.
Peanut Butter Popcorn
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
- 1 C popcorn kernels
- 1/4 C unsalted butter
- 1/4 C honey
- 1/4 C creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- chia seeds for topping
- Melt oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour in popcorn kernels to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Cover the pot with a lid.
- Heat the popcorn kernels over medium-high heat. Agitate the pot as the kernels pop. Remove from heat once you no longer hear consistent popping.
- While the popcorn is popping, melt butter in a medium-size saucepan. Stir in honey and peanut butter. Heat over low heat until well blended. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir to mix.
- Pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the top of the popcorn and stir until all the popcorn pieces have been coated. Sprinkle popcorn with chia seeds (as much as you prefer).
- Eat and enjoy!
- Lick your fingers when done.