Thursday, May 20, 2010

"I don't feel like eating"

When temperatures get above 80 degrees, my kids transition into a state of "too hot to eat" that just isn't healthy. I've tried waiting it out, but they can go days without eating. I've tried pleading & threatening to revoke privileges, but it doesn't do any good. And since I'm rarely in the mood to eat when I'm hot either, the only thing left to do is to find creative mini-meals we WILL eat!

With our susceptibility to heatstroke, this week marks the beginning of our annual "food fight" so I'm on the hunt for highly nutritious snacks & finger foods. I like to bake first thing in the morning & freeze batches of our favorite goodies for those days when it's TOO hot to turn on the oven. Today was one of those baking days, so for lunch I took our favorite tried-and-true soda bread recipe and created tiny sandwiches with cream cheese & apple chunks. Because this is a high-fiber, high-protein bread even though we're nibbling there's no lack of nutrition. And for a special "it was on sale so let's splurge" addition, we're enjoying Bolthouse Farms' Vanilla Chai & Purely Chocolate. This is a favorite "trick" of mine because often the kids will drink something even when they can't stomach food!

My soda-bread recipe is one of our favorites because it has that soft, non-crumbly texture that we crave. This is a five-flour bread, but it's definitely worth it. I used real buttermilk today, but have also soured almond milk for a vegan version that was positively divine. Please note however that this is NOT a low-sodium recipe & I haven't tried to create one yet... my apologies to those of you with blood-pressure issues, but I'm working on it.

You will need:
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato flour
1/2 cup bean flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
2 Tbsp. ground flax
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
(or 2 Tbsp lemon juice plus enough almond milk to equal 2 cups)
1/4 cup butter-substitute - room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Mix the dry ingredients together, then slowly mix in the wet ingredients. This is best hand-mixed as it is particularly aggressive at climbing up mixer-blades and is wet enough to REALLY splatter well. (a-hem... not that I would know, mind you!)

On a well-floured surface, hand-pat half the dough into a 1" thick "wheel" and cut into 6 equal slices. You can bake the slices like you would for a scone, but I prefer to roll then into balls to prevent overbaking the points. (note for moms: my daughter LOVES to help roll these - their texture is rather unique & fun to handle!) Set each section on an ungreased cookie sheet a good 3" apart & repeat for the second half.

If you're making a dozen, you'll want to bake them for 20 minutes... I've also made 6 mega-rolls that took 30 minutes to be done. These won't brown, but if you tap gently on their tops they'll make a hollow sound when done. Serve hot or cold - these are good with soups & stews as well as for mini-sandwiches! Enjoy - and good luck surviving the heat this summer!