When you're a kid, it's so important to fit in. The right jeans, the cool sneakers, or the latest little hand-held computer gaming system become more than just objects... to a child, certain things can mean acceptance or ostracism. Unfortunately, when you have food allergies, dozens of new items are automatically added to your invisible list of "ways to not fit in." Banished to the peanut-free table, left out of the ice cream parties in the classroom, unable to eat the pizza at birthday parties... there's a new reminder at every turn that you, young man/lady, are different from those other kids.
When my sister was young, all she ever wanted in life was to have "real five-pocket jeans." Apparently, our hand-me-down denim was lacking those important details. Today, all I ever want is to help my kids feel "normal" when they eat. I've found substitutes for sandwiches, pizza, burger buns, milkshakes, birthday cake, ice cream, Halloween candy, and all kinds of other popular "kid" foods. Today I'd like to share my latest impostor -- the corn-free popcorn ball for Christmas!
And how does one make a corn-free popcorn ball, you ask? Why, by employing oat circle cereal, of course! Otherwise known as Cheerios, healthier versions of this cereal are produced by Whole Foods, Full Circle, and others. Mixed with something sticky, something sweet, and some strong flavors, this recipe vaults popcorn balls to a whole new level.
I made two versions: One the kids loved, including chocolate peanut butter, So Delicious chocolate mint milk, and dried cranberries. The other my husband loved, and those were made with SunButter, orange juice, candied ginger and molasses... much more grown-up flavors! Of course, you can adapt these to use just a sugary base as well. As you can see in the photo, I made mini balls, but feel free to make any size you like, and wrap them in holiday shades of cellophane!
Corn-Free Popcorn Balls
5 1/2 cups oat circle cereal
1/2 cup chocolate peanut butter
1/4 cup So Delicious chocolate mint coconut milk
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1 cup dried pomegranate-flavored cranberries
3/4 cups SunButter
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp candied ginger
For the chocolate mint balls, mix together the peanut butter, milk, and 1/4 cup brown rice syrup in a large bowl until smooth. Add 3 cups cereal and the cranberries and toss until coated. Spoon onto a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for about 1/2 hour. The mixture will be very wet, so you won't be able to roll it into balls right away. As it dries, you can manipulate it to make it prettier!
For the ginger orange balls, mix together the SunButter, orange juice and molasses in a large bowl until smooth. Add 2 1/2 cups cereal and the candied ginger and toss until coated. Again, spoon onto a baking sheet and chill for about 1/2 hour.
These would make a great snack for a lunchbox, and that leads me to my next subject ... the Lunchbox Love linky party! Last week, Vicky from Gluten Free SCD shared a great recipe that fits perfectly into my post theme today -- creating allergy-free substitutes for popular kid food. Her Raisin Cookies are gluten free, dairy free and egg free, and include both coconut and almonds for a lovely flavor. Click the link here to read all the details.
from Gluten Free SCD
Now it's time to see what you packed for lunch this week. Feel free to link up as many dishes as you like ... whether they are actual lunchboxes or meals that travel well in lunchboxes. If your recipe is free of some or all of the top 8 allergens, that's even better!
Shared with Creative Juice at Momnivore's Dilemma and Friday Food at MomTrends and Anything Goes at Bacon Time and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and Seasonal Inspiration at Crumbs and Chaos and Once Upon a Weekend at Family Ever After and Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Christmas in the Kitchen At The Picket Fence and Fusion Friday at Jane Deere and Meatless Monday at Midnight Maniac and My Meatless Monday at My Sweet and Savory.