An Old Fashioned Kind of Wife and Mother?

Cherry-almond granola bars.

Am I crazy because I make my kid’s and husband’s lunches?

I used to make my own lunch for work and it just seemed logical to make one for my husband as well. Now I’m making a lunch for my son (his school does not have a cafeteria) to take to school, and it’s not much more effort to make for two. So throughout the school year, I go ahead and make Doug’s lunch. He would gladly make his own lunch (and I must say that he has no expectations that I do this for him), but it gives me great pleasure to know that my people have what they need to get through the day. I also should mention that my son is 15 and is capable of making his own lunch, but what he chooses to take is often inadequate. And so I fix the lunch bags. The lunches are simple, and we try to hit all the food groups: 1 sandwich of either a nut butter with homemade jam, or maybe a meat and cheese always on whole wheat bread; 1 raw vegetable; 1 fruit; 1 dessert or snack bar; 1 yogurt for Doug.

Doug enjoys a sweet with his morning coffee and is fond of cereal/snack/granola bars. Unfortunately we are sometimes reduced to buying the over-the-counter, highly processed varieties. These doughy, fruit filled or chocolate-infused briquettes are sad little candy bars in disguise. I do not eagerly purchase these. And our son, Max, is growing so fast that his caloric needs are huge, so I try and include a lot of protein-rich, calorie-packed items in his lunch sack.

So tonight I am lovingly making homemade granola bars, filled with peanut butter, oats, coconut, almonds and dried cherries. I know I’m going to receive more comments regarding the corn syrup, and just as I promised with the cookies the other night, I will try this with honey the next time. I also stir in a few chocolate chips as a teaser for a certain small person in our house.

These are not low-cal granola bars. They are high in fat and packed with sugar, to be sure. They are also loaded with real fruit and nuts, wheat germ and oats. One bar a day is plenty.

Tomorrow morning I will happily make the nut butter and homemade jam sandwich, and plop it in a well-used lunch bag along with a bag of raw carrots, a fruit, a yogurt and a lovingly prepared homemade granola bar. I’ll even send one off to school with our youngest, Joe, and take one for myself to have with my morning coffee.

Cherry-Almond Granola Bars

1. Mix together:

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. corn syrup
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2/3 c. almond butter or peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. almond extract

2. Stir in:

  • 3 c. quick oats (or 2 c. quick and 1 c. old fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 c. packed coconut
  • 1/2 c. wheat germ or wheat bran (omit if you want it gluten-free)
  • 2/3 c. slivered almonds
  • 1 c. dried cherries
  • 1/4-1/3 c. chocolate chips

3. Press into a greased 9 x 12 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Score lightly while still warm; cut through when cool.

5 thoughts on “An Old Fashioned Kind of Wife and Mother?

  1. For the record: these are delicious and I greatly appreciate them – and Dori’s efforts, without which I would be eating peanut butter-on-graham crackers everyday.

    People have often asked me how is it that the kids and I are not fat with all this wonderful food flowing through the house. Well, the truth is, while I am still within my BMI, I am about 15 lbs heavier than I was 25 years ago. But the kids are tall, healthy, and strong, and in no way overweight – no small trick, given the hours they spend in school or on computer games. Though nutrition is well outside of my area of expertise, I believe we can eat Dori’s cooking because real food – not pre-prepared, but rather as unprocessed and whole-grained as she can find – is not fattening. Readers should note that the kids and I eat more fresh fruit than we can keep on hand, that the Challah and pancakes are mostly whole wheat, and every meal includes a couple of vegetables. Between this and biking to work, what’s a pat of butter now and then? It works for us, and I am eternally (and internally) grateful.

    Here’s to 20 more years!

    – Doug

  2. I feel misunderstood. When I asked about corn syrup it was because I was wondering what it added to a recipe that sugar did not provide.

    • Oh, Dear! The truth is that I hate the idea of using corn syrup. Certainly it has received a lot of bad press lately. As far as I can tell, its common trait in both of the recipes is that it makes the cookie or bar chewy.

  3. Look, Dori… when we were in Middle School you and I made lunch for each other on alternating weeks. I often use this story to get my kids to step up and make their own lunches… now you tell us your kid is not making his own lunch… so how can I pressure them? Sounds like the quality of your meals has gone up since the olden days when we bought cans of ravioli and used the new fangled microwaves to warm the contents…

    • Or my favorite, Chung King chicken chop suey in the big can with the separate can of chow mein noodles on the top. But we also packed ham sandwiches and side dishes — probably Hostess Ding Dongs and chips. Sitting in the cafeteria, eating lunch in our matching pink-checkered outfits.

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