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Recipe Swap, June 14, 2012

Raisin kids

Send cookies to camp — but none with raisins, please!

That’s a recent plea to those baking for the soon-to-arrive young campers at Rock Lake United Church Camp near Crystal City this summer. All cookies disappear in an instant out there, but apparently not the ones with raisins.

What is it with kids and raisins anyway? This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of kids turning their noses up at them. Nor is it Susan Watson’s, the Winnipeg registered dietitian I called to ask about it last week.

She told me she’s heard a fair share of stories about kids picking the raisins out of bread, etc. too. It tends not to be the taste of raisins that puts some kids off, said the dietitian. It’s the texture. “They’re sweet,” she says, adding that kids who won’t eat raisins usually do like grapes and grape juice. “But kids’ preferences for food are dependent on many things and not just taste.”

It’s too bad raisins get passed over for some of the other stuff kids do go for, the dietitian notes, pointing out that a half-cup of raisins is a full serving of fruit, and a naturally sweet and far healthier snack for kids than so many other types of fat-, sugar- and salt-laden snacks.

There’s another raisin, er, reason, why parents might want to give their kids a raisin snack. New research recently announced at the Canadian Nutrition Society annual meeting in Vancouver looking at after-school snacking and feelings of fullness among eight- to 11-year-olds, found those eating raisins as a snack felt full sooner and stopped snacking earlier, resulting in fewer calories consumed, than those noshing on things like chips, cookies or even grapes.

Do your kids like raisins? Here’s a few recipes including one for a kid-friendly cookie/snack that just might even pass muster around a Rock Lake campfire next month.

Raisin Peanut Butter Balls

  • 2 c. toasted oat cereal with honey and almonds3 c. California raisins1/4 c. sugar1/4 c. corn syrup1/4 c. reduced-fat peanut butter

In large bowl, combine cereal and raisins. Combine sugar and corn syrup in medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in peanut butter. Pour over cereal and raisin mixture; mix well. Lightly spray fingers with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop out about 1/3 cup mixture; press into ball. Place on waxed paper. Repeat until all mixture is used. Cool completely. Wrap individually in plastic wrap. Yields: 10 balls

California Gold Bars

Raisin-studded gold bars for a quick treat.

  • 2 c. California golden raisins, chopped1/4 c. sugar1 tbsp. cornstarch1 c. water1/2 c. butter or margarine1 c. firmly packed brown sugar1-1/2 c. flour1/2 tsp. baking soda1/2 tsp. salt1-1/2 c. quick oats, uncooked1 tbsp. water
  • Cinnamon Icing:1 c. sifted powdered sugar1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon1-1/2 tbsp. milk

Combine raisins, sugar, cornstarch and water in saucepan. Stir over medium heat until thickened. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, cream butter and sugar. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Stir into creamed mixture. Add oats and one tablespoon water. Mix until crumbly. Firmly press half of mixture into greased 13×9-inch pan. Spread with raisin filling. Pat on remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

For icing, mix sifted powdered sugar with cinnamon. Stir in milk until consistency for drizzling. Drizzle on bars. Yields: 30 bars

Nutrition Facts Per ServingCalories 150 (21 per cent from fat); Total Fat 3 g (sat 2 g, mono 1 g, poly 0 g); Cholesterol 10 mg; Protein 2 g; Carbohydrate 28 g; (Dietary Fibre 1 g); Sodium 95 mg; Calcium 16 mg.

Country Ribs with Waldorf Gravy

Here’s something special for an early-summer supper. Walnuts, apple, celery and California raisins add spiced flavours to these country-style ribs.

  • 4 lbs. country-style pork ribs, trimmed of excess fat1 tbsp. cooking oil3/4 c. chopped onion1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of celery soup1/3 c. frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon1 small bay leaf1 c. chopped apple1/2 c. chopped celery1-1/2 c. California raisins1/4 c. half-and-half1/4 c. chopped walnuts; for garnish

In a large skillet, brown ribs on all sides in hot oil. Remove ribs from skillet, reserving one tablespoon drippings. Cook onion in drippings until tender but not brown. Add soup, apple juice concentrate, poultry seasoning, cinnamon and bay leaf. Return ribs to skillet. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes. Add apple, celery and raisins. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes more. Stir in half-and-half, heat through. Remove bay leaf. Turn into serving bowl and sprinkle with walnuts. Serve with hot cooked rice. Serves: 12 (3 to 4 ribs per serving)

Golden Raisin and Lentil Salad

A hearty and tasty salad — whip it up in a hurry, then eat at leisure.

  • Salad ingredients:1-1/2 c. water1 c. red lentils1 c. California golden raisins1/4 c. chopped red bell peppers1/4 c. sliced green onions1/2 c. chopped, toasted pecans
  • To make Dressing:2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice1 tbsp. pure maple syrup1/2 tsp. saltFreshly ground pepper; to taste

Combine water and lentils in a large microwave safe bowl. Cover and cook on high for five minutes. Let stand for five minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain well; transfer to a medium-size salad bowl with raisins, bell pepper and green onions. Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl; drizzle over lentils and toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in pecans just before serving. Prep. time: 15 min. Cook time: 5 min.Serves: 8

Nutrition Facts Per ServingCalories 100 (12 per cent from fat); Total Fat 1 g (mono 1 g, poly 0 g); Protein 3 g; Carbohydrate 22 g; (Dietary Fibre 3 g); Iron 1 mg; Sodium 25 mg; Calcium 31 mg. Source: California Raisin Marketing Board

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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