LaLa Lunchbox Celebrates Good Deeds Day

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Before there were school lunches to be planned and packed (and before there were iPhones to plan them with), I was pregnant with my eldest child. I read pregnancy and parenting books. I researched infant carriers and marveled over tiny clothing. And thanks to the suggestion of my lactation consultant and childbirth guru sister, my husband and I signed up for a phenomenal childbirth education class that was calming, empowering, eye opening and exactly what we needed to face the life-altering experience of childbirth. I absolutely loved being pregnant, so when I became involved with Good Deeds Day, my mind immediately went to doing something for the benefit of pregnant couples. 

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Good Deeds Day (March 9, 2014) celebrates doing good for the benefit of others and the planet. All over the world, hundreds of thousands choose to give of themselves, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do a good deed, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively impact the world.

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Naturally, my Good Deed involved food. I baked and delivered a batch of LaLa Granola Bars (recipe below) for the expectant couples attending a Childbirth Education class at Tribeca Pregnancy and Parenting. They've got a satisfying array of textures: flaky, chewy and crispy all at once. They are baked with wholesome, pronounceable ingredients and deliver a great combination of sweet snacky satisfaction with protein and fiber. While I fully realize that bringing a healthy snack to pregnant couples won't change the world, rethinking the way we snack can absolutely lead to powerful change. Especially for pregnant women. I made this batch in no time (using only 8 fingers). This recipe is nut free and dairy free; I used sunbutter in place of nut butter and bittersweet chocolate chips that are not made with milk solids. When my kids saw what I was making, they begged and pleaded for me to make a double batch so that they could have some too! These bars were a welcome surprise to the expectant couples as well. Want to whip up a batch for the snackers in your life for Good Deeds Day? The recipe is below. And of course, I wish the couples who I met at Meredith Lichtenberg's Childbirth Education Class the very best of luck.

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LaLa Granola Bars

(this recipe is adapted from the original)

Ingredients

1 ⅓ cups rolled oats (old fashioned, not instant)

⅓ cup oat flour (if you can't find this, grind up some oatmeal to make your own)

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground flax meal

⅔ cup dried cranberries

1 cup puffed kamut cereal (*can substitute puffed brown rice cereal)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

⅓ cup sunflower seed butter

⅓ cup honey

1 tablespoon water

⅓ cup bittersweet chocolate chips 

The Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

In a mixing bowl, add the oats, oat flour, salt, cinnamon and flax meal. Mix thoroughly.

Add the cranberries, puffed kamut and vegetable oil and stir to eliminate clumps. Fold in the sunflower seed butter, honey and water, carefully coating the ingredients but not pulverizing them in the process. Finally add the chocolate chips.

Spread evenly on the parchment paper. Mixture should be about one inch thick.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Let cool for ten minutes and cut into bars. One batch makes about 12-14 bars. 

Enjoy!

Want more ideas for quick, healthy snacks? Check these out:
Oatmeal Banana Bars
Ol' Banjo Muffins
Banavocado Bread
Homemade Banana Chips