Nearly eight months into our pandemic world, I have found our pantry overflowing with foods, particularly children’s foods, like cereal, yogurt, candies, fruit gummies, etc. Rather than throw out perfectly good food, I’ve taken to finding other uses for them. Mind you, not all children’s foods can be reused, like Pop-Tarts. We bought a box of strawberry Pop-Tarts a month ago, and Ilse deemed them too sweet. Neither my husband or I will eat them. I cannot pawn them off to anyone. Oh well!. Below are five of my favorite ways to upcycle some of my daughters’ extra snacks.
Smoothies or frozen pops with children’s yogurt and baby grain cereal.
Children’s yogurt is notoriously sweet. Mix it into a smoothie or freeze the contents and make a yogurt popsicle. For a fiber boost, I add a tablespoon or two of my infant’s oat cereal. Since the cereal is liquid-soluble, it blends quickly without those icky, tough bits that get stuck in my teeth.
Cake or quick breads made with baby food.
Years ago, I baked a fabulous carrot cake from a recipe using carrot baby food. The resulting cake was tender, moist, and delicious, and one I return to when I want to bake one, get the recipe here. This year, it got me thinking about other cakes or baked goods I can make with Alice’s baby food, like banana bread with banana baby food or apple cake with apple baby food. I substitute one for one whenever a recipe asks for mashed or pureed fruit.
Mixed cereal bars with leftover, random cereal and seasonal sprinkles.
Rice cereal treats are great, but we don’t eat Rice Krispies cereal regularly enough to keep a box on-hand. Our family eats Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Bunches of Oats, Cinnamon Chex, and Frosted Flakes. Inspired by this assortment of cereal, I am turning them into a mixed cereal treat with Halloween sprinkles for color. If I am feeling fancy, I might stir in mini chocolate chips or M&Ms. The treat allows me to use all the ends of the random boxes of cereal for something delicious, and it’s a kid-friendly recipe to do with Ilse.
Goldfish-crusted Macaroni & Cheese
Goldfish crackers are always around in my house, and I love baked macaroni & cheese with a crispy topping. Usually, I use panko bread crumbs or bread crumbs made from stale French bread. I’m going to take a cue from my Food Network shows and sub in crushed goldfish crackers. The goldfish-crust just might convert Ilse from her beloved Kraft-mac cheese.
Adult fruit gummies
The last dish, adult fruit gummies, are for adults only. It’s two ingredients: liquor (vodka is my preference because I have it at home) and fruit gummies. I am using Ilse’s forgotten Frozen-themed gummies. Label them, keep them in a separate container away from the children’s snacks, and enjoy them alone or with another parent friend.
My mama taught me the importance of always having a stocked pantry. She said, “ you may not have a lot of things, but you always have a lot to eat.” I have subscribed to the same philosophy in my home. At the same time, I also believe in not wasting food by finding creative uses for the foods we have, including the foods my kids eat. Now, to figure out how to upcycle that box of strawberry Pop-tarts. Maybe a pie…
Do you have any favorites to add to this list? Be sure to comment below or let us know on Facebook @SanFranciscoBayAreaMoms.