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Fun to make after school, these will certainly make little ones smile!

Stuffed Banana Smiles

Ingredients

1 medium bananas with peel on
1 tablespoon Sun-Maid Natural Raisins or Sun-Maid Golden Raisins
1 tablespoon semi-sweet, milk or white baking pieces (“Mom” prefers organic)

Preparation

PLACE banana, with peel on, flat on its side on a microwave-safe plate.

STARTING and ending 1/4-inch from the ends of banana, cut a slit lengthwise through the banana up to the skin on the other side.

GENTLY open the banana. Use your fingers to stuff the banana with raisins, then add chocolate chips.

MICROWAVE banana uncovered on high for 40-60 seconds or until chocolate begins to melt and banana is still firm. Banana skin may darken slightly. Eat immediately, scooping with a spoon right out of the banana peel.

Other ideas include:

At a party! Invite guests to prepare their own banana smile!

On your BBQ! Place each banana flat on its side, on a piece of aluminum foil and follow steps 2 and 3 above. Wrap bananas loosely and pinch foil closed. Place on covered barbecue grill or over hot coals for about 5 minutes or just until chocolate begins to melt and banana is still firm.

In the oven! Place wrapped bananas on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 F for 5 minutes.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid.*

A bounty from the garden enhanced with Sun-Maid raisins, this crisp, colorful salad can be served as a first course, or as the main meal!

Bountiful Health Salad

Ingredients

Salad

1 head red leaf lettuce, torn in pieces and chilled
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
1 cup croutons
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup sunflower nuts
1/4 cup sliced green onions
Salt and pepper

Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon basil
1 small clove garlic, minced

Preparation

COMBINE all salad ingredients except salt and pepper.
COMBINE all dressing ingredients; blend well.
POUR dressing over salad; add salt and pepper to taste.
TOSS well; serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid Raisins.*

Make these adorable gingerbread people with your little ones as a fun holiday activity this season!

Raisin’ Cane Gingerbread Boys and Girls

Ingredients

5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (“Mom” prefers organic)
5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup unsulphured molasses
2 eggs
Tube of icing
1/2 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins or Cape Cod Cranberries
Small candy canes

Preparation

MIX dry ingredients in medium bowl; set aside.
BEAT butter in large bowl until light and fluffy.
ADD brown sugar, molasses, and eggs; beat well.
Gradually BEAT in dry mixture on low speed.
DIVIDE dough into 3 parts and wrap in plastic wrap.
REFRIGERATE until firm, about 1½ hours.
ROLL dough on lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness.
Using a cookie cutter, CUT cookies and place 2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
BAKE in preheated oven at 350 F for 11 to 13 minutes.
Let cool 2 to 3 minutes.
DECORATE with icing, raisins and dried cranberries. Attach small candy canes with icing onto “hands” of cookies, or serve on the side.

Yield: about 20, 6 to 7-inch cookies.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid.*

These creepy little tombstones are edible and perfect for serving up at your Halloween party this year!

Halloween Tombstone Brownies

Ingredients

3-ounces (3 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter or margarine (“Mom” prefers Earth Balance spread, which is Vegan)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (“Mom” prefers organic unbleached flour)
1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
White icing tubes or pens

Preparation

HEAT oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×9 or 9×13-inch baking pan.
COMBINE chocolate and butter in a large saucepan. Heat over low heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
STIR in sugar; mix well. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well.
MIX flour and raisins until evenly combined.
SPREAD into prepared pan.
BAKE 9×9-inch pan for 25 to 30 minutes or 9×13-inch pan for 18 to 22 minutes until top feels set when gently touched. Cool completely.
CUT brownies with a sharp knife into approximately 1-1/4 x 2-1/2 inch pieces. Cut rounded corners on one short edge to shape a tombstone.
DECORATE tombstones with icing as desired. Arrange tombstones upright on tray to create graveyard (apply small amount of icing on bottom of brownies to stick to tray if necessary).

Makes 18 to 24 pieces.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid.*

For moms with toddlers, packing a diaper bag is an entirely different experience! As your little ones grow up, their needs will change and what you can take along with you to play dates, outings to the park, or just everyday trips to the store is going to be much less than what you packed in their infancy. “Mom” has chosen her top finds for updating AND downsizing the diaper bag contents – including the diaper bag itself! So stow away that oversized piece of luggage you call a bag, tuck the burp cloths in a drawer, and place the breastfeeding cover on a shelf for the next baby. Let’s streamline!

First – the diaper bag! Check out the sleek, stylish Midi Coated Buckle Bag from Kalencom! Available in a large selection of patterns and bold color schemes to suit every palate, the fashionable Midi Coated Buckle Bag is shown here in O’Express. All Kalencom’s bags are AZO-free, and contain no Phthalates/DEHP, DBP, or BOP. The bags easily wipe clean, and can fit nicely on the back of a stroller or over the shoulder without bulk! Plus, each Buckle Bag features a large, padded fold-out changing pad and matching zippered pouch. The bag is roomy without being bulky, and the features 3 inside pockets and 2 outside pocket, to keep items organized. You can view the entire Kalencom collection at www.kalencom.com.

 

Second – healthy snacks! Toddlers are active, and packing nutritious snacks to keep up with their demand is imperative! Pack apples, bananas, and other edibles that will not spoil, such as Sun-Maid Mini-Snacks or HAPPYFAMILY products, such as HAPPYBABY Pouches, HAPPYSQUEEZE, or HAPPYMUCHIES!

Third – eco-friendly wipes, wipes and more wipes! Great for cleaning hands, keeping tiny tushies clean, and for wiping running noses, wipes are still a must for the diaper bag. A new one to try – Dr. Sears Family Essentials All-Purpose Baby Wipes! Made with 100% biodegradable, ultra-soft bamboo fabric, the All-Purpose Baby Wipes are pediatrician-formulated to gently cleanse, comfort and protect. One package contains 72 wipes.

Fourth – keep em’ hydrated without spills! Little hands need an easy cup to hold while on-the-move! The new lollacup to the rescue! With a flexible straw and extra-large handles for gripping, the adorable and extremely functional lollacup will be your toddler’s favorite! Available in five bright colors, the valve-free, weighted straw allows even infants as young as 9 months old to effectively drink from a straw. Plus, the lollacup is BPA-free, and contains no phthalates, lead, pvc, nitrosamines, melamine, and biologically toxic chemicals! Not to mention it is too, too cute!

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Kids and grown-ups alike will love these chewy raisin granola snacks. They’re so easy to make and so much fun to eat, they’ll soon become your most requested recipe.

Raisin Energy Snacks

Ingredients

4 egg whites (or 2 whole eggs)
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2/3 cups plain no added fat or low fat granola (see note below)
1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons raw sunflower kernels
4 tablespoons sesame seeds

Preparation

In a large bowl, BEAT egg whites and sugar with whisk until smooth.
BEAT in oil, cinnamon and extract.
STIR in remaining ingredients; blend well.
Generously COAT 13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
TURN raisin mixture into pan; pat to even layer.
BAKE at 300 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Loosen edges with spatula and invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
CUT into 4 dozen bite-sized pieces.
STORE in an airtight container or pack in small plastic bags for on-the-go snacking.

*If granola is in large clusters, place in plastic bag and crush with rolling pin before measuring.

Snack Mix: Combine Raisin Snacks with one or more of the following: Sun-Maid Dried Apricots or Dried Apples, roasted almonds, peanuts or cashews, banana chips.

Tip: When there is not time to sit down to breakfast, bag these Raisin Snacks for a good breakfast on the go.

Makes 4 dozen bite-size pieces.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid.*

Quick Risotto with Smoked Gouda, Golden Raisins, and Cherries

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1 cup Arborio or medium grain rice

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth, for vegetarians)

1/4 cup Sun-Maid Golden Raisins

1/4 cup Sun-Maid Tart Cherries or Cape Cod Cranberries

1/2 cup (2 ounces) Smoked Gouda Cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan Cheeese, shredded

Black pepper, to taste

Preparation

Heat olive oil in a medium-size saucepan. Saute onions 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add rice and stir until completely coated with oil.

Add wine and simmer until liquid is evaporated. Add broth of choice and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 18-20 minutes until nearly all the broth is absorbed.

Remove pan from heat and stir in dried fruit and cheeses. Season with pepper to taste. Let stand 5 minutes lightly covered. Serve hot.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid.*

Raisins and other dried fruits get all dressed up in this FREE downloadable recipe booklet from Sun-Maid! Their Fruit & Sunshine Recipe Book contains delightfully healthy fare such as Sunny Whole Wheat Currant Scones, Quinoa with Raisins & Caramelized Onions, and Raisin-Orange Salsa.

To download your own free copy, or to check out the other free recipe books offered on their website, visit www.sunmaid.com.

*Image provided by Sun-Maid. This is not a paid advertorial. Please see disclosure.*

All is merry & bright with these easy-to-bake munchies for the holidays, courtesy of Sun-Maid. They taste best right out of the oven, warm & gooey!

Merry Munchies

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 package (1 cup) Sun-Maid Baking Raisins

Preparation

HEAT oven to 350 F.
COMBINE butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until well blended.
COMBINE flour, baking powder and salt.
ADD to butter mixture; mix well.
STIR in walnuts and raisins.
DROP by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets.
BAKE at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets; cool on wire racks.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid.*

Brie cheese is always a hit at any holiday party, and this unique recipe featuring Sun-Maid Golden Raisins offers a delightful twist to just placing the wheel on a cheese platter!

Baked Brie with Zesty Raisins

Ingredients

2 (4-1/2 oz. each) wedges or rounds Brie cheese
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup Sun-Maid Golden Raisins
or Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely shredded orange peel

Preparation

CUT Brie wedges in half horizontally. Set aside.
HEAT juices just to boiling in a saucepan.
REMOVE from heat.
STIR in raisins.
COVER and let stand 10 minutes. Drain.
STIR in sugar and peel.
SPOON half of mixture on bottom of Brie wedges, place wedge on top.
COVER with remaining raisin mixture.
WRAP individually and chill for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 3 days.
To serve, BAKE uncovered at 400 F for 8 to10 minutes or until Brie is warm and slightly softened.
SERVE with crackers.

Makes 24 servings.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid.*