Well, the airplanes breaking the sound barrier over my house right now tell me that it’s back-to-school time once again. You see, for two weeks each year, Toronto hosts the “Canadian National Exhibition,” also called “The Ex” or the CNE. Closing weekend for the Ex (Labour Day weekend) always includes an air show, so since we live close enough we don’t even have to pay to enjoy it. Fighter jets are cool. As long as you’re not in a war zone, I guess. Or drunk and aggressive on an airplane, as two ladylike women were when they attempted to go to Cuba earlier this week. (there but for the grace of God … ha! Kidding. Fortunately I’ve never been THAT drunk and disorderly.)
But back to the Ex. Some people love it, like me, while others aren’t such big fans. My husband, for example, is always quite happy to see me take the kids on my own. For some reason, the Ex tends to attract a high percentage of people who think that the mullet is a slammin haircut. That front teeth are optional. That the present tense of “to have” is “gots.” That the top of a thong should be flaunted as an alluring fashion accessory. That working from the McDonald’s office (for the WIFI) is appropriate.
While I seem to be kindred spirits with these Ex-loving people, my husband is happier to stay home and sip champagne from his Manolo Blahniks. But he’s missing out. Where else would you ever find, all in the same place…
And of course, rides, every kind of junk food you could imagine, and farm exhibits.
And the farm exhibits include the animals themselves. Which brings me to bees.
Every year I stop by the bee section of the Ex, try to find the queen bee in the live hive they have going, and then pick up some wildflower honey. But this year I grabbed something different. I had just read an article about the benefits of eating bee pollen, so I decided to make it my next dangerous food.
Apparently it fights respiratory ailments and boosts the immune system, and with a daughter who goes down hard with asthma each September when she returns to her petri dish aka educational institution, I thought that spiking her food with a bit of pollen couldn’t hurt. It also reduces histamine reactions for allergies, and my daughter is a peanut-allergic kid too. Sounded like this might be the miracle cure she needed in her life! (Except for the fertility boosting part, which, let’s hope and pray, her little 7-year-old self could do without for quite some time.)
I decided to meld my bee-utiful experimentation with another back-to-school resolution I have, which is to feed my kids something other than hotdogs or pasta with butter. They have become tough customers over the past few months, and my parenting perseverance has been on vacation too, which doesn’t help the asthma or allergic situation. So here are my…
Putting foot down healthy back-to-school oat quinoa bars, complete with superhero immuno-boosting bee pollen punch-in-the-face
- 1 c whole wheat flour (or chickpea flour to make GF)
- 2 c cooked quinoa (starting with 1C raw quinoa should be more than enough)
- 2 c oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ⅔ c Wow Butter
- ½ c honey
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ c rotten bananas (you know it’s true)
- 2 Tbsp bee pollen
- 1tsp vanilla
- ⅔ c craisins
- sprinkling of brown sugar for the topping, because a spoonful of sugar helps the quinoa go down
Directions: Preheat to 375. Combine bananas, eggs, Wow Butter, vanilla, cinnamon, honey, and bee pollen.
Add other ingredients and press into a greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar, because if your kids are going through summer candy-floss withdrawal like mine they’ll need to detox slowly. Bake for about 20 minutes, until top is golden-brown.
This recipe tastes quite healthy, so my kids did not beg for it. But it is highly guilt-free, and I ate a mess of it. If your kids are more tolerant than mine they’ll love it to death. And I’m going to gobble some right this minute — it’s filling, yet nutritious. Soft rather than crunchy. I’d call its sweetness half-way between a bread and a cookie-bar. Next time I might have to give my kids some added motivation with some maple-syrup dipping sauce. What can I say, I’m whipped. Rating: 3 Yums The CNE would never sell these bars because they’re too healthy, but brawny men with bee-beards and manly F16 fighter pilots will gots to have them.