Littlest Miss LOVES to have almonds, peanuts, and a few chocolate chips as a treat, but I didn't want to risk causing even more screaming by giving some unknown ingredient to her. I began searching the web for the information I lacked. I couldn't find it. I picked up the phone and called Nestle and after a little while was passed on to a human being. (Isn't technology grand sometimes!)
I explained that my reason for calling was to determine exactly what ingredients were in the chocolate chips due to a child's food allergy. He was very helpful...especially when I used the word allergy. Hmmm. It took him a while but he finally came back on the line and said the ingredient is vanilla. According to him, the FDA is now allowing them to list vanilla as "natural flavor". Stupid FDA. Wouldn't it be better, more beneficial, cost effective, etc to simply list all the ingredients as they actually are? But then that would just be TOO easy wouldn't it. We wouldn't want people to truly be informed, would we. I guess that is why they have helpful customer service reps in place to help you determine exactly what is in your food. Silly.
Anyway...I asked him to clarify if this ingredient was PURE vanilla or vanillin, which is artificial flavoring. He assured me that it is indeed pure vanilla and that the company used to use vanillin but changed it so the ingredients could be natural. He then explained that Nestle is going to be changing many of their foods to have natural ingredients. I told him that was wonderful and thanked him for his help and we ended the call.
There you have it. Now you know which chocolate chips can be on your list of safe things to eat. So, don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call a company to find out exact ingredients in their foods.
Now...below is a recipe I got from one of the girls at church. She loves to bake and is good at it. They were out of graham crackers but she still wanted to make these treats that she was craving so her mom suggested she use oatmeal instead. I stuck around to see the results. Umm....YUMMY! I don't normally keep graham crackers in the house because they all contain high fructose corn syrup. Yuck. This is a great alternative that is healthier. I left the graham crackers on the list of ingredients but I would recommend that you try the oats first. I used quick oats and she used regular. It tasted the same to me...I think because we both blended the oats in the blender first to make them into a powder.
My other tip for the day is stay away from margarine of any kind. I KNOW it's cheaper. But it's bad for you. Use real butter. I like using salted but many use unsalted. That's all personal choice.
Peanut Butter Bars
2 cups of blended oats OR crushed graham crackers
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
4 Tbsp. peanut butter
In a medium bowl mix together oats, sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, and melted butter. Press firmly into a 9x13 inch baking pan. Melt chocolate chips and 4 Tbsp. peanut butter together and pour over the top of the oat mixture. Freeze for one hour. Cut, serve and enjoy!