In the Kitchen

Recipe: Slow cooker steel-cut oats with maple syrup & bananas

1 cup steel cut oats

4 ½ cups water

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

Maple syrup

Bananas

Right before you go to bed, mix oats, water, salt, and butter in your slow cooker. Cook on low for six to eight hours and your kids will wake up to a cozy, filling breakfast. Spoon the oatmeal into bowls. Slice bananas and drizzle maple syrup over in an amount to your liking. Try other toppings like fresh and dried fruit, nuts, and honey! My other favorite at the moment is pineapple and coconut. Serves about 4. —Nicole Navratil

 

Minnesota Parent Tested: Born Free’s Tru-Clean Bottle Sterilizing System

This all-in-one design includes sterilizer, dishwasher basket, and drying rack to hold six baby bottles plus accessories. Visual countdown feature shows you where you are in the sterilization or cool down process. Cool to the touch, even during cycle, counters stay dry, and it’s BPA free, too. Yes, we could wash by hand or put a load into the dishwasher, but with a 16-minute sterilization cycle plus four minute cool down, you can have your bottles ready in no time. Some complaints include problems with doing back-to-back loads due to the plastic lid; a clumsy means of replacing used water; and that some bottles don’t fit the system. Hopefully subsequent iterations of the product will amend these issues. About $90 on amazon.com. —Kathleen Stoehr

 

Fun Family Food: On the go snacks

Plum Kids Fruit Straws

Partner Plum Organics’ Fruit Straws with a drink, or eat them on their own. Either way, this organic fruit “straw” is USDA-certified organic and GMO-free, and has a third of a cup of fruit in each serving. No artificial ingredients or high fructose corn syrup and available in strawberry- vanilla or cherry flavors. This’ll get your kid to drink their milk—and then eat the straw! About $3.99 for a five pack of individually-wrapped snacks with two straws in each pack. Available nationwide.

Chia Bars

Health Warrior Chia Bars make a great replacement to the high-sugar, empty-calorie-filled, non-nutrient providing candy that sometimes finds its way into your kids’ hands. With three flavors: chocolate peanut butter, coconut, and acai berry, we were surprised at how tasty the bars were. Best of all, Chia, a superfood, provides six times more calcium than whole milk, six times more protein than soy, 15 times more magnesium than broccoli does, twice the fiber than bran flakes, and nearly nine times the amount of omega-3s than found in salmon. All natural, vegan, and dairy and soy free. About $1.89 per bar, available through Whole Foods.

 —Kathleen Stoehr