The 4th of July
What are your July 4th traditions? Our 4th of July doesn’t have any food traditions (this is highly unusual for me because I love food traditions!). Though it does make me think of corn on the cob, fried chicken (or burgers and hot dogs on the grill), deviled eggs and watermelon. If I was making a special meal for the 4th, I’d include some or all of these foods for sure! I'm guessing these were foods we had on the 4th of July when I was a kid. And for dessert, I’d likely make these Carmelitas.
We've been going to Chautauqua, NY for 10 of the past 11 years, and 9 of those years we've been there for the 4th of July. We're there this year too! A big part of our tradition is the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra Pops Independence Day Celebration in the Amphitheater, which includes the audience popping paper bags in time to the cannon shots in the 1812 Overture! Then, it's just a short walk to the lake to watch the fireworks around Chautauqua Lake. When the girls were younger, they participated in the Children's 4th of July Parade for all the Chautauqua Children's School kids. Here's a photo of Ellie in the Children's School Parade back in 2012.
A Simple Family-Favorite Recipe
Since the 4th of July is just around the corner and you might be looking for something to take to a get-together, I thought now would be a good time to share this recipe for Carmelitas. It’s hard to beat this combo of caramel, chocolate, oats, and brown sugar! Carmelitas are DELISH and simple to make! It’s one of my most requested recipes and one of my family’s favorites.
My mother-in-law gave me the recipe many years ago. She found it in an issue of Child M
We believe in offering sweets to children. Offering sweets on a regular basis is fun (because they taste great) and it helps children learn to use their internal cues and self-regulate. Over the years, I’ve seen so many children from homes where sweets either weren’t allowed or kids were told sweets are bad or unhealthy -- a treat one can only have sometimes. These messages are confusing to children and can make them feel bad for liking them.
It can help to offer sweets with meals. This idea is from Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility (DOR) in feeding. The child decides what, how much, and if they eat what’s offered. The sweet is on a
Carmelitas - The simple steps
Carmelitas - A Simple Dessert
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats not steel cut oats
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips semisweet works fine too
- 1 bag Kraft caramels unwrapped and melted with
- 2-3 tablespoons of milk
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or lightly butter the pan.
- Unwrap the individual caramels and place them in a microwave safe bowl along with about 2 tablespoons of milk. Set aside until ready to melt.
- Cut the butter into pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt and then allow to cool slightly.
- Place the flour, oats, dark brown sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium-size mixing bowl and mix to combine. Add the melted butter and mix until the ingredients come together.
- Divide the mixture in half and put half of it in the prepared 9 x 11-inch pan. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. It will be a thin layer. Place in the oven and bake for 8 - 10 minutes.
- While the first layer of the oat mixture is baking, place the caramels and milk you set aside earlier in the microwave and microwave 1-2 minutes at a time until melted. Stirring after each minute or two with a heatproof spatula. You don’t want the caramel to boil or it will get too hard to eat when baked.
- Remove the pan with the first layer of oats from the oven.
- Carefully pour the melted caramel over the baked oat mixture. Then sprinkle on the 1 cup of chocolate chips. And last crumble the rest of the oat mixture evenly over the chocolate chips and caramel.
- Place in the oven and bake another 7-10 minutes or until the oat mixture begins to brown.
- Allow to cool for a few hours before cutting. OR you can allow to cool about 30 minutes and then place the pan in the refrigerator for about an hour. This makes the caramel more firm. I recommend this cooling option if you're going to a picnic and it's hot outside.
- Cut into bars and enjoy!
- Cut into small squares and serve.