Around here 4 PM is tea time. Everyone's home from work and a little run down after a day of running around. So the adults get to have a little much-needed caffeine to brighten the afternoon and my daughter gets to play with our tea set and, her personal favorite, pour the milk when it's time for a refill. So today we set out to make a snack to go along with our tea, and scones seemed like a great match.
I bought a dried berry medley from Trader Joe's this weekend, so we decided to use it for the scones. You can use raisins or cranberries is you can't find dried berries, but I have to say that the berry mixture was great and gave the scones a little zing. Our mix had dried cherries, blueberries, and stawberries. And with that kind of berry combo, you know that these scones are packed with vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
I always try to add in wheat flour in my baking so the kids get more whole grains in their treats. Sometimes you can get away with using only wheat flour, but usually a 1/2 wheat, 1/2 white flour works great. I keep a bag of wheat flour in the fridge so that it stays fresh. Stale wheat flour tastes dense and gritty in baked goods, so make sure that yours is fresh. You can also keep it in the freezer if you don't use it that often, then you're guaranteed it will be fresh for a long time.
I also try to use honey, maple syrup, brown or raw cane sugar as opposed to white granulated sugar. The processing done to make sugar white removes any health benefits present. That's right, sugar does have some health benefits, like calcium when it's in a raw form. So I try to stay away from granulated sugar and use more natural sweetners if possible. In this case I used maple syrup, but you can always use honey if you don't have maple syrup on hand.
I am also a fan of using apple sauce or yogurt in place of a lot of butter. Then you can cut down on the fat content and add in vitamins that your kids need, like calcium. Just use cut the amount of butter you need to add in half and make the other half applesauce or yogurt.
This recipe makes a lot of scones, so you'll definitely have leftovers for breakfast tomorrow. And even if they're not for tea time, and you don't get the to share the joy of playing with miniature china and pouring milk, they still make for an excellent snack. Enjoy!
Berry scone bites
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12-15 minutes
Preheat oven to 400F
1/2 cup mixed dried berries
Boil water and pour on top of the dried berries so that they reconstitute a little while you're mixing your other ingredients.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Mix these dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. With a pastry blender or two forks, cut in:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (not low-fat or fat-free)
Cut in until the mixture is in course crumbs. Then drain the berries and add to the mix, tossing them so that they are coated. In a small bowl combine:
1 egg, beated
3/4 cup buttermilk or 3/4 cup milk + 3/4 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients, then pour in your wet ingedients. Mix briefly so that everything is moistened, but do not overmix.
Empty mixture onto a well-floured piece of parchment paper, and knead a few times. Add in some more flour if the mix is too wet. Then divide the batter into 3 pieces. Press into circles that are 3/4" high. Then using a chef's knife, cut the circles into pie slice wedges, such that you have 8 wedges per cricle. Transfer parchment paper to a baking sheet. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.
Remove from oven, let cool briefly then reinforce your cuts with your knife so that the peicies are separated. Serve with honey if desired.
Happy Spring! I love this time of year- everything is green and fresh and the the sales are on in the produce section. Over the Winter I usually buy a lot of dried fruit for trail mixes and what not, but now that Spring is here we're working on a 4lb clam shell of strawberries. Meanwhile the dried apricots I bought a month ago are now dessicated and make for a sore jaw. So in a last ditch effort to use them up and make them chewy I microwaved them. Not bad, and with a couple other ingredients it all turned into a tasty snack mix.
Dried fruits acutally retain vitamins, mineral and antioxidants despite the preserving process. They also have loads of fiber. However they are more concentrated since the water has been pulled out, and thus have a lot of sugar per serving size. Therefore make sure your kids don't overload on them and brush their teeth thoroughly after they eat them.
I used dried apricots and currants because that's what I had on hand. I'm not the biggest fan of raisins simply because I'm not wild about their taste, but they are much easier to find than currants and can be substituted in place of them. You can also omit the honey since there's already a fair amount of sugar in the fruit, but I know that if I drizzle a little honey on top I'm guaranteed my daughter will eat it. And that she did, dressed up in a fairy costume and all. I hope your kids also like this warm mix, and if in costume even better. Enjoy!
Warm apricot cashew salad
Prep time: 2 minutes
5-6 dried apricots, quartered
2 tablespoons dried currants
1/4 cup cashews, roughly chopped
Mix the above ingredients and then microwave for 30-45 seconds, depending on the age of your microwave. Then drizzle honey on top and serve.
Getting your kids lunches and snacks packed before they head off for a full day can be an exhausting endeavor. All too often we fall into a rut and pack our kids easy, already made snacks and foods. Case in point, I think I ate a granola bar everyday of my life from age 10 to 17. My Mom bought a huge box from Costco once a month and it was an easy snack to pack, though nowadays I think that I can do better.My kids attend a daycare where we pack their own lunches, and in the baby's case I also have to pack snacks too. I like it because I like knowing exactly what my kids are eating. But it can make for a chaotic morning, trying to create a balanced lunch with a baby clinging to my leg, a 4 year old running around without a shirt on and my make up half done. So I pack their lunches, water, and snacks the night before so I have time to think about packing foods that represent several food groups. But even on a good day I can probably only come up with a list of 10 snacks that you can pack for your kids.
That's why I'm excited about the Nursing School's.net 50 Best Snack's for your Child's Backpack.
This list will give you some great ideas for packing up your kiddo foods. Great examples include carrot wraps, confetti quinoa and polka dot waffle sticks. I can already feel my creative snack food juices working. I hope that you are also inspired. Enjoy!
We went to a really great botanical garden the other day. It was beautiful and peaceful but also pretty hot. We've jumped into the mid-80's here, and even though that's not that hot for the desert it is still pretty jarring after coasting in the 60's and 70's. We wandered through saguaro landscapes with little shade and the baby was slung to me in a sweaty heap. We had fun, but by the time we we got home we were parched and sleepy, even though we had plenty of water and snacks. What we needed was an ice cold drink, and as I opened the freezer in search of ice cubes I came across a giant bag of frozen fruit salad from my daughter's fourth birthday party
. And eureka, a snack/refreshing drink as born. We were rejuvenated and ready for an invigorating game of Candyland after a few cold glasses of water with fruit ice cubes.For this snack all you need is frozen fruit of some sort- we used blackberries and grapes. Just make sure that you
choose a fruit that won't disintegrate so you don't end up with a mushy mess in your cup.Simply freeze bite size pieces of fruit for at least an hour (or 3 months in my scenario).
Then place several pieces in a cup with your beverage of choice. We used water, but juice would also work well. You can also do juice and sparkling water if your kids like soda, it makes for a healthy alternative. Not only will your kids drink be chilled, but they'll also have a little snack waiting at the bottom when they are through. So they'll be hydrated and you will have snuck a little fruit in their diet. I hope that your kids enjoy this new way to snack. Happy snacking!
Alright, I'll shamelessly admit that this is a knockoff of my trail mix wafers
. I just wanted to try some more tricks with it since the ingredients and process worked so well, and these were a major hit. We had a dinner party and my daughter made these for everyone (although I helped melt the chocolate), and they were a hit. This time around we used chocolate chips, as opposed to yogurt chips since I actually think that the ingredients in chocolate chips are more natural. That only applies to higher end chips, but those more costly ones also taste much better. We used Guittard
chips, which I picked up at the regular grocery store.
Now I know that chocolate isn't the healthiest of ingredients, but a little bit, especially when it's paired with ingredients that are really healthy, make for a great special treat for your kids.Hazelnuts go great with chocolate. Even better, hazelnuts have lots of folate, which is necessary for growing bodies. They also have vitamin E and fiber.
We also used walnuts, which have lots of omega-3
fatty acids. Finally we topped it off with sunflower seeds, which have lots of B vitamins
and vitamin E
The trick to making these less of a dessert and more of a protein snack is to used lots of finely chopped nuts and to spread the chocolate very thin. These are so tasty, your kids will love them and I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone else in the family will to.Trail Mix BarkPrep time: 5 minutesCool time: ~1 hourServes: 81 cup chocolate chipsMicrowave chips in a bowl for 2 minutes at 50% power. Then microwave for 30 minute increments until chips are soft, but still hold their form.
Mix chips with a wooden spoon to make a chocolate sauce, then spread it thinly and evenly on a piece of parchment paper. Then sprinkle on
:1 x 2.5 oz walnut pieces1 x 2.5 oz hazelnut pieces1/4 cup sunflower seedsAfter spreading the seeds and nuts on, press them down firmly with your hands. Place the bark in the fridge to cool so that the chocolate hardens
. Then break the bark into small pieces with your hands and serve.
It seems like most kids really like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My daughter used to make them first thing in the morning for breakfast while the rest of us ate our cereal. Likewise, here in the Southwest quesadillas are also a mainstay in kids diets. So why not unite these two favorites? When I was a kid we used to eat tortillas with jam when we visited my Grandma, so I know that it's not that wild of an idea. And by using two things that kids already like, your success is almost guaranteed.
This recipe is actually quicker than a traditional quesadilla since you don't need to spend time shredding cheese. You can use other types of nut or seed butter, like almond butter or sunflower seed butter if your kids have a peanut allergy. I used both whole wheat tortillas and regular ones for the quesadillas, but you can use regular if that's what your family prefers or if you can't find wheat ones. I was just looking for a little more whole grain goodness, but with the reaction I got from my husband when he saw them I might not go that route again. My daughter loved them regardless, after all it' s the marriage of two of her favorite foods. I hope that your kids love them too.
PB and J quesadillas
Total time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2 per quesadilla
1 tortilla (whole wheat or regular is fine)
1 teaspoon butter
Spread peanut butter on half of the tortilla. Then spread jelly on the other half. Melt butter in a pan, then place the tortilla in flat. Once the tortilla begins to get some air bubbles, fold the tortilla in half with a spatula. Cook a couple of minutes on each side so that tortilla get lightly browned. Let cool a couple of minutes before serving since the peanut butter and jelly get pretty hot.
We really like fairies. My daughter has fairy wings, a wand, Tinkerbell PJ's (note the plural there), you name it and she's got it. If it's anything dealing with fairies, we're on it like syrup on waffles. Conversely, my little fairy princess does not like any green vegetables. So I thought that I would pull a Jessica Seinfeld and sneak some greenery into her snacking regime, all under the guise of a fairy favorite.
In this recipe I have two really great foods, along with a few other embellishments. First and foremost, the star of this recipe is spinach. There is a reason this stuff is a superfood; it has just about every vitamin and mineral you could hope for. Within these leafy greens are Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, Niacin and Zinc. If that's not a packed list of goodies that your kids really should be eating, then I don't know what is. The only issue is that a lot of kids don't like the bitter taste of spinach. Enter my solution: kefir.
Kefir is a cousin of yogurt that actually has more probiotics then yogurt does. Furthermore it also has beneficial yeasts. This pro-digestive-health flora can colonize your GI tract, helping bring things back into balance. Yogurt does not have that colonizing ability, instead the probiotics are flushed through. If your kids are having any sort of GI issues, than you really should try giving them a glass of this stuff. It will get them back to normal quickly. An added bonus is that it also tastes good, kind of like a yogurt smoothie but just a little tangier and creamier. And since it's made with milk, it also has calcium and protein.
Well I think that it's time to come full circle and combine all of these great elements into one fairy loving combination. I hope that your kids enjoy it. When my little boy is old enough, it might change into an elf elixir, but for right now it's fairy nectar. It tastes great, and is also great for your kids.
Fairy nectar (a.k.a. green smoothies)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 3-4 kids, depending on how much you pour
2 loosely packed cups of baby spinach
1 cup strawberry (or similar flavor) kefir
1/4 of one pineapple
12 ice cubes
In a blender combine all of the above ingredients. Blend until smooth, then serve immediately.
We absolutely love camping. It's a time to reconnect with each other without the distractions of domesticity, careers and being plugged in at all times. The baby's already been camping three times, and he's only 10 months old. There is just something about spending all day outside hiking and hanging out, then relaxing by the fireside, and then sleeping in the lunar glow inside our tent. And the beauty of living in the Southwest is that you can camp year round, though you need to head for high country in the Summer. We went on a camping trip this last weekend with several friends and my Sister's family and, as usual, it was a blast. All food duties were delegated out beforehand and, as usual, I covered the snacks. Here's what I brought, enough for 6 adults, 4 kids and a conniving miniature dachshund. 1. Granola: I used the Holiday Spice Granola recipe but used currants instead of cranberries and all honey instead of part maple syrup.2. Trail mix wafers: This time I didn't do dried fruit and I chopped the nuts up finely so they had a lot more nuts.
This time I also broke the wafers into peices, like brittle, so there was more to go around.3. Coconut bonbons: Obviously I couldn't keep them frozen, but cold or room temp they are still delicious.4. Sliced cheese cubes: What can I say, I had extra Gruyere cheese
and I thought that a little cheese for the kiddos would make them happy.5. Berries: Strawberries and blueberries were on sale and between my baby and my 2 year old nephew they didn't stand a chance.6. Guacamole, salsa and corn chips- OK so chips aren't the healthiest, but we're Hispanic and salsa and guac are a necessity whenever we get together.There were also PB and J kitty and shark cut outs, but I can't take credit for those. My friend made them and the kids were really excited when they saw their lunch plates.
It's funny how an extra embellishment, like using cookie cutters with sandwiches, totally makes it new experience even though PB and J's are standard fare.Sad to say there wasn't much left over, but everything was a hit and there weren't any hungry kids despite hiking, attempting to throw a boomerang and
soccer. And happy kids make for happy adults so that everyone had a great time. Hopefully these snacks will give you some ideas for your next family and/or friend rendezvous. I hope that your kids enjoy their snacks!
Sweet potatoes are practically a necessity around here with my baby. He loves them, and I can definitely see the appeal or these sweet vegetables. Not only do they taste great, but they are also full of a whole host of vitamins and nutrients. They have as many carotenoids as carrots, which help stabilize blood sugar so your kids don't have low blood sugar meltdowns (i.e. less tantrums). Furthermore they have tons of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. They are also a natural anti-inflammatory and full of anti-oxidants.
At my market when I buy potatoes that are labeled "sweet potatoes" they have white flesh, looking a lot like a regular potato. The color of a sweet potato correlates with the level of carotenoids- the more orange it is the higher the carotenoid content. Thus you want to buy ones that have orange flesh. At my store these are called Jewel Yams. These are actually sweet potatoes despite their name. In fact you cannot get yams at a regular store here in the U.S., so anything that you see labeled as a yam is actually just a different variety of a sweet potato. But they have that great orange interior, so I recommend buying them so that you're sure that you're getting that blast of carotenoids in your kids diets.
Sometimes you need some fat to absorb certain types of vitamins. These are called fat soluble vitamins, meaning that they dissolve in fats so that your body can then absorb them. Without that fat, these vitamins won't get taken up by the body. Sweet potatoes have lots of vitamin A, but you need that fat in order to absorb it. So here's a recipe that uses olive oil so that you can be assured that your kids will get the full vitamin entourage in their snack.
Orange Sweet Potato Fries
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
Serves: 4 (depends on how big your potato is)
1 large Jewel Yam, cut into french fry straws
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon orange rind
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F.
Arrange your sweet potatoes on a large baking tray. Drizzle on olive oil, then add spices. Using your hands, toss to mix. Then arrange fries in a single layer on your tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until fries are tender, tossing half way through the cooking process to insure even browning.