My kids have gone from banana addicts to banana slackers. End result- a freezer full of brown bananas. So I figured it was time to make some banana bread,That being said I revisited my spiced banana bread recipe and decided it was time for a make over- something more snacky
and with less ingredients. Enter my complete adoration of caffeine (you can't be healthy all the time, right?) and a new snack idea was born. No I'm not advocating giving your little ones caffeine, after all that would really be a nightmare, but instead why not try using your caffeine dishware as a cooking mold?
You will need ceramic espresso cups for this recipe, though if you find a comparable small dish that can handle the oven let me know. I was just glad to put these cups to use since I no longer have an espresso machine, for better or for worse. I hope that your kids like this, my daughter was really excited when I brought a tiny cup of banana bread out for her breakfast side. Enjoy!Banana bread bitesPrep time: 10 minutesBake time: 25 minutesServes: 8 2-3 really ripe bananas1/2 cup all purpose flour1/2 cup whole wheat flour1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash salt1 beaten egg1/4 cup maple syrup1/4 cup vanilla yogurt (low fat OK)1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter2 tablespoon crushed nuts or sunflower seeds (optional)Preheat oven to 300F.
Lightly grease as many espresso cups as you have handy.With a potato
masher, mash bananas.Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cream together butter, yogurt and syrup, then add in egg. Combine with dry ingredients then mix until batter is lumpy. Fill espresso cups 2/3 full with batter, sprinkle on nuts or seeds, then bake for 25 minutes
or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Repeat until all is baked, or refrigerate excess dough for up to 3 days and bake as needed.
We had some friends over for a barbecue yesterday so my daughter and I did a lot of house cleaning. The only hitch is that while I straighten up and conveniently hide stuff in the closets, she actively unpacks everything I put away. So while I was mopping she pulled all the magazines out of our kitchen baker's rack. She had a ball looking at Arizona Highways, and I found a treasure trove of Gourmet's that I didn't know I still owned.
Tucked away behind a stack of National Geographic's was a cutout I had absconded with long ago from a wellness journal. It goes to show I was a health nut before my kids entered into the picture, It has some great ideas about cutting calories in recipes without losing out on flavor, and I thought I would pass them along to you. My kitchen mess is your benefit!I've also supplemented this list, which comes from the American Institute for Cancer Research, with some ideas from one of my favorite sneak-in-the-veggies-cookbook, Moosewood. My daughter just got a miniature copy of Mollie Katzen's Moosewood classics and that's where I'm pulling these tips. By the way, if you want to get your kids cooking with you getting them a miniature cookbook is a great way to get them inspired. We're making split pea soup from it tomorrow after she picked it out. Sure first she saw a broccoli recipe and told me how much she hates broccoli, but then she saw a drawing of a pea pod and that's how we ended up with split pea soup when it's 112F outside.
But I digress...I hope that this list helps you. Let me know if you know of any other tips for cutting calories out of a recipe.Recipe asks for... Use insteadButter
Take out 1/2 the butter and use apple sauce or prune puree instead1 egg
2 egg whitesCream
Equal amount of evaporated skim milkPastry pie crust Phyllo crust with oil spray between the layers, grape nuts crust1 cup sugar
For most recipes, you can cut out 1/4 of the sugar1 cup whole milk Fat free milk with 1 tablespoon canola oil
Here's a great way to sneak a vegetable into your kids snack- make a jam. Now I have a friend that makes gourmet jams that are magnificent. Persimmon honey, blackberry basil, it makes my mouth water just thinking about them. But this is not a gourmet recipe, it's quick and easy and still pretty darn good. And (added bonus!) it gives you an opportunity to get your kids to eat a vegetable without a fight.
Rhubarb is in season from late April throughout the summer, so now's the time to pick some up. It is like celery in texture and has a very tart taste that nicely compliments berries. Only the stalks are edible; the leaves and roots are toxic. It also has a beautiful magenta color, which made my daughter pretty excited when we bought it. It is good source of Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, Potassium and Manganese.
Making your own jam is incredibly easy and then you can control how much sugar is in it. For a lot of fruits you don't need to add any sweeteners, however since rhubarb is so tart I added a little honey to sweeten it up. One thing that's nice about this recipe is that the berries already have a lot of natural pectin so you don't need to add anything to thicken it. If you are trying out another recipe and you cannot get it to thicken you can always add pectin or, for those of you that are like me and don't have pectin lying around, you can add cornstarch instead.
This recipe makes a 4oz jar of jam. We finished ours off in two days, so you might want to double it. Enjoy!
Blackberry rhubarb jam
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Makes: 4 oz jar
1 rhubarb stalk, cut chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup blackberries
2 tablespoons honey
Combine all the ingredients above in a small saucepan. Cook over medium low heat until thickened, 30-40 minutes. During the cooking process periodically crush the fruit and rhubarb with a spoon to help break it down. Cool completely to further thicken, then serve.
In honer of Father's day I bought some ready made bread sticks dough. My husband loves bread sticks. Where we grew up the Italian fast food restaurant next to the movie theater used to hand out free bread stick samples and we used fill up on them before watching a movie. Those were bathed in butter, so I though I wold make a healthier alternative and I thought it would be fun to customize them with my daughter. We tried a few different things, but this was the favorite. And an added bous is that they smell terrific while they are cooking.Anyone who's read this blog knows that I truly love trail mix. It's an easy way to get protein, healthy unsaturated fats and vitamin E into your kids diets. Furthermore you give them an additional helping a fruit if you use varieties that have dried fruit. The mix that I have is actually pretty heavy on the dried berries
so I added cashew pieces and sunflower seeds to the mix for a little more variety and a little less sugar. But they still came out sweet, almost like a dessert bread stick.I hope that your family likes these... we certainly gobbled them down. Enjoy!Trail mix bread sticksPrep time
: 5 minutesCook time: 10-13 minutesServes: 6
I canister ready made bread stick dough1 cup trail mix
2 tablespoons berry preserves or jam
1 teaspoon cinnamon1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 350F.Lay out bread sticks on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread preserves on the dough, then sprinkle on cinnamon. Sprinkle on trail mix, then press into the dough with your fingers. Twist the sticks (some trail mix will probably fall out, just press it back into the dough) and press the ends down flat onto the baking sheet Brush on honey with a pastry brush. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for a minute or two, then remove from the baking sheet.
Note- this post originally appeared in Super Healthy Kids.
Summer is here and that means it’s time to pack up the car for a road trip. But before you hit the road, make sure that you packed plenty of snacks (and wipes) for the kids. Otherwise you’ll probably end up with junk food that you paid too much for at a gas station. So save yourself Cheetos cheese stains on the seats with some of these healthy, portable options that don’t need to be kept cold. Fruit
Apples and oranges are the usual standbys since they are hardy and don’t bruise easily, but don’t stop there. Try bagging blueberries into single servings. I use disposable coffee cups from hotels for this purpose. Other great alternatives are traditionally dried fruits or freeze dried fruits, which still give your kids health benefits without all the mess. Trail mix
Pick up some at the store or make your own with dried berries, nuts and seeds. Avoid mixes with chocolate chips since those might melt in a toasty car and may also get “preferential snacking treatment” from your kids. Whole grain crackers
Sometimes your kids need some carbohydrates to make their stomachs feel full immediately so you can make it to the next town for lunch. Whole grain crackers are a great, healthy snack that will buy you a little more mileage.
I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes a little crunch makes snacks more enjoyable. Carrots are about as crunchy as it gets, and ridiculously good for your kids.
Keep in mind with this one that not all fruit snacks are created equal. Make sure that your fruit snacks don’t have tons of sweeteners or artificial colorings. That being said there are multiple brands on the market that are sweetened and colored with fruit juice and relatively mess free.
Whole grain cereal
Cereal makes for a great snack that won’t make a mess when served dry. Pack individual servings of cereals that aren’t high in sugar so your kids don’t get stir crazy from all the sweeteners. Rice cakes
Rice cakes are mess free and come in a variety of flavors if you kids don’t like them plain. I usually put peanut butter or almond butter on them so my kids get a little protein too, but that may not be feasible for your kids in the car, depending on age and rambunctious nature. Pita chips
Pita chips are a great way to satisfy a chip craving without all the fat. They have also become popular enough that you can find them at lots of grocery stores. Jerky
Depending on the age of your kids sometimes a little meat is a great snack. An added bonus is that jerky has a lot of protein so your kids will feel fuller from it longer. You can find a variety of jerky nowadays, ranging from buffalo jerky to turkey jerky. Cherry tomatoes
These are fun to eat and relatively hardy when it comes to getting crushed.
Well since the vegetables got the biggest slice of the pie in on the USDA's new food recommendations
, I guess it's time to incorporate more vegetable snacks. Yet even though I am a totally health conscious Mom that gives her kids balanced, natural snacks I am still privy to the parent curse- my kids don't eat their vegetables. Sure we have some old standby's: potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash (oh no, I think that might actually be a fruit)...maybe some carrots...OK so maybe I just need a little strategy shift here. Kids love to dip, even my toddler thinks it's satisfying as noted in his enthusiastic "mmmmmm" after wards. And as far as I know lots of kids also like ranch, the only caveat with that is that it can be high in fat
and full of artificial ingredients. Case in point, here's an ingredient list from Hidden Valley Ranch:Vegetable oil, egg yolk, sugar, salt, buttermilk, spices, garlic, onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, MSG, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid, calcium disodium EDTA, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate.I think I'd rather my kids were vegetable-free than ingest all of those fillers, preservatives and emulsifiers. So I decided to make my own, low fat, ranch. It's quick and easy and really creamy. It's based on Greek yogurt, so it also is a great way to sneak some calcium in with your kids vegetables. And my toddler loves dipping in it, though he's been using his finger instead of his carrot but I'll take it. Mmmmmm!Tangy ranch dipping saucePrep: 5 minutesServes: 61/2 cup low fat Greek style yogurt1 tablespoon low fat mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard1/2 teaspoon garlic powder1 teaspoon onion powder1/2 tablespoon white vinegar 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoningsalt and white pepper to tasteMix the above ingredients in a small bowl. Serve cold with sliced vegetables like carrots, celery, bell pepper and broccoli. Enjoy!
After a lot of anticipation the USDA finally released their new take on eating a balanced diet. After taking the heat on the difficulty of understanding the food pyramid (who needs math, after all) the pyramid has now been converted into a numberless pie chart. Forget the confusing measurements and busy icons, the chart has been ultra-simplified. It's basic, colorful and amazing that someone didn't come up with it sooner. The dairy industry is happy, fruit and vegetable businesses are happy, who knows what the grains folks think and the only ones that were really shafted were the meat people.
In celebration of this event I've collected some comments I heard throughout the day when I showed off the new plate. Feel free to comment with some of your own, if you feel so inspired.
- Where's the "only sometimes" group?
- What, no spoon?
- I want a cake and butter plate on there.
- When did they separate fruits and vegetables?
- Why are the veggies so big?
- Is that what we're paying them for..
- No more water!
- Yay purple! (that was my daughter)
- Looks like vegetable snacks are on the horizon... (that was me)