Solar Eclipse Smoothie

If you missed the 2017 solar eclipse, or if you are needing to find another use for those glasses, you have come to the right place! Our solar eclipse smoothie has the a tropical mango, peach base layer (the sun), covered by a blueberry layer (the moon).

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We talked about the great benefits of yogurt on Monday, and today we get to try out some of those benefits in a fun smoothie!

This recipe makes enough for one large glass (perfect for a morning time kick start, or after school snack!)

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For the sun layer, throw 1-2 cups of your favorite light colored frozen and fresh foods. For my smoothie I used crushed pineapple, frozen peaches, 1/2 a mango, a cutie (mandarin orange), 1/2 a banana, and some vanilla yogurt.

 

Carefully pour the smoothie into a cup.

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For the second layer you can again add your favorite fruits and yogurt but I used frozen blueberries, the other half of the banana, and some more yogurt.

 

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Finally, its time for your own eclipse! Pull out those glasses and watch the sun get covered up as you pour the second layer into your cup.

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You can be creative with smoothies. Feel free to add any fruit, veggie, or other food you are craving!

Here are some add ins you might enjoy:

  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut Butter
  • Milk
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Other Fruits
  • Veggies: carrots, spinach, even avocado for some creaminess!
  • Spices: cinnamon, or nutmeg
  • Ice (if your smoothie is too watery)

Happy Creating!

 

Yogurt: A Nutritious & Delicious Bowl

This week I will highlight a creamy, nutrient-packed ingredient that you will love. We are talking about yogurt! Pretty much everyone has heard of yogurt, and chances are you have tasted it too… but did you know how healthy it is and how many dozens of different ways you can use it?

In my home, we like to always have yogurt on hand. After you learn about the benefits and uses, you might want to ask mom or dad to keep it on hand too!

Did you know?

Greek Yogurt is made by draining regular yogurt over a cheese cloth to get rid of a liquid called whey.

Straining the whey out of yogurt

After a while, you are left with a thicker yogurt with less sugar and more protein than regular yogurt. This can make a healthy ingredient even healthier!

 

Health Benefits
  • Yogurt has something called probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that keep our stomachs and intestines healthy. They can help digest foods, they help boost your immune system, they prevent infections in the body, and they help heal your gut when your stomach is hurting.
  • Yogurt is a great source of calcium! Calcium keeps your bones strong, it helps your nerves send signals to each other, it helps your muscles flex, and much more!
  • Yogurt has quite a few B vitamins helping your body create energy from the food you eat, they help your heart function properly, they help create blood cells, and they can help keep your immune system strong.
  • Yogurt is full of protein (Especially if you get Greek Yogurt!) Protein is important when you are growing. Your bones, your muscles, and many other cells all depend on you to eat enough protein building blocks to grow.
Creative Creations

The USDA recommends getting 3 servings of dairy products a day to get adequate nutrition, so what are some ways to use yogurt to meet your 3 serving goal?

  • Try chips and salsa mixed with plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream (You can use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in really any dish)
  • Add to smoothies
  • Put your favorite flavored yogurt in popsicle trays and freeze for a sweet summer treat
  • Make parfaits
  • Add to oatmeal
  • Have a side of plain Greek yogurt with curry dishes to compliment the meal
  • Add to oats, seeds, nuts, coconut, or any other topping for a quick breakfast in the morning
  • Top fruit or desserts with yogurt instead of whipped cream
  • Put drops of flavored yogurt on parchment paper and freeze for yogurt drop snacks
  • Add plain yogurt to your spaghetti sauce for a creamy nutritious boost
  • Make sweet fruit dips
  • Make savory veggie dips
  • Mix in with scrambled eggs
  • Marinate chicken for an Indian cuisine
Varieties to try
  • Low fat flavored yogurt
    • To make your own: Thaw out your favorite frozen fruit, puree and mix in with plain yogurt.
  • Low fat plain yogurt
  • Flavored Greek Yogurt
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Low Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Kefir
    • Kefir is technically not yogurt, but it is a product very similar to a yogurt drink, but healthier. Kefir is another great probiotic that can keep your gut healthy and feel better
Recipes:
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Nutty Crunch Fruit Dip

 

Solar Eclipse Layered Smoothie

 

Happy Creating!

You are the ‘Peanut’ to my ‘Butter’

Happy Monday friends! Hope you had a fun weekend and are ready to start off the week with a running start! Today we are highlighting another ingredient that is great to keep stocked in the pantry: Peanut Butter!

Peanut butter was likely made by Myan Indians many years ago, but the first time it was introduced to the United States was at the St Louis World Fair in 1904. A physician had developed peanut butter as a healthy protein that could be given to people who couldn’t chew very well. Later, soldiers during World War 2 used peanut butter as a protein source when meat was scarce.

Nowadays kids, teens, parents, and the elderly all share a love for that creamy (or crunchy) delight. In fact, it is estimated that the average American eats 6 pounds of peanut product each year!

Did you know? It takes 540 peanuts to make a 12- ounce jar of peanut butter!

That’s a lot of peanuts! So, what is the big deal about peanut butter?

Quick Tip: Look at the ingredient label at the grocery store with your parents. Some companies like to add a lot of sugar and additives, but it is much better to find a peanut butter that only says: “Peanuts” or “Peanuts, and salt”, as the ingredients.

Health Benefits:

Peanuts (and several other nuts) are:

  • Full of protein- Peanut butter is a great plant based protein that is easy to add to recipes and snacks to help build muscle and other tissues in your body. 2 Tb of peanut butter has the same amount of protein as a whole cup of milk!
  • Fiber: If you aren’t getting enough fiber in your diet, you might want to reassess! Fiber keeps your gut healthy and strong so that your body digests foods easier. It also keeps your heart healthy, and can help prevent scary, painful diseases such as heart disease and colon cancer.
  • Healthy fats- Believe it or not there are good and bad fats! The worst fat (one that you want to avoid completely) is trans fat. Saturated fat is another one that is not as good for your and should be limited in your diet. On the other hand, unsaturated fats can help with your body’s metabolism, and peanut butter has more than double the unsaturated fats than saturated!
  • A healthy source of calories but be careful of overdoing it! Remember how there are 540 peanuts in 12 ounces of peanut butter? That makes this treat pretty high in calories (2 Tb is about 190 calories)
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Peanuts have several vitamins and minerals including biotin, manganese niacin, folate, vitamin E, copper, and thiamine.
Creative Creations:

We have all tried the classic PB & J but here are some other healthy ways to try Peanut Butter:

  • Add 1-2 Tb in a smoothie
  • Make a peanut butter and fruit sandwich (use apple slices, banana slices, or any other whole fruit that you like)
  • Use as a dip for fruits and veggies
  • Make oatmeal peanut butter energy balls for an easy snack to grab on the go (look for the recipe this week)
  • Use to make a peanut sauce for pasta dishes
  • Put in parfaits
  • Put on oatmeal

What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter?

Varieties to try:

There really isn’t a wide variety of peanut butter types (aside from smooth and crunchy), but if you want to try some other nut or seed butters here are a few:

  • Almond butter
  • Soynut butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Hazelnut butter
Recipes:
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Nutty Fruit Dip

 

Happy Creating!

Smashed Chickpea Dip

In our last post, we learned a little bit about beans. Now, let’s put that knowledge to use! The beans we are using to day are chickpeas. Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans. You can find canned chickpeas next to your other common beans in the store such as black beans and pinto beans. Let’s look at the complete list of ingredients you will need to gather:

  • Canned chickpeas
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water

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Our first step will be to peel the chickpeas. The outer covering is completely edible and you may choose to leave it on, but peeling the chickpeas makes them easier to mash and will give you a smoother finished product. Peeling a chickpea can be done by simply pinching one end, the outer covering should pop right off.

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Next, add 1/3 cup water, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper to your chickpeas. Then, start mashing! If you you want to mash by hand, use a combination of a whisk and a fork.

Mashing by hand, we were able to get our beans to this texture:

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If you are wanting a smoother bean dip and have access to a food processor or blender, use those appliances to mix until smooth.

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It’s just that simple! You now have a Smashed Chickpea Dip to use on just about anything. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Spread this on your sandwich bread instead of mayo
  • Dip carrot sticks or other veggies in this instead of ranch
  • Spread on a tortilla and fill with vegetables for a fresh wrap
  • Use as a dip for crackers and top with chopped vegetables

These are not the only options, come up with your own creations! Here is how ours turned out:

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This recipe is incredibly fast and easy. It is simple enough that it leaves room for a lot of creating. If you would like to be creative, try using different spices or beans.

Smashed Chickpea Dip

Happy Creating!

– Kids Create Team

I’ve ‘Bean’ thinking of you!

Hi all! Today is the day that we start highlighting ingredients! As we learn about more and more ingredients, you can go to ‘ingredient exploration’ under the ‘Recipes’ tab, and look up fun facts, tips, and recipes for each ingredient. So let’s begin!

Today we are featuring a classic ingredient: beans!

Beans are a great ingredient to always have in the pantry. Did you know there are about 40,000 varieties of bean in the world? Some of the more common varieties include black beans, pinto beans, soybeans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), navy beans, and kidney beans. And if you are creative, there are dozens of ways to prepare them! Between the varieties and the preparation options, you should never have a dull moment with this classic ingredient.

Did you know? January 6th is National Bean Day!

So what is a kid to do about these beans? Some general tips for preparing beans are:

  1. Soak them! Do you ever get that gassy or bloated feeling after eating beans? Beans have sugars called ‘oligiosacharides’ on the outer layer that some people have a harder time digesting. To prevent that uncomfortable, embarrassing side effect you can soak your beans overnight in the fridge and then rinse before cooking. This will remove those sugars that are so difficult to digest and allow you to enjoy the flavor rather than worry about the side effects.
  2. Try cooking a batch of beans in a crockpot or pressure cooker and putting them in the fridge. Then you have a quick healthy protein that can be added to salads, turned into a dip, used in a baked good, and much more
Health Benefits:
  • Amazing source of fiber! Fiber is a nutrient that helps keep our digestive tract healthy and strong. Beans happen to have both kinds of fiber (soluble and insoluble) and can keep your belly working the way it should
  • Healthy Protein: Beans are a healthy and cheaper substitution for meat. In fact 1 cup of beans has close to the same amount of protein as 1 cup of diced chicken.
  • Full of healthy minerals: Our body needs minerals to stay healthy. Our heart, especially, loves the minerals you can get from beans. So keep your hear healthy and strong by adding some beans to your next meal!
Creative Creations:

Want to try something new with beans? Here are 10 creative ways to add beans to your cooking:

  1. Toss cold cooked beans in a salad
  2. Add to hot and cold pasta dishes for a protein boost
  3. Mix in with baked goods (brownies, cakes, etc.)
  4. Top off a slice of toast with your favorite type of bean for a famous English treat
  5. Eat beans with rice and eggs for a morning breakfast burrito
  6. Add to soups
  7. Puree with spices for a veggie dip
  8. Make a bean burger to grill
  9. Toss in with your favorite salsa recipe for a more filling snack
  10. Mix with your favorite veggies for a great pita or wrap filler
Varieties to try:

There are approximately 40,000 varieties of beans with several dozen available at the grocery store.

Here are a few examples to try:

  • Lima Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Blackeye
  • Kidney Beans
  • Garbanzo (Chickpeas)
  • Great White Northern
  • Navy Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Small Red Beans
  • Fava Beans

So what are you waiting for? Let’s start creating! Look for this week’s recipe featuring this great ingredient!

Recipes:

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Meditteranean Burrito

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smashed Chickpea Dip

 

25 Creative Foods for Summertime Grilling

One of my favorite parts of summer is pulling out the grill and having some family fun. The great thing about having a healthy lifestyle is how CREATIVE you get to be! Grills aren’t just for burgers and hot dogs! Heat things up with these 25 creative options. Who says we can’t bring healthy and creativity to the grill?

For the first section, you are going to use that tin foil.

Quick Tip: When you use foil, make sure to roll up the seams and seal it really tight so that juices don’t escape!

  • Spiced nuts: Try a few different spice combinations added to nuts
    • 2 cups nuts + 1 tsp chili powder+ 1 /4 tsp ground pepper + ¼ tsp cumin + 1 Tb olive oil
    • 2 cups nut + ½ lime juice + ½ cup cilantro
    • 2 cups nuts + 1 Tb cinnamon
    • 2 cups nuts + peel of 1 orange + ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • Potatoes:
    • Small potatoes (or potatoes diced) + garlic + Pepper + oil + lemon juice + other favorite spices
  • Amazing Asparagus
    • Toss some asparagus spears in olive oil and spices and wrap well with tin foil
  • Quesadillas
    • Cheese + veggies + whole wheat tortilla
  • Popcorn:
    • Put 1Tb oil with ¼ cup popcorn kernels and any spices you are in the mood for in a tin foil pie pan. Making a dome over the top using two sheets of foil and seal at every seam. Put over high heat, and keep shaking until popping stops.
  • Roasted Veggies:
    • Zucchini + tomatoes + garlic + carrots+ onion + mushrooms + olive oil
  • Sweet Potato Fries
    • Sliced Sweet Potatoes + cinnamon + oil
  • Sautéed Squash with Thyme and Feta

For this next section, Kabobs are where the party is at!

The main rules for kabob ingredients are 1) The food should fit and should stay on the skewer and 2) you must think it tastes delicious. So get creative and try something new! You can substitute favorite fruits and vegetables and top with any spice that smells good to you. This is your masterpiece we are talking about here! To help get your creative juices flowing, here are a couple ideas:

*Quick tip: Soak the skewers beforehand to reduce burning. You can soak them for as little as a half hour beforehand but the longer the better. To make things easy just put them in a bowl of water the night before when you go to marinade your chicken and veggies.

*Quick tip #2: Be sure to cook chicken to at 165° F to prevent foodborne illnesses like salmonella. Try putting chicken in a frying pan for 5-10 minutes before putting it on a skewer and onto the grill.

  • Tango Mango chicken kabob
    • Chicken +Mango+ Bell pepper + Onion (sprinkled with lime juice, garlic, and chili powder)
  • Fajita style kabob
    • Chicken + red bell pepper + onion + yellow bell pepper + green bell pepper (marinade chicken with lime juice, garlic, chili powder, and cumin)
  • Paprika Chicken Kabob
    • Chicken + Mushrooms (sprinkle with paprika)
  • Ham & Yam Kabob
    • Large diced deli ham + diced sweet potatoes (sprinkle with Italian seasoning)
  • Apple Sweet Potato Kabob
    • Sliced sweet potato + apple slices (sprinkle with cinnamon)
  • Chicken Casserole on a kabob
    • Chicken + broccoli+ mushroom+ onion (marinade chicken in lemon juice, garlic, and pepper)

  • Fruit Kabob:
    • Put all of your favorite kabob sized fruits (pineapple, mango, strawberry, apples, nectarines, plums, etc.)
  • Roasted Veggie Kabob:
    • Choose your favorite combo (ex. Zucchini + onion+ mushroom + bell pepper)

And for the final section: Classic Grilling with a Twist.

These options go straight on the grill like normal, but the twist is, these aren’t your typical burgers and hot dogs! In fact, these options are not only healthier but they might even be tastier to you.

  • Personal Pizza
    • Use some homemade dough or ciabatta bread for the crust and then top with your favorite low fat cheeses and veggies. The grilling will add a nice flavor to your pizza

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Pineapple slices
  • Zucchini boats (Zucchini sliced in half or quarters long way)
  • Marinated Chicken (Put your favorite marinade and chicken in a bag the night before for best results):
    • Lemon juice + Olive Oil + favorite spices
    • Balsamic vinegar + Olive Oil + favorite spices
    • Italian Dressing
  • Veggie Burgers:
    • Either buy frozen patties, or find a recipe to make your own!
  • The Real Grilled Cheese
    • Throw some cheese, tomato, avocado, and slice of turkey on thick slices of bread over low heat for the ultimate grilled cheese
  • Grilled Eggplant
    • Peel, brush on some olive oil and spices and place directly over the heat. Cook until tender.
  • Ears of Corn (try rubbing with a little lime juice for extra flavor)
  • Egg Breakfast
    • Put a cast iron pan on the grill. Mix up some ground turkey, diced peppers, zucchini, eggs, and spices for a fun twist on breakfast.

 

There you go! 25 experiments for you to get your creative juices going. Get the whole family involved and comment with pictures of what you can come up with

Happy creating!

 

Knife Skills: Slice and Dice an Onion

Hey Creators!

Today we are taking a look at something all chefs, kids and adults, need to know. In many recipes we need to use knives to chop, slice, and dice. With a little bit of knowledge, knives can go from scary to safe. We will go over basics of using a knife called a chef’s knife, then take a look at how to dice an onion like a pro!

A chef’s knife is a common knife to find in the kitchen, and can be used for many different things. A chef’s knife looks like this:

However, if you don’t have a chef’s knife at your house, what we are learning can work with other knives too.

First, let’s learn how to grip the knife. To watch a short 1-minute video explaining this, click here.

Now that we know how to hold the knife, let’s use the knife to dice an onion. IMG_1814

First, cut the onion in half as pictured:

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Next, cut off the ends and peel the dry, papery layers off of the onion.

Create Tip: Have a garbage bowl out on your table. It will make things much easier and less messy.

Now, using your knife, cut the onion into strips, but don’t cut all the way through to the end.

Next, slice the onion in the opposite direction in thin strips. With the hand that isn’t holding the knife, remember to curl your fingers so your knuckles are closest to the knife as shown in the video.

Repeat with the other half, and just like that, your onion is diced! From here, the possibilities are endless. To used your diced onion to make a simple salsa, click here.

When it comes to knife skills, practice makes perfect. As you practice, using a knife in the kitchen will become much easier and take less time.

This week, try using your new skills by finding a recipe that includes a diced onion, or create your own.

Happy Creating!

– Kids Create Team

Dry Fruit, Not your Body!

Pop Quiz! Can you spot the difference between pictures from A and B?

                                A                                                                                                                  B

 

If you said that the B foods are the DEHYDRATED version of the A foods (or something to that effect), you, my friend have passed the quiz of the day. That wasn’t so bad was it?

Those dehydrated fruits and veggies are wonderful healthy snacks, but something that isn’t so wonderful and healthy is when YOU are dehydrated.

Water makes up about 60% of the average person. So you can imagine all the consequences of not staying hydrated!

 

 

 

Some examples of where that water goes is: blood plasma (water makes up 93%) and bones (water makes up 20%)!

 

 

Water helps:

  • build cells and is extremely critical during growth spurts
  • prevents constipation by improving digestion
  • carry nutrients to the cells and take waste products out of the body
  • regulate body temperature
  • lubricate joints and muscles
  • absorb shocks from walking, running, and any other impact on the body

So how much should we drink?

Age Males Females Add some more water  if you experience the following:
9-13 5-6 cups/per day 5-6 cups per day Exercising

Higher temperatures (Hello summertime heat)

 

14-18 7 glasses per day 6 glasses per day
Adults About 10 glasses per day 8-9 glasses per day

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Water shouldn’t feel like a chore but rather it should help you feel refreshed, energized, and healthy! So mix it up a bit and look up different water-fruit-herb combinations and comment with a picture of your favorite flavored water creation!

Happy Creating!

 

 

Bread Baking Basics

Baking bread can be a breeze! Today’s recipe shows that you don’t have to have an entire day set aside to make a loaf of homemade bread. Baking bread is a very hands-on activity, and a lot of fun. To make it even better, this bread is made with whole wheat flour which gives us much more nutrients than a white bread would. All of the ingredients you will need are common, and if they are not in your house already, are very inexpensive to buy. Here is our ingredient list:

  • whole wheat flour (I prefer white whole wheat flour, it makes for a smoother bread)
  • sugar
  • salt
  • active dry yeast
  • warm water
  • 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch bread pan

IMG_2403Now, let’s dive into making this dough.

First, mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl.

IMG_2419Next, pour the warm water into your mixture, then mix with your hands until there is a combined dough. Then, create a floured surface on a clean counter or table.

IMG_2421Knead the dough on the floured surface until you have reached a smooth dough that is just barely sticky. For a simple video on how to knead dough, click here.

Create Tip: Prepare to get messy! Remember to wash your hands well before you touch anything, and prepare for you hands to get covered in dough.

IMG_2423Once the dough is combined, it should be slightly sticky, but not too sticky. Form it into a ball in your mixing bowl, then cover with plastic wrap, and put it aside for 20-30 minutes. Now would be a great time to preheat the oven to 400° F.

Create Tip: Spray the bottom side of the plastic wrap with cooking spray to keep the risen dough from sticking to it.

IMG_2444After 20-30 minutes, the dough should definitely look larger because the yeast has done its job.

Grab your bread pan and spray the inside with cooking spray. Without squeezing it the dough too hard, carefully remove it and transfer it to a bread pan.

IMG_2450Place in the preheated oven, and let bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow.

Create Tip: We checked our bread as early as 15 minutes. It is better to check early than overcook your bread.

When your loaf is baked, take out of the oven and crEATe!

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IMG_2439Use the recipe below to easily follow along:BasicWholeWheatBread_BreadHappy Creating!

– Kids Create Team

Summertime Fun

It’s mid-summer and the temperatures are rising!

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These clear and sun-shining days are the perfect time to be active with friends and family. Did you know that it is recommended to participate in an average of 60 minutes of moderate to intense activity every day??

60 minutes of play a day!

Staying active while growing helps…

-Improve mood through hormonal changes in the body

-Increase energy levels

-Keep our hearts strong and healthy

-Strengthen our bones before they stop growing

-Help our bodies grow to a healthy size (both height and weight)

 

With all these great benefits, how do you stay active during the hot summer days? Here are some ideas to help you soak up the sun, but keep you cool as well.

  • Have a pool day
  • Explore a state or national park (bring lots of water)
  • Have a water balloon fight with all your friends
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Go ice blocking (buy a block of ice from the store, put a towel on the top and slide down your neighborhood grassy hill)
  • Pull out the chalk and make the ultimate sidewalk fun zone! (giant hopscotch, four square, etc.)
  • Create an obstacle course in the backyard (be sure to add some water to your course with the hose or kiddy pool)
  • Create a human board game. You can draw the spaces with chalk on the sidewalk or paint on the grass and make a giant dice with construction paper.
  • Have a water relay and transfer the water from a full bucket to an empty bucket with only the use of a big sponge.

**Remember to wear sunscreen if you are outside for longer than 15 minutes, and anytime you are outside between 12 and 3 o clock p.m. Also drink lots of water with EVERY fun activity.

What are some ways you stay active and cool in the summer time?

Make Your Move 10 Day Challenge

Printable: Make your Move 10 Day Challenge

For the rest of the summer make your move and do 60 minutes of activity a day. Bonus points will be given for trying a new activity! Fill out this 10 day challenge handout and email me at foodsense@usu.edu for a chance to win a outdoor fun prize. Winner will be selected August 24th.

Now get going and have some healthy fun!