Christmas in the Kitchen!

With only a couple weeks till Christmas, it’s time to put on our apron and Santa hat and try out some new treats!

Today we have 4 fun Christmas food art. These are all great for your Christmas parties, or even just to have on the table to snack on throughout Christmas day!

1. Ornament Veggie Dish

This one is really simple. You need a round platter or plate, a piece of paper cut into a dome shape, and your favorite veggies (I used carrots, celery, and grape tomatoes).

Chop up your veggies and have fun designing the ornament! I like to leave a space open on mine to put a veggie dip or cottage cheese for dipping when I serve the platter.

 

2. ‘Egg-cellent’ snowman

For this recipe you need two boiled eggs for each snowman, slices, pretzel sticks, carrots, and cream cheese (optional).

First, stack the two eggs with a pretzel stick.

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Then add all of his features: a carrot nose, eyes (use kitchen scissors to make the rice shape)

 

3. Breakfast Candy Cane

This next treat is a great breakfast for the big day! For this you will need your favorite pancake mix, strawberries, and vanilla yogurt.

First, cook your batter into the shape of a candy cane.

Cover your entire pancake with yogurt, and then layer with slices of strawberries

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Breakfast is served!

4. Fruit Christmas Tree

And then last but not least, let’s put a spin on a classic fruit tray! For this tray you need 1-3 green fruits (I used honeydew and green grapes), pineapple, berries, yogurt (or any fruit dip), toothpicks, and 3 small styrofoam cups.

The cups will be attached with toothpicks. Start with prep. Cut, clean and peel the fruits as needed, and then cut the pineapple into a star.

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Start from the bottom, put in a a toothpick and then put on one of the green fruits. Repeat the layers until you have reached the top.

When you make it to the top, use toothpicks to cover the top with smaller grapes and then the pineapple star.

Last, decorate your tree with berries.

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Merry Christmas and Bon Appetite!

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Happy Creating!

 

 

Have an ‘Egg’-cellent Day!

We dye them in the spring for Easter, we scramble them in the morning for breakfast, and we use them in our holiday baking! Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients and there is more to them than what meets the eye. Get ready to be amazed by what seems like such a simple shelled ingredient.

Have you ever wondered what eggs look like when they are still in the shell?

First you have several layers of the shell (1,2,3).

Then you have the albumin (AKA egg white)  which is  clear and liquid when raw and then turns white as it cooks. The egg white has a vitamin called riboflavin as well as some protein. (5,6)

The third main component is the egg yolk! (7-12) Egg yolks are where most of the nutrients come from. This part is a yellowish color and is held in the center of the egg with a twisty cord called the chalazae (4, 13).

Lastly, you have the air pocket (14). This air pocket is at the base of the egg and is between the shell and egg white. As eggs get older, this pocket gets bigger.

So if you want to test the freshness of your eggs, try putting them in a bowl full of water!

  • If they sink, it means the air pocket is small and it is really fresh (great for sunny side up eggs)
  • If they float, the air pocket has grown and the egg is older (better used for scrambled eggs)

Did you know? You can buy peewee, medium, large, extra large, or Jumbo eggs depending on what size you want. When a recipe calls for an egg, however, it is standardized to use a ‘large’ egg. 

Health Benefits

Note: There is no nutritional difference between white and brown eggs. They are simply from different breeds of chicken. 

  • Good source of protein: Each egg has 6 grams of protein which is about 10% of what you need each day.
  • Rich in Vitamins: Eggs have Vitamin A, D, and several B vitamins! These vitamins help your body metabolize food, strengthen your bones, help your vision (especially your night vision), and keeps your skin healthy.
  • Source of choline, which is a nutrient that keeps all of your cells strong and breaks down fats in the food you eat.
Creative Creations

As I mentioned before, eggs are EXTREMELY versatile. They can be baked, boiled, poached, fried, scrambled, or put into baked goods! So how are you going to cook with eggs this week? Here are some ideas:

 

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Hard boiled eggs
    • Place your eggs in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and then turn the temperature down to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Then take off and put under cold water to cool off. Great for a snack after school!
  • Breakfast Casseroles
    • Combine your favorite chopped veggies, ground sausage, and eggs and pour into a baking dish to cook for a breakfast delight!
  • Homemade custard
  • Deviled Eggs
    • check out my Halloween post under the snacks section for a delicious recipe
  • Muffins & other baked goods
  • Use to fluff up your waffles
    • Before adding the eggs to your waffles, separate the egg and whip up the egg white into a foam. Fold the egg white into your batter right before cooking so you have light and fluffy waffles!
  • Cook and add to salads
  • Mix with veggies, and mayo or yogurt for an egg salad
  • Sunny side up on toast with avocado, tomato, cheese, and black pepper
  • Breakfast burritos
  • Homemade omelets
  • French Toast
    • Whip up a few eggs with vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg to dip your French bread into. After cooking I like to add yogurt, berries, and coconut on top
Varieties to Try

Eggs and egg substitutes come in many forms. Here are a few to try if you are feeling adventurous:

  • Different sizes: peewee, small, medium, large, extra-large, or Jumbo
  • Liquid eggs
  • Canned eggs
  • Dried eggs
  • Egg substitutes:
    • soy or milk complete egg substitute
    • Egg beaters
    • Egg ‘Replacers’
    • etc.
Recipes:

Check back for this week’s Christmas treats that will put this ingredient to the test!

 

Happy Creating!

2 Step Roasted Parmesan Edamame Mix

Happy Wednesday! Today I made a delicious Roasted Parmesan Edamame Mix. I love this recipe because it is one of the easiest snacks to throw together, and it has both edamame and garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas) so it is really high in protein. Perfect healthy combination for after school or on the go snack!

All you need is 2 cans of garbanzo beans, 1 bag of frozen shelled edamame (AKA Mukimame), 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup of olive oil.

 

As the title states, this recipe can be made in two steps! Step 1: Toss everything together. Feel free to add any spices you want to try too (garlic powder, rosemary, etc.)

 

Step 2: Bake on a baking sheet for 30 minutes (or until your preference of toasted) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Note: Make sure you spread the mix out on 2 baking sheets so that everything roasts evenly. 

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And Voila! You have a delicious snack! This recipe makes quite a bit so I like to split it up into snack bags so I can grab and go easily.

So try it out! post pics below of your creations and let us know if you tried any variations of spices!

 

Happy Creating!

Edamame- It’s ‘soy’ good!

If you haven’t tried this delicious ingredient before, it’s time to ask mom and dad for a trip to the grocery store. Edamame (or soybeans) have been in many dishes for hundreds and hundreds of years in East Asia, and in the past couple decades it has gained popularity around the world!

Did you know? When the beans are out of the pods, they are sometimes called mukimame. So when you see a bag of mukimame in the frozen foods isle, you know it’s just edamame already prepped for you!

Health Benefits
  • Very high in protein- probably the greatest benefit of edamame is that it is higher in protein than most vegetables. In fact, 1 cup of edamame beans has the same amount of protein as 3 cups of milk, a scoop of pure protein powder, or 2 cups of peanuts!
  • Iron- 1 cup of shelled edamame has about half the iron you need in a day! Iron is important for red blood cell production which will keep the rest of your body healthy and functioning. Without enough iron you can develop anemia, making you drowsy, sick, and lightheaded.
  • Good source of Vitamin A- which keeps your eyes healthy
  • Vitamin C- 1 cup is equal to almost half of the vitamin C you need in a day. Vitamin C helps with healing wounds, your immune system, and your respiratory system!
Creative Creations
  • Puree with spices for a dip
  • Toss in salads
  • Add to soups
  • Mix with other beans for burritos
  • Add to pasta dishes
  • Puree with guacamole for an added protein kick
  • Add to stir fry
  • Put on sandwiches with chicken
  • Roast for a crunchy snack
Varieties to Try

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  • Shelled- make it easy to toss in salads and soups
  • Unshelled- still just as delicious, and its fun pulling the beans out over dinner

 

Recipes:
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Roasted Edamame mix

Apple Pie Cookies

If mom and dad are looking for a last minute dessert for Thanksgiving, try making these apple pie cookies! They are also healthy enough to have as a breakfast cookie before the busy day starts!

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You will need: quick oats, whole wheat flour, BAKING POWDER, cinnamon, salt, oil (I used canola), vanilla extract, honey, 1 egg, and 1 small apple diced into small pieces.

 

 

 

First combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Then whisk the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Third, combine the ingredients until combined and fold in the apples.

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Let the batter sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes and then roll out the cookies onto a baking sheet.

Cook the cookies in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 13-15 minutes (or until the bottom of the cookies are golden-brown)

 

 

 

Enjoy! and have a great Thanksgiving!

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Happy Creating!

 

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

You have probably heard of baking soda and baking powder. In fact, if you have ever baked before, you probably used them! But do you know what they are or what they do exactly?

 

I am highlighting both baking soda and baking powder at the same time because they are similar (but not a substitute for each other). Baking soda can also be called sodium bicarbonate, and it is simply a base compound.

Hearty Bread

 

In baking, baking soda acts as a ‘Chemical leavening agent’, which basically means it ‘rises’ the dough or batter. If you didn’t have any leavening agents, your bread, cookies, and cakes would be flat and dense instead of raised and fluffy.  So how does it work?

 

When the baking soda mixes with an acid (something like buttermilk, yogurt, or vinegar), it reacts by making a lot of bubbles. These bubbles help spread the dough apart until it rises. The problem with baking soda, is that it will react right away and then sizzle out after a few minutes. This can be a problem because when you are baking cookies, cake, or bread, you need the dough to rise slowly over the cooking time to stay fluffy. That’s where baking powder comes in hand.

 Baking powder = Baking soda + 2 acids + Fillers

 

The first acid is called Monocalcium phosphate. Remember how I said baking soda reacts as soon as it touches the acid? Well this special type of acid reacts with the baking soda only when water is added. Companies use fillers like cornstarch or corn/rice flour to keep the baking powder dry while in the package. In fact, nothing will react until you add wet ingredients to the baking powder.

The reaction with the first acid is still a little too fast, since you need the baked goods to rise while cooking, so companies add a second special acid called sodium aluminum sulfate. This acid only activates when it is wet AND hot (AKA when you put the bread in the oven).

So recap:

  • Fillers: Prevent bubble reactions in baking powder by keeping it dry
  • Sodium Bicarbonate: a base that reacts with acids by forming bubbles (AKA baking soda)
  • Monocalcium Phosphate: The first acid in baking soda that reacts when wet
  • Sodium Aluminum Sulfate: The second acid in baking soda that reacts when wet AND hot

Pretty crazy right? Who knew that these white powdery ingredients could take care of so many chemical reactions in baking!

Banana Bread

Did you know?  You can test to see if your baking powder is soda is working by adding a small spoonful to vinegar. (Volcano experiment anyone?) If it fizzes, keep it…. if nothing happens, its time for some new baking soda!

Stay tuned for this week’s recipe! We will do a little kitchen science of our own with a delicious fruity desert!

Happy Creating!

Thanksgiving Fun!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so I thought we could celebrate with 4 fun Thanksgiving treats that you can make for the big meal, or just to get yourself in the holiday spirit this next week!

Either way, I bet your parents will love the assistance during your Thanksgiving celebrations.

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1. Sweet Potato Fries

The first recipe is a simple and healthy twist on the traditional sweet potato casserole. All you need is 1 sweet potato (or yam) for every 2 people eating, olive oil and some salt (or seasoning of choice).

Wash the sweet potato and preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the sweet potato into the shape of french fries.Drizzle with olive oil and salt and put in oven for 25 minutes (or until soft enough to put a fork through easily).

 

2. Rainbow Roasted Veggies

Vegetables are colorful and full of flavor, especially when you roast them! For this recipe, wash, chop, and dice veggies from the main colors of the rainbow. I chose: tomato, carrots, yellow squash, broccoli, and purple onion.

Put each color into a bowl and drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.

 

Lastly, lay out on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes (or until tender and crispy)

 

3. Turkey Fruit Platter

This fruit platter can be your Thanksgiving breakfast or even just an appetizer as the big meal is being made. You will need Greek yogurt (I used raspberry), 2 red and 2 green apples, 2 bananas, a carton of berries, pretzels, and pancake mix (homemade or store bought)

To make it easy, I put a large circle cookie cutter at the base of the plate and started layering fruit around it. Feel free to get creative. I chose my favorite fruits and you can too!

After the fruit is layered, fill in the cookie cutter with the yogurt. Be sure to use Greek yogurt so that it stays in place when you move the cookie cutter.

Next, I used a mini circle pancake for the head, pancakes cut into rectangles for the ‘arms/wings’, 2 pretzels for the legs, a corner of a pretzel for the beak, an apple peal for the ‘snood’ (AKA the turkey’s red dangly thing), and a dot of yogurt and a blackberry berry for the eyes.

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4. Cheesy Pumpkin Pie 

Who said desert has to come last? With these fun little treats, pumpkin pie can come first! You will need: Triscuits, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and stick pretzels (optional).

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First, cut each Triscuit in half to form triangles. If some break, don’t worry, you can use them to cut the rectangles.

 

 

 

 

 

Cut the cheese block into small triangles that match the Triscuits.

Lastly: assemble. Use the cream cheese as ‘glue’ and place the cheese on the triangle Triscuit, put the rectangle behind as the ‘crust’ and roll a cream cheese ball for the ‘whipped cream.

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4 fun treats for the special day! If you have some fun Thanksgiving creations, take a picture and post below! We would love to see your creativity!

 

Happy Creating!

 

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

Remember our antioxidant rich fruit of the week? Get ready to try a delicious snack using dried cranberries.

Note to the cook: Remember, cranberries are naturally tart fruits so companies will add a LOT of sugar when drying them, making them not so healthy anymore. So… when you pick up a bag of dried cranberries look for labels that say ‘reduced sugar’ or ‘50% less sugar’ to cut back. Trust me, they are still sweet and have just as good of a flavor!

Today I have a recipe that is great for after school snacks, lunch boxes, or even a nice appetizer for Thanksgiving Dinner! They are called cranberry feta pinwheels.

You will need: 1 block of cream cheese, a 5 oz bag of reduced sugar cranberries, 6 ounces of feta (I found a garlic and herb feta ended up being DELICIOUS), 4 wheat, tomato, or spinach tortillas, and 3 green onions, diced.

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First: Combine all the ingredients (except the tortillas) and mix them up in a bowl.

Then spread ¼ of the mixture onto each tortilla and roll it up.

 

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Wrap the rolls in either plastic wrap or aluminum foil and cool in the fridge for at least an hour (if you want it for lunch, make it the night before and pull out in the morning)

 

 

After the rolls have set, slice them until you have made all your pinwheels!

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So simple, but so flavorful!

Happy Creating!

 

 

 

They’re back! Cranberries Galore

Holidays are just around the corner which means grocery stores are restocking a popular seasonal fruit: Cranberries!

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Cranberries are one of the few fruits that are native to North America. They have been used in traditional dishes, for medicine, and Native Americans even used them to heal their arrow wounds!

Nowadays, the majority of cranberries are consumed during November and December for the holidays. Since we are entering that holiday season, and fresh cranberries are back in the grocery stores, let’s talk about how to cook with them. But first… how do these antioxidant-rich fruits grow?

 

When you see pictures of harvesting cranberries, you typically see flooded fields with red berries floating on top.

 

It turns out, that while growing, the cranberries actually grow when the ground is dry and sandy. They grow on vine-like plants that are close to the ground.

 

Twice a year, farmers will flood their crops. The first time is during the winter, when the plants go dormant (AKA hibernation). The water insulates the cranberries so they don’t freeze in the cold weather. After it begins to warm up, the field are drained and the cranberries continue growing.

 

In the harvest season (around October), the fields are once again flooded and big tractors go through the field to break off the cranberries. Since cranberries have air pockets inside, they will float after being knocked off the vine. This makes it easy for farmers to separate and collect them!

 

 

Did you know? A single cranberry takes an entire 16 months to grow!

 Health Benefits
  • Fat free- Just like most fruits and vegetables, cranberries have absolutely no fat
  • Good source of fiber- Fiber, as we have learned is great for our digestive system. Think of it as the ‘soap’ that helps clean the inside of us. We take showers and baths, but are we keeping our insides clean too?
  • Antioxidants- Antioxidants are compounds found in all fruits and vegetables and help protect our bodies from harm. Stress, germs, and unhealthy foods can leave our body with a poor immune system. Antioxidants can help build that immune system back up and keep it strong. 
Creative Creations

Most people just think of cranberry sauce at the Thanksgiving dinner, but there is so much more that you can do with cranberries such as:

Fresh cranberries:

  • Mix with cream cheese and jalapenos for a flavorful dip
  • Add to apple cider while cooking
  • Add to sweet breads
  • Roast with veggies (such as brussel sprouts, squash, etc.)
  • Mix with apples when making applesauce
  • Homemade cranberry salad dressing
  • Put in the oven with turkey or ham for extra flavoring

Dried & Canned cranberries:

  • Salads
  • Add to baked goods (cookies, breads, etc.)
  • Top oatmeal
  • Add to parfaits
  • Mix in with roasted carrots
 Varieties to Try

Cranberries come in all forms during this time of the year, but the fresh ones will not be as readily available in the spring and summer, so try them out while they are available!

  • Fresh
  • Frozen
  • Canned
  • Dried
Recipes:
Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

 

Happy Creating!

 

 

Dynamite and DYNAMIC Stretching!

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you have some fun plans for this weekend! Before you get started on your adventures, heres a quick tip to help you stay safe while being active. It’s called:

Dynamic Stretching

Before you start any type of physical activity, it is important to loosen and warm up your muscles and joints. Without warming up, you are more likely to pull a muscle or twist an ankle, so don’t forget it! Another good thing about dynamic stretching is that you can count it towards your 60 minutes of play each day.

So what is Dynamic Stretching? Dynamic stretching is a type of stretching that keeps you moving rather than the traditional ‘static’ stretching. It warms up your muscle while lengthening and strengthening to prevent the damage that could happen if you did static stretching on cold muscles. 

Ready to try some of these dynamic stretches? Test out the following stretches (in any order) before school, practice, or play and your muscles will feel amazing!

  • 1 minute Side Shuffle
  • 1 minute Carioca/ Grapevine
  • 1 minute Backpedal Jog
  • 1 minute Walking Knee to Chest
  • 1 minute Lunge Walk with Twist
  • 1 minute Straight Leg Kick
  • 1 minute Heel to Rear Jog
  • 1 minute Power Skip Plus Reach

If you are not sure how to do any of these stretches check out the ‘how to’ videos.

Comment below with your favorite dynamic stretch for a chance to win your very own resistance band! (Limited to ages 8-18 and living in Utah)

Get ready, get set, Get Active!