Archive for ‘Kids’

September 22, 2010

Make Your Own Flatbread Pizza

Homemade pizza is a great weeknight meal which the kids can participate in making. Kids take pride in making things on their own and helping to make the food they will eat is also a great way to get them interested in food and will be likely to eat a larger array of foods. Sometimes it is hard to come home from work and get time in with the kids, dinner made, homework, baths, and bed time routines.  Cooking is such a great way to get in one-on-one time with your kids, plus you all have to eat! Plus I think it is really important to involve your kids in preparing the food they eat. They have to learn how to cook anyway and the more you cook together the more you can teach your children how to eat well, while bonding with them.

Flatbread pizza is a great fast weeknight meal. While looking at a baking blog I saw a recipe for flatbread, I will attempt to make it and share it with you. Otherwise just buy some Naan bread from your local grocery store. (Savemart carries it in the bakery).

White Sauce (Or use your favorite pizza or marinara sauce)

2T butter

1T flour

1 clove garlic, halved

1/2c. heavy cream (room temp)

1 c. milk (room temp)

1/4 t. salt

1 t. oregano

1/8 t. cayenne pepper

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a pan and saute the garlic in the butter until fragrant.  Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes.  Slowly pour in cream and milk and whisk, while adding cayenne, salt and oregano. bring to a boil and add the parmesan cheese and whisk. Allow to thicken and boil a few minutes.

Spread the sauce on the flatbread. Top each flatbread with 1 cup of shredded mozzerella cheese.

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Add your toppings. My daughter choose “marshrooms” and “salami” (pepperoni). Her two favorites.

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I put tomatoes and red onion. My other Favorite is sundried tomatoes and artichokes.

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cook for 10-15 minutes on the top shelf. I actually have an oven stone so I cooked the pizzas on my stone for 10 minutes (which crisps the bread) and finished them off on the top rack for 5 minutes to finish cooking the toppings.

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Alternative: saute a clove of garlic cut in half in olive oil until fragrant. Brush the oil on the bread. Add shredded Fontina cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion.  (Superb!)

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August 28, 2010

Lunch Bunch – Sandwiches

Spicy Pastrami

(above is my Spicy Pastrami

With kids returning to school comes the pressure of packed lunch ideas. Maybe you’re not a parent but need ideas for your own packed lunch. Besides, bringing your own lunch to work is a much healthier option than going out to eat everyday, and it saves money. If you are like me, if my weekly lunch menu is not planned, I end up making more PB&Js and plain cheese and turkey sandwiches then I would like. Things get boring!

Below is a chart of my most favorite sandwich ingredients. This way everything is laid out in front of me and I don’t have to think up ingredients off the top of my head. It even helps me get a little more creative with flavor combos. Walk around your produce section to come up with your own list, or add to mine. Think about your leftovers – grilled steak, chicken, pork, grilled fish, slice those up and make a sandwich the next day.  

Having a chart can help remind kids of options they may not otherwise think up. Let them add their favorites to the list. At the beginning of each week make sure to choose a few sandwiches for the week and make sure you have the ingredients for those. I use lists for everything at home and work, so it only made sense to come up with a list for lunches! (Another idea is to also keep a list of items kids can chose from for sides and snacks to complete their lunch).

Bread Meat cheese Veggies Spreads/Toppings
Whole Wheat Cibatta Rolls
Rye
Pumpernickel Artisan
French
Sourdough
Pita
Naan
Lavash
Tortillas
Turkey
Ham
Bacon
Salami
Chicken
Steak
pastrami
cheddar
havarti
swiss
smoked cheddar
gouda
smoked gouda
goat cheese
brie
blue cheese
feta
mozzarella
peppercinis
jalepenos
bell peppers
cucumbers
olives
arugula
endive
lettuce
sprouts
tomato
onion
coleslaw
broccoli slaw
avocado
chilies
pickles
Pesto Mayo
Sun-dried tomato spread
Goat cheese spread
olive tapenade
stone ground mustard
red wine vinegar
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
parmesan cheese
fresh or dried herbs

OTHER:
peanut butter
jelly
marshmallow creme
strawberries
Nutella

My daughter’s favorite is peanut butter, marshmallow cream, and strawberry on whole wheat bread.

As for the spreads here are a few really easy and great tasting spreads for your sandwiches:  

Pesto Mayo 

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup prepared or homemade pesto

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.   

Jalapeno Aioli 

1 whole jalapeno, stem cut off
½ cup mayo
¼ cup sour cream
½ bunch cilantro
salt and pepper 

Place jalapenos in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until all combined. 

Sun-dried Tomato Spread 

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup goat cheese (goat cheese can be substituted with cream cheese or another soft cheese)
¼ cup Sun-dried tomatoes 

Place ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth.

Goat Cheese Spread

½ cup soft goat cheese (Chevre)
3 mint leaves
¼ c parsley
½ lemon jucied
1/8 tsp honey

In a food processor (or blender) mix all ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.

August 5, 2010

Cheesecake Cupcakes

For Kim’s birthday I decided to make cheesecake cupcakes since her favorite is cheesecake.  I have been making cupcakes each month we have birthdays in the office, which helps me develop better baking skills too. So I came up with this genius idea! Ha Ha I know I’m sure there are plenty of cheesecake cupcake recipes out there, but they are NOT all as good! This one got requests for the recipe…so they must be pretty good.

I made three different flavors – chocolate cheesecake, regular, lemon curd…

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Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

2 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4c. sour cream
2 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 package of crushed Oreos

Heat the oven to 350°

I like to use my food processor to crush the Oreos, they come out more consistently. You can also put them in ziploc bag and pound them or roll over them with a rolling pin, or glass cup.

Mix together the softened cream cheese and sugar until forms a whipped consistency. Add vanilla and sour cream until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time and incorporate each one well before adding the next. stir in the cocoa powder.

I have found the foil cupcake cups are sturdier and work better for all cheesecake cupcakes. Put foil cups in each muffin tin. Add some crushed Oreos in the bottom of each cup, just enough to cover the bottom. Fill the cups all the way full with cheesecake mixture (unlike regular cupcakes you want to fill these to the top so they are full and you get thicker cupcakes).

Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

IMG_4375 For decoration I cut an Oreo in half and pressed it in the cupcake. The key is to do this immediately after pulling the cupcakes out of the oven otherwise the cupcakes crack and get messy.

 

Tragedy strikes…

I dropped the whole carton of eggs and an egg broke…but not the one you’d think! The one that broke wasn’t the one that hit the floor, but the one in the egg carton!!! WT….ha ha ha!

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Okay on with the rest of the cupcakes…

Regular and Lemon Curd Cheesecake Cupcakes

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This is the same recipe used for both of these cupcake versions, and just a slightly altered version from the chocolate cupcakes.

2-8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1c. sugar
1t. vanilla
2T. sour cream
2 eggs
1T lemon zest
1 box vanilla wafers

Heat the oven to 350°

Mix together the softened cream cheese and sugar until forms a whipped consistency. Add vanilla and sour cream and lemon zest until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time and incorporate each one well before moving on.

Put foil cups in each muffin tin. Add a vanilla wafer to the bottom of each cup. Fill the cups all the way full with cheesecake mixture.

Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes.

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For lemon cupcakes, just add a dab of your favorite brand lemon curd and spread over the top of the cupcake.

That’s all! It’s that simple and just about that fast too. These are very impressive but simple cupcakes. Let me know what you think!

June 22, 2010

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal

Peaches ‘n Cream Oatmeal

As a kid, the “‘n Cream” oatmeals from the packets were always my favorite. At the last Farmer’s market I got some fresh peaches (white and regular) which needed to be used up. I decided to try making some peaches and cream oatmeal. It’s Fantastic!

My version of peaches ‘n creme oatmeal came out better tasting than the packets – surprise surprise right! Anything homemade can not only be healthier, but better tasting. You can’t beat big chucks of fresh (not dehydrated) peaches and fresh cream (not powdered). Just cannot be beat!  (try this recipe with frozen or canned fruit if what you like is not in season). However, I cannot stress the difference between foods you buy in a grocery store and those foods purchased locally straight from the source! Grocery stores have to pick fruits and veggies so early just to make sure they are ripe for the store, but I am convinced that is sacrafising flavor SO much. For example I buy peaches from the store they are hard, dry, and essentially tasteless when compared to a peach I buy from the farmer’s market, which is juicy, sweet and smells so much more fragrant.  If you haven’t compared, please do, you’ll look at your fruits and vegetables differently (my mouth is watering thinking about a nice freshly picked ripe peach). My dad and stepmom always told me how things from their garden are so much better tasting than from the store, I didn’t think it was possible – oh but it IS! 

4 cups water
1 cup steel cut oatmeal
(or use other oatmeal and cook according to the directions for that particular cereal)
1/2 heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup diced peaches (w/skins on)

(Additional Ingredients: you can add flaxseed, 10-grain cereal, or any other heart healthy grain you like to use. I use 1/4c. 10-grain Bob’s Red Mill Cereal and bump the water by 1/4c. )

Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil, then add the steel cut oats and stir. Allow the oats to boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat a simmer for 30 minutes. At about the last 10 minutes add the cream and finish simmering for 10 minutes.

Stir in the peaches and brown sugar. Allow the oats to sit a few minutes to soften the peaches.

If you use 5-minute oats get the water boiling and then add the heavy cream when you add the oats. If you use regular oats, add the heavy cream halfway through cooking.

June 16, 2010

Fairy Flower Salad

If you have kids, you know the novelty of the food they eat is probably more important to kids than what they are eating! Thanks to a co-worker (thanks Tarah) I came up with this salad for my daughter and neice…I’m sure eating flowers would be fun for boys too, for those of you with boys let me know if you come up with a name to appeal to the boys.

Most of these ingredients I got at the Farmer’s Market. Including the edible flowers. The strawberries and cucumbers were from the Market as well. I could have purchased greens from the Market, but I was too late and it was all sold out. So the lettuce is organic mixed baby greens from TJs and goat cheese was from TJs too.

Fairy Flower Salad

You could grow your own edible flowers and as long as you are careful not to get chemicals on them.

To make enough for 4 people:
1/2 bag of mixed baby greens (or 3 cups or so of your favorite lettuce)
1/2 cup of edible flowers (I got mine at the Farmer’s Market last weekend)
1/2 cup of diced cucumber
5 or 6 strawberries thinly sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese
Strawberry Vinaigrette

Cut large pieces of lettuce in bite-sized pieces. Wash lettuce and flowers individually and then lay on a paper towel to dry off. Dice cucumbers and slice the strawberries. Place lettuce in a bowl toss with the vinaigrette dressing. Top with flowers and spread the cucumbers and strawberries over the salad. Top with feta cheese (or goat cheese is a good contrast to the sweet dressing).

Isn’t it the prettiest salad ever! What girl wouldn’t eat that!!!

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
5 strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1/4c olive oil (Grapeseed oil is nice and clean tasting and would work really well)
1T Honey
1/4c balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Place the strawberries in a blender and coarsely chop. Add honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pulse the blender until mixed. Then with the blender running add the oil until the dressing is emulsified. Toss the dressing with the greens then top with the rest of your ingredients. (This dressing was really good with a salad with apples and goat cheese too!)