Banana Pops

Banana Pops

It’s getting to be that time again… popsicle season!   We decided to make it simple and use one of the cubs favorite ingredients – Bananas!

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First, we prepared all the toppings.  The Cub peeled the bananas and cut them in half.   This step uses her fine motor skills.

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Grandma DiDi demonstrated inserting the popsicle sticks after the Cub was finished cutting the bananas.

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The Cub gave it a go although it was hard to not push the stick all the way through the banana. Patience and practice make perfect.

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Next up the cub needed to choose her toppings, but first, of course, she needed to taste them all!!

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Grandma DiDi rolled some of the bananas in peanut butter and others in greek yogurt; making sure to cover them well.

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After laying the bananas on a flat parchment lined surface, the Cub got busy decorating them with our toppings – coconut, granola and hemp seeds.

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After sitting in the freezer for an hour they are ready to eat! We let her decorate one with fancy sprinkles. Guess which one she ate first?!

Banana Pops

Ingredients

  • Bananas, cut in half
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Nut butter of your choice
  • Yogurt
  • Shredded coconut
  • Granola
  • Sprinkles
  • Hemp seeds
  • Or any topping of your choice (chocolate would be great, too)

Directions

  1. Peel and cut bananas in half
  2. Push popsicle sticks into banana (at least an inch and a half)
  3. Roll and completely cover banana in either yogurt or nut butter
  4. Lay flat on parchment paper
  5. Sprinkle or roll on topping of choice
  6. Freeze for at least 1 hour
  7. Enjoy!

*You can store in the freezer in a air-tight container.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta

Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta

Delizioso! Nothing like homemade pasta! Grandma DiDi and the cub took on the task of making homemade whole wheat pasta and boy was it worth it! All the while, the cub learned about the time and energy it takes to prepare and cook noodles.

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The cub was feeling brave today and decided to work with the food processor. In goes the flour.

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Then the eggs and a little water!

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The cub watches while Grandma DiDi mixes the dough. The cub stands back, but isn’t as intimidated this time around.

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Grandma DiDi rolls out the dough.

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Now it’s the cubs turn to pat the dough and shape it so it can rest for an hour.

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The cub delicately wraps the dough with plastic wrap.

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Time to feed the dough through the Kitchenaid pasta attachment.

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After a few passes, the dough stretches out nice and long! Almost time to feed through the noodle press. The cub enjoys her duty of helping hold the dough with her hands.

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The cub got to pick between fettuccini and spaghetti… she chose Fettuccini and was eager to help feed it thought the roller.

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All done and the cub wants me to see her finished work!

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Fettuccini!

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And we had enough dough to make spaghetti!

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Lunch is served! Our version of Caccio e pepe! We added oil, butter, salt, pepper, parmesan and peas! Make your own creation and share it with us!

 

Whole Wheat Homemade Pasta

(adapted from Small Victories)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Water, as needed

Directions

  1. Combine in bowl or food processor the flour, eggs and salt. Run machine until it forms ball of dough and it doesn’t stick to fingers or blade. Add water, teaspoon at a time, until this occurs (took more water with the whole wheat flour than with all-purpose). When dough has formed, pat into flat disk and dust with some extra flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temp for one hour.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Using a kitchenaid mixer with correct attachments:  After dough has rested for an hour, cut dough into about 6 equal pieces (keep the rest covered).  Press one piece of dough down with the heel of your palm until it flattens,  then run it through the pasta machine on level one. I needed to do level 1 several times with the whole wheat pasta, folding over once or twice to get the consistency correct. Run dough sheets through every level (up to6 or 7) at least once or twice until you have achieved desired consistency.  Towards the end, sheets become very long and it’s necessary to gently carry them on the backs of your hands.  If dough becomes sticky dust with a little flour.
  4. You can use the flat sheets for lasagna – no pre cooking needed. We changed the attachment and fed the sheets through to make fettuccini and spaghetti.
  5. Cook noodles in boiling, salted water for about 3 minutes  and serve with your favorite sauce/toppings.
  6. All pasta should be cooked right away or refrigerated in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

 

Strawberry Spinach Wrap

Strawberry Spinach Wrap

Staying creative with meals can be a challenge, allowing us to easily fall into the same routine – I’m very guilty of this! This wrap is easy and uses items you probably already have in your refrigerator.

The cub loves sour foods, i.e., lemon, vinegar, etc. So when thinking of something that would fit her palate, we decided to make a sweet and sour tasting wrap! The perfect balance in flavor and nutrition.

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The cub began by helping Grandma DiDi cut up the strawberries.

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Next up, Grandma DiDi made the ricotta spread. She used regular ricotta cheese and added honey .

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The cub loves lemon, so we zested a lemon and added it to the ricotta spread to create a light balance that was slightly sweet with the zesty brightness of the citrus.

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The cub must try it to make sure it’s just right! She approves!

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Grandma DiDi grabs a lavash wrap and spreads the ricotta on one side.

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Next, the cub layers spinach leaves on the ricotta.

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On go the strawberries!

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Strawberries go really well with a balsamic dressing so we added that to give it a bit more flavor. The cub helps drip it on the strawberries. It’s almost time to eat!

 

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Such fun watching it roll up. Some of the ingredients fell out the side and the cub helped push them back in as Grandma DiDi rolled it up.

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Dig in! A perfectly balanced snack or lunch that is sure to satisfy your sweet and sour cravings!

 

Spinach Strawberry Wrap

Ingredients for 2 wraps

  • 1 12 x 9  whole wheat Lavash cut in half
  • Handful of spinach/or arugula
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon zest or to taste
  • 1 tsp honey or to taste
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cut the lavash in half, crosswise.
  2. Mix the ricotta cheese with honey and lemon zest and set aside. Wash the strawberries and slice.
  3. Make dressing by mixing vinegar, oil and salt and pepper.
  4. To assemble, spread half of the ricotta on top half of the lavash as well as the one inch portion on other end to create a glue when you roll it into a wrap.
  5. Cover the ricotta with a thin layer of spinach.
  6. Cover the spinach with a thin layer of strawberries.
  7. Drizzle with as much balsamic dressing as you would like and roll up.
  8. Cut in half at an angle or into two inch rings.
  9. Remaining dressing can be used for dipping on the side.

 

Deviled Egg Bunnies

Deviled Egg Bunnies

Easter is upon us, and before you run out to the store to grab everything you need for the celebrations, consider jazzing up your deviled egg recipe by adding some bunny faces to them.

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After the eggs had been hard-boiled and cooled, the cub got right into rolling and peeling them. It took a few tries until she understood how to roll them under her palm. On this particular day she woke up feeling like a princess, so, of course, she needed to dress the part.

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Grandma DiDi then demonstrated how to cut them in half. With a little bit of help, the cub did an excellent job.

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Grandma DiDi showed the cub how to pop the yolk out of the egg white. The cub watched intently.

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She did it! Yay!

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Now it’s the cubs turn. This took patience and practice.

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One for you, one for me. The cub is always tasting the food we make.

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Now for the additions to the deviled egg mix. The Cub and her knife skills went to work. Chopping the celery to add to the mix was easy.

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This Cinderella princess is right at ease stirring up a batch of deviled eggs.

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Pausing to smell the ingredients is a MUST. The cub helps us chop some dill for the deviled egg mix and I think we will also use some for whiskers.

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Next up the cub chopped up some olives for the deviled egg bunny decorations. We think we will use them for eyes and maybe a nose!

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We let the cub design her own, but for our finished product, Grandma DiDi took over the assembly of the bunnies.

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HOPPY EASTER!

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We hope you enjoy the day with friends and family!

Deviled Egg Bunnies

Ingredients

  • Dozen hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 -2 Tbsp Chopped celery (to taste)
  • 1-2 Tbsp mayonaise
  • 2-3 Tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dill, chopped
  • Toppings: radish, carrots, chives, olives, dill, and capers

Directions

    1. Bring eggs to a gentle boil for about 10 minutes then let them sit in the hot water for about another 5, covered. Cool them completely in an ice bath for 10 minutes.
    2. Peel eggs and slice them lengthwise in half.
    3. Remove yolks and place in a medium size bowl. Smash well with a fork.
    4. Add yogurt, mayonnaise and mustard  to the egg yolks and blend well. Add more or less depending on the consistency you prefer.
    5. Add chopped celery, salt, pepper, and dill to the egg yolks (we kept the eggs pretty simple. Feel free to add other ingredients like onions, pickles etc.)
    6. Fill the egg white halves with prepared yolk mixture using a small spoon or pastry bag.
    7. Decorate the eggs with eyes, nose, whiskers and a smile using  your choice of toppings.
    8. Eat and enjoy!

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

In honor of the cubs birthday this week, we made DOUGHNUTS!!!

She was thrilled to say the least and it was a new experience for Grandma DiDi. As much as she’s cooked in her day, she’s never made doughnuts.  We found the recipe on Flick of a WhiskDonuts

The cub started by greasing the doughnut pan.

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Then she helped by mixing the dough ingredients.

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Watching Grandma DiDi measure the ingredients. In goes the vanilla.

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Eggs are so fun! Especially when Grandma DiDi cracks them super high and lets the egg slip out.

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“Grandma, what’s that?” The cub gets her first lesson in zesting!
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Time to add the flour. The cub was up for this task.

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The dough become too thick so Grandma DiDi took over stirring.

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Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to make a DIY pastry bag. The cub doesn’t know what to think…

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Grandma DiDI cut just one corner of the ziplock bag.

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And squeezes the dough into the doughnut baking sheet.  See Note*

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They are ready for the oven!

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While the doughnuts bake, the cub and Grandma DiDi make the icing. Of course, it’s lemon flavor! One of the cubs favorite flavors!

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After the milk and powdered sugar were added, the cub enjoyed the leftover powdered sugar. Yum, yum, extra yum!

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The doughnuts are ready and the cub dips them into the icing!

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And quickly sneaks a bite! Cub approved and such a special treat for a special girl!

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Happy Birthday, Cub!

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

Recipe from Flick of the Whisk

Ingredients

For the doughnuts:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
For the glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp lemon zest
  • 7-8 tbsp fresh lemon juice or milk(or little of each depending on taste)
  • Optional: sprinkles(Cubs favorite!)

Directions

Make the doughnuts:
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and grease your doughnut pans with butter or non-stick spray.
    2. In a large bowl, combine butter, oil and sugar and whisk until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    3. Add in eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and yogurt and whisk until smooth.
    4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and stir until combined. Stir in blueberries. Batter will be thick.
    5. Spoon batter into a large disposable piping bag or freezer bag. Cut off the end of the bag so your opening is about ½-3/4” wide (big enough for the blueberries to get through). Pipe batter once around each doughnut hole – the batter shouldn’t quite fill the hole as they’ll expand and rise.
    6. Bake for 7-8 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from the doughnut pan to cool completely.
Make the glaze:
  1. In a shallow, medium bowl, combine sugar, zest, and 6 tbsp of juice or milk. Add an additional 1-2 tbsp of liquid if needed. You want your glaze to be thin enough to evenly coat your doughnuts, but thick enough that it will set and become dry to the tough.
  2. When doughnuts are completely cool, dip tops of doughnuts into the glaze and overturn so the glaze runs down the sides. Set aside for the glaze to set.

*Note: We purchased a mini doughnut pan and found that piping the dough into the little molds was difficult and that the blueberries were almost too big for the mini doughnuts. A larger doughnut baking sheet would work better.

Strawberry Nice Cream

Strawberry Nice Cream

The cub had a friend join us this week! The wildly talented vegan blogger Sophia DeSantis of Veggies Don’t Bite stopped by with her youngest son to make some Nice Cream.

Fun facts: Sophia and I met through a moms group when the cub and her son were just a few months old and the two of them are just 5 days apart.

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The two started off by helping remove the leaves from the strawberries. Team work at its finest!

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Now time to chop the strawberries. The cub goes first while her friend watches.

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Now it’s his turn. The cub started sneaking strawberries and eating them.

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Earlier in the day, we had cut up a few bananas in 1/2 inch pieces and put them in the freezer. We added the frozen bananas to the blender, but someone thought they needed to eat a few, too.

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In go the chopped strawberries. I see you!

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I think handling two toddlers in the kitchen has Grandma DiDi a little nervous. 😉 Next up, the Califia Almond Milk. This is not a sponsored post, but we really love their unsweetened almond milk.

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Grandma DiDi helps with the blender – the nice cream is almost ready!

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After pouring the mixture into a freezer-safe dish, we served up their very own creation – “Nice” Cream! They wanted more, and more, and more!!!

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It’s as good as it looks! So easy, vegan, refined sugar-free, gluten-free and delicious! A must try! Use our combination or try your own flavor – peanut butter/chocolate; coconut/pecan; blueberry/lemon… the possibilities are endless.

Strawberry Nice Cream

Ingredients

  • 10 Strawberries, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 Bananas, cut into 1/2in pieces and frozen
  •  1 tsp good vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Directions:

  1. Cut bananas into inch pieces and freeze in a plastic bag for a few hours.
  2. Once bananas are frozen, place all ingredients into blender or food processor and blend until thoroughly mixed. Poor into a 9 X 5 bread pan and freeze about 1 hour.   Scoop and serve.

Note: If frozen too long just let it sit out for about 10 minutes until it is scoop-able.

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Anyone else on an endless cycle of colds with their little ones this season? The cub has had her fair share of sickness. A balanced, healthy diet can help boost your immune system, so we are doing all we can to help the cub during this season.

For centuries soup has been regarded as a cold fighting food. To back up this theory, we dive into the nutritional benefits of each ingredient.

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The cub learns about thyme and how to strip it. Grandma DiDi models and the cub follows along.

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The cub always smell new ingredients she uses. It activates more than one sense in the cub helping her to fully understand it.

Thyme: The flowers, leaves, and oil of thyme have been used to treat bedwetting, diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, colic, sore throat, cough, including whooping-cough, bronchitis, flatulence, and as a diuretic, to increase urination.

Thyme to eat up!

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Next up, the cub chops the zucchini. If you have been following along, you will notice the cub has improved on her knife skills. We’re so proud!

Zucchini: Already being an outstanding source of manganese and vitamin C, zucchini is also contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus.

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The cub moves onto chopping the bell peppers. Check out those knife skills!

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Along with smelling our ingredients, we eat them, too, to make sure they are delicious.

Bell peppers: are rich in many vitamins and antioxidants, especially vitamin C and various carotenoids.

Eat up, Cub!

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Grandma DiDi helped chop the rest of ingredients with a quick kiss to show love and appreciation for one another.

Onion: An onion contains fiber and folic acid, and B vitamin that helps the body make healthy new cells.

Carrots: Most of the benefits of carrots can be attributed to their beta-carotene and fiber content. These root vegetables are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamin A, C, K, and B8, as well as pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.

Potato: Potatoes offer the body fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron, and are an excellent source of potassium.

Celery: The benefits of celery begin with it being an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, in addition to vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin B6.

Tomatoes: Are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Niacin, Calcium, Magnesium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Iron, Potassium and Copper.

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Once again, the cub tests out how celery leaves taste. Eat your antioxidants, little one!

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We added all the yummy ingredients to a pot to cook. Can you smell the aroma? Delicious!

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Grandma DiDi made her own vegetable broth and added it to the soup. You can also use store-bought. The cub watches with curiosity.

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Time to add our noodles. We decided to use Eden Organic Pasta Vegetable Noodles for our soup. Bonus points for adding a learning component to the soup!

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In they go from the loving arms of Grandma DiDi.

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The final product that’s filled with so much goodness. Add fresh lemon for added Vitamin C – a proven way to help boost your immune system and a brightened flavor in whatever you’re eating!

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She’s so proud of her dish. Extra credit: Happiness is also known to lead to better health! 😁

 

Veggie Alphabet Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • I cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • I cup bell peppers – whatever color you want, diced
  • 3 – 4 small yukon gold or red skinned potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • approximately 4 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken if you wish) *see note
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups alphabet noodles *see note
  • Salt and pepper to taste (note that canned tomatoes have a lot of salt)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Add whatever veggies you want, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips, parsnips, etc.

Directions:

  1. Put oil in large dutch oven pot or pan.
  2. Add onion, celery,  and carrots and saute until softened (about 5 – 10 min) over medium heat.
  3. Add peppers, zucchini and potatoes with thyme and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in tomatoes and broth and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add noodles and cook about 10 minutes (or per package direction of noodles).
  6. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Note: I have found that packaged vegetable broths taste terrible. So as I cook I throw all leftover trimmings of veggies I have (carrot ends, stems of parsley, and other herbs, etc) into a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. I add to them and then put them in a pot with water and some fresh garlic, onion, peppercorns, bay leaves etc)  and simmer for a while then strain.  Freeze and use when needed.

Also noodles in broth will continue to soak up the water/broth until there is no more liquid. It’s best to eat soup with pasta first couple days.   You can freeze, but the noodles don’t always hold up well structurally, although they still taste wonderful.