Plantain Crusted Chicken Strips

Plantain Crusted Chicken Strips

A new restaurant recently opened up by our house and they make these amazingly crunchy and slightly sweet plantain chicken strips. The cub loves them so we decided to try and recreate them. Not quite the same, but close!

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The cub started off the preparations by scooping some coconut oil into a bowl. This will serve as a coating for the chicken.

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We ran to our nearest Trader Joes and grabbed their Sweet Plantain Chips. Sooo good!

We placed the chips in an old coffee grinder to bring them to a fine ground.

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The cub enjoyed pushing the button!

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Grandma DiDi scooped the plantain grinds into a bowl while the cub watched.

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The cub seasoned the plantains with salt and pepper. Now they are ready to dip the chicken!

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The cub helps Grandma DiDi coat the chicken in plantain grinds.

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The chicken strips are placed on a baking sheet ready to go in the oven.

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Time to dig in!

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Try our healthier version of a chicken strip! Enjoy!

Plantain Crusted Chicken Strips

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lbs. chicken breast strips
  • 1/2 bag Sweet Plantain Chips from Trader Joes, crushed to either a crunchy or fine grind
  • Approximately 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted or 2 eggs whipped
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F
  2. Grind plantain chips to a fine ground (or courser if you choose)
  3. Season plantain grounds with salt and pepper
  4. Dip chicken strips in coconut oil (egg would work also here)
  5. Dredge chicken in plantain grounds
  6. Place chicken on parchment covered baking sheets
  7. Bake chicken for 15 – 20 min or until cooked through

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

Veggie Quinoa Sushi

Veggie Quinoa Sushi

We are big fans of lazycatkitchen.com and her plant-based recipes! Grandma DiDi made these a while back for a baby shower and they were a hit. Light, delicious and healthy. So when trying to think of a healthy lunch option for the cub, these popped up! The cub is a big fan of sushi and we always like introducing new ideas to her.

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To truly make sticky quinoa for the sushi, we dissolved miso in water to add to the quinoa while it cooked. The cub helps stir it up and watches it dissolve.

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Next up, its time to julienne some vegetables. New word for the cub and she is happy to help cut the pickled carrots, because…

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She ate them all! She loves anything pickled. Remember the pickled veggies we made a few weeks ago. Obsessed! I’m not upset about it as it is great for her overall gut health and making them ourselves cuts down on the salt!

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Back to work! Cutting more veggies. Almost ready to make the sushi.

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Grandma DiDi took the quinoa off the stove so it can cool before it goes on the nori. If we add it too soon, it would ruin the nori. While we wait, the cub helps get the rolling station set up. Such a great helper.

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Quinoa is all cool. Grandma DiDi spreads it in an even layer on the nori while the cub eats more carrots.

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Add whatever combination of veggies you would like. We did raw beets and cucumber with pickled carrots and some avocado. We also tried another one that included raw beet kraut.

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The cub is very interested in the rolling. “Grandma, you’re doing it”, yells the cub.

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“SUSHI”!!! Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to cut it into bite-sized rolls. Almost time to eat!

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So simple, yet so wholesome and delicious. Pair with your favorite dipping sauce and you have an excellent lunch.

 

Veggie Quinoa Sushi

Ingredients

  • 6 nori sheets
  • 1½ cup quinoa (we used a mix of red and white.  Black is great if you can find it)
  • 3 tbsp white miso paste*
  • 1 small avocado, peeled & sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled & julienned
  • 1 beetroot, peeled & julienned
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled & julienned
  • tamari (for GF version) or soy sauce

Directions (modified from lazycatkitchen.com)

  1. Rinse your quinoa. Dissolve miso paste in ½ cup of water. Place rinsed quinoa in a pot with a see-through lid. Add dissolved miso paste and an extra 1 and ¾ cup of water to the pot. Put the lid on and bring quinoa to the boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat right down to simmer. Simmer (with a lid on) until all of the water has been absorbed. Once quinoa absorbs all the water (tilt the pot slightly to check if there is any water left in it), turn the heat off and leave the pot (DO NOT LIFT THE LID) on a hot hob for about 5-10 mins so that quinoa finishes cooking in its own steam. Make sure you cool it down completely before making sushi rolls or else nori sheets will become soggy.
  2. Time to roll your sushi – Wrap your sushi mat (bamboo mat or folded kitchen towel) in a large piece of saran wrap. Put the mat down, put a nori sheet on top of the mat, shiny side down. Grab some quinoa with a spoon and spread it evenly on the nori sheet leaving a 1 cm margin at the very top, for sealing. As well as spreading the quinoa evenly, keep on pressing it into the mat with the back of a spoon.
  3. Place avocado slices, a few pieces of beet, carrot and cucumber all along the sheet(veggies of your choice)
  4.  Using the mat, slowly start rolling the nori, squeezing it tightly with both hands as you roll. Go back every now and then to make sure everything is tightly bonded.
  5. Once you get to the end, dip your finger in water and brush the water on the margin to seal the roll. Finish rolling and set the roll aside.
  6. Cut them into 1 cm slices with a sharp knife. Serve with a side of tamari (or soy sauce) and wasabi if desired.

Trader Joe’s Pizza and Breadsticks

Trader Joe’s Pizza and Breadsticks

We’re back! Excuse our short break… we’ve been dreaming up new recipes that we can’t wait to share!

I don’t know about you, but Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) is life changing for us. They just know how to make life easier! Although I would love to make homemade pizza dough, TJ’s has pre-made bags of dough in the refrigerator section. Everything in this recipe is from Trader Joe’s so enjoy some one-stop shopping. pizza 2

We used TJ’s whole wheat pizza dough. They also have plain and garlic herb. We started by washing our hands, getting them extra dry and then covering them with flour. This, of course, was the cubs favorite part.

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Kneading the dough is important, and turns out, lots of fun!

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Good Job, Cub! That looks like its ready to roll out.

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Another fun tool to use – a rolling pin! The cub took this step very seriously.

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Pat, pat, pat… it’s ready for sauce!

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We grabbed a bag of pre-washed spinach leaves at TJ’s and thought it would be a great idea to chop it up and add it to the sauce. Hidden veggies is my thing.

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The cub spreads on the sauce perfectly.

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Now for the cheese!  We used a few different kinds of shredded cheese from TJ’s. We had a little extra dough so we rolled it out, sprinkled them with cheese and added them to the oven as well.  The Cub enjoyed dipping them into the sauce or ‘dip dip’ as the cub would say.

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Yummy! For added flavor, we added Everything But the Bagel seasoning to the breadsticks. If you haven’t tried Everything but the Bagel seasoning at TJ’s, go buy some now! It can be added to anything.

 

TJ’s Pizza and Breadsticks

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s pizza dough
  • 1 container of Trader Joe’s pizza sauce
  • Cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, etc – any cheese that you want)
  • 1 bag of pre washed spinach leaves
  • Any other toppings of your choice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  1. Follow the directions on bag of dough for how to prepare dough for toppings.(i.e., allow to rest outside of bag and refrigerator before handling)
  2. We cut dough into two equal parts for easy handling.
  3. Flour your work surface with 1 – 2 tbsp flour.  Knead dough until it is workable.   Roll or manipulate into shape of choice.
  4. Chop 1 cup of spinach and mix into sauce.  Spread the sauce onto the dough in an even layer.
  5. Sprinkle generously with shredded cheese
  6. Add additional toppings of your choice.
  7. Bake in the over for 12- 15 minutes or the crust is golden brown.

Ribbon Salad

Ribbon Salad

Better known as Pear, Pomegranate and Roasted Butternut Squash salad with Maple Sesame Vinaigrette from the spiralizer inspired blog Inspiralized.com. If you were to say the full name to your toddler, they may have a confused look on their face. So we toddlerized the title to simply, Ribbon Salad!

Getting kids to eat veggies has to be fun! Using tools, like a spiralizer changes the way a child thinks about eating. It’s different, creative and fun!

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Grandma DiDi peeled and spiralized the butternut squash. After tossing it with oil, salt and pepper, she popped it in the oven to roast.

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While the butternut squash roasted, we made the maple sesame vinaigrette.  Once again, the cub is mesmerized by the garlic press.

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Measuring out ingredients always makes the cub feel part of the process. At two-years-old, she’s very independent and loves to do things by herself.

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Stir, stir and look cute.

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With the dressing complete, Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to make ribbons out of an asian pear. The texture of an Asian pear is firmer than a regular pear so it holds up to the spiralizer.

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The cub is so proud of the finished product! So is Grandma.

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Time to give it a try!

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We added  all the ingredients to the bowl which has the dressing at the bottom.

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In goes the pomegranate seeds and arugula.

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Toss and get ready to enjoy!

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To add to the experience and FUN, the cub ate her salad with chopsticks. Never underestimate how creativity in the kitchen can influence your child to eat.

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Ribbon Salad

 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, noodles trimmed (flat blade)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large asian pear (noodle blade)
  • 5 oz container of arugula
  • ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and then minced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the butternut squash noodles. Coat lightly with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper and roast for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through but still al dente.
  1. While the squash cooks, combine all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
  2. Spiralize the pear and add to a large mixing bowl with the arugula and walnuts. Once butternut squash is done, add it to the large bowl, toss with vinaigrette thoroughly.
  3. Serve immediately.