Pear Chips

Pear Chips

In ancient China, people believed that pears represented immortality and prosperity because pear trees live for a long time. We couldn’t think of a better post to start off 2018 than a recipe symbolizing prosperity in the new year.

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The cub started off by cutting up the pear. Her slices weren’t exactly perfect, but she was able to practice her cutting skills and she felt engaged in the process.

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Next up is her favorite part, measuring and smelling the spices! This girl loves flavor on her food.

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And we always stop to smell them.

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And snack on our ingredients…

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This particular day was special because we had G-ma in town for the holidays. The cub enjoyed showing G-ma how she brushed the maple syrup on each pear slice. Some may have had a bit too much maple syrup. 🙂

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Quick break to taste the maple syrup. Finger-licking good.

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That wasn’t enough so she decided to lick the brush. *No double dipping occurred in the process.

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After the pears had been brushed with maple syrup, we sprinkled the spices over the pears. This is the cubs best “salt bae” impression. I’m pretty sure that this could also become an internet sensation for this “spice bae” signature move.

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Dusting complete. Some more than others, but that’s ok. Embrace the imperfections of cooking with a little one.

Pear12Slow baked to perfection. Delicious, wholesome, flavorful and prosperous! The cub wishes you a happy new year filled with endless possibilities in the kitchen.

 

Pear Chips
(recipe adapted from Vegetarian Heartland)

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe, firm Bartlett pears, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 3 different toppings can be used – see note
    • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon with or without pinch of cayenne
    • 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 225ÂşF.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Thinly slice pears.
  4. Prepare the chosen dry spice ingredients.
  5. Arrange pear slices in a single layer on the baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Brush with maple syrup on both sides and sprinkle with spice mixture.
  6. Bake, flipping once halfway through the baking time until all moisture is removed and they are brittle and not spongy – about 3 hours.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool. They should be the consistency of a chip when cooled.
  8. Store in resealable bag at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Note: We used the cinnamon without the cayenne for the cub but the other mixes are delicious for more adult/sophisticated taste or your adventuresome cub).

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 ž 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.

Apple Granola Bars

Apple Granola Bars

Kids are always looking for a sweet treat, so what better way to fill that craving then with one of these yummy apple bars. Low in sugar and high in nutrients! The cub thinks they are pretty great!

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But first, a cracker! Grandma DiDi recently took a trip to Boston to walk the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk that raises money for the Dana Farber center and their fight against cancer. While enjoying the city, she stopped in to the famous Eataly and couldn’t resist this cute apron for the cub. Thanks, Grandma DiDi.

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The cub helped by chopping up the apples for the apple sauce.

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Grandma DiDi showed the cub all the spices that needed to be added to the apple mixture. In went the apples, too.

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As always, we must stop and smell the ingredients. It’s part of what makes a great cook!

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Stir it up! Then, Grandma DiDi moved it to the stove to heat until the apples become mushy and soft.

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While the apple mixture heats on the stove, the cub works on the crust. To be honest, we didn’t add enough sugar to the first recipe and it was lacking in flavor, so we upped it and now it’s delicious. Nothing wrong with a little trial and error until your recipes are just right!

The cub added all the dry ingredients, plus jarred  apple sauce to form the crust. Once it forms, we transferred it to the baking dish.

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We used parchment paper under the crust to make clean up and serving easier. Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to press the crust into the bottom of the pan in a nice even layer.

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Over on the stove, Grandma DiDi mashed up the apple mixture and poured it over the crust. Spread it thin and it’s time to add the granola.

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We used Purely Elizabeth Granola, maple flavor, but you can use any granola you wish.

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After it baked for 20-25 mins, we allowed it to cool, then pulled it out of the pan with ease thanks to the parchment paper.

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Slice into squares and Voila! Easy and healthy and perfect for a grab and go breakfast or snack.

 

Apple Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 4 Gala apples
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of cardamom
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 1/2 cup jarred unsweetened apple sauce.
  • 1 c. almond flour
  • 1/2 gluten-free flour + 2 tbsp
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 c. Purely Elizabeth Granola (We used maple walnut flavor)

Directions

  1. Pre heat the oven to 325 degrees and line the 8 X 8 pan with parchment paper so the bars can be easily lifted out of pan to make it a breeze to cut.
  2. Make the applesauce by washing, peeling and cutting up the apples and placing them into a saucepan.  Add the cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. cardamom and cook over low heat until soft and mash with a potato masher.  Add the lemon juice and let cool.
  3. Make the crumb crust. Mix Almond, gluten-free flour, salt, 1/2 tsp. cardamom and sugar into a bowl and mix well with 1/2 cup of jarred applesauce.
  4.  Once mixture becomes more like a dough, press into bottom of 8 X 8 pan.
  5. Pour apple mixture from pan over the crust.
  6. Sprinkle the granola over the top and cook for approximately 20 – 25 minutes.

Cool and cut into squares. Enjoy

Pickled Veggies

Pickled Veggies

If there is one thing that can satisfy the cub, it’s pickles! She loves sour foods like lemons, limes and capers. As with anything, making it at home lets you control how much salt and sugar is added to the recipe. I prefer these over store-bought any day!

Parents, they are also the perfect addition to a cheese board at your next holiday gathering!

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Not all mornings start with a smile. It took a little time to warm up to cooking on this particular morning. The cub started by helping us chop up the veggies using her Little Chef knife.

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In goes the Apple Cider Vinegar. Did you know that Apple Cider Vinegar can help acid reflux, lower blood pressure, improve diabetes and support weight loss. The benefits of apple cider vinegar come from its powerful healing compounds, which include acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes. We’ll take it!

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While measuring out ingredients, the cub discovered her measuring tool made music. She made lots of music.

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After all the ingredients went in for the base, the cub got a good sniff. She approved.

Next, the base went on the stove to cook for 3 -5 mins just until salt and sugar dissolved

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While the base heated, we added our cut raw veggies to the jars. You can add them in any order you would like.

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Grandma DiDi helps finish off the jars. Aren’t they pretty.

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In goes the base. Make sure it covers the vegetables. Take the lid and screw it on really tights. Pop them in the fridge and let them sit for 24 hours before enjoying.

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The most delicious addition to any sandwich, burger, charcuterie board, or just set out as an appetizer. Just in time for all your fall gatherings.  Oh, and the cub loves them!

Refrigerated Pickled Veggies

Ingredients

  • Vegetables of choice, chopped to bite size pieces (carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, green beans, etc.)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp (or less) sugar
  • 1  Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 clove garlic (per jar)
  • dill sprigs for each jar
  • Optional – jalepeno slices

Directions
Makes 2 pint jars

  1. Prepare jars by washing thoroughly. Although, it is not required to sterilize jars it is highly recommended. Put clean jars and lids into large pan of water and bring to boil. Boil for 3 – 5 minutes and keep at simmer until ready to fill.
  2. Put vinegar, water, salt and sugar in saucepan and bring to boil and simmer until sugar dissolved. About 5 minutes.
  3. Have all vegetables washed, scrubbed and prepped. Cut vegetables into the size and shape you prefer.  Place peeled garlic clove into each jar and sprig of dill.  Divide mustard seeds into each jar.  
  4. Compress vegetables tightly into each jar.  They will shrink in size while pickling.
  5. Poor hot liquid into each jar and seal with lids. Allow to cool on counter.  Then refrigerate. Allow 24 hours before eating.
  6. Pickles will last about 2 weeks in refrigerator

Broccoli Cheese Muffins

Broccoli Cheese Muffins

Thankfully, our little cub still loves broccoli… for now. She will eat steamed brocoli dipped in yummy sauces or butter, blended in smoothies as well as mixed into baked goods. These Claire’s Little Tot’s adapted broccoli cheese muffins are an easy way to get broccoli in your little ones diet.

Not all mornings are created equal. On this particular morning, the cub wanted nothing to do with our recipe. We got creative and invited all her “friends” to cook with us. Cooking isn’t really worth it unless it’s fun! And cooking is always more fun with friends!

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We started our cooking session by lining up all our toys to watch! The cub cut the broccoli in to little pieces, and then we finished the job chopping the broccoli with a big-kid knife.

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In goes the flour and the crowd cheers!

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We added all the dry ingredients and then Anna (from Frozen) wanted to stir, too! Team effort is important around here.

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Grandma DiDi’s turn to stir! The cub says, “Say Cheese.”

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Now it’s time to add the wet ingredients. This time Olaf is coming in for the assist. You can never have enough help.

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After Grandma DiDi helped stir the ingredients well, the cub (and her baby doll) helped scoop the batter into the muffin tin. We popped them in the oven while the cub and all her friends waited patiently for the muffins to bake.

BC9Ding! Cooked to perfection.

 

Broccoli Cheese Muffins

 

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of wheat flour
  • 5 oz grated cheese (we used shredded cheddar but any cheese would be good)
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 6fl oz of milk (I use whole milk)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees
  2. Cook the broccoli until tender (boil or steam) and mash with the back of a fork
  3. In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, cooked broccoli and cheese
  4. Add the oil, beaten egg, milk and mix well
  5. Spoon the mixture into a well-greased 12 hole muffin tin  (the consistency should be a moist, sticky dough that is quite thick)
  6. Bake for around 30 minutes or until golden
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled, store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and eat cold or, if we’re at home, I reheat them for 30 seconds in the microwave. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months, just take them out when you need them and reheat once defrosted.

 

Options: Chopped kale, spinach, swiss chard, carrots grated zucchini or other types of squash can be substituted. Get creative with flavor. If your little one likes it, add onion, garlic, etc.

Emoji Ice Cubes

Emoji Ice Cubes

Who doesn’t love an Emoji?! And better yet, when they are used to add wholesome ingredients to your little one’s diet.  The cub loves juice (preferably the extra sugary kind), so we thought it would be fun to make juice ice cubes that she could add to her water that didn’t have all the added preservatives and sugar!

Engaging a child’s senses is the key to discovery. Drawing a child’s attention to the five senses and discussing them increases their understanding of, and communication about, the world around them. These ice cubes engage four of the five senses. They smell like fresh fruit, they look fun with funny faces and turn her clear water different colors, they feel cold (brrr!), and taste delicious.

We made two kinds of ice cubes. Apple cucumber and beet strawberry.

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The cub started by washing the apple and the beet.

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Next up, we started chopping and prepping all the ingredients for the blender. She soon discovered how fun an apple corer can be and pushed extra hard to finish the job.

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Surprise! Look what’s left!

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With her Curious Chef (kid safe) knife, the cub cut up the cucumber. We’ve been practicing and it shows! She’s really getting the hang of it.

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We added the cucumber and the apple to the blender to mix. Puree until smooth.

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We decided to fill half the Koji Cool Moji ice cube mold with the cucumber and apple mixture and the other half with the beet and strawberry mixture.

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The cub couldn’t wait to drink the leftover cucumber apple puree. She left Grandma DiDi to cut the strawberries.

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Back to work! After gulping down her juice, the cub is ready to do her part by cutting the strawberries. Grandma DiDi peeled and chopped the beet and added it to the blender. Emery added the strawberries and they were ready to mix.

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Into the ice cube mold it goes!

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Leftover beet and strawberry mixture didn’t stand a chance with this girl! Gulp, gulp, gone! We popped the ice cube mold into the freezer and let them set for 2 hours.

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Once frozen, the cub picked her favorite faces to add to her water. Healthy and fun water – it’s a win/win!

 

Emoji Ice Cubes

 

Ingredients

  • Apple
  • Cucumber
  • Beet
  • Strawberry
  • Water

Directions

  1. Wash all fruit and vegetables well
  2. Apple and cucumber blend:
    1. Cube equal portions of apple and cucumber and place into the blender
    2. Puree until smooth and pour into ice cube trays
    3. Add water, if necessary
    4. Note: Cute ice cube shapes and designs will enhance the taste!
  3. Strawberry and beet blend:
    1. Peel and chop beet and add to blender
    2. Slice the strawberries into quarters and add to the blender
    3. Puree until smooth and pour into ice cube trays
    4. Add water, if necessary
  4. Freeze for two hours and enjoy!

NOTES:

Use the proportion of each fruit or vegetable that you feel will entice your child to consume it. For example, we used about 1/3 of the medium-sized beet (raw) with about 1 1/2 cups of strawberries. Beet is a strong flavor and we wanted the strawberry taste to be up front. Possibilities are endless when thinking up new combinations.

Other optional additions: Honey, agave, spices or herbs of your choice

 

Sweet Potato Flatbread

Sweet Potato Flatbread

The Kitchen Cub is not a huge fan of potatoes, unless it’s a french fry, so when we came across this recipe from Feasting on Fruit, we were eager to see if she would like it.  Sweet Potatoes are high in Vitamin A and C. They also fill up a growing toddler, something we try to stay on top of to avoid meltdowns. 😉

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The cub started by helping Grandma DiDi peel and chop the sweet potatoes. She then added them to the pot with a little water so Grandma DiDi could but on the stove to boil. While the potatoes cooked, we started on the dough.

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The cub added tapioca flour, quinoa flour (recipe calls for gluten free flour which we will try next time), salt and baking soda(cinnamon and sugar if you’re doing the sweet version) to a bowl. Measuring and pouring ingredients in a bowl are a fan favorite for the cub.   cub9

We added the cooked sweet potatoes after they pureed in the blender. Take turns stirring the mixture and watch as it starts to look like dough.

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The cub wanted to feel the texture and help mix it into dough.  We talked about the consistency and how bread is made from dough.

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Grandma DiDi helped form it into a perfect dough ball and the cub patted it for a finishing touch. We took a knife and cut it into 6 equal pieces.

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We laid down parchment paper and lots of flour and started to roll out each piece. Using a rolling pin was extra fun for the cub.  We also tried just patting them out in-between our palms like you’d make a tortilla. Both methods worked.

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Heat a nonstick skillet pan and cook the flatbreads for approximately two minutes.   Transfer to a bowl and cover with a dampened towel to keep warm.

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Or you can dig in right away like the cub!

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We thought the flatbreads would be more fun cut into shapes.  We grabbed a couple cookie cutters and got creative!

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It was The Kitchen Cubs’ consensus that the shapes tasted the best, especially if you dipped them in pure maple syrup.  The heart shaped peanut butter and banana sandwich was a big hit and didn’t need to be “dipped” at all!

Sweet Potato Flatbread

 

Ingredients

  • Potato Puree
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 cup water

Dough

  • 1 cup of the sweet potato puree above
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Sweet version: 2 tbsps of coconut sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Savory version: 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Potato puree: Peel and roughly chop the sweet potato.
  2. Transfer to a medium saucepan, add the water, and boil till tender. Do not drain.
  3. Puree the potato and cooking water in a blender till smooth. Transfer to another bowl (or back into the pot) and wash your blender immediately.
  4. Dough: Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  5. Add 1 cup of potato puree.
  6. Mix/knead to form a slightly stick dough. If it is too sticky, add 1/4 cup more gluten free flour.
  7. Divide into 5 – 6 balls.
  8. Roll out each ball between two piece of wax paper to about 1 cm thickness.
  9. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat.
  10. Place a flatbread in the pan and cook for 1 to 1.5 minutes or until bubbles start to show. Flip, then cook for another 1 to 1.5 minutes on the second side. There should be some brown spots on each side.
  11. Remove from heat and place in a bowl under a damp towel to keep them soft while you cook the others.
  12. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat as mentioned above.
RECIPE NOTES
For a gum free version, either use a gum-free GF blend like the King Arther Gluten Free Flour Blend or use 1 cup of brown rice flour instead of the GF all purpose. I still prefer the texture with the GF blend, but the brown rice flour version is still fairly soft and pliable.