Carrot Energy Balls

Carrot Energy Balls

We are big fans of The Natural Nurturer. She loads veggies in everything she makes so when we saw her no-bake carrot balls we decided to make it our way with a little help from the cub.

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We started by cleaning the carrots. The cub really likes peeling. The safest way to teach a kid to peel a carrot is to have it flat on the counter and to peel away from their body.

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Use a grater with a handle and make sure it is on a flat non-slip surface. We also taught the cub to hold the end of the carrot and thoroughly explained why the grater could hurt her hands and fingers if they got too close. She did an excellent job completing the task.

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After the carrots were added, the cub added the oats, dates and peanut butter.

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With precision she added the chia seeds and honey.

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A colorful mix of ingredients. No baking – just mix well.

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Grandma Didi had fun teaching the cub how to roll the balls in her palms.

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So much goodness in a bite-sized energy ball.

 

Carrot Energy Balls

(adapted from https://thenaturalnurturer.com/2019/06/12/no-bake-peanut-butter-carrot-balls/)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrot (about 1 medium sized carrot)
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey or less
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 dates pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips(mini if you have them)

Directions

  1. Combine the carrots, peanut butter, honey, oats, chia seeds, dates and chocolate chips in a bowl.
  2. Mix until all ingredients are blended evenly.
  3. Chill in your freezer for 30 minutes. This helps make the batter to form into balls easier.
  4. Roll tablespoon size balls between your palms.
  5. Place the balls on a cookie sheet and chill in your freezer for about 2 hours or until firm.

Lemon Brownies

Lemon Brownies

Just in time for Easter we made a sweet and tangy lemon treat! Our uncle recently brought us a bunch of lemons from his house so we wanted to use them before they went bad.

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Is there a better smell than a freshly zested lemon? It’s a welcome sign of Spring time and we are thankful we have plenty.

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After we zested lots of lemons, it was time to juice them. We also have peace of mind that these lemons are grown without pesticides. Our uncle grows them himself, a trained arborist, and lover of all flora.

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In goes the flour. The cub makes sure it doesn’t dust up into her face.

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Next the lemon jest. She is loving all the smells.

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Measuring is her favorite! In goes the baking powder.

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The cub took a new step in her cooking journey. She was brave and helped crack an egg. The cub has always approached every new situation in her life with caution. (I’m a thankful mom for this) The sharp edges hurt her fingers but she repositioned and did it. She felt so accomplished!

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So excited to dump her first cracked egg into the bowl.

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Another first for her is using the mixer on her own. Clearly she was having a good time.

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Whipped to perfection. The cub takes so much pride with each task. She feels a part of our community when she helps in the kitchen, or around the house. We are firm believers that if she knows she’s a working member of our community, she will have greater respect and love for her home (and meals!)

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Licking the mixer… nothing better!

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Grandma DiDi quickly made the icing and the cub helped spread it over the baked, but cooled lemon brownies.

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This photo speaks for itself! Happy Easter everyone!

Lemon Brownies

(recipe from https://kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/lemon-brownies/, made with love by the cub)

Ingredients

Brownie Ingredients

  • 1 C unsalted butter softened
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Lemon Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp lemon zest

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper
  2. Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder
  3. Using a standing mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until light and fluffy
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined
  5. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until combined
  6. Pour batter into the baking pan and bake in the oven for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Make sure to not over bake.

  7. Allow to completely cool on the counter

  8. Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until combined
  9. Pour the glaze over the lemon bars and spread evenly
  10. Allow to harden overnight before enjoying  ( we couldn’t wait that long…)

Immune Boosting Popsicles

Immune Boosting Popsicles

Preschool germs! Yuck! They are inevitable and impossible to avoid, but our hope is that if we eat the right diet we can reduce our chances of getting sick.

“Let food be thy medicine, let medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

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The Cub loves popsicles, so what better way to get her to eat a mixture of foods that will help improve her immune system. Let’s break down the ingredients.

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We began by removing the skin from the turmeric. Warning: it stains! So this was a job for Grandma DiDi! Did you know Tumeric contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties? Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.

We used another powerful spice, ginger, which is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We peeled the ginger as well and chopped it up. The cub added it to the blender.

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We juiced Cara Cara oranges and lemons, both packed full of Vitamin C. A necessary vitamin to fight colds. Plus, they are juicy and sweet! And the Cubs personal favorite, Mangos! She chopped the meat and placed it in the blender.

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The Cub gets help from Grandma DiDi squeezing the juice of the oranges and lemon.

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And of course, she had to try the oranges for herself!

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And the mango. Yum!

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Next we add the honey. Honey is packed full of antioxidants. This powerhouse phytonutrient can have antibacterial properties and is a great sugar substitute.

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After all the ingredients were added, little cub joined to blend it up. She loves the noise and the vibration of the blender.

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After all was blended until smooth, we poured the mixture into our Tovolo popsicle molds.

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Into the freezer they go.

immune14Slurp! Delicious and a perfect afternoon snack to help us stay healthy this season!

 

Immune Boosting Popsicles (recipe from relish.com)

Ingredients

  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • cups diced mango
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece of turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (OR 2 tbsp ground turmeric)
  • 1/3 cup honey

 

Directions: 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and place in the freezer.
  2. When ready to enjoy, run pop molds under warm water to release the popsicles.

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

When we started this blog a little over a year ago, we hoped to build an online archive of new and old recipes for our family as well as make memories along the way. We’ve done just that, and this recipe is one that has been passed down through the generations in our family. You’ll even see from the directions that you just kind of need to know it to make it. From this Christmas forward, we hope to carry on the tradition of handing out these delicious Chocolate Applesauce Cakes to our dear friends and family.

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Decked out in her Christmas red, The Cub helps scoop the flour.

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“Grandma, you scoop and I’ll level,” proclaims The Cub.

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Next they added the cocoa. The Cub added, “Like the movie Coco!”

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This recipe includes all the yummy spices that make up the season. Together they sniffed the allspice.

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In goes the applesauce with a plop!

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Th cub uses her William Sonoma Lil’ Bear spatula to taste test the batter! Cub approved!

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Stir, stir, stir!

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The cub then adds in the raisins. We had half a bag left so we just let her dump them in.

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Working on her knife skills, The Cub helped chop some walnuts. She’s getting so good at chopping and enjoys it too!

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After the batter is mixed well, The Cub and Grandma DiDi added the batter to the greased mini loaf pans. The Cub is careful not to spill any.

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Cooked to perfection! With a hint of chocolate and a whole lot of Christmas spice! We hope you share our favorite holiday recipe for your loved ones! And if you do, we would love to see your finished product. Tag us #thekitchencub.

 

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • ½ cup shortening (canola oil)
  • 1 cup raisins, golden or regular
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

These are the directions that were passed down… 

  1. Mix all together and pour into greased loaf pan and bake in 350 oven for approximately 1 hour. 

 

Directions we actually used: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking soda, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg.
  3. Add applesauce and oil and mix until batter is well blended.
  4. Add raisin and walnuts.
  5. Grease each pan with cooking oil. Pour batter into loaf pan making sure not to overfill as the bread will rise.
  6. For mini loaf tins bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick runs clean.  If using whole loaf pan, bake for approximately 1 hour.
  7. Cool for 20 mins and serve! Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for a week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Making Baby Food

Making Baby Food

If you haven’t heard, The Cub was recently promoted to big sister and she’s taking the role very seriously. Among helping with her baths and changing her diaper, the cub loves to feed her a bottle and more recently, solid food.

This week the cub helped prep her little sisters food and she had a friend over to help.

Baby1The cub began by peeling the sweet potatoes. Her friend stood by to watch.

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The cub then chops the sweet potato. Once chopped Grandma DiDi cooked them in small amount of water until they are very soft to the touch.

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After the sweet potatoes had boiled and softened, the cub’s friend took a turn at pureeing the food in a blender.

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Then we poured the mixture into ice cub trays to freeze. Once frozen, pop them out for the perfect portioned meal for your baby.

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Next up, the cub’s little sister gobbled up all the yummy food she helped make for her. Bib not included.

 

Sweet Potato Baby Food

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped sweet potato
  • 2+ Tbsp water until you find the right consistency

Directions

  1. Wash sweet potatoes well
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small chunks
  3. Place chunks into a pan with just enough water to cover potato
  4. Bring to boil and cook until tender, be sure to check on the water level.
  5. Reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the sweet potatoes
  6. Place sweet potato into your blender (we use vitamix) for pureeing and blend.
  7. Add the reserved water or formula/breastmilk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency

We do this with all veggies and fruit that she can eat.  Just be sure produce is all washed well prior to cooking.

First foods include: Sweet potato, banana, pear, avocado, apple, peas, carrots, butternut squash and oatmeal. As she grows, we will get more creative with her meals and be sure to post our creations.

 

 

Savory Pumpkin Bread

Savory Pumpkin Bread

Fall has arrived and that means everything Pumpkin! Grandma DiDi has been experimenting in the kitchen and whipped up this savory pumpkin bread!

The cub is at an age where not every morning is created equal. As she navigates her big emotions, we often invite her toys to join in on the cooking process to keep her engaged. Whatever it takes! 🙂

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The cub began by cutting the chives. She followed Grandma DiDi’s lead.

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Next up, they mixed all the wet ingredients together starting with the pumpkin.

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Followed by the yogurt. The cub is at an age where she wants to do everything by herself. We guide her with assistance when needed.

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Stir, whip, mix! The cub loves this part!

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Now the cub helps add the dry ingredients.  In goes the flour.

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Nothing better than the smell of spices! Even ones that aren’t sweet.

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A new fun activity is grinding the pepper. She can do it all be herself!

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In go the chopped chives! Sprinkle them everywhere!

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The cub takes her stirring duties seriously. With all that flour, the dough is getting really thick! “Look how strong I am,” the cub explains!

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Again, the cub is not always willing to participate. And she does want to do everything herself. Grandma DiDi has to offer help in this scenario. The cub does not approve.

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Once the dough is added to the bread pan, the cub gets to sprinkle hemp and chia seeds to the top. Now it’s time to bake!

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Ding! The bread is cooked to perfection. Perfect for a sandwich or just warm with butter or a cheese spread! Dig in!

Savory Pumpkin Bread
(Adapted from chefdehome.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup non-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • ¼ cup oil (canola, olive or oil of choice)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP fresh chives or thyme (or both if you’d like)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (more for top)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds (more for top)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 350. Grease a 5 X 9 inch pan
  2. In a medium bowl, add wet ingredients: eggs, oil, and yogurt. Whisk to break eggs and mix in yogurt. Add pumpkin puree and combine well. set aside
  3. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients: flour, spices and sugar. Mix well with fork to distribute evenly. Add wet ingredients in 3 batches and fold in until flour is moist and well blended. Add seeds and herbs.
  4. Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes then loosen sides and turn out of pan.
  5. Slice thin and toast with butter or make sandwiches. Suggested ideas are cream cheese and olive, turkey and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly actually works, too!

Watermelon Granita

Watermelon Granita

During these hot summer days, there is no better way to cool down than with a delicious cool treat, like Granita! Not only is it the perfect mix of refreshing and sweet, it’s also a ton of fun to make. Let’s get started!

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We decided to use kombucha for the base. You could use water or juice as well.

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The cub adds her favorite part…sugar!

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Next up the cub chops the watermelon. One piece in the blender, one piece in the mouth! 🙂

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Grandma DiDi zests a lime and adds it to the blender.

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Then the cub gets to squeeze the lime for its juices. SQQQUUEEEEZZEE!

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They poured the kombucha mix into the blender and it was ready to mix.

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The cub covered her ears because it was really loud!

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Once it’s all mixed together, they poured the mixture into a 9 X 13 pan (metal works best) and put it in the freezer.

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Outfit change! Every 45 minutes they pulled it from the freezer to scrape it with a fork. This process insures it breaks into little fluffy ice pieces.

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The finished product… Summer treat perfection!

 

Watermelon Granita
(Recipe adapted from Kitchn)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a small seedless watermelon(any fruit you choose)
  • 1-2 tbsp of sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)
  • 1/4 cup of ginger Kombucha (or water or other liquid you wish to use)
  • 1 lime, for zest and juice

Directions

  1. Mix together kombucha and sugar, set aside so sugar dissolves
  2. Cut the watermelon into small pieces
  3. Add all ingredients, plus lime zest and juice to blender and puree until smooth
  4. Pour into 9 X 13 pan
  5. Place pan in freezer and set timer for 30- 45 minutes
  6. Remove and scrape the granita mixture with fork and return to freezer
  7. Repeat scraping with fork 3-4 times and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving

Cotton Candy Popsicles

Cotton Candy Popsicles

Summertime means sun, lots of outdoor fun and a time when you can buy the most delicious fruit! One in particular – Cotton Candy grapes! If you haven’t heard of them, ask your local grocer if they are getting any in and make sure to grab a bag before they are gone. I know when they hit the shelves in our hometown they don’t last long!  They are super sweet and taste just like cotton candy.

We grabbed a bag and decided to make popsicles with them!  And these couldn’t be easier!

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The cub started by chopping the grapes in half. We wanted to keep some of the grapes in bigger chunks.

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The rest of the grapes she dumped into the blender.

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For liquid we added one squeeze apple juice box to the blender.

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A quick stir and then it was time to blend up the ingredients.

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Time to get the Koji popsicle mold ready for the mixture.

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In goes the apple grape mixture… oh, and a little friend joined in on the fun.

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Grandma DiDi, the cub and her friend all helped put the grape halves in the popsicle mold. The bigger chunks give the popsicle more texture.

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Last step before they go in the freezer is to put the sticks and caps on.  Notice that Grandma DiDi is getting a little help from a Santa sticker strategically placed on her arm by the cub earlier that morning.

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Finally! The sweetest popsicle on a hot summer day!

 

Cotton Candy Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of cotton candy grapes; save about 1/8 cup just chopped
  • 1 7oz apple juice box

Directions

  1. Wash and prepare grapes
  2. Chop all grapes (reserve approximately 1/8 cup)
  3. Place grapes (except reserved) in blender
  4. Add 1 box of apple juice
  5. Blend for about 1 minute or pulse about 10 times
  6. Pour into popsicle mold
  7. Add reserved chopped grapes to each popsicle mold
  8. Freeze and enjoy. It should take 1 – 3 hours to fully freeze depending on the molds you use

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

 

Kale Popcorn

Kale Popcorn

Need an easy snack that your kids will love that also has some nutritional value to it? Look no further – an easy recipe that will satisfy that salty craving all while eating your greens! It’s a win-win situation!

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The cub began by helping strip the kale from the stems.

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Grandma says, “Way to go”!

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Once all the kale had been stripped, the cub stopped for a snack. Raw kale for the win!

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Next up, the cub oils the baking sheets.

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And tosses the kale in the oil and adds some salt for flavor.

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While the kale bakes in the oven, the cub gets to work prepping the toppings. Popcorn wouldn’t be complete without a little cheese!  Yes, this task necessitated a princess and some help from Grandma!

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After the kale was cooled, the cub crushed the chips into small pieces.

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But she needs to taste them first to make sure they are just right! Delicious!

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Once all the kale has been crushed, Grandma DiDi adds the popcorn to the mixture. We used pre popped popcorn from the store, but you can make your own if you prefer.

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The cub stirs it up so that all the popped kernels are covered.

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Grandma DiDi does the final toss!

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The finished product. It didn’t last long!

Kale Popcorn

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Kale Dusted Popcorn recipe)

Ingredients

Kale Dust:

  • A bundle of Lacinato kale (aka dinosaur or Tuscan) although, we used red curly kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt

To finish:

  • 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels or bag of popped popcorn(we used  1 bag of Trader Joe’s olive oil popcorn)
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale. Remove and discard the tough stems.
  2. Lightly brush two large baking sheets with olive oil. Arrange the leaves in one layer on the prepared baking sheets, sprinkle lightly with salt, and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the leaves are crisp. Let cool completely. In a food processor, with a mortar and pestle, or even with a muddler in a bowl, grind the kale chips down into a coarse powder.
  3. Make the popcorn (Directions from Smitten Kitchen): Place 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 or 3 kernels of popcorn in a 3-quart or larger pot. Turn the heat to medium-high, and cover with a lid. When you hear these first kernels pop, add the remaining kernels and replace the lid. Using pot holders, shimmy the pot around to keep the kernels moving as they pop. When several seconds pass between pops, remove from the heat. (Or use your preferred brand bag of popcorn heated in oven on tray for just a couple minutes.)
  4. Transfer to a bowl, and immediately toss with the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, kale dust, Pecorino, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss until evenly coated. Taste, and adjust the seasonings if needed.