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.

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! 🙂

Pumpkin

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!

Artichoke and Dip Dip

Artichoke and Dip Dip

The ancients considered the artichoke full of health benefits, including uses like a diuretic, a breath freshener, and even a deodorant. Thankfully we’ve developed different forms of deodorant over time.

Grandma DiDi grew up a few miles away from the artichoke capital – Castroville – and recalls it being a staple at the dinner table when she was growing up. We hope to pass the same memories onto the cub. And this veggie is a good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K. Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants; they’re number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.

Artichoke

The cub begins by seasoning the water, that we used to steam the artichoke, with herbs, garlic and oil.

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While the cub takes an apple juice break, she watches Grandma DiDi carefully cut and trim the artichoke outer leaves.

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The cub can’t wait to use the scissors to help trim the leaves.

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While the artichoke steams on the stove, the cub helps prepare the dip dip.

The base of ours is greek yogurt. You can also use plain melted butter or mayonnaise as a dip.

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The cub added mustard to the yogurt.

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Then curry for added flavor. She mixed it up and waited for the artichoke to finish cooking.

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Once the artichoke was complete, the cub dug in with a big munch! She loves artichokes!

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Enjoy! What kind of dip do you like to use when eating an artichoke?

Artichoke and Dip Dip

Ingredients

  • Fresh artichokes (as many as you would like)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried Herbs de Provence or oregano
  • Enough water to cover half of the artichokes

Dip Dip

  • 1/2 cup good plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp curry powder (depending on your taste – start light)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Wash the artichokes well under running water; pulling leaves out a bit to rinse away any dirt or residue
  2. Trim top off with serrated knife and pull outer smaller leaves. If you want, snip all leave tops off with scissors (this removes little stickers on tips of artichoke leaves).
  3. Place right side up in saucepan that will comfortably hold the number of artichokes you are cooking. Fill with water to about half way up artichokes.
  4. Add oil, herbs, and chopped garlic to water.
  5. Place artichokes on stove over medium heat and cover.
  6. Cook for 30 – 45 minutes or until artichokes are tender when heart is pierced with a knife or fork. When the artichokes are done, drain all of water off and turn them upside down to make sure all water is out. (keep an eye on water level – it can evaporate so you may need to add more hot water during cooking time)
  7. To make dip, blend yogurt, curry, garlic powder and mustard together. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for an hour.
  8. Artichokes can be eaten hot, warm, room temp or cold and hold for days in refrigerator after being cooked.

Notes:

  • When choosing artichokes at the market, look for those with leaves that are tightly closed and when the leaves are squeezed gently there is a squeaking sound. These are the freshest!
  • Artichokes can also be placed on a steamer plate to cook.

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!

Kale

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.