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.

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!

Artichoke Hummus and Whole-Wheat Poppy Seed Crackers

Artichoke Hummus and Whole-Wheat Poppy Seed Crackers

Crackers and dip – pretty much the epitome of snack time. We try not to snack too much in our house in order for the cub to focus on eating meals. But when we do eat snacks, we try to make them wholesome and nutritious.

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The cub began by helping prep our ingredients. In this case – butter! Her knife skills are improving! Practice makes perfect.

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Colorful, large measuring cups make it easy for little toddler hands to hold. From the look on her face, you know she’s proud of herself. Mission accomplished.

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A bit more difficult of a task, but she executed perfectly. Measuring herbs and spices always has an additional step – stop and smell the aroma!  She was picking the spices this time by smelling curry and garam marsala.  She picked curry!

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In goes the agave syrup. “I can do it grandma,” explained the cub.

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The cub enjoys using her pink piggy spatula to stir all the  ingredients for the crackers. We needed to mix it until it became a ball of dough. The cub started and then grandma DiDi took over.

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After the dough is formed, roll the dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. While the cracker dough chills, we started the hummus.

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Grandma DiDi heard that boiling your canned garbanzo beans first will help them blend into a creamier hummus. So after the beans boiled, the cub helped add them to our blender. Another fun task for her was watching the liquid separate from the beans.

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Measuring and smelling all the yummy ingredients into the blender. The cub dumped everything in and then stood back for the blending part. She doesn’t like how it makes such a loud noise.

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Cracker dough is ready. Slice into 1/8 inch rounds and place on a lined baking sheet.

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After placing them on a prepared baking sheet, sprinkle the tops with poppy seeds. The cub took this task very seriously and kept asking us to look at her work. “Good job, honey!” Pop them in the oven and then it’s time to eat!

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As soon as the crackers cooled, the cub dove right in!

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So yummy!

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Make some for your cub at home and feel confident you are feeding them whole ingredients, with no crazy additives you find in so many products these days. Dive in!

Artichoke Hummus and Whole-Wheat and Poppy Seed Crackers
(Cracker recipe adapted from Vegetarian Heartland )

Artichoke Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lemon juiced –  or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 clove garlic or more to taste
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil

Directions

  1. Heat garbanzo beans in juice with garlic and bay leaf at a simmer for 20 mins
  2. Remove bay leaf
  3. Strain beans and garlic into blender, reserving 1 Tbsp or more liquid for blender
  4. Add all other ingredients to blender and mix well until creamy
  5. To serve drizzle with good quality olive oil

Note: Store in air-tight container for up to a week in the fridge.

Whole-Wheat Pumpkin and Poppy Seed Crackers 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp poppy seed, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp ground spice of choice – we chose curry but you can use spice of choice, even cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Measure all dry ingredients into bowl.  
  3. Work cubes of butter into dry ingredients with pastry cutter or fork until they are incorporated well into dry small particles
  4. Add pumpkin and mix well into ball
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and form into log about 6 inches long.  Refrigerate for 1 hour
  6. Slice with sharp knife into 1/8 inch slices and place on a parchment covered baking sheet
  7. Sprinkle with more poppy seeds
  8. Bake 15 – 20 min until edges start to brown

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.

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.

Soba Noodles with Veggies and Teriyaki Sauce

Soba Noodles with Veggies and Teriyaki Sauce

The Cub is a huge fan of noodles. Most nights when we ask her what she wants to eat, she replies, “Noodles.” She can’t get enough. She prefers an asian sauce on her noodles so we decided to try to make our own version of teriyaki.

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With most recipes, we let the cub measure out the ingredients. We talk about the amounts we are putting in the pot. We hope with consistency, she will eventually learn measurements. The cub helped us add water, corn starch, soy sauce and rice vinegar to a pot.

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Cultivating curiosity in a child is immeasurable.  Introduce new foods and let them play with new tools and food.  The cub is fixated on the appearance of the honey and loved that it smelled so sweet.

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We used a tool that the cub has never seen before – the garlic press. Pure joy beamed from her face when she saw the garlic squeeze out the little holes. It’s the simple things in life.

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Another fun tool is the potato masher. The cub helped us crush the pineapple chunks and tried a piece just to make sure it was sweet enough.

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Finger licking good!

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Can you say “Noodles”? Using a whisk, the cub helped us stir all the ingredients together before we put it on the stove to cook down.

While the teriyaki sauce cooked, we boiled the soba noodles. We also chopped up some broccoli and carrots and steamed them. Combine the noodles, veggies and sauce and you have a delicious meal!

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Isn’t she pretty eating her soba noodles with teriyaki? This dish is well-balanced and reduces the amount of sugar seen in most teriyaki sauces.

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Slurp, slurp, yummy noodles! Our noodle bowl is adapted from The Adventure Bite’s teriyaki sauce recipe.

 

Soba Noodles with Veggies and Teriyaki Sauce

 

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup soy sauce (I like reduced sodium)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4-5 tablespoons honey (to taste)
  • 2-4 tablespoons rice vinegar (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons crushed pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

Directions

  1. In a small pot whisk soy sauce, water, and cornstarch together until smooth. Add any of the optional additional ingredients you are using (vinegar, garlic, ginger, etc) .
  2. Heat over medium-high heat until warm and then whisk in honey until dissolved.
  3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and whisk constantly until desired thickness is reached. Do not leave unattended; it thickens quickly once it gets boiling and will rapidly burn.
  4. Taste and adjust as desired. If too thick, thin with additional water to desired consistency.
  5. Steam vegetables until tender.
  6. Boil noodles per package directions.
  7. In a bowl, add noodles, steamed vegetables and top with teriyaki sauce. Serve and enjoy.

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.