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.

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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.

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.

 

Simply Granola (Crunchies)

Simply Granola (Crunchies)

Granola, also known as crunchies in our household, is a cub favorite. We top it on yogurt (plain Greek), a smoothie bowl, fruit or as cereal with milk.

We feel like granola has a bad rap. Many granolas in the grocery store are full of fat and calories because they are loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Making your own gives you the control to remove all the added sugar and stick to the good stuff – protein and fiber.

Grandma DiDi has been making her own granola for ages, oftentimes gifting it to friends and family. This recipe is not only great for kids, it’s also great for parents, and even better packed in a jar and given to a friend.

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We started by having Emery help measure out the dry ingredients and pouring them onto a baking sheet. This was extra exciting because we usually pour ingredients into a bowl. While she did that, we mixed together the oil, honey and vanilla and placed on the stove over low heat.

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After we poured the oats, seeds, nuts, wheat germ and dry milk on the backing sheet, we had to pause for a “Hooray” on our Learning Tower. This tower has completely changed the way we interact with the cub in the kitchen. It allows her to feel involved and in return, she’s grown confidence and a palate in our kitchen. We HIGHLY recommend you get one!

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Back to cooking… hand your little cub a spoon and have them gently stir the ingredients. While they are stirring, gather the spices to add to the mix. The Kitchen Cub takes this step very seriously.

Granola 4Children learn about the world through their senses, so don’t forget to stop and smell the spices.

Granola 5After all the dry ingredients are stirred together, stir the wet ingredients from the stove over the dry ingredients. Talk your cub through this step and remind them that what’s on the stove is hot and shouldn’t be touched. They can watch, but can’t touch. Ouch, HOT! Grandma DiDi mixes it all together and pops it in the oven to toast! Yum!

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Golden and delicious. After it has cooked for 3 mins, remove, stir and re-spread. repeat this step 3 times. It should cook approximately 10 minutes in total.

Granola 10It’s still hot, but Grandma DiDi added the dried fruit and mixed it together. Remember to tell your cub they can’t touch. They will burn their paws on the baking sheet!

Granola 11We poured it over some plain Greek yogurt and added blueberries. Bon Appetite! Speaking of Bon Appetit, this recipe was adapted from their granola recipe.

 

Simply Granola (Crunchies)

Ingredients

¼  cup canola oil/or coconut oil
¼  cup maple syrup(pure)*
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats(not instant)
1/3  cup Pepitas*
1/3  cup  walnuts chopped*
½ cup raw almonds* – sliced or slivered
¼ cup wheat germ/or flax meal
¼  cup nonfat dry milk
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cardamom
Pinch of cloves
1 cup dried fruit *

Optional add ins: sweetened or unsweetened coconut, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 325 F.  
  2. In a small saucepan combine oil, syrup, honey and vanilla.  Stir over low heat until combined, about 1 – 2 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Combine oats, seeds, nuts, wheat germ, dry milk, and spices directly on a large baking sheet.  Pour the wet mixture over the dry mix and mix until uniform.   Spread evenly in pan.
  4. Bake for 3 mins, remove, stir and re-spread. Repeat this step 3 times. It should cook approximately 10 minutes in total. WATCH it closely, it can burn easily.
  5. Remove from oven and mix in fruit and any of the other optional ingredients you’d like to add. Let cool.

*Nuts – substitute any you like  

*Fruit – I prefer orange flavored cranberries but anything works

* Sweetening agents can be changed or eliminated – experiment what works for you.   Original recipe had both honey and maple.