Quick for Kids
Pumpkin loves garbanzo beans–the proof is in the hummus. Add pureed pumpkin into your hummus for a subtle, earthy underlying flavor.
The basic recipe is fast and easy to put together:
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans
4 tbsp. tahini
4 tbsp. pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
- Drain beans (reserving liquid) and place them into a food processor along with the pumpkin.
- With the blade running add in the olive oil and half of the reserved bean liquid.
- Remove the top of the food processor, scrap down the sides and add salt and tahini.
- Adjust the texture and flavor of the hummus using seasoning and more pumpkin, bean liquid, and/or spices.
For pumpkin pie hummus:
Add 1/2-1 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning (or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves) and more pureed pumpkin
For Lebanese pumpkin hummus:
Add 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika, and the juice from one lemon
A kick of sweetness–courtesy of fruit–is just the thing to brighten the flavor of many savory dishes.
My kids were intrigued when we added thinly sliced strawberries to burgers. The verdict? The tangy berries mixed in with the other fixins’ perfectly. We don’t add strawberries all the time–but I like to use what I have on hand to reinvent dishes we have all the time. Which brings me to salad…
I usually throw some sort of fruit into our salads–diced apples, peach wedges, sliced mangoes. Again, it’s a matter of using what’s in season (and on your counter) to bring new life to your old-standbys. Plus, cutting up fruit is a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen prep.
It’s that time of year again. Break out the baskets and start picking! We brought home 4 baskets of berries from a nearby farm, Monroe’s Orchard.
Some of our berries didn’t even survive the car ride home, but I’ve already frozen plenty so we can have fresh berries in the winter. Have you been raspberry picking yet?
We have brinner a lot around my house. Breakfast for dinner works for my busy crew since it’s quick to put together.
Ingredients for breakfast sliders:
Breakfast sausage patties and/or bacon slices–I’m hooked on Costco’s precooked bacon
Eggs–Whisk them and then cook as you would an omelet, removing them from the pan so that you can slice into squares to place on the patties
Cheese–optional, I like mine sans cheese but the kids prefer a thin slice of American cheese to meld the ingredients together
Put ‘em together:
Cut the buns in half and let your kids layer what they want in their mini-sandwiches.
Heat the sliders in the microwave for a few seconds before serving. Option: We like to grill the sausage patties and then put them on the buns so they have more of a smoky flavor.
Make it a meal by serving the sliders with fruit salad and tater tots or homemade hashbrowns.
Waffle brownies, of course!
My kids couldn’t wait to try these chocolate chalkboards in this month’s Family Fun magazine.
These edible chalkboards are easy to put together and make for a cool back-to-school craft.
Regular-sized chocolate bars (like Hershey’s)
- Use the toothpick to carve a message in the smooth side of a chocolate bar.
- Sprinkle enough powdered sugar on the message to fill the scratches.
- Carefully(!) blow the extra powdered sugar from off the chocolate (or rub it off with a napkin).
- Mold the caramels into a strip in your fingers. Note: You may need to microwave them at half power for a few seconds in the microwave to soften them.
- Press the caramel strips onto the chocolate bar to frame around it.
- Add the white sprinkles to look like chalk.
- That’s it! Eat once you’ve taken a picture–or during.
As you’re getting ready your Fourth of July picnic fixins’ put your kids in charge of making one of these cool treats.
Watermelon limemade. Serve watermelon in cups instead of dishes with this sweet-tart drink combo.
5 Minute yogurt popsicles. Yogurt, fruit, freezer. That’s all you need for these icy treats.
Elvis ice pops. Frozen banana slices dipped in chocolate and then peanuts. Yeah, you won’t be able to eat just one of these.
Fruity animal mini popsicles. Pour your favorite fruit juice into animal molds.
Carved orange elephants. To dress up your picnic spread, have your kids make these animals out of oranges.
Now who’s ready for the holiday?!
My youngest likes it when her food smiles back at her. Apple slices, raisins, chocolate chips, they all make for ready smiles on a plate of food. Adding a smile to your food is easy.
Lately my youngest likes to make Greek yogurt sundaes for dessert. It’s a banana topped with Greek yogurt (strawberry this time), peanuts, and a chocolate chip smile.
Leftover rice? Here’s a quick idea to turn ho-hum rice into something worth your kiddos’ raves.
I came up with the idea the other day when I needed something to go along with Jerk pork. I’ve tried making rice with coconut milk to infuse it with flavor, but this was much easier and had more of a coconut kick than recipes I’ve tried in the past. Plus, this is a great way to re-use rice you have on hand.
Prep time: Under 10 minutes
2 cups cooked rice (I prefer short grain with this recipe, but it’s up to you)
3/4 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
- Place the coconut in a large saute pan at medium-high heat. Toast until the coconut just starts to brown on the edges (about 3 minutes). Stir frequently–coconut burns easily!
- Take the coconut out of the pan and add 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or any kind of oil will do). Once the oil is hot put the rice into the pan and heat it through.
- Add the coconut back into the rice and squeeze with fresh lime juice. Serve hot.
My kids’ reactions: This was a favorite all around.
Meet Ed and Edward. That’s what my daughter named her carved orange creations. When I asked why, she looked at me liked I’d just asked why leaves are green. “Because they’re elephants, mom.” Well, that answers it.
When I was cleaning out some of my cookbooks the other day I stumbled on The Fine Art of Garnished, publishing date, 1978. My mother-in-law sent it to me awhile back and I haven’t had a chance–or the hutzpah–to give it a try. My youngest? Well, when she saw it as I was stacking up books she immediately started thumbing through it, planning out what we were going to try. Luckily, I talked her out of making the viking-inspired watermelon boat this time…
These elephants are actually easy to make–and don’t require a sharp knife. I was making an apple bird while my youngest settled on the elephants. Well, you can see how my bird turned out (in my defense, it was a very, very small apple). But my daughter followed the instructions and stopped at two elephants just because we ran out of oranges.
How to make a carved orange elephant:
- Find the end of the orange with a circle (where it was picked). Use a paring knife to cut a long “V” in the skin, going down from the circle. Gently pull the skin away from the pith.
- Lay the “V” portion onto a cutting board (still attached to the orange) and then shape it into a trunk.
- Use the paring knife to cut a circle on either side of the trunk for the ears. To do this, push the knife into the orange skin but not all the way through to the juicy part. Make a circle starting above the trunk and ending just below the trunk–it’s almost as if you were cutting a slice. Do not slice the circle all the way around. Repeat on the other side and then carefully pull the “ears” away from the base of the orange.
- With toothpicks, secure grapes for the elephants’ “eyes” and gumdrops for their “feet.”
- Add kiwi fruit “grass” (optional, but fun).