Posts tagged carrots

Energy Salad

Last week I bought what was deemed an energy salad from Trader Joe’s — I needed it. I had about 10 minutes to eat something that had to fit as both lunch and dinner during a crazy day. The salad was so good I’ve been making it all week for lunch. Aptly named. The mix of spinach with crunchies like beans, dried fruit, and seeds fill you up and taste so good.

Energy Salad pic

 

Recipe

Serving: One, big, yummy salad

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups baby spinach

1/8 cup pumpkin seeds

1/8 cup chickpeas (canned, drained)

1/8 cup edamame

1/8 cup dried cranberries

1/8 cup shredded carrots

1 1/2 tablespoons ginger miso dressing

Energy Salad Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place baby spinach in the bottom of your salad bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Enjoy!

A few notes:

  • I used shelled edamame seeds that came in a microwave steam bag.
  • I bought miso ginger dressing, but you can make your own simple dressing by mixing equal parts olive oil and vinegar and add a little fresh lemon juice, then dried or fresh herbs.
  • The leftover ingredients I stashed in the fridge and then added them to other meals for my kiddos – so far the edamame has been a hit.
You can make salads ahead of time and put them in dishes for quick lunches all week long.

You can make salads ahead of time and put them in dishes for quick lunches all week.

 

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Can the toothfairy help your kids eat better?

The other day my daughter desperately wanted her tooth to come out. She wiggled it. Pulled at it. She even went digging for dental floss to try the whole attach-it-to-the-door-and-slam technique. (Does that ever work? Really?)

I gave her a different idea: eat whole foods. Apples. Carrots. Pears. Biting away at fruits and vegetables, I explained, might bring that tooth out. Her face lit up and she went for the bowl of fruit I try to keep stocked on the kitchen table (admittedly, sometimes it becomes the depository for coupons, orphaned paper clips and the like, but I do try).

First bite of the Empire apple didn’t bring out her wiggly tooth. Neither did the second, third, and we both lost count. You can see what remained of her apple. And the tooth? It’s still in, but hey, my daughter now has a great excuse for taking big bites of fresh produce.

Your turn: Anyone else ever enlisted the fruit bowl to help your kids lose a tooth?

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Carrot garden on a plate

I’m always looking for ways to get my kids to eat carrots. This idea comes from one of my favorite places in Ohio–the Culinary Vegetable Institute, CVI. If you’re not following Farmer Lee Jones’ twitter feed–the man behind CVI–you should. (He tweets from his tractor.) That’s where I saw this picture of this ingenious idea using fresh carrots.


Now Farmer Jones has the benefit of pulling carrots from his own garden. I bought my at a local grocers Mustard Seed Market. I couldn’t find any with the leafy greens close to the carrot so I had to improvise. I wedged the greens into the cut stalks before placing the carrots into the black beans.


I did steam my carrots briefly before serving them, but you could also offer these raw. Next time I’d add some asparagus and radishes maybe too.


Kids’ reaction: My youngest, already a carrot fan, loved the playful presentation and cleaned her plate. My tween reminded me that she, “didn’t like carrots,” took a couple bites, finished the beans and left most of her carrots on the plate. Ditto for my teen. But that’s about two more bites than they’d normally eat, which I consider success.

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What do you do with purple carrot juice?

Good question, huh? You may not have a friend who passes along cool food finds like purple carrot juice (thanks Sarah!), but you might have a fridge or pantry with ingredients you need to use. Maybe you just can’t recall why you bought coriander seeds or orange vinegar in the first place. Or maybe you found a new fruit or veggie at your farmer’s market or grocers that you’d like to use.

When you’re looking to use a new ingredient, here are a few ideas to get you experimenting…

Taste it. I know, I know, that sounds obvious, but you might be surprised. I was sure that purple carrot juice would have a sweet, mild taste, something similar to the flavor when I roasted them. Poured myself a big glass. The pungent juice had an almost molasses-like taste and a strong steamed carrot smell. I’m sure some people like drinking it straight but I figured the best way for my to enjoy the flavor–and the nutritional punch–was to put it into something.

Bake it in. Since the flavor mimicked molasses and went well with veggies, I decided to replace some of the apple sauce in my favorite bran muffin recipe with the purple carrot juice. I swapped out 2 Tablespoons. The juice gave the muffins a slightly darker color and a hint of carrot I liked. I’m thinking next I need to try it in carrot muffins. Doesn’t that sound tasty? Or add it to fruit leathers?

Marinate with it. Mixing new-to-you ingredients in marinades is a great way to play with the flavors. I thought the carrot juice would work well with a strong soy sauce-based marinate. I wouldn’t use it in Mexican dishes, but Asian or standard BBQ marinades, toss some in!

Sauce it. Now about BBQ–lately we’ve been doctoring our BBQ sauces, either making our own from scratch (recipe coming) or tweaking our favorite bottled variety. My hubby starts with about 1 cup of juice–usually cranberry for a bit of tartness–and he boils it down by half until it thickens slightly. Then he adds 1 1/2 cups bottled BBQ sauce and then tweaks it with spices according to what we’re putting it on. Last week it was ground ancho chiles to go along with shredded pork. I’m thinking the black carrot juice would make for a cool BBQ sauce. I’m going to give it a try. But at your house, think tossing pureed or fresh squeezed juice into sauces and dips. Better yet, let your kids think up the combinations. One of my favorite Asian dipping sauces is simply equal parts lime juice and soy sauce. Hum, I wonder what apricot-soy would taste like…

Your turn–any ingredients that you’ve been wanting to use but weren’t sure how to use ‘em? Any ingredient experiments that worked well, or maybe tasted awful?

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Fun veggie garnishes

Yes, these are little flowers made out of carrots, zucchini, green onions and bean sprouts. While I’d love to say that this was all a terribly creative tactic to get my kids to eat healthier, well, it’s not really. I just think it’s fun. My kids do too.

But hey, that’s not to say they don’t enjoy eating their greens just a little bit more because they look even more appealing. You want to give it a try too–don’t you?

Here are some of my favorite plate dress-ups featuring an assortment of greens:

Green onion flowers:

Using the end of the green onion stem, cut in straight from the end to about one-inch. Work in a circle to make several of these slits. Press the cut ends onto a flat surface so that they spread apart.

Carrot & zucchini flowers:

I have mini cookie cutters for making Linzer cookies that I’ve found also work to make veggie shapes. Press carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers, even green peppers or other sturdy, relatively flat veggies into different shapes. Even if you don’t have mini-cookie cutters as long as you have a big enough veggie slices you can create whatever shape you want (I have a tree shape for Christmas, a heart for Valentine’s Day and even a cactus for Southwestern meals).

Spinach backgrounds:

Chicken Parmesan topped with pesto, cream & spinach, veggie flowers

Make those flowers even more dramatic on the plate by adding a dark spinach leaf as a background. My kids don’t even ask what the decorations are made of anymore–they just smile and eat ‘em up.

Check out more ideas on how to get your kids eating more veggies and other health foods through games, tips and other tricks on Motherboard.

Your turn–are you a veggie decorator? Or do you have ways you decorate your plate (well, and your kids’) with a few greens?

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