It is always a challenge to get kids involved in meal preparation but we encourage you to turn off the tech and make some beautiful memories in the kitchen with your loved ones. Food is always a huge part of any family tradition, and involving the kids in the kitchen will teach them life skills as well as cutting down your chores. Especially during the busy winter months with short days, snowy activities and homework, mom and dad need all the help you can get.
Super Bowl is around the corner and the menu is the most important piece. My family loves these Spicy Shrimp Tacos, which are big on flavor without being as big on calories as a lot of Super Bowl fare. Fortunately, there’s some easy ways to enjoy the big game without missing out on all the foods you love.
My goal is to try new and creative recipes this winter to reconnect with my love for salad, starting with this amazing Kale and Hazelnut Winter Salad recipe featuring kale, carrots, dates, hazelnuts and a warm dressing drizzled on top.
There are many things one can do with a Vitamix, but I didn’t grasp the true beauty of my new must-have kitchen appliance until I made bolognaise sauce, and then homemade ‘Vitamix crepes’ in this magical machine.
Sometimes the school lunch marathon throws me for a loop. No nut butters. Make it healthy. Ensure it’s not going to be wasted.. Grilled cheese is always a hit and you can even cut it into fingers and keep it warm in a thermos. But how do you make it healthier? And ensure it will be devoured. 1) Bacon. 2) Peaches. The flavours combine beautifully and this is one lunch they won’t dare trade! Using California Cling Peaches allows you to prep this sandwich at any time of the year and also helps you stick to your budget! The canned peaches also retain their flavour, colour and firmness when used in recipes – just check to make sure they say ‘Made in the USA’ on the can to ensure you’re getting the true California Cling Peaches.
Grilled Havarti with Bacon and Peach Sandwich
4 slices of your favourite sandwich bread, such as sourdough or Italian
4 tsp butter
4 thin slices Havarti cheese
4 crisp-cooked slices of smoked bacon
1 or 2 canned California Cling peach halves in fruit juice from concentrate or water, very thinly sliced and patted very dry (Cling peaches are available in slices, halves or diced and are packed in either light syrup, fruit juice or water.)
Prep: 5 min Cook: 8 min Total time: 15 min
1. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Lay half the cheese on unbuttered side of two slices of bread. Top with bacon, a single layer of peach slices, then remaining cheese. Top with remaining bread slices, butter side up.
2. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes a side. Serve diagonally sliced in half.
Makes 2 sandwiches.
The information and recipes were generously sponsored by California Cling Peaches. As always, our opinions are our own.
One of my biggest pet peeves as a parent is that so many store-bought crackers are filled with excess salt and bad grains. (And to purchase all natural ones can blow your food budget.) So I was thrilled to find Jennifer Low’s recipe for crunchy munchy crackers in Everyday Kitchen for Kids. It’s amazing to make your own crackers! These taste so good on their own, but you can also eat them with cheese, if you like. You will need a helper with the baking step.
Supplies you will need
baking sheet, parchment paper, bowls, measuring cups, measuring spoons, baking spatula, dinner knife, rolling pin, fork, pizza wheel, cooling rack (the metal kind for cooling cookies)
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour (spoon in, level; see page 19)
1/4 cup (50 mL) whole wheat flour (spoon in, level)
1/2 tsp (3 mL) chili powder
1/2 tsp (3 mL) dry mustard
1/2 tsp (3 mL) white sugar
1/3 cup (80 mL) milk
2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Cut three sheets of parchment paper, each the size of your baking sheet. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix the two kinds of flour, chili powder, dry mustard (be sure to use the back of a spoon to mash out any lumps), and sugar. Set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the milk and butter in the microwave at 50% power until the butter is melted (about 1 minute).
Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Use a baking spatula to scrape all the milk mixture into the flour bowl. Mix the ingredients into a dough, scraping sticky ingredients off the spatula with a dinner knife. When the dough gets too stiff to stir—keeping the dough in the bowl—use your hands to squeeze the dough against the crumbly bits and dry flour in the bottom of the bowl to work them into the dough.
Use a dinner knife to cut the dough into two equal-sized pieces. Put the first piece between two of the sheets of parchment paper you cut earlier. Put your rolling pin on the top sheet of parchment and roll out the dough to 1/16 inch (2 mm) (see “One- Quarter-Coin Rule,” page 17). To make excellent crisp crackers, it is very important to roll the dough that thin. First roll across the whole piece of dough to flatten it, then make it even thinner by rolling from the middle of the dough out to the edges. Press down hard. And just when you think it’s thin enough, roll it out again and check against the quarter coin. The dough puffs up a lot as it bakes.
Peel off the top sheet of parchment. Prick the rolled dough every inch (2.5 cm) with a fork. Use the pizza wheel to cut a checkerboard pattern into it. The squares should have about 1 1/2-inch (4 cm) sides. Don’t pull apart the squares of dough. Leave them exactly where you cut them, touching in rows. Slide the parchment paper—with the dough on it—onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
While the first batch bakes, roll out the second piece of dough between two pieces of parchment, prick and cut it the same way as the first. Bake this batch the same way as the first batch (either use a second baking sheet or cool off the first one and use it again). Keep the oven on after baking the second batch. You will still need to bake all the crackers again to crisp them.
Remove the baked crackers and parchment from the baking sheet. Put a cooling rack on the baking sheet. Pull apart the crackers into squares and place them on the cooling rack.
Put the baking sheet—holding the cooling rack and crackers— in the oven. Bake another 10 minutes or until the crackers begin to brown. Ask a helper to remove the browned crackers and put crackers that aren’t ready yet back in the oven for a few more minutes until they until they are also hard and crunchy.
Makes about 36 Munchy Crunchy Crackers.
We’ve also got Jennifer’s recipe for Real Mac ‘n Cheddar Cheese.
Jennifer is inviting kids to send in pictures of their favourite recipes from the book to her website www.kitchenforkids.com
Excerpted from Everyday Kitchen for Kids (Whitecap Books) by Jennifer Low
Photo by Ryan Szulc from Everyday Kitchen for Kids (Whitecap Books)
I’m on a bit of a health kick, and what arrives at my door? The new O.N.E. Coconut water that has just become available to Canadians. The water is all natural and comes from green coconuts in Brazil and the Philippines. Renowned for its hydrating qualities and health benefits, the sweet-tasting water is great when added to smoothies. I’ve been making ‘green’ smoothies for the kids in the morning, camoflaging spinach with blueberries so they don’t see the green colour. Adding banana, flax seed and this amazing coconut water ensures they start the day off well – and I don’t have to stress about them not eating their veggies at dinner. You can also keep a stash packed in the beach bag for the summer to prevent dehydration while doing your fun beach activities.
Disclosure: UrbanMommies Media was given samples for review.
This ham is both simple and elegant, and leftovers are something to celebrate, too.
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons orange juice
Pinch ground cloves
1 (7-pound) pre-cooked spiral-sliced ham
1 peeled, cored, ripe pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2/3 cup apple cider (non-alcoholic) or brandy
1 small red onion, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, orange juice and cloves.
Place ham on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Brush with half the glaze and continue to roast, brushing halfway through with remaining glaze, until browned and heated through, about 20 minutes more.
Meanwhile, combine pineapple, cider, onion, cinnamon stick and pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until pineapple is very tender, 10 to 20 minutes; cover pan if liquid begins to evaporate before pineapple softens. Discard cinnamon stick and serve chutney warm with ham.
Recipe courtesy of Whole Foods Market.
Remember the 70’s? Stroganoff and egg noodles, baby! Prepare this one while listening to disco, and make sure you explain 70’s fashion to your kids. (With the intention of them never wanting to wear bell bottoms or anything orange and brown.) Don’t worry. We won’t ever share recipes involving sweet potatoes and marshmallows.
Sear the stewing steak (brown it in a pan). Remove from pan. Sautee chopped onion and sliced green and red peppers (and mushrooms if you like). Once onions transluscent, return beef to pot. Add 1 T. paprika, 1 T. mustard (dijon), 2 pints (cans) of ale (best are cream ales like Kilkenny, Caffreys, Boddingtons) and 1 pint beef stock. Bring to boil. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Reduce to very low heat. Add in sliced mushrooms, and optional: tomato puree (1 can). Simmer 2 hours (until it tastes sweet), remove lid to reduce sauce to desired consistency. Just before serving, you may optionally add 1 cup whipping cream. Serve over tagliatelle or rice.
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
6 Lime Leaves
Muddle Blueberries and mint with lime juice and simple syrup. Shake over ice. Top with soda or sprite if you want it sweeter. Garnish with extra blueberries.
Recipe created for UrbanMommies by Oru Restaurant at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.
Photo: Bopomo Pictures.