Planning healthy habits

Did you ever notice how difficult it is to eat healthy when hunger strikes? Your little one wants a snack; you go to the kitchen and start looking around. Often we find ourselves in this situation. The key to keeping it healthy is planning. I know! We’re all busy. In the spirit of spring cleaning and getting organized, consider organizing snacks with a snack station.

Inspired by Realsimple.com, today’s idea is a grab-and-go snack stashes.

Using a larger bin – consider Tupperware, something that can be cleaned easily – place a variety of snacks that can be mixed and matched for treats. You can use snack size sandwich bags to portion out orange slice, baby carrots, celery sticks, pepper slices. You can even rotate these treats to showcase whatever is seasonal, like berries. Include grapes, lunch meat roll-ups (like turkey and Swiss of ham and cheddar), yogurt, string cheese and, for dipping, a jar of peanut butter and hummus.

Make a habit of refilling your snack station one day a week, say Sunday night. Once it’s ready, you can tell your kids to grab something when you’re busy without worry. And, you can pick up a small bag on your way out to the many baseball and soccer games going on. Those chips are tempting, but not the best option for your little one – or you.

How will you personalize your snack station?

Orange Smiles with a Jelly Twist

Most children have stuck an orange slice in their mouth and smiled. The peel making a comical smile is a childhood favorite. And, since slices of citrus will always be a healthy snack, this tradition will continue. In the spirit of April Fool’s Day this weekend, let’s add a twist to this favorite with blood orange jelly smiles. This can be made with any kind of citrus – like tangerines or navel oranges. Choose whichever your kids will try. But the blood oranges offer the most dramatic look. Consider serving these side-by-side with real slices of blood oranges. See if anyone can tell the difference!

 

Ingredients

6 blood oranges
1 packet of plain gelatin
Sugar or honey (optional to taste)  

Instructions

  1. Buy a sack of blood oranges.
  2. Get some plain gelatin. (You can find this in the baking aisle near the regular Jell-O.)
  3. Cut 6 oranges in half. (You can always multiply this recipe to make more.)
  4. Squeeze out the juice. Here’s where this project can be a little tricky. You want to squeeze out as much juice as possible without damaging the orange peel. Consider using a traditional manual juicer. Go slowly and twist each half so it’s as clean as possible.
  5. Scrape out any extra strings or flesh. Again, you want the peel intact, so if you can’t get everything out, it’s OK. A little extra orange flesh won’t mess this up.
  6. Put each orange peel shell into a muffin tin to hold them steady when you pour in the gelatin.
  7. Soften the gelatin. Measure 1/4 cup cold water in a glass measuring cup. Sprinkle 1 packet of plain gelatin into the water and let it sit.
  8. Heat the orange juice to boiling. Measure out about 3/4 cup of the juice. Also, this is where you can add a little sugar or honey, if you want to sweeten the juice. Taste and sweeten as needed. Bring the juice to a boil.
  9. Mix gelatin and juice. Take the boiling juice off the heat and whisk in the gelatin. Pour the juice and gelatin mixture back into the glass measuring cup.
  10. Fill orange peel shells. Fill each orange peel cup with the gelatin mixture, and put the muffin tins into the fridge to cool. The orange jelly will need 2-3 hours to set completely.
  11. Trim, slice, and serve! The filling should firm up and be quite stiff. Once it is hard enough, slice into wedges.

Mixing together to support kid chefs

Some kids are picky eaters while others are fearless.

Willing to pick up that strange looking dish and give it a try, foodie youths need a place to explore their love. Recently, Kids Culinary Adventures joined forces with children’s foodie network ZisBoomBah.com. Together we’re creating an online space for cooking students with games that make cooking exciting and healthy recipes to try at home.

“Kids Culinary Adventures loves how much information on cooking and playing with food is on ZisBoomBah. And the best part is that ZisBoomBah reaches so many people and we think that’s pretty cool,” said Chef Gigi, founder of Kids Culinary Adventures.

Working together has created a top-notch, kid-friendly online resource for young chefs available 24/7.

“We are very excited to be bringing the ZisBoomBah experience into the kitchens of kid cooking schools across the country.  With this generation growing up with less healthy food it is critical to teach cooking skills to our kids.  Being creative in the kitchen will empower them to make better food choices throughout their life.” says ZisBoomBah Founder Karen Laszlo.

Let’s get a taste of what you can find online by cooking Hawaiian Waffles with tropical salsa. This is two recipes, but they work really well together.

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Hawaiian Waffles

Ingredients
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Butter, Unsalted
1 3/4 cup Milk
1 tablespoon Sugar
4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Coconut Flakes

Preparation

  1. Preheat the waffle iron and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until foamy.
  3. Whisk in melted butter and milk.
  4. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and whisk until just smooth.
  5. Fold in coconut.
  6. Pour batter onto hot waffle iron.
  7. Close lid and bake until steam stops and waffle is lightly browned and crisp, 3-4 minutes.
  8. Remove waffle and repeat with remaining batter. Serve with Tropical Fruit Salsa.

Tropical Salsa

Ingredients
1 mango Mango
1 cup Pineapple
1/4 pepper Jalapeno
2 stalk Onion, Green
1 pepper Bell Pepper
1/3 cup Parsley
2 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoon Lime Juice, Fresh

Preparation

  1. Dice mango, pineapple, red bell pepper.
  2. Finely chop seeded jalapeno chile, green onions.
  3. Mince Parsley.
  4. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve at room temperature.

Edible adding machine

Calculators are easily found today. Most cell phones have them actually. Who needs to count or do math on their own? Hopefully you’re little one. Why not make the experience a fun – and of course tasty – one?
TheHokeyPokeyKitchen.com has created the solution in this fun, edible food activity by creating an edible abacus.

Also called a counting frame, an abacus is used for arithmetic. More often used in Asia, abaci are often constructed with a bamboo frame with beads sliding on wires. Originally, beans and stones were used in groves in sand or tablets of wood, stone or metal. The abacus was used centuries before written number systems were adopted – and well before calculators were kept in the same machine used to text, tweet and make phone calls.

Around the world this tool is still used in preschools and elementary schools as a teaching aid in the numeral system.
The Greek abacus was a table of wood or marble, pre-set with small counters in wood or metal for mathematical calculations. The normal method of calculation in ancient Rome, as in Greece, was by moving counters on a smooth table. Originally pebbles were used.
Around the 5th century, Indian clerks were already finding new ways of recording the contents of the Abacus.
In Japanese, the abacus is called soroban, imported from China around 1600. The 1/4 abacus, which is suited to decimal calculation, appeared circa 1930, and became widespread as the Japanese abandoned hexadecimal weight calculation which was still common in China.
As a simple, cheap and reliable device, the Russian abacus was in use in all shops and markets throughout the former Soviet Union, and the usage of it was taught in most schools until the 1990s. And today, you can make your own with tasty treats.

Ingredients
One long French baguette
Blueberries
Red grapes
String cheese
Honeydew
Cantaloupe
(Or your favorite fruits and veggies. Make sure everything is washed before getting started)
Five skewers, wooden or metal

Directions
1. Take the baguette and cut it into three equal pieces. Use the middle piece for the base and the other two as sides for support.
2. String the fruit and cheese, cut into 10 small pieces, onto the skewers.
3. Place the skewers between two of the pieces of bread

Make sure to snack on the extra ingredients. Creating a helpful math tool can make you work up an appetite.