Get Those Kids Cookin’…

Ever wonder how to get your kids involved in the kitchen? Here are a few tips that I offer to my clients…whether you have young children, nieces, nephews, neighbors, family or friends…these tips are sure to get your little ones active and entertained in the kitchen.


  • Cucumber Caterpillar: Slices of cucumber held together with natural peanut butter. Place the Caterpillar on ‘greens’ to look like grass.
  • Taco or Burrito Bar: Serve brown rice, black beans, onions, hot peppers, sprouted grain or gluten free tortillas, broccoli, arugula, cauliflower, guacamole and  salsa.  Add nuts, seeds and spices in tiny serving dishes to jazz up the flavors!
  • Salad Bar: Spin your greens in a salad spinner, then dress dry greens with a lime dressings made by combining sesame oil, fresh lime juice, low-sodium tamari, cayenne pepper, agave nectar, balsamic vinegar and water.
  • Mashed Potato Parfaits- Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips and carrots mixed together…topped with raisins, cinnamon, shredded coconut and agave nectar
  • Individual Pizzas: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Choose gluten free or sprouted whole grain tortillas, caramelized onions, spinach, red onion, mushrooms, kalamata olives, artichokes, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Add each ingredient atop each tortilla and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Panini Party: Gluten Free or sprouted whole grain bread, SoyaKaas Gluten Free/Dairy Free cheese, tomato slices, eggplant slices, fresh basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, avocado, zucchini and squash slices.  Add all ingredients to 2 slices of bread.  Place onto a panini maker (sprayed with cooking spray); cook until cheese is melted and veggies are warm and cooked.  Dip into marinara (red) sauce.
  • Stir-Fry: Switch up your usual recipe with unique grains such as millet, quinoa or buckwheat.
  • Fruit Salad: Add exotic fruits to spice up the flavors.  Use a melon baller and serve in a wine glass to add to the allure of this meal.  Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt atop each fruit salad serving and sprinkle with cinnamon and stevia.
  • Slaw Wraps: Cabbage, celery, carrots, bok choy, mushrooms, peppers, snap peas, bean sprouts, snow peas, green beans and Napa Slaw can easily be combined and wrapped in rice paper.  Liven up this dish by pairing it with a special sauce of grapefruit juice, ginger, balsamic vinegar, lemonade and seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower.  Toss with fresh apples or cumin roasted chick peas.  Adding berries such as blackberries, raspberries and cherries add a nice antioxidant punch to these wraps.
  • Peanut Butter Chicken Fajitas: The best way to make a good peanut sauce is by combining organic peanut butter, fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, agave nectar and low-sodium tamari/soy sauce.
  • Frozen Basil and Banana Pops: Blend together 2 cups ice, 2 cups fresh basil leaves, 1 ripe banana, 1 cup fresh mint leaves, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup agave nectar in a blender.  Blend well and pour into glasses! This is a wonderful treat for a healthy dessert!

Have fun and experiment with some of my ideas above…Getting the kids active in the kitchen is fun…and who knows, your kids may just start to ‘enjoy’ their veggies!!!

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Apple, Parsnip and Acorn Squash Soup and OpenSky Promotion

There’s nothing like a warm soup on a cool winter evening.  This unique soup pairs acorn squash, parsnips and apples together along with Stonyfield yogurt.  The combination of fruits and sweet winter vegetables makes this soup a perfect way to end your day.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squash, sliced lengthwise in half
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups  granny smith apples, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 freshly ground white pepper
  • Oikos plain Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 fresh basil, chopped

Directions

  • Place squash cut side down on rack set over gently simmering water in saucepan. Cover and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Cool squash slightly. Scoop pulp and set aside.
  • Combine 1/4 cup vegetable broth, apples, parsnips and onion in heavy medium saucepan.
  • Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes. Add squash pulp, remaining broth, orange juice, ginger and sea salt.
  • Cover and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes.
  • Puree soup in batches in a food processor
  • Strain through into a medium-sized saucepan; gently warm over low heat.
  • Add orange zest. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  • Ladle into bowls. Garnish with Oikos plain Greek yogurt and basil.

OpenSky Promotion!

Check out the OpenSky Holiday Promotion Page here:

http://holidays.theopenskyproject.com/

From now until midnight on Wednesday, you can sign up to receive coupons ranging from $15 to $100 off and 10% to 50% off.

The quicker you enter your email at http://holidays.theopenskyproject.com/ the better your chances for great savings.  You’ll note this page asks users to input their favorite shopkeeper.  For favorite shopkeeper, please input: AMIE

Every user will receive a coupon!

  • OpenSky is the place for your holiday shopping.
  • Sign up for savings here: http://holidays.theopenskyproject.com/
  • I only have 50 Premium Coupons for $15 off a $20 item so sign   up quickly!
  • To save the most, type AMIE as your favorite Shopkeeper.

Apple n’ Parsnip Crunchy Fries

carrot

Continuing on with my fall-themed recipes, I thought I would create a side dish that incorporated autumn root veggies such as parsnips and carrots along with a delicious fall fruit-the apple!  I was introduced to parsnips a few years ago when my family served them for Thanksgiving dinner.  Yum-what a unique, sweet taste.  Since the moment these babies hit my taste buds I’ve created a vast array of cooking and baking recipes that combines these tasty parsnips with other root n’ hearty vegetables.  This dish is perfect for the fall season, not only is it incredibly healthy but it tastes delicious and ignites your kitchen with a magnificent aroma.

I love making my ‘Fries‘, but this time around I wanted to try something different.  I have yet to use a fruit when making my fries, therefore I imagined the combination of fresh apples with carrots, shallots and parsnips in my mind.  Why not, I thought….it can’t taste taste that bad, right? I gave it a whirl and whipped out my handy-dandy cutting board and a few fancy knives along with some pantry staples such as cinnamon, agave nectar, granola and dried cherries.  Hmmmm….would this combination make a delightful fry that I could flavor with a bit of sweetness and perhaps dip it into some Greek yogurt, homemade agave- sweetened relish or fruity-flavored salsa? I surely hoped it would…and as a matter of fact, it went above and beyond my expectations.  I just had to share this savory fry recipe with you…I hope you run out to the market and snatch up these ingredients because this one surely is a winner in my book.

Don’t be afraid to alter my recipe if your pantry isn’t stocked with these items; if you don’t have any granola on hand, feel free to use ground flax seed or mashed cereal, crackers or pretzels for the crunchy texture.  No dried cranberries?  No problem–reach for raisins or cranberries.  You can also experiment with sweeteners—you may choose to use honey or stevia.  Now, I’ve always followed my recipe to the ‘T’ and haven’t altered it a mere pinch, but if you’ve got the guts to switch it up…go for it and let me know how it turns out.

Now, how much fun is this for a Friday night?

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Apples (I used Granny Smith Apples)
  • 4 large Parsnips
  • 6 Large Carrots
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 Tbsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Granola, mashed
  • 1/3 cup Dried Cherries
  • 1/4 cup of Pistachios
  • Dash of Agave Nectar

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Slice carrots, parsnips and apples into fry-like shapes.
  • Place into a Zip-lock bag with cinnamon, shallots, granola and dried cherries.
  • Shake until carrots, parsnips and apples are completely coated with cinnamon.
  • Place onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and place into a serving dish.  Drizzle with agave nectar and pistachios.
  • Enjoy and serve with your favorite condiments such as relish, sweet salsa, Greek yogurt, guacamole or tamari.

Boost Your Immune System

Whether it’s an office cubicle buddy coughing over your shoulder or the changing of seasons, we all need to keep our immune systems healthy.  Here are a few ways for you to be sure to keep you out of the doctors office and feeling great!

immune

Eat Healthy Fats and Healthy Foods

  • Eat foods that boost your immune system such as mushrooms, cantaloupe, brown rice, olive oil, broccoli, leafy greens, oranges and apples.
  • To build your body’s ability to protect itself from becoming sick, be sure to eat whole grains, fish, poultry, vegetables, beans, fruits, leafy greens and roots.
  • Don’t be scared of Fat-you need a healthy dose each and everyday.  Include healthy fats such as nuts, avocado and olive oil.
  • Reach for foods that are high in Vitamin D such as salmon and tuna.

Incorporate Cancer-Fighting Foods, Spices and Herbs

  • Garlic is a powerful health enhancer; it’s strong properties protect our immune system.
  • Drink black tea and green tea for their antioxidants, tannis, indoles and bioflavonoids, which have all been proven to fight cancer.
  • Take time to consider the use of medicinal plants, which have been a natural resource for curing and easing body ailments for centuries.

Be Active

  • Get walking.  Be sure to exercise for 30 minutes on most days.  Even a walk after dinner can help you digest your food and make you feel energized.

Drink Water

  • Try to drink 6-8 glasses a water each day to flush out the toxins in your  body.

Wash Your Hands

  • Be sure to wash up as often as possible to keep germs from spreading and getting into your mouth and eyes.

Clean Your Cubicle as You Would Your Home

  • Many of us spend more time at our desks than we do in our own homes, therefore be sure to keep your cubicle and desk clean with disinfectants.
  • Many of us eat meals at our desks, which leads to a whole slew of festering bacteria-Yuck.  Be sure to wipe your desk before and after each meal or opt for a chance of scenery and enjoy your lunch in the cafe or outside.

How do you stay healthy? Do you have any tips for boosting your immune system?

Spinach with Pine Nuts and Cranberries

This is a perfect side dish to bring to your Summer BBQ…The sweet combination of fresh mango, dried cranberries,  spinach and agave nectar  will be the hit of the party!

spinach2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked spinach
  • 4 tsp. pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp. Nu-Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Greek plain yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup apples, chopped
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1 tsp. olive oil

Directions

  • On the stove top, heat oil over medium heat in a skillet.  Add garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Add cooked spinach, cranberries, Nu-Salt, pepper and pine nuts.  Gently stir to ensure even cooking.  Add in apples and continue to gently stir.
  • For the Dressing: In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, orange zest and Greek yogurt.  Mix well and set aside.
  • Remove spinach mixture from the heat and place into a large bowl.  Add fresh mango pieces and Greek yogurt mixture; toss gently.
  • Serve and enjoy!