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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Millet Veggie Patties

These savory little patties are perfect as a side dish with fish or chicken for dinner as well as over mixed greens for a savory lunch.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Millet (cooked)
  • 1/3 cup Vegan Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tsp. Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil (chopped)

Directions

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Add onion and cook until softened (about 3 minutes).  Add cooked millet and garlic, continue to stir.
  • Reduce to low heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add carrot, Parmesan cheese, basil, lemon zest, sea salt, pepper, zucchini and carrots.  Cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.  Add fresh basil.
  • Remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes.  Uncover and let stand for 30 minutes.
  • Form the mixture into 4 patties.
  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with olive oil and cook patties for 4 minutes on each side.
  • Enjoy!

Have you tried millet? If so, what are your thoughts on the unique taste?

What’s for Breakfast?

Breakfast Doesn’t Always Have to be “The Traditional Meal”

  –Branch out and incorporate last nights left-overs into your morning dish!

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Many of my clients come to me complaining of “No energy” or exhaustion and they cannot figure out why.  The first thing I ask is, “What do you usually eat for breakfast?” Unfortunately, this question is usually followed by a simple, “Umm, breakfast? I don’t have time for breakfast…I grab a coffee on my way to work and maybe a bagel if I have time.

Well, first off this is a huge problem.  Not only do many Americans wake up without eating breakfast, they wouldn’t have the first idea as to where to start in preparing this easy meal.  What many people do not know is that breakfast is the easiest meal to prepare…you don’t have to make yourself a huge omelet with fresh herbs and veggies, toast, and freshly sliced fruit…(Who really has time for that when you are running out the door for work?) There are numerous foods that can be quickly prepared and keep you satisfied until your mid morning snack or lunch time.  Who said breakfast has to consist of breakfast foods?  For instance, use left over items such as beans and grains from dinner the night before.  Easy to prepare items such as oatmeal, wheat berries, pilaf, brown rice, grits, cream of wheat, risotto, barley, polenta, Chinese rice porridge (Congee), the opportunities are endless.  You can top these simple dishes with a sweet or savory mixture.  For instance, some may prefer beans (chickpeas are my favorite), cheese, nuts, coconut, all natural peanut butter,  fresh fruit, cinnamon, canned pumpkin, sweet potato, dried fruits, all natural honey and seeds.  These dishes can simply be prepared overnight and placed in your refrigerator until the morning where you can add a touch of your choice of water, raw milk, soy milk, hemp milk, silken tofu or rice milk.  These will ensure a perfect consistency.  You can also use your slow-cooker to prepare these grains in large quantities and store in your fridge for every morning of the week ahead.

Take advantage of these unique breakfast ideas…branch out and don’t be scared to try sweet on Monday and savory on Tuesday…let yourself get creative and most importantly have fun.  Try to plan the week’s dinners on Sunday night and make sure to cook a large batch of your grains at night so you can be sure to have left-overs for your morning breakfast.  You can even combine left over grains in the morning with some freshly made rolled oats to get a unique consistency in your dish.  Moreover, these breakfast grains are incredibly easy to transport  to work in a Tupperware with all of your fixings added on top…when you get to work mix in your favorite nuts  and fruit for an added sweet burst of flavor and crunch!

As noted in my previous post on Whole Grains (see Whole Grain post), benefits of whole grains include reduced risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, better weight maintenance, reduced risk of asthma, healthier carotid arteries, healthier blood pressure levels, lower risk of colorectal cancer, reduction of inflammatory disease risk, and less gum disease and tooth loss.  Whew…if that list doesn’t make you want to include whole grains into your first meal of the day, then I don’t know what will….Give it a try…be adventurous!!!

Here are a few ideas to get you started.  Mix and Match the following toppings with the following grains.

Grains

  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Porridge
  • Brown Rice
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Wheat Berries
  • Amaranth
  • Hulled Barley
  • Cornmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Sorghum (Also known as Milo)
  • Teff
  • Triticale
  • Wheat: Spelt, Emmer, Farro, Einkorn, Kamut, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheat berries
  • Wild Rice

Toppings of Choice

  • All Natural Peanut Butter or Nut Butter of choice (Almond, Cashew, etc.)
  • Egg Whites
  • Raw Nuts
  • Coconut
  • Miso
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Bee Pollen
  • Lemon/Lime Zest or Fresh Juice
  • Wheat Germ
  • Granola
  • Beans: Chickpeas
  • Fresh Herbs
  • Oat Bran
  • Ground Flax Seed
  • Cheese
  • Vegetables: (Cooked or Left-overs from Stir-Fry)  tomatoes, spinach, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Raw Honey
  • Canned Pumpkin or Sweet Potato or Squash
  • Cinnamon/Nutmeg/Coriander
  • Dried Fruits
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Raw Milk, Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Silken Tofu, Oat Milk, or Hemp Milk
  • Greek Yogurt

Here are a few recipes to use to get you started…

Overnight Oats

1 1/2 cups whole grain (use a mixture from the below list or one). Use gluten-free if necessary.

1 tsp. salt (if desired)

4 cups water

Place in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn crock pot on HIGH.When crock pot is hot, pour grain, salt, and water inside.Cover immediately and reduce heat to low.  Cook overnight.

Note 1: If making your meal in the morning, you can simply use a rice cooker, or  your stove top sauce pan.

Oven Surprise

2 1/3 cups cooked rice

Add in any of the above toppings of your choice and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.   This is delicious with granola and fresh cut fruit.

Any takers? Share your thoughts and the concoctions that you have created for your morning breaking of the fast from the night before…believe me, your left overs will never have tasted better!  Enjoy!