I read an article recently about how important it is to cook with children, not just bake, but cook food. I couldn't agree more. My kids both love helping out in the kitchen. They use butter knives to cut soft vegetables, and I bought Emmett his first Santuko knife (red, his favorite color). We have colorful spatulas, wooden spoons and extra measuring spoons for everyone to participate.
I find my kids are more likely to try something new when they help make it into a dish. Mushrooms for example are something that neither Hugh nor Emmett like the look of, but if they remove the fins from a portobello and then slice it themselves (I use the term "slice" loosely) they will taste it. And we experiment with cooking in different styles to try it different ways. They will eat roasted crunchy mushrooms vs. sautéed soft mushrooms.
I've gotten some requests for healthy snacks my kids (and I) like. Some recipes that my kids enjoy helping with and eating are: hummus, guacamole, sourdough bread (baking yes, I know, but it is a more involved baking process), garlicky string beans, peeling sweet potatoes and trying to cut them, roasted chickpeas, preparing squash and scooping out the seeds, kale chips - removing the kale from the stems and rinsing, and generally helping measure spices, etc...
Here are a few recipes:
This hummus recipe is from my friend Jennifer Bedford, it's fabulous. My favorite tahini brand is al wadi, and I use dried chickpeas unless it's last minute and then I always have back up organic canned chickpeas (my kids are addicted).
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1/3 cup hot water, approximately
1 large lemon, juiced
1/4 cup tahini
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Drain and rinse the chickpeas, if canned. Put in the bowl of a food processor. Begin to process, gradually adding the hot water to a light, spreadable consistency. Add the lemon juice, garlic, tahini, and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or more to taste, and season with sea salt. Process until well-blended and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more lemon, oil or sea salt, if necessary. You can add a little chopped parsley into the humus or sprinkle on top before serving. Drizzle addition olive oil, if desired.
If you use dried chickpeas, 1/2 c. dried chickpeas. Pick over for rocks or damaged beans. Rinse beans. Place them in a pot covered with cold water (about 2-3 inches above the highest beans) and leave, covered for 4-6 hours. Drain beans, cover with 2-3 inches of fresh water, add a 1 inch piece of kombu (combo is a sea vegetable that adds nutrients and digestibility to chickpeas), sea salt, and bring to a simmer for 1.5 hours. Drain and use for hummus, roasted chickpeas, etc...
Guacamole with blue corn chips my kids love. . .
3 ripe avocados, scooped
1 lime, juiced
1/4 tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)
1/2 medium onion, small dice
1/2 jalapeno (seeded and minced (optional)
3 Tablespoons cilantro, well rinsed and chopped (I LOVE cilantro, but use to taste).
1 clove of garlic, minced
In a large bowl, mash the avocado and toss with a bit of lime juice. Mash with a fork (or a potato masher if you have an 18-month old whose eyes you'd like to protect . . . ahem, Hugh James). Mix in the onions, cilantro, jalapenos, and additional 1 Tablespoon of lime juice or to taste. If you are storing the guac (and it's nice to let the flavors dance for 1/2-1 hour before serving, but who in the world can resist eating guac when it's ready?) place plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole to stop the colors from oxidizing. Enjoy!
My children LOVE these. You can add them on top of salads instead of croutons, you can toss them with roasted broccoli and sesame seeds, or just eat them from a bowl like Emmett and Hugh do.
1 15-oz can of chickpeas, rinsed
Toss with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and add seasoning however you'd like!
Our favorite spices are: sea salt, paprika, turmeric, dill, and sometimes garlic powder.
Roast at 350 degrees, for 20-25 minutes or until crispy.
Sweet Potato Chips (with yogurt dipping sauce).
One sweet potato, scrubbed or peeled. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), sea salt, a sprinkle of turmeric, a sprinkle of sweet paprika, sea salt to taste and pepper. Thinly slice either with a knife or a mandolin. Convection Roast at 350F until cooked or if you prefer crispy, until browned on the edges. (20-30 minutes depending on personal preference). My children love dipping. And I love this dip.
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt, 2 Tablespoons of dried dill, 1.5 tsp. of garlic powder, 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar, sea salt and 1/2 a Persian cucumber (seeds removed and diced). Add dried herbs to taste.
1 bunch of kale
Wash kale the night before and wrap in paper towels. Place stem facing towards you so that kale leaf easily flattens. Using a sharp chef's knife, remove the stem keeping the large leaves in one piece. Toss lightly with EVOO, sea salt. Roast for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. You want the kale leaves to have the crispiness of a chip. These are addictive. Be warned.
1 sliced ripe avocado.
a few flakes of malden sea salt
1/4 lemon juice
Eat with a spoon!
1 slice of sourdough toast (recipe for this coming!)
1/2 ripe avocado
sprinkle of maldon sea salt
(if you like a kick, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes)
Roasted Broccoli Emmett loves that broccoli looks like little trees - i love that he loves broccoli
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces. Cut stem, and peel and cut into long thick strips
Toss broccoli with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper
Roast at 350 on convection for 25 minutes until edges are crispy.
When finished add Gomasio
Nuts for my little nuts
Raw. Delicious. Nuts. Walnuts, almonds, Pistachios. My kids love them all. And they love cracking shells and eating the nuts.
Cherry Tomatoes with feta cheese
Plain. Off the vine if possible. Emmett loves picking tomatoes, making chipmunk cheeks with cherry tomatoes, and mixing it with feta cheese, olive oil and sea salt and eating them for lunch. For Hugh, I slice the tomatoes in half (we love to avoid choking).
Rice Cake with peanut butter and banana
Organic sea weed rice cake, organic salt-free peanut butter to taste, slice banana sometimes a dollop of raw honey for good measure.
Organic everything. Grapes. Blueberries. Blackberries. Raspberries. Strawberries. Cherries. Watermelon (pureed watermelon into juice), bananas (frozen bananas into the Omega juicer with the flat panel becomes banana ice cream), mangoes (mangoes with lime juice), papayas, pomegranates (they love cracking the seeds out of the skin), figs, dates, = they eat it all. And they love picking it out and getting in the fridge and choosing their fruit.
All the above foods are fun to make together and nutritious.
Hi! I'm a health food trained chef, living with three children and my husband . . . sharing some ideas with people in hopes of bringing delicious ideas into their kitchen and pushing them gently to come up with simple and delicious meals for themselves.