Cooking

  • Last Minute Valentine’s Day Parfait

    It’s the day before Valentine’s Day.  Once again, we’ve waited until the last minute to prepare for the class party.  Trust me, been there, done that.

     

    Here are some guilt-free, healthful snacks that you can easily prepare for your child’s class party.

     

    I always feel guilty about bringing in sugary snacks or allergen prone treats.  My daughter developed a red dye allergy when she was in the third grade which made me extremely cautious about serving foods with potential allergens.  

     

    Yogurt Parfait

     

    This was the first treat that I made for my daughter’s class after discovering her allergy. I never loved the idea of overloading kids with candy then leaving them in school for the remainder of the day with the expectation that they would be capable of paying attention, concentrating in class and sitting still.  Sounds like a set-up for failure, right? I agree.

     

    As long as foods look and taste good, kids tend not to even think about the more traditional treats, like candy and cupcakes.  The key here is to be creative and let allow them to help if time allows. The class teacher will love you for it. I was class mom for each of my daughters classes from Kindergarten through Fifth grade. (more…)

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  • Avocado Day Recipes!

    Happy Avocado Day!

     

    In honor of Avocado Day, we made our own guacamole! Here’s a quick recipe so you make some for your family. As a special treat have the kids help with tasks that don’t require the use of sharp objects. 

    We found this guac to be surprisingly quick and easy to make, and we hope you enjoy!

    Guacamole

    Ingredients: 

    • 2 avocados
    • Cilantro
    • 1 lime
    • 2 medium-sized tomatoes
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 3 pinches of garlic salt

    Instructions:

    1. Cut both avocados in half, make sure to remove the pit with a knife. Scoop out the flesh of the avocado from the skin and put it in the bowl. Now discard the avocado skin and pit. Gently mash them around with a fork until a chunky texture has been achieved. Make sure the avocado is still chunky, and not creamy. 
    2. Cut and dice the tomatoes and add it to the avocado mixture.
    3. Chop up the garlic cloves (we love garlic over at KCC) and the cilantro into small pieces and toss it in with the avocado and tomato.
    4. Add freshly squeezed lime juice and the garlic salt (we really love garlic here).
    5. Gently mix all of the ingredients together until everything is evenly blended.

     

    Now you can enjoy this perfect little appetizer!

     

     

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  • Summer Barbecue Ideas for Non-Meat Eaters

    One of the best things about summer is the backyard barbecues. It’s so great to get together with friends and family and enjoy each other’s company and – of course – the food. Barbecuing is common because the food preparation and cook time are usually pretty simple. All you have to do is throw a couples burgers and hot dogs on the grill and you’re done. However, burgers and dogs aren’t the crowd pleasers that they used to be. I am a pescetarian, I eat fish but no other meats. Sometimes I feel left out at barbecues and other social gatherings because there usually aren’t any options that I can eat and enjoy. According to a study done by Credit Donkey in 2015, about 16 million Americans are vegetarian. Rise of the Vegan says that now 6% of the American population is now vegan. The pescetarian diet has also become very popular and keeps growing as well. Having non-meat meal options are now essential to the perfect barbecue.

     

    Here are my recommendations for great non-meat barbecue food, from one pescetarian to all the other non-meat eaters:

     

    Seafood:

    It’s really easy to grill fish and other kinds of seafood. Shrimp skewers are always popular and are easy to prepare. Bobby Flay has a recipe made with soy sauce and ginger – for a more Asian style flavor. All you have to do is marinate the shrimp and then grill and serve. Here is the recipe.

     

    Pasta Salad

    Whenever I go to my family’s barbecue, I always look forward to my mom’s pasta salad. It’s made with rotini pasta, roasted red peppers, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallots, and shredded mozzarella cheese. It’s usually served cold and is completely vegetarian. To make it a vegan option, put the cheese on the side and let guests sprinkle it into the pasta. I love this dish because it’s refreshing, light, and easy to prepare and serve.

     

    Dips

    With any good barbecue, you can’t forget about appetizers. Guacamole and mango salsa served with tortilla chips are fun options, and are completely vegan. Inspiredtaste.net has a guac recipe that I really enjoy. They suggest to add tomatoes to the dip for an extra flavor and to leave the overall product chunky instead of creamy. I personally like guacamole that is left chunky because it keeps the flavor alive, and you can really taste all the ingredients. Here is the recipe. Food blogger Kate has a recipe for mango salsa that includes red peppers, a jalapeno, and cilantro for added flavor. It’s a fresh and ripe recipe with an extra kick that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Here is the recipe.

     

    Desserts

    No barbecue is complete without dessert. The blog A Virtual Vegan has a list of vegan-friendly summer desserts. My personal favorite is the chocolate and raspberry brownies. Here is the website with all the ideas.

     

    What I love about barbecues is that it’s a great way to bring people together for a summer afternoon. And you want everyone that goes to the barbecue to feel included by having food options that everyone will enjoy. I hope these recipes serve you well and are liked by your crowd.

     

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  • Easy Camp Lunches for Picky Eaters

    Parents, you know the drill:

    “That looks gross!”

    “That smells gross!”

    “I’m not eating that!”

    Being a picky eater is a natural part of childhood; most people outgrow it, but at this moment in your kid’s life, it’s the most important thing in the world. You’ve learned to control it – at home, at school, at a restaurant; but now – it’s the summer, which means one thing: camps are starting.

    Summer camps are a blessing, it lets kids be active, and you finally have time to get what you need to get done. But when dealing with a picky eater, you’ve entered a whole other world. During the school months, it’s easier. You’re dealing with a climate controlled atmosphere, and you have more leeway to pack foods that need to withstand the cold. But at a camp, you don’t know what you’re getting. It’s very likely that the only temperature controlled unit your child is getting is the tiny ice pack that you placed in the lunch box.

    So here you are,  panicking about what to feed your picky eater in a climate you can’t control.

    Here are some tips that will help you and your child have a happy and productive summer:

    1) Set up a no-no list:

    Sit down with your kid and together, the two of you can plan out lunches that they will enjoy, and that their friends will be envious of.

    2) Contact the camp:

    By doing this, you’ll be able to find out what foods aren’t allowed due to allergy restrictions, and what the camp does with the lunches (I went to a summer camp that would collect the lunch bags at the beginning of the day, and store them in a giant refrigerator until lunchtime).

    3). Try to change it up:

    Sure, peanut butter and jelly every day would be super easy. Unfortunately, pallets change, and sometimes eating the same thing for lunch every day can become routine and a chore. Try to come up with a lunch of the week. Each week of the camp there’s something different to eat. This will keep your child’s interest and enthusiasm up, and it won’t add any additional pressure on you to keep buying new lunch ingredients every day.

    4) Follow the camp’s policies:

    If there’s a no nut rule, stick with it; you don’t want to put the other campers in danger or get your kid in trouble for breaking the rule. If climate control is an issue, try adapting the lunches to stick with it. Pasta salads with oil-based dressings are a great solution, they can easily adapt to any type of temperature. Same with bean salads, hummus, veggies, and some deli meats and cheeses (from Stretcher.com). Always make sure to throw an ice pack inside the bag for extra coldness.

    5) Involve your camper:

    Have them make the lunches with you! It’s a great bonding activity, it will save time, and it will show your picky eater exactly what is going into their food (from Stretcher.com).

    Summer should be a low-stress time in you and your child’s life. Camps are great fun, and a great way to make sure that your kids are being active during the summer. You want your child to have the best time, don’t let their pickiness get in the way of the best summer ever!

     

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