Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Has Sprung... the Grass is Riz...

Does anyone remember that old rhyme? I think the rest goes something like this...

Spring has sprung,
The grass is riz,
I wonder where
the birdies is...

LOL! Well, let's "think Spring!" I've got a lot of fun things coming your way for spring and gardening, and, and, and...

The first official day of Spring (even though it may not 'feel like Spring) is Saturday, March 20th. So let's kick it off with a Spring Breakfast next weekend!

I don't know whether you've noticed... kids seem to eat and try more different foods if you present them on fun plates and in fun containers... it's all in the presentation and the packaging... so they say in life!

I know my grandkids, love it when they come to visit and Nannie has a new "frog plate" or special parfait glasses that you can "see-through!" What fun!

Take a stroll down the kitchen aisle of your closest dollar store... you don't have to spend a fortune on special dishes to make foods fun! For this one, I suggest you pick up some clear glass (they are usually heavy glass)... parfait or sundae glasses at the dollar store. You can use these for so many fun and healthy foods.

You'll probably find tall ones and shorter ones... depending on how old your kids are, the shorter ones seem to make more sense... they don't get knocked over quite as easily (a real plus)... and it doesn't take that much to fill them up (the kids won't get bored with their specialty)... and they will most likely eat the whole thing!

So, back to the Spring kickoff... how about a Spring Breakfast Parfait?

Start off the evening before (if you can) by giving the kids their new, special parfait glasses. Have them go into the kitchen and wash and dry them. Then have them set them out on the counter so they will be ready first thing for their Spring Breakfast.

By the way, this is not only teaching the kids cooking, it's teaching them about planning and time management, all while getting them excited about their breakfast project!

Okay... here's what you need for this recipe... please substitute any of the fruits and make them ones that your kids really like... there's enough ingredients in here for four parfaits!

2 cups either canned pineapple tidbits or, if possible, chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup fresh red raspberries
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 banana
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds
Red cherries for a topper (optional)

Let the kids do this! Don't you get tired of me saying that?

I suggest that you put each ingredient in a small bowl so the kids can dip out of the larger bowl and fill up their individual parfait glasses. If you elect for the fresh pineapple, yes, this is the adult helper's job!

You have a couple of choices here... the ingredients are presented in the order that they were intended to be placed in the glass. However... if you would like to just allow your kids to be "creative" and just put it in any way they want to... go for it!

Try to get the kids to think about "equal amounts" of each ingredient... which is teaching them to balance things. Then tell them that the last ingredients are "toppers" and they should be just "sprinkles"... like the raisins... the almonds... and one cherry each!

Hey... this is fun and oh so healthy! And, the kids are going to love their new "sundae glasses!" You can use them for so many fun and healthy creations!

Welcome Spring!
Getting Kids into the Kitchen,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach for Kids

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How 'Bout Those Sprouts?

You've got sprouts! Are the kids just thrilled? Watching things grow absolutely fascinates kids!

I promised you a recipe with sprouts so let's do it. This helps the kids understand how their food grows and it will tickle them to eat something that they nurtured from just a seed. Rinse the sprouts from the jar really well under running water... yep, let the kids do it!

Let them try a few "fresh sprouts" on a sandwich... easy though as the texture and taste is a bit funky for some...

A really easy way to try sprouts that the kids may really like is a simple stir-fry. Purchase one of those bags of frozen stir-fry veggies (the kids will like the ones with the baby corn in them) and just add sprouts!

If the kids are small, let them get up on their little stools by the stove... if you have two children, then put one on each side of you. I'm sure you've already taught them about the stove being hot. However, let them get the big skillet out and measure the olive oil into the skillet. Let each of them measure out a cup full of frozen veggies to dump into the skillet.

With supervision, don't let the oil get very hot (it doesn't matter this time!)... and let them dump their veggies into the skillet. Then let them grab some fresh sprouts and throw them in on top of the veggies. Now it's their turn to watch Mom do the stir-frying.

If the kids have a favorite stir-fry sauce, by all means add it to the mix! This is a great way to get kids eating their veggies... they are usually fascinated with the baby corn and will be very proud that they grew the sprouts they are cooking!

I'll be back with more suggestions for planting so stay tuned!
Happy Cooking with Kids,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach for Kids