Earth Day- Kids Cook Monday

This Wednesday, April 22nd, is Earth Day. I recently saw a post from the website, http://www.produceforkids.com  about some easy ways to celebrate this special day with little ones. I will admit, I was expecting a list of complicated tasks that inevitably would include a Pinterest-y type project…although I’m not exactly sure how that would help our Earth. Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised to see the list was so do-able, and that we (and probably you too!) love doing many of the ideas mentioned. Here’s some of the ways us Smiths are celebrating Earth Day this week- and most weeks!

1. Go “meatless” once a week. You guys, this is so simple. There are so many yummy meatless meals out there and if we all participated in this, it would make such a difference for our planet. For instance, did you know…?!

meatless

2. Shop for local produce and ingredients. We’re so lucky to have lived in places with great access to local, fresh produce whenever we needed it. Our family loves to hit up Farmer’s Markets to see what looks tasty and is in season. We have a really big market that is open year round and you can really find some great deals. Plus, the kids enjoy going and you really cut down on the amount of fuel/costs needed to transport your food to you.

wpid-20150420_160116.jpg

Brady- “I’ll take those carrots. Those right there.”

wpid-20150420_160147.jpg  wpid-20150420_160141.jpg

1

Our market finds this week.

3. Plant a garden. In Pennsylvania we had produce out the ying yang. There was a peach tree, pear tree, plum tree, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers and squash in our yard. It was awesome! I’d love to get back into that kind of gardening again, especially now that the kids are at a fun age for helping me with it. For now, we are starting with some potted herbs. I love having fresh herbs on hand for all kinds of recipes. And what better way to teach kiddos about taking care of the Earth, than by showing them how we can grow and care for our own produce.

2

Brady was smelling the mint!

3

We’re growing Thyme, Mint, Basil and Flat Leaf Parsley.

4. And finally, my favorite way to celebrate Earth Day is to cook together! You can never underestimate the importance of teaching our kids where their food comes from and how to prepare it. Think of the impact we could make on our planet if the next generation focused on cooking and eating real food and we could reduce the amount of pre-packaged food waste that we create.

4

Today we used our market Asparagus and made a super simple tasty side dish. (Even Nolan ate some Asparagus!!) All we did was wash and chop our Asparagus, sauté them in some Olive Oil and butter, and then tossed them with some lemon juice and some of the Thyme and Parsley we just planted. Finally we topped it all with some shredded Parmesan cheese. So easy!

5

Herbed Parmesan Asparagus. This bowl just screams Spring!

Happy Earth Day Y’all! May you find lots of tasty things to grow and eat on our Earth!

wpid-20150420_164934.jpg

St. Patrick’s Day- Kids Cook Monday

6

We love to celebrate any and all holidays around here. An excuse to give a gift, decorate, or make a special meal- and we’re on it! For Kids Cook Monday we decided to start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with some green food. Last year we attempted green smoothies and, while they were delicious, they weren’t, um, green. This year we were determined to have GREEN smoothies. And we got our wish! We also made some cute little shamrock quesadillas to go with our smoothies.

9

Green Smoothie Ingredients

1 banana
2 kiwis
1 bag frozen peaches
1 container flavored Greek yogurt
about 1/2 cup of Orange Juice
about 3/4 bag of spinach leaves

Brady enjoyed helping me pick out green ingredients for our smoothie at the grocery store. He even chose key lime yogurt because of the green container. He was also excited to try kiwi- which he described as green strawberries with lots of seeds. Sounds about right to me.

3

We tossed everything in the blender (tasting each item along the way.)

4

Nolan did the honors of pushing the blender buttons. He’s come a long way from being terrified of it and running away screaming.

5

Here’s how our smoothie turned out. Super green!!! This batch made enough for me and the boys to each have a very big glass. Nolan finished his and then asked to finish mine. That’s a big deal because he is not an easy kid to get healthy food into.

8

And because we couldn’t just eat smoothies for dinner, we made some fun cheese quesadillas using Spinach wraps and a shamrock cookie cutter.

10

These took just a few minutes to cut the shapes out and cook up in a pan.

11

Helpful hint: these were much easier to cut out when warmed up for about 15 seconds.

We served them with some bright green guacamole and felt super festive!

1

Not exactly an Irish tradition, but tasty and GREEN!

2     7

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

12

Oh, and because I can’t leave well enough alone, here’s Brady’s lunch for school tomorrow!!!

wpid-20150316_200633.jpg

Turkey spinach wrap, green apple with peanut butter, and cucumbers and hummus. Wonder if he’ll notice the color scheme?

Dr. Seuss Day- Kids Cook Monday

15

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! On March 2, people across the country come together to celebrate “Read Across America Day” in honor of Dr. Seuss. This is a day to not only recognize one of our most amazing authors, but also a great opportunity to for teachers, students, parents and children to come together to read and take part in literacy related activities. I always loved celebrating this day with my students when I was teaching, and now it is a day I look forward to enjoying with my own kiddos as a stay at home mom.

This year Dr. Seuss’s birthday falls on a Monday, so we made some tasty treats for “Kids Cook Monday” to go along with some of our favorite Dr. Seuss books.

We started by reading the most classic Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat. It’s funny. It’s silly. And, it’s always a crowd pleaser. We made some easy little fruit kabobs to go along with our lunch and story.

1612

Then we read my favorite Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hatches the Egg. It’s the sweetest story about an elephant who promises to take care of an egg and goes through terrible circumstances but never leaves the egg. I just adore Horton’s selflessness and love. I always loved reading this book to my first graders and will never forget reading it to my Brady when he was just a tiny baby. Seriously, my favorite.

We made these cute little haystacks that look like a bird’s nest with blueberries to represent the egg that Horton was protecting. These are the easiest and tastiest treats.

Nest and Egg Ingredients

1

1 cup Butterscotch Chips
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
2 cups Chow Mein Noodles
1 cup of blueberries

Here’s how we made our nests…

2

Melt the peanut butter and butterscotch chips together in the microwave. (About 1 minute)

 

3

Stir the mixture until smooth.

 

4

Add the chow Mein noodles.

 

5

Stir until all the chow mein is coated with the peanut butter mixture.

 

6

Scoop spoonfuls of the chow mein mixture onto a greased cookie sheet.

 

7

Add blueberries to the tops and put into the refrigerator for at least a half hour.

While the nests are cooling and hardening in the fridge, let your littlest helper lick the bowl.

8 9 10

These little guys are sweet, salty, crunchy and the blueberries are surprisingly necessary!

13

If you don’t have many Dr. Seuss books at your house, or you can’t make it to the library to check some out, look on Youtube for some awesome readings of some of his most popular books. This is one of my favorites too!

Hope you and your little one get to spend some time in the kitchen and with a great Dr. Seuss book!

11   14

If you would like any more information about “Read Across America Day” or ideas for celebrating Dr. Seuss, check out this website!

http://www.seussville.com/parents/

Happy, Healthy, Heart Pizzas! {Kids Cook Monday}

wpid-2015-02-09-18.01.50.jpg.jpeg

Happy National Pizza Day! With love being in the air and all (Valentine’s Day right around the corner!) we decided to make heart shaped pizzas today.

Recently I read a study that talked about how much pizza the average kid eats and how bad it is for them. **Insert guilty mom face** Depending on what kind you eat, it can be high in fat, sodium, and empty carbs. No, we do not eat pizza all the time (maybe once or twice a month) but we do enjoy it around here- especially Nolan. Plus, it’s just so darn easy to order and have delivered! Well, even though I still stand by delivery pizza as an every once in a while treat, it’s always nice if you can “healthify” something you enjoy by making it at home now and then.

wpid-20150209_163646_1.jpg

Healthy, Happy, Heart Pizza Ingredents

 

We made our Heart Pizzas with a store bought whole wheat dough, but there are tons of great homemade whole wheat dough recipes like this one –  Ultimate No-Knead Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

We rolled out our dough on our counter top that we (washed) and dusted with flour. Once we pressed the dough out flat, we began to cut out our heart shape with a cookie cutter.

wpid-20150209_164817.jpgwpid-20150209_164941.jpg

wpid-20150209_165126.jpgwpid-20150209_165504.jpg

We topped our pizzas with our favorite jarred marinara sauce and low-fat mozzarella cheese.

wpid-20150209_165544.jpgwpid-20150209_165912.jpg

Brady picked his favorite veggies to top the pizzas. (I tried to get him to pick a red pepper for a pretty Valentine Day color, but he insisted on orange.) Here he is munching on his veggies!

wpid-20150209_164646.jpgwpid-20150209_164635.jpg

We chopped them into shapes that we could use for making happy faces on our hearts.

wpid-20150209_164401.jpg

wpid-20150209_164344.jpg

Then we decorated our happy hearts!

wpid-20150209_170128.jpg

We baked our hearts for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

wpid-20150209_171706.jpg

These came out so cute and definitely satisfied a pizza craving for my boys. It was a fun way to kick off Valentines Day or just an overall love of pizza.

wpid-2015-02-09-17.47.26.jpg.jpeg

Happy National Pizza Day! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

Homemade Chips and Guacamole- Kids Cook Monday

wpid-2015-02-02-13.43.33.jpg.jpeg

We love guacamole around here- especially Brady and Nolan! So, you can understand why I was so inspired by this blog post from Teeny Tiny Foodie…

http://teenytinyfoodie.com/lets-make-guacamole-toddler-recipe/

Not only is guacamole delicious, but it’s super easy and fun to make. And with these easy to follow instruction sheets, they’re perfect for the littlest of chefs.

Guacamole GuacamoleInstructions

I have to admit, the teacher in me was really excited about these. I can definitely see a fun Science or Writing lesson that could happen with these on Cinco de Mayo!

I knew I wanted to try this guacamole recipe with Brady, but we made a bigger batch because, well, Nolan eats a lot.

1

We gathered all our ingredients and got to chopping. We ended up using 2 avocados, the juice of 1 lime, 1 tomato, a handful of chopped cilantro, 2 cloves of garlic and about 1/3 of a white onion.

8

Brady felt so big following the recipe instructions on the I-Pad and his favorite part was definitely squeezing the good stuff out of the avocados!

wpid-2015-02-02-13.36.30.jpg.jpeg

We also made some homemade corn chips today to go with our guacamole. This was fascinating for B. “Wait. Chips don’t always come from a bag?!” Here’s how we made our baked corn chips.

Baked Corn Chips

Ingredients

Corn Tortillas
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

2

Here’s how we made our baked chips. So much easier than you would think!

3

First we brushed each tortilla with a small amount of olive oil on each side.

4

Then we stacked our tortillas (we had 5) and sliced them up with a pizza cutter.

5

Then we spread the chips out into an even layer on a baking sheet.

6

We liberally sprinkled the sea salt on the chips.

7

Then we put the chips in the oven for about 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. (Until they were crispy and golden brown.)

wpid-2015-02-02-13.39.15.jpg.jpeg

There ya have it- A healthy snack that was easy and fun to make! (And maybe a little learning took place along the way!)

wpid-20150202_123311.jpg wpid-20150202_123346.jpg

Full disclosure… the chips were a hit, but Brady definitely asked me for a spoon at one point. Apparently, it’s now socially acceptable to just eat guacamole straight from the bowl!

 

 

Veggie Egg Bake- Kids Cook Monday

9

Eggs are always a great go-to for Meatless Mondays around here. Brady has always loved eggs-Nolan, not so much. However, I find that if they are in something else (like a quiche or a breakfast sandwich) he will eat them. This egg bake we made for Kids Cook Monday has gotten his stamp of approval. We have this dish in different varieties several times a month. It’s easy to throw together and you can add in whatever you have one hand (bacon, mushrooms, spinach, turkey sausage, etc.) We like it equally well as a meat or vegetarian meal. It’s great for breakfast, but we have it a lot for dinner. It’s also a nice way to sneak some veggies into a meal for kiddos (or adults) who are a little picky.

Here’s how we made ours!

Ingredients

1 can of crescent rolls
6 eggs
About 1/2 cup milk
Salt and Pepper to season veggies and egg mixture
Your choice of produce- we used;
1/2 green pepper, 1/2 onion, 1/2 a container of mushrooms, handful of grape tomatoes, handful of green onions
2 Cups shredded cheese

1

Any combo of vegetables would be delicious in this!

We started by chopping up our vegetables and giving them a quick sautee in olive oil. We seasoned them with salt and pepper.

2 3

Then we prepared our egg mixture. We whisked up 6 eggs with 1/2 a cup of milk and a little salt and pepper. We also threw our green onions in the mixture.

4

Then we got to assembling…

5

Brady helped unroll the sheet of crescent rolls and press them into the (greased) baking dish.

6

Then we topped the crescent dough with our sautéed veggies, 2 cups of cheese and poured our egg mixture on top.

7

We baked the whole thing at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes (or until the egg mixture is completely firm.)

8

We serve ours with salad or fruit for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It also makes great leftovers for the next day’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

10

We’ve also made this with salsa and pepper-jack cheese for a Mexican flair. Gotta love kid friendly food that appeals to the whole family and is EASY- Win, win, win!

 

Greek Yogurt Berry Pancakes- Kids Cook Monday

11

We love Greek Yogurt around here! It’s always in our fridge and while it’s a great breakfast or snack on it’s own, I love when I find a new way to use it. I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate more protein into our breakfasts lately (and some of us are not in the mood for eggs too early in the morning!) so I decided to try adding Greek Yogurt into a pancake batter. I’ve seen lots of versions of this online, but I like this one the best. It’s sweetened by the yogurt and comes out thick and fluffy.

Greek Yogurt Berry Pancakes

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 container Blueberry Greek Yogurt
1 Egg
About a cup of any type of berry

1

The strawberries can go in the batter or as a garnish on top.

(This recipe made about 3-4 pancakes. So, for our family we definitely doubled it!)

2

In one bowl, we mixed the Baking Soda and Flour.

 

3

In another bowl we mixed the egg and yogurt.

 

4

Then, we mixed the two bowls together.

 

5

Brady threw some of the strawberries into the batter for good measure.

 

6

It should be noted that the batter was thick and not pretty. Tasty when cooked, but not pretty.

 

7

We put a little butter on the griddle before spooning the batter on. We flipped them when they began to bubble a little in the middle and the other side was brown.

 

8

A few more strawberries, just because.

9

Not the prettiest, but yummy!

This pancake recipe is not overly sweet, so some recipes I’ve seen call for extra sugar or even a little honey. We left that out of ours because we knew that we’d be adding syrup to the top and they’d be plenty sweet. I was pleasantly surprised by how these came out and I really want to try different versions of it…with vanilla yogurt and bananas, with peach yogurt and peaches. The possibilities are endless!

10