Monthly Archives: October 2012

Fast Microwave Popcorn

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My son loves popcorn in his morning tea snack.  He usually requests this as I am hurrying to finish lunches, about 15min before we are meant to be out the door.

One of the mums at our preschool showed me how to make popcorn using a paper bag in the microwave.  I can easily make one serving while finishing up the other lunches.

You can spray it with some flavoured oil or sprinkle with salt but we tend to love the flavour of just the warm popcorn!

Ingredients

1 lunch paper bag
1/4 cup popcorn kernels

Directions

Put the popcorn in the paper bag and make two small to close the bag (otherwise there is popcorn everywhere!).

Cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes.  You’ll have to listen to see when the popping starts to slow down or else you will burn your popcorn and the kids won’t be impressed.  Your microwave might vary on the cooking time.

As I do prefer popcorn cooked on the stove, this is a brilliant time-saver in the morning and easy cleanup!

Blueberry Banana Breakfast Oatmeal

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Mama’s Oatmeal – as my 5yo calls it.

I never liked breakfast even though it was always deemed the most important meal of the day.  I dislike soggy cereal, nothing ever filled me up so I didn’t see the point, and who has the time!  A cup of coffee was a great way to start the day for me: quick, easy and I could take it to go.

I can no longer enjoy milk like I used to and I now know the horrible truth of caffeine:(  Since doing the 6-week challenge, I had to stop drinking caffeine and milk anyways so it was a good time to explore other breakfast options.

Now, I eat a nutrient-packed breakfast that really fills me up and I can take it to go since I still don’t have time to eat at home most mornings.

I have included two versions.  My little one really like the idea of what I was eating but she is not a fan of blueberries or seeds so I left them out and added a bit of honey and sprinkled hers with coconut.  She thinks that she is getting such a treat!

Ingredients for Mama’s Oatmeal

1/4 cup Oats (not the quick oats)
3 Tbsp 100% Pomegranate juice
1 banana, sliced
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1/4 of mixed seeds and chopped nuts (sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc…)
2 Tbsp raisins

Directions

Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and combine together with a spoon.
Microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes.
Mix together again and enjoy!
At this point, it is always too hot to eat so I put it in a container and take it with me if I am not coming straight home after school drop-off.

Banana Oatmeal without the bits

Ingredients

1/4 cup Oats (not the quick oats)
3 Tbsp 100% Pomegranate juice
1 banana, sliced
1/2 tsp honey
unsweetened coconut

Directions

Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and combine together with a spoon.
Microwave on high for 1 min.
Mix together again. drizzle with honey and sprinkle with some coconut.

Green Chips

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A delightful way to eat kale if you or the kids find it unpalatable! Sadly, I don’t have a photo because they the last batch was eaten too quickly!

Kale Chips (Green Chips)

Ingredients

1 bunch of washed and dried kale, core removed, chopped in large pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil (or I used an olive oil spray, it coats much easier)
Sea salt, to taste
(and a bit (about 1 tsp) of honey to make it even more palatable if the kids are just beginning to eat kale)

Directions

Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and combine together with your hands to make sure that the kale is evenly coated.

Preheat oven to 150degsC.

Put the leaves in single layer on a large baking sheet covered with baking paper.

Bake for 10 minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes until crispy but not burnt.  Watch them closely in the last few minutes as they turn brown quite quickly.

These are great packed in a hard container (so they don’t get smushed!) for the kids lunches, crumbled on top of salads or even popcorn!

Feel free to leave out the honey if you would like them as a savoury snack.  I find that the touch of honey makes it more palatable for the little ones.

Variation:  My aunt also minces some garlic and rubs it on the kale as well before baking just for another flavour.  Yum!

It’s all about Texture

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I have been asked the question many times:  what are the children eating and HOW on earth do you get them to eat all of those (varied) vegetables including those greens?!?

My answer:  I changed the texture of the veggies.

It takes a while to work out what everyone likes and how they like it.  My advice is don’t stop at carrot sticks.  Your child might hate them raw because they are too hard to chew (my daughters complaint). However, try making them into strings, grating them over cheese slices to make a cheese and carrot sandwich or diced up tiny in chicken noodle soup.  Let them tell you how they like their veggies therefore you will have to get creative on how you present them.

We too often assume that kids don’t like how veggies taste (I’ll come to that in a minute) but since they were babies, our little ones still rely on how things ‘feel’ in their mouths.

I know that raw fruits and veggies are the most nutritious way to have them.  However, we might to take a bit of time to get the kids used to how they taste and feel before going back to raw foods.

Confession time:  I don’t like kale.  It’s bitter, leaves an after taste in my mouth that is less than desirable and it is just not something that I like nor like to eat.

On the flip-side:  kale is the one of those wonder foods that no vitamin or any other food can complete with.  It has more iron than beef, more calcium than milk and 10% more vitamin C than spinach.

Hmmm…a pretty good food to eat (seeing that I don’t eat a whole lot of beef!)

Right.  How on earth was I going to make this bitter, leafy-green palatable?

I changed the texture and added a few flavours:)  Kale chips!  I also added it to a veggie soup and we love it!  It lost its bitterness but kept its texture in the soup.  Normally I would put spinach in this soup but the kale didn’t wilt and dissolve into oblivion like the spinach usually does.

So, it might take a while before I am brave enough to add it to our Green Drinks or eat it raw but we are well on our way to loving this nutrient-packed superfood!  Did I mention that it lowers the risk of heart disease and because it is a dark leafy-green, it reduces the risk of cancer as well.  How could we not eat it??

Better than Nutella!

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I love Nutella.  I grew up on it eating it with peanut butter in a sandwich.  Yum.

I love chocolate.  I used to eat it everyday (I still could!).

My family loves Nutella and chocolate.  Ooohhh…I felt a challenge coming on.  How could we have chocolate and eat it too without all the sugar and added nasties?

The Chocolate Truffles are divine but they do take some time to prepare.  What do we do if we need an instant choco fix?

Here’s what we came up with the other day:

Ingredients

2 generous Tbsp of Almond Spread (100% almonds)
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp cocoa

Directions

Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and combine together.  You may want a bit more honey if you like it a bit sweeter.

Spread on some Corn Cruskits or toast and sprinkle with unsweetened coconut like my kids like to do!

A great afterschool snack paired with a Green Drink.  Get the kids to drink the green drink first so they can have their chocolate treat!

Kids…Drink yer Greens!

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My kids (5 & 7) were naturally a bit hesitant when they were first approach by the “Green Drink” and were less than excited to drink it.  They didn’t actually like it, to be honest.  As their mother, I still made them drink it as the other choice of raw spinach was even less appealing to them but I told them exactly why it was good for them.  The more they understand about food, the more willing they are to try new things.

It took about 3 times before they didn’t complain about the drink anymore.  They now drink it after school as a part of their snack and it FILLS them up until dinner!  I was so surprised!!  Before they would constantly be in and out of the kitchen constantly eating or trying to eat and I was literally in the kitchen from 3:30pm until after dinner prepping food.  Drove me nuts!

Now I make them one drink, they have one of my muffins or a piece of fruit and that’s it.  They are good until dinner.

Some people think that switching to a veggie diet or something like that takes so much prep work and it’s just all too hard.  By giving the kids a 5-min green drink and a piece of fruit or a muffin, literally cleared me out of the kitchen until dinner prep.

Feeding the kids good, wholesome foods will fill their bellies giving us some more free time to do something else.  Yay!

Ingredients

1 cup coconut water (not sweetened)  with or without pulp , it all gets blended in the end.
1 apple, peeled and cut into chunks
1 banana, broken into chunks
1 good handful of spinach (or kale)

Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth.
Hint: If the kids aren’t that keen on it, try straining the drink with a fine mesh sieve; it helps smooth out the texture.  Remember the fibre and the good bits are in the stuff you are straining so if you can, get them to eventually drink that too.
Variations: Unlimited!  Try adding leftover berries, mangos or paw paw!

The Best Falafel

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This dinner was just divine and the kids loved it!  I think they love anything in a wrap or pita pocket.  It’s great to watch them try to stuff their own.

Ingredients

olive oil
1/2 red capsicum (red pepper)
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 425g cans chick peas, drained (or soak 2 cups of dried chick peas over night in a bowl of water)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg
5 tablespoons flour
1 cup parsley, chopped
Pitas

Directions

In medium fry pan over medium heat, add about 1 Tbsp oil and gently fry onion and peppers 2 to 3 minutes then garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse together chick peas, cumin, and egg until very coarse.  Add the flour and parsley. Process or pulse until mixture starts pulling from the sides of the food processor and starts to form a ball.  You might have to add the smallest amount of water to get it to all mix together.  Add the onion mixture and pulse until combined.

To make it easy for the kids and to use less oil, make the falafel into smallish patties.  Small enough that you could fit two in a pita pocket.

Carefully oil your fry pan not using too much oil.  Just lightly greased is fine.  Cook the falafels until golden brown on both sides.  Ensure that they do not stick to the pan by moving them around and using a bit more oil if necessary.

Let them cool slightly on a paper towel to absorb the oil.

Top with the best tabbouleh or simply some sliced tomatoes, lettuce and hummus.