Archive for March, 2008

Crunchy Frozen Organic Bananas For Kids Recipe

Friday, March 28th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

Believe it or not, the inspiration for this recipe came from a box of Cheerios, although there are many options for providing the crunch on these tasty bananas. This is a cool and healthy treat for children and adults.

Makes 8 servings

4 ripe, firm, large organic bananas
1½ cups or 1 (12 ounce) container organic whole-milk yogurt, any flavor
3 cups cereal (toasted Os, wheat germ, or corn flakes)

Peel and cut bananas in half crosswise. Insert a wooden stick with rounded ends into cut ends of bananas. Place yogurt in a small bowl. Sprinkle cereal on a plate or waxed paper. Dip bananas in yogurt to cover. Then roll yogurt-covered bananas in cereal to coat. Place finished bananas on baking sheet or plate and place in the freezer for about 1 hour, or until firm.

Tip: Freeze, please! You can store these to serve anytime. Just wrap each banana in waxed or parchment paper, and place in a freezer bag. Label, date, and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: © Monika Adamczyk | Dreamstime.com
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Hippity Hoppity Organic Easter Eggs with Natural Dyes (plus Egg and Olive Spread Recipe)

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

I just finished my St. Pat’s left-overs and now it’s time for dying Easter Eggs. Of course there are a zillion egg dyes at the supermaket and high end cooking stores to make the most picture perfect eggs. But how about some simple do-it-yourself natural colors?

Here are some suggestions for cooking hard boiled eggs and decorating them with your children — with or without dyes. Be sure to store dyed hard cooked eggs in the refrigerator if you want to eat them. Also, here’s a favorite yummy stuffing/spread to use all the eggs.

A Good Egg – Organic Hardboiled Eggs

Eggs have been served since ancient times because they symbolize spring and rebirth. During March and April they are served at a Seder meal as well as dyed and decorated for Easter traditions. This is also the only accurate way to separate an egg for a baby that cannot have whites (recommended for those under 1 year old). Here’s a way to insure the perfect hard boiled egg.

6 large cage free, organic eggs

Place eggs in a pot with lid. Add enough water to cover eggs. Put pot on stove over medium-high heat. When water starts a rolling boil, cover pan and turn off heat. Leave pot on burner, covered for 15 minutes.

Drain water and rinse eggs under cold running water. Tap the egg all over to break shell. Egg shells peel easiest from the rounder end (where there is air space). Eggs should have bright yellow centers. If gray or green color appears, then the eggs have been overcooked.

Unpeeled eggs keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you’re dying eggs and then plan to eat them later, they must be stored in the refrigerator, not at room temperature in a basket.

Egg Decorating Tips: Dying

Here are some fun tips for decorating eggs with children…

1. Start by layering a table with newspapers to mop up any spills or drips.

2. Use empty egg cartons as drying racks for the eggs once dyed.

3. Keep paper towels handy to blot any dye that collects under eggs.

4. Use individual containers for each color. I find ramekins to work well. Container should be sturdy enough to hold liquid and egg, and allow for fingers or spoons to lift eggs in and out. Nothing too tall or plastic that can tip. Be sure to rinse containers of dyes so there are no stains.

5. Use plastic utensils or wooden sticks to stir each color. This makes clean-up a breeze, and there’s no risk of stained utensils.

6. Let children create their own masterpieces, even if all the eggs come out blue. Be patient. If you do not want to use the prepackaged dyes and colors you can make your own natural dyes by boiling common ingredients in water with a tablespoon of vinegar until desired shade is reached. Be sure to strain to remove solids.

Here are the color options and what to add to the water:

Yellow – tumeric or yellow onion skins
Orange – make yellow and add beet juice
Pink – cranberry juice concentrate
Blue – grape juice concentrate, red cabbage
Red – beets, paprika
Green – spinach or kale

Egg Decorating Tips: Other Options

Some children are too small or you may not be up to the challenge or mess of working with dyes. Other ideas include:

Stickers – your child’s favorite stickers can transform an ordinary egg without mess or stained fingers

Collage – using a glue stick or craft glue, how about adding sequins, beads, ribbons, feathers or anything else your child can dream up

Drawing/Coloring – bring out the crayons, markers and pens for children to draw and color on eggs (warn them not to push too hard)

Happy Days Organic Egg and Olive Spread
(from The Petit Appetit Cookbook)

Run out of ideas for all those hard boiled eggs after Easter? Many adults think of egg salad and olive spread as comforting foods from their childhood. This recipe combines the best of both. The lemon and yogurt give this spread a new fresh taste and healthy alternative to the standard mayonnaise flavor, which many children do not like. As an alternative to the usual sandwich bread, try wrapping up in lettuce or stuff in pita bread with spinach leaves.

2 hard cooked, cage-free organic eggs

1/3 cup pitted black olives (about 10 whole), chopped

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon plain organic whole milk yogurt

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Chop eggs finely using an egg slicer or knife. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.

Makes 15 (2 Tablespoon servings)
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
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Happy “Green” Day with Organic Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

Remember when green was just a color? As a kid I always associated green with St. Patrick’s Day. I’d think of shamrock shaped pancakes and green colored milk my mom and grandfather would make on St. Patrick’s Day morning.

Later in college instead of colored milk, it was green beer. Yikes! Neither the beer or the milk was enhanced by the color (I don’t think it changed the flavor), but it was festive. Rather than color my children’s food with scary chemicals and food dyes, or sneak in a hidden green pureed veggie into their unsuspecting meal, I’m just going to make Irish Soda Bread with them and serve some green food favorites (naturally colored and honest). Where do we start? How do we choose? Green apples, cabbage, peas, asparagas, kiwi, honeydew, lime, pesto, spinach pasta, guacamole, celery and the list goes on and on…

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Organic Irish Wheat Soda Bread

This is the easiest, and quickest, bread I have ever made. In Northern Ireland this version would be called “wheaten” soda bread. No kneading, no bread machine and no mixer required. It is the perfect accompaniment to soups and salads. The bread will be a bit flat so not great for typical sandwiches but works well for tea sandwiches or spreading pumpkin butter. Irish soda bread is a classic quick bread. It surprises some people to learn that this traditional recipe hasn’t been around for thousands of years. Bicarbonate of soda was first introduced to Ireland around the 1840s.

Makes 1, 8 – 10 inch round loaf

2 ¾ cups organic whole wheat flour, plus sprinkling
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ cups organic milk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 large cage-free, organic egg
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl whisk together milk, vinegar, egg and honey. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour milk mixture all at once. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until everything is moist and combined. Do not overmix. Dough will be very sticky.

Sprinkle flour on top of dough and lift out with hands onto prepared baking sheet. Plop dough on center of sheet. It will settle in a mound (and you’ll think this will never work). Try to round as best as possible. Bake in oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until nicely browned and makes a hollow sound underneath. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before slicing.

Rise Above It! Because this dough has no yeast it will not rise very high as a typical loaf. However the ugly looking mound of dough on the baking sheet will turn into a lovely and delicious freeform round loaf – trust me.
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
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Oatmeal Dilemma and Flavorful Organic Oatmeal Recipe

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

So if you read my previous post you know about my microwave issue. My husband dropped the burned one at the appliance recycling center – it was done. At first I wondered if I needed to replace my microwave. What do I use it for? Really not that much. I won’t be trying any popcorn recipes with it. However the morning after the microwave debacle, I went to have my breakfast and I couldn’t eat it. I eat oatmeal every morning. I usually make a pot of it on the stove on Monday and then reheat the next few days (depending on how much my daughter decides to steal from my bowl on some days). Reheating on the stove just wasn’t the best. It took more time and more energy as I did not want it to burn. I also then had to wash an extra pot. At first I thought, well I’ll just make a single serving each day, but that wasn’t convenient either. Then I switched from oatmeal to yogurt topped with granola and fruit. Good, but still not my oatmeal.

So yes, I do miss it and went to buy one. Unfortunately I discovered many usual appliance and cooking stores don’t stock microwaves (or have very few to choose from). Everyone directed me to their online stores. Again I thought, maybe I don’t need the microwave. I know many people who do not use microwaves at all, for health reasons and just because they don’t want another appliance. I can understand that.

Then I realized I use it to reheat things (mini portions for my kids of left-over meals) and to melt chocolate and butter. Of course I’ve been using the stove top this past week, but I keep going to the pantry for the quick and easy microwave. Also working on a new cookbook I often cook things using different methods and sometimes that means a microwave. So that was the final straw and justification. I ordered one online. Now I’ll have to wait for the delivery truck…

Here’s my master oatmeal recipe…

Flavorful Organic Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an easily digestible grain with a nice creamy texture which lends itself to many flavorings for children and adults alike. See suggestions below or create your own family favorites using this master recipe. You can even set-up an oatmeal bar with a variety of toppings in small bowls and let each family member choose their own.

This oatmeal can be made and stored in the refrigerator for 3 days. If the whole oats are too coarse for your baby or if you prefer a more mushy texture, grind uncooked oats in a blender or food processor for a smoother consistency and shorter cooking time.

Makes about 2 cups

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup organic oats
2 cups water

Combine water, cinnamon and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and stir in oats. When mixture begins to simmer, cover, turn off heat, and let stand for 15 minutes until thick and creamy.

Stir in flavor options (below) or enjoy alone.

For variety here are some flavor, color and texture options per single serving ½ cup:

– 1 tablespoon fruit puree or organic all fruit spread, plus 1 tablespoon currants
– 1 tablespoon grated apple and sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg
– 1/2 mashed organic banana, with a sprinkle of grated shredded coconut
– small handful of organic blueberries
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
OrganicToBe.org OrganicToGo.com
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