Archive for August, 2008

Organic Vegetable Baby Broth Recipe

Monday, August 25th, 2008

From Lisa Barnes

This recipe is a basic one for a baby’s bottle or sippy cup. It delivers a punch of vitamins for a child (or any age) needing a liquid diet or pick-me-up. These vegetable will be very mushy; however, there’s no need to waste them. Reserved vegetables can be mashed or pureed for baby.

Makes about 3 cups

1 quart cold water
1 cup (3 or 4 ounces) organic cauliflower florets
1 cup (2 to 3 ounces) organic broccoli florets
1 cup organic collard or dandelion greens, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 cup (3 to 4 ounces) organic carrots, cut into rounds

Place water in a medium pot with a lid. Add vegetables and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cover pot. Cook for 1 hour. Strain broth and reserve vegetables. These can be pureed or mashed for baby. Serve warm or cool in a cup or bottle for baby. This broth freezes well in ice cube trays for later use.

Tip: Not just baby broth! This is a great broth for many ages and uses. It can be a liquid meal for someone under the weather, a calcium-rich soup for baby, or a flavorful liquid for poaching meats and fish. Always having broth cubes in the freezer means lots of cooking options for you and your family.
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See also Lisa’s O.K. Babies… Ready, Set, Eat! (Organic Baby Food Puree Recipes)
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, and Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: © Kati Neudert | Dreamstime.com
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
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Quick Organic Snacks For Kids (with Spring Spread Recipe)

Monday, August 18th, 2008

From Lisa Barnes

Here are some quick snacks to bring along for day trips, out for a stroll, or have on hand for school. These snacks are easy to make and don’t need a real recipe, only your imagination and your child’s appetite.

If making snacks for school or day care, consult the administration’s policies for appropriate and banned food items. Many schools are now nut and nut butter free due to students with severe allergies in attendance.

Remember, vegetables and fruits can make their own snacks with a little extra effort to make them appealing to children. I recommend that moms always carry a fresh avocado and banana in their diaper bag. They are appropriate for all ages, need no refrigeration (until cut), and need no preparation.

Organic natural peanut butter is a good source of protein and makes a healthy snack paired with the following foods:

◊ Spread on chunks of organic apple.

◊ Spread on toast with a slice of cheddar or Swiss cheese.

◊ Sandwiched between two waffles or pancakes.

◊ Spread on wheat tortilla, topped with a banana rolled up.

Organic vegetables and fruits can make their own snacks with a little extra effort to make them special and appealing to children.

◊ Celery stick spread with cream cheese and sprinkled with raisins.

◊ Zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, spread with Spring Spread (see below), then put back together.

◊ A cored apple stuffed with granola or cereal.

◊ Spinach leaves stuffed with hummus and vegetable sticks.

◊ Lettuce leaves stuffed with egg and olive spread and rolled.

When the bag of toasted oat cereal isn’t enough, or your child needs variety, trail mixes are an easy “to go” snack. Besides the Trail Mix Treat recipe, here are some suggestions:

◊ Handful of toasted oat cereal mixed with raisins.

◊ Handful of granola mixed with dried apricots and cranberries.

◊ Handful of dried fruit chunks mixed with wheat pretzels.

◊ Handful of chopped raw almonds mixed with dried fruit chunks.

Organic Pita bread makes a handy and healthy pocket to stuff you child’s favorite fillings.

◊ Stuff with lettuce, avocado, and cheese sticks.

◊ Stuff with spinach and hummus.

◊ Stuff with leftover meats.

Lavosh or flatbread and tortillas make a neat roll-up for little hands. These rolls can also be cut for a special, colorful presentation, almost like sushi!

◊ Spread with roasted red pepper puree and vegetable sticks, and roll.

◊ Spread with tomato sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and roll.

Bagels make a good platform for lots of spread and fillings. Broken into tiny pieces, bagels can be dipped into hummus or goat cheese for young eaters. You can even cut them in half and remove some of the bread, so filling stays in better and the bagel is not so filling for little tummies. Here are a few options:

◊ Spread organic tomato sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and chopped veggies, like a pizza.

◊ Stuff with cottage cheese and sliced organic strawberries.

◊ Stuff with omelet pieces.

◊ Spread with nectarine or other fruit butters.

Waffles and pancakes can be good for making fun sandwiches and rolls.

◊ Spread pancakes with cream cheese and any fruit puree and roll up.

◊ Spread peanut butter and all-fruit spread between two waffles.

◊ Layer scrambled eggs between waffles for a breakfast sandwich.
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Organic Spring Spread Recipe

This was a favorite of mine while a freshman at U.C. Davis. On a nice sunny day, I would stop at the coffeehouse and order a wheat bagel with spring spread to take with me to eat on the quad. Years later I was cooking for a two-year-old whose mother was worried she wasn’t eating enough vegetables. She loved cream cheese, so my college favorite became her morning breakfast. Try using different organic vegetables, such as grated zucchini or finely chopped celery, for variety. Besides bagels, this spread doubles as a dip for carrot and celery sticks, or cracker cut-outs listed below.

Makes about ½ cup

4 ounces organic cream cheese, whipped or softened
2 tablespoons grated organic carrot
2 tablespoons finely diced organic red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely diced green chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill, thyme, or rosemary, or combination
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl with a rubber spatula until creamy.

Tip: You may want to chop the vegetables more finely depending on your child’s issues with texture. For particular eaters, you can process the mixture in a food processor so it’s tougher to pick out the veggies.

Cracker Cut-Outs
For fun and unique crackers, get our your cookie cutters. Cut shapes in soft wheat tortillas and place on a baking sheet. bake the shapes in a 325°F oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

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Please see also Lisa’s Easy, Creative Organic Dips For Kids
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, and Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: © Lana Langlois | Dreamstime.com
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
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Send ‘Em Packing – School Lunch Bag Reviews (with Organic Turkey Roll-up Recipe For Kids)

Monday, August 11th, 2008

From Lisa Barnes

It’s almost time for kids to head back to school.  Where did the summer go?  Parents switch from camp and vacation planning to carpools, clothing labels and packing lunches.  The idea of a simple brown paper bag to hold your child’s lunch has come a long way.

Kids are very visual and a lunch or snack packed in a fun container is always more exciting (and safer) than a plain paper bag. I suggest allowing your child to choose his lunchbox or snack bag. Children like to make decisions and feel in control. Ask them about wrappings and containers. Several years ago, my college roommate told me about her four-year-old son’s preference for sandwiches in a plastic bag “top side in.” “Top side in,” she explained, is when the rounded top of the bread goes in the bag first and the sandwich is packed vertically. Apparently it led to a few melt-downs before she got it right. Basically he didn’t want to get messy hands, so he wanted to reach in for crust, instead of the cut side where sandwich elements can leak out. Whew! Glad she figured that one out.

Snack Packing and Storing
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that one student taking a disposable lunch to school each day will create 45 to 90 pounds of garbage per year.

In an effort to teach children about the environmental impact of their food and beverage choices, and focus on reducing, recycling, and reusing to avoid waste, many schools are committed to reducing waste on campus. One method is to encourage parents to pack a “waste-free” lunch. This means everything in your child’s lunchbox is reusable or consumable. Schools such as Marin Primary School in Marin, California, are not only recycling and composting, but they have done away with plastic utensils, cups, and plates by washing reusable plates that the children have made themselves. Children’s cloth napkin company, Fabkins, is working with schools to provide children’s size napkins for fundraisers, classroom party baskets, and lunchrooms throughout the country.

The number of children’s product recalls due to lead paint, poor plastics, and PVC have increased dramatically. Luckily there is a big “green” market to fill the void of safe products, when it comes to lunchboxes and food storage. There are many fun and colorful lead-free, old-fashioned metal lunchboxes as well as soft PVC- and lead-free lunch totes that children can choose from. Allowing your child to choose is important so your child is proud of his lunchbox and excited to see and eat what’s inside.  By shopping at stores that carry “green” options such as  Elephant Pharmacy and Whole Foods (and avoiding the toy stores such as Toys R Us and Walmart) you can be sure your child will choose a safe lunchbox – free of harmful materials.

A new way to eliminate the waste of plastic bags, sandwich wrap, and waxed paper is with a lunchbox system. These are composed of a set of safe plastic boxes arranged in a larger box, like that of a traditional Japanese bento box. And for disposable options bamboo is a great renewable resource now used for making utensils and plates. Even corn is being made into plastic for cups, straws, and biodegradable utensils for use at restaurants and sports venues.

Keep perishables cold in insulated lunch bags. There are many PVC- and lead-free choices. Rather than using an ice pack you can freeze items such as yogurt or water, which will thaw and be ready by mealtime.

Pack drinks in reusable non-plastic bottles and drink holders. Thermos containers made from stainless steel and aluminum reduces waste and concern of leaching of toxins such as Bisphenol A, which is linked to birth defects, miscarriage, and prostate cancer.

Wrap sandwiches in foil over plastic wrap and baggies. Unlike waxed paper and plastic wrap, aluminum foil is available in 100 percent recycled form, is recyclable in most areas, withstands heat and cold, and works better than plastic and waxed paper at keeping moisture in. Aluminum is also oil free and is not made from petroleum, the way that wax and plastic are. You can also reduce landfill waste by eliminating plastic bag use, as they can last up to 1,000 years.

Provide metal or ceramic utensils that can be used and washed. Just remind your child to bring them home. Or provide bamboo renewable and biodegradable forks and spoons, rather than plastic.

Lunch Box Options Tested and Reviewed
My kids and I have been testing many different lunch box options and systems.  Like with most children’s products the parent has different concerns and priorities (safe, leak-proof, easy to clean) than the child (looks cool, can open it).  Here are our findings…

Fabkins: cloth napkins for kids.  Our family loves these.  They are a bit pricey, and you could cut your own or buy cocktail size fabric napkins for less.  However the kids really like the little embroidered images and actually take care of them.  We haven’t lost one in over 8 months.

Fleurville: the makers famous for their diaper bags also make PVC free lunch totes and back packs.  This is my son’s favorite because it has a skull (although friendly ones) pattern.  Some of the patterns are wipe easy vinyl (my daughter’s) and some are not (my son’s).  This makes a big difference in clean up (for mom).  After using a lunch box system with containers built in – this is not as easy and there is more waste.  I find myself putting the containers from the other lunchbox systems in this. About the same price as the “system” approach.  A few styles including a backpack that can be used for other things (carrying pj’s and stuffed buddy for overnight).

Laptop Lunches: bento box style lunchbox system.  This is my favorite and was my son’s too, until the Fleurville arrived.  Looks like a briefcase with a handle and messenger style strap.  Plain colors are not as “fun” as others.  Perfect for waste free packing.  Pricey at around $30, but my pick for easiest and neatest.

Klean Kanteen: stainless steel drinking containers.  Great stainless steel option, with a good design for smaller hands to grip easily.  New colors and basic silver.  About $15 each but long lasting and worth it.  In sizes 12 ounce through 40 ounce.

Lunchopolis: garbage free lunchbox system.  Some interesting but very limited fabrics (waterdrops, pink dots), in an easy to carry design (more upright than others – less spilage).  Comes with stacking containers with lids that fit – even after washing in the dishwasher.

Sigg: aluminum drinking containers.  Great aluminum option with various sizes,  designs and tops.  Kids may not be able to settle on one or two.  There are lots to choose from.  Each family member has at least one at my house.

Wrap-N-Mat: reusable sandwich wrap and place mat in one.  This is appealing to both my kids.  The wrap-n-mat is inexpensive at about $6 each and is a great alternative to wrapping sandwiches in disposable wrap.  The mat unwraps and becomes a placemat for your child too.  My daughter loves this when we’re out and about and she can lay her sandwich on the mat on her lap or any surface.

Now what do you pack in it?  Here’s a favorite that keeps my son satisfied and fueled during school time.  My daughter just started school, so I’ll be packing her the same thing.  That’s another tip – different kids but same lunches (or at least ingredients) makes for easier and faster packing for mom and dad.

Jonas’ Organic Turkey Roll-Up Recipe

At the time of this writing my son requests this be packed for school almost every day. The best part is it is simple and can be done in only a few minutes. This is super versatile as you can also use other meats such as prosciutto or roast beef slices. Or for a veggie option simply thinly slice or shred veggies such as red pepper, zucchini, carrots and cucumber. I usually make one whole lavosh roll-up for the day, half for my son’s lunchbox and half for my daughter’s on-the-go snack.

1 roll, 2 servings

1 piece lavosh (about 13 × 9 inches) – white or wheat
2 ounces organic Neufchatel cheese
2 ounces thinly sliced organic cooked turkey

Spread lavosh with a layer of cheese. Layer turkey in single layer on cheese.

Starting from narrow side, roll lavosh until you reach the end. You may want to add a small spread of cream cheese to secure roll. Using a sharp knife, make a quick cut in the center of roll. Cut each half in half again. Then each quarter in half, so you have 8 pieces.

Need more glue! My son likes these rolled tightly and packed in his bento-style container. He likes to be sure I spread enough “glue”, a.k.a cream cheese to keep them together without unraveling.

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See also Lisa’s Freeze Please! (do your kids hate eating veggies?)
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, and Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Images Credit: Laptop Lunches

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Organic Orange Frosty For Kids Recipe

Monday, August 4th, 2008

From Lisa Barnes

This is a refreshing pick-me-up snack loaded with vitamin C. Sometimes kids enjoy the yogurt and juice cubes on their own, before you can even make the final frosty. If you freeze extra cubes, this treat can be ready whenever your children are.

Makes about 2 cups

¾ cup plain organic whole-milk yogurt
¾ cup organic orange juice
½ cup unfiltered, pasteurized organic apple juice

Divide yogurt among 6 ice cube tray sections. Pour orange juice into remaining 6 sections, and freeze. When frozen, pop out all cubes and place in a blender with apple juice. Blend until combined and slushy.
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See also Lisa’s Crunchy Frozen Organic Bananas For Kids Recipe
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, and Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Images Credit: © Iakov Kalinin | Dreamstime.com

OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
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