Archive for March, 2009

“Oh. I Don’t Like Green Stuff” with Organic Spinach Hummus Recipe

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

From Lisa Barnes

My children’s preschool is revamping their snack offerings to the kids. They weren’t doing a poor job before, but thankfully there is an interest and effort in making improvements and of course getting the best value for the children’s health and the school’s money.

I helped the director review menu items and vendors to provide a variety of fresh, healthy foods including hummus, whole wheat crackers, veggies and dips, edamame, yogurt etc…  For St. Patrick’s Day the school was planning a green menu for snacktime and asked me to make my green hummus. I of course said I’d be happy to. I packed each container for the 4 classes: the mouse class (age 2), the rabbits (age 3), the monkeys (age 4) and the giraffes (age 5).

The teachers were all very appreciative when I dropped by with the hummus. The director and I were secretly wondering how the children would receive the “green dip”.  When I got to my son’s class (the upperclass giraffes) I was greeted by a shout from my son’s friend, “What’s That?!”  The teacher said “look it’s leprechan dip”.  He replied “Oh.  I don’t like green stuff!”  My son said “Don’t worry Zach.  My mom made it and she doesn’t know any leprechans”.

When I picked up my kids, I was greeted by my daughter (a mouse) who said “I ate all the green dip!”  The teacher said all the kids and teachers really enjoyed it.  Then I saw the director and she summed up the tasting experience which was very interesting.  The younger kids were more likely to try the dip, and then like it and eat it. However the older kids were less likely to try, having a preconceived idea of “green stuff”. When I got to the giraffe class the teachers said about half tried it – mostly the girls. And my son couldn’t get Zach to try it – handmade by leprechan’s or not.

I made some extra for our family, to serve with my other St. Patrick’s favorites, corned beef, cabbage and Irish soda bread.

Organic Spinach Hummus Recipe (from Petit Appetit Eat, Drink and Be Merry)

Is your family ho-hum for hummus? Try this variation using spinach. This is quick and easy dish to perk up a crudité plate for a play group or simply pack with pita points in your child’s lunchbox.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces canned organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed (3/4 cup)
1 clove garlic
1 cup packed organic spinach leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pita points or vegetable sticks, to serve

In a blender or food processor, combine chickpeas and garlic and puree until smooth. Add spinach, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper. Blend thoroughly. With motor running, gradually add olive oil and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

To make the task even easier, purchase prepackaged organic spinach or baby spinach leaves, but still remember to wash.

*Spinach is on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and also high in nitrites. Reduce your family’s exposure by buying organic.
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See also Lisa’s two new books out at bookstores and online:

Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Easy, Organic Snacks, Beverages, and Party Foods For Kids of all Ages.
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Lisa Barnes
is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry and lives in Sausalito, California.
OrganicToBe.org
| OrganicToGo.com

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Help! I Have No Kitchen (with Organic Roll Up Recipe)

Monday, March 9th, 2009

From Lisa Barnes

The past month has been a bit kooky in the kitchen. First we were without refrigeration. An ancient sub-zero died and our landlord couldn’t figure out how to remove it  (800 pounds! up three flights in a townhouse). It was an adventure at first. Ice chests for the food and I told the kids it was like camping. But it sure got old trying to dig through all the ice to find the cream cheese (always at the bottom) to make my son’s favorite wrap for school lunch in the morning. For someone who teaches how to create convenience for family cooking by freezing quantities of purees for baby and left-overs of family meals – this was a challenge. Cooking with no leftovers seemed wasteful. Next we had a new refrigerator outside on our deck (no really – waitng for someone to solve the subzero issue). I have a huge appreciation for refrigeration. My friend Kristi joked about my going totally green and how I’m cutting back on electricity by not having a refrigerator. She even found this article in the NY Times about people giving up their refrigerator by choice. Now that’s a commitment.

In December we bought a fixer house and have been remodeling the kitchen and baths (as green as possible but we’ll have appliances).  With a move in date approaching, I’ve been so excited. A new kitchen with a  new refrigerator (not a Sub Zero) inside the actual kitchen.

However as remodels go, there’ve been glitches. We moved in this week and the kitchen wasn’t finished.  However what was working was the new refrigerator. Funny, irony. Now I’m about 6 days in without a range. No problem I thought, I’ll do more raw foods – better for us anyways right? Well it is cold and rainy outside and salads, wraps and cold foods just aren’t comforting like a nice bowl of hot soup.  We’ve been eating out more which is taking a toll (on our wallets and my sanity – taking 2 kids out to eat too often loses its luster).  I just want to cook a hot meal and make a cup of tea and eat from our dishes.

We’ve also been undoing (just temporarily) some of our green habits and eating traditions. We’ve used some plastic utensils and old birthday paper plates, I found when packing. I felt bad and bought biodegradable plates, and bowls and then unpacked the silverware (even though I can’t wash it). We also bought bottled water. I know, the guilt! I just don’t want to drink from the one working sink in the bathroom (I’m sure it’s perfectly fine). But we’re increasing our garage and recyclables without unpacking many dishes (which can’t be washed without a sink). We also ate some food in the bedrooms. This has never happened. We always sit at the dining room table or in the kitchen to eat or drink. It’s just a rule. Of course the kids think it’s pretty cool to eat a granola bar and yogurt in their room for an afternoon snack. I just keep telling myself (and the kids) it’s an adventure and once the workers are out of my kitchen we go back to the table.

So I’ve been questioning which of the three kitchen items I could do without the longest… the range, the refrigerator or the sink? Not having the range makes me more creative. Not having the refrigerator takes me to the store and farmer’s market more often, but at least I’m eating very fresh. Surprisingly I think the sink has been the hardest to go without. Not being able to wash/rinse dishes (my husband joked how about taking them outside in the rain), let alone put them somewhere is hard. Plus there’s the water to drink and cook with (again hard with the bathroom sink). And washing your hands (and little sticky faces).  Boy I realize we use the kitchen sink quite often.

I know I am going to appreciate my kitchen and fixer quite a bit (I hope soon!)

And to add to the chaos my new book Petit Appetit Eat, Drink and Be Merry was released this week.  Here’s my son’s wrap recipe from the book. Luckily there’s a never ending supply of creativity of what can be wrapped up.

Jonas’ Turkey Roll-Up
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. If my son ever gets out of a rut he’ll realize how versatile this can be too; prosciutto or roast beef slices can be substituted for the turkey. For a veggie option grate or thinly slice veggies such as zucchini, carrots, bell pepper and layer with cheese. 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)
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.

Kids Korner 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 Getting Greener or Getting Fooled – Label Deception
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry [Avail. March 2009], and lives in Sausalito, California.
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com

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Spinach Shrimpy Fusilli (Organic Recipe)

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

From Lisa Barnes

Ask your child to say that ten times, fast. High in protein and iron, this dish is a good way to introduce shrimp into your family’s diet. The pasta is creamy and comforting and really highlights the fresh flavor of the shrimp and spinach.

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces uncooked organic fusilli pasta
10 ounces fresh organic spinach leaves, torn into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup sliced organic pearl onions, about 8 to 10
1 1/4 cups organic vegetable broth
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and salt and sauté until shrimp turn pink, 2 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender. Drain well and return hot pasta to cooking pot. Stir in spinach while pasta is hot and allow spinach to wilt.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat, and add onion. Sauté, stirring often, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in broth and lemon zest and cook until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Stir in ricotta cheese until combined. Stir in nutmeg and pepper. Add shrimp and ricotta mixture to pasta and gently toss together.
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See also Lisa’s Popeye Pureé (Organic Spinach 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, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry [Avail. March 2009], and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: © Tonobalaguer | Dreamstime.com/
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com

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