Pumpkin Patch Visit with Organic Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe

From Lisa Barnes

I love visiting a pumpkin patch this time of year. Not the kind with a jumpy and a row of look alike pumpkins. But a real patch at a working farm with tractors, hay rides, animals, u-pick pumpkins, potato digging (my kids with their prizes), hay maze, cow milking and every variety of pumpkin and squash imaginable.

This is, of course, a fun Fall ritual, but also a great teaching opportunity to show your kids (especially those from the city) how a farm works.  We know how precious small farms are to our nation’s communities.  At this year’s Slow Food Nation event there was a wake-up call to encourage more to become involved in farming and teaching, and how vital it is for our food safety, health, environment and economy.  On the farm kids can see the balance and relationship of people, land and animal (and also appreciate how hard the people and animals work).

Across the nation there are many farms as well as farmer’s markets that have special pumpkin and harvest activities that are great for families with curious children. Besides pumpkins, autumn is also the time to find Asian pears, apples, persimmons, pomegranates, grapes, and winter squashes (butternut, acorn). To find a pumpkin patch and/or farmer’s market in your area go to LocalHarvest.

My family tradition for the past three years is to head to Peter’s Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Cheese Goat Creamery in Petaluma, California.  Most years we have visiting grandparents with us to share the experience as well.  Last year my son (4 at the time) asked his grandma where the “gutters” were, when approaching a milking cow.  This year my daughter (age 2) cried when we went to leave.  We asked her what was troubling her and she said she needed to see Jessie again (the same milking cow).  A big favorite activity, after getting lost in the hay maze, but before taking a wheelbarrow into the pumpkin field is eating homemade ice cream.  Not just any ice cream, but pumpkin ice cream.  This is one of my all-time favorite tastes.  While my version doesn’t do the creamery justice, I’ve included my recipe below.

Organic Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe

Makes 1 quart

Sweet Cream Base:

2 cups organic heavy cream
1 cup organic milk
2 cage free organic eggs
3/4 cups sugar

Whisk eggs in mixing bowl.  Whisk in sugar, a little at a time until blended.  Whisk in cream and milk.

Ice Cream:

1 cup canned organic pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Pour 1/2 sweet cream base into a second bowl.  Mix in pumpkin until blended well.  Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add remaining sweet cream base.

Place mixture into ice cream maker and freeze per manusfacturer’s directions.
See also LIsa’s Happy HallowGreen – Roasted Organic Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Soybeans © Norman Chan | Dreamstime.com

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Potluck Salads (Organic Recipes)

From Lisa Barnes

It’s potluck time at my kids’ school.  You may remember (or you can read here) my blog (rant) from last year regarding everyone who brings take-out pizza to the school potluck.  Although after now attending a few of these school functions I realize the other popular way out is with dessert.  Who doesn’t like to make and eat cookies and cupcakes?  Plus think how popular your child will be with his friends.

I feel like I shouldn’t take up the dessert choice and the main dishes have improved (a great enchilada and chicken at the last one).  So now I’m bringing salads. Not a typical lettuce salad, but something unique.  Even though I know unique may not be eaten (or tried) by everyone.  Here are two that are easy, healthy, tasty and very colorful.

Organic Confetti Slaw

Here the produce takes center stage with a bright, vitamin-rich mix of colors and flavors that will entice children and adults alike. Cutting julliened pieces or shredding fruits and vegetables with a box grater is a great way to add extra vegetables into dishes such as quesadillas and pasta sauces.

Makes 5 (1-cup) servings

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed organic orange juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large organic zucchini, julienned
1 medium organic red or orange bell pepper, juliened
1 small organic Fuji apple, peeled and juliened
1 cup juliened jicama
1 cup shredded organic purple cabbage

In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Add the zucchini, bell pepper, apple, jicama and cabbage, and toss together to combine.

Monica’s Organic Edamame Salad

My friend Monica brought our family a lovely dinner after I came home from the hospital when my daughter was born. The best part was this yummy and beautiful salad. It quickly became a family favorite. Whenever I make it my son Jonas asks, “Did Monica make this for us?” This is a very versatile and quick dish because you can use many prepackaged convenience items (such as slivered almonds), make use of left-over cooked rice, or even find pre-cooked rice in your store. It can be made ahead for a potluck picnic or school event.

Makes 10 (1-cup) servings

1 1/2 cups cooked organic brown rice (left over or pre-packaged)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen organic white corn, thawed
1 (16-ounce) package fresh or frozen organic edamame, (if frozen, cooked according to package directions)
1/2 cup chopped organic celery
1/3 cup organic golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 4)
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves


3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
5 tablespoons expeller-pressed organic canola oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Combine rice, corn, edamame, celery, raisins, onions and basil in a large bowl.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.

Pour dressing over salad and toss with a spoon until everything is coated. Serve almond pieces on the side (in case of allergies) to sprinkle on top.

Picky, Picky! For a choosey eater, separate out items such as raisins and edamame that make great snacks on their own, without the fight over “mixing it all together” or getting “dressing on everything.”
See also Lisa’s Freeze Please! (do your kids hate eating veggies?)
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Soybeans © Norman Chan | Dreamstime.com
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Baked Organic Chicken Bites For Kids Recipe

From Lisa Barnes

Toddlers love chicken they can pick up and dip. Because the chicken is quality white meat, there’s no guessing what’s in the “nugget.” They are a healthy twist to the usual fried strips found in restaurants and freezer aisles.

Makes 4 servings

2 skinless, boneless organic chicken breasts
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 cup dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut chicken breasts into desired size strips. In a medium glass bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, and mustard. Add cut chicken to lemon mixture and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer. Spread breadcrumbs on a plate or wax paper. Remove chicken pieces and roll in bread crumbs to coat. Place chicken pieces on lightly oiled or parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Be sure sides are golden and chicken is cooked through.

Tip: Chicken little no more. These are tasty enough for adults to enjoy as an appetizer with a dip or as a main course over dressed greens or pasta.
See also Lisa’s Easy, Creative Organic Dips For Kids
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.
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