Matzo, Matzo Man.

This week marks the celebration of Passover for many families and children.  Making holiday foods (eventhough it may not be “your” holiday) is a great opportunity to introduce different customs, cultures, religions and traditions to your children.  The first time I made this my son cried “wow a giant pancake!”

Matzo is packaged in a box and found in the ethnic sections of grocery stores and is a large wheat cracker, made with only wheat flour and water.   Commonly served for Passover breakfast, snack or side dish.  It can be made both savory or sweet.  This version is sweetened with the addition of powdered sugar, cinnamon and fresh berries.

 

Makes 1, 8 – 10 inch pancake

6 pieces matzo (I use Tahova)

1 cup boiling water

2 cage-free organic eggs

2 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

 

Sprinkling (optional)

2 teaspoons powdered sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup fresh organic berries – raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or combination

 

In a large mixing bowl, break the matzo into small (1-inch) pieces. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the matzos to soften for 1 minute.

In a small bowl whisk eggs together with salt.  Mix the eggs and salt into the matzo.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.   When the foam subsides transfer the matzo mixture into the pan and flatten with a spatula.  Fry until crisp and golden (about 4 minutes).

Carefully flip over with a spatula to fry the other side (about another 4 minutes).

Slide matzoh brei onto a large plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon and top with fresh seasonal berries.

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This Year’s Thanksgiving Challenge….The Flu

So my challenge last year was the vegan menu.  However if you’ll recall (see last year’s post) I was pleasantly surprised with all the dishes and everyone – vegan and carnivore – seemed full and happy.

This year’s challenge is that it’s only a few days before the big turkey day and my son has the stomach flu.  Poor kid.  I got a touch of it last night, but nothing like he has.  His grandparents have already bowed out of coming for the holiday.  I certainly understand.  Who wants to come to a potentially guarantined household?  And that’s the problem for me too.  The wondering who else may be sick on Thanksgiving?  Will I get worse?  What about my husband and daughter?

Being that I try to make dishes ahead, I already have cranberry sauce made, as well as a tart crust.  I opted out of the lackluster pumpkin pudding (see previous post about test) for a pumpkin ginger tart instead.  At least we have something, right?  I could put the cranberry in the pie tart and call it a cranberry tart.  I feel like everyone remembers the sweet stuff anyway.  How bad could that be? 

I’m thinking positively and today I picked up my heirloom turkey.  It was already ordered, so I really didn’t have much of a choice.  Because our group is so small this year (and getting smaller), I decided I’m going to try brining the bird.  I feel like I’m the only person to have never brined a turkey.  I’m feeling confident because it’s not a 15 pounder.  I’m not going to worry about making space and the bag leaking all over my fridge, since I’ll be able to get my petit 9 pounder in a large stockpot.

At the very least the turkey will come in handy for turkey noodle soup if we all get sick.  Here’s crossing my fingers our planned menu goes somewhat as planned.  But if it doesn’t happen, we’ll do it another night. 

Here’s our favorite brussels sprouts recipe for Thanksgiving or the rest of the year.

Leaf Us Alone Brussels Sprouts

(pg. 205, Petit Appetit: Eat Drink and Be Merry)

Although they are one of my favorites, I realize Brussels sprouts are not welcome by many. I think they get a bad rap because they are usually boiled, bland, and still rock hard in the center. Peeling the leaves and discarding the center core, makes for an entirely different taste and texture. And yes, you and your kids may even have a new green favorite. Note this takes time and patience, but little hands make great peelers.

Makes 6 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.

Cut off bottom stem or core of each sprout. Carefully peel away the leaves until it becomes too hard to peel. Cut off bottom core again and peel more layers. Continue cutting and peeling until it is too difficult to peel apart.

Place leaves in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and stir until all leaves are coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir again.

Spread leaves onto prepared baking pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until leaves are cooked and start to crisp with golden edges.

Kids Korner

I brought these to the table to peel while my children were having a snack. It must have looked interesting as both my four year old and 18 month old starting peeling, too. I told them they were Brussels Buddies. My son just kept telling his dad “We’re only eating the skins.”

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I Left My Heart….

Were you wondering what happened to Valentine’s Day?  Asking yourself, “Why didn’t she do a blog with heart foods?”  Well, I was so hearted out I needed a break.  Yes a heartbreak. (pun intended).  The good thing about hearts is that they work all year long.  In fact I think cutting hearts in cookies or sandwiches away from Feb. 14th is more meaningful, cute and unexpected by your children.

This year I did the treats for both kids’ classes.  So I wasn’t busy blogging about heart shaped goodies, but I was busy making them.  Here are some pics…

These heart sandwiches were for my daughter’s class.  These were super simple and festive to make.  Here’s what I did:

1. Using a small 1 1/2 – 2 inch heart cutter, cut out hearts from slice of sandwich bread. (carefully cutting you’ll get 4 out of each slice).

2. Put bread hearts into pairs for sandwiches.

3. Spread one side of bread hearts with cream cheese

4. Spread another side of bread hearts with strawberry or raspberry fruit spread

5. Put together. Ta dah! 

 

Heart shaped graham crackers along with lovely organic, Oxnard, CA. grown strawberries for my son’s kindergarten class.  These were pretty and easy to pass out, nestled in recycled paper muffin cups.

Then, as we were hurrying to make and eat dinner before another evening school event (and the cookie cutter was still out) we make some simple heart shaped cheese toast.

The cookie cutters really come in handy for all kinds of things: from tortillas to cookies to sandwiches to cheese, etc. there’s lots of ways to create fun shapes all year long.  It’s also a fun activity that can involve your kids.  For now I’ve left my heart in the basket with the other 100+ cutters I own (yes, it’s a bit of an obsession), but look out you never know what shape will be chosen tomorrow.  St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner.  Then there’s baseball season, Easter, May Day, first day of summer…..

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Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

dec 09 025

 The only way I could stop myself from baking cookies this year during the holidays was to leave the house.  If I was at home I was baking.  From Thanksgiving until Christmas if I had a spare 20 – 30 minutes I was thinking “hmm. I have time to make some dough” or “I can bake one more batch”.  This also counted starting a batch at 11:30 p.m. (more on that later)  You name it I baked it.  All our family favorites from “kissed” peanut butter cookies (photo above), molasses sugar cookies, snickerdoodle biscuits, sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, chocolate sliced cookies – just to name a few.  I don’t ever need an excuse to bake cookies.  I have cookie cutters (about 100) for every occassion and no special day at all (think octopus, train, lighthouse,  football, etc).  But this year, I seemed particularly driven.  The funny part is that I discovered I was not alone…

This year more than ever when I got together with friends and family they all had similar cookie baking stories.  Whether they were making them for the school gingerbread decorating, the family potluck or gifts for the neighbors, everyone was baking.  Was this because it was so cold?  My aunt (who rarely bakes, and gave us a beautiful container full of homemade sweets)  thought so.  We really had our share of cold and rainy days in the Bay Area and yes, I prefer baking cookies with my kids in a warm house in the late afternoon, over bundling and braving the weather at the park, again.  Another reason could’ve been the economy.  People tend to bake and eat comfort foods more than in the past.  What is more comforting than homemade cookies with milk?  My final reason is because it’s thoughful and a gift of time.  There seems to be a return to homemade gifts.  All the magazines talked about “green” gifting and things to make from the heart.  This year not only did we make cookies to send to relatives, we also make cookie gifts for neighbors, friends and teachers.  Here are a few of the packaging ideas that we used or received that are inexpensive and also green and fun to do with kids especially (and can be remembered for any time of year):

flower pot – filled with baked good and tied with a ribbon.  Kids can even decorate the pot with paint, stickers, glitter.

glass  jars – Ball, cookie, canning, french – in all shapes and sizes.  I found them for as little as $3.99 at the Container Store

dish cloths/tea towels – cookies or breads wrapped in pretty fabric that can be reused for dish or hand drying

china plates and bowls – scour flea markets, estate sales and china outlets for single, one-of-a-kind plates for unique presentation

With all the baking, gifting and shipping of cookies, I actually got burned out on cookies mid-way between Hannukah and Christmas.  Even my kids were a bit tired of helping mom and asked “why are we making more cookies?”  However at this point I had already committed to bring cookies to a few events and a friends’ house for the kids to decorate.  Starting a batch of cookies at 11 p.m. after a long day and evening of holiday shopping, wrapping and merriment did not produce my best results.  See below.  I was impatient and put the butter in the microwave to soften.  I knew it had gone too soft, but used it anyways.  As you can see the cookies spread and the results were more plump than pretty – although still just as tasty.  I already had some gingerbread men as well as other sucessful cookies to bring, so I brought them for the kids to decorate anyways.  They didn’t care.  It’s amazing what some frosting, sprinkles and raisins can do to transform the “failed” cookie.  Here’s a tip when decorating cookies, or really anything with kids – use a muffin tin lined with muffin cups.  This works great to hold a variety of small objects, in this case sugars, sprinkles, raisins, currents, marshmallows, coconut, died fruit, and candy cane pieces.  It makes it easy for kids to share, there’s less waste and mess than diving into separate bowls and clean up is quick and easy. oops! too

 

oops! The plump cookies (before)
oops! The plump cookies (before)

 

Christmas 2009 047
decorating tray

 

sugar and gingerbread after kids' decorated
plump cookies with gingerbread people after decorating

Since I was getting tired of cookies I wondered about others.  Think of the teachers, who while appreciative of homemade sweets probably get overwhelmed by sweets at the holidays.  I’ve always been meaning to make cookie dough mixes in jars and this year I tried it.  I liked the idea of short cutting the recipe and not shaping and baking more cookies.  I also liked the idea that the recipient could bake their cookies whenever they had a craving or wanted to share with others.  However I learned there is an art to creating the cookie mix and making it look presentable.  My first attempt, didn’t look as neat as my third.  Those pretty layers were tough to see.  I went online and found some tips that really helped.  The most important being :  flour and white sugar seeps down to other layers of ingredients, so layer those at the bottom and on top or between packed brown sugar.  Common sense, but easy to forget, again when you’re working late at night –  it’s easy to layer before thinking (and there’s no going back).

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
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Eat Your Flowers – With Organic Blooming Salad Recipe

From Lisa Barnes

My son has always been an adventurous eater (think mussels, clams, shitake mushrooms), and luckily (in the eating arena) my daughter does everything her big brother does.  Although sometimes I worry they will eat something they shouldn’t while exploring outside, such as a poison mushroom or wild cherry that is not edible.  I’ve explained many times about eating things not purchased from a store, or farmer’s market.  However from as young as I can remember my son would eat rosemary and fennel from the neighbors’ yard or pick wild blackberries from vines on the road.

Last month the Sunset Magazine arrived with a beautiful salad on the cover.  Like most photos of foods, my son sees it and asks “can we make that?”  But then asks “are those flowers?”  I explain they are edible flowers.  This however really peaks his interest and I realize I may be in for some trouble.  I read the recipe and the article about growing edible flowers and promise to make the salad for Easter.  I thought it was perfect since it was so beautiful, plus I’d been assigned salad for my family’s gathering.

Unfortunately I had to disappoint my son (and myself).  I couldn’t find the edible flowers anywhere.  No stores in the Bay Area were able to get their supply in time for Easter.  For reasons I don’t know.  I explained to my son we would find them for another time.

We were at the farmer’s market a few weeks later and there they were – Calendulas.  My son was longingly looking at them with a “can we, can we?”  The grower said to go ahead and try it (but cautioned just to eat the petals).  My son of course liked them (his sister seemed to as well) and we were off to make the salad.

Surprisingly my daughter was more excited about actually making the salad (she loved pulling off the petals).  But I must say it was beautiful and tasty (although I credit mostly the dressing and fresh spring peas) and worth the wait.  I’m dreaming of planting them myself to be able to find them when I need them next year.  (However like the house was a fixer, so is the yard – so stay tuned)  In the meantime I’m researching and reading (especially Rosalind and Gene) and have started our gardening foray with some small lettuces, tomatoes and herbs…

Here’s a variation of Sunset’s “Blooming Salad”

Dressing:
2  ½ tbsp. organic Safflower or canola oil
½ tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. minced tarragon
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.

Salad:
Rinse and dry handfuls of mache, mesclun and chervil sprigs and out in a large glass bowl.

Add slices of Persian cucumber, sugar snap peas and radish slices

Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss.

Pull petals from organic edible flowers* such as calendulas, nasturtiums, bachelor’s buttons, borage and violas and sprinkle over salad.
~

See also Lisa’s two new books out now at local bookstores:

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.

… and Bay Area’s New Crop of Gardeners Digging In
~~
*Edible Flower Disclaimer
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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Every Day is a Holiday for Kids – with Organic Lemon Pancake Recipe

From LISA BARNES

Think the holiday season takes a break after New Year’s and before July 4th? There’s groundhog day, winter solstice, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, May Day, Cinqo de Mayo, mother’s day, father’s day, and many others (real and imaginative). For children every day is a holiday. That means there are many reasons and excuses to make things special. The best thing about celebrating with children is that they find fun in the little things.

In writing my latest book The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Eat, Drink and Be MerryI reflected a lot about my childhood memories. My mom always made things special with decorations and crafts, especially at holidays. Our Halloween costumes were amazing (think Peter Pan with wired shadow, and Sigmund the sea monster. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t sit in them – we got lots of kudos and the best candy and prizes. St. Patrick’s Day breakfast was dyed, of course, a festive green – from our pancakes to our milk. Our eggs for the Easter egg contest were not simply dyed but then decorated with glitter and noodles.

For me food is a way to celebrate everything – culture, history, seasons, geography. (And to be honest I’m not crafty and can’t sew)…

To celebrate Earth Day I took my children to the local park and we cleaned up trash and wiped down the equipment. Next we picked up some seeds and planted them in pots outside. My daughter placed marigolds, beets, onions and cucumbers in the same pot, so we’ll see what comes up. Perhaps a new varietal of something tasty. Finally we made Earth Day Cookies. What are Earth Day Cookies you ask? Well they’re sugar cookies frosted like the earth. But it could’ve been anything. Call it something festive and ask your kids to decorate it, and something special is created.

We celebrated “Tres de Mayo” this year because my husband was going to be out of town on the real day. I did homemade tacos, beans and rice with all the trimmings. However not wanting to miss Cinqo de Mayo, my kids and I celebrated with nachos for dinner. What could be easier? And yes, it was basically left-overs “repackaged” as a party on a plate. Although my daughter asked “This is just a pile. Is it dinner?” When she saw the veggie platter with her favorite jicama, she was satisfied with the menu.

When my kids are off from school they will sometimes ask if it’s a Lemon Pancake Day. This is a quick and easy giant pancake that’s impressive and sweet for all ages. Quicker than other pancakes, it’s a way to celebrate sleeping in and hanging out in pajamas. See I told you any day could be made into a holiday?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the creative moms out there who make their child’s everyday a special one.

Manny’s Organic Lemon Pancake

Gayle Pirie and John Clark, chef-owners of San Francisco’s Foreign Cinema restaurant and co-authors of “Country Egg, City Egg” developed this recipe to recreate a child comfort food enjoyed on sleep-over mornings.This “dramatic egg pancake” is also known as a Dutch Baby.

3 cage- free, organic eggs
½ cup organic milk
½ cup organic all purpose flour*
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
Juice of half a lemon
Organic confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the flour and salt and whisk until a smooth batter with tiny bubbles is achieved.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. When the butter is hot and begins to sizzle, add the batter, and remove from heat. Place skillet on center rack of oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until pancake is light golden and has risen like a soufflé. The edges will be creeping over the rim of the skillet and be nicely browned.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with lemon juice and a dusting of sugar.

*All-purpose not for All. Not everyone can eat all-purpose flour. I’ve made this recipe successfully with spelt, gluten-free, and rice flours. Use whichever works with your family’s diet and preference.

~

See also Lisa’s two new books out now at local bookstores:

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.

~~

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.

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

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

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.
~
See also Lisa’s Getting Greener or Getting Fooled – Label Deception
~~
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)

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.
~
See also Lisa’s Popeye Pureé (Organic Spinach For Kids Recipe)
~~
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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Fat Tuesday, with Organic Jambalaya and Citrus Corn Muffins Recipe

From Lisa Barnes

Before having children my husband and I always managed to celebrate Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday in the local southern restaurant/bar. We love New Orleans – the people, the jazz, the food, the food, the food….  We haven’t been in a few years (pre Katrina) so we use any excuse to celebrate and bring attention to the great city at our house. Unfortuantely some of our favorite cajun restaurants are gone from San Francisco. If anyone can make a suggestion in the Bay Area, please let me know.

Fat Tuesday at our house will start with my kids and I making festive feather masks and donning our colorful beads. Next we will sit down to one of our favorite meals of jambalaya with corn muffins.  Every night at the dinner table my family has a ritual. Each person (no matter how young) shares three things they are thankful for, along with telling everyone the favorite part of their day. For Fat Tuesday we will be especially thankful and remember the people who lost their family, friends, homes and jobs, and who continue to struggle in the areas hit by Katrina.

Years ago I bought a souvenir cookbook on one of our New Orleans visits. It is very well used with stains and dog eared pages, but it still works great. I changed a favorite jambalaya recipe to one that is child friendly and not too hot (although you can make adjustments) for my own book. Enjoy!

Organic Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Recipe

Jambalaya is an easy one pot meal to make for the whole family. In the South this is considered a major comfort food.  For a spicier meal, substitute a Cajun Andouille sausage. This one is less spicy, for little mouths, and more health conscious than authentic Jambalaya recipes. But there are plenty of flavors from all of the fresh ingredients. Serve with citrus-corn muffins, below.

2 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil
½ pound organc chicken-apple sausage, cut into ½ inch slices
1 small onion, chopped, about ½ cup
1 large organic red bell pepper, chopped, about 1 cup
1 clove garlic, minced
1¾ cups organic chicken broth
3 medium vine ripened tomatoes, or 8 ounces of Pomi tomatoes, drained and chopped
¼ cup Pomi tomato sauce
1 Bay leaf
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon chopped, fresh oregano
1 cup uncooked short grain brown rice
1 large (3/4 pound) boneless, skinless organic chicken breast, cut in 2 inch strips

In a large, heavy stockpot heat oil over medium-high heat.

Add sausage, onion, pepper and garlic. Stir together and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in broth, tomatoes, bay leaf, and spices.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in rice. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, cover and simmer 5 additional minutes until chicken is cooked and rice is tender. Let stand, covered 10 minutes. Remove Bay leaf before serving.

One to watch and wash!  A one pot meal is a great time saver. All the ingredients can be prepped beforehand (even the night before) and then added when ready. Only one pot means one pot to watch when cooking and only one to wash when finished.

Organic Citrus-Corn Muffins Recipe

This savory muffin is inspired from a spa recipe. These muffins make a great accompaniment to family soups and salads, as well as the perfect healthy snack for active toddlers. You can bake these in adult size or mini muffin tins. If using mini tins, reduce baking time to 10 -12 minutes.

1 tablespoon grated organic orange zest (about 2 medium oranges)
2 cups unbleached flour
½ cup organic cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 large, cage- free, organic eggs
½ cup organic light brown sugar, packed
½ cup mashed organic banana, (about 1 large banana)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease 12 cup standard muffin tin or 24 cup mini muffin tin with vegetable oil. Using a small knife or zester, remove zest from oranges.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, brown sugar, banana and zest. Mix well.

Using a rubber spatula, fold wet buttermilk mixture into flour mixture. Be careful not to over mix, as muffins will be tough. Spoon batter into muffin cups, about ¾ full.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until muffins are brown on top and pick test (see below) is successful. Remove muffin tin from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Turn out muffins onto rack to cool completely. If muffins stick to pan, run a dull knife around edge of muffins and pan to release.

Makes 18 large muffins or 36 mini muffins.

Get picky! Keep toothpicks or small wooden skewers on hand to check muffins and other baked goods for doneness. Simply insert pick in center, and when comes out clean, muffins are done.

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See also Lisa’s Quick Organic Snacks For Kids
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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: Nola.com
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com

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