Monday, May 23, 2011

A Farm Fresh Cooking Class

I had so much fun shopping and cooking last week with my daughters first grade class. Involving children in the shopping and cooking process gives them the opportunity to learn about the foods that they are putting into their body. Eighteen children purchased fresh products from the local farmers market and prepared apple crisps. Each kid selected an apple of their choice and searched for other ingredients. When we returned to the classroom, kids sampled the different apples and experienced the variety of flavors. From this interactive learning experience, students gained an understanding of how food choices impact their bodies, the environment, and their communities.

Apple crisp is great to make either at home with your family or in a group setting, like a classroom. Kids love to chop the apples, mix the oats, and mash the butter. These tasty treats are packed with fiber, which helps to regulate digestion. Additionally, the primary ingredients can be purchased locally, which is better for the environment and for your body.

Purchasing food that has been grown in your surrounding area is beneficial for your health and for the environment. Transporting foods over long distances generates pollution, whereas buying groceries from local venders, like a farmers market, decreases your carbon footprint. Foods sold in grocery stores have traveled an average of 1500 miles from where they are grown. On the other hand, foods that are grown locally are picked when they are ripe, which allows for a better taste and more nutritious product.

Apple Mix Ingredients:

6 apples, washed, cored, diced
½ cup apple juice

Topping Ingredients:
½ cup maple syrup
2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon flax seeds
1/3 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly oil the bottom of baking pan with cooking spray.
3. Spread apples evenly in the pan and add apple juice.
4. In a bowl combine maple syrup, rolled oats, flax seeds, and cinnamon.
5. Work in softened butter until combined and there are no large chunks.
6. Sprinkle dry ingredients on top of apples.
7. Cook uncovered for 35-40 minutes.
8. Cut and enjoy!

Carrot Ginger Soup

This soup is perfect for cold rainy days. Rain rain, please go away! I made this beautifully colored soup to bring a little color into my day.

Makes 8 servings

6 carrots
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 inch piece fresh ginger
Parsley to garnish


1. Wash, peel, and cut carrots and onion into chunks.
2. Place vegetables and salt in a pot.
3. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil.
4. Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for 25 minutes.
5. Transfer soup into blender, adding water to achieve desired consistency.
6. When blending is done, squeeze juice from grated ginger and add to soup.
Variations: Sauté vegetables before cooking for extra flavor. Substitute carrots with squash, parsnip, or beets. Squash and beets need 35-40 minutes to cook.
Carrots are a very versatile vegetable that kids will love raw as a snack or cooked in a variety of meals. The carrot is a root vegetable belonging to the Umbelliferae family along with parsnips, cumin and dill which all have the umbrella-like flower clusters that characterize this family of plants. Carrots are especially high in Vitamin A and beta carotene which are necessary for maintaining healthy eyesight.

Ginger: Wellness Superstar!
Incorporating ginger into a kid’s diet can be a bit tricky because of the unique taste but it adds great flavor to a variety of dishes and has many health benefits. Ginger is widely used across the world and can be used both as a spice and for medicinal purposes. Eating ginger is excellent for preventing and easing illnesses including nausea. It also promotes overall health as it is full of Vitamin B-6 and B-5 as well as potassium which is necessary for controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Best Egg Substitutes for Food Allergies and Vegans

Recently I have had so many clients who are allergic to eggs or because of their vegan convictions need some good swaps. Personally I love organic eggs, but for anyone who is sensitive below are a couple of great swaps. While having allergies is awful. Food sensitivities make us pay more attention to the ingredients in our food. So turn your allergy into a fun experiment in the kitchen. Let me know the results or if you have any other suggestions!

Using 1/4 cup of pureed pumpkin, applesauce or banana for 1 egg.

1 tablespoon of flax seed and stir it into 3 tablespoons of warm water. It doesn’t take long and that mixture gets all gelled up. It works very well in place of eggs and contributes some extra benefits from the flax!

2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon oil, and 2 teaspoons baking powder.

I have heard but have not tried it personally that you can substitute a can of seltzer for any recipe that calls for an egg and a cup of oil!