Fun do (fondue)

This past week was march break and I wanted to make it special for the girls, especially since my daycare was closed so I could be with just them.  On the first day I let them over do it a bit on candy but I still wanted to have a fun dessert and this made me remember something my sister and I did as children.  We would melt down our extra Easter bunnies and make fondue.  Of course at the time we didn’t know about fondue, we thought we were genius using our extra bounty in such a way.

As a surprise I made the same for my girls.  We don’t have Easter bunnies to use yet but I do have chocolate chips.  As a child we would just microwave our chocolate, now I don’t own one so I heated water in a pot and put a bowl of chocolate on top.   No you don’t need a fancy fondue pot, at least not for this idea.

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Cut up a variety of fruit to dip and anything else which may taste great wrapped in chocolate.  Now sit back and enjoy!

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The girls were thrilled and I got to share a fun memory from when I was a little younger.

Happy Valentine’s

I don’t over do the holidays around here but it is fun to do a little something.  We’ve worked on a few activities and will be having a special pink meal for dinner, and since I’m done work early we will likely fit in some skating at our local park, nice and simple.

Valentine’s Sensory Experience/Pretend Sundaes

So for this activity you’ll need a deep container, shaving cream, jello powder (or food colouring) and any left over sprinkles you can find.  A few hours/night before fill your container with the shaving cream and jello powder- mix and freeze.  The mixture will look like ice cream and smell fruity.  I set out a few little dishes of left over sprinkles and candy hearts and gave each child a dessert bowl and spoon.  Then let them scoop and create, mix, smell and possibly feel.  The kids had a blast mixing their concoctions and cheersing each other.

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Eyedropper Art

Cut some coffee filters into a heart shape, colour all over with markers and then use an eye dropper and water to create the effect shown below.  It’s fun to see the colours mix and bleed together and if you hang them in the window they make beautiful sun catchers.  It is also a great fine motor activity for the little ones.

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Easy Beaded Necklace

For a quick quiet time activity I set up a little necklace making station.  I cut some length of wool and knotted one side and taped the other to make it easier for stringing, put out a little pile of beads and then let the kids get to work.  It made a really cute gift for mom and they got to work on their patterning and fine motor skills.

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Pink Valentines Meal

I made this for yesterday’s daycare lunch and it was a hit and so I will be repeating it for my own girls tonight.  I made pink apple sauce, pancakes and yogurt- and no its not food colouring.

To make the apple sauce peel and core about 6 apples (use a variety) and cut into chunks- then heat on med with just enough water to cover them till they are soft.  Next add a handful of berries- I used frozen but I imagine fresh would be ok too.  Let the mixture sit long enough for the berries to thaw then strain off the excess water and mash.

For the pancakes I just replaced some of the liquids from my favourite recipe with shredded beet (about 1 med beet for a double batch of pancakes).  Unfortunately after they have cooked the colour seems to fade, but the inside is still pretty pink.

Lastly for the yoghurt I mixed some frozen berries with plain yoghurt.  To serve it I layered the three items as shown below.

The picture doesn’t do the meal justice- it really was a pretty pink sight and tasty too!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Cereal Buffet

Cereal Buffet

There are some nights that I just don’t have the energy to cook or I haven’t planned anything and so am at a loss.  On one of these nights I decided to try a Cereal Buffet.  If you choose good cereals and healthy sides this can be a quick and healthy meal not to mention fun…who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner?

I try to buy cereals that are high fibre and low sugar, or a good balance of the two.  I’ve tried many of the ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ types and my girls just don’t like them so cheerios, brown rice krispies and shreddies are common in my home.  I on the other hand do like the other varieties.  For my buffet I put out a few choices of cereals, a store bought granola, a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, fruit, milk and plain yoghurt.

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It’s a fun, quick, healthy last minute dinner idea, why not try it yourself!!

Date Bites

Date Bites

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In an attempt to make a nutritious allergen free snack for the kid’s lunch I remembered the equation for raw treats I found last year when researching a raw diet.

**equal parts dried fruits and nuts/seeds, oil, and spices

For this recipe I used …

  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, if dry soak in water for a few hours first and then drain
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend till combined to a dough like consistency, scoop out and roll into little balls and refrigerate

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Another of my favourite snacks is what I call a date nut, open a date/remove pit and add your nut of choice, it’s fast, sweet, delicious and nutritious.

Easy Salsa Dip for Kids

Easy Salsa Dip for Kids

Every once and awhile my daughter will ask for her grandmothers taco dip, unfortunately it’s time consuming and my other daughter doesn’t like it, so for special occasions I will whip it up but on the in between days we make this…

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It’s very easy and the kids can help, my eldest helps grate the cheese and my youngest helps collect the ingredients and stir,

  • equal parts of plain yoghurt and pre made salsa (any heat you want, for my girls I use medium or mild)
  • enough shredded cheese to cover the top of the bowl  (your choice of cheese)
  • optional add a mashed or diced avocado

I serve this delicious dip with veggie sticks and tortilla chips, it makes a great after school snack or lunch.

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Happy dipping!!

Pumped up Mac n Cheese

Pumped up Mac n Cheese

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I recently purchased some organic whole wheat/flax mac n cheese as a treat for my girls (they love the original Kraft stuff but I don’t feel comfortable feeding it to them) and it was a flop.  Or I should say for my two lovers of processed food (my eldest and my husband) it was a flop, myself and my youngest enjoyed it.  Anyhow we had tons left over and knowing I couldn’t use it for lunches or another dinner I decided to pump it up and share it with my daycare kids who for the most part have not tried many processed foods and so haven’t created aversions to their healthier versions.

Take your left over mac n cheese and add in the following

  • baby spinach (handful which I cut up small with scissors)
  • tomatoes 2 med diced
  • grated marble cheese- about a handful

put it all in a pan and reheat over med heat 

The daycare gang loved it, so much so that they enjoyed multiple helpings.

Quick and easy!!

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

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The other day my daycare kids and I dug apart two pie pumpkins.  After a quick session of exploration I needed to use up the flesh for something, hence muffins.  Cooking a pumpkin is actually quite easy, I used to feel it must be a lot of work and so I would purchase canned, but its really nice to do it yourself.

Peel and de seed the pumpkin, whichever order is easiest for you.  I usually cut the pumpkin open, remove the seeds, cut it into manageable chunks and then peel.  Put the pumpkin in a steamer and steam till soft, very much like boiling potatoes.  Once soft you can mash them or puree in the blender with a bit of the liquid from the pot.

At this point I usually split it into portions and freeze some for later use.  They add moisture and vitamins to any bread like recipe, my girls love pumpkin pancakes but this time we tried a new muffin.

The recipe is very easy, here it it

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup oats (i usually use whole oats but used 1 minute this time)
  • 2-3 tbl maple syrup
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 2 mashed bananas (can use 3/4cup berries instead but may need to add some yogurt)
  • handful of raisins (dates and seeds would be nice too)

mix the dry ingredients together, in another bowl mix the wet and then combine with the wet ingredients

bake at 400 for 20 mins, I usually check on things a few minutes early just in case

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The result is a very moist, nutritious muffin.  It doesn’t taste like pumpkin more like banana oatmeal in muffin form.  It makes a great snack or breakfast on the run, enjoy!!

 

Easy Omelette Muffins

Easy Omelette Muffins

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This is a really quick and easy recipe to make and also a great way to get some veggies into your kids.  Getting my girls to eat all their veggies can be a bit of a chore sometimes, my eldest in particular won’t eat much more then broccoli, carrot and cucumber.  This muffin takes the idea of an omelette and puts it in muffin form, which is good if you aren’t good at making traditional omelettes and because of the cheese the veggies aren’t really that noticeable.

The ingredients can be whatever veggies you have on hand.  This time around I used cauliflower and spinach, but I’ve also used peppers. broccoli and asparagus.  Really you can put in whatever you want.

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For the three little ones and myself I used 5 eggs (which made 6 muffins).  Decide what veggies you are using and dice them pretty small, you will need 1-2 tablespoons of veggies per muffin cup.  Grate some cheese if desired, you will need 1-2 tablespoons per cup as well.  Scramble the eggs and add any spices you wish, I stuck with salt and pepper but some fine herbs would be delicious too.  If you’re using metal trays I imagine you should grease them, I use silicone.  Spoon an even amount of eggs into each cup and then add the toppings and stir.

Place the muffin tray in an oven at 350 and bake for about 25 minutes, I would check periodically after 15 minutes with a toothpick to ensure they don’t get overdone.

Toss them on a plate with some toast or more veggie slices for a quick, nutritious, kid friendly lunch.

Loaded Veggie/Fruit Muffin

Loaded Veggie/Fruit Muffin

With the fall coming I’ve felt the need to bake, I’m not sure if it has to do with school starting or the abundance of fresh apples or the change in weather but we we’ve been baking up a storm here.  This recipe is one I found in a parenting magazine years ago but have recently baked a few different versions of, however its made its a huge hit and loaded with nutrients.

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The original recipe looks like this;

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

My two variations are as follows – first I omitted the sugar and replaced it with a few tbl maple syrup, add 1 tbl molasses, I also omitted the apple sauce and carrots and replaced them with grated apples and a few tbl of plain yogurt, lastly we sprinkled some sunflower seeds on top.

The second variation is similar- again omit the sugar and replace with a few tbl of maple syrup, omit the apple sauce and replace with a few mashed bananas, and last we added a few raisins.

Both versions were delicious as is the original.

Mix all the wet ingredients together, mix the dry in a different bowl and then fold it into the wet.  Bake at 400 F for 15 mins in mini muffin pan, for large pan try closer to 18-20 mins.  My oven seems a bit wonky though and so I check the muffins earlier then this, closer to 10 and 15 mins.

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I baked these with my daycare children and they had a blast mixing, pouring, whisking the egg, smelling the spices and of course eating the muffins.

Curried Parsnip Apple Soup

Curried Parsnip Apple Soup

As you might have noticed by my last few posts we have been focusing on apples here.  Last week for lunch I made one of my favorite fall soups (though its so delicious I really could enjoy it anytime of year).  I used to receive an organic fruit and veggie box from Ottawa Organics and I got this recipe from their newsletter, but have slightly modified it.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbl olive oil (I substituted a few tbl coconut oil for the butter and olive oil)
  • 2 lrg onions diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (I omitted it)
  • 4 med parsnips into chunks
  • 1 med carrot into chunks
  • 3 med apples peeled and in chunks
  • 2 tbl runny honey
  • 6 cups stock (I like to use just enough liquid to cover the veggies-too much stock seemed to over power the other flavours)

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Heat up a pot with the oils and cook the onions till soft, next add the veggies, apple and ginger, spices and honey-stir to coat and then cover and sweat on low heat for about 15 mins.  Add liquids and bring to a boil, then turn to low heat, cover and simmer till veggies are soft.  Once ready blend till desired consistency and serve with a hunk of toast and a dollop of plain yogurt.  Yum!!

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