I’m a big believer in involving my kids around the kitchen as much as possible to introduce healthy eating habits at an early age. I introduced my own littles to fun in the kitchen with pudding art when they were around 18 months old. Spreading out white paper on the table, tapping it down and having bowls of pudding that they could dip their fingers into and draw on the paper…and even eat! They LOVED this and I enjoyed watching their faces light up.
As the kids got older they helped with rolling cookies, washing veggies and setting our dinner table. Now, they help in making their own snacks, using the vegetable peeler and stirring mixtures. The older they get, the more responsibility they are given- and funny thing…they think it’s FUN to be in the kitchen. They enjoy eating new foods and being part of the action in the kitchen.
I enjoy sharing my own experiences with others and ways in which they can introduce good, healthy foods to their little ones. Putting on cooking demonstrations at our local farmers markets is something that I have done since 2011 and now I am able to share in those experiences with my kiddos.
Cora recently was my “sous chef” at a SNAP “Food Stamp” Day we held at Farmers Market of the Ozarks (FMO) where I work. Our market just launched a Double Up Food Stamp Program, which allows food stamp participants the ability to double their money on fruit and vegetables at our market. (See photos below.)
We explained to participants how to make homemade baby food using local products from FMO, how the Double Up Program worked and we prepared a variety of quick and easy side dishes for participants to sample.
Here are some of my kid’s favorite homemade snacks that we make at our house. Enjoy!
Watermelons and cucumbers are two of my favorite things about summer, and they go perfect together! Seriously…they do. I am always looking for more ways to get fresh fruits and vegetables on my family’s dinner table and one way I do that is by salads. We pair fruit and traditional salads together quite often and my kids love it. But, the real winner for a summertime salad is my Watermelon-Cucumber Salad.
I head to the farmers market or local farm stand to pick out the perfect melon and, mint, onion and cucumbers to make this gem of a salad. I also top it with a local goat cheese from a family farm here in my region called Terrell Creek Farm from Fordland, MO. (For those of you afraid of goat cheese bc you’ve had a bad experience in the past- forget your previous experience. Terrell Creek Farm produces amazing goat cheese in a variety of flavors!)
I add a little lemon and some salted cashews to this salad for a little acidity and salt (bc salt and watermelon are a match made in Heaven.). And serve it immediately at your backyard bbq or as a weeknight side. Enjoy!
Thinly sliced red onion
4 cups watermelon
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak 1/2 thinly sliced red onion in cold water. Pat dry 4 cups diced watermelon and 1 seeded and sliced cucumber; toss with a handful of thinly sliced mint. Drain the onion, squeeze dry and add to the salad along with some chopped cashews. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon; season with salt and toss. Top with crumbled goat cheese.
I am always up for trying to replicate meals at home. Eating out not only adds up on the pocket book, but many times, isn’t worth the price. Nothing is more disappointing when we eat out and are unimpressed with our food.
One food I don’t cook often home is Oriental. It’s almost easier to eat out then trying to buy all the ingredients you need to make some specific meals…Oriental food is one of those meals for me. However, I had a basic recipe a friend gave me many years ago for cashew sauce and I have perfected a delicious Homemade Cashew Chicken recipe using this basic recipe that is simple and tasty!
The best part of this meal – it’s pretty quick and makes incredible leftovers, which means less cooking during the work week for you!
I usually fry up a little more chicken because I love using the leftover fried chicken for salads or in a tortilla roll up with lettuce, ranch dressing and cheese.
Homemade Cashew Chicken
4 chicken breasts, thawed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 ½ cups flour
½ c milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp. Paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
Oil, for frying
To the flour add salt, pepper, parsley, paprika and garlic powder. Coat chicken in the flour mixture and let sit for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a large skillet (Med High). Mix the milk and eggs together in a small bowl. Dip the pieces of chicken in the milk mixture and then back into the flour. Place chicken in one layer in the skillet and fry until browned. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and lightly salt. Continue until all the chicken is fried.
2 cups of water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
¼ tsp. ginger powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch mixed in 1/4 c of cold water
Bring the water, bouillon, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and salt to a light boil. Add cornstarch mixture and stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat.
To serve: Serve over a bed of rice and top the chicken with the sauce, some diced green onions or chives and cashews.
Looking for ways to use up all those zucchini from your garden or maybe your neighbors? These zucchini muffins are just the trick! They also freeze well and make a quick and easy breakfast for those little ones that will starting back to school soon!
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
Next stir in :
2 cups grated zucchini
1 apple peeled, cored and grated
In another bowl, beat:
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Stir into flour mixture until batter is just combined. Spoon into well greased muffin cups, filling to the top. (Note: If you are using muffin liners you may need to spray with cooking spray to prevent the muffins from sticking to the paper.) Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
I have the BEST garden helpers, wouldn’t you say? #blessedbeyondbelief