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Chocolate and Coconut Heaven (and almost healthy)

22 Mar

20140322-143037.jpgNews Flash, I love brownies. I really can’t get enough of the gooey chocolate deliciousness. We grew up on Betty Crocker boxed brownie mix.  Seriously, back then those were the bomb, all fudge with that extra fudge pack you’d add just in to really make sure thy were fudge-y enough. Times have changed and we try to stick to a healthier diet of wholesome ingredients so when I crave chocolate I scour the internet in search of the perfect treat. I stumbled upon Paleo Grub and a particular recipe by  jumped right out at me. Yes it is a brownie recipe and yes I made them twice in two days, and yes I ate most of them!

the cool thing about these is that they have no grain, the star of these is almond butter, who knew? They don’t taste like almonds and the texture is very brownie like. As good as these are I needed a bit of sweet on top so I went a step further, yes I did. The brownies were so delicious but I needed more, I was having a bad sweet tooth. I created this dairy free recipe for icing using the Kelapo Oil. It does have sugar so it is not entirely Paleo but you can create your own from this base recipe, go for it!

Recently I received a bunch of Kelapo Coconut oil and I’d been thinking of using it but hadn’t quite put my finger on anything. (lightbulb moment coming) Frosting for these healthy brownies, what a great way to test out the new coconut oil. We use a lot of coconut oil on our house from skin and hair moisturizer to sweet and savory recipes. The Kelapo oil is so coconut-y, it is very delicious and I can’t wait to use it again in another recipe.

All I can tell you is beware because this icing is way too easy to just eat by the spoonful!


20140322-143000.jpg

Dairy Free Coconut Icing

Makes approximately  1 1/2 cups

2 Tbs Kelapo Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

2 Tbs room temperature Earth Balance or Butter (if you are not dairy free)

3 Tbs coconut butter

pinch salt

2 Tbs almond milk or milk (if you are not dairy free)

1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar

 

Mix the butters and salt in a bowl with an electric mixer until very smooth. Add sugar a half cup at a time mixing until smooth.

Use immediately. To store chill for up to a week. To use from refrigerator let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften and stir vigorously for easy spreading.

 

 

 

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Bullseye Pops

11 Jun

EMWC Summer 2013 Stone's Soup Corner

THE KIDS are ALL Right

Photo Matthew Carden

Another share from Edible Marin Wine Country, I couldn’t pass up sharing this recipe!

When I sat down to write this issue’s Stone’s Soup Corner, I thought I had it all worked out. Melon soup was on the agenda. Perfect for summer— cool, refreshing and easy.

I usually clear my ideas with my 9-year-old daughter before I discuss them with my editor, but this time I never got around to asking her what she thought about this soup idea. Her reaction when she heard: “Mom, no kid is going to eat that!”

And she was right. I had lost sight of whom I was writing for. So, together, we brainstormed for a summer melon-y idea and came up with these creamy pops.

Food is at the center of so much of our lives and too often it becomes simply a chore. We shoo the kids away so we can get the cooking done, clean up and get on to the next task. But food should be fun, not stressful or humorless. That is why I like cooking for kids and silly grown-ups.

Sometimes on a hot day sharing a moment with a sloppy, drippy homemade pop is simply the right thing to do. Forget all the to-do lists and the dirty laundry, just for a moment. These Bull’s Eye Honeydew Pops highlight the ripest melons of the season. They are creamy, refreshing and dairy free!

Make an extra batch to keep in your freezer—it’s nice to have homemade pops ready for a playdate or family dessert on a hot summer night.

bullseye

Bullseye Honeydew Pops

Yield: 6 regular-size pops or 24 ice-cube-size pops

3⁄4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1⁄2 cup sugar
6 large mint leaves (Mint grows wild, so go check your garden before

you buy it at the market.)
3 cups very ripe Honeydew melon flesh (about 1⁄2 a melon 24 fresh or frozen cherries
Decorative straws (cut to size) or Popsicle sticks

Extra Tools

Straws or wooden Popsicle sticks

Small pop molds (Note: pop molds look great, but an ice cube tray will work just fine.)

Add coconut milk, sugar and mint leaves to a small saucepan and warm slowly over medium heat, scraping the sides constantly with a rubber spatula. When the sugar is dissolved, remove pan from heat and cool mixture to room temperature.

Dice the melon flesh into small pieces and place in a blender. Drain the mint from the cooled syrup, then add syrup to the blender. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Place four cherries into each pop mold—or, if you are using ice cube trays to make your pops, place a stick or straw into each cherry and place 1 in each cube reservoir.

Pour the coconut-melon mixture around the cherries in each mold, then place a straw or Popsicle stick into the center. If you are using ice cube trays, carefully pour the mixture around each cherry in the tray.

Freeze for 4 hours or until firm.

edible marin & wine country summer 2013 | 53

Make it Pretty for Earth Day + Kids Konserve Giveaway

22 Apr

I buy plates and cute cups like some people buy shoes! (OK, I buy shoes like that too) My husband and I do many food shoots and I am always on the hunt for new props. I can’t keep my hands off  those cute playful serving vessels, I do try to buy recyclable items as much as possible. My cupboards are busting (to my husband’s dismay) with stacked colorful plates, bowls, napkins and even the occasional coconut shell or bamboo plate.  But in real life I try to reuse as many containers as I can.  I like fun food and so do kids, they love to imagine and play and it doesn’t stop at mealtime.  If you are trying to get your kids to eat healthier, it can be a frustrating challenge. Starting with snacks can ease the pain, get them eating better in small doses. Once the snacks are more wholesome then you can work on mealtime. Kids are much more likely to be interested in a fun presentation of a food even if they may not have been a fan of it in the past.  Any change for kids can be tough but making it fun can make a world of difference. You can get your kids to make a world of difference by re using containers you already have. Reusing containers in a great way to stay conscious about how much trash we are tossing. Ditch the paper plates and cups and please do away with plastic forks and spoons. If you need some good ideas for no waste lunches click here
I have a great giveaway, this super reusable lunch bag and containers from Kids Konserve!! Read below to find out how to enter.

  • ·      Take everyday foods and cut them in new ways. Instead of giving a granola bar in the wrapper, unwrap it and cut it lengthwise for something different.
  • ·      Serve salad in a cup, stand up the baby Romaine leaves and cut everything in sticks
  • ·      Slice quiche in small triangles and insert fun playful toothpicks for eating. 
  • ·      Use an ice cream scoop for rice, or even veggie lasagna!  

Make it different, change it up and think out of the box. Snack time is a fun time to try new food ideas, it fast and uncomplicated. Moving to healthier foods at snack time can be tough, so put the emphasis on adding new foods not on taking away foods. Start with fruit to replace sugary bars and nuts to replace chips.  Keep the crunch, kids love crunch it is very satisfying.  Try fun snacks you may have not noticed in the store before, check the natural section.  Have fun and look around the house for new ways to serve up snacks to your kids.


See what you have in your cabinet to serve in and see what kind of healthy snacks can go in to them in fun exciting ways. Have your kids help find containers to hold the snacks.







Suggestions:

   Clean votive candle holders
   Shot glasses
   Mason jars
   Use clean-take out containers
   Wrap snacks in parchment paper  and tie with a bow
   Cut a circle from a paper bag and make a cone shape for holding snacks
   Make a boat shape from aluminum foil
   Small Tupperware containers, are good for serving
   Large deep lids are good to serve in too
   Use doilies left over from Valentine’s Day
   Cut wrapping paper in to squares for a makeshift place mat
Our winner is The Family Chef!

To win the Kids Konserve Lunch bag:
Tell me what creative ideas you have come up with for your children’s lunches or what you thought of while reading this post?

Follow my blog or or join me on  The Toddler Cafe Facebook page but leave a comment here telling me you did!  
I will do a drawing on Saturday April 30th at 12:00 PM using Random.org you will receive your gift within three weeks.
Please make sure your profile is public or leave your email address in your comment or I won’t be able to find you!!

Apple Stuffin’ Muffins

17 Apr
Mini muffins with a strawberry and mint leaf in place of real leaves

Besides driving, working and entertaining, parents are always running right alongside their toddlers: making meals, doing dishes, and trying to keep everyone from getting grumpy.  The best way I have found to offset the constant running in circles is to be prepared with nutritious snacks.   I promise you that these are so quick and easy that you will WANT to make them, instead of feeling like it’s yet another chore.
This is a really flexible recipe.  You can change ingredients here and there and still get great results.  Add a small dot of cream cheese on top for more protein, or leave out the butter or replace it with a vegetable based non-hydrogenated margarine.  These muffins are extremely forgiving, so get to it and make a batch now your kids will thank you!  What are your kid’s favorite healthy afternoon snack?


 Apple Stuffin’ Muffins
Makes 24 mini muffins
Here’s a great after-school snack for a hungry kid or any other member of your family. These are perfectly sweet with a strong apple flavor when you use homemade applesauce.  The better the apple sauce the more flavor the muffins will have. No time for making applesauce, add diced fresh apple to the recipe for a stronger flavor.
Ingredients     
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
3 tbs butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup fresh applesauce 
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
Optional. 1/2 apple peeled and chopped very small

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl, set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter on high for about 30 seconds; add sugar, applesauce, egg and salt to bowl.  Mix well.
Pour the apple mixture over the flour mixture.
Gently stir in the flour until just incorporated, do not over mix.
Fill the muffin tins about half full with batter.
Bake for 8-9 minutes for mini muffins.
Note: For 6 standard size muffins bake 15 minutes
Tip:
For evenly sized muffins, a mini cookie scoop works wonders, get one at your baking supply or craft store.
Optional Add-ins:
Small shredded carrot or zucchini, currants, chopped dates, flax seeds, quick oats, peanut butter, diced banana, shredded cheddar cheese

Including the Kids with Pie Dough- Jelly Cat Rolls

26 Nov



Jelly Cat Rolls

My posts have been few and far between but that doesn’t mean I have been just laying around! My family and I have been traveling, so cooking has been minimal. But we are back for a few weeks and are right back in the kitchen! When we were in Canada last week Claire got a treat from the grocery store, one for her and one for her cousin. The treat was an individual serving size rolled cake, vanilla with strawberry jam rolled in coconut. It was like a Little Debbie cake, not very good for you I am sure of that, she loved it! I assume she has been thinking about that treat because she recreated one!

My first Thanksgiving dessert was an apple pie, I had some leftover dough and when Kidlet saw it she instantly knew what she wanted to make with it.

Once she got the dough she asked me for jelly and coconut, both of which I had. I showed her how to roll the dough from the center out, she did a fine job. She spread jelly on it and sprinkled coconut on it then rolled it up. I helped her cut the pinwheels with a

big chef’s knife. We chilled it for a few minutes before cooking and baked it for about 10 minutes and VOILA homemade strawberry roll ups!

Kids are funny, they know what they want and are perfectly capable of churning out their vision. This could be a good lesson for us grown ups, taking the lead from a kid. Just focus on what we want and make it happen, sometimes seems impossible but kids seem to do it with ease. Happy Holidays!















A Different Kind of Pear

30 Sep


We are lucky enough to live around the corner from a Mexican Market. I like to go in there and look around for new and different ingredients. When my daughter saw these bright purple fruits she knew she wanted to take them home.
I thought this would be a great activity in the hot weather, so we went for it. Now, I knew all about the Prickly Pear, it comes from a cactus, it grows with long spines all over it and it is very staining. The spines get removed before it comes to the store, but beware tiny spines can be lurking. Before you start rub the fruit with a damp towel to get off any leftover prickers. (I got a tiny one in my hand and it itched like the devil) That told we bought three, and dug right in. They are delicious as is, but you can make jam with them, or dice them and serve over with fish or in drinks, the possibilities are endless.

I shot a very crude video for you to get the full messy effect.

Kidlet had just come home from
school, we did not primp at all for this video (she was fully destroyed from a long hot day of school) I also made her wear an inside out tee shirt so she wouldn’t stain her clothes! We hope you enjoy learning about this and maybe it will inspire you to find an unusual food in your neighborhood.




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