Quite Simply – the Easiest Cookie Ever

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It’s been a busy week-end, with St. Patrick’s Day and other activities for warmer days. Perhaps you haven’t had time to check your cookbook or creative spirit for healthy snacks made only from the ingredients in the last post.

I want to share a cookie recipe I like that has some redeeming qualities as far as nutrition is concerned. But the time factor is way off the chart as far as “right- now- eat-ability” (if that is a word) is concerned. Check it out. Kids will love making them but they won’t like not being able to eat them right away.

Dream Keeper Cookies

2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Beat whites very stiff. Gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form. Stir in nuts and mix lightly.  Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheets. Place cookies in preheated oven. Turn off oven and leave cookies in the oven overnight. Next morning, carefully pull each cookie from the paper or foil. Enjoy.

Now I’ll put on my thinking cap for other fast snacks using these ingredients, but with a much, much shorter time-frame. What are some of your healthy snack ideas using these ingredients?

Lee Jackson
Thinking Healthy Eating

http://www.healthykidseatingtips.com

 Quite Simply   the Easiest Cookie Ever
PinExt Quite Simply   the Easiest Cookie Ever

Veggie Recipe for Kids

PinExt Veggie Recipe for Kids
300px Cherry Tomatoes in Pack Veggie Recipe for Kids

Image via Wikipedia

Vegetables have received a bad rap when it comes to being accepted by kids. But what other food is as colorful and as varied in taste and texture as vegetables? As parents we need to get across to kids that vegetables are really a most interesting and colorful food.

The way vegetables are presented and talked about in the family makes a real difference. If big brother or sister says that some food is yucky, then chances are, that is what the younger child believes. It’s amazing what lasting effect words can have on children. Then there are the positive words you can use as well: It will make you grow big and strong. It will make your hair shine. It will give you rosy cheeks. What a difference words can make!

Here is a recipe from the childrens cookbook, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun by Amy Houts, that shows kids just how good and juicy and fun vegetables can be – if you believe tomatoes are a vegetable, otherwise, go with the fruit definition. Botanically, a tomato is a fruit; however, it has a much lower sugar content than other fruits, and is therefore not as sweet. It is considered a vegetable for most culinary purposes.

Cherry Tomatoes with Dip

Cherry tomatoes

Dip:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Combine all ingredients for dip in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Cover bowl and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

When ready to eat, wash tomatoes and cut in half. Stick a toothpick into the tomato. Give each child a small container of dip.

You can also use carrot and celery sticks, cauliflower or broccoli, or other vegetable with this dip. If children are very young, you will need to cook the vegetable a short time to soften them slightly.

Let’s keep them healthy,

Lee Jackson
Child nutrition advocate, author
http://www.healthykidseatingtips.com

 Veggie Recipe for Kids
PinExt Veggie Recipe for Kids

Chili and Cornbread to Warm Body and Soul

PinExt Chili and Cornbread to Warm Body and Soul

Nothing satisfies the soul and stomach any better on bitter cold January days than a big pot of chili served with piping hot

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Image by steve loya via Flickr

cornbread. The next best is to invite someone to share it with you.

Here is the recipe for my favorite Corn Bread. Try this recipe out on your family the next time you have chili. Maybe today? Your kids will enjoy making it, too.

Favorite Corn Bread

3/4 cup yellow corn meal
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 or 9 inch pan or a 12 cup muffin tin. Measure dry ingredients into medium bowl.

Make a well in center and add milk, beaten egg, vegetable oil and Cheddar cheese. Mix only until all flour is moistened.

Pour into prepared pan or muffin tins. Bake 20-25 minutes for the larger pan and 15-18 minutes for the muffins.

These are best served piping hot with butter or perhaps with honey.

I hope you stay warm today.

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Food and Family Living
http://www.ImagesUnlimitedPub.com

 Chili and Cornbread to Warm Body and Soul
PinExt Chili and Cornbread to Warm Body and Soul

Baking with Kids – Fun Cookie Recipe

PinExt Baking with Kids   Fun Cookie Recipe

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Image by janielianne via Flickr

Cooking with kids can be fun and create memories for years to come. Remember when the kids kept snatching cookie dough from the refrigerator? You finally had to put a toothpick in the dough with a note that said to not even think about eating it.

Here is a cookie recipe that will be tempting, either in the dough form (which they shouldn’t eat) and in the baked form (which will be hard to resist).

This recipe lists red food coloring as an ingredient. You may want to avoid using artificial food coloring by using natural products. You can  purée or juice a beet to get a very effective red dye. Mix a drop of this juice into the dough to make it pink or add a little more for red. Just keep your fingers protected unless you want red fingers for the next few days. You can also use a little pomegranate juice.

This cookie recipe comes from the childrens cookbook, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun by Amy Houts.

Holiday Candy Cane Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
1/4 crushed peppermint candy
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Children can help measure butter, shortening, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and crack egg into large mixing bowl. Children can mix with large wooden spoon or adult can beat with electric mixer until well mixed.

Note: there is no baking powder in this recipe.
Stir in flour and salt. Divide dough in half. Add red food coloring (or alternative)  to one half of dough. Pinch off about a teaspoon of red dough. Children can shape into about a 4-inch rope by rolling back and forth on lightly floured board or cloth. Repeat with plain dough. Set side-by-side and twist together. Place on ungreased baking sheet, curving one end down to form handle of cane.

Repeat process, placing candy canes about 2-inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, until very light brown. Meanwhile, mix peppermint candy and sugar. Sprinkle on cookies right when they come out of the oven. Then remove to cooling rack.

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

Happy baking!

 Baking with Kids   Fun Cookie Recipe
PinExt Baking with Kids   Fun Cookie Recipe

Fall Foods Provide Nutritional Meals for Families

PinExt Fall Foods Provide Nutritional Meals for Families

Cooler fall temperatures call for foods to warm you up. Here is a recipe that will make your kitchen smell wonderful, taste great, and

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Image by lynn.gardner via Flickr

ward off the chill of the season. You may want to add a fresh green salad and bread, muffins, or whole wheat crackers. You will have a quick and easy nutritional meal for your family.

I always enjoy recipes I can put together without having to run to the store for ingredients. This one will have you using what you have on hand and finding it easy for children and others to put together.

Colorful Fall Stew

2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
6 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into small cubes
1 large green pepper, seeded and diced
1 large red pepper, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon mixed Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen

In a large kettle over medium-high heat, add water and chopped onions. Cook until onions are softened. Children can help cut potatoes and peppers into small pieces. Add the vegetables and seasonings, except salt and green peas. Cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Taste to see if the stew needs salt or more seasonings. Or, if family members need to cut down on salt, you can eliminate it. At end of cooking period, add green peas and cook until just heated through.

This recipe retains the goodness of the vegetables and is prepared without any fat. Leftover soup can always be reheated easily for an almost instant nutritious meal.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson

Food and Family Living Advocate

http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

 Fall Foods Provide Nutritional Meals for Families
PinExt Fall Foods Provide Nutritional Meals for Families

Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and Freshness

PinExt Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and Freshness

9780930643225 214x300 Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and FreshnessThe crisp Fall air brings with it the wonderful smell and taste of fresh picked apples.

Here are some tips for picking and storing apples:

  • Twist or turn the apple from the branch. If you pull it, the buds next to it will break off and not bear fruit next year.
  • Don’t rely on redness as a guide to flavor.  Apples come in all shades of reds, yellows and greens. Choose clear colored apples. Often those with an intense green undercast or undertone are not completely ripe. Those with a dull yellowish-green undercast may be too ripe.
  • Choose apples that are free from bruises, blemishes and skin breaks. They should be firm with no soft spots or bruises.
  • When apples are thumped lightly with the knuckle, they should sound hollow, but not dull. Their smell should be flowery and aromatic.
  • For crisp, juicy apples, store in their plastic bag in the crisper part of the refrigerator, at 30 to 32 degrees. The freezing point of apples, which is damaging to the fruit, is about 28 or 29 degrees. Wash just before using, as their protective coating helps keep them from becoming dehydrated and bruised.

Apples are best when at their freshest. Orchards and roadside stands are overflowing with their best products of the season.  This is the ideal time to  visit apple orchards, stands, and produce centers, and savor the delectable fruits of the harvest.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for cookies, from my apple cookbook, From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers:

Apple Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
l teaspoon baking powder
l teaspoon baking soda
l/2 teaspoon salt
l/4  teaspoon cinnamon
l/4  teaspoon nutmeg
l/2 cup (l  stick) butter or margarine
l cup brown sugar
l egg
l/4 cup milk
2 cups apples, peeled and grated
l/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift dry ingredients. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg. Stir in dry ingredients with milk, apples, and nuts. Mix well. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes. Glaze cookies with the following while still warm:

l  cup confectioners’ sugar
l tablespoon soft butter or margarine
l-2 tablespoons milk
l/2 teaspoon vanilla

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

Enjoy visiting apple orchards and savoring the fruit of their bounty!

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Apple cookbook author: From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers,
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards

 Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and Freshness
PinExt Apples at Their Peak of Flavor and Freshness

Corn Bread Baking Time

PinExt Corn Bread Baking Time
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Image by @jozjozjoz via Flickr

On an icy, wind-swept New Year‘s eve, what could warm your heart and stomach more than some hot crusty corn bread? The following recipe is a perfect accompaniment to the black-eyed peas we started yesterday.

Crusty Corn Bread

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup white corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 or 9-inch pan.

Children can measure flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl.

Make a well in the center and add milk, oil and egg. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened, about 50 strokes.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until light brown. Cut into 9 slices or square. Best served warm with a dab of butter.

Yield:  9 servings

Hope you enjoy the hot bread. You can refer to this and other seasonal recipes in Amy Hout’s  childrens cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun.

I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, filled with many blessings. See you in 2011!

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Family Life Issues Coach

 Corn Bread Baking Time
PinExt Corn Bread Baking Time