Category Archives: Kids In The Kitchen

Easy Kid Favorite Waffles

Try this simple tip with kids in the kitchen for a fun breakfast or snack or easy desert.  Let the kids assemble their own toppings on waffles.   Younger kids love to be “hands on” with their food and seem to eat better when they get to make it themselves.  

You can make the waffle base yourself for even more nutrition for your family.  Try using sprouted flours or high protein nut flours in your waffle mix for an even better quality waffle. You can also blend in vegetables and fruits in the flour mix such as mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas or other legumes, bananas, mashed beets, mashed carrots, applesauce, shredded zucchini, etc.

My favorite nutritious waffle uses pecan flour to increase the protein. But if making homemade waffles is not your thing, or if you are too busy to cook from scratch, then don’t sweat it.  Just find a good quality frozen waffle your kids will eat and use this for your base.

These easy “Kid Favorite” waffles get two thumbs up!

Easy Kid Favorite Waffles

You will need:

Waffles
(either store bought or homemade)

Spread of your choice
(Sunflower-seed Butter, Peanut butter, Almond butter, Cashew Butter, Tahini Spread, Cream Cheese, Fruit Preserves, etc)

Fruit of your choice
(strawberries, bananas, apples, pears, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc)

Mini chocolate Chips
(you can also use chopped nuts, seeds, and coconut toppings)

Optional: Whip Cream
(Optional whip cream or yogurt, honey, or chocolate drizzled over the top)

Allow your kids to assemble their own waffles and toppings.  Set out bowls of sliced fruit, nuts, seeds, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, etc for them to build their favorite waffles.  You can make it messy by adding whip cream, yogurt, or honey or syrup and eat these waffles with a fork.  Or you can make these super easy and less messy by leaving off “wet” ingredients and be able to eat them with your hands.

Let them Create!

I let the kids do as many of the steps on their own as they are able to do. Depending on the skill level of your kids, you can balance what they can do on their own.  Older kids can make these independently, but you might help younger kids by toasting the waffle for them, and if needed, you can spread the nut butter for them.  Or let them spread it with a spoon if they are too young to use a knife safely.  But kids really enjoy making these all by themselves.

Be sure to “ooh and ahh” over your kid’s kitchen creations!

Enjoy!

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Campfire Cooking with Kids

Campfire Cooking With Kids

The kids are learning to cook over a campfire.  This has been an ongoing learning adventure for several months now.   We have tried several different methods for starting fires, making our own camp stoves, as well as different ways of making the campfire pit.

After trying several different arrangements, we came up with one we like the most and have kept for several months now. We use it once or twice a week as the weather and time permits.  We really enjoy afternoons and evenings around the campfire.

We started off with simple learning techniques like where to build a fire safely, how to start a fire (matches, lighter, flint, feroconiom rod), how to use different tinders (wood chips, small sticks, dead leaves, tree bark, dead grass and dry plants, cotton balls, cordage, clothing, etc) to get the fire going strong, locating where to gather wood safely, and learn how to split wood into small sizes for burning,  etc.

We built fire starter kits for the kids to keep and learn to use.  This has been a wonderful resource.  Our first kits were made with a salvaged bottle for storing, a few types of tinder, matches, and a feroconium rod and striker.  When they used up all the stuff in their first kits, we built new kits that include more of the first, but also added in a lighter, additional versions of strikers, fatwood, etc.  By far my son’s favorite method is starting a fire with his striker and a cotton ball.  We hope to build a bow drill and learn that method soon.

Once they mastered the art of starting a fire, we learned how to build a firepit.  Over time we built a few different arrangements of campfire pits.   This whole process has been a great learning experience for the kids and a fun way to spend family time together.

The current campfire pit version we are using is our favorite so far.  We found some old bricks someone had left behind from a construction project.  These are not the usual bricks you would want to build an outdoor kitchen with, but we are using what we have on hand and getting by with them for now.   We dug an “L” shaped hole in the ground and built a loose brick wall around the back side of the hole.  The back wall is tall, and the sides come part way around, then we have a short wall of bricks across the front as a fire stop and safety zone.  Safety is very important to keep in mind when you have an outdoor fire.

We also found some metal and an old grate someone had thrown away and used them as cooking surfaces by connecting them into the loose brick system above the fire to give us more ways we can cook food.   We also put a separate small wall about half way at the back.  This additional wall was needed to help support the grill top on one side and the metal bars on the other side and it also allows us to use either 1 side of the fire or both sides for cooking so we can make a bigger or smaller fire as desired.

Using a brick or rock wall on one side of your fire makes a lot of sense.  The bricks make a nice windbreak and help to retain the heat from the fire, and then help reflect the heat back towards the people sitting around the fire.   I plan to upgrade the pit with some special tiles for baking bread and pizzas on one side soon.  I found a local store that carries the fire tiles for break baking.  I am very excited about baking nice breads over the campfire. Maybe someday I can make a real outdoor pizza oven too.

The arrangement is large enough that we can choose to cook on the grill, the metal bars, flat rocks or bricks, or over the open fire and coals with roasting sticks or pans.  So we can cook up high or down low with several options as needed.  We made the pit so we can have a fire on one half, or just move hot coals over on one half while a hotter fire burns on the other half, or use the whole entire thing in a bigger campfire if desired.  With 8 people in the family, this arrangement gives us all enough room to gather in front of the fire and benefit from the heat being reflected back in our direction.

We let the fire die down and put it out before going into the house.  The next morning when the pit is nice and cool, the kids remove the ashes from their fire and sprinkle them on the location we plan to build our garden. The ashes will provide wonderful nutrients already broken down and released from the organic matter they were bound in for our plants to use.  We learned this trick many years ago when we used to heat our home with wood.

His New Wrought Iron Pan

Our 12 year old loves cooking on the campfire and would truly cook on it every day if he could.  He is the reason we got into the habit of cooking outside weekly.  He wants to try new things and master various skills.  After he gets his fire going, and his coals nice and hot, he usually cooks tea and different kinds of soups with his own stainless steel pot.   He has made potato soup, rice, chili, cheesy potato bacon soup, chicken noodle soup, and Ramon noodles.

He recently bought is own wrought iron skillet to expand his cuisine options. To start with he learned how to oil and season his new pan and care for it properly.  He also has his own knife and cutting board so he is ready to make lots of different things.  He is getting great practice and is learning to cook with his new skillet over the open fire.

This day we were cooking turkey burgers, beef hotdogs, sliced potatoes in foil packets, and he was making his own Cowboy BBQ Beans in his new iron skillet.

He had placed a brick over some coals next to the fire to hold his pan level while it cooked.  It took them no time at all to come to a rolling boil.  He had to pull his beans off the fire a few times and stir them to prevent them from sticking and burning in the pan.  His beans turned out very nice, the sugars caramelized and the beans had a hint of smoke flavor of the fire.

Almost everything was done cooking at the same time.  That is one of the blessings to having a large working space in this campfire with various spots to set the different foods we were cooking.

When his food was done, he combined his hotdog with his bbq beans for his own version of “beenie weenies”.   This was new for him as I haven’t fed the kids beenie weenies before, and he was excited to try them.

He was very pleased with how his “cowboy meal” turned out and thought he could handle making and eating this out on the open range bringing in the cows or up the side of a mountain while on a hike someday.  I hope to teach him to make either biscuits or bannock (old fashion cowboy or Indian bread) and chop up some wild greens to go with his meal next time.  He found some wild garlic growing in the yard that was already seven inches tall in February.  The plant looks like fresh chives and has a small bulb at the bottom when you pull it out of the ground.  He brushed the dirt off and tried it fresh.  It was spicy!  We also found a couple of violets in bloom in the front yard.  Soon the dandelions will set on some nice leaves for making a raw salad base or to use as a sauted spinach.  The pine trees are also budding and the baby pine buds are nutty and delicious and the needles make a nutritious tea.  We have a book he will be using this spring to locate various wild edibles that he can include to improve the nutrients in a meal such as this.

I am very proud of this young man’s achievements.  He gets an idea, puts his mind to it, and is not afraid to work toward his goal and see it through.  He is currently making a homemade longbow.  He has found the branch of wood, removed the bark, and carved it into the shape he desired.  He has yet to soak the wood and increase the arch slightly and locate the cordage he will be using.  I have no doubt he will reach his new goal.

Learning to cook over a campfire is a fun experience.  The skills learned and self confidence gained will benefit kids the rest of their life.

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Potato Mushroom PepperJack Quesadilla

These yummy sandwiches were delicious!

3 Ingredients stuffed inside a toasted tortilla.  How simple and easy is that?This is a great sandwich to let your kids make in the kitchen.

We sauted sliced mushrooms in olive oil until done.  Then removed them from the heat and added a little more olive oil and diced potatoes. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and cook them until soft.  Then combine mushrooms and potatoes together.  Place a slice of pepper-jack cheese on a tortilla and add the potato mushroom filling.  Toast on each side.  Served with a side of Jalapeno Kettle chips or tortilla chips and salsa and this sandwich is a win win!  Even my teen boys enjoyed it and asked for seconds.

Optional: The only thing I might add next time to my sandwich is a slice of avocado and some spinach leaves or  I would like to have a slice of fresh from the garden tomato would be a great flavor combo with the cheese.

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Banana Nut Yogurt Sundae

This is a nutritious, fun and easy to prepare snack or desert for kids.  It makes a fantastic breakfast too!

 

Kids can be picky eaters.  Setting them up for success with good nutrition is key to maintaining good health.  Including a variety of foods, like yogurt, fruits, veggies, and nuts in their daily routine lays a great foundation in good nutrition choices.

Adding nuts (for those who are not allergic) is a great way to boost nutrition. There are so many different kinds of nuts to choose from.  The most popular nut used, peanut, isn’t even a nut but is actually the seed of a legume.  But there is a huge variety of nuts and seeds that are seldom included in the standard American diet for kids that are great options.

A few of the nut and seed varieties to try out with your kids are:

Cashews

Almonds

Walnuts

Pecans

Macadamia

Coconut

Hazelnuts / Filberts

Hickory Nuts

Hemp Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Pine Nuts

A fun way to get nuts like walnuts in your kids diet is putting them into special treats like a sundae.  If you grind the nuts, they hardly know the nut is there.   Walnuts have a stronger taste and most kids don’t usually choose to eat them on their own.   If I leave out a big bowl of nuts of different varieties, my kids would eat all the cashews! Next they might finish of the peanuts.  Then the rest of the nuts would sit there until Dad and I ate them.   So to get more variety of nuts into their diet, a sneaky banana nut sundae piled high with lots of yummy ingredients is a win win!

Walnuts are great for brain food.  They also help to purge parasites from the body.  They contain essential fatty acids that are needed by the body

Banana Nut Sundae

Set out your ingredients out on a table or counter and let the kids fix their own sundaes.

Yogurt

Banana

Nuts

Optional: Syrup, berries, chocolate chips, chocolate covered nuts, ground nuts, whole nuts in the shell that they must remove before using, nut butter, ice cream, angle food cake, cookies, pumpkin cake, etc.

We used vanilla yogurt,  ground and halved walnuts, bananas, chocolate covered peanuts, and chocolate syrup.  I also set out some grapes and nut butter covered pretzel crackers in case they wanted to experiment with some other ingredients.

 

Desert:

We have made similar treats for desert too. This is a fun and delicious way to eat nuts and eat healthy!

Similar ingredients with pecans and whip cream.

Substitute angel food cake for the yogurt.

Serve as a fancy desert for company.

We also made homemade nut butter with a mixed nuts.  We ground some smooth and some chunky and mixed it together for a delicious spread for our pretzel crackers.

You can add mini chocolate chips and these will taste like Reese Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Treats!  Even Daddy likes these treats!

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Apple Pie at Homeschool Coop

My kids had a great time making homemade apple pies at the homeschool coop! They love to see friends and play games, but baking has a special place in their heart. They absolutely love to cook (not clean up dishes though), and I think baking is their favorite. When they heard we were going to bake apple pies, the were so excited, it is all they talked about for days.

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They washed and peeled lots of apples.  They peeled the apples with both a hand peeled, and a machine peeler.   For the hand peeler, they stood over the sink and their peelings dropped away as they scraped the peeler against the skin of the apple.  This was a lot of work, and fun to do with one apple, but their arms quickly became tired to do very many this way.   The machine peeler does three actions all at once as the children turn the handle.  It peels, cores, and slices the apple into long spiral slices and is called an Appel Peeler Corer Slicer.  It gets right to the point!  It seriously cuts the work of preparing apples into an easy task of just putting the apple on and turning the handle!

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The kids learned to make homemade pie crust from flour, water, and shortening.  They blended these together with a hand-held cutter.  As they pressed the cutter into the flour mixture, it broke it down into itty bitty pieces like small crumbs.  Eventually the whole thing works into a soft ball of dough almost like play dough.

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Next the kids rolled the dough out on the counter with a rolling-pin.  They placed extra flour on the surface of the counter so the dough would not stick and was easy to flip and turn to roll again.

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When the dough was thin enough, they placed the dough over their pie pan and cut away the excess that hung past the edge of the pan.  Then they learned to crimp the edge of the crust to make it look pretty and also to prevent shrinkage.

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Next they filled their pie shells with sliced apples, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, salt, and butter.  They rolled out more pie dough, and cut it with a pizza cutter into strips.  They topped the pies with strips of dough and made designs.  Some made a lattice design, others made their initials of their name, or some made hearts and others made butterflies, and one also topped their crust with a crumb topping and more cinnamon and sugar.  They could design the top however they wanted too.

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The pies baked in a hot oven at 375 degrees for about 35 to 45 minutes until they were golden brown. All of the pies turned out beautiful. Each one had a unique personal touch made by the kids.

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I loved seeing and smelling all of these pies baking at once. Thankfully we had two ovens available to bake all of these pies so they could finish about the same time.

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While the pies baked, the kids got all hot and sweaty in the gym. They actually took turns peeling apples, making dough, making pies, etc and the kitchen adjoins the gym, it so the kids played in the gym off and on between turns in the kitchen. This worked out perfectly! Man I wish I had a gym at home adjoining the kitchen! Just imagine all the pies and exercise we could get done!  Ha, ha!  I could go for a double oven baking area too!

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Amazing Tomato Soup


We are nearing the end of the harvest in our garden.  Only a few tomatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, radishes, fall flowers, and herbs remain.  I have so enjoyed our garden this year.  The tomatoes have been AMAZING!  They are sweet and full of flavor. 




Salicylates:

I have to limit how much store bought tomato items my family consumes.  I am somewhat salicylate intolerant, meaning my body does not break down salicylic acids in foods very well.  I also don’t break down pain killers very well either because they are made with salicylate acids.  Foods high in salicylate are difficult for many people to process and can result in a whole bunch of side effects like painful joints, blisters on the mouth, head aches, and more.  Salicylates require the production of certain enzymes in the liver to break them down and remove them from the blood stream.  The longer they remain the body, the more side effects and problems a person will have.  Most of my children and my husband also have some salicylate intolerance too.  So we deal with this by reducing the amount of meals we eat in a week that contain tomato sauce.  We might have pizza one night, but it is several days (usually 3 because it takes about 3 days to rid the body of the previous salicylates), before we eat commerically produced tomato sauce based meals again.

But there is a solution:

Why are garden fresh organic tomatoes better than store bought? 

 

Commercial tomatoes from the store are picked before they are ripe, when the salicylate content in the tomato is at its highest.  Salicylates are the plant’s protection against bugs.  By protecting itself, it has a better chance of reaching maturity so it can reproduce fruits with seeds for the next season.  But when humans pick the fruits before they are fully ripe, we set ourself up to consume these high amounts of salicylates.  Then these under-ripe tomatoes are sold to the consumer in all sorts of ways from ketchup, to spaghetti sauce, salsa, and fresh tomatoes too.  Commercial tomatoes also have very little flavor and have to be cooked down into a thick concentrate to get a lot of flavor.  Concentrating tomatoes also concentrates the salicylates.  Many children have physical illness and behavior problems after eating concentrated tomato products and many adults have health problems too that they struggle to understand, but that can be traced back to a food made with concentrated tomatoes or other foods that are high in salicylates within the last couple of days. 



But garden ripe tomatoes are bursting with flavor.  They don’t need concentrated down to add flavor to foods.  They also have very little salicylates and they have high vitamins, minerals, and are nutrient dense.  Amazingly, they don’t produce the behavior problems in children that the commercial tomatoes do.  So they have a little to no side effects.   Garden fresh tomatoes that are allowed to ripen on the vine before they picked are the wise choice if one chooses to eat tomatoes.  If you have a surplus of garden fresh tomatoes, I recommend freezing them to use later when needed.   The added benefit of growning these at home is that you can include kids in raising and processing their own food too.  



My nutritional point of view right now is smack dab in the middle of the Weston A Price methods of food prep (nutrient dense traditional foods, soaking, sprouting, fermenting, eating grass fed, free range, wild caught, naturally raised, etc to the extent you can afford to buy these items), the Fast Metabolism Diet (for what days / phases to eat what food groups to boost the metabolism), Paleo and Keto recipes, Eat Fat Loose Fat (also WAPF), Dr. Mercola, and Trim Healthy Mama, all rolled into one!  Imagine that!   These “plans” all complement each other and each one has something to benefit from.  There a few parts in some that I omit based on personal preference (for example I skip microwave recipes), and if they contradict, I always revert back to the Weston A Price method of food prep (such as soaking / sprouting seeds / nuts / grains before using them). 

So with all of that in mind, I am making lots of foods from scratch with simple, fresh, and nutrient dense ingredients.  And soups are a great way to get lots of dissolved and easy to assimilate nutrients into the body.


Just as your body needs vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and more, you also can not live a healthy life without fatty acids.  Your body needs fat to assimilate fat soluble vitamins from the foods you eat.  It also needs fat for the immune system to function properly.  You will render your white blood cells defenseless without healthy fats in your diet.  Don’t buy into the dietary lie of the “low fat” or “fat free” diet!  It could literally kill you if you don’t supply the body with the right kind and right amount of healthy fats.

As the fall season heads into full swing, I am wanting something warm and velvety on my tongue, but still longing for the fresh taste of summer on my taste buds. Well I have hit the JACKPOT with this Amazing Tomato Soup.  I love making homemade tomato soup!  And my version of soup is garden fresh, no fuss, and full of healthy fat, and AMAZING! 




Amazing Tomato Soup

This is so simple and fast to prepare if you have your ingredients on hand.  From scratch it takes about 15 minutes from start to finish if you need to make the sauce. Or you could have this soup ready to eat in less than 5 minutes if you premake the sauce, and keep it refridgerated or frozen to use in the soup later.  Be sure to get the kids involved in making this wonderful soup!  They are sure to love it as it is so AMAZINGLY YUMMY!


Homemade Tomato Sauce:
Start the sauce base part of the soup with organic garden fresh tomatoes that are allowed to ripen all the way on the vine.  You can make the freshest sauce with fresh picked, or frozen tomatoes.  It is easy to free
ze fresh tomatoes.  I freeze them whole, quartered, diced, juiced, or how ever it suits you.  Then later I use them in a variety of ways, even roasting them in the oven to enhance the sugarry sweetness for all sorts of recipes.  Only your imagination is the limit with this!
 


Start by cutting up whole tomatoes into halves and quarters and put them in a sauce pot over medium heat.  Bring the tomatoes to a slow simmer.  Cook on a low simmer for about 10 minutes. 

 

When the tomatoes begin to turn soft, remove from the heat and press tomatoes with their juice through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and most of the seeds.  Then return the tomato sauce to the sauce pot.



Amazing Tomato Soup:

Ingredients:
Makes 4 (2 cup) or 8 (1 cup) servings


2 quarts of already prepared homemade tomato sauce, or 1 gallon of garden fresh  or frozen whole tomatoes to make into a sauce before proceeding.

1/2 cup Butter
(see the note below for other healthy fat options for special diets)

1 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
, ground fine

1/2 tsp Black Pepper
, ground fine

1/4 tsp Cayenne
(you won’t notice this amount of cayenne, but it helps to bring out the flavors, or use more if you like your soup spicy).

Directions:
Warm 2 quarts of homemade tomato sauce.
(recipe posted above)

Add 1/2 cup of fat of your choice.
  (I used a ratio of 4 Tablespoons of fat per quart of soup, so if you want to make only 1 quart of soup then add 4 Tblsp of fat, or if you want to make 2 cups of soup, add 2 Tblsp of fat).   Healthy fat options include: grass fed butter, ghee, coconut oil, coconut milk, sour cream, cream, greek yogurt, or 24 hour soaked nut milk/nut cream options.  Any of these options should create the velvety texture on your tongue and allow the body to consume the fat soluble vitamins from the tomato.

Seasonings of choice.
  I used Himalayan Salt, Ground Black Pepper, and Cayenne.  Other fresh or dried seasoning variations could be: cilantro, basil, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, garlic, onion, fermented horse radish, coconut aminos, fermented hot sauce, sea salt, pepper, cayenne, etc. You could also ad fresh lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar to enhance the flavors too if desired.



Stir over low heat until the fat melts and is well mixed into the soup.

Serve
hot or cold, or refrigerate and reheat for later. This soup also freezes well.  

This soup is so simple, yet delicious and really hits the spot!!!


MORE:

Now the real fun begins when you use this soup as a base for other recipes.  Season it different ways to make all your tomato based meals such as chili, spaghetti, lasagna, chicken parmesan, enchiladas, burittos, pizza sauce, coconut curry chicken, and more.  For convenience of using it as a seasoning in other foods, you can freeze it in ice cube trays and then store the cubes in ziplock freezer bags.  These cubes are great to stir into other meals.


Special Diet Plans:


This soup also works well on special diet / food plans such as:
FMD, Trim Healthy Mama, Eat Fat Loose Fat, Low Carb, Nourishing Traditions, Grain Free, and Paleo diets.


You can leave the fat out of the soup if you wish.  If you are limiting your fat intake for a few days, such as a carbohydrate re-feed program on a Paleo / Keto Diet, or on Phase 1 of the FMD, and you need a fat alternative, try equal amounts of nutrient dense bone broth as a fat replacement.  It is high in minerals and still contains some fatty acids to help assimilate nutrients.  On Phase 3 of the FMD, you can have healthy fats and coconut oil or coconut milk would both be good options to stay on plan. 


Use Soup As A Home Remedy:

For winter months and during cold and flu season, I like to use the bone broth, plus butter, plus coconut oil, and several of the herbs and spices, plus garlic to help my body stay healthy and strong.  All of these are anti viral and anti bacterial and add a great boost to my immune system.

Whether you like tomato soup mild or robust, the variations of this Amazing Tomato Soup are endless.

Enjoy and be blessed!


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Sugar Cream Pie

When I married my husband, I adopted a few of his holiday traditions, including his family’s favorite Sugar Cream Pie.  At most family gatherings, whether it was a holiday, a reunion, a birthday, or just a get together, we always had this delicious treat.

  

We currently live far away from family, and have missed those wonderful family gatherings for the past four years.  So I am teaching my children how to make this pie so they will know in the future how to pass on this special tradition, and the stories that go with it, to their own families in the future.

This pie is very easy to make with kids in the kitchen.  I have simplified the instructions into three easy steps, and my kids enjoy making this delicious treat.


History

The history of this pie is fascinating! Sugar Cream Pie came to Indiana from North Carolina when the Quakers migrated there in the early 1800’s. My husband’s maternal family were Quakers several generations ago. The Quakers brought the original Sugar Pie recipes over from Europe. The Sugar Cream Pie is also known as the Indiana Pie, Finger Pie, Sugar Pie, Hosier Pie, Hosier Sugar Cream Pie, and the Indiana Farm Pie.

The Amish people in Indiana have also contributed to the popularity of the pie and have made it a staple food in their culture too. By selling it in their local shops, they helped popularize the pie even more as the tourism interest in the Amish people has increased.  Check out the
wikipedi for more history about this pie.

There are lots of variations to this pie. So don’t be afraid to do an internet search and check out the variety of recipes available and find a recipe you enjoy. Check out all these
pictures of Sugar Cream Pie I found on the internet to see some of the variety.

The color of this pie may change based on what ingredients you make it with.  For example, depending on what kind of sugar you use, and if you use nutmeg, butter, cream, milk, or buttermilk, all of these choices will all affect the color of this pie.
One way is a light colored cream pie made with milk and white sugar like Wick’s Pies makes it in Indiana.  Another way is using all cream and no milk.  Another old fashioned way is with brown sugar, or with maple syrup. The version I made in the picture below is with fresh whole raw milk, brown sugar, sea salt, flour, vanilla, and I left out the optional nutmeg and butter.  Isn’t it lovely?




How To Make

Sugar Cream Pie

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar (you can use white, brown, or maple syrup).
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
(I use Celtic Sea Salt).

1 cup milk (I use fresh whole raw milk straight from the cow.  It is 1/3 rich with cream and really tastes great.  But you can also use store bought whole milk, or half cup milk and half cup cream, or 1 cup of cream, or 1 cup buttermilk.  The variations are endless!)
1 tsp vanilla
1  8″ unbaked pie crust

Optional: 2 Tbsp butter (Broken into small pieces and dropped around the filled pie before baking.  If you leave this step out, you still have a really good Sugar Cream Pie and save on a few calories too).
Optional: 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (Sprinkled on top of the filled pie before baking. I leave this out due to one of the children is allergic).



Step 1
Gently stir ingredients together and pour them into an 8 inch unbaked pie shell. 

Or if you prefer, stir together the old fashion way by placing blended dry ingredients (sugar, flour and salt mixture) into the bottom of the pie crust and lightly stirring in the blended liquid ingredients until it is all mixed together. If you use your finger to stir it, then you can call the pie “Finger Pie”.  Funny name for a pie, don’t you think so?

Step 2
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, and reduce heat to 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Step 3
Remove from heat, and allow to cool before serving.



It can be served warm, or cold, and with whipped cream or no whip cream. But no matter what it looks like in the end, I can promise it will turn out great and be delicious!

This has to be one of the simplest and most delicious pies there is. It is a true old fashioned comfort food and a tradition worth keeping. Yummy!

                                                                    
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Dandelion Lemonade & More


Truly a delicious beverage, Dandelion Lemonade is refreshing.  Served over crushed ice, this is a gourmet treat to the taste buds.



Dandelions are abundant everywhere I look this spring.  Do you have some in your yard or in a neighboring lot?  Most folks see these as just a weed.  But they are so much more.

They are easy to spot.  Look for the flowers; they have lovely yellow flowers that bloom spring, summer, and fall.  You can also spot them by the leaves which are generally long, flat, and jagged. 

Sometimes the flowers are on short stems and sometimes the stems are long.  Dandelion is great at adapting to its surrounding conditions and conserving energy.  If it has no competition and bright sunshine to grow in, the stems are generally short.  But if it needs to send out long stems for its flowers to be taller than surrounding plants and reach the sunshine, it will do so.



But they only bloom for a couple of days per flower, then they quickly turn into these….



These are the pillowy seed heads ready to be carried by the wind to sow the seeds far and wide and grow lots more dandelions.  They petals have turned into gliders that capture the wind and float the seed to a new destination.  We don’t eat the flower petals once they have changed into this mature seed form.

My children love to pick dandelions and quite frequently surprise me with a lovely bouquet for the table.  But they are worth their weight in gold as far as nutritional value is concerned.  They are a useful food and as a super food home remedy too.


Nutrients
 
Here is an awesome look at the nutrients in 1 cup of fresh dandelion leaves: DANDELION GREENS RAW


Remedy

Here is a great explanation of the benefits of using dandelion as a remedy: HEALTH BENEFITS Of DANDELIONS


First Aid

I am not going to list out all the health benefits of using dandelions. There are hundreds!   But there is one quick first aid tip I wanted to share that I have used on my own family.   The juice inside of the stem can be used as a skin softener like lotion and to soothe burns and stings similar to how you would use aloe vera.  This might come in handy when you are out camping!  I am not a doctor and don’t prescribe remedies so research this with your medical provider and use at your own risk!


Wild Yeast from Dandelion
 
When I was in college, I took an economic botany class.  It was one of my favorite classes I ever took.  The class curriculum was basically learning where various foods come from, how it is used in the past, and how its use has changed over time.  

One fun fact I learned in that class was that pioneers used to gather wild yeast from dandelions and /or wild grapes to use to make bread.   You can gather your own wild yeast by making a simple sugar syrup and allowing the dandelion flowers to sit in it at room temperature for a couple of days.  Then strain it and refrigerate the liquid and use in baking recipes.  You can create a sour dough starter with it.  You can create nutritious fermented beverages too.  I plan to experiment with this soon and hope to write some articles about it.


Dandelion TEA

I enjoy Dandelion Tea.  I’ve purchased it in tea bags for years.



You can find it in any healthy food store in the tea isle.  It comes in several brands. 



I love the Traditional Medicines brand and use several of their different herbal teas for different uses (pregnancy tea, mothers milk tea, tummy ache tea, nighty night tea, sore throat tea, and I really like using their children’s teas for my kids).

But I like it the best when I can gather fresh dandelion leaves and make a big pot of fresh tea with them.  It is so easy to make.  I drink it cold like iced tea.  I also drink it hot too.  My favorite way to make fresh dandelion tea is to combine the fresh leaves and flower heads with other fresh herbs from my herb garden.  

To make a simple and yummy fresh dandelion tea: Pick 1 quart of fresh dandelion leaves, and combine it with one quart of fresh leaves of mint, add a cup or so of parsley, lemon balm, and throw in a small handful of other fresh herbs from my herb garden when I have them on hand. 

Bring water to a boil.  Throw in all the fresh greens and herbs, shut off the heat, cover and let it sit for 30-45 minutes or so.    Strain out the herbs.  Refrigerate.  Pour over ice to drink.  I usually mix in a spoonful of raw honey or sucanat sugar to my cup when the mood strikes me.   I enjoy drinking it hot too, especially in the wintertime.




Dandelion RAW GREENS

What about a green smoothie? Add young leaves or the juice of the young leaves to smoothies like you would add wheat grass juice or the leaves of kale or spinach.  Try mixing it with ice,  blue berries, a banana, some yogurt or kefir, and honey and blend it up for a nutritious green smoothie.  Or just add in a few leaves to your favorite smoothie recipe.

You can eat the young leaves fresh in salads as a substitute for lettuce too.



Dandelion COOKED GREENS

You can cook the green leaves like you would cook spinach, turnip, kale, or collard greens.  You can also add them to soups. 

My Grandpa had a favorite way to eat them called wilted greens.  My Grandma used to send me outside to pick fresh leaves.  While I was picking, she fried some bacon
in an iron skillet.   I would bring the fresh leaves into the house for her, then she washed them with cool water and added them on top of some bacon at the end of cooking. Then she would plate it up for Grandpa to eat for lunch with a big slice (I’m talking 1/2 inch thick slices) of garden fresh tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper.  It was a complete meal for him. Yum!


Dandelion COFFEE

You can also make dandelion coffee from the roots.  You can buy this in a healthy food store or make it yourself.  I have drank this in an herb coffee blend, but I have not tried it by itself.  It is good in the herb blend and I enjoy drinking it.  I plan to make homemade dandelion coffee soon and see if my family likes it.  

  

Dandelion SUGAR SYRUP  

For this recipe, collect two quarts of yellow dandelion flowers. 



This is a fun activity for the children.  Give them some containers and send them out to gather as many fresh dandelion flowers as they can.
Remind them to pick them from areas free from dogs, cats, and foot traffic.  You want your flowers as clean and fresh as possible.
 


Rinse 1 quart of dandelion flower heads in cool water.   Drain on a paper towel. Sometimes I remove the base of the flower and sometimes I don’t bother and use the whole flower head, especially in spring when the plant is less bitter.  But if you want to prevent any chance of bitter taste, you can remove all green areas from the flower.  Personally, I like to use some green from the flower and also from the leaves to add more nutritional value.



In a large pot, bring 2 quarts water, 2 cups natural sugar (or 1 cup natural sugar and 1 cup honey) to a boil.  Add dandelion flowers.  Let simmer on low for 1 hour.



Add two cut lemons.  Allow to sit off heat for 30 minutes.

 

Strain.  Carefully remove the dandelion flowers and lemons.



Reserve the strained liquid.  This is your dandelion syrup.




How to use Dandelion Syrup:

Make lemonade.  (see recipe below)
You can make lemonade right away, or refrigerate the syrup, or freeze the syrup for later use.

Another great option is to freeze the syrup in ice cubes. 
Then later use these ice cubes in the blender to make a fun frozen treat.   Like a dandelion snow cone.  Just use the desired amount of frozen dandelion cubes with a little lemon juice and water in the blender to make a nice slushy.

Try adding these frozen syrup cubes to your smoothies for some extra nutrition.  

You can also mix this into the lemonade and freeze to make a fun frozen dandelion lemonade.


Dandelion LEMONADE




Squeeze the juice of six (6) lemons into a gallon jar.



Add 4 cups of dandelion syrup (see recipe above).



Stir.

Add filtered water to fill the jar the rest of the way.

Stir again.

Serve over ice. 

Crushed ice is especially fun to crunch while sipping this ice cold dandelion lemonade.  If you like it sweeter, feel free to add additional sugar, honey, or whatever you want to sweeten it to your tastes. (If you want a stronger and sweeter taste, then use all 8 cups of dandelion syrup you made in the first recipe, but we like it lighter and are able to make two batches of lemonade with our one recipe of syrup when we just add half of the syrup to our gallon of lemonade.)

 



Dandelion COLORING PAGES

For some extra fun to enhance the learning, how about some dandelion coloring pages for you to print, color, and enjoy.

Coloring Page 1

Coloring Page 2

Coloring Page 3


Stay tuned for a dandelion unit study.  This is a fun project you can do with your kids to enhance their understanding of plants, flowers, botany, nature studies, foods, art, and more.


QUESTION:

What do you think about using dandelions for food, for remedies, or is it just a weed to be removed from your manicured lawn?  Or, have you studied dandelions in your homeschool?  Please leave a comment below, thank you.



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French Toast

 
                                French Toast with Kids In The Kitchen

This is a simple meal my son, age 9, and I prepare at least once a month, that the whole family enjoys.



He loves to flip french toast, pancakes, and just about anything in the skillet.  He really does enjoy cooking.   He cooks with me at least two or three times a week. He is learning to read recipes, measure ingredients, technique on mixing ingredients, opperating kitchen equipment, being careful, cleaning up the mess afterwards, and being a servant in cooking for his family.  His favorite cooking activity is baking and he can make a batch of cookies almost independantly now.  Though most of the recipes we still make together.  He especially loves making cookies, cakes, cheese cake, and more. 

Food science is so important to learn.  How do you pare up/combine nutrients to make a complete diet? How long do you cook an egg or heat milk before killing the nutritional enzymes, depleting vitamins, or changing protiens. What makes food fluff up? What gasses do foods give off? How high can oil “A” heat before it burns, how high can oil “B” heat before it burns? Which oil is the best choice for which recipe, etc.?

We are both really proud of his kitchen skills he has developed.  Teaching this life skill is such an important part of growing up because it teaches many skills and cognitive awareness.  It also teaches safety, food science, as well as planning, and nutritional awareness.  Plus he can have confidence that he is able to cook for himself and for his family.



French Toast

Ingredients:
Any Sliced Bread.  (we use a variety of whatever we have on hand: Texas style, honey wheat, french, sourdough, cinnamon raisin, homemade, etc.)
Eggs (about two eggs for every 8 slices of bread you want to dip)
Milk (about 1/4 cup for every 8 slices of bread you want to dip)
Vanilla (about 1/8th tsp for every 8 slices you want to dip)
Cinnamon (about 1/8th tsp for every 8 slices you want to dip)

Directions:
Heat skillet on medium heat.  Make dip for bread.  In a bowl or pan with low sides, with a fork or whisk, mix together eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Dip slices of bread in the bowl and gently place on a non stick or lightly greased pre-heated skillet.  Cook until lightly golden brown on one side.  Flip.  Cook until lightly golden brown on other side.  Remove from heat and serve.

Nutritional Data:
Per slice of cooked french toast: Calories 102 ; Fat .8 gm; Protein 5 gm; Fiber 1 gm; Calcium 24.1 mg; Iron 1.2 mg; Selenium 10.6 mcg; Folate 48.1 mcg; Niacin 1.5 mg;  Magnesium 10.7 mg;  and traces amounts of numerous vitamins and minerals.

Serving ideas to compliment the nutrional values:
Organic maple syrup, cooked fruit toppings like blueberries or apples, or raw fruit toppings like strawberries, powdered sugar, whip cream, chocolate syrup, etc.




My 4 year old daughter helped set the table.  She loves to have a job in the kitchen too.
 
Our French Toast Meal was served with organic maple syrup and whipped cream, turkey sausage links and turkey bacon, peeled oranges, blueberry pomegranate juice, and
homemade hot chocolate with more whipped cream on top.

We use a variety of things to give us the best possible nutrition in this meal including: raw milk, free range eggs, coconut oil or grape seed oil to grease the pan, Applegate Farms sausage and bacon, organic maple syrup, organic cocoa powder, organic evaporated cane juice or succanat sugar, organic vanilla, etc.

Nutrtional Data for a complete meal:
1 slice of french toast with organic maple syrup
2 turkey sausage links
1/2 fresh naval orange
1 cup homemade hot chocolate with whipped cream

Calories 307; Fat 6 gm; Fiber 4 gm; Protein 7.9 gm; Vitamin A 315 IU; Vit C 48.9 mg; Niacin 2.8 mg; B6 .1 mg; Folate 78.1 mg; Calcium 94.1 mg; Iron 2.5 mg; Mageisium 52 mg; Potasium 362 mg; Zinc 1.8 mg; Selenium 11.5 mcg; and many more nutrients. 



This meal cooks up in a SNAP! 
We can cook all of this up and serve it in about 15 minutes for everything, start to finish, for our large family.

Kids love to eat it. 
It is nutritious. 
And It Is Delicious!


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Valentine Breakfast

Valentine Breakfast with Kids In The Kitchen

This is a healthy, good for your heart, and “Kid Approved” breakfast that is perfect for Valentines Day.

Did you know that eggs are good for you?  There is so much media and marketing hype about eggs.  It is hard to know what to believe.  But spend a little time reading factual research articles and you will see that eggs are healthy.  They are actually beneficial for the whole body.  They are a complete source of amino acids, the building blocks of protein.  They are a complete package of proteins, vitamins, enzymes, fatty acids, healthy cholesterol, and more.  Read here about what the Weston A Price Foundation has to say about eggs, and why eggs are only second to mother’s milk as the most perfect source of protein.

Blueberries are another medical miracle food.  Researchers already knew they helped fight disease, but new research is proving they improve memory and more.

My daughter, age 4 , helped make this breakfast.  She couldn’t wait to set the table and share it with Daddy before he headed off to work. 

First, she made a pink placemat with a piece of pink construction paper.   Then she set out a cup, plate and fork for each person. 

Next, she helped me set out the ingredients.  For our Valentines Day breakfast, we mixed frozen blueberries, yogurt, pomegranate juice and coco-biotic (this is a coconut water kefir, you can also use water kefir) together in a blender to make a yummy purple smoothie.  

Then we gently fried some free range eggs, which are eggs from chickens that have been allowed to roam out on pasture freely.  Free range eggs are higher in nutrition than eggs from chickens that are kept in cages, because the chickens have free access to eat bugs and young grass.  This greatly boosts the nutrition of the egg, especially the omega 3 fatty acids among many other nutrients.  We cooked the egg whites to a firm state, but the yolks are left slightly runny and are full of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals (soft poached eggs would work nicely too).   We added sea salt and pepper to make them irresistible. 

Nutritional data for this Valentine Breakfast (a 16 oz serving of smoothie and two eggs): Vit C 13.8 mg; Vit A 599 IU; Vit k 26.6 mcg;  Vit D 35 IU; Vit E 1.9 mg; Zinc 2.1 mg; Vit B-12 1.7 mcg; Folate 114 mcg; Choline 282 mg; Potassium 1151 mg; Magnesium 81.6 mg; Calcium 215 mg; Iron 2.6 mg; Selenium  36.1 mcg; Omega 3 acids 192 mg, fiber 6 g; Protein 18.3 g and a range of antioxidants, probiotics, and enzymes.

Good For Your Heart Smoothie:

1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup coco-biotic (we like the KeVita brand, or make your own)
1 banana, medium

Blend together until smooth. Enjoy!

This smoothie is good for your heart, brain, and digestive system.  But because its Valentines Day, were just calling it the Good For Your Heart Smootie.  And it makes a great purple mustache too!


This recipe makes two 16 oz servings.  Nutritional data of this smoothie: Vit C 13.8 mg; Vit A 112 IU; Vit K 26.3 mcg; Folate 67 mcg; Choline 30.9 mg; Potassium 1017 mg; Magnesium 69.6 mg; Calcium 162; Selenium 4.4 mcg;  Omega 3 acids 118 mg; fiber 5.8 g; Protein 6 g
and a range of antioxidants, probiotics, and enzymes.

Want to make your smoothie even more heart healthy?  Try adding in 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil, 1 Tbsp flax oil, and 1 Tbsp wheat germ oil, 1/4 cup kale, and substitute greek yogurt or milk kefir for regular yogurt.  This will increase protein, lauric acid, omega 3, vitamin K, Vit C, and vitamin E in addition to many other amazing nutrients.

Nutrient dense and kid approved, it’s a winning combination!

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