Category Archives: Kids In The Kitchen

Cheesecake

                                            Yummy Cheese Cake with Kids In The Kitchen

This recipe is definitely kid approved!   It is Mommy and Daddy approved too.

A simple, delicious, and healthy treat that looks and tastes like it came from a gourmet restaurant.  But this delight can be made with kids right in your kitchen.   

No expertise needed!  My nine year old son made this recipe for us for desert.  He loves to cook.  Cooking is an important life skill to attain, and having kids help in the kitchen is a great way to impart this knowledge and give them practice. 

This Cheesecake is great for desert, snack time, and to serve to guests.  It is also a great gift to give to friends or neighbors too.

And it is cheap to make too!  It cost approximately $3 to $4 +/- worth of ingredients to make this entire cheesecake.  The pie will make 6 to 8 slices depending on the size of slices you want.  But a single slice costs around $4 or more in local restaurants, and $15 or more for a whole pie at the local grocery stores.  But why go to a restaurant when it is so easy, high in nutrition, and cheap to make right at home. 



Yummy Cheesecake

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust:
Use a pre-made crust or make your own using:
1 and 1/2 cup graham crackers
6 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup Evaporated Cane Juice (natural sugar)

Mix together and press firmly into a pan.

Bottom Filling:
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
2  Eggs (Free Range Chickens on Pasture have the highest nutrient value eggs)
1/2 cup  Evaporated Cane Juice Crystals (natural sugar)
1 Tbsp  Lemon Juice, fresh squeezed
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Sea Salt

Blend or whisk the bottom filling ingredients together and pour into a graham cracker crust.  Place pie on on a baking sheet to catch any overflow or spills.  Place into a 325 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Top Filling:
1 cup Sour Cream
2 Tbsp of Evaporated Cane Juice Crystals (natural sugar)
1/4 tsp of Vanilla Extract




Whisk the top filling ingredients together and spread over the baked pie.  Return pie to the oven and bake for 10 minutes longer.



Remove cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Chill for two hours or more for best flavor.  Slice and serve.  Your family will love it!


Eat plain, or top with fresh or cooked fruit, or any topping you desire.  We enjoy topping with a variety of different toppings depending on what is “in season” and depending on the occasion:  blueberries, strawberries, peaches, mulberries (we collected these from our own trees in Indiana), nuts, chocolate chips and whip cream, or nut/seeds and chocolate blended together, etc.  But today our cheesecake was simply topped with a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Goooooooooooooooood!



This is a nutrient dense food.   

You can make this treat even more nutrient dense by making the cream cheese and sour cream yourself from fresh cows milk, and using sprouted flour graham crackers and grass fed butter in the crust.   Not everyone has access to these resources, so just look for the ingredients you can get that are as healthy as possible.  For example use real grass fed butter (not margarine), or use organic coconut oil in place of butter if you want to swap it out, fresh eggs from a local farm that lets the chickens run freely in grass (not pasteurized, or  liquid egg product), real cream cheese and sour cream with active live cultures in them.  Also evaporated cane juice has more nutrients than plain white sugar.  Use fresh lemon juice instead of bottled lemon juice.  If you really want to reach maximum nutrition, make fresh cream cheese, also the Weston A Price Foundation has a great recipe for raw cheesecake too. 

Each of these better quality adjustments adds more flavor and nutrition for your family.   But even using average ingredients from the grocery store will yield a nutrient dense product.   I used Nutrition Data Self.com to analyze the recipe.  The analysis does not account for the higher nutritional values of grass fed and pastured products from local farms, so these nutritional values would be much higher if it did so.  It would show high omega 3,  and x factor vitamin k, vitamin D, etc. that goes way down in our modern foods available in grocery stores.   

But according to the analysis with average quality ingredients available in the average grocery stores, e
ach slice has 324 calories, 6 grams of protein, 181 mg omega 3 fatty acids, 1145 mg omega 6 fatty acids, 560 Vit. A, 89 mg calcium, 160 mg potassium, 7.7 mcg selenium, 21 mcg folate, 1 mg iron, complete spectrum of amino acids, and numerous other vitamins, minerals, and trace elements.


What is your favorite Cheesecake recipe?
Please leave a comment below.  Thank you.



This post will be linked up with
Raising Homemakers
No Time For Flash Cards




Please share.

King’s Waffles

                                    King’s Waffles with Kids In The Kitchen

Does your man crave a hearty meal?  Try these waffles, fit for a king, and he will be satisfied for sure!   Are your kids hungry?  Even the young princes and princess are thrilled to sit at the table for this tasty treat.  No complaints!



I love to make these with the kids in the kitchen.    This is a great recipe to learn about measuring wet and dry ingredients.  It is an easy food for them to learn and they are fascinated with the change in texture that transforms on the waffle machine. It happens quickly and keeps the interest of even the youngest kids with short attention spans.  From liquid batter to solid squares begging for tasty toppings, this treat is fun to make and sure to please everyone.

My four year old daughter helped measure all the ingredients and turned on the mixer for me as we added each ingredient to the mix.  I don’t let her opperate the waffle machine just yet for safety reasons.  But she is thrilled to help make the batter for waffles, and loves to set the table too.  We also make extra batter to put into the refrigerator to make for next time.  I store it in glass half gallon jars.  Everytime I open the refridgerator she asks if we are going to make that batch of waffles now.  She just loves waffles.




This is a double batch and makes 24 waffles (or six sheets of four square waffles).



King’s Waffles


4 cups Flour (unbleached, natural, all purpose)
6 Tbsp Evaporated Cane Juice (natural sugar)
2 Tbsp Baking Powder (non aluminum)
2 tsp Sea Salt (my favorite is Celtic Sea Salt)
4 Eggs (fresh, local, free range)
1/2 Cup Butter (grass fed, melted)
2 Cups Milk (fresh, raw, grass fed)
1 Cup Greek Yogurt

Blend all ingredients together. 
Bake according to your waffle machine instructions. 



Our waffle machine cooks a sheet of 4 waffles in 90 seconds.  This step goes really fast for us, and we can bake this whole batch of 24 waffles (that is 6 times of putting batter in the machine) in 10 minutes.  This quick meal is so handy to feed a hungry family of 8 people. 



Top these with whatever toppings you like.  Try maple syrup, nutbutter and honey, blueberries, strawberries, apples, caramel, honey butter, whip cream, chocolate syrup, powdered sugar, fruit syrups, stewed fruits, crispy pecans or cashews, etc. 

We love to top these with organic grade B maple syrup, with a side of fresh fruit, turkey sausages and bacon, and raw milk to drink.   The kids love to sprinkle on powdered sugar and real whip cream too.  I love to eat them with apple butter. 



These are nutrient dense!

Two large waffles served with maple syrup yields:
397 calories, 18 gm protein, 612 IU Vit A, 44.6 IU Vit D, 300 mg calcium, 3.9 mg iron, 246 mg potassium, 41.5 mcg selenium, 116 mcg folate, 26.2 mg magnesium, 174 mg Omega 3, the full spectrum of amino acids, and numerous vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. This analysis came from Nutrition Data Self.com.  You can put your recipe ingredients into the data base and it gives you a nice report of the nutritional content.  It is close, but not exact, because the quality of fresh ingredients used in your own home can vary.

The nutrition is higher than this data if using fresh raw milk, fresh grass fed free range eggs, grass fed butter, grass fed yogurt, sprouted flour, and fruits for Vit C and antioxidants.  I use Greek yogurt, because it is higher in protein than regular yogurt.  Fresh Greek yogurt made from milk from grass fed cows yields the most nutrition.

Enjoy these waffles anytime of day. This is a healthy breakfast, lunch, or supper.   So many delicious ways to enjoy, and fit for a king!



Mathew 22: 1-4
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, “Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.”



See our Volcano Unit Study story and scroll down to Volcano Waffles  for a fun treat.


What is your favorite waffle recipe?  Please leave a comment below. Thank you.


This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Raising Homemakers



Please share.

How To Make Jerky


Making Jerky With Kids In The Kitchen.


Do you like Jerky? 

My husband and I have made jerky every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, for as long as I can remember.  I don’t think we are very traditional folks, or have many traditions, but this would have to be one.  Now we have passed this tradition on to our kids.  They enjoy making, eating, and gifting jerky as much as we do.



Jerky is basically dried and salted meat.  It can be seasoned with additional dried spices, or dried fruits to change the flavor or nutrient content.  A lot of water/moisture is removed in the drying process.  Drying the meat allows it to be stored or transported without refrigeration.  By removing the moisture, and salting it, you greatly reduce the possibility of mold or bacteria ruining the meat, resulting in a long storage life. 

The great thing about making it at home, in less than 24 hours, you have something delicious and nutritious you made yourself, and you can control the ingredients and the flavor too.  I personally like to make my jerky preservative free.  However, most jerky is made with preservatives to help prevent it from spoiling, and give it a longer shelf life. 

I have made jerky in a simple process from roasts I cut into very thin strips, soak in soy sauce, salt, and sugar, and then letting them dry in a warm oven overnight.  But by far, the jerky we like the best is made from meat we grind into burger before seasoning it, and dry with our dehydrator.  Either way, after seasoning it, let it marinate for about 4 hours in the fridge to distribute the flavors, before drying.

I usually get about 1/4 lb of jerky for a pound of meat.  Jerky in 1/4 lb to 1/2 lb packages makes a nice gift to give away at the holidays.  My dehydrator will hold about 4 lbs of fresh meat at a time.  But there are plenty of dehydrators on the market today that will hold a lot more.


History and Science:

This is a great learning opportunity to involve the kids.  There is so much to learn about the history and science of making jerky.  Questions to ask as you go along might include what is dehydration, why do we use salt to preserve food, what is the nutritional value of various kinds of jerky, etc.   The history of jerky and civilization is facinating.  Jerky is packed so full of nutrients, that many generations of humans survived on it. 

The Native American Indians would salt and dry the meat, then powder it, and add dried fruit and additional fat back into it, to make PEMMICAN.  It was a very nutritional source of proteins, fats, and vitamins, especially vitamin C which helped them stay healthy and strong through the long winter months.   You can read here and learn more about PEMMICAN.

Dried meat can be soaked in water for soups, stews, casseroles, and other recipes.  It is not just for Jerky. 

We have made jerky from:
    Beef
    Buffalo
    Deer
    Goat
    Fish

Jerky can be made from a lot of other meats too, and in stores, I have purchased Turkey jerky as well.


Using Deer To Make Jerky

In the recipe below, I am using ground deer.  My husband is a hunter and we often have wonderful deer in the freezer.  But you can substitute beef, or other meat, for the recipe.

My family loves to use deer.  It is naturally lean, tender, and tastes great in everything I make with it.  We typically will use a doe or young buck for our food.  I usually have the whole deer ground into burger, but we also like to keep the tenderloin steaks and grill them up just like I would a beef fillet.  Besides eating them as steak, they are great for fahitas, or in any dish you would use with beef steak.

I usually use ground deer just like we would use ground beef or ground turkey:
            tacos, 
            chili,
            burritos,
            enchiladas, 
            spaghetti, 
            sausage for biscuits and gravy, 
            sausage for sausage, egg, and cheese burritos
            summer sausage,
            and of course JERKY

I do not like eating an older “trophy” buck.  Forget it.  The meat is rank with his scent.  However, you can still make jerky or sausage with an older buck, and it will taste good, as the spices hide the scent.


Kids In The Kitchen
How To Make Jerky:

Here are some recipes using different cuts of beef (you can substitute other meats) from around the web:

Flank Steak Jerky

Eye Of Round Jerky

Hamburger Jerky

Smoked Hamburger Jerky

Brisket Jerky

Pemmican

Pemmican with fruit


Here is the process my family uses to make our deer jerky
:

My family really enjoys the ground meat version of jerky better than using roasts or brisket.  Our next choice is to use a very tender and lean cut of steak, either sirloin or new york strip.  Most folks would think that is a waist of a good steak, but it really is up to you what cut of meat you want to make your jerky from.
 
To make the process easier, have your butcher grind or slice the meat for you.  Most butchers at the grocery counter will do this for you if you ask.  Or if you have an animal butchered at a butcher shop, they will process the meat however you request it.

Also, when making jerky, remember that each dehydrator, or oven, is
different and times needed to dry the meat can vary according to the appliance you are using.

For our jerky, we start with ground deer burger (you can use beef or whatever you choose).  We have our whole deer ground and packaged by the butcher shop.  He puts the meat in 1 lb packages for the freezer, and we just pull meat out of the freezer whenever we need it. 



Measure spices and salt according to how much meat you are preparing. 

Look around the web to find a recipe you would like to try.  Be sure to measure everything well.

Mix ingredients, according to your recipe, by hand to distribute everything evenly.



Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture marinate in the refrigerator for about 4 hours if using ground meat, and longer according to recipe if using sliced meat.

When ready, if using ground meat, put ground mixture into jerky gun and fill your trays or cookie sheets. If you are using sliced meat, then lay the slices out flat on each tray or cookie sheet.  My dehydrator holds 1 lb of meat per tray.  Cookie sheets will hold more.



Put the cover on and set the timer on your dehydrator.  Or follow directions for using an oven.

For my dehydrator, I plan 6 hours, plus an additional 20 minutes for each additional tray.  So for four trays of ground meat, it takes approximately 7 hours and 20 minutes, or a little more.   Sliced meat takes longer, depending on how thick it is sliced, and the temperature you use to dry the meat.   If using an oven, follow directions in the recipe, as ovens usually take longer.  Dehydrators work faster because they are blowing hot air around the product they are drying, so it greatly reduces the drying time.



When done, remove the jerky from the trays and place between paper towels to absorb any fat or moisture that might remain on the outside of the strips of jerky.

Package in zip lock bags or in jars.  It will keep longer if packaged in air tight packages.  We store our jerky in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use. 



And there you have it. 
DEER JERKY ready to enjoy, take to a gathering, or give away as gifts.  And a great “tradition” to pass on to your kids!


This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Raising Homemakers
Science Sunday




Please share.

The Blessing Of Friends And Food

Friends came to visit today, and brought wonderful food from their native country, Belgium.
My children also spent time helping in the kitchen today and learning about food from Belgium.

Andy and Annelies and their son Yesajah came to this country a little over a year ago as missionaries to the USA.   They felt the Lord ask them to leave their homeland, and travel across the world to share the gospel.    They accepted the call.   They love the Lord, attend bible college, and pastor a Baptist church right here in North Carolina.  They have a precious heart for serving Jesus and reaching the lost.



Today, they wanted to pamper my family and bring us FOOD!  I am 7 months pregnant, and Annelies said she wanted to give me a special treat by bringing supper.  I am so privileged!



Annelies worked hard all day to prepare special food from her country.  Here are some pictures I took of our time together, and quotes she shared with me about how to make the dishes.

She made chicken and meatball stew with nutmeg called:

“vol-au vent.  Here is the original recipe : http://www.food.com/recipe/belgian-chicken-fricassee-vol-au-vent-187924 .  I make it a little bit different because we do not like mushrooms. My way doesn’t take so much time to prepare”.



A beef stew that tasted just like beef stroganoff.  It is served with mayonnaise at the table. 


“The beef stew is called ‘stoofvlees’. It is an old recipe that is typical for Belgium. You can find the recipe here.   http://www.food.com/recipe/stoofvlees-belgian-beef-stew-132457 . I did not use the brown beer, because we are not allowed to have alcoholic drinks in the Christian school housing where we live.  But if you use it , the stew has more of a rich flavor, and the alcohol cooks out of the sauce.”




Stewed apples with cinnamon.

“The apples are with cinnamon ( I learned this in America) .”



And French fries.    Except for the fries and the desert, she had pre-made the other dishes and reheated them at my house before supper time.   My house smelled so good!

She cooked the fries just before serving the food.

Belgium has a mixture of rich delicious foods, and is heavily influenced by French cuisine.



Here are two plates of food.

One plate served the American way…..



The other served the Belgium way….

The stew has a mound of mayonnaise on top and the fries are used to soak up the stew juices or gravy.



I can’t believe it.  My husband actually got brave enough to have seconds.  We fixed the second plate similar to Andy’s plate shown above, and….. HE LIKED IT!  (the Life cereal commercial from the 80’s is so true, let Mikey try it and he likes it!)  Wow! 

I have cooked for him through-out our 20 year marriage and since dating too, and HE NEVER ATE THIS WAY BEFORE!  His food was not allowed to touch.  But today he really liked it, and went back for more!    And so did I!

After dinner, the kids went out to play and the men left to pick up some vanilla ice cream.  Annelies and I sat on the front porch sipping lemonade for a little while and talked about life.  It was very relaxing.

Then we came inside and she got busy teaching us how to make Belgium crepes, pronounced like “Pannacook” for desert. She was very patient in teaching my kids and me how to make it.



The Belgium pancake or crepe has four ingredients:  milk, sugar, eggs, and flour.  This mixture is whisked together.



Once the pan is hot, it is then buttered with sweet cream butter. 



A scoop of pancake batter is ladled into the hot pan and tipped from side to side to make it spread across the entire bottom.



The crepe or pancake is allowed to cook until lightly golden on one side.



Then it is flipped and allowed to cook a short time on the other side before removing it to a platter.



The kids had so much fun making these pancakes with Annelies.



They made a huge stack of them.



Next, Annelies showed us how to fold them and serve them with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.



The Belgium pancakes / crepes were delicious. 




Here is what she had to say about the Belgium pancakes / crepes.

” And the crepes are called : ‘pannekoek’. 
I can give you my recipe :



You mix : – 17.6  ounce of flour

                  –  3.5  ounce of sugar( depends how sweet you want them)

                  –  1 egg

                  –  a little bit less than 5 cups of milk

This is a very liquid dough.

When my granny made pannekoeken she gave the empty dough bowl to me and my sister and then you could find us on her shinny kitchen flour( she scrubbed it every week. It was like a mirror) licking the bowl clean with our fingers. Mmmmm



You have to make sure that the skillet where you bake it in is hot. Then put some butter in there. A little bit of butter before each pannekoek. Then you use your 2/3 cup and scoop some dough into the skillet. (do not fill up the whole cup.)

Let it bake until it is not liquid on the surface anymore and then turn around. you can try to trow it up. WATCH THE CEILING. Or you can turn it around with a spatula. Then bake the other side for about 30 sec.”


Thank you Annelies for making such a delicious meal and sharing it with us.  We were truly blessed.



This post will be linked up with 
Raising Homemakers
No Time For Flash Cards






 






Please share.

Granola Bars

                
           Nourishing Granola Bars With Kids In The Kitchen

This is such a fun and nutritious project to make with kids.  It is a great sensory experience full of texture, smells, counting, tasting, colors, sorting, and more.

We buy our ingredients in bulk through Weiser Natural Foods.  In this picture below you can see bulk packaging of five pounds of sunflower seeds and organic quick oats.  I purchased almost all the ingredients for this recipe in bulk and my dollars really stretch to make these nourishing treats.



Buying in bulk helps our family, of seven people, save money on many wonderful groceries and household products.



Nourishing Granola Bars With Kids In The Kitchen

For this recipe, you will need:

1/2 cup raw or roasted sunflower seads
1/2 cup raw or roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds 
      (you can also use raw or roasted, but I find the blanched digests best for children)
1/2 cup dried cherries (or berry fruit of choice)
1/4 cup dried papaya (or other dried fruit of choice)
2 cups organic quick rolled oats
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 sucanat sugar
3/4 raw honey
2 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil (or butter)

Options: 1/8 cup ground flax or chia seeds, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips





Measuring, tossing, and pouring the dry ingredients is a lot of fun for the children.

Help them measure out the nuts, seeds, and oats.  Then mix them together.



Pour the nut, seed, oat mixture onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.  I lightly oil my pan with coconut oil to prevent anything from sticking. (If you used a good non stick pan, you probably could skip that step). 

Spread out the mixture and put it into a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes or so, to lightly toast the nuts and oats.



While the oat, nut, seed mixture is toasting in the oven, mix up your sucanat, honey, coconut oil, sea salt, and vanilla in a sauce pan.


 
Heat the honey mixture on medium until it starts to boil.  If you let it go longer, it will become like a strong candy like adhesive for the bars.  If you let it boil for only a short time, the granola bars will be softer and easier to chew, but they may or may not hold firmly together. 

It is definately an art and trial and error to learn the exact length of time to heat your mixture to get the exact texture you like the best.  Just make sure you don’t let it boil to long or it will make your bars like a rock.  So make a batch, and if it turns out a little to soft, then next time add a couple minutes to this step and tweak it till it is perfect.



Pour this honey mixture over the toasted oat mixture, and any dried fruit you wanted to use in the recipe. 

Some yummy fruit combinations might be:
mango and strawberry
blueberry and lemon
blueberry and pomegranit
apricot and cherry
apple berry cinamon
pear and mango
pinaple and strawberry
etc.  your imagination is the only limit.


I used dried cherries and dried papaya.    



Then toss everything together and coat well with the honey mixture.

Next, pour the whole mixture into a parchement lined cake pan or cookie sheet, and with an additional sheet of parchment paper, press down firmly.  Try to get all the mixture pressed firmly and evenly.  This will make a difference in how well the bars hold together and how they look.  So do your best to press down hard.




If using chocolate chips on top, let them melt till they are soft to the touch, then spread them with a knife just like you would spread a thin layer of frosting on a cake.



Allow to cool completely before cutting.  You can put it in the refridgerator for an hour, or just leave on the counter for three hours in a cool room.  Then cut into bars. 



You could leave the chocolate off, but wow, it sure is a delicious combination.



Yummy!  I couldn’t keep the kids out of this batch. 
I need to get another batch made right away.

Store in an air tight container.   We had company coming, and these didn’t last long enough to store at my house.  They were gobbled up fast.



These bars are so nutrient dense.

Coconut oil adds lauric acid into our diet.  It is a natural immune system booster.  It fights bacteria, virus, and
fungus.  Lauric acid is present in breast milk and helps babies fight infections.  Coconut oil is a great fat to include in your diet.  It also contains medium chain fatty acids, and this form of fat is much easier to digest than olive oil or other fats.  It is used by the body quickly without taxing the liver to convert it into a usable form as in other oils.  It also signals the brain that your hunger need has been satisfied, and for this reason, coconut oil is used in a lot of weight loss programs.  It has a high heat tollerance, and for that reason it is used a lot in frying, sauteing and baking.  Where other fats would just burn.   It is just a very good healthy fat to have around.

The pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and nuts add a rich source of healthy fiber, fats, and minerals like magnesium, selenium, omegas,  and have many wonderful nutritional benefits.  If you sprout your nuts and oats ahead of time, they also will be loaded with enzymes and even more vitamins.  Sprouting (or presoaking) nuts, seeds, and grains is the healthiest way to prepare them for use by the human body.  You can read more about this concept and how to do it at the Weston A Price Foundation website.

Honey is also antiviral and antifungal.  Sucanat is full of vitamins and minerals.  The dried fruit has fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidents.

These bars are truly a healthy alternative to store bought energy bars and granola bars.
And they are so much fun to make with kids in the kitchen.

Enjoy!



Please share.

Pumpkin Bars


                Pumpkin Bars with Kids In The Kitchen

Our family loves pumpkin bars, apple bars, banana bars, and zucchini bars.  We just call them Yummy Bars around here. 

Pumpkin Bars are one of my children’s favorite 3 pm snacks.  We also use them as a quick breakfast on days we have to leave the house early.  We also like to take them on trips in an air tight container when we travel away from home.

Here’s the scoop.  I had never had cake bars much growing up.  But my Amish friends in Indiana always had frosted zucchini bars on hand.  They had them for company.  They had them for a quick snack coming in out of the fields.  They had them for desert at supper too.  They gave plates of them away for new mother/baby gifts and they were almost always on hand for school lunch box treats too.  They were made from zucchini squash they grew in their garden.  They would grind or grate the squash with a hand grater and pack it into freezer containers.  Then all year long, they would make this yummy snack.  

I would spend two and three days a week at Amish homes, and this food quickly became a favorite food of mine too.  It was usually served with a glass of raw chocolate milk.  The raw milk came fresh everyday from their own farm or a neighboring Amish farm.  The chocolate syrup in the milk was made from scratch too.   

Now that I have children of my own, I see nothing could be easier than homemade snack bars to keep on hand to feed them fast when they are hungry for a snack.  I still make zucchini bars.  But I have to admit that pumpkin bars are our favorite.

Pumpkin bars are very nutritious.  I very seldom frost them, unless we are having company.  The best frosting is made with a little plain or vanilla kefir, or a bar of cream cheese, and organic powdered sugar.   Just beat together until the desired consistency is achieved.

This picture is a frosted carrot bar.  You can read that story here.  Frosted carrot bars and pumpkin bars look about the same.



But our children enjoy these delicious treats without frosting too.  Frosting adds a bunch of extra sugar.  Sometimes to make them extra special, I toss in a handful or two of chocolate chips into the batter, or put it on top after pouring into the pan. 

Pumpkin and chocolate.   Whoooooo, YUMMY!

We usually make them from scratch and they mix up very quickly in the mixer.  I have come up with my own healthier version of cake bars over the years from that are much better in nutrition from the Amish treats I used to receive.  Thanks to the Weston A Price Foundation, I have learned a lot of valuable information about using truly healthy ingredients in making the foods we enjoy. 

You can use any pumpkin bread recipe.  But I substitute the best quality nutrient dense ingredients I can find to make them.  Such as grass fed butter or coconut oil instead of vegetable oils.  Free range eggs.  Reduce the amount of sugar and substitute Sucanat sugar.   Making these small changes has greatly improved our health over the years.

Here is our usual recipe.  This is a family tradition and we all participate and there is a fun job for everyone.  Kids really have fun helping make nutritious foods in the kitchen.


PUMPKIN BARS

2 1/2 cup sucanat 
1 cup butter from grass fed cows
4 eggs from free range chickens
1 can organic pumpkin
3 1/2 cups all natural or organic unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder – aluminum free
2 tsp baking soda – aluminum free
1 tsp sea salt – celtic sea salt it the best!
1/2 tsp ground cloves- Simply Organic or Frontier brand
1 tsp ground nutmeg – Simply Organic or Frontier brand
1 tsp ground cinnamon – Simply Organic or Frontier brand


Cream the sucanat and butter together. 
Add pumpkin and eggs.
Mix the dry ingredients together, and then mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Mix for about two minutes until batter is smooth.

Then bake in two greased cake pans at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.   If baked on a cookie sheet they will come out even thinner, and it only takes about 20 to 25 minutes.  However, if you bake it like a bread in a bread pan, it will take about 60 minutes.    We can’t wait that long to enjoy them, so we love the cake pan bar method.

Frost them if you desire to.  You can find the cream cheese frosting recipe with the carrot bars here.

                But HOLD ON just a minute!

Today, the kids and I decided to try a Simply Organic baking mix we bought from Weiser Natural Foods.

We have added pumpkin to mixes before, and we especially like to add it to Dr. Oetker Vanilla Cake mix and to Gluten Free Pantry Angel Food Cake mix.  These pumpkin cakes are so delicious served warm with a side of warm pudding also made from the Dr. Oetker mixes.  Warm butterscotch pudding is the best!  If you are in a hurry for a delicious and nutritious desert for your family, give a pumpkin cake and warm pudding a try.



But today is about PUMPKIN BARS, not our favorite pumkin cake and pudding.

The children chose to make Pumpkin Bars with chocolate chips made with Simply Organic Carrot Cake Mix.  This mix is really nice.  You could substitute carrots, pumpkin, squash, apples, pears, or other fruits or vegetables too.  You can also make it as a spice cake.  Very simple to use.


Simple Pumpkin Bars!

1 cup pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
Simply Organic Carrot Cake Mix
1 cup or more chocolate chips

Mix together and pour into greased 9 x 13 cake pan.  Add 1 to 1/2 cups chocolate chips on top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until done.



Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.   Enjoy warm or cold.

Store in an air tight container.  Refrigerate them if you are not going to use them up with in 24 hours.  But ours are always gone before then.

These freeze nicely too.



Pumpkin bars are awesome with a glass of raw milk, or a mug of hot chocolate.   Made with wholesome ingredients, it is a perfect, healthy swea
t snack for hungry kids.  Shhhhhh….adults love them too!

Try our hot chocolate recipe here


Don’t forget to enter our Simply Organic Giveaway.  Details of the giveaway are posted here.









Please share.

Carrot Bars


                    Carrot Bars With Kids In The Kitchen

Do your kids like to eat carrots?  My children enjoy raw carrots, but not everyone like’s cooked.  Dad has that little trait too.   Left to choose all their own foods, I am not sure most of them would eat any cooked vegetables other than potatoes.     So I like to sneak a variety of vegetables into recipes when I can, to boost the nutrition my kids and husband recieve.

We make all kinds of yummy bars that taste like cake, but are filled with the yummiest fruits and vegetables.  These are nutrient dense foods, and I feel great when I can share them with my family. 

These Carrot Bars are just the thing to get those picky eaters to eat cooked carrots.

Usually we make our yummy bars from scratch.  But did you know you can make some awesome quick bars using premade mixes, without compromising nutrition?  You can mix these up in about two minutes, bake for 30 minutes, and ready to eat.  So quick, and delicious.  Perfect timing for my “always hungry got to have it now” family.

We buy Simply Organic mixes by the case load at wholesale through Weiser Natural Foods.  These are such wonderful products, with honest to goodness pure ingredients, and easy to use when you don’t have a lot of time, or other ingredients on hand. 

All you need for this delicious treat is:
one box of Simply Organic carrot cake mix
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
3 large carrots



Now my daughter is the only child in the family who loves cooked carrots, so she helped me make this yummy treat.    I knew I could trust her to keep our secret.

She helped me wash and peel the carrots and put them in the blender. 

See dad standing behind her.  He found out we were having carrots and he was not too happy about it a first.  He thought for sure this was going to be a dud.  We sure showed him!  They were the best he has ever had.  (note to self, it must have been the mix that made them taste even yummier).



My daughter is only three, but she is able to do a lot of kitchen tasks right along side me.  She loves to help in the kitchen.  

She helped scrape the blended carrot mixture into a mixing bowl and dump in the Simply Organic mix and water.  I cracked the eggs.  She just doesn’t quite have the hang of not allowing the shell to get in yet.



Then she helped me mix this all together.



She helped grease a cake pan with coconut oil.  This was lots of fun and she likes getting more messy than the job actually requires.  But its for a good reason, so I don’t stop her.  It is actually quite fun to write your name with coconut oil and let it squish between your fingers.  We were way to messy so I didn’t get pictures of a lot of this.

Then we poured the batter into the greased cake pan.



Put this in a preheated 350 degree oven to bake for 30 minutes or until done.

These guys were just to hungry to wait.  They are hanging out in the kitchen making sure no bandits come to steal their yummy bars.  The sherrif here, with the help of big brother,  is ready to round up any yummy bar bandits and putt’em in jail.



While the bars are baking, you can mix up your frosting if you plan to use some.  We don’t always make frosting.  But we do when we plan to have this tasty treat for company, or when we plan to give it away as a gift.

For the frosting, use one 8 oz bar of cream cheese.  I use a grass fed cream cheese to boost the nutritional value.  Kefir or kefir cheese is another great substitute for the cream cheese. 

Add two cups organic powdered sugar.  I use Wholesome Foods brand and it is affordable for this.



Mix until smooth.



Put the frosting onto the bars and let your children spread it around. 



Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect.



It will surely taste perfect!



Every last bite disappeared and not one complaint was heard.  How’s that for eating cooked carrots?

These are awesome enjoyed with a glass of fresh raw milk.  So tasty.  So delicious.  SOOOOO Nutritious.


How do you get your kids to eat their vegetables?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  Thanks.


Don’t forget to enter the contest for our Simply Organic Giveaway.  See the details here.



This post will be linked up with
We Play
No Time For Flash Cards
ABC and 123
Tot Tuesdays
High Paw

Please share.

Pepperoni Pizza With Kids In The Kitchen

Whats Cooking This Week With Kids In The Kitchen?

As part of our Letter Of The Week “P” 
                                                                                 
                                                                        the kids made Pepperoni Pizza for Sunday lunch.

                               


Cost Of Ingredients

I did not have time to make a homemade crust, so the next best thing is a pre-made store bought crust.
These come in packs of two for $4.    I purchased a large 2 lb package of cheese $8, a package of pepperoni $4, two packages of pizza crusts $8, and used leftover spaghetti sauce.  This was enough ingredients for 4 pepperoni pizzas. 

Each pepperoni pizza cost approximately $5 to make and this would be cheaper with homemade crust rather than store bought.  It would have cost $4 a pizza to leave out the pepperoni and make them with just cheese, or if we had summer garden produce to add on for free.  We made two pizzas today and saved the rest of the purchased ingredients to make two more pizzas for another day.

Make You Pizza

Place your crust on a pizza pan, or cookie sheet.  (Note to self: Someday, I would like to replace my pizza stone that broke, or at least have some nice pizza pans.  For now, cookie sheets will have to do).

For each pizza, use 3 to 6 tablespoons of spaghetti or pizza sauce according to your taste. 

Have the children count the number of spoons of sauce they use, and then spread the sauce evenly across the crust.

Sprinkle approximately 1/4 pound of shredded mozzarella cheese around on each pizza.

Add your pepperoni slices.

It is great when older and younger kids can work together.

Here, brother (age 6) is working on one pizza, while older brother (age 8) is helping younger sister (age 3) with another pizza, by checking to see that all the crust is covered.

These guys are very pleased and confident their pizzas will turn out great!


Bake Your Pizza

Bake your pizza in a preheated oven.  If using a store bought thin crust, bake pizzas for 10 minutes at 415 degrees.  Always use caution around a stove and have an adult help with putting items in or out of the oven.

While the pizza is baking, have the children help set the table.  When the pizza is done, remove from oven and prepare for cutting and serving.   Be sure it is not too hot when serving it to the kids.

Eat Your Pizza

Don’t they look hungry?

To make it extra yummy, sit on Daddy’s lap while eating.

Enjoy!!!

How do your kids like their pizza?

Leave us a comment below or

Join our Kids Making Pizza Link Up and share in the pizza making fun!

Please share.

Pasta Science With Kids In The Kitchen


Whats In The Workbox today? 

A fun and tasty science project for all ages.

Into the science workbox put a box of pasta, a piece of paper, a pencil, and a small pretend cooking pot.  Ask the children to share ideas of how to use these items together.  Ask the children the questions from the key concepts listed below.  This helps build their interest in the project.  Then explain that we are going to do an experiment. 

This project can be done by kids of all ages with adult assistance to monitor for safety and assist as needed.  Our younger three kids were learning about the letter “P” and this experiment tied in nicely.  However, they did not participate in the heating steps of this experiment, rather observed their older siblings doing those steps based on their skill levels.

Key concepts
What is pasta?
What is dehydrated?
What is rehydrated?
What happens to dry pasta when it is heated for 10 minutes in boiling water?

Senses involved:
touch
sight
taste
smell
hear

Skills involved:
following directions
observation
measuring
counting
reason and deduction
safety
cooking-life skills
writing
scientific method


The Simple Pasta Experiment

We used two packages of pasta from a macaroni and cheese mix.  Place the pasta into measuring containers.  We used matching cereal bowls that were identical.  Have additional matching containers on hand for latter in the experiment. 



Two quarts of water.



For this to be a correct scientific method, you need have the same amount of dry pasta and jars of water set aside as your control.  These would not be used during the heating process.  Simply left alone and then used for comparison.

Have the children write out the experiment on paper. 



This can be as simple as a few pictures, written words, or more it can be more sophisticated.  Its up to you.  I allowed each child, based on their skill level the freedom to write out the experiment with pictures and words. 



Have the children feel the dry pasta.   Have them shake the pasta and hear what sound it makes.   Ask them to look at it and describe it to you.  Then ask them “what do you hypothesize will happen when the water is heated to a boil and the pasta is cooked in the hot water for 10 minutes?”  From experience of eating macaroni and cheese, the children will likely say the pasta will get cooked, or soft.  The older children will understand in advance that the pasta will increase in size as it absorbs water.



Pour the water into a pan.



With the supervision of an adult, heat the pan of water to boiling.  Add pasta.  Stir.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Have the adult strain the pasta reserving the liquid.  Place pasta back into containers or heat proof bowls that held the dry pasta at the start of the experiment.

Let the children assist with the experiment according to their skill level and safety awareness.  Always use caution when working around a hot stove and boiling liquids.   For example, my two and three year olds were able to assist with putting the dry pasta into the bowls.  The six and eight year olds assisted with setting out the equipment needed and filled the quart jars with cold water.   My 10 year old was able to assist with putting the water on the stove to boil.  Mom strained the cooked pasta as children are not yet aware of how to do this safely and avoid getting a steam burn.  Even mom still gets these from time to time.  Later all the children assisted with different tasks with clean up and when we made a meal from our project.

Observation:
Observe the changes in the pasta and liquid.  

             

Several things we observed:
The pasta expanded and now filled three identical bowls instead of two. 
Pasta changed from hard and dry to soft , flexible, and wet. 
The pasta no longer made sounds when you shake it.
The pasta looks similar to before in shape, but now it is bigger and lighter in color.



When cool enough, transfer the liquid back into the quart measuring equipment you started with.  We used a mason jar.  Compare how much liquid is left after straining out the cooked pasta.  Has it changed?  Compare the results to the start of the experiment.  Discuss where the liquid “disappeared to” and how it was absorbed by the pasta as it cooked.



Have the children write down the changes they have observed.  Be sure to discuss the key concepts you set out to learn, such as what is dehydration and rehydration?



When your are done with your experiment, why not eat your pasta?

Be sure to toss your pasta with something delicious and reinforce more of the children’s learning experience.   How about chicken and white sauce, or mix it with some milk, butter and cheese, or the cheese packet from the box, or mix up some pasta sauce.   We reheated ours with milk, cheese packet, and butter for approximately five minutes on low heat to medium heat, and had a tasty meal to enjoy.



The kids really had fun makin
g a science project out of their food today.



These young scientists gobbled down every last bite!



What a great way to reinforce a science concept .  They were able to use all their senses in learning today.  This will go a long way in helping them retain what they learned, because they “lived it” along the way.

Now if we could only eat our grammar lesson.



Expansion Ideas
:
Measure and record the size of a piece of pasta before and after it is cooked.
Weigh the bowls of pasta before and after they are cooked.
Soak pasta in cold water for ten minutes and compare with pasta cooked in boiling water for ten minutes.
Have the children make pasta from scratch and work through the drying process of pasta to learn more about dehydration. 
Grind your own flour from grain for making the pasta.
Read a book about pasta.
Do a lapbook about pasta.
Research different kinds of pasta shapes and made from different kinds of grains.
Repeat the experiment again using different kinds of pasta and compare what happens.
Research where various pasta come from around the world.
Learn about grains and proteins, nutrition, allergies, milling of flour, and more about what causes pasta to hold its shape, what causes it to loose its shape, and why is heat needed for it to keep its shape while softening verses the idea of why it does not dissolve back into flour and water paste.
Look under a microscope at grains, flour, wet pasta, dry pasta, fresh water, and leftover pasta cooking water.
Research what happens to pasta after you eat it, such as what happens to it in your stomach, in your intestines, and the end results when it leaves the body.

Pasta is so much fun!



Please share.

Valentine Tea Party

                                        Valentine Tea Party with Kids In The Kitchen

How do you take your tea?

Well we actually had chocolate milk instead of tea for our tea party.  Somehow “chocolate” milk just seemed more like valentines, and so good! 

Plus, my boys protested when I called it a tea party.  “Mom, don’t you know tea parties are for girls?”  No, I didn’t know.                                                                   
                                                                                           Posted at the bottom of this story is a Link Up. 
                                                                                Be sure to link up your Valentines activites to share with us.

The kids had so much fun fixing these plates, setting the table, and putting together the party. 

We are making Valentines celebrations everyday, for two weeks.  The children think this is the best holiday of the year, besides Christmas. 

Today was filled with lots of valentine learning with literacy, math, matching, games, using conversation hearts, and more.  We finished our day of valentine fun with this fun party at 3 pm. 

We had such a delicious party:
yummy valentine cookies, we received these from a valentine cookie exchange party, 
grapes and cheese on valentine tooth picks,
sliced strawberries,
cheese and crackers,
dried papaya treats,
conversation hearts,
and raw chocolate milk.           YUMMY!

The three year old put the cheese and grapes on the toothpicks.  They six year old put the table cloth on the table.  The two year old put the plates on the table.  The eight year old helped with making the cracker snack and filled the plates.  The 10 year old helped slice the strawberries and make the chocolate milk.  Everyone had a job and did it so well.

Everything was a big hit and quickly disappeared. 

We’ve had a few allergy issues with the six year old.  After eating chocolate cereal a while back, he broke out in hives.  We are not positive that is what caused it, but we are being cautious till we know more.   So he had regular raw milk without the chocolate.  But that didn’t stop him from having lots of fun.  He especially loved the papaya.

Before eating our handfuls of conversation hearts, we took turns reading them out loud.  I read the younger three children’s hearts to them. The oldest two boys read theirs to us.  This was a lot of fun.  

            Silly.      Fun. 

Just what a “boys” valentine tea party, I mean “not tea” party should be. 

Sorry sis.  I’m afraid boys have the majority say this time.  One of these days we will dress them in fluffy purple and pink hats and have a real tea party, girl style.


If you have a Valentines Day craft, recipe, celebration, lesson theme, or activity you would like to share, please join our link up or leave a comment.  Thanks.

Please share.