Easy Ways to Have a Corny Summer !

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Our kitchen is spotlighting healthy foods in an effort to make a Nutritional “FARM”acy we can use when meal planning.  A CORNY undertaking no doubt which makes this weeks focus of corn all the more relevant. Good things are in the foods we eat, and we want to know what they are. We want to know how to cook them up tasty, and as an added bonus were asking kids why they love them! So get your cutting board ready, whether you have a picky eater or athlete to feed; this week we are focusing on CORN! (We prefer Non-Gmo Corn.)

What’s In Corn? : For good energy, corn provides the B vitamins: B3 an B5. There is vitamin C and zinc for healthy immune function. Folate is present for reproductive health along with fiber for good heart health and good cholesterol levels. Corn also contains beta-carotene and magnesium.

How To Eat Corn:  Corn can be ground into meal and used as a flour, but the most nutritious form is the corn grown fresh on the cob. With Non-Gmo fresh corn cobs hard to find these days, it’s good to know that canned and frozen sweet corn retains most of nutrients found in the fresh cobs.

Why Do Kids Love To Eat Corn?: Kids are saying that they “love corn on the cob”, “love to eat frozen corn kernels for a fresh summer snack”, and “love corn on the top of a salad to make it look colorful!”

Check out the Swami Mommi Pinterest page for great corn recipes, ideas for picky eaters and corny side dishes!

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Bananas On the Beach Or On Your Kids Plate!

healthy breakfast snack banana Our kitchen is spotlighting healthy foods in an effort to make a Nutritional “FARM”acy we can use when meal planning.  Good things are in the foods we eat, and we want to know what they are. We want to know how to cook them up tasty, and as an added bonus were asking kids why they love them! So get your cutting board ready, whether you have a picky eater or athlete to feed; this week we are focusing on Bananas!

What’s in Bananas?:  This fruit has B3 (Niacin) for good overall health; B6 which is good for clearing away waste; Vitamin C for immunity enhancement; and manganese which works with the vitamin C to create virus fighting substances.  This fruit can give the whole body a boost! Bananas have fiber and potassium which regulate body fluids. They also contain magnesium, which is good for relaxing muscles and plays a huge role in the metabolism of food!

How To Eat Bananas: You can sautée a banana in a bit of butter with brown sugar, make frozen banana chocolate covered popsicles, and make smoothies. You can also cover them in peanut butter and roll them in chocolate for a sweet treat or roll them in Rice Krispies for breakfast sushi! Lastly, you can dip bananas in chocolate fondue.

Why Do Kids Like Bananas? “Bananas are sweet and they look delicious!”  “You can make “Banana Splits!” and “You can make fruit salads with them!” Did we mention they are really easy to carry and work great for toddlers on the go?

Make sure to check out Swami Mommi on Pinterest! The “Great Desserts” board has several banana recipes to kick start the fun!

Carrots: Not Just for Peter Rabbit!

Carrots: A healthy snack for kids!

Carrots: A healthy snack for kids!

Carrots:

Our kitchen is spotlighting healthy foods in effort to make a Nutritional “FARM”acy we can use when meal planning.  Good things are in the foods we eat, and we want to know what they are. We want to know how to cook them up tasty, and as an added bonus were asking kids why they love them! So get your cutting board ready, this week we are focusing on Carrots!

Carrots:  Beta Caroten is converted into Vitamin A that is beneficial for vision and heart health. Cells are also protected. We use Vitamin K for blood clotting and the healing of wounds and to help with digestion. Chromium found in carrots helps control blood sugar levels too! It also has zinc, folate, calcium, iron and fiber.

How To Eat Carrots: One easy way is to eat carrots raw with hummus. Remember that whole carrots are difficult to digest so grate or chop them finely before eating. Carrot juice is also a great thirst quencher plus an added blood sugar stabilizer.

Why Do Kids Like Carrots? Because we can go “num num num” like Peter Rabbit, eat them with hummos, and grate them to eat  in salads. Juicing carrots is a fun thing to do too!

Kale: A Mighty Food Kids Love!

Our kitchen is spotlighting healthy foods in effort to make a Nutritional “FARM”acy we can use when meal planning.  Good things are in the foods we eat, and we want to know what they are. We want to know how to cook them up tasty, and as an added bonus were asking kids why they love them! So get your cutting board ready, this week we are focusing on Kale!

KALE

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KALE has: many vitamins and phytochemicals.  Kale is an important immunity booster. It has lots of Vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, zinc and K1, is good for your eyes, and it helps to make smooth skin. It is big on repair and detoxification, as well as a help keeping cholesterol level healthy. Improves energy levels too and keeps cell membranes healthy.

How to eat KALE: Kale can be eaten raw, steamed, or lightly sauteed or stir fried. We add broth, a little butter and salt in a saute and it’s great!

Why do kids like KALE?: Because you can eat it with cheese, it might have lemon squeezed onto it (YUM!) or if mom or dad cooked it it might have “extra love” in it!

5 Minute Valentine Freezer Candy: Filled with Protein for a Healthy Snack!

Boxed and ready to eat, this snack is a Love filled delight! I wanted more, and decided to make a second batch!

Boxed and ready to eat, this snack is a Love filled delight! I wanted more, and decided to make a second batch!

This was so easy! So quick! So full of good stuff to eat- full of protein and anti-oxidants while also being GF/DF/Egg-free!! The Valentine Solution for keeping the whole family on the right track to good nutrition!

It is also a great kids activity! Super easy so they could really do it themselves. A great way to have fun and help kids learn about cooking and sharing the Love this time of year! They will probably request these for their lunch box too!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup nutbutter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.)

1 1/2 tablespoons Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (I use Enjoy life because they are allergen free) or other chocolate chip variety

1 1/2 tablespoons Dried Goji berries

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Mix well and spread into a small freezer proof dish or mold into any shape with a candy mold tray. I used a plastic tray with little hearts. ( I would try silicon next time to eliminate the small bit of effort I had to use with the butter knife to pop them out of the tray. )

Wrap in wax paper, box, or tie in a pretty bag with ribbons. That is if you can wait to eat them! We ate 2 or 3 before they even hit the Valentine Box!

Enjoy! These are Yummi!

Warming Up Winter: Acorn Squash Sundaes Toddlers Love and Kids Can Help Make!

Warm Acorn Squash

It’s cold. Kids are inside. Tummies are growling. Time to have some quick and yummy fun! Squash Sundaes are the answer.

This recipe is super easy and can be tailored to any eaters needs. Toddlers can eat it pureed, and older kids can help make it. It’s warm, comforting, and fills the corners of hungry bellies. I used it as a dessert, but it can fit easily as a snack or even better, a warm healthy breakfast. Plus, did I mention it is jammed with nutrients and other good stuff to keep families healthy when it’s cold outside? Oh…it is!

Ingredients:

Acorn Sqush

Olive Oil

Blender or food processor (to puree for early eaters and toddlers)

Cranberries, pecans, butter (Earth Balance), maple sugar to taste

Any other additions or substitutions that you think might work, such as walnuts, raisins, maple syrup or cinnamon

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut Acorn squash in half, scoop and discard the seeds, and with about 1 tablespoon olive, coconut or grape seed oil coat the inside of the squash. This helps it stay soft and not burn while cooking. Depending on the size of your squash, cooking times may vary, however with a medium squash it took about 40 minutes to roast on the middle oven rack.

After the squash is roasted, let it sit a few minutes until you can easily scrape out the flesh. It makes a great mash as it is being scraped out of the rind, but if you need it to be pureed for your early eater or toddler, use a food processor or blender. If you don’t you may encounter a few strings or textured parts that are not safe. Additionally, kids can’t really help with this part of the recipe, as using the stove and scooping out warm squash is not safe either. However, kids do love to push the buttons on a blender, as long as they are well supervised.

Once the squash is in a bowl it is easy to get kids involved. I recommend setting out a couple small bowls with the cranberries, pecans, butter, walnuts, raisins, etc. so they can add in their favorites. If it is for the whole family they can add in what most of the family would like, or each child can get a bowl and make an individual “Squash Sundae”. Add more or less as each person desires, use them as toppings or mix throughout.

That’s it. Simple, easy and very little clean up! Tomorrow morning I’ll be trying this for a healthy breakfast, and I hope you too get to try it during these cold days of winter!

Ol’ New Years Eve: Festive Favors for Kids that Teach Cultural Diversity

Out families New Years Eve Favors!

Out families New Years Eve Favors!

It’s time to celebrate the New Year to come AND to recycle the cardboard rolls from paper towels and toilet paper, AND clean up that extra wrapping paper laying around the house AND put use to all the little its and bits of small toys the kids have collected over the past holiday month! And one New Years Eve Favor can do it all!

Additionally, this favor is culturally diverse, at least for all of us outside of the United Kingdom. While visiting London for a New Year’s Eve celebration, I learned of these little party favors and was delighted. My favor had a silly pair of glasses and a bit of chocolate, with the other people in my party having equally fun items inside. The rest of the night involved dancing, chatting, and playing with a fun favor surprises.

Several of my friends who are originally from England, or who had family there, told me that these favors are very much a tradition, one that they still follow around Christmas and New Years. I had seen the favors in markets around the holidays before, but now knowing how much fun they bring to holiday parties, I decided to make my own.

English Holiday Favors: Culturally Diverse and Fun

This is a super easy craft that is fun for kids and toddlers alike, although I find the toddlers actually like tearing into them on New Years Eve the best! All you needs is:

paper rolls

wrapping paper

tape

string

small toys, or stickers (whatever is size safe for you home and kids; ie NOT choking hazards)

safe, age appropriate snacks, like popcorn or crackers

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Simply fill the tubes to your delight, tape on scrap wrapping papers around the roll, twist the ends and tie with string. They look delightful and make a great centerpiece for the New Years table! We are having a dipping buffet this year, and think our metallic tray with these favors adds the perfect accent to create a festive feel in our home.

This is a great activity for fine motor skills too, all while having fun and being successful.  Tearing tape, cutting paper, manipulation of safe small objects, and practice tying knots all work great for early skill development. So this year you can feel like a Swami Mommi, while ringing in the New Year with a festive favor to boot!

All we need is fancy string to tie off each end!

All we need is fancy string to tie off each end!

Happy New Year with blessings of health, prosperity, and Joy all Year! Happy 2015!