Winter is the perfect time for a hot cup of soup. Using winter veggies from the garden, kids can make a healthy soup to take to school in their thermos or to have at home for an afternoon snack. Broccoli is rich in vitamins, minerals, omega-3, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients; plus it lowers the rates of cancer. Steaming is the best way to cook veggies, as steaming retains their flavor, texture, and nutrition. Kids can chop an entire organic broccoli with the stock included, 1 organic red potato, 1 stalk celery, and ¼ cup red onion. Steam the veggies for 10 minutes or until tender keeping the broccoli flowers a bright deep green. Set aside the broccoli flowers. In a sauce pan melt 1 tbsp organic vegan butter, stir in 1 tbsp organic whole wheat pastry flour, brown a minute, and stir in ½ cup organic almond milk. Put the broccoli stems, potato, celery, and onion in the blender with 1 cup veggie steam water and mix until smooth. Add the almond milk mixture, ½ tsp sea salt, and ¼ tsp ground cardamom and blend. To serve, pour the soup into bowls and place a broccoli flower on top.
Yams, dioscorea, originating in Africa called “nyami”, are root vegetables growing under perennial herbaceous vines, and come in over 600 varieties. They are cylindrical with rough brown bark-like skin and yellow flesh; some varieties have white, purple, or pink flesh. Over fifty years ago, U.S. supermarkets and producers began using the term “yam” to distinguish between types of sweet potatoes, which come from South America, but true yams can be found in African grocery stores. Fried yam is a beloved African snack and side dish. Basic ingredients in West African cooking are onion, fresh ginger root, chili and tomato with a Five Spice mix of cubeb black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Traditional farming methods are used to grow fresh herbs and vegetables in garden compounds with homes dotted around them, making most Ghanaian food organic, locally sourced, sustainable, and unprocessed.
Kids can substitute orange sweet potatoes for the hard to find yams. Preheat the oven to 400°. Wash 4 organic yams or sweet potatoes, prick with a fork, and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 45 minutes. On a separate baking sheet, place 3 organic red peppers, drizzle with organic extra virgin olive oil, and bake along side of the yams for 20 minutes. Sauté a diced organic red onion in a saucepan in 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes, stir in 1 deseeded and minced red chili pepper, 1 tsp fresh minced ginger, 2 organic minced garlic cloves, and 8 cups of mixed organic baby stir fry greens. Add ½ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp cayenne, ⅛ tsp cloves, ⅛ tsp nutmeg, ⅛ tsp cinnamon and 2 tbsp water. Cover and steam until spinach has softened. Remove the baked yams and peppers from the oven. Chop the peppers, discarding the cores and seeds, and add to the spinach mixture. Stir in ½ cup chopped cilantro. Cut down the middle of the yams without going all the way through and divide the spinach mixture stuffing it into the holes and allowing some to spill over the sides of the yams. This dish is traditionally served in Ghana with roasted plantains.
Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, especially fresh baked organic chocolate chip cookies with apricots, walnuts, and oats. Perfect for parties, gifts, and afternoon snacks, these healthy treats give kids brain power and energy. Oats have the highest percentage of protein and fiber of any grain. Organic walnuts in addition to protein and fiber, are rich in omega-3, heart healthy fats. Apricots are filled with Vitamin A, fiber, and heart healthy lycopene. Studies at the University of California have shown that eating a 100 calories of dark chocolate a day results in lower levels of body fat, lower blood pressure, and a healthy heart. Dark chocolate is a super food with polyphenols that make it a treat for kids’ health and spirit.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Soak ¼ cup dried apricots in a cup. In a large bowl using a fork, cream 8 tbsp soft organic vegan butter and ½ cup organic cane sugar; add 2 tbsp of organic maple syrup and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix in ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour, ¾ cup organic old fashioned rolled oats, 1 tsp arrowroot starch, ½ tsp baking soda, ¼ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp cinnamon and blend well. Stir in ¼ cup walnut pieces, ¼ cup chopped dried apricot, and ⅔ cup semi sweet chocolate chips. Spoon the dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes and cool 15 minutes.
Kids like any vegetable better with pasta, especially when the Brussel sprouts are lightly steamed with orange zest and garlic. Brussel sprouts have fantastic health benefits as they are rich in sulfur containing nutrients that aid in detoxification with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals, plus offering heart and digestive support. Because of the sulfur content, they should not be overcooked. They are closely related to cabbages and look like miniature cabbages on a stem. As their name suggests, they are native to Belgium, and spread throughout Europe during World War I. Now most Brussel sprouts are grown in California. This yummy dish is quick and easy to make.
Wash and cut 14 ounces of organic Brussel sprouts in half, remove the ends, and let sit in a bowl for 5 minutes to bring out the healing qualities of this cruciferous vegetable. Preheat the oven to 350°and put on water to boil for the pasta. Stir in 1 minced organic garlic clove, ¼ tsp orange zest, ¼ tsp sea salt, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, ⅛ tsp cumin, and a drizzle of organic extra virgin olive oil in the bowl with the Brussel sprouts. Steam the Brussel sprouts for 6 – 8 minutes until they are tender on the inside. Slice 2 cups organic mushrooms, ½ cup chopped organic onion and spread them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Drizzle with organic extra virgin olive oil, ¼ tsp orange zest, ¼ tsp sea salt, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, and ⅛ tsp cumin and roast 12 -15 minutes until they begin to brown. Cook ½ cup of organic whole wheat fusilli pasta. Strain the pasta, add the roasted and steamed veggies, 2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil, and ⅓ cup organic tomato sauce and mix.
Spices in India have been ground in a mortar and pestle, as well as the cooked lentils in this recipe, for thousands of years. The spices in this traditional lentil dahl are rich with nutrition. Turmeric contains powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties with brain, heart, and joint healthy nutrients. Cumin aids digestion and the immune system with antibacterial and antiviral properties. Coriander seeds (cilantro) lowers blood sugar and blood pressure. Ginger contains antioxidants to relieve motion sickness, nausea, and muscle pain. This soup is perfect to warm kids on a cold winter’s day. Rinse thoroughly in a strainer ½ cup organic red lentils and place in a pot with 2 ½ cups of water, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 ½ tsp cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, ½ inch piece of finely chopped fresh organic ginger, ½ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp cayenne. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes. Add 1¼ cup chopped organic cauliflower and 1 chopped organic red potato and simmer another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a slotted spoon, reserve ½ cup of veggies in a small bowl. Pour the lentil soup and 1 tbsp vegan butter into a blender and mix until smooth. Pour into bowls and top with the reserved veggies and fresh cilantro. Serve with organic brown basmati rice and organic whole wheat tortillas.
Eggplant is probably Turkey’s most popular vegetable, appearing in many recipes from baked, deep fried to pickled. Baba Ganouj is a creamy eggplant tahini dip and one of several small dishes served in a traditional meze, where diners share little dishes, which may include spicy walnut and red pepper dip, olive salad, yogurt, bulgar salad with pomegranate molasses, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, pickles, cheese, and bread. Kids can create their own meze or share this dip at a party. Preheat oven to 400°. Wash 1 large organic eggplant and prick it all around with a fork. Place it on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 30 -35 minutes until it is soft and the skin is blackened. While allowing the eggplant to cool, put an organic garlic clove on the cutting board and pour ½ tsp sea salt on top. Lay the side of a large knife over the garlic and salt and press down hard and smooch the salt into the garlic. Mince the garlic and smooch it into a paste with the salt, by continuing to chop and smooch the garlic. Peel the skin of the baked eggplant, give it a rough chop, and place it in a medium bowl. Stir the garlic paste into the eggplant. Add a dash of cumin and a dash of cayenne. Stir in 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, 4 tsp organic tahini, and ¼ tsp sea salt. Mix well, cover the bowl, and set aside for 2 hours. Pour the mixture into the blender and mix until smooth. Garnish with fresh mint leaves. Baba Ganouj makes a great appetizer served with bread.
Kids can easily make yummy organic granola bars for a great breakfast, dessert, or snack. Homemade organic granola with dried fruit and nuts is packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to give kids energy and brain power for a full day at school. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast 1 cup organic old fashioned rolled oats, ¼ cup shredded coconut, and ½ cup chopped almonds on a sheet pan for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Line a 6 x 6 baking dish with parchment paper. In a bowl, coat ¼ cup chopped dates and ¼ cup chopped dried apricots in 3 tbsp organic whole wheat pastry flour and add the oat mixture. In a saucepan, bring to a boil 2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil, ¼ cup organic maple syrup, ¼ cup organic cane sugar, ½ tsp vanilla, and ⅛ tsp sea salt, stirring for a minute, and remove from heat. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 15 minutes until light golden brown. Cool 3 hours and cut into squares.