Tag Archives: gluten-free

Kids visit the Farmers Market

Kids can visit the Farmers Market once a week for fully ripe produce picked at the peak of perfection and a diversity that is constantly changing with the seasons. This variety of produce ignites creativity in the kitchen and provides a healthy nutrient balance. The closer a food is to having been harvested the more powerful its content of textures and nutrients, making it more delicious and more effective in combating disease and improving the health and wellbeing of the family. The taste difference between a fresh picked organic peach and its canned, jarred, packaged, or conventionally grown with poisons equivalent is two different things entirely, one filled with life and one not so much. Food is medicine. Eating fresh, local, seasonal, organic fruits and veggies saves time and money at the doctors office and on prescriptions. Eating food that grows where we live also helps with our allergies and immunities. Just picked local seasonal organic ingredients have surprisingly complex flavors and taste amazing using simple recipes, like roasting veggies with a sprinkle of organic extra virgin olive oil and sea salt in the oven.

Kids love to visit the Farmer’s Market, tasting the local organic fresh fruits, smelling the flavor within, and talking to the farmers that grow them. Buying organic produce from small local farmers helps to financially sustain their farms while bringing the best food available home to our families. Kids learn where their food comes from and of the adventures farmers have bringing the food to market. Buying from local farmers is economical and eco-friendly, saving the energy used to prepare food for shipping and the fuel used by trucks to transport it. The available produce changes with the season bringing a wide range of crop diversity, depending on the climate and soil conditions of the region, which brings a healthy variety to the table. A tip farmers give kids is not to wash the produce until you are ready to use it and don’t refrigerate it until it is fully ripe.

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Kids Garden Therapy

The closer we are to nature, the healthier we are. We can make lifestyle adjustments to prevent disease and optimize health, by growing an organic garden, eating the best tasting organic food, and letting go of habits that no longer serve us. In our peaceful organic fruit and veggie garden, health awaits us, breathing the air purified by the plants, absorbing the warmth and radiance of the sun, digging our hands into the soil rich with antidepressant microbes, and eating delicious produce picked fresh at the peak of nutritional value and prepared simply with love.

Every cubic inch of healthy soil is a miniature world of beneficial living organisms that feed all living things on our planet. The same laws of the universe apply from the macrocosm to the microcosm, as above so below. When humans follow Nature’s cues and we align ourselves with her rhythm and cycles, we are healed body, mind, heart, and spirit. Eating the different in season organic veggies from our own garden, instead of eating the same processed food week after week, brings a variety of beneficial nutrients into our system and creates a healthy gut. By replacing processed food with super food from the garden, we can turn the tide on the alarming rise in diabetes, obesity, and life threatening food allergies.

Following the natural rhythms of the sun and the seasons, we get to the garden early in the morning when the plants like to be watered. We get healthy exercise, breathing the aromatherapy of the various herbs, and start the day feeling peaceful, instead of stressed. By interplanting, rotating crops and planting year round, we can focus on the growing life in our garden, which helps us release painful past experiences and keeps us on a year long balanced path. In the garden, we find little miracles to inspire us every day.

By recognizing and following natural laws, we come to appreciate that our inner nature and body functions have come into alignment with outer Nature and the environment. Eating organic food that is fresh from the garden, heals our bodies of the toxins that cause disease. Communing with Nature in the herb filled air of our organic veggie garden is an invigorating mood booster, stress reliever, and energy enhancer that give us a peaceful feeling of well being.

Kid Chef Cauliflower Steak with Quinoa Hash

Kids can create an elegant meal with hearty slices of roasted cauliflower on a power packed bed of quinoa hash. Cauliflower is low in calories but filling as it is high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Quinoa is a superfood, a plant-based source of complete protein, gluten-free, rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Kids can rinse ½ cup organic quinoa and add 1 cup of water in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°. Using all organic ingredients, scrub and chop 1 sweet potato, 1 celery stick, and 1 carrot, as the skins are rich in vitamins, and steam with ½ cup of peas, ¼ cup of onion, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 minced seeded jalapeño. Slice the cauliflower down the middle to get 4 or 5 steaks. Slice 12 organic mushrooms. In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil, 1 minced clove of garlic, with minced sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Brush the mushrooms and both sides of the cauliflower steaks with the oil mixture and place on on the pan. Roast for 20 minutes. Mix the steamed veggies with the quinoa and add 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup homemade roasted tomato sauce, and ½ tsp sea salt. Place the cauliflower steak with mushrooms on top of the quinoa hash to serve.

Kids Ferment the Harvest

Fermentation is a healthy way to preserve foods, converting the starches to be more digestible and introducing living probiotic cultures into our guts to help absorb more of the food’s nutrients. Microbes are everywhere in the environment, floating in the atmosphere, in the oceans, soil, and in our guts. When leaves fall in the forest, microbes decompose them into soil-building humus to feed the trees. Microbes also decompose the food being fermented, and as they consume the sugars in the food, they produce alcohol and acids. There are two types of organisms that play a key role in fermentation and often these two types are used together: bacteria (lactobacillus and acetobacter) used to produce yogurt, pickles, and vinegar; and fungi (wild yeasts and molds) used to produce bread, wine, beer, and cheese. In the gut, these beneficial microbes keep the small percentage of harmful bacteria in check and activate our immune systems.

Fermented foods are not only good for us, but have fizzy and tart, savory and satisfying complex flavors. High quality sea salt is the key factor in fermenting vegetables in brine, a saltwater solution that acts on food by drawing water out of its cells, killing any harmful bacteria, and changing the pH of the environment. Kids can ferment their harvest by filling jars with organic veggies from their raised bed garden. Pictured above are peppers, squash, tomatoes, carrots, and rice salt (koji) with sea salt, spices, and pure water. Wash and chop the veggies to be fermented. Crush a garlic clove and place it at the bottom of a glass jar, add herbs and spices, and fill the jar with veggies leaving 1 inch at the top. Dissolve 2 tsp sea salt into ½ cup of water and pour into the jar, submerging the veggies beneath the brine. Fasten the lid loosely and allow the jar to sit on the counter for 1 – 2 weeks, depending on the vegetable, to ferment. Open the jar daily to release the pressure of the CO2. Taste the veggie to test the salty, sour flavor. Slow the fermentation by placing the jar in the refrigerator and eat within 2 weeks.

Kids grow Bitter Melon

Kids in Asia eat biller melon stir fry with chilies, vegetables, rice, and oil, but many think it is the bitterest vegetable they have ever tried. Bitter melon is a fruit related to cucumbers, and is ready to harvest in late summer. Organic bitter melon grows well where summers are warm and long. Like other melons, it rapidly grows long vines. Kids can plant the melon to grow up a trellis or fence to keep the air circulating the melons and to save space in a raised bed garden. Why eat something so very bitter? When prepared properly with fat and spice, the bitter melon can become addictive. Plus a balance of bitter and sweet is a stimulus to the appetite. Grapefruit is the sour fruit most kids in the West know, but bitter melon is popular across all of Asia for its healing properties. It is considered a miracle antioxidant, helping those with asthma, diabetes, and HIV. The bitterness comes from nutrients called cucurbitacins which are said to cleanse the blood, aid digestion, and kill cancer cells. This melon is exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals, with phytonutrients that help weight loss, bacterial infections, and skin inflammation and wounds. Rinse the melon, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and slice. Toss the sliced melon in a bowl with sea salt and let sit at least 2 hours, tossing occasionally to help reduce the bitterness. Rinse the melon and use a towel to squeeze out excess liquid and add to a coconut milk curry. The melon slices can also be blanched in boiling water for a minute or two to reduce the bitterness, drained, and then added to a stir fry.

Kid Chef Maple Roasted Squash and Tofu

Kids can grow butternut squash in their raised bed garden during the warm summer months and harvest it early fall. It is heart and bone healthy, rich in beta carotene, potassium, and Vitamin A. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice 1 package (14 – 16 ounces) organic extra firm tofu, drained and patted dry into ½ inch thick slabs and arrange them in a single layer on a sheet pan and cover top and bottom with paper towels. Mix ¼ cup organic maple syrup, 2 tsp grated and pealed organic fresh ginger, 1 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice, ½ tsp orange zest, and ½ tsp sea salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cut, peel and seed 1 organic butternut squash into ½ inch cubes and put in a small bowl with ¼ cup of organic pecans. Pour half of the maple syrup mixture into the bowl and mix. Spread the squash on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Add 2 tsp soy sauce and ¼ tsp organic apple cider vinegar to the maple syrup mixture in the saucepan and simmer 3 minutes. Remove the paper towels from the tofu, line the sheet pan with parchment paper, arrange and brush the tofu slices with half the soy maple mixture. Put the tofu in the oven, next to the squash, and roast for 20 minutes, tossing the squash occasionally. Remove the squash pan. Turn the tofu pieces over and brush with the rest of the soy maple mixture and cook 10 minutes more. Serve with organic brown rice and garnish with fresh cut basil leaves.

Kids Sprout Salads

 

Kids can sprout just about any raw organic whole grain, bean, or seed in a matter of a few days for a fun addition to most any salad. Sprouts are the plants most nutritious stage, and they are concentrated natural sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. In a jar with a lid, kids can create a miniature kitchen garden of tiny power packed plants. Lentils, chickpeas, and beans are rich in protein; during the germination process, the sprouts synthesize new protein and a surge of vitamins from the carbohydrates and fats. Wheat berries, rice, millet and other whole organic grains have all the essential nutrients of the grain magnified when they are spouted. Kids can combine one part whole grain, bean, or seed with 3 parts pure filtered water in the jar. For grains and beans use a ½ cup, for seeds, like quinoa, alfalfa, or chia start with 2 tablespoons. Cover the top of the jar with two layers of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band, and let soak out of direct sunlight at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. Turn the jar upside down over the sink and drain the water through the cheesecloth. Remove the cheesecloth from the jar, refill with water, put on the lid, and shake to rinse. Remove the lid, cover with cheesecloth, secure with a rubber band, and drain into the sink, shaking out all the water. Kids can also use a sprouting jar with a screen lid to rinse and drain the sprouts, like in the picture above. The soaking water is rich in nutrients and can be used in soups or to water plants. To make sure that mold doesn’t grow, kids can place the jar upside down in a bowl on an angle so the sprouts can continue to drain and air can flow through the cheesecloth. Let set for another 12 hours and repeat the process until the beans, grains, or seeds sprout, 1 – 5 days. Keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days for a bright, crunchy, energy filled addition to a salad.