Kids in India have loved kitchari for centuries; the ingredients vary with the region, but always include rice, lentils, and lots of spices. In the Ayurvedic tradition, kitchari is used in a popular cleanse. Kitchari is a one bowl completely balanced meal rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Purifying and comforting, the beet greens in this dish boost its nutritional factor even more. In a small bowl mix the organic spices: ½ tsp coriander, ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp curry powder, and ¼ tsp red pepper flakes. Kids can peal 1 inch piece of fresh organic ginger and grate it finely. Rinse 1/3 cup organic brown basmati rice and ¼ cup organic red lentils and ¼ cup organic green lentils in a strainer. In a medium pot, heat 1 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil, add the spices and grated ginger, and stirring constantly toast them two minutes. Add the rice and lentils to the pot, coating them with the spices. Add 2 ¼ cups of water, stir, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Chop 1 organic carrot, ¼ cup organic red bell pepper, and 4 organic crimini mushrooms, stir into the pot, and continue to cook uncovered 10 minutes. Add 2 ounces of chopped organic beet greens and cook 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add ½ tsp sea salt. Total cooking time is 50 minutes.
Mangos are the favorite fruit of kids in India with a tropical flavor and a host of vitamins and nutrients. Goji, mulberry, goldenberry, and maqui berries are Super Berries packed with protein, iron, vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants for a long life. This mix of delicious dried berries are marked Organic Super Berries in the bulk section at Whole Foods Market. Kids can preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Kids can cut one organic mango along both sides of its elongated seed, chop into small pieces and scrape the skin. In a small pan melt ¼ cup organic virgin coconut oil. Add the mango and ¼ cup of dried organic goji, goldenberry, mulberry, and maqui super berries. Grate ½ tsp of fresh organic ginger and add to the pan with ¼ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp cardamom, 3 tbsp maple syrup, 5.3 oz soy yogurt, 1 tsp vanilla. Simmer the mixture while preparing the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk briskly to allow air into 1 ¾ cup organic whole wheat pastry flour, ¼ cup organic cane sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp sea salt. Pour the ingredients from the pan into the large bowl and mix with the dry ingredients. Divide the batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake 20 minutes and cool before serving.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is part of a global effort to secure the diversity of our most important crop plants to ensure that humanity has food seeds in spite of wars, climate change, and natural disasters. The Seed Vault is the answer to the international community’s pressing need for the future of global agriculture as a bank for storing seeds to conserve diversity and food security for people today and beyond. Located near the North Pole in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, the Seed Vault is completely funded by the government of Norway and built to the highest standards. Tucked away in a frozen mountain that keeps the seeds cool at -18⁰C, a long tunnel, partially encased in a steel tube, leads 130 meters deep to the entrance of the vault rooms containing seeds from countries around the world. The seeds are carefully dried and frozen to preserve them for hundreds of years.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built in 2008 under the guidance of Cary Fowler, a long time champion of seed saving, who had worked over 20 years to establish an international seed bank. The heirloom seed savers movement, started over a hundred years ago, is concerned about the sustainability of the environment and the loss of thousands of vegetable plant varieties in the last century. Big biotech companies want to control all the seeds, and they are patenting and privatizing seeds, making it illegal for farmers to retain their own crops for replanting. The world’s leading food speakers see the garden as a self sustaining, self contained living being and the organic produce from ancient heirloom seeds as pure food.
The world’s largest seed bank of plant breeding for dry areas, ICARDA, located in Syria, sent 116,000 different seed varieties to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault before the fighting broke out in Syria and gunmen took over their Seed Bank headquarters. In September, 2015, ICARDA retrieved 38,073 seed varieties from its box at the Seed Vault to replant in carefully managed plots to grow and harvest fresh new seed for their farmers. This May, the melting of the polar icecap was much greater than expected due to climate change. The entrance hall to the Seed Vault was flooded. The water did not enter the well structured Vault, but now the Norwegian government is building drainage ditches on the mountainside and waterproof walls inside the tunnel entrance hall. Inside the mountain, the structure of the vault is safe and scientists are researching permafrost in Svalbard. If a nation’s seeds are lost as a result of a natural disaster or a man made catastrophe, the seeds saved in this Arctic Vault can be used to regenerate them.
Focaccia is Italian yeast bread baked in a pan with olive oil. This richly flavored recipe is incredible with the savory goodness of sun dried tomatoes, onions, and olives making it a perfect appetizer. In a large bowl, kids can dissolve 1 packet of active dry yeast in ¼ cups warm water and 1 tbsp organic sugar and let sit for 10 minutes to get bubbly. Mix in 1 cup sourdough starter and let sit for 2 hours. Add 4 ¼ cups organic all purpose flour, 1 cup warm water, 1 ½ tsp sea salt, ¼ cup minced vacuum packed sun dried tomatoes, 3 tbsp minced organic red onion, 2 tbsp organic kalamata olives, 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary, and 2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil. Kids can mix the dough adding ¼ cup organic all purpose flour as needed if dough is too sticky. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 7 minutes. Return dough to the bowl, cover with linen towel, and let rise 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover the dough with 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil. Spread dough evenly into a greased 9” x 13” pan lined with parchment paper, cover with linen towel, and let rise 30 minutes. Kids can press rows of indentations with their fingers across the dough. Sprinkle sea salt and 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil over the top. Bake 25 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Cool and transfer to a cutting board. Kids can cut it into squares to serve.
Scottish kids have been eating scones for hundreds of years, which were originally round and flat and cooked on a griddle then cut into triangle sections. The scone is a basic part of the British Devonshire tea service, a light afternoon meal, still served in tea rooms today. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt 1 tsp vegan butter in a sauce pan. Kids can cut an organic apple with the skin into small pieces and add to the pan. Add ¼ cup chopped organic walnuts, 1 tsp organic maple syrup, 1 tsp cane sugar, and ½ tsp cinnamon to the apple, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. In a large bowl combine 1 ¾ cup organic whole wheat pastry flour, ¼ cup organic sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp arrowroot starch, ¼ tsp sea salt. Cut into the mixture 1/3 cup cold organic vegan butter. Kids can stir to cover then mix with a fork until mixture has a coarse crumb consistency. Add the apple mixture. Pour the remaining juice from the pan into a measuring cup, add organic almond milk to measure ½ cup of total liquid, and pour into the flour mixture, stirring until well blended. Turn dough onto a floured bread board and knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll into a 6” round and cut into 8 equal wedges. Place wedges 1” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 15 – 17 minutes, until lightly browned.
People have been slow cooking food in closed ceramic vessels since ancient times. The Crock Pot of the 1970’s was a hit for working women as a home cooked meal was prepared while they were at work. Solar ovens, another slow cooking method using only the sun, come in handy on hot days when kids can slow cook dinner on the patio and keep the house cool.
The longer cooking time allows the flavor of the ingredients to develop a delicious complexity and the nutrients to concentrate in the food. The slow cooker is an ideal way to cook beans from scratch, as well as grains, soups, and stews. At the end of a hard day, instead of eating at a fast food place or putting packaged processed food in the microwave, families can have a healthy, well balanced, economical meal with the slow cooker. Slow cookers come in many sizes, colors, and shapes with programmable timers and temperature settings. Slow cooked dishes are also great for potlucks, where the cooking unit can be plugged it and sit on the serving table, keeping the dish warm. Slow cookers are a convenient way to prepare healthy home cooked meals by filling it with ingredients in the morning and having a delicious meal ready at the end of the day.
Kids can make great sandwiches and serve them hot, cold, grilled, wrapped, rolled and open-faced. When kids use ingredients fresh from their organic container veggie garden, they can create the best tasting, healthiest creations. Kids can make seasonal sandwiches with the fresh produce, like herbs, avocados, salad greens, asparagus, or tomatoes as they become ripe in their garden. Organic whole grain bread makes great sandwiches. Kids can try organic sourdough, Italian, rye, pumpernickel, ciabatta, or pita bread to discover their favorites. Organic nut butters without added sugar and fresh organic fruit, dried fruit, or homemade preserves on organic whole wheat bread are perennial favorites with kids. Organic whole grain wheat, rice, or corn tortillas make the perfect wraps. Kids can stuff wraps with organic veggies and organic rice, quinoa, lentils, or beans. Roasting veggies like bell peppers, onions, zucchini, and tomatoes add texture, color, and terrific flavor to the sandwich. Kids can try different condiments, like pickles, pesto, salsas, olives, hummus, chili, or chutney to add zing to any sandwich. The secret to a great sandwich is balancing the bread with the crispy, sour, salty, sweet, spicy ingredients.