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 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.
Kids that grow an organic lemon tree on their patio can make the best tasting lemonade, lemon salad dressing, and lemon cookies. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, B, and C, lemons reduce the risk of cancer and arthritis. No wonder they are the most consumed fruit on the planet. Lemon zest has flavorful oil glands that had a delightful zing to this cookie dough. The dough is so delicate that these cookies melt in your mouth. Kids can wash 2 organic lemons with a scrub brush and carefully grate the zest from both lemons onto a piece of parchment paper. In a bowl, add 1 ¼ cups of organic whole wheat pastry flour and cut 7 tbsp of cold vegan butter in small pieces and rub into crumbs with your fingers. Mix ⅔ cup organic powdered sugar, the lemon zest, 1 tbsp arrowroot starch, 1 tbsp organic soy yogurt, and 2 tbsp water and work into a smooth dough. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking tray with parchment paper. On a lightly floured bread board, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness. Using a 2 inch cookie cutter, of any shape, cut out the dough and put it on the baking tray. Cook for 10 minutes, remove and leave to cool on the tray for 2 minutes, then transfer to a plate to cool completely. The cookies are delicious plain, but kids can make a glaze with ¾ cup of powdered sugar, the juice of ½ lemon, and the grated zest of one lemon. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies and let set 30 minutes. Store the cookies in an air tight container for a week on the counter or 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
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 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.
Summer squash varieties, crookneck, pattypan, sunburst, and zucchini, are fast growing and prolific, producing fruit in 40 to 50 days. Summer squashes are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with skin that has phytochemicals that fight diabetes, protect the liver, and suppress coughs. Kids love squash mixed in pasta, rice, stew, or blended into sauces. Kids can also eat fresh, firm zucchini blossoms that are slightly opened to stuff, sauté, and bake. Squash blossoms are said to be clarifying and to serve when you wish to be understood. Native Americans think of squash as one of the three sisters in a garden, with corn and beans, whose roots nourish each other and when harvested make a nutritionally balanced meal. Kids can start the seeds in small pots in late spring and transplant in early summer to a larger pot or raised bed garden filled with rich organic soil. When harvesting in mid summer, kids can use clippers to cut through the stem 1 inch from the fruit when it is 4 to 6 inches long. The small fruit are called courgettes and are best eaten fresh as they do not store well. If left on the plant, they are called marrows and will grow tougher fruit a foot or longer and will store well.
Kids can grow organic blueberries in a large pot on the patio for a handy super food that sweeps away free radicals, is antibacterial, heart and brain healthy, and high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. For a tasty snack with a fruity burst, kids can make these healthy treats. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Kids can wash 1 cup of fresh organic blueberries and put them in a small bowl with 1 tsp organic maple syrup, 1 tbsp cane sugar, and ¼ tsp cinnamon. In a large bowl add 1¾ cup organic whole wheat pastry flour, take 2 or 3 tbsp of the flour to stir with the blueberries and set the small bowl aside. Combine the rest of the flour with ⅓ cup organic sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp organic corn starch, ¼ tsp sea salt. Cut into this mixture 6 tbsp cold organic vegan butter. Kids can mix with a fork or their fingers until mixture has a coarse crumb consistency. Add the blueberries. Mix ½ cup organic unsweetened almond milk into the flour mixture and stir until well blended. Turn dough onto a floured bread board and knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll into a 9” round and cut into 8 equal wedges. Cut each wedge into 3 triangles. Place triangles 1” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 15 minutes, until lightly browned.