Tag Archives: parents

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.

Kid Chef Lemon Cookies

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 use a Pastry Bag

Kids can use a pastry bag to cover a cake with icing, decorate a cake, and make candies and desserts. Find a pastry bag that is durable, reusable, easy to clean, and comes in a kit with different size round and star piping tips. Kids can use piping tips with the pastry bag to create artistic cake decorations. Use the large round tip to make domed icing dots around the edge of a cake and stick a blueberry on top of each dome for a stunning effect. To fill the pastry bag with icing, fold the top of the bag out to help keep the filling from getting on the outside of the bag. Put the piping tip inside the bag and adjust the bag to fit the tip size snugly. Fill the bag three fourths full with icing and push the icing towards the tip. Twist the top of the pastry bag together and hold it there to ensure the icing continues to flow out the piping tip as the cake is decorated. When piping a design on a cake, kids can place an iced cake in the refrigerator for a half hour before piping the icing dots to make a pattern. Make the design on the cake first with toothpick marks, using a pastry bag fitted with a very small round tip.
Kids can add fresh organic fruit, herbs, and edible flowers to the cake decoration for an elegant effect by wrapping the stems with floral tape and sticking them into the icing and cake. Kids can use fruits, veggies, and spices, as natural colorings for the icing. Fruit and veggies are not only a great source of flavor inside the cake, but their vibrant colors in juices and purees achieve elegant shades of colors and flavors in the decorative icing. Pastry bags can coat the cake top evenly by making a circle around the outer edge and a spiral in the center. Kids can use a pastry bag to create divine truffles and tarts filled with organic ganache, lemon curd, or pumpkin filling. Kids can pipe icing made with healthy organic ingredients inside cupcakes and on top of cakes, cupcakes, and mini cupcakes for an artistic elegant dessert.

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.