Friday, July 4, 2014

Red, White & Blue Crepes: Happy July 4th! @driscollsberry

If I were a responsible food blogger, I would've posted this idea at least a week ago. But...I'm a health coach who just happens to blog...and life has gotten in the way of that. Between a family illness, the end of school, and the start of camp, this is just the first moment I've been able to blog in a while. But, better late than than never, right?

This made for a fun Independence Day breakfast today, but it is a yummy meal any day—and would make just as good of a dessert as a breakfast. And, hey, the United States isn't the only country with red, white, and blue in its flag, so this could work for our readers from all around the globe!

Thanks to Driscoll's, I still have a bunch of coupons for berries (from when I entered my Strawberry Shortcake with Mini Strawberry PopTarts in the company's contest). Fresh berries are the key to this light, refreshing, and nutritious meal!

It's simple. All you need:
  • your favorite crepes (this is a good recipe
  • raspberry fruit spread or jam
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • crumbled feta cheese

Spread a teaspoon or so of jam onto the crepe. Top with a handful of the mixed berries. Sprinkle the cheese over the fruit. Roll up and enjoy!

Of course, you can switch up the flavor of jam, you can use different berries, you can use goat cheese or ricotta. Play around to figure out what you like the best. And enjoy the holiday weekend!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake w. Mini #Strawberry PopTarts @driscollsberry #strawshortcake

Driscoll's berries gave a challenge to a bunch of food bloggers: come up with a delicious and creative twist on a very classic dessert. Strawberry Shortcake. 

I decided to play with the traditional stack of biscuits, whipped cream, and strawberries by swapping out the biscuit and putting in a PopTart. Not the super-junky, overly-sweet, artificially-flavored PopTarts you buy in the supermarket. I'm talking about a homemade version with actual strawberries! Then you top those with whipped cream and more, we're talking about a yummy new twist on a classic, am I right?

serves 4
  • 1 lb. strawberries (I always get Driscoll's organic—yes, even when I'm not writing about Driscoll's)
  • 1/4 cup strawberry 100% fruit spread
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 pie crust dough, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 Tbls + 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp + 2 tsp vanilla sugar (or plain sugar)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To make the PopTart filling, chop about five strawberries. Place these berries, the fruit spread, and the sea salt in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Roll out your pie dough. Using a 2 1/2" biscuit cutter, cut out 16 circles; you may need to roll out the excess dough and re-cut in order to use all of your dough and get enough circles.

Place circles on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Spoon about 3/4 teaspoon of the strawberry filling onto each of half of the circles (remember, the other circles will go on top of these!). 

Take your tablespoon of heavy cream and, using your fingertip, brush the cream around the edges of the dough. Place the other circles on top and press down the edges to seal in the filling. Cut a hole or an "X" on the top of each mini pie. Again, use your fingertip to brush cream over the tops of each pie, then sprinkle one teaspoon of vanilla sugar over the tops of the tarts.

NOTE: If you don't have vanilla sugar, it's super easy to make. After you've used vanilla beans for a recipe, keep the pods! Just stick them in a container of sugar and the flavor and scent infuses your sugar. It's pretty much all I use for baking.

Back to the PopTarts: bake for 20-25 minutes, until the mini pies are golden brown.

In the meantime, whip your cup of cream and two teaspoons of sugar in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form (my whipped cream is a bit over-whipped, you may notice in the pix. Mea culpa. Still tasted delicious, I'll have you know!). Then hull and slice the remaining strawberries. Once the PopTarts have cooled, top with a layer of berries, a dollop of whipped cream, then another PopTart, berries, and cream. VoilĂ ! Strawberry Shortcake with a fun new twist.

Shortcake may get a bit messy, but it sure tastes amazing!

Disclosure: I received coupons from Driscoll’s Berries in order to develop a recipe for their Strawberry Shortcake contest. All photos and opinions remain my own.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Chocolate #Avocado Pudding #healthydessert #Vitamix

In the continuing saga of feeding your kids healthfully, we are now tackling green foods. We've already discussed starting solids and finger foods in our series inspired by Premier Pediatrics. But getting kids to eat green foods can be challenging for many of us.

Green foods are so crucial, as they provide Vitamin K and folate—not just important for the kiddos' growing bodies, but for all of our bodies (especially during pregnancy!). Many of us have found that when our babies become toddlers, they start to become suspicious of green fruits and veggies. Toddlers' sensitive taste buds have learned that many greens are bitter. 

But don't give up! You might need to get more creative (like my Green Fruit Smoothie or my Tropical Smoothie Popsicles). You might even have to have greens for dessert.

I know, it sounds weird to have a pudding made with avocado. I KNOW. I love avocados but I'm not immune to how strange the idea of this dessert sounds when you first hear of it. However, you need to trust me on this. This pudding is creamy, rich, delicious, and you will not even get a hint of avocado from it. And neither will your kids.

yields about 1 cup

  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted, ripe but not brown
  • 3 Tbls whole milk (or coconut milk) 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 to 4 Tbls honey* or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch of salt (this really heightens the sweetness)

*Honey should not be given to children under 1 year of age

Puree all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth and glossy. Chill in a refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This pudding is wonderfully rich and smooth. But I actually like a bit more texture. If you do, too, try topping it with bananas or berries...

nuts, like chopped almonds, pecans, or walnuts...

chocolate chips...

or use the pudding as a dip for fruit or graham crackers!

The possibilities are endless. Play around to see what your family likes best. You can even offer this pudding for breakfast and you'll really blow your kids' minds! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Finger Foods: Frittata Muffins #incredibleEGG

Last week, I mentioned that pediatrician Dr. Deena Blanchard had suggested that I blog about recipes for children at various ages and stages of development. I kicked off with a Berries & Cream Banana Ice Cream for babies who are eating purees—and for their parents who want to eat healthier. This week, I'm tackling finger foods.

This is finger food for babies and parents alike. As I've previously mentioned, I don't think it's necessary for parents to prepare separate meals for their children: if you can cook for everybody at once, your life will be a lot easier! That being said, babies sometimes have different needs; a few simple changes make these frittatas great for the whole family.

Eggs are a fantastic source of nutrition. They're packed with crucial protein, fat, iron, folate, choline, and vitamins A, D, E, and B12. They are easy to chew and have a mild flavor, making them especially appealing for babies. Eggs are also very affordable.

It is often recommended that babies only eat egg yolks until they reach 12 months of age, as the whites are more likely to cause an allergic reaction. For that reason, this recipe includes some Frittata Muffins made with only the yolks. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics now suggests that delaying the introduction of common allergenic foods may not be helpful, even if you have a history of allergies in your family. to your pediatrician to decide what's best for you and your child.

This recipe can certainly be used simply using whole eggs, if you choose not to separate the yolks and whites. It's also a completely flexible recipe—use whatever veggies you have on hand, whatever leftovers you need to use up, whatever cheese you prefer. By making the individual-sized portions, each family member can also customize the fillings—vegetables, herbs, meats, cheese—in their "muffins."

yields 2 egg yolk frittatas and 6-7 whole egg frittatas
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup chopped, cooked broccoli
  • 1/3 cup minced orange pepper
  • 1/3 cup seeded, chopped tomato
  • 2 T chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 + 2 T cream or whole milk
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease eight or nine cups in a 12-cup muffin tin.

Mix together the chopped vegetables and herbs. Spoon the mixture into the greased muffin cups, so that the veggies are evenly distributed and each cup is about halfway-filled. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the veggies in each cup. 

Take three of the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites; place the three yolks into a small bowl and the three whites into a medium bowl. Add the other three whole eggs into the medium bowl containing the whites.

Nothing like the bright yolks of pastured eggs!

Scramble the yolks with one tablespoon or milk or cream and pour over two of the muffins cups filled with veggies and cheese. Then scramble the whites and yolks in the other bowl with two tablespoons of milk/cream, and add some salt and pepper. Pour over the six or seven other muffin cups containing the vegetables and cheese. If you'd like, you can sprinkle some additional cheese over the tops of each filled cup.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the eggs are set. You'll see that the yolk-only frittatas are much denser and won't rise as high. 

The frittatas made with yolks are much lighter and puffier—almost like little souffles.

You can eat these right away, or keep in the fridge till you need them—just re-heat in the microwave and you're all set! These are also super portable, so  take them with you on the road, or pack 'em in a lunch box!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

3-Ingredient Berries & Cream Banana Ice Cream #Vitamix #cleaneating

I recently met with Dr. Deena Blanchard of Premier Pediatrics here in New York City—when I brought her my Berry Nutty Lactation Granola for an event—and we were brainstorming a bit. She suggested I do a blog series on recipes for kids at each age and stage of development, with the first one being a baby puree. 

But here's the thing: I never did purees with my son, I never made him special "baby food." We did Baby Led Weaning (BLW), so my son always fed himself finger foods; he just ate what we ate. Even when my sister and I were babies, my parents just fed us whatever they were eating—they had a small food mill and ran their meals through it. I think parents are busy enough without having to make two separate meals! So, when I was thinking of a puree, I decided to make one that could do double duty: this is for babies and for their parents!

This "ice cream" is great for babies because it is naturally sweet and has no refined sugars, preservatives, or any junk; provides everything from vitamin B6, C, and K to potassium to fiber; and introduces a food with new texture and temperature to babies who are primarily puree-fed. 

This dessert is great for parents because it has has no junk—hey, we should feed ourselves as well as we feed our babies!—and it is creamy and delicious, and totally satisfies an ice cream craving. For those of you looking to lose baby weight...indulge in this dessert instead of a pint of Haagen-Dazs. You're welcome.

For the record, I am not a big fan of bananas. But this somehow doesn't have a strong banana taste—that touch of cream cuts the banana flavor and makes this taste very much like true ice cream.

yield: about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 1/2 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 3/4 cup mixed berries, preferably organic—I used strawberries and bluberries
  • 3 Tbls heavy cream (whole milk or coconut cream can be substituted)

Did I mention you don't need an ice cream maker? Just put all the ingredients in a Vitamix (or other high speed blender) or food processor. Process or blend until smooth. You might need to scrape down the sides a few times, to make sure that everything gets blended evenly. It will be the consistency of soft-serve ice cream at this point; you can certainly dig in right away. Or you can transfer to a freezer-safe container and let the ice cream firm up in the freezer.

There aren't any preservatives in this ice cream, so it will freeze solid. Just take it out of the freezer about 10 minutes before you want to serve it; it will soften a bit and be perfectly scoop-able!

This recipe serves about two adults and one baby. Enjoy as a dessert, a snack, or even breakfast! Yes, I'm suggesting ice cream for breakfast. Again: you're welcome.

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