Monday, January 25, 2010

It's Breakfast Time!

Photo credit: Pottery Barn Kids

The last time I wrote about children and cooking I had a wonderful response so I figured that once a month I would write a post “food related” for cooking with your children.

As a child I loved mixing things up when I got the chance in the kitchen, a lot of my love for cooking came from my grandmother, although a lot of her cooking was very heavy. I have grown over the years to love to cook with fresh veggies and mix unique things together which create a wonderful flavor. When my oldest was old enough to help out in the kitchen I encouraged her to jump in and help as I feel this helped create a basic understanding of cooking, skill and taught her a bit about creativity.

As we all know Breakfast is the most important way to kick off a healthy day so this month I have chosen to share with you some of our family favorites!

Photo credit: Family Fun Magazine

Yummy Crunchy Granola
Sweet and crunchy, this granola is great served with fruit and milk for breakfast, stirred into yogurt or sprinkled on ice cream. It's also a fun recipe for kids to help mix.

• 4 cups rolled oats
• 1 cup wheat germ
• 1 cup chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
• 1/2 cup sesame seeds
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1/3 cup water
• 1 (6-ounce) package dried sweetened cranberries or other dried fruits such as cherries, raisins, pineapple, or papaya


1. Heat the oven to 300º. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, wheat germ, nuts, sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

2. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the oil, honey, and water. Toss the mixture until the ingredients are well combined, then spread it evenly on a cookie sheet.

3. Bake the granola for 40 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes to keep the mixture from sticking. Let it cool completely, and then stir in the cranberries or dried fruit. Makes about 7 cups.

Photo credit: terrific travel ideas

Banana Bread
One of our families favorite Breakfast recipes!

• 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 3 medium very ripe bananas, peeled
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Tip: Use very ripe bananas to make this easy banana bread.


1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch metal loaf pan with butter.

2. In a bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

3. In a large bowl, smash the bananas with a fork. Add the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and beat with the wooden spoon until well blended.

4. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir just until blended.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with the wooden spoon. Put the pan in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it, about 45 minutes.

6. Using oven mitts turn the pan on its side and slip the loaf out onto the wire rack. Let the loaf cool for 15 minutes before serving. Makes 1 loaf.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kids Baking, by Abigail Johnson Dodge

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart

Quiche even your kids will love
Makes one 10-inch quiche. Feel free to try adding mushrooms, spinach and red onions instead of bacon and zucchini. It is delicious!

• 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
• 1/2 recipe Flaky Tart Dough
• 10 large eggs
• 2 cups crème fraiche
• 2 cups whole milk
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
• 5 slices center-cut bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
• 1 medium or 2 small zucchini, peeled lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick ribbons
• 1/2 cup gruyere


1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 16-inch round. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off any excess flour; fit dough into a 2-inch deep-dish tart pan with a removable bottom, gently pressing it into the sides. Using a sharp knife, trim the dough evenly with the edge of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap; chill tart shell until firm, about 20 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Line the tart dough with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Transfer to oven and bake until light brown, about 25 minutes. Remove weights and parchment paper and continue baking until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely. Or you can skip steps 1 and 3 and use a frozen pie crust.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together 1 egg and flour on high speed until smooth. Add the remaining 9 eggs and continue mixing until well blended.

5. Place crème fraiche in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth; add milk and continue whisking until well combined. Add to mixer along with salt, pepper, and thyme; mix until well combined. Strain mixture into a large bowl through a fine mesh sieve.

6. Place bacon, zucchini ribbons, and cheese in prepared tart shell. Pour over egg mixture until tart shell is full (you may not need to use all of the egg mixture). Bake 20 minutes; reduce temperature to 325 degrees, and continue baking until filling is slightly firm, rather than liquid, and crust is a deep golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes more. Transfer quiche to a wire rack to cool until set, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. To reheat, cover quiche with aluminum foil and bake in an oven heated to 325 degrees for about 15 minutes.

This delicious bacon and zucchini quiche recipe is courtesy of Elisabeth Prueitt from Martha Stewart.

Photo credit: Williams-Sonoma

Fruity Shakes

• 1 container (8 ounces) vanilla yogurt
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 6 strawberries, stems cut off, or 1 small ripe peach, pit removed and cut
into chunks, or 1 cup blueberries
• Ice cubes (optional)


1. Put the yogurt and sugar in the container of an electric blender. Add your choice of fruit.

2. Put the lid securely on the blender. Make sure it is on tight! Hold down the lid with your hand (so the lid is not forced off by the spinning liquid) and turn the blender on to high speed. Blend until the shake is thick and smooth.

3. Fill 1 or 2 glasses with ice cubes, if you want your shake frostier, and pour the shake into the glass(es). Serve immediately. Serves 1 or 2.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kids Baking, by Abigail Johnson Dodge

I hope you enjoy some of these delicious recipes, let me know if you do make any of them with your children and how they turned out.
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

My 5 favorite blog posts of 2009

As I start the new year off, it is my new year’s resolution, yes, I am trying something “new” and going to try and do one I really think I can do, not lose the extra 25 pounds I gained over the past few years, but I will “try” to shed a few of those, not take up something new like “sky diving” which I could possibly never do because I am afraid of heights so much that when I’m on a plane I really try and forget there is really “nothing” between my feet and the ground. But rather I am going to try and post on this blog at least once a week!

I started this blog as a spin off so to speak of my main blog but I don’t want it to turn out as some of the old TV shows spin off did; as a bust. I’m really going to try and keep this one cranking.

I began this blog with high hopes of continuing my path of helping others create fully inclusive playgrounds and building on whatever dreams you may have. But what I have found is I also have a passion for passing on fun things to do with children; adventures and recipes. So I’m going to be using this blog to write about all things children with a bit of nonprofit dreaming thrown in there. If you have a dream you’d like to get help beginning please feel free at anytime to drop me a line, or if you have an accessible playground your family uses in your area I’d love to highlight it. In any event, I’d love to hear from you via email or twitter.

My favorites from 2009

1. Some kids Dream about flying while others just dream about playing in the park.

2. Why worry about accessibility?

3. Building of a dream

4. Playground Picnic

5. Ghoulish delights for your little monsters

• Just a little extra because it’s the beginning of the year and I think everyone should take a moment to make sure you have this one “covered.” What’s in your first aid kit?

Happy New Year to you all and here’s to a year of new dreams!
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