Tag Archives: potato

Child’s Play

9 Aug

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My cooking is a lot of things. I like to think it’s healthy, delicious, fun, creative….(no, this is not a post dedicated to self-flattery, just in case you were wondering)….but kid-friendly isn’t always one of them. You all know how much I love fruits and veggies now. Well, really, I always have, but back when I was a kid, there was a list of ones I didn’t like, including squash, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts (I’m sure there were many more but I can’t think of them as of right now). Needless to say, I have embraced them and am trying to make up for lost time with those under-appreciated veggies.

So when my little cousins (it should be noted that their ages are 14 and almost 12, so at this point they’re not really “kids,” and certainly not “little,” but since I was the youngest until they came along, they’ll always be my “little” cousins) accepted my invitation for a sleepover Saturday night, I racked my brain that would make us all happy: tasty, kid-friendly, and veggie packed. The answer?

POTATO BAR! My family got the idea for this meal from a summer camp that my sister attended growing up (I went one year, suffered terribly from homesickness, and never went back). Basically, everyone gets a baked potato and loads it up with their choice of toppings. I served the potatoes with salad on the side. Although the above two photos just look like a plate of veggies, I PROMISE there is a potato under there (I should have taken pictures of my cousins’ plates, as they were much more “conservative” with the veggies than I, and you can actually see the potatoes). The toppings we had to choose from were:IMG_2478

  • butter spray/butter/margarine
  • fat free sour cream
  • light grated Tex-Mex cheese
  • light feta
  • bacon
  • ham
  • chopped mushrooms
  • chopped green onion
  • salsa
  • lightly cooked broccoli
  • chopped tomatoes

I started with butter spray, then added all of the above (minus the bacon). As you can see, I had a heavy hand with the veggies. In my somewhat limited experience in cooking for kids and/or people with dietary restrictions/people you don’t know well, I’ve found that self-serve, build-your-own meals work best. That way, if there’s something that some like and others don’t it’s easy to leave out. I was happy with my ham, cheese and veggie extravaganza, my cousin was equally satisfied with bacon, cheese, a touch of salsa and some broccoli. This is a great meal to feed a crowd too. It’s fun for all, and, other than chopping, pretty low-maintenance in terms of prep.

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I promised my cousins that if they came to sleep over this summer, we could make ice cream in my new ice cream maker together. Once again, I wanted to find a recipe that would satisfy my desire for something healthier but also meet the taste criteria for younger tastebuds. So when an allrecipes email came into my inbox with a link to this new recipe for Strawberry Freeze by “Laurie” that contained only three ingredients – buttermilk, strawberries and sugar, I was intrigued. The local strawberries available sealed the deal.

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from Laurie at allrecipes.com

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 3 cups buttermilk

Place 1 cup buttermilk, strawberries, and sugar into a blender. Cover, and puree until smooth. Pour in the remaining 3 cups buttermilk and blend until combined. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze or if using an ice cream maker, freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

*Obviously, I went the ice cream maker route, not the ice pop way. The recipe ways it makes 8 servings, but I’d say more than that or you’ll have 8 really big servings!

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Blending up the strawberry goodness.

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The finished product. I know it looks like we added food colouring, but I promise we didn’t – it’s 100% all natural. This “freeze” was quite delicious – not too sweet at all (thanks to the buttermilk I think). Although, it did suffer the same problem as many of my healthier frozen treats. It got quite hard the second day. Still delicious, just needs a bit of microwaving before serving.

Do you have any go-to menus/recipes when cooking for kids?

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Super-quick supper

18 Jan

So…last night I went to Costco with my sister and a friend 🙂 (more on what I bought later).  This was a ton of fun…but it also meant that I got home MUCH later than usual (7:30) and my stomach was growling…what to do for supper? I was brainstorming on the way home, thinking of what I could have. I could always do cereal for dinner, a peanut butter sandwich, or throw a frozen entree in the microwave (all good options from time to time). But I really like to eat lots of whole foods, especially vegetables when I can.

When I got home, I came up with the meal you see at the left (I know the photo is terrible, but hey, I was hungry…I wanted to devour this plate!): the Mexican “baked” potato with braised cabbage as my vegetable on the side.

To make this, I microwaved the potato for about 7 minutes until soft. Then, I microwaved 1/2 cup of  frozen soy crumbles, then added garlic salt, taco seasoning and a few canned tomatoes. I cut up the potato, added salt and pepper, topped with a bit of salsa, the soy crumble mixture, one torn up cheese string, and chopped red pepper and onion – then microwaved it all for about a minute. For the cabbage, I sauteed chopped cabbage in a tsp of olive oil for a few minutes, then added salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, a touch of Splenda, water, and a pinch of time, then reduced the heat and simmered until tender. While dinner was cooking, I snacked on chopped red peppers and a 100 calorie Nutter Butter bar I bought at Costco (it was ok, but not as good as I would have hoped) to calm the serious hunger pangs.

All in all, this supper came together really quickly, tasted pretty good, and was a healthy meal. Not bad! Now I’m not saying that I think that microwave entrees, cereal, or a peanut butter sandwich are bad ideas for dinner – they can certainly fit into a healthy lifestyle. But I want to prove that just because you’re in a hurry doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthy, whole foods.

Side note – I was SO glad I made soup on Sunday. It was almost 8:30 when I finished supper, and I still had to clean up the kitchen and get the garbage ready to take out – having a pre-made lunch was great since it was one less thing to worry about on a busy night!

p.s. I forgot to snap a picture….but I had a delicious sundae for dessert: a generous scoop of dark chocolate frozen yogurt with a squirt of chocolate sauce, 2 crushed mini candy canes,  a couple crushed meringue cookies, and a squirt of fat-free Reddi whip – chocolate-minty goodness!