Seasonal Recipes for a Happy Everything

Apple Sauce

This is a great treat for the lunch box or after school. If you have never had homemade apple sauce, you must make this recipe. It is super easy and super delicious. Of coarse it is best to make this in the fall when the apples are in their peak of sweetness. In my cooking class we use the rotary apple peeler for the red apples and the carrot peeler for the yellow apples. Just to give the kids a chance to peel with both kitchen tools. A good thing about using a crock pot is that it cooks without you even being home. But also, the house smells delicious and cheery. A wonderful autumn smell.

Hardware- rotary apple peeler or carrot peeler, knife, cutting board, crockpot or pot with lid, teaspoon, small bowl, wooden spoon, electric blender, big bowl, dinner plate, oven mitt, dish towel.

Software- 6 red delicious apples, 6 golden delicious apples, ground cinnamon, sugar, water

Steps

  • Using either the rotary peeler or a carrot peeler, peel the skin off the apples.
  • Place them in the bowl of water.
  • Lay the plate on top to keep the apples submerged in water. This will prevent air from touching your apples. So your apples won’t turn brown. A process called oxidation.
  • Using your knife and cutting board, cut the apples off the core by cutting around the core.
  • Be sure to put the cut apple slices back into the water.
  • When all your apples have been peeled and sliced, put them in the big pot with 2 cups of water.
  • Meanwhile in a small bowl mix together 3 Tablespoons of sugar with 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon.
  • Stir them together. Add 2 Tablespoons to the cooking apples.
  • Cook til the apples are soft.
  • Once the mixture has cooled enough to handle, transfer it to a blender.
  • Place the lid on top and cover the lid with a dish towel.
  • Hit the button to blend. In minutes you will have the best applesauce ever.

Enjoy it as is or as a topping to oatmeal, pork chops, pancakes, potato pancakes, or waffles. Enjoy.

TMT- Good science moment to teach about Oxidation. We used a barrier to prevent oxidation. Lemon juice and honey are other barriers to try. Apples can be graphed, written about, life cycle of an apple tree to explain the 4 seasons, read about John Chapman and why he greatly helped pioneer families stay healthy.

Pumpkin Pancakes (adapted from allrecipes.com) for Halloween/fall

We made these for my cooking class and read Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. Very fun since the movie is out now too. In the book the whole story starts because Grandpa flips a pancake and it lands on his grandson’s head. In a bowl that I was not going to use for cooking, I had the kids feel the baking soda.

TMT – Good teachable moment to be scientists. I had them guess what was in my bottle. We talked about the 3 states of matter. They took a sniff of what was in the bottle to see if they guessed correctly. Most had said water. Then they all watched as I slowly poured the vinegar onto the baking soda. They were very thrilled to see all the bubbles. We talked about what is in a bubble. And recapped. Solid-baking soda, liquid-vinegar,and bubbles-gas. This explains why these pancakes are so amazingly light and fluffy. Enjoy.

Hardware-frypan or griddle, flipper, plate, fork, big mixing bowl, medium mixing bowl, mesuring cups for liquid and dry, spatula, ice scooper that sweeps out the cup or 1/4 measuring cup, measuring spoons, paper towel

Software- 2 and 1/2 Cup Aunt Jemima Original Pancake Mix, 4 Tablespoon brown sugar, 3 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (available in baking aisle), 1 egg, 1 and 3/4 cup milk, 2 Tablespoon canola oil, 2 Tablespoon white vinegar, 1 and 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pie mix), 1/8 cup ground flaxseed meal, 1 teaspoon vanilla yogurt, fresh bananas, chopped pecans (optional), real maple syrup

AHN-“Adult Help Needed” to help you cook them on the griddle

Procedure

  • Crack the egg in a small bowl. Make sure there are no shells. Dump the egg into the big mixing bowl. Wash the egg off your hands.
  • Next add in the milk, pumpkin, oil, and vinegar
  • In the medium bowl mix together the pancake mix, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, flaxseed meal. Stir them together to combine
  • Pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet. Stir with a spatula until just combined. Do not over mix. Over mixing causes pancakes to be rubbery.
  • Let the batter just sit. It is called rest. This allows the bubbles to form.
  • While your batter is resting, peel your banana and toast your pecans
  • Have your plate where you will be putting your finished pancakes on right next to the griddle. Put a sheet of paper towel on the plate. Bring over your batter and flipper.
  • Heat up the griddle on med heat. AHN part
  • pour out a 3 sec pour of oil. Wait 2 minutes.
  • Using the flipper spread the oil around the griddle
  • Using the ice cream scooper or 1/4 cup measuring cup put the batter. Use the back of the scooper to spread out the batter and shape it into a frisbee.
  • When you see the edges getting not as shiny and bubbles forming in the pancake, you are ready to flip it.
  • Hold your flipper as if you were shaking hands with it. have your thumb nail facing up. Get the edge of the flipper under the edge of the pancake. push the flipper so the entire pancake is on your flipper. Then roll your hand as if you were turning the page of a book. This should make the pancake flip like a page in a book. Never flip the pancake toward you. You don’t want to risk splashing the hot oil on you.
  • Cook 2 mins or til golden brown
  • Using the flipper, remove the finished pancake to the plate. The paper towel will soak up any excess oil if you have some.

To serve- put 2 pancakes on a plate, top them with a dollop of yogurt, sliced bananas, and a drizzle of maple syrup, sprinkle on the chopped pecans. (optional)

Variations- you can use cooked sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin. Adding cranberries after you pour the batter onto the griddle is nice too.

I have used this as an on the go meal/snack by heating up a breakfast sausage and rolling the cooked pancake around it. Smear on some strawberry cream cheese to help it stick together. Send it with some apple slices and you have a super easy to pack school lunch. great for fieldtrips too.

Basic Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce is soo simple it is unbelievable. I make a bunch of this in the fall when there are fresh cranberries in the market. It keeps well if you keep it in the frig w/0 opening it. So I prefer to make many 8 0z jard than one huge one. I know the Brady bunch got everyone into Porkchops and Applesauce, but my family likes porkchops with cranberry sauce better. This sauce is also great on the pumpkin pancakes.

Hardware- Pot with lid, liquid measuring cup, dry measuring cup, wooden spoon

Software- 1 bag of fresh cranberries, 1 C sugar, 1 C water

Wash the cranberries, discard any mushy ones, add them to the pot, add the sugar, add the water, stir to combine. Put the lid on it and let it simmer on med low til the cranberries are swollen and popping. The sauce will be a bright beautiful red color naturally, no food coloring. Place them into very clean jars and refrigerate. It will last you all year.

Cheddar Cheese Corn Bread slightly modified from a  Mary Engelbreight cookbook for Thanksgiving/Fall

Like any corn bread, this one tastes the best hot out of the oven. So to make my life easier, I will put the dry team together and set aside. Put the wet team together and set aside in the fridge. Then the next day or two when I need it. I just have to melt the butter and mix the two teams together. If possible set out the buttermilk, butter and eggs to come to room temperature.

AHN-“Adult Help Needed” to help you use the oven

Hardware- 8 x 8 brownie pan, toothpick, wooden spoon, mixing bowl, cutting board, sharp knife, can opener, measuring cups, measuring spoons, fork, mug, cooling wire rack, oven mitts

Software- 5 Tablespoons sugar, 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 and 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 large eggs, 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk, 1 and 3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears) or canned corn works too, 1 and 1/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded finely minced ( optional)

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350. Using a empty butter wrapper, wipe butter all around the brownie pan.
  • In a bowl stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  • Rinse and chop the cilantro leaves, set aside
  • In a large mixing bowl, Add the eggs and beat with a fork
  • Add the buttermilk
  • Microwave the butter in a mug, Once it is melted add it to the egg mixture and mix well
  • Stir in the dry team from the smaller bowl
  • Stir in the corn, Cheddar cheese, cilantro, and jalapeno if using.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake til top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool slightly on a wire rack. Then cut into squares and serve while still warm.

Sweet Potato Latkas for Chanukah

Cranberry Sauce for Christmas

So super easy yet so tasty with turkey, ham, or chicken. A little dollop can also add a bit of zing to an appetizer too.

Software– one bag of fresh cranberries from the produce section of the store, 1 Cup white sugar, 1 cup of water

Hardware– a tall sided saucepot with lid, wooden spoon, measuring cup for dry, measuring cup for liquids

Procedure

Wash cranberries and discard all the soft ones, put the cranberries in the pot, add the sugar, add the water. Stir. let it cook until the berries start to pop. Stir occasionally. Once most of the berries are popped then turn off the heat and let it cool down. It will be liquidy. Pour it into a glass jar and refrigerate. This will let the natural pectins start to gel. I told you this was an easy recipe. Enjoy. Since fresh cranberries are a seasonal fruit, when I see them in the market I will make a few batches and store them in the fridge to use throughout the year. Fresh cranberries also freeze well. Rinse them off first.

Happy Healthy Hearts for Valentine’s Day/ Feb is heart health month

Febuary is Healthy Heart month. Here is a recipe that is so simple that my kindergarten students can do it all by themselves. One of the easiest ways to take a step in the healthy eating direction is to swap out white bread with brown bread. Look the for words whole grain, whole wheat, multigrain on the label of you bread.  The reason is that white flour is converted into sugar in your body so that your blood sugar goes up and then you have a blood sugar drop and that is why you get sleepy after a big pasta dinner. This is called a food’s glycemic index. Wheat flour whole grain products have a low glycemic index. The fiber helps you feel full longer, helps your digestive system move, and keeps your energy level steady. And all that helps you perform the best you can at school/work.

Hardware: butter knife, heart cookie cutter, cutting board, egg slicer

Software: sliced wheat bread, Light strawberry cream cheese, fresh strawberries

Procedure:

  • Place a slice of bread on your cutting board, cut it with the heart cookie cutter. If you have 2 cutters, you can put one right side up and the other upside down and get 2 hearts out of one piece of bread.
  • Place the part of the bread that you aren’t using on a cookie sheet and dry them out for bread crumbs.
  • Using the butter knife spread strawberry cream cheese on the heart shaped bread.
  • Wash your strawberries, pat them dry with a clean dish towel.
  • Place it on an open egg slicer with the stem side touching the slots and the pointy side up. Push down on the strawberry so you have slices. Stop when you get to the stem taking care not to go through the stem. This allows you to fan open the slices in a decorative way.
  • Place the strawberry in the middle of your heart.
  • Or the other option is to cut off the stem of the strawberry and slice all the way through and place the strawberries on the cream cheese in a single layer.

Either way will taste splendid. This open face sandwich is fun to serve with strawberry tea.

Zucchini Bread for St. Patrick’s Day

Leprechauns love any food that has green in it. Bake up a loaf of this delicious bread and use it to bait your leprechaun trap. Hiding little bits of gold in the batter will keep him wanting more.

Hardware: mini food processor or box grater, loaf pan, parchment paper, 2 mixing bowls, wooden spoon, measuring spoons, measuring cups, liquid measuring cups, cutting board, pumpkin carving knife, fork

Software: 2-3 zucchini (2 cups) please see tip below on how to grate a zucchini, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, 3 and 1/4 C wheat flour, 1/8 C flaxseed meal, 1/8 C wheat germ, 1 C brown sugar, 1 C  white sugar, 1 tspn baking soda, 1 tspn baking powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 1//2 C canola oil, 1/2 C unsweetened apple sauce, 4 eggs, 1/3 C water, 1 and 1/4 tspn salt, 1/2 C  golden raisins, 1/2 C walnuts/pecans (optional)

Tip “AHN” – Adult Help Needed. When you grate a zucchini, cut off the end, put your pencil holding hand in an oven mitt. Hold the zucchini in the mitt and move it up and down over the grater. The other option is to just stick it in a food processor. You’ll still see green specks in the finished product.

Procedure:

  • Mix the dry ingred. Flour, salt nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, but not the brown sugar together. (brown sugar dissolved better in wetness.)
  • In the other bowl crack the eggs, remember to tap 2 eggs together and make them kiss.
  • Then hinge it open like a book. Check to make sure you didn’t get any shells in the bowl.
  • Using a fork, whip them up like you are making scrambled eggs.
  • Then add the oil, water, lemon juice, and zucchini.
  • Pour half of the wet team on top of the dry team ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. Once it is mixed together then pour most of the rest of the wet team into the bowl. Add the wheat germ and flaxseed meal. If you are going to add the raisins then save 1/2 Cup of dry mix and toss the raisins til they are covered in the powder. Pour the raisins and any remaining powder on top of the wet team. Gently stir in the raisins. By coating them with powder, it prevents the raisins from sinking to the bottom of the baking pan.
  • Pour the batter into loaf pans. You can get 5 mini loaf pans or 1 large loaf.
  • Bake at 350 F. for 1 hr for a large loaf.
  • Test if it is done by sticking a toothpick in at the thickest part and the toothpick should come out clean. a few crumbs are fine. gooey batter on the toothpick means it is not done yet.
  • Pour yourself a big glass of milk and enjoy.

Green Eggs and Ham for St. Patrick’s Day AKA Angelic Deviled Eggs with added Spinach and Pesto

Usually deviled eggs are made with all the egg yolks and mayo. These are angelic because we swap out some of the yolks and all of the mayo. You want some yolks because egg yolks not only give your deviled eggs the yellow coloring but they also help to prevent Macular degeneration in the eyes. To make them into Green eggs for a Dr. Seuss baby shower, I added pureed fresh spinach leaves and pesto to the egg yolk mixture.

Hardware- small pot with lid, bowl of ice water, egg slicer, tablespoon, teaspoon, mixing bowl, slotted spoon,

Software- number of eggs that will fit into your pot (for me it is 6), 2-3 teaspoons of greek nonfat plain yogurt, 2 pinch kosher salt, 1/2-1 teaspoon sweet pickles chopped or sweet relish without the juice, fresh cracked black pepper, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard, small drizzle milk, rinse and finely chop 3 baby carrots.

Normally you want really fresh eggs for cooking but this is an instance where an older but not expired egg is best. Reason being that eggshells are porous. They let air and moisture in and out of the egg. Eggs have an inner membrane just beneath the shell. As the egg gets older and it is hard boiled the air between the shell and that membrane expands and you will notice that the shell won’t stick to the hardboiled white part of the egg. So you won’t be pulling the white off along with the shell when you peel it.

Steps:

  • Boil the eggs in the pot. Remember start with cold water on med low for 5 minutes to bring the water and eggs up in temperature. Then turn up the heat to med. Once the water starts to boil set your timer for 1 minute or count for 60 seconds.
  • After the timer goes off, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the water for 12 minutes.
  • As soon as the timer goes off, carefully scoop out the eggs with the slotted spoon and put them in the cold ice water to stop the cooking process. Using this method prevents the darkness that often is on hard boiled egg’s yolk.
  • Take your eggs out of the water and peel them. Put them back in the bowl of water just to wash off any tiny eggshells that you might have missed.
  • Cut the eggs in half lengthwise.
  • Pull out the yolks of 4 eggs and put them in a mixing bowl. Give the other 2 yolks to your dog or throw them away.
  • Chop up 2 of the egg halves using your egg slicer or a fork and add it to the bowl. This adds more protein to each egg halve and bulks up the mixture.
  • Add the greek yogurt, relish/pickles, mustard, carrots (I like the color and crunch),salt and a couple of turns of fresh cracked pepper
  • Mix well
  • This is when you can add the pesto to the mixture. Puree the fresh spinach into a liquid (It will be a vibrant green) Add it to the mixture.
  • Using a teaspoon scoop the mixture into the egg whites so it makes a gentle mound. Or you can get fancy and put the mixture into a piping bag and squeeze it in the whites.
  • Place them on your serving plate
  • Either sprinkle the tops of the yellow mixture with paprika or cracked black pepper
  • If you aren’t going to eat them right away, put them in a tupperware and stick them in the fridge.

Enjoy.

Roll the can Ice Cream for Summer

This is the recipe and method we use at home because I don’t have an ice cream maker at home. It comes out soft so you might have to transfer it to a freezer safe container and stick it in the freezer for a few hours. This is a great thing to make when other kids come over since they can all participate. Just roll the can as you would a bowling ball.

Hardware- 2 metal coffee cans with lids, one should fit into the other and still have room for ice to go around the smaller one. I have used a plastic jar for the inner can. Masking tape, freezer safe container, big metal spoon, 1/2 C rock salt, ice

Software- 1 Cup heavy cream, 1/2 C sugar, 1/3 C sliced strawberries, 1 C Milk, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract,

Steps-

  • Starting with very cold ingredients will speed up the process. Combine ice cream ingredients into the smaller can.
  • Place lid on the can.
  • Put tape over the seams so salt water doesn’t get in.
  • Cover bottom of the large can with ice.
  • Place the smaller can inside. layer half of the the salt and ice around the smaller can.
  • Place the lid on the larger can.
  • Roll the can around The more you shake it around the faster it become ice cream.
  • Empty the old ice and salt.
  • Stir the ice cream to the center and repack the cans using new ice and salt.
  • Roll some more. When the ice is melted, open the large can and enjoy.

It should be the consistency of soft serve. If you want it firmer transfer it into the freezer safe container and stick it in the freezer for a while.

Guilt Free Ice Cream for Summer

Part of the boot camp experience is writing down what you eat in a day. Ice cream happens to be a huge weakness of mine. While trying to make a quick smoothie, I accidentally created this pleasant surprise. I hope you like it as much as I do. It has sweetness, creaminess, and the chill of ice cream w/0 the fat. You get protein and creaminess from the yogurt and antioxidants and vitamin C from the berries and potassium from the banana.

Bananas are a great fruit to have on hand. When I notice that they are getting very spotty and over ripe, I peel them and stick 2 in a sandwich ziplock bag and freeze them. Label it 2 bananas before you stick it in the freezer. Then you can use it for smoothies, guilt free ice cream, or to make banana bread (just let them defrost first).

Hardware- mini blender (I use something like the Magic Bullet), spoon, bowl or ice cream cone

Software- 4 frozen strawberries and or blueberries, 1/2 a frozen banana, nonfat plain greek yogurt (I like fago brand), squeeze of honey,

Steps

  • Put the berries, banana, and 2 tablespoons of yogurt in the blender. Add the squeeze of honey.
  • Make sure the lid is on tight
  • Blend till smooth.
  • Scoop it out into a cup or cone and enjoy

Watermelon Juice for Summer

Watermelon juice. It is refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day. Not to mention it has the antioxidant lycopene, lots of vitamin C, vitamin B, potassium, lots of water and since it is pureed,  all the fiber.

For kids …Adult Help Needed “AHN” for operating the blender and cutting the melon

Hardware- Blender, knife, cutting board, wooden spoon, paper towels, pitcher

Software- whole watermelon

  • Wash the outside of the watermelon with soapy water.
  • Place a damp kitchen towel under a cutting board to prevent it from slipping and also so soak up the juice so it doesn’t spread all over the counter.
  • You can also place a paper towel on top of the cutting board to keep the melon from slipping around while you try to cut it in half.
  • Remember to never have your hand or fingers in front of the knife blade. Your knife could easily slip on the watermelon’s smooth rind.
  • Carefully, using a smooth bladed knife cut the melon in half.
  • Remove the paper towel.
  • lay the melon on the cut side so it doesn’t wobble around.
  • Cut it in half again and continue to cut parallel lines. then lay the semi circles on their sides and cut off the rinds. Throw these in your compost pile.
  • Cut the watermelon flesh into chunks and put them in your blender.
  • Put the lid on and blend away.
  • If your blade gets stuck, simply stop the motor and move the watermelon pieces around with your wooden spoon.
  • Put the lid back on tight and blend again.
  • Transfer your frothy drink to a pitcher.
  • Pour it in a tall glass over ice cubes and enjoy.
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