One of the things I find most challenging as a mama is finding healthy things to make that my kids will eat and I feel good about feeding them…and that don’t take eight hours to make and are filled with exotic ingredients that are hard to find and cost an arm and a leg. Nowhere is this challenge more evident for me than in packing lunch for my kiddos for preschool/daycare. Our school is wonderful and does have a school lunch option but for a myriad of reasons, we’ve always packed lunch for them. One of my favorite little things to include are these Apple Zucchini Toddler Muffins. Adapted from a recipe by Super Healthy Kids, these tiny muffins pack a pretty good nutritional punch and they are super easy to make. Win! …
I got the sweetest text last month. One of my friends told me that her eight year old daughter was wondering “if that girl who makes really good cake” could come over and bake with her over the Christmas holiday. And when asked what she wanted to make, the answer was German Chocolate Cake. Yep, sounded good to me! This post chronicles their (super fun) day. The food isn’t styled, the lighting isn’t perfect, there was no thought given to composition, but hopefully it encourages you to get your own kids into the kitchen. It’s amazing what they can create!…
A slight hiatus from our normal Wednesday Good Food Reads, which I promise will be back next week.
Recently my 14-year-old daughter came to me about a science project she was going to do for her 8th grade science class. She had chosen to look at basic substitutions you could use while baking, as she is an avid baker. In fact I buy her a baking oriented cookbook every year for Christmas. (Clearly I’m winning at parenting as I’m definitely reaping those rewards!).
She worked diligently on this project one fall afternoon at the cabin. There was a lot of measuring, weighing, and even testing of resistance (it’s good to have a dad who is an electrical engineer and loves to teach scientific principle!). I had promised she could post her results on the blog when she had them written up, and now I am going to deliver. My only other contribution was to buy four different colored cupcake liners so we wouldn’t confuse the four groups. Read on for my daughter’s science project in her own words. Baking Substitutions: A Fun Science Project is below. Proud mom moment…hope you enjoy it as much as I did! …
You know those friends who have your back? Those friends who, when you hint that you might be able to use some of the extra rhubarb from their garden, give you not only rhubarb, but also a split of their rhubarb plant to plant in your own garden? Well, Amy and Peter are those friends. Amy recently gave me a whole arm load of rhubarb, not to mention a rhubarb plant that then got planted in my backyard! The only thing Amy asked in return was to see what I made with the rhubarb. Well, that sure was easy, I made this Cherry Rhubarb Crisp! So now my WHOLE family thanks you, Amy and Peter!…
I tried to come up with a catchier name than Cabin Burgers, I really did. But the truth of the matter is, this is the meal that the kids beg for when we head to the cabin, and thus they have always been called “Cabin Burgers”. The name just stuck, boring or not. And although the name may be boring, this burger is anything but……
***Happy 4th of July***Happy 4th of July***Happy 4th of July***Happy 4th of July***Happy 4th of July***
Happy 4th of July all of you loyal readers! We had actually decided not to do a 4th of July post since both of us had family events to host. However, that was before stumbling across an amazing post by Lady Behind the Curtain! Who is that you ask? Well, a fellow blogger that I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with through social media. She creates unbelievable food and gives great entertaining tips.
One of her latest creations was a stars and stripes pie that was just calling to me! Anyone that knows me, knows that I am the least Pinterest-y person around. I never decorate for holidays (minimally for Christmas-and really only because I have kids), I’ve never made cute little kids projects (even though I have 2 kids), and I’m not at all crafty! A patriotic pie? With stars and stripes? Laugh if you will, but just you wait-I think I actually pulled this one off!
Ahhhh, vacation. Yep, that is right, vacation. Much needed, well-deserved, greatly enjoyed. Don’t we all love going on vacation? Well, my in-laws have decided to “winter” in Arizona 5 months of the year, truly living the ultimate vacation. Unfortunately that means that they aren’t always available to celebrate my youngest child’s birthday on his actual birthday date (in February). No problem, he’s now old enough to understand that not having grandma and grandpa here on his birthday just means presents in the mail (so awesome) and another celebration at a later date (even more awesome). Who doesn’t love another celebration?…
All good dinner parties need treat bags, right? We hadn’t really considered it when first planning our menu. But it is a funny story, how these particular treat bags came to be. My 13-year-old daughter has been learning her own way around the kitchen and has discovered that baking is her forte. For her last birthday I bought her a copy of Joy the Baker’s Homemade Decadence, because really, it is never too early to start your cookbook library-even if you are only turning 13. (P.S.-If you don’t have this one, it is a must have!) My daughter has been slightly obsessed with a recipe in this cookbook for Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies. I must admit, they didn’t look like much, so when she chose them for her weekend project several months ago, I wasn’t super excited. I’m not usually too moved by anything dusted with powdered sugar. However, when I tasted these gooey little bombs, I quickly changed my mind. Pure heaven. My daughter has now made the recipe many, many times and they definitely rise to the occasion. Every time.
When my daughter found out Holly and I were hosting a dinner party, she offered to make a batch of these Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies for us. We already had plans for our dessert course (coming soon!), but what would be a better take home remembrance of a really fun night than a bag of cookies? We took her up on her offer. She set to work, crafting the cookies, and I set to work crafting some bags for the cookies to be packaged in. I’m pretty pleased with what we came up with, and I think our dinner guests were too!
So now that our dinner is over, I can only hope that all of our guests are happily treating themselves to some Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies. Preferably with a nice glass of wine. I recommend you all try them too. Your friends will thank you.
And a special thanks to Joy the Baker (Joy Wilson).
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder (this can be been somewhat hard to find, you can substitute Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder which is a blend of natural and Dutch processed cocoas-this has worked fine for us)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅓ cup (3 ounces) chopped dark chocolate (we have used both 70% and 72% cacao chocolate bars-both have worked well)
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar (you can likely get away with less of this as this is just to roll the cookies in)
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- In a medium bowl ,combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- Chop the room temperature butter into small pieces and rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Mix in the chopped dark chocolate.
- In a small bowl, mix together the egg and vanilla.
- Pour the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix until moistened.
- Press the dough into a ball (you'll have to get your hands dirty here if you haven't already).
- Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Put the confectioners' sugar in a shallow bowl.
- Using a tablespoon, form balls of the refrigerated chocolate mixture.
- Roll the ball in the confectioners' sugar.
- Place the sugar covered ball on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture, rolling in confectioners' sugar before placing on baking sheet.
- Bake about 10 minutes leaving the cookies just a bit undercooked on the insides.
- Cool on the pan for a few minutes before finishing cooling on a cooling rack.
- These are fabulous served warm, and almost just as good eaten over the next 4 days (store in an airtight container).
Homemade pizza, and specifically Prosciutto, Shallot, and Arugula Pizza, was on the menu for this past weekend. We spent a lovely weekend relaxing at our cabin, which means pajama days, family time, movies and of course, a lot of cooking. While at the co-op earlier this week, I asked my youngest what he wanted for dinner this weekend, and he replied “Homemade Pizza!”.
This is another one of my favorite ways to get my kids into the kitchen. My kids have been making their own pizzas since they were very young. I make up a batch of dough in the morning and when it gets closer to the time we are going to start making the pizzas, I prepare everyone’s preferred toppings. Everyone gathers around and stretches their own dough, adds their own sauce “decorates” their pizzas and then anxiously awaits the finished product. Since it’s a meal so easy to customize, it’s perfect for even the pickiest of kids!
For my son, homemade pizza means a pizza with pineapple chunks and mozzarella cheese. For my daughter, who will not touch cheese, it means a pizza with a ton of sauce and heaping mounds of pepperoni. It’s a little more complicated for my husband and I. On our very first date-almost 21 years ago-we went out for pizza. The big problem then was that I was a vegetarian, and he had not yet met a vegetable he was willing to put on a pizza. That first we night we settled on a cheese pizza, yep, plain cheese pizza. I am happy to report we have come a long way since then! Tonight’s masterpiece was one of our favorites-Prosciutto, Shallot, and Arugula Pizza. (I am happy to report, I am no longer a vegetarian, and my husband is no longer afraid of vegetables)
In order to make Prosciutto, Shallot, and Arugula Pizza, I crisp up some prosciutto in the oven. I always make a little extra since this goes so well on salads, pasta and just to munch on. I also caramelize some shallots in butter, which gives the shallots a sweet, rich taste, plus a few shallots always get crispy and are perfect for garnish. This pizza also features goat cheese and parmesan cheese for depth of flavor, although if you don’t like either of these two ingredients, never fear, you could always substitute all mozzarella cheese instead. Arugula finishes this pizza off with a hint of pepper and a beautiful green color. Prosciutto, Shallot and Arugula Pizza satisfies all of my pizza cravings with each perfect salty, peppery, crunchy bite.
So no matter if you like the same toppings we do, or something completely different, this recipe is for you. You can modify it to please any preferences. And it’s a great recipe to get the kids involved in-after all, kids are always more likely to eat foods that they helped prepare! You never know, you may even get lucky and inspire your older kids to keep on cooking-and make dessert! (My daughter, inspired by my time in the kitchen this weekend, spent her afternoon making us frosted brownies!)
- 1 envelope instant dry yeast
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3½ cups bread flour
- 2 ounces prosciutto
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large shallot (sliced-when sliced it will form rings, try to separate these rings)
- 1 Tablespoon cornmeal
- 1 Can/jar of pizza sauce (our favorite is Muir Glen Organic)
- 2 ounces goat cheese
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 handfuls of arugula leaves
- Place instant dry yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
- Add water, sugar, salt and olive oil.
- Turn mixer on and slowly add flour until dough forms a ball.
- Place into a lightly oiled bowl or plastic ziplock bag lightly oiled with olive oil
- Allow dough to rise for at least 1-2 hours, or until dough doubles.
- Split dough in half (for 2 14-inch pizzas). You will use one half of the dough for the remainder of the recipe-save the second half to make pizzas for the kids!
- When dough has 30 minutes left of rising (or you are 30 minutes from cooking your pizza), preheat oven to 400ºF
- Place proscuitto slices on a sheet pan (since my prosciutto comes in a 3 ounce package, I always crisp the whole 3 ounces, extras are useful!)
- Place into 400ºF oven for 10-15 minutes until crispy (keep an eye on this, burnt prosciutto is not good and thinner slices cook faster).
- Melt butter in a small skillet.
- Add shallot slices and caramelize at low heat, stirring frequently for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Turn oven up to 450ºF with pizza stone inside.
- Remove warm pizza stone and sprinkle with cornmeal (you may use less than 1 tablespoon).
- Stretch pizza dough (half of total recipe above) until it is in a circle (rustic is fine!).
- Spread desired amount of sauce onto pizza dough (I use no more than ½ cup-otherwise crust gets soggy).
- Sprinkle crumbled prosciutto onto pizza.
- Sprinkle cheeses (goat cheese, mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese) over dough.
- Place in 450º oven for 15-18 minutes or until cheeses are melted and crust is golden.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Sprinkle arugula leaves over middle of pizza.
- Garnish with caramelized shallots.
- Slice and enjoy!