Lemon Basil Summer Hummus

This summer humus has the fresh tastes of lemon and basil. We recently tested it at one of our Kids Summer Cooking Camps and it was a hit. For those youngsters new to hummus the fresh lemony taste is a great food chain to a familiar flavor (most kids LOVE lemonade). We found that even adult hummus fans were pleasantly surprised by the fresh summery taste of this recipe. We made these little snack cups with a rainbow of garden veggies dipped in our summer hummus and took them to our friends at Dragonfly Yoga Studio. Kids and parents got a chance to try them after their family yoga session, and the recipe got great reviews! Hooray for summer! BABY FOOD OPTION Hummus makes a great second stage baby food. At my recent baby food class many of the babies even tried this recipe. Give a brand new eater a taste on a baby spoon, and for a baby starting finger foods, spread hummus on toast and cut into small bite-sized pieces.  For the newest eaters grab a portion for baby and then add the salt to taste for the rest of the family. DR. YUM TIP For hummus, canned chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) have a better texture than the dried cooked version. My favorite brand of canned beans is “Eden Organic” Their company makes beans in cans without BPA in the lining. BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a chemical found in the lining of most canned foods and has been proven to have many harmful health effects, including being hormone modulator known to promote obesity. I also like their beans because there is no added...

Squash and Chickpea Soup with Greens

This is an impromtu soup I made last week which got rave reviews from the kids. I made this again tonight and wrote down the recipe so I would not forget. Chickpeas are a GREAT source of fiber and protein. The squash and greens make this a nutritional WINNER!! Tonight I’m serving this with some dollop of Greek yogurt, whole wheat bread make in our breadmader, and asian pears. YUM!! Dr. Yum Tip Serve warm leftovers in the morning and pack this hearty soup lunch in a thermos. Pack an apple and some leftover crusty bread for a complete lunch! Baby Food Option This makes a great baby food, but you can add the the salt and spices later when squash has softened. Grab a cupful of the plain, unspiced soup and run it through the blender or food processor to make a great stage 2 or 3 puree. Then add spices for your older tasters.   INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, diced 3 cloves garlic 2 fine slices of ginger 2 carrots, sliced 32 oz. chicken OR vegetable broth 20-24 oz, butternut or buttercup squash, peeled, seeded and cubed 1 tsp. cumin 1/4 tsp. turmeric 1/2 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. black pepper 1/8 tsp. chili/cayenne pepper 4 large kale leaves, chopped 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed Greek yogurt (optional) DIRECTIONS Heat olive oil in a large heavy pan. Cook onion for about 3-4 minute until transluscent. Add garlic, ginger and carrots and cook 1-2 more minutes. Add broth and squash and bring to a boil. Add cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper....

Power Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is a kid favorite. Many of us crave grilled cheese and tomato soup from time to time, especially when the weather gets chilly. However, the traditional processed American cheese on white bread grilled with tons of butter and a can of condensed tomato soup is nutritionally a bit….wimpy.  But there is a way to pump up the muscles on this classic lunch. Start with kale (after all which veggie packs more punch than kale!) This is a great way to get greens into lunch using a familiar favorite. After stir frying the chopped kale to soften the texture and taste, incorporate it into your sandwich for a gooey, melty green, cheesy power sandwich. Serve on a hearty whole grain bread and serve with our quick “No Can Tomato Soup” for a perfect comfort food lunch! Yum!! Dr. Yum Tip Cheese, although high in calcium and protein, is also high in saturated fat. Make sure that you don’t rely too much on cheese, and mix things up with lower fat dairy like plain yogurt and plant-based sources of protein like beans, lentils, nuts and seeds (some seeds like sesame seeds are very high in calcium, too!) INGREDIENTS Olive Oil 3 large kale leaves 1 clove garlic minced salt 4 slices whole grain bread 4 slices of your favorite cheese or cheese substitute (I think muenster works great) Butter DIRECTIONS Remove large ribs from kale leaves and chop leaves finely. Heat about a teaspoon of oil in a large skillet. Add the kale and garlic and stir fry until soft over medium heat. Add salt to taste. Remove from...

Kiwi Strawberry Pizza

This is a VERY simple recipe that incorporates fresh fruit, dairy, and whole grains to make quick snack. This can easily serve main dish for a school lunch but it’s also sweet enough to be a dessert. I love recipes that serve many purposes. Resist the urge to add sweeteners to your puree. If you have nice sweet strawberries, you should not have to have anything. Note the recipe makes several servings, but you may only need one or two at a time.   Baby Food Shortcut: If cut into tiny little peices this recipe can be a great fingerfood idea. If your baby has not tried kiwi or strawberry yet, try other “toppings” that your baby already likes. INGREDIENTS Pint of strawberries (3-4 per pizza) package of soft whole wheat pita rounds (prefer Wegmans 100% whole wheat pita) 4 oz. cream cheese 2-3 kiwis, peeled sliced (about 1/2 kiwi per pizza) DIRECTIONS Mash a few strawberries at a time with a potato masher or fork. If the puree is too thin, strain a pit of the juice off. Spread a layer of cream cheese on each pita. Spread a few teaspoons of strawberry puree on top. Garnish with kiwi slices. Cut into quarters and serve. RATINGS:  “I LOVE those pizzas! I would like you to make them again and again!” Asa, age 6  “Those pizzas are amazing! I really like the bread and the kiwi!” Zane, age 10  “Whoa those are really good!” Daryle, a...

Quick “No Can” Tomato Soup

Over the past 1-2 years I have been reducing our family’s consumption of canned foods. The reason for this is that many canned foods can have detectable amounts of BPA (Bisphenol-A), a common chemical used in many plastics and also linings of cans used for food. The more acidic foods have more detectable BPA there is. There are a host of human health concerns linked to BPA exposure, including neurological problems, hormone disruption and cancer. In the past few years manufactures were mandated to take BPA out of plastic bottles because of the concerns of BPA’s effects on babies and children. However, most food companies continue to use this chemical in cans. To read more about BPA and some of the health concerns in children read this Web MD article, “The Facts about BPA”.  Some pediatric endocrinologists recommend that their patients minimize canned foods because of BPA’s hormone disrupting effects. In one recent study it was found that just one can of soup per day can raise one’s level of BPA by one thousand-fold! My kids and I love tomato soup (with grilled cheese, of course!) so I wanted to find a way to make this in a pinch without using canned soup. There are some boxed tomato soups now available, but I don’t always plan ahead. I have learned to improvise with a pantry staple.  I have started keeping boxed tomatoes (strained and diced) in my pantry for chili, stews and curry dishes. While teaching my grocery shopping class, I have noticed the brand I buy, POMI is now being sold just about everywhere (including Walmart). The strained tomatoes...

Pasta with Chickpeas and Escarole

I have been looking for more vegetarian recipes as our family is eating more meatless meals. When I’m looking for vegetarian recipes, I try to be mindful that we are including enough protein. This recipe uses chickpeas, which are high in fiber and protein, and I also chose a pasta made with Kamut (an ancient variety of wheat) and quinoa, which also increases the protein by 8gm per serving. I found this recipe in Food Network Magazine, and made a few minor adjustments. A few of my tiny tasters complained that the pasta was dry, so make sure to add enough pasta water to keep a moist consistency. Budget-Friendly Even with my pricier pasta, organic chickpeas and organic escarole, this recipe is quite a bargain. The entire recipe can be made for $10.77, making 4 HUGE servings at $2.69 per servings. I got 4 servings for dinner, 2 servings for the kids lunch the next day and leftovers for my own lunch. It was well under 2 dollars per serving for a nutritious main dish. Baby food option Overcooked pasta is a great finger food for new eaters. Remove a small portion for a baby or toddler before adding the crushed red pepper. Smash the chickpeas with the back of a fork  and chop the escarole into fine pieces to make it easier and safer for baby. For an a very new eater, run a portion through a mini food processor or blender and serve more like  a Stage 3 food with a spoon. INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons olive oil 6 cloves garlic, minced 1 large head escarole, roughly chopped...

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