Thursday, June 10, 2010

Running out of ideas!

I may have bitten off more than i could chew with this week's theme. No oven cooking + kid friendly recipes written by a childless foodie = me out of ideas. My brain was not about to re-invent the wheel last night and we had a simple stir fry with carrots and onions from the garden. So today I'm just going to post a few tips on quickly thrown together finger foods and breakfast snacks that might be entertaining to a kid's palette.

Oven Fries
No need to buy those backed, already fried and greased 'french fry' cut potato things from the frozen section of the grocery store. Prepping oven fries takes about 5-10 minutes, cooking can be speeded by some time in the microwave, you can even use the grill and get outside (with the mosquitos, yay!). You can use red potatoes, russets, and especially sweet potatoes! These won't end up super crisp like a fast food fry, and the sweet potatoes especially tend to come out a little limp - but increasing the temp at the end can help with that. They're delicious. Make some for your kid today:

Pre-heat oven at 400-425. Or warm up the grill.
Potatoes. Any kind, including sweet. Wash well, no need to peel unless kiddo freaks out by potato peel, which is crazy. Poke and microwave for a few minutes to soften the interior a bit and speed cooking time. 
Cut in half, then in chunky strips as even as possible: the skinnier, the crispier they'll get.
Toss in a bowl with a little olive oil, or spray with non stick. Toss with seasonings - any type, for example: salt, pepper, chilly powder, cayenne, taco seasoning, italian seasoning, garlic salt, Spike.
Lay in as even and unoverlapping a layer as you can on a cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, flipping periodically.  You can also use the grill, just be careful not to lose pieces to the coals/propane.
Serve with ketchup (boring), sour cream, sour cream mixed with hot sauce or ranch flavoring dust, mustard, or garlic mayo for those non mayo haters.

Here's a shot from the old days! Preparing oven fries to go to the grill. Cut them thinner for 'fries' or thick like this for more substantial 'chips' especially when grilling. Wow, look at me using store bought seasoning salt: tsk tsk tsk. Times have changed!
Smoothie Ideas
Who doesn't like a good smoothie? Here are a few additions that will blend right in unnoticed, but add a great punch of nutrients often lacking in the veggie hating kid's diet:
  • 1/8 tsp spirulina powder - not too much or it'll taste like seaweed
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach - it'll taste sweet actually, trust me
  • Carrot juice
  • Beet juice
  • Frozen grapes
  • Ground flax seed
  • Nutritional or brewers yeast
  • Bran
  • Peanut or almond butter
Scrambled Eggs - Variations
Scrambled eggs are great, but they can get old. Add a few well matched ingredients to increase nutrients and flavor:
  • Turmeric, it's yellow and matches the eggs plus has a variety of really substantial health benefits 
  • Scallions, or green onions: milder than the bulb part of an onion but can help develop a taste for the nutrient packed bulb
  • Milk and cinnamon - think of it as that leftover french toast batter - a sweet treat
  • Tofu chunks - if you cut them small enough, and sprinkle with turmeric, they'll be hard to decipher and will add protein and isoflavones 
  • Various veggies that might be tolerated. I love broccoli in my eggs, but that's just me.
  • Serve the eggs between soft oat bread for a scrambled egg sandwich. Maybe add some cheese or mayo.
  • Sprinkle in ground flax or hemp seeds for good omegas
  • For some extra calories mix in cooked turkey (or regular if you must) bacon, chopped cheese, or diced ham. These may be served on the side if mixing the eggs with anything else can't be tolerated.
So, there are just some ideas. I'm going to go ahead and post a version of mayo-less egg salad tomorrow just on the off chance the niece will try it - though homemade mayo is much less 'mayo-y' so i may add some in for us. have a wonderful day - happy eating!

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Thank you so much for your feedback, especially if you've cooked one of my recipes or tried one of my tips: let me know how it turned out!