Archive for August, 2009
I love to get the kids in the kitchen and have them help prepare meals. Well… that’s what I like to say. But honestly, when dinnertime comes around, I’m often rushing around to get it done. Instead of finding something the kids can do, I’m often scooting them out the kitchen, out of my way. With our summer activities finally slowing down this week, we were able to take our time and make something together. We decided to make something that’s always a kid favorite: Fruit Kabobs!
Fruit kabobs are a great activity for kids. You can use almost any fruit, they are in bite-size pieces, and the kids can put it together themselves (or with minimal help, depending on their ages). Melon is a perfect fruit to use on the kabobs because it is so easy to cut. I did the big cuts, and removed the rind from the fruit with the big, sharp knife. But then the kids could use a butter knife to easily cut the melon into bite-size pieces. They thought it was great. We had a cantaloupe, but watermelon and honey dew would be good additions. You can see from the picture that we used strawberries and grapes, too. Go ahead and use up whatever you have in the house. Of course, some fruit turns brown quickly, so if you’re making them in advance you’d probably want to avoid those.
Cutting the fruit. If your kids are older, consider letting them cut the fruit themselves with Rachael Ray’s Young Cooks Cutting Set. If they’re younger you could cut the fruit yourself, and just let the kids put the pieces on the sticks. If your kids are somewhere in between, consider letting them use butter knives or plastic knives.
The Sticks. You can use a variety of sticks for skewering the fruit: toothpicks, bamboo skewers, coffee stirs, small skinny straws, or even chopsticks. But my favorite is plastic swizzle sticks, or Drink Stirrers. They are just the right size, not too sharp, and colorful.
Good for kids and the family. This activity encourages kids to help out in the kitchen. Kids feel good about what they created. They get to pick the fruit they want, and then eat it! With the kids going back to school soon, I’m also thinking this activity is great for helping kids build fine motor skills.
Now that I got the kids back in the kitchen, I’m hoping to continue it more often. So, when I sit down to plan our meals for next week, I’m going to include one or two items that the kids can help prepare. Planning in advance will allow me to schedule around after-school activities and give us plenty of time to get it done. If you’re looking for some kid-friendly recipes, or maybe a little more inspiration, check out these online posts and articles:
Gluten-Free Kids in the Kitchen
Other Online articles about Kids in the Kitchen:
Cantaloupe is the theme ingredient this week for Friday Foodie Fix at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. So check it out for more gluten-free recipes with cantaloupe.
Last week, I was honored to be tagged as “One Lovely Blog” by Cheryl at GF Goodness. I have plans to compile a complete list of gluten-free blogs to share with readers, but I haven’t gotten very far with it, yet. So, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to share with you some of the blogs I enjoy reading. This is not an exhaustive list. There are a lot of great blogs out there that focus on the gluten-free diet. Here are some of my favorites:
Book of Yum – Sea creates wonderfully diverse vegetarian recipes. Her gluten-free recipes often include spices and flavors common in cooking in other parts of the world: Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, etc. She also organizes Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger, a blog carnival to encourage bloggers to try each other’s recipes.
Celiacs in the House – I always look forward to hearing about Wendy’s adventures, either in the kitchen, at the farmer’s market, or around town. She has some great gluten-free recipes and product reviews to share.
Flour Arrangements – Sophie has a lovely website with lots of big, beautiful pictures of her gluten-free creations. Makes me drool every time.
Gluten Free Taste of Home – Visit this blog if you’re looking for gluten-free comfort food. Cinde is re-creating all of her favorite vegetarian recipes to be gluten-free.
Gluten-Free Girl – A beautiful writer, Shauna, has been sharing her gluten-free recipes and stories with us for years. We’ve read about her diagnosis, her marriage, and now the birth of her daughter. Her stories often amuse, encourage, and celebrate her gluten-free life. And why not? It’s a healthy way to live.
I’m an Organizing Junkie – What more is there to say. Laura speaks to my inner desire to be organized. It all starts with Menu Plan Monday, a great way to get your week started off right! (This website does not focus on the gluten-free diet, however many people contribute gluten-free menus to Menu Plan Monday.)
Karina’s Kitchen – A lovely writer with beautiful pictures of her scrumptious foods. Karina creates gluten-free recipes that are frequently also free of other common food allergens (dairy, egg and soy). Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free/casein-free recipes.
Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free – Amy always has an uplifting message to share along with her wonderful sugar-free and gluten-free recipes. She is also starting a new blog carnival next week called Slightly Indulgent Mondays.
Sure Foods Living – Alison provides lots of useful information to help others live healthy, gluten-free and allergy-free lives.
The Gluten-Free Homemaker – Every week, Linda hosts a great weekly blog carnival for sharing gluten-free recipes: “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free.” She shows us that making gluten-free meals doesn’t have to be difficult.
The Sensitive Pantry – Nancy has a beautiful blog where she shares her delicious recipes, which avoid gluten, dairy and egg.
The W.H.O.L.E. Gang - Through her Friday Foodie Fix blog carnival, Diane provides recipes and detailed information about the benefits and nutritional qualities of specific foods. She’s an inspiration for trying new foods.
Over the years, I have come to really appreciate the fresh flavor of cilantro. One rice bowl at Chipotle, and I just had to start making cilantro rice at home. It’s actually very quick and easy to make at home, with just a few key ingredients. I like to use it for making rice bowls, but honestly I could just eat the rice as a meal.
1 Cup Basmati Rice, rinsed and drained
1 TBSP butter or olive oil
2 TBSP onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Cups water
1 tsp salt
handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped (about 1/2 Cup)
2 TBSP lime juice
- Rinse the rice in water until the water turns clear. Using a mesh strainer, drain the water from the rice and set aside.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and turn up the heat to medium. Sauté the onion for a few minutes until it starts to get tender. Now toss in the garlic and cook for another minute until aromatic.
- Add the rice to the saucepan and stir around with the onion/garlic sauté. Let it cook in the mixture for a few minutes.
- Now pour in the water and stir. Raise the heat to bring it to a boil and stir in the salt.
- Then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- After cooking for 15 minutes, mix in the lime juice and cilantro. Replace the cover and cook for another 5 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and serve. Makes about 4 servings.
- For rice bowls, you can top the rice with any variety of ingredients: Mexican-flavored chicken, beans, corn, shredded cheese, sliced black olives, avocado, tomatoes, etc. Leftover Corn and Black Bean salad is an easy way to add a lot of flavor. And don’t forget guacamole as an option, too.
- In the picture above, I served it with chicken taquitos. For taquitos, I simply roll Mexican-flavored chicken in corn tortillas and cook in a lightly greased skillet. (For ease of rolling, dip corn tortillas in hot oil (or spray with oil) before rolling and heat on a dry skillet for about 10 seconds on each side.)