Cooking with the Littles – Recipes: Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

It was a good day – more lazy than busy.  I am finally almost caught up with everything, so it gave me time to actually start thinking about menus and recipes.  The littles love watching me cook, and I like it when they sit and watch me with anticipation.  Today was one of those days.  They were excited about the snack that I was preparing just for them.  It was healthy and gluten, dairy, and peanut free.  I am continuing to look for things that fit that criteria, and it is getting easier.  I am thankful that we can still eat all the fruits, vegetables, and meat that we want, and that, in and of itself, makes planning menus and creating recipes much easier.  I do miss baking, but I am looking forward to really experimenting with my own bread, cookie, cake, and pie recipes.

Today’s Menu:

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

Ingredients

Fruit Salsa

1/2 cup grapes, sliced

1/2 cup strawberries, sliced

1 Apple, finely chopped

1 Peach, finely chopped

1/2 lime

1 Tablespoon honey

Pita Chips

12 corn tortillas

Cooking spray

Sugar

Cinnamon

Instructions

    Fruit Salsa
  1. Cut up fruit and put into bowl.
  2. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime over the fruit and then drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of honey.
  3. Gently mix and serve with cinnamon and sugar pita chips (recipe below).
  4. Pita Chips
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Cover baking pan with foil.
  7. Cut corn tortillas into quarters, and then half the quarters - each tortilla will make 8 pita chips.
  8. Place the corn tortillas on the baking sheet, and spray with cooking spray.
  9. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on the tortillas.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/08/10/cooking-with-the-littles/

I baked mine for 30 minutes, and I think that it was a little too long.  I would recommend doing 25 minutes and testing them.  Since they are corn instead of flour, they are a bit thicker.  Reducing the cooking time should make them be more crunchy.  When cooked too long, they are a bit crunchy-hard.  The kids loved them, though, and they are sometimes the best, but toughest, critics.  Actually, they really, really loved them.  They sat at the bar for about 20-30 minutes dipping pita chips into the fruit, talking, and laughing.  It was a great afternoon snack.

Watermelon Slicing – Recipe: Fruit K’Bobs

As I mentioned earlier, we spent the week with my parents, and it was lovely.  Actually, lovely is too mild of a word.  It was amazingly awesome.  We were supposed to stay for three days, and we ended up staying for five.  We extended the stay because Ethan was finally starting to heal, and Sean was at home just now starting to get sick.  So, we let Ethan heal at my parents while Sean got some extra rest at home.  By the time we reunited, we were all feeling better.

         

While we were there, we had a watermelon slicing, another little August tradition.  We slice up the melons on the patio and let the littles go to town, eating it however they see fit and letting the juice run every which way.  They like it at first, and then they are quickly ready to rinse off.  They are my children, after all, and they can only be dirty and messy for so long before it starts to bother them.  But, while it lasts, it is just pure fun, the kind that should be a tradition because it does make so many incredible memories.  They will ask me for the next 12 months, “When is the candy festival again?  When is the watermelon slicing?”  I love that those are the things that are important to them – the simple, the fun, the family.

We are back home now and trying to get back on a normal schedule.  I had good intentions of getting this post up yesterday so that I could get our menu planning back on track.  But, between Ethan’s doctor appointment, more school supply errands, and trying to deal with Sean’s unreliable vehicle (and, by “deal”, I mean trade it in and get something reliable), I fell into bed last night knowing that I had spent every last bit of energy left in me.

Ethan’s doctor appointment went very well.  The doctor looked at us at the end and said, “I am optimistic for a full recovery/healing for Ethan.”  And, I could tell that he meant it.  Obviously, he cannot predict the future.  But, he does always tell it like it is, and I believe him.  And, more importantly, he believes in Ethan.  We all believe in Ethan.  The good news is that Ethan’s Vitamin D level was way up.  It has been very low for a very long time, so we were thrilled that we finally saw some progress.  In addition, his ears looked much better.  One of the tests showed that they are within the range of where they should be.  There are several tests, and they all measure different things.  I cannot explain the technical aspects of everything.  But, basically, two of the three ear and balance tests showed great improvement.  The doctor is still concerned about Ethan’s immune system, but he does think that it will continue to improve as we flush out some of the bad things in his body, which will be helped, hopefully, by the diet changes.  We will go back in two months for a check-up.  His ears still are not where they need to be, so we will continue to hope for complete healing since the ears are a huge piece of the balance and potentially speaking puzzle.

Monday’s Menu:

  • Breakfast – Cereal – we like Chex because it is naturally gluten free
  • Lunch – Leftovers
  • Dinner – Spaghetti and meat sauce, salad

I am not sure that today’s recipe should be classified as a recipe.  But, it is something that is great, easy, and gluten/dairy/peanut free.  And, even better, the littles love it!

Fruit K’Bobs

Fruit K’Bobs

Serve the k'bobs as a snack or an after-meal healthy dessert alternative.

Ingredients

Strawberries

Blueberries

Raspberries

Grapes

Wooden k'bob sticks

Instructions

  1. Thread/push/shove the fruit onto the sticks in whatever order your desire.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/08/09/watermelon-slicing-2/

Enjoy your day!!

Going Granola – Recipe: Granola

I remember taking Ethan to one of the family practice doctors who we saw when he was younger, and her commenting that we were “going granola” when I mentioned some of the more natural things that we had decided to do.  I found it funny considering the fact that she was a healthy eating, pilates-loving doctor.  Other than that, I did not really know what to think about the comment.  My brother-in-law has often thought that I am a hippy, and it is more of a term of endearment from him…I think…because I tend to be more laid back, often have some new vitamin or supplement that I am trying, and typically try to convince him to do things such as go to a chiropractor instead of an orthopedic surgeon.

Anyway, whether our new lifestyle is just another step towards “going granola” is not really important right now.  My mission is to just find the best, healthiest, most natural food for our family.  That is not to say that I am using all organize products or never again eating sugar.  But, we are trying our best to eat as healthy as possible, while still allowing a place in our diet for treats and sweets.  I love granola and really wanted to find a recipe that would be a good, easy snack or breakfast.  It is apparently controversial whether oats should be eaten if you have a gluten allergy.  But, from what I could research, certified organic oats, such as this one, are safe.  Since Ethan does not have an allergy, but just a sensitivity, we luckily do not have to be as concerned about where the product has been made (whether there are nuts, wheat, etc. also processed there). However, we are still ready labels and trying our best to make sure that everything is as it appears.

This granola recipe was a hit.  Even the littlest little gave it a thumbs up.

Granola

Granola

This recipe is slightly adapted from Megan's Granola.

Ingredients

8 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup flax seed

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup finely chopped almonds

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup honey

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups raisins or sweetened dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil.
  3. Combine the oats, flax seed, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl.
  4. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat.
  6. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 35-40 minutes.
  8. Stir once halfway through.
  9. Cool and store in an airtight container.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/07/24/going-granola/

It was a good day, make that a great day – granola, grilling, swimming, and family time…another perfect summer day.