taste buds

Hot & Cool After School Snack: Fluffy Popcorn & Smoothie

Hot extra buttery microwave popcorn used to be one of my favorite snacks, but after reading several articles about how bad it was for you I switched to air popped corn.  The best part is that I've come up with a way to satisfy all 3 sets of taste buds in my house.  Salty for Ava, sweet for me and spicy for Eric.  I pair Ava's with her favorite Strawberry Mango Smoothie and it's enough to hold everyone over until I've cooked dinner.

Fluffy Popcorn: Salty, Sweet & Spicy

INGREDIENTS:  1/2 cup popcorn kernels, 4 tablespoons melted butter, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon white cheddar popcorn seasoning, 1 big bowl for popping and 3 smaller bowls for serving

Begin by popping 1/2 cup of popcorn into a large bowl.  While this is happening melt 4 tablespoons of butter.  Once the popcorn is finished popping, thoroughly coat it with the melted butter.  I recommend using a large flat wooden spoon to turn the popcorn so you don't get your fingers dirty.

Separate the popcorn into your 3 serving bowls, about 4 cups per bowl.  Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt evenly over the popcorn in each bowl and turn to coat.  SALTY is done, set it aside.

The second bowl is going to be SWEET.  Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Turn with your wooden spoon to coat thoroughly.  Set aside.

Rinse and dry your spoon and we'll finish up the last bowl, SPICY!  Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon rosemary and 1/4 teaspoon white cheddar popcorn seasoning.  Turn with your wooden spoon to coat thoroughly.

The sweet and spicy look similar so I recommend using colored bowls so little ones don't get confused.  You're almost ready to serve.

Strawberry Mango Smoothie

INGREDIENTS:  1/2 cup unsweetened frozen strawberries, 1/2 unsweetened frozen mangos, 4 oz. yogurt (2 tubes), 3/4 cup apple juice

Measure strawberries, mangos, yogurt & apple juice into your blending device.  I love my magic bullet.  Be sure not to overfill the cup.

Blend until smooth and now you're ready to serve.

Snack time!  Use a ziploc bag or tupperware to store uneaten popcorn for tomorrow.

Got Guests? Serve Fresh Cranberry Relish

When I decided I'd share my family recipe, my husband of thirty-five years was ecstatic. "If you're going to blog about it, that means you're going to cook it before Thanksgiving!" he chimed. Hence, this afternoon there's a lovely aroma that smells like pie, but it's not. This recipe is quick , easy and lasts for weeks in the refrigerator. It's a tradition for our Thanksgiving meal but is fabulous alongside a turkey or ham sandwich or as a companion to chicken salad, turkey burger or pork loin.

Ingredients

1 lb. of fresh cranberries

1 box of brown sugar

1/2 c raisins

3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

1/4 t salt

1 t minced ginger root

1/4 t cloves

1/4 c lemon juice

zest of  one orange

Throw all ingredients into a large pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

 

That's it! It's done and people who still serve canned cranberries for Thanksgiving

will be in awe of your culinary prowess!

** Clearly, this recipe is loaded with sugar. Today, my husband is unaware that I used Spelenda Brown Sugar Blend. Half the calories and sugar.

*** You can substitute ground ginger. However, there's nothing like the explosion when  fresh ginger hits the taste buds.

This is a great hostess gift for the holiday season.

When people visit us, I love sending them home with a little expression of  our friendship, so

I'm also keeping a few for guests who visit us during the holidays.

Healthy Children

It is a challenge to get our children to eat healthy and sometimes exercise. It can be so easy to keep the TV to get a few chores done instead of taking the kids out to play. And don’t get me started on healthy foods. How could I have a daughter who did not like any fruit? I have tried them all. What I have learned is that eating healthy food and regular exercise is not a behavior that may naturally happen to our children. They have to see it as an example. What behaviors do your children and future children see you doing? Instead of telling them over and over, they have to see healthy habits in us. At six, my daughter now thinks it is cool to participate in local running events and understands the benefits of riding her bike for fun. While getting our children to eat healthy foods can be frustrating, we have to remember it is the consistent behavior they see in us as parents. My daughter may not always want the healthier choice, but she does ask is this a sometimes food (which is not the healthiest choice) or an all the time food? I continue to put it on her plate, hide vegetables in other placed so that she gets the nutrients and remind her that her taste buds change and she may need to try it just this time. Don’t force, but consistently try and don’t make any food a big deal. Never say “you can never eat that” or “you have to eat it.”

While at the Pediatrician with my 6 year old daughter yesterday, her nurse informed me of an 8 year old who was in their office the day before with borderline hypertension and obese. I was shocked, but realized quickly that at age 8 a child does not know right from wrong food choices or that exercise is a better activity than playing video games or watching TV. We, as parents, have to be good role models by first learning how to make choices and create healthy habits our self. It is only then that our children will (eventually) want to participate in the same, and not because they are forced but because they want to be like mommy. What an awesome responsibility.