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Inspire creativity with fun snack hacks

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(Family Features) School days offer nearly endless opportunities for learning and exploration in the classroom, but education doesn’t have to end with the final bell. Parents can ensure their students feel energetic, creative and confident by inspiring snack choices that are as smart as they are fun to make together.

Whether you’re whipping up a snack to send to school or your little learners need an energy boost before starting afternoon homework, creative snacking can help encourage inspiration. As a trusted ally with better-for-you and convenient whole-fruit lunchbox snacks kids can enjoy, Sun-Maid offers these easy tips and ways to embrace the fun side of snack time.

  • Keep It Simple: Look for recipes with five ingredients or less so your children can show their artful nature without becoming overwhelmed. Plus, this often leads to a more budget-friendly at-home treat.
  • Shop Together: Gathering ingredients and equipment is an important part of any recipe, and bringing your future chefs along helps them feel like it’s their creation from start to finish. Additionally, some important life lessons can be learned along the way, like how to navigate the store and compare costs.
  • Provide Kid-Friendly Instructions: There are many ways kids can lend a hand in making their own snacks, like mixing ingredients, washing produce or arranging a plate or platter. However, some steps are best left to the adults – make sure to do any cutting, slicing or dicing before letting children take the reins, for example, then just enjoy the creative fun.

With childhood favorites like crackers, marshmallows and vanilla yogurt covered raisins, Gimme S’mores Trail Mix offers a perfect way to get young minds thinking in the kitchen. A little guidance is all it takes to teach them each step of the recipe to make a crafty, delicious treat. Plus, with only a few simple ingredients that just need to be mixed together, it’s a low-stress, low-mess way to cook up creativity.

For a healthier version of a snack time superstar, Apple Nachos combine sweet apples like Honeycrisp, peanut butter and versatile, whole-fruit Sun-Maid Raisins. Naturally made with nothing but grapes and California sunshine, these sweet raisins have been trusted as a better-for-you snack for kids and grown-up kids alike since 1912.

With zero grams of added sugars, they give parents the confidence they need to choose snacks that provide both great taste and nutrition for a happy and healthy family. As a household staple, they can be enjoyed as part of tasty recipes or as a standalone treat kids crave and parents approve.

Find more sweet ideas to inspire confidence and creativity at sunmaid.com.

Gimme S’mores Trail Mix

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1/2       cup Sun-Maid Vanilla Yogurt Covered Raisins
  • 3          cups graham crackers, assorted flavors
  • 1 1/2    cups colored mini marshmallows
  • 2          cups slivered almonds
  • 1          cup chocolate chips
  1. In large bowl, mix raisins, graham crackers, marshmallows, almonds and chocolate chips.
  2. Serve immediately, or store in airtight container up to 1 week.

Apple Nachos

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute
Servings: 4

  • 5          sweet apples, such as Honeycrisp
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • 2          tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2       cup Sun-Maid California Sun-Dried Raisins
  1. Wash and slice apples.
  2. Arrange one layer of sliced apples on serving plate. To keep apples from browning quickly, squeeze lemon juice on top, if desired.
  3. In microwave, melt peanut butter about 30 seconds until smooth.
  4. Drizzle 1 tablespoon peanut butter over first layer of apples. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup raisins.
  5. Repeat with remaining apples, peanut butter and raisins.


SOURCE:
Sun-Maid Raisins

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EDIBLES

Bake bread to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

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(Culinary.net) From hearty stews to minty pies, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are all about enjoying the flavors of the holiday. Whether you’re cooking up a full meal or simply serving appetizers, this Irish Potato Bread makes for a simple, tasty snack to feed your crowd.

Find more celebratory recipes at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make recipe!

https://youtube.com/watch?v=kdaCyTNQ_Po%3Fmodestbranding%3D1%26rel%3D0%26showinfo%3D0

Irish Potato Bread

  • 2          medium or large russet potatoes
  • 1          egg
  • 1          egg white
  • 1/3       cup canola oil
  • 3/4       cup milk
  • 2          tablespoons green onion, minced
  • 1/2       teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 3 1/4    cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting and kneading
  • 1 1/2    tablespoons baking powder
  • 1          teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Peel potatoes. Slice one potato and boil in saucepan 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove potato from saucepan into large bowl. Mash potato then set aside.
  3. Grate second potato onto cloth. Wring potato in cloth to remove excess water. Add grated potato to mashed potato in large bowl. Add egg, egg white, oil, milk, onion, caraway seeds, 3 1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with wooden spoon until mixture is soft and sticky.
  4. Turn dough onto floured surface. Adding flour as needed, knead dough to form 8-inch round shape with slight dome. Place dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut large “X” on top of dough about 1/2 inch deep.
  5. Bake 55 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire rack 1 hour before serving.


SOURCE:
Culinary.net

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EDIBLES

Produce shopping on a budget

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5 strategies to save on fresh fruits and veggies


(Family Features) Cooking meals that bring your loved ones joy is often objective No. 1 but creating those flavorful favorites on an appropriate budget is an important aspect of well-rounded, family-friendly recipes. A few simple steps, like developing good grocery shopping habits, can put smiles on hungry faces without leaving a dent in your finances.

Consider these tips from the experts at Healthy Family Project along with its produce partners, which are on their 2023 Mission for Nutrition to improve access to fresh produce that’s essential in alleviating many public health and personal wellness challenges. This year’s partners are striving to be part of the improvement efforts by donating funds to increase the accessibility to fruits and vegetables in schools through the Foundation for Fresh Produce.

Make a List (and Stick to It)
When buying fresh produce, remember some items have a shorter shelf life. Limiting purchases to items on your list can help lower grocery spending while alleviating food waste.

Buy Local
Transportation cost is one of the biggest factors in the price of produce, meaning buying local, when possible, can help reduce your total at checkout.

Stock Up on Seasonal Produce
Although you can generally find any produce item at any time of year, this isn’t always an affordable practice. Knowing when your favorite fruits and veggies are in-season can save you money and allow you to use the freshest ingredients in family breakfasts like Protein-Packed Sausage Breakfast Muffins and Savory English Muffins.

Know Your Produce Department
The front or feature table of the produce department often offers the best deals. Don’t forget to look at the end caps on each produce aisle, which sometimes display seasonal items.

Befriend the Produce Manager
Throughout each week, a “hot buy” may come into the store that didn’t make it into the weekly ad. This happens with items at the end of their seasons, in particular, or if a crop is doing well. Chat with the produce manager at your local store and he or she may inform you of special prices.

Find more grocery savings strategies and family-friendly recipes at HealthyFamilyProject.com.

Protein Packed Sausage Breakfast Muffins

Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project

  •             Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1          sweet onion, diced
  • 1          pound turkey sausage
  • 4          eggs
  • 1/2       cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1          cup protein pancake mix
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In skillet over medium heat, cook sweet onion until translucent. Add turkey sausage and cook until no longer pink. Remove from heat.
  3. In large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add shredded cheese, pancake mix and cooked sausage; mix well.
  4. Fill prepared muffin cups about 3/4 full with mixture. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Savory English Muffins

Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project

  •             English muffins
  • guacamole
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 1          tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1          tablespoon light cream cheese
  • 1          tablespoon crumbled turkey sausage, sauteed
  • 1          egg
  • 1          tablespoon basil, finely chopped
  • 1          tablespoon balsamic glaze
  1. Toast English muffins and top with desired combinations of toppings, such as: guacamole, tomatoes and cilantro; cream cheese, tomatoes and turkey sausage; or egg, tomatoes, basil and balsamic glaze.


SOURCE:
Healthy Family Project

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EDIBLES

Cook up a heart-healthy family meal

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A Heart-Healthy Family Meal

(Family Features) Making small changes to focus on your health, like following a healthy eating plan, can make a big difference in protecting your heart.

Developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a heart-healthy eating style for life. It requires no special foods, and instead provides daily and weekly nutritional goals to help lower two major risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure and high LDL (bad) cholesterol.

As an added bonus, sharing DASH-friendly meals with your loved ones can help take the guesswork out of putting nutritious dinners on your family’s table. For example, this easy and delicious Turkey and Beef Meatballs with Whole-Wheat Spaghetti recipe is one the entire family can help prepare.

In addition to a following a healthy eating plan, other self-care habits like taking time daily to destress, being more physically active and getting enough quality sleep can all benefit your heart. It’s also important to know what your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are and what a healthy weight is for you.

Learn more about the DASH eating plan and find recipes at nhlbi.nih.gov/DASH.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Turkey and Beef Meatballs with Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 3          quarts water
  • 8          ounces dry whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 2          cups chunky tomato sauce
  • 4          teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1          tablespoon fresh basil, rinsed, dried and chopped

Turkey Meatballs:

  • 6          ounces 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1/4       cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2          tablespoons fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1          tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2       tablespoon fresh chives, rinsed, dried and chopped
  • 1/2       tablespoon fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and chopped

Beef Meatballs:

  • 6          ounces 93% lean ground beef
  • 1/4       cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2          tablespoons fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1          tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2       tablespoon fresh chives, rinsed, dried and chopped
  • 1/2      tablespoon fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In 4-quart saucepan over high heat, bring water to boil.
  3. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  4. To make turkey meatballs: In bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, evaporated milk, Parmesan cheese, chives and parsley; mix well. Measure 1 1/2 tablespoons turkey mixture and roll into ball using hands. Place meatball on nonstick baking sheet. Repeat until eight turkey meatballs are made.
  5. To make beef meatballs: In separate bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, evaporated milk, Parmesan cheese, chives and parsley; mix well. Measure 1 1/2 tablespoons beef mixture and roll into ball using hands. Place meatball on nonstick baking sheet. Repeat until eight beef meatballs are made.
  6. Bake meatballs 10 minutes until minimum internal temperature of 165 F is reached.
  7. Warm sauce, if necessary.

To serve: Serve four meatballs with 3/4 cup pasta, 1/2 cup sauce, 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese and 1 pinch basil per portion.


SOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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