A Quick and A"peel"ing Snack

How to make a fun interactive snack when the cupboards are bare you ask?
Well, maybe you didn't ask but I will tell you anyway.  I am always looking for fun ways to make the same old thing feel new, so if you have and aging banana and peanut butter you have it made!  If you look carefully you can see the banana peel under the slices, just for fun.

I am not a lover of bananas (I know, I know how could that be?) but I am trying hard not to impose my culinary dislikes on my child's pure palate. I always say, "never let them see your reaction to a food, let them judge for themselves," but I don't think you have to do much convincing to get kids to eat bananas. 
Disliking the banana has been a bit of a hardship for me, missing out on shared desserts like banana cream pie, Bananas Foster, smoothies heavy on banana, it has been tough. (tears)
Lucky for me I happen to love peanut butter so I have found that the two together are quite good. I think most of you would agree with that statement, or at least be happy for me that I can enjoy a banana with my daughter now and then. Here is an easy idea for a quick snack.
Read about the contest below and see past winners too!

Back to the task at hand.

Banana Dots on a Peel Plate
1 Banana, save 2 strips of peel for serving on
peanut butter, smooth 
shredded coconut, cereal or cracker crumbs

All we did here was to slice a banana in rounds on a plate, use a plastic knife and make sure to let the kids do it.
Give them a baggie with a tablespoon of peanut butter in it, cut off the tip to create a small piping bag. Let them squirt the peanut butter on the rounds, this will make a mess. 
Place the rounds right on top of the inside of the peel  (hard to see here) it gave it a nice curve and the girls thought it was really silly. 
Let them sprinkle the coconut or topping of choice on the rounds and eat.

Read below and enter the contest, get the kids involved and have fun.

One Kid Chef Will Win a $25,000 Scholarship Fund
Making a peanut butter sandwich has never been more rewarding. The makers of Jif(R) peanut butter, the number one choice of choosy moms, announced today a call-for-entries for the Seventh Annual Jif(R) Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest(TM). The grand
prize is a $25,000 scholarship fund with four runners-up receiving a $2,500
scholarship fund. Parents can help their kids (ages 6-12) enter this
nationwide contest between August 4, 2008 and November 14, 2008.

Through the Jif® Moms Voice Their Choice Contest™, one lucky mom will win a 4-day, 3-night trip to New York City and a seat at the judging table at the 7th Annual Jif® Most Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest™.

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Freaky Friday

Welcome to Freaky Friday. I happen to be the lucky owner of a set of recipe cards from 1973, a lot of recipe cards, and most of them are a bit freaky! I thought I'd share some of my thoughts and possible ways to update these recipes. Some cards are just too far gone and can't be fixed but hopefully, at least I can get you laughing. Now don't be afraid because some of these recipe cards have a good foundation for creative recipe ideas. We have come a long way baby...


Old School

ground beef, raw
lemon juice
egg yolks, raw
sour cream
chili sauce
rye bread

Update Suggestions...

My vote,  let's just pretend we never saw this and move on.

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Move over Easy Bake Oven..

There is a new dog in town and she knows how to "roll" over!
Remember the Easy Bake Oven (yes I still have mine) well forget those little cakes and get a load of this:

Recently I wrote a post on making sushi with your kids. It was about making "fast food," now I know it can be done even faster, where have you been The Norimaki Makki Sushi Roll Maker? Some of you may be intimidated by hand rolling carefully cooked rice, perfectly sliced veggies but now it is so easy even a kid can do it, perfect every time, and it isn't even a Ronco!  For some reason I just think this is hilarious and can't wait to get one.

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Freaky Friday

Welcome to Freaky Friday.
I am the lucky owner of a set of recipe cards from 1973, a lot of recipe cards, and most of them are a bit freaky!  I thought I'd share some of my thoughts and possible ways to update these recipes. Some cards  are just too far gone and can't be fixed but hopefully, at least I can get you laughing.  Now don't be afraid because some of these recipe cards have a good foundation for creative recipe ideas.  I am always up for suggestions and comments.
We have come a long way baby...

As you can see this card is marked as "children's favorites," hmmm maybe not.
It may have been a good snack after recorder practice in 1972 but let's talk about how we can make it better. 

Old School...

heavy cream

canned pineapple
lettuce cups
buttered toast

Update suggestions...

plain yogurt
lemon juice

wheat germ or flax for sprinkling

Serve in silicone cupcake cups or foil cupcake papers

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An apple a day could keep a species alive

Photo by Matthew Carden

Apple season is beginning and you should know that the Gravenstein apple is an endangered species. As my husband pointed out, unlike an endangered animal, the way to save this apple is to eat it. In the 1970’s Sonoma County was the Gravenstein capital of the world: today there are fewer than 10 Sonoma farmers who still make a living selling apples. Eat them, seek them out and find them, help the farmers survive. Slow Food Russian River and it's volunteers are helping save this delicious apple, all the farmers and people who make products from this fruit. This delicious and crisp apple really bring me back to my childhood, we didn't have these where I grew up but we had apples.

I grew up in Upstate New York in the midst of apple orchards, the best times were getting the fresh cider and a paper bag of apples to take home. I would like to be able to do that here is Sonoma with my daughter, good times we hope.

My husband was commissioned by Slow Food Russian River to create a poster about saving the Gravenstien and chronicle the life of the apple from blossom to fruit and everything in between. If you are interested in Slow Food go to the Slow Food Nation event here in San Francisco in September.

"Slow Food Russian River is one of 140 convivia in the USA to carry out the Slow Food mission at the local level. We support and promote the food traditions that are part of the cultural identity of this country. Please join us as we work to celebrate and sustain the agricultural and culinary traditions of people around the world."

If you would like a poster contact info@slowfoodrr.org

If you would like to purchase one of Matthew's other works go 350 Degrees or contact me.

Poster Text 
Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple Presidia Project - Production of Gravenstein apples is now only a fraction of its historic levels as small farmers struggle to market their heirloom fruit. The international
Slow Food Foundation for Bio-Diversity has established the Sebastopol, California Gravenstein as one of only six food products in the U.S. to be placed in their Presidia.
The Presidium, (from Latin praesidum, ‘protection, garrison’) works to promote farmers who nurture their apples from tree to table. Their agricultural traditions yield sweet-tart, crisp, juicy and delicious
Gravenstein apples. For more information go to
Slow Food USA envisions a future food system that is based on the principles of high quality and taste, environmental sustainability,
and social justice – in essence, a food system that is good, clean and fair.
Limited edition poster by Matthew Carden -

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Letter Ice, it's Cool

We have been working on numbers and letters in our house these days, brushing up before Kindergarten starts next week. (yikes)

The stars must have been aligned, because recently I was asked to review a cool new product called Letter Ice, gladly I accepted. The website says you can bake them freeze them and basically make anything in them. I thought this would be a perfect way to get her to practice without making it all academic, you know the creative way. Since our whole world revolves around creative thinking and eating, and well, both at the same time this product was perfect for us.

Last week was a bit busy so I decided rather than wait I would start freezing whatever we had around. First we took a banana pudding we had and put it in the numbers mold. I put the pudding in a Ziploc and cut off the tip and squeezed it into the molds. I tapped them down and tossed them in the freezer, taking care to lay it flat.
When we took them out they easily popped out of the molds but looked bland and pale, that needed fixing. I figured that this was kind of a treat, although not quite ice cream, so I added a pool of chocolate sauce to stand the numbers up in. They still needed something and my daughter suggested sprinkles, how could I refuse. We put about 6 numbers standing up on a long narrow plate and it was adorable. Everyone took one or two and the plate was cleaned in minutes.

Now for experiment number two. My husband and I had been shooting Mojitos for a client that day and had lots of mint leftover. I tore up the mint and added them to plain water to make minty ice. I also had some rapidly aging blueberries so we tossed in the frozen minty letters and as they melted Claire ate her letter fruit, and loved it!

The molds are tough and durable, dishwasher friendly and all around great. They are a nice addition to any kitchen and a great way to use up leftover ingredients.
The verdict, we love them, from ice to cake to chalk or crayons, these molds rock!

For more information go to Sillycone inc.
Letters retail for 19.95$
Numbers retail for 9.95$

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Incr-Edible Facts About Beans

Throughout the year I will be helping my friends over at The Vegetable with More get the word out about beans and the benefits of eating and cooking with them. You will learn a lot about them and I will pass on some easy kid friendly recipes, so make sure to check back for bean updates!
For more bean recipes go to TVWM.

Most Americans need to triple the amount of legumes 
they eat, such as beans, to meet the 3 cups per week the numbers show that they have tons of protein and fiber. 
I bet you knew that!

Beans By The Numbers
(amounts based on ½ cup x 3)

White Beans (Navy, Great Northern) *Protein: 8.5 g, Fiber: 5.5 g

Garbanzo Beans Protein: 7.8 g, Fiber: 7.1 g

Red Kidney Beans Protein: 7.4 g, Fiber: 6.4 g

Cooked Broccoli Protein: 2.2 g, Fiber: 3.0 g

Frozen Corn Protein: 2.1 g, Fiber: 2.0 g

Fresh Carrots Protein: .6 g, Fiber: 2.2 g

Here is a recipe from The Vegetable With More
I love what the author said about praying for cold days so they can make this soup, that cracks me up!
As always alter the recipes to your family's taste.

White Bean Chicken Chili

"This recipe was passed down from a friend, and now it is one of our favorites! It's great to make whenever there is left over chicken or turkey around! We pray for colder weather in California just so we can make this soup! You can substitute additional diced tomatoes for the tomatillos. If you would like the soup to be spicier, you can add some red chili flakes or salsa. Serve with these toppings for people to choose from: limes, cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips."
Submitted by: Thea

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound diced, cooked chicken meat
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (18.75 ounce) can tomatillos, drained and chopped
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (7 ounce) can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15 ounce) can white beans
2 ears fresh corn
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 lime, sliced
Heat oil, and cook onion and garlic until soft.
Stir in broth, tomatillos, tomatoes, chilies, and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
Add corn, chicken, and beans; simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with these toppings for people to choose from: limes, cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

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Don't Waste Summer

You were in the store and the watermelon looked tasty and it was on sale. You wrestled it in to the car taking care not to let it roll around the trunk.
You cut it into triangles and the juice ran down the kid’s faces, it was delicious but now you have half an aging melon taking up most of your refrigerator. What to do now? I know tossing it seems like a waste so don't make it into a sweet, refreshing snow-cone-ish dessert. You don't need a fancy ice cream maker, just a fork and container and a bit of time.

Make this to taste, depending on the sweetness of your watermelon, it does not have to be overly sweet, really it should just taste like fresh fruit.

I really like to use simple syrup, sugar and water melted together but you can make this with regular sugar, substitute in 1/2 cup granulated for the simple sugar. If you have an oversized fork use it to rake the mixture. But don't leave the fork in the freezer and then lick it when it is frozen, my mistake...ouch.

Watermelon Granita

4 cups seedless watermelon chunks
1 C. simple syrup (recipe below)
Juice of 1 lemon

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch plastic or glass container and freeze for 1 hour. Rake mixture with fork and freeze for another hour. Check it a few times to make sure it is not turning in to a solid block. Rake and freeze for one more hour. Rake and serve in cups. It should stay granular indefinitely.

Simple Syrup

1 C. sugar
1 C. water

Bring the water to a boil.
Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water.
Once the sugar is dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat.
Allow to cool completely.

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