Nibbles & Noshes

Changing your family’s eating habits in a world filled with processed food is not easy. Where do you even begin? I say start small and take one step at a time. Trying to completely overhaul your family’s diet at once is near impossible. Why not just start with the snacks?

We here at the House of Bedlam spend the majority of our waking hours at ice skating rinks. Which means we encounter lots of vending machines and snack bars with wonderful assortments of decadent treats. Did you know vending machines speak in high pitch voices that only children can hear? The voices are saying “drive your parents crazy until they give you some change!” This has not been scientifically proven – YET…

That vending machine full of colorful chips and candy is hard to compete with. To be honest, I have a hard time walking by without gazing into the glass to see what the choices are. If I gave in every time they asked, my kids would gladly live on vending machine fare. I try and stick to the 80/20 plan and have healthy snack alternatives for the times I don’t cave in.

One of my go to snacks is granola and I’ve come up with a recipe that satisfies their sweet tooth and need for something crunchy. Our secret is to add in steel cut oats for an extra crunch.

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This recipe can be tailored with your family’s favorite nuts or dried fruits. Make a huge batch and have some on hand when that vending machine starts talking to your kids!

The Crunchiest Granola Ever

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. honey

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 ¼ cups Old-fashioned oats (not instant)

¾ cup steel cut oats

1 egg white (optional)

¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)

¼ cup raisins (optional)

– Recipe by Elaine Studdert

Method

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. Add both oats and stir until coated.

IMG_2061Add the egg white and stir until well combined. The egg binds the granola in large clusters which is great for snacking. Just omit if you want the granola to be more like cereal.

Spread the oat mixture on the baking sheet in a single layer, spreading it with a fork to leave clusters. Do not press down.

IMG_2064Bake for 40-45 minutes until browned. The granola will be soft when you remove it from the oven but will crisp as it cools. After granola is cooled break into chunks and mix in the cranberries and raisins.

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Store in airtight container for up to two weeks. If it lasts that long…

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “I like the flavor”

Liam (age 5): “Tastes like cereal”

Dylan (age 5): “Too crunchy”

 

For my local readers:

Upcoming talks w/Jen Dorf, Integrative Holistic Health Coach

Tues 3/3 Central School 7:30pm

Thurs. 3/12 Athleta in Scarsdale 6:30pm

How To Make Meal Time Connections With Your Family:

Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of getting a meal on the table while juggling numerous activities with the kids?  Have you fantasized about enjoying a meal together as a family around the dining room table rather than at the counter or in the car?  Imagine the entire family sharing the mealtime duties so you can all enjoy one another with no distractions. Kids yearn for the family meal and studies show that there is a lower incidence of eating disorders and alcohol/drug abuse when families dine together on a regular basis.  Many of us have never learned how to make this happen! Join Jen Dorf as she shares simple and fun tips to connect with your kids at meal time.  Quick and easy recipes to satisfy the pickiest of eaters, and age appropriate duties will have the entire family engaged at mealtime happy to participate in the process.  You and your family will enjoy each other around the table more regularly.

To learn more visit: Jen Dorf Wellness

A Sure Thing

Do your kids like chicken nuggets? Is the Earth round? Is the sky blue?

I’m always experimenting with ways to make a tastier chicken nugget. There’s some stiff competition out there fighting for my kid’s attention. Some days I have to become my own PR spokesperson, market researcher, and advertising executive to get them to eat an unfamiliar food. But when I cook chicken nuggets it’s usually a successful campaign. It’s one of the few foods beside hot dogs, shrimp and bacon that requires no cajoling, no convincing, and no pleading.

Another thing my kids love is dipping sauces, ketchup of course, being the number one favorite, with honey mustard a close second. That’s how this recipe came about. Instead of serving nuggets with a dipping sauce I decided to try and turn one inside out and put the dipping sauce on the nugget itself. They came out amazing – but make them for your kids and let them be the judge!

Honey Mustard Nuggets (Recipe by Elaine Studdert)

Ingredients

3 Tbsp honey

3 Tbsp honey mustard (you can use Dijon for a less sweet nugget)

2 cups panko breadcrumbs, plain

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 ½ pounds chicken tenders, cut into 2” strips

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a baking rack.

In a small bowl, combine the honey and mustard. In a shallow dish, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the salt and pepper. Then add the olive oil and mix well.

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Dip or brush the chicken in the honey mustard. Place the chicken in the panko breadcrumbs and press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken. Use one hand to dip (wet hand) and use the other hand for the breadcrumbs (dry hand). Place the breaded chicken on the baking rack.

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Bake in oven until crispy, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “Do these have honey on them? I LOVE them”

Liam (age 5): “The chicken is perfect”

Dylan (age 5): “Not better than tater tots!”

Mission accomplished. But now I need to tackle tater tots!

 

 

Carrot Touchdown

We didn’t have a Super Bowl party this year; it was more of a tailgating picnic on our living room floor. And even though we did make chicken wings for the “party” I figured nobody wanted to read about yet another chicken wing recipe the week leading up to game day. But I will definitely post the recipe in the next few months as the wings came out so good my only problem was not having enough. How did I know that 2lbs of chicken would not be a sufficient amount for three children under the age of seven? Lesson learned…

This might sound hard to believe but the carrots I made to go with the wings also got inhaled. Maybe it was because we went skiing that day and the boys were starving? Maybe they were just so excited to be eating in front of the TV? Maybe they wanted to make me happy so I would let them stay up to watch the whole game? Who knows? I don’t care, but I am definitely going to be trying these again.  Even though the Super Bowl was not very memorable this year, these carrots certainly were. Sorry Bronco fans…

Honey Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

8-10 carrots, peeled and cut into 3” pieces

3 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp fresh orange juice

 

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook until they are fork tender. Drain the carrots and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Meanwhile in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil, soy sauce and orange juice. Toss in the carrots and coat well.

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the carrots in a single layer. Roast in the oven until caramelized, about 15-18 minutes depending on the thickness of the carrots. At midpoint of roasting give the baking sheet a shake to rotate the carrots.

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Serve hot or cold.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “A little too mushy…”

Liam (age 4): “More carrot fries!”

Dylan (age 4)” “Why does Liam get more than me?”

What did you eat while watching the big game?

Old Cookbooks

The other day I finally got around to unpacking the last boxes from our move. We have been living here four years so I guess it was time… In a box labeled Assorted I found my old “library” of cookbooks from my single days living on the Upper East Side. I had to laugh because it was such a strange and limited assortment – Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, CIA’s Breakfasts and Brunches, and the most uncharacteristic, Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook. I can only assume the last one was a gift? From whom I can’t recall. I also can’t remember ever using them – I was surprised they had followed me all the way to the suburbs, 15 years later.

I’ve upgraded along the way; but back then my one fancy kitchen gadget was a George Foreman grill that I kept on top of my microwave for lack of counter space. It was a present from my parents for finally leaving the nest! How I loved that grill… not sure where that ended up but it did not survive moving three apartments and one house later, like the cookbooks did.

After flipping through some pages for old times sake I did find several recipes in Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals that seemed easy, quick and suitable for the little guys. Since I had carried it around with me for all these years I figured it would be worth my while to try a few recipes after all. And if I could  cook them in 30 minutes, bonus!

Honey Lime Chicken (Adapted from Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals)

Ingredients

1 lime, juice of

2 Tbsp honey

1 tsp cumin

1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb chicken tenders, about 8 pieces

Salt & Pepper

 

Directions: 

Combine lime juice, honey, cumin, cilantro and olive oil in a shallow bowl.

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Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.

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Place chicken in dressing, making sure to coat each piece, and set aside for 10 minutes.

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Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill chicken about 5-6 minutes per side.

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Remove from grill and let rest. Slice chicken and serve with salsa and chips.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “I’ll give you one point and a bonus burp!”

Liam (age 4): “This chicken tastes like bicycles”

Dylan (age 4): “When you suck on it, it gets too spicy”

I am not sure what bicycles taste like but Liam did eat all of his chicken. And cooking time for this meal was in fact 30 minutes. Bonus burp to Rachael Ray!

Rites of Passage

As much as my husband would love it, the boys are just not ready to hang around on a Sunday afternoon watching football. I have absolutely no doubt it is our future but for now Brian patiently waits and surrenders the TV to the latest Kung Fu Panda episode.

With the Super Bowl on the horizon we thought it would be fun to take the boys out to one of the local wings joints. Our plan was to watch the playoffs and the boys could eat wings to their hearts delight. They were so excited to be partaking in this manly Sunday ritual. In retrospect, perhaps our expectations were a bit too high.

The boys were all swagger walking up to the restaurant but upon entering were completely overwhelmed by the noise and crowds. Once we adjusted to the decibel level and placed our wing order things started looking up. And when they got a juice box things got better and better… until the wings arrived. Piping hot and smothered in sauce – the boys eagerly went to try them. Although we ordered the mildest version, you could almost see smoke coming out of their ears. All three simultaneously started crying and yelling for water. Disaster – but happily an order of hot dogs and fries fixed the situation fairly quickly.

To restore their love of chicken wings, I decided to make a very UNspicy, sweet version of wings this week. We can ease into the spicy stuff down the road a bit!

Sweet Honey Balsamic Wings

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 lbs chicken wings (split at joints, tips removed)

1 Tbsp melted butter

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup honey

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with vegetable oil.  In a large bowl mix the flour with the salt and pepper. And the wings and toss to coat. Place the chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for about 45 minutes, turning once.

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In a large bowl, whisk melted butter, balsamic vinegar and honey; toss with the roasted wings.

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Serve with carrots – hold the blue cheese sauce!

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew: These are deeeelicious!

Liam: Yeah, these are deeeelicious! What happens if you eat a bone?

Dylan: These are deeeeyummy! I’m giving the bones to Mackie (our cat)

And order is restored. The boys ate the entire 2 lbs of wings – when I suggested saving some for Daddy they told me to make another batch for him – they were eating them all!