..The Intuitive Times
Kitchen Korner


Back to School

by Karin LaRonde

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Nutritional studies have shown that good nutrition helps keep children focused, their energies high, and their moods balanced, all of which are factors that promote learning. The day should begin with a quick (take-along if necessary) breakfast, move into a nutritious lunch, offer up an energy-packed after-school snack and round out with a well-balanced dinner. Smoothies and shakes are a nutritious and quick was to start the day.

Muesli is a super-nutritious and quick start to the day...
2 cups old fashioned oats
¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons wheat bran
¾ cup nugget cereal
¼ cup toasted wheat germ
½ cup raisins or dates
1 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, apples, papaya)
½ cup chopped nuts or seeds (pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds)

Place all ingredient in a large bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. To serve place 1/3 cup of muesli in a bowl and add ½ cup milk, yogurt, soyamilk or applesauce. Stir and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

Sneak in some Beta-carotene with some carrots
¾ each unbleached white flour and whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup dates
2 eggs
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated carrot

Preheat oven to 350 . In large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir in dates. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and oil. Stir in carrot. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until combined. Spread into greased 8x8 square pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes Let cool on rack before cutting into squares.

It's time to start thinking about packing school lunches again. This ordeal always presents a challenge for parents and kids alike. Parents want to provide their kids with nourishing meals that will keep them healthy and thriving through the afternoon. Kids want to bring lunches that will be the envy of all their friends, and that they can eat quickly enough to have some time left over for the playground. Perhaps if kids and parents prepare the lunches together the food may actually be consumed at lunch time. (Although we can't guarantee by whom.) Most kids love "interactive" food: dipping fruit, vegetables, crackers or bread in sauces and spreads; assembling miniature cheese and cracker sandwiches; or making tiny fruit kebabs on toothpicks. Give them some choices from each food group, and allow them to mix and match for a nutritionally balanced lunch. Here are a few suggestions: Fruits and vegetables should be small and easy to eat, like grapes, cherries, small plums, blueberries, melon cubes, baby carrots, cucumber slices, bell pepper wedges and lightly steamed broccoli florets. Beyond sliced bread, try crackers, pita bread, corn bread, muffins, baked tortilla chips, mini bagels, tortillas or even pasta salad. For protein, there's good ol' peanut butter, but the kids might also enjoy hummus, bean dip, sliced cheese, yogurt, cold cuts, tuna salad, egg salad or a thermos full of chili.

When serving tuna, egg or chicken salad, mix in shredded carrots, apples, zucchini, bell peppers, raisins, nuts-anything to add nutrition and fiber without adding lots of empty calories. With such a hearty and nutritious lunch that you know your kids will love, you can even feel good about slipping a cookie or a brownie into the bag. School lunch will never be boring again!

These tasty muffins can feed hungry appetites any time of day
1 cup whole bran cereal
1/4 cup milk
1 cup peeled, cored and sliced apple
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 . Grease one 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners. Combine the bran cereal, milk and apples. Mix well. Beat in the vegetable oil and egg. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar. Make a well in the center and stir in the wet mixture. Add the shredded cheese and mix until just moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Double this recipe and freeze one for later
¾ cup quick cooking oats
1 ¼ cups low-fat buttermilk
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup dried fruit of your choice ( raisins, cranberries, currants, etc.)
½ cup pecans

Preheat oven to 325 . Combine the oats and buttermilk in a medium sized bowl. Mix well and set aside. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda in a large bowl and mix well pressing out any lumps. Add buttermilk mixture and vanilla and stir until all ingredients are moistened. Fold in fruit and nuts.

Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan. Spread batter in the pan and bake for 40 or 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Turn the loaf onto a wire rack and cool before slicing.

Karen LaRonde at 675-3197 operates "Eat Well" and can be found at the Charlottetown Market on Saturdays.

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