Safety and Sanitation. Oat Bran Muffins

Safety and Sanitation:

Before you enter the kitchen, tie your hair back if you have long hair, and if you’re sick, stay out of the kitchen altogether. Next wash your hands in warm, soapy water. If you have any cuts or sores, be sure to cover with a bandage. While you’re in the kitchen, if you sneeze, cough, touch your hair, nose or any other body part, or eat, please wash your hands again. You obviously wash your hands well after you use the restroom. If you handle raw meat or fish, please wash your hands before touching any other food. Ideally your clothes and aprons should be clean.

Here are some very important tips to always keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

• When you work with food, keep raw foods away from cooked foods.
• Keep food away from cleaning products.
• Wash all raw fruits and vegetables before preparation.
• Rinse off your meats and fish as well, pat dry and leave in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. Raw and thawing meats and fish should always be kept on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to avoid dripping and contamination.
• Do not thaw foods at room temperature; thaw in a proper container in the refrigerator. Do not refreeze food after it’s been thawed.
• Food needs to be held at proper temperatures to avoid the growth of bacteria that can make you sick. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Stuffed meat and reheated leftovers should be kept at 165 degrees, beef and other hot food, 140 degrees, fish and poultry, 145 degrees and cooked pork, hamburgers and eggs, 155 degrees.
Kitchens can be dangerous places, with sharp equipment and hot stoves! It was my experience when I had my cooking school that, in order of accidents, potato peelers, graters, knives, and hot stoves and ovens, were the major culprits. With some very basic and very important rules, well learned, accidents rarely happen.

A tip for adults working with kids in the kitchen is to try not to hover. I understand the nervousness about watching an eight-year hold with a knife, but hovering only makes them nervous and makes the kitchen a stressful place, when it should be a warm, nurturing place. When they understand basic kitchen safety and the proper use of equipment such as knives, they’ll be fine.
There is one basic rule when working in the kitchen-stay focused on the job at hand! If you are grating or chopping, your eyes are on that knife and cutting board and nowhere else. When this is learned, accidents rarely happen.

A Tip for ‘quick breads’:
Carbon dioxide is necessary for leavening, or causing tiny air pockets in, the pancakes or muffins. Excessive blending of the batter causes early formation and escape of carbon dioxide gas. Over-mixing can overdevelop the gluten (a protein) in the flour. While some of this protein is necessary for the normal texture of pancakes, too much gluten can produce tough, chewy pancakes and muffins. For best results, stop mixing the batter before all the tiny clumps of flour are gone.

Oat Bran Muffins
Serves 12

2 cups oat bran
1/2 cup sugar*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup milk or other liquid. We used Chai once.
3/4 cup applesauce or pumpkin puree or prune puree
2 eggs
1 cup apple, grated
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil the muffin pan or use paper muffin cups.

Mix together first 5 ingredients. In a small bowl mix together the milk, applesauce and egg; stir well and add the grated apple. Stir briefly into the dry ingredients with the pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins.
Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.

Notes:
* Use non-refined sugar such as Sucanat or Rapadura
You may use walnuts instead of almonds and dried apricots, cranberries or cherries instead of raisins. I have also added 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of chopped sunflower seeds.

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An Easy Breakfast….

Here’s an easy breakfast that we’ve found all kidd like! You-or better yet the kids- can put together in about one minute at night, for an easy breakfast.

Oats and Chai Breakfast

For one serving, place in a Mason jar or bowl:

2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon old fashioned oats
10 raw walnuts, or other nuts, lightly chopped
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of sea salt
1 cup almond or other milk

Stir together, place in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours, or over night.

In the morning, stir in fresh berries.

Enjoy!

Oats and Chia

Sandwich Ideas

With school back in full-swing sandwiches can go from creative and inspired to quick, easy, and sometimes boring.

Some simple tips are to use bread that is at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per slice, and heap on the veggies! In that school lunch also ad some kind of veggies-carrot and celery stick and red pepper slices are perfect, and if you like a nice piece of fruit.

Here are some sandwich ideas for you!

Sandwiches:

Sometimes the spread can really perk up your sandwich. Try the Chipotle Dressing on the Mexican Wrap, Garlic Herb Aioli on the Peasant Loaf, or spread your High Tea sandwich with Maitre d’ Butter. Sometimes it’s all about inspiration.

Peasant Loaf
Cut crusty French or Italian bread in half lengthwise, brush with olive oil or butter, fill with thin slices of Gruyere cheese, fresh thyme leaves, mixed salad greens, thinly sliced tomatoes and red onions, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste.

High Tea Sandwiches: Have a tea party!
Use thinly sliced bread of your choosing, spread with butter or mayonnaise (regular or vegan-type) and fill with thinly sliced radishes, thinly sliced English cucumber, chopped scallions, watercress, and fresh or dried dill.

Tuscan Grill
Fill wholegrain bread, rolls or pizza dough with leftover grilled vegetables–bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini or summer squash, tomatoes, onions. Use season-appropriate vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh herbs. Ratatouille will work if you have leftovers.

Asian Inspired
Sauté onion, celery, garlic, ginger, and Asian greens (Chinese cabbage, bok choy, etc) in a little sesame oil and soy sauce until tender. Spread a piece of pita bread or a wrap lightly with peanut butter and stuff or roll with veggie mixture.

Chapati
Spread one half of a chapati or other soft bread, flatbread, or pita with egg salad made with diced green or red onions, radishes and curry powder to taste. Add lettuce or spinach and fold in half to serve.

Middle Eastern
Spread halved whole-grain bagels with cream cheese and hummus or baba ganoush, thinly sliced cucumbers, chopped lettuce and tomato, and toasted sesame seeds.

The Herbal Power House
Place the following on a whole-grain roll — mayonnaise, sliced Monterey Jack cheese, alfalfa sprouts, sliced tomato, grated carrots, and a sprinkling of parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano.

Mexican Wrap
Mix leftover cooked beans, shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack, chopped jalapeno chilies, chopped fresh tomatoes, grated jicama, salsa, sour cream, and chopped fresh cilantro in a wrap.

Portobello Sandwich
Slice leftover grilled or pan-fried Portobello caps, toss with barbecue sauce, aioli or pesto mixed with a little mayonnaise, and add to your favorite bread (focaccia cut horizontally is nice) with as many seasonal veggies as you can!

Egg Sandwich
Butter each side of two slices of bread-any type you like, including an English muffin. Place in a cast iron pan or other skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Flip and do the same on the other side. If you like, place some cheese to melt on this side of the bread. Remove from pan. Fry a large egg in a little butter and when you flip it, sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper. You may also fry a small slice of ham with the egg for your sandwich if you like. Not a sandwich to be eaten often!

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Favorite Recipe from Camp: Turkey Meatloaf

Yes, Turkey Meatloaf beat out homemade ice cream!

Turkey Meatloaf
Serves 10

3 pounds ground turkey
3 large eggs
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
1 medium red pepper, chopped fine
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 small carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. I find it easier to use my hands for the mixing. Place the mixture in the 9X9 pan and shape into a loaf. If you like top with BBQ sauce. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until light brown.

Notes: If you are sensitive to oats you may substitute leftover brown rice or brown rice breadcrumbs. You can easily reduce this recipe by half-but then you might not have leftovers!

Serving Ideas: You may form the turkey into meatballs and place on a cookie sheet to bake. Cooking time for meatballs is about 30 minutes, depending on the size. You may also sauté them in a large frying pan in a little olive oil. When done, remove from pan and drizzle with Honey-Dijon Sauce.

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Eat Local and Seasonal for Optimal Health

Did you know that there are a wide array of health benefits to eating vegetables that are in season and locally grown? With modern agricultural technology, it is very easy to disregard the importance of seasonality. Today, we can consume any type of vegetable at any time of the year. Despite this technological advancement, there are many research studies that show seasonal vegetables (and other foods) are far more beneficial for our health.
To begin, eating seasonal vegetables is what human beings have done since the beginning of time. Our hunter gatherer ancestors did not possess the technology to grow summer vegetables in the winter and vice versa. If the Earth cannot produce a vegetable during a certain season, we venture to say that there is probably a reason! This brings us to our next point.

Seasonal vegetables have been shown to contain higher levels of nutrients compared to vegetables that are grown out of season. This is a very obvious benefit- the more nutrients, the better!

Buying vegetables from local farmers can help lead us to eating more in season. Local farmers in your are are also much more likely to be using sustainable farming practices and also likely use fewer amounts of chemicals and pesticides.
In conclusion, eating locally grown vegetables that are in season will lead to a healthier body, mind, and Earth. Check out the awesome info-graphic below for more information regarding seasonal vegetables and all their benefits. For simple and delicious seasonal recipes to get you started, contact us!