Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Orange you glad it's orange season?

One of the great things about this time of year is that citrus fruits are in season! Oranges are at their peak between December and mid spring, so now is the time to buy them for the best taste and price. There are even many different colors of oranges available now to introduce your children to. From regular Valencia oranges, to pink-fleshed cara caras, to maroon colored blood oranges, your choices are varied. Oranges are a nutrient-rich food because they offer many nutrients but have very few calories. One large orange contains only 86 calories but has about 4 grams of fiber, folate, potassium, and a full day's supply of vitamin C. Oranges also contain many antioxidants and phytochemicals that are thought to help prevent certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.

Buy oranges that are heavy for their size which indicates a juicy orange (not a dried-up one). Choose oranges that are firm, evenly shaped, and bruise-free.

Remember to serve the whole orange instead of juice most often so that you get the benefit of the healthy fiber! Enjoy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Biscuit time!

The pan for my bread machine broke a couple of days ago. This was a major disappoint to me because I use my bread machine at least once every week. Now, I have had my bread machine for about 10 years, so finding a replacement pan was not an easy task. The bread machine company no longer makes replacement parts for the model that I have. Long story short, I did end up finding an entire bread machine on ebay for the same price as the replacement pan I found on another website! I am very excited that I will eventually have a working bread machine, but I was scrambling to find something to serve for our weekly "bread and soup night" dinner.

I didn't have enough time to mess with making regular bread with the kneading and the rising time, etc. But, I finally remembered a recipe I had for biscuits that I usually make as a snack for my kids. This is a recipe that I modified from a cookbook to include some whole grains and healthier oils. The verdict? My kids loved them and asked why I didn't serve them instead of bread more often!

Buttermilk Biscuits

1 cup enriched all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons canola oil
1 cup lowfat buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and the canola oil. Cut in the butter with your fingers or two knives until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour in the buttermilk and stir with a fork until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Lightly flour the counter, turn out the dough, adding more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. Pat the dough into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds with a small glass or cookie cutter. Reassemble the scraps and cut them out as well. Place the biscuits on the cookie sheet and bake until light brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Makes 32 servings. Each serving creditable for 1 bread/bread alternate at any meal or snack for 3-5 year old children.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Our Favorite Whole Wheat Bread

I thought I would share with you my family's favorite whole wheat bread. This is the bread I make most weeks for our "soup and bread night", especially when I am running short on time. It is a recipe for the bread machine that produces a delicious loaf every time.

Note: my bread machine is the type where you add the wet ingredients first, you may need to adjust the order of ingredients if yours is different. This recipe is for a 1 1/2 pound loaf.

Whole Wheat Bread

1 1/8 cups water
2 Tablespoons canola oil
3 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups enriched bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
3 Tablespoons ground flax seeds (or other seeds such as chia or sesame)
1 Tablespoon wheat gluten
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons SAF* yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Place all of the ingredients in the bread machine pan. Set the crust for medium and use the basic or whole wheat cycle. Press start. When the bread is done, remove the bread from the pan and cool on a rack.

Makes 48 servings bread/bread alternate for 1-5 year old children at any meal or snack.

*SAF yeast can be purchased from King Arthur Flour. It is not only the most economical yeast I have found (about 6 dollars for a package that makes 96 loaves of bread), but it also gives the best results in bread machines. I keep mine in the freezer in an airtight container and have found that it keeps very well and can be added straight from the freezer to the bread machine.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Take Small Steps Towards a Healthier New Year

Did you make any New Year's resolutions this year? A popular resolution for many people is to improve their health in some way. If this is your resolution, why not consider taking a new small step every day towards your goal to be healthier in the new year? Go to the website "smallstep adult&teen" (see the link below) and check out their tips. You can follow the "health tip of the day" or print out a list of all of the tips and choose one to do each day or each week this year. For example, tip number 11 is "avoid food portions larger than your fist".

While you are there, check out the link to the "smallstep for kids" website. On this website, kids can find their own tips sent in by other kids, as well as games and links to other fun health websites.

Start taking some small steps today towards a healthier tomorrow!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Salmonella Outbreak Caused by Pet Frogs

You may be aware that pet turtles can spread salmonella, which is a good reason to always have children wash their hands after touching turtles. However, a recent salmonella outbreak was instead caused by pet frogs. The outbreak has occured in 31 states so far, including Colorado.

You can read more here:

New Website

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a new website. You can find all sorts of helpful information on their site, including ages & stages, healthy living, and more. You can also download their latest newsletter or even sign-up for emailed information based on the ages of your children.

Check it out at:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Do You Like to Use Your Crockpot?

I recently came across the blog of a lady who spent a year cooking one item per day using her crockpot. If you like the ease of putting ingredients into your slow-cooker, and coming back to a finished dish hours later, this website is for you! You will find over 365 recipes for main dishes, side dishes, soups, desserts, etc. on this blog. There is even an index at the top of the blog to make searching for the recipe type that you are looking for very simple.

You can find her blog at:


(Image by Tammra, Creative Commons)