Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Whole Grain Wednesdays- Corn Macaroni Casserole

What is your favorite part of summer?  I love the warmer temperatures that let us be more active outside, but I probably look forward to the fresh fruits and vegetables most of all!  Right now we are getting some nice lettuce and spinach from our garden which I love.  It is delightful to just go out and pick a handful of greens to throw on my sandwich :)      

Fresh corn is one of the fresh vegetables I really enjoy, but it is not quite time for that around here yet.  So, I made this casserole with frozen corn (but you can substitute fresh corn once it is in season).  Corn is an excellent vegetable to stir into casseroles or other dishes since it is an exceptional source of antioxidants.  One cup of corn contributes about 2,000 mcg lutein which is an antioxidant thought to help prevent age-related vision problems.

Tip: I have found whole wheat macaroni at SuperTarget or King Soopers.

Corn Macaroni Casserole
1, 16 ounce can creamed corn (low sodium if possible)
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) corn
1 1/2 cups whole wheat macaroni
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 1/2  cups lowfat shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

In a 2-3 quart casserole dish, combine the creamed corn, corn, macaroni, milk and 1 cup of the cheese.  Cover and let stand for 1 hour in the refrigerator.  Dot with butter.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until bubbly.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Crediting information:  Makes 12 servings.  Each serving creditable for 1 bread/bread alternate and 1/4 cup of the fruit or vegetable requirement at lunch or supper for 3-5 year old children.

Looking for more recipes featuring in-season vegetables?  Check out Veggies Rule!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whole Grain Wednesdays- Whole Wheat Apricot Muffins

Happy Wednesday!  I did a bunch of baking yesterday since it looked as though it was going to be the "coolest" day this week.  I don't like to heat up our house by turning on the oven for a long time on really hot days because we rely on a swamp cooler for cooling.  Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that the swamp cooler uses way less electricity than an air conditioner!  It works very well, but I don't like to run it for a long time since it does sometimes make our house more humid than I like.

Anyway, my daughter had a bunch of friends over yesterday so I made these muffins for snack.  This was a recipe that was originally from Cooking Light magazine, but I modified it some. If you don't have dried apricots, you could easily substitute any dried fruit that you do have.  The muffins were a hit with my daughter and her friends.  Hope you enjoy them too!

Whole Wheat Apricot Muffins
2/3 cup enriched all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly spoon the flours into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, orange rind, baking soda and salt.  Stir well with a whisk.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, water, butter, vanilla, and egg.  Stir well.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.  Stir until just combined.  Fold in the apricots.

Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.  Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, dividing equally.  Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown and muffins spring back lightly when touched.  Cool for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Crediting information:  Makes 26 servings. Each serving creditable for 1 bread/bread alternate at any meal or snack for 3-5 year old children.

Looking for vegetable recipes?  Check out Veggies Rule

Monday, June 13, 2011

Let's Move Child Care!

You may be aware of the Let's Move program that First Lady Michelle Obama started back in February of 2010. The program was started to help combat childhood obesity.  Well, on June 8 Mrs. Obama unveiled a program that will provide some information for child care providers!  The Let’s Move! Child Care effort will work with child care providers to help children get off to a healthy start. The First Lady released a checklist that providers and parents can use as a tool to encourage healthy eating and physical activity and limit screen time for young children.

“Everyone is going to see that these small changes can make a big difference. If our kids get into the habit of getting up and playing, if their palates warm up to veggies at an early age, and if they’re not glued to a TV screen all day, they’re on their way to healthy habits for life,” Mrs. Obama said. “That’s why I’m so excited about Let’s Move! Child Care – because I know that childcare facilities and home-based providers can be a real building block for an entire generation of healthy kids."

To read more about this program, visit the Let's Move website

Here is a summary of the checklist.  Do you do the following in your child care home?

• Physical Activity: Provide 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.

• Screen Time: No screen time for children under 2 years. For children age 2 and older, strive to limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care, and work with parents and caregivers to ensure children have no more than 1-2 hours of quality screen time per day, the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

• Food: Serve fruits or vegetables at every meal, eat meals family-style when possible, and no fried foods.

• Beverages: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and do not serve sugary drinks. For children age two and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and no more than one 4-6 ounce serving of 100% juice per day.

• Infant feeding: For mothers who want to continue breastfeeding, provide their milk to their infants and welcome them to breastfeed during the child care day; and support all new parents in their decisions about infant feeding.

You can also find some free tools and resources at 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Whole Grain Wednesdays- Whole Wheat Cinnamon Crunch Tortilla Chips with Strawberry Salsa

Strawberries are everywhere you look right now and I love it!  Fresh berries are my favorite fruits, and I have been eating them as much as I can since they are in season. 

This recipe is one of our favorite summer snacks, and a nice change of pace from your typical chips and salsa. 

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Crunch Tortilla Chips
5 (6-inch) whole wheat tortillas
2 Tablespoons melted butter or non-stick cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar

Brush the tortillas with the melted butter (or spray them with the non-stick cooking spray), and cut them into wedges.  Arrange the wedges on a greased baking sheet.  Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture over the tortilla wedges.  Bake the tortillas at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Let them cool before serving.  Serve with strawberry salsa.

Strawberry Salsa
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup chopped kiwi
1/2 cup chopped seeded cucumber
1 tablespoon honey*
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in medium bowl until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes to blend flavors.

*Do not serve honey to children under the age of 1 year.

Enjoy :)

P.S.  If you are looking for vegetable recipes, head on over to my personal blog : Veggies Rule!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Whole Grain Wednesdays- Bulgur With Celery & Sage

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Can you believe that it is June already?  Since the weather report is calling for hot temperatures today, I thought I would post a recipe that does not involve turning on your oven. This is a quick recipe that will have you out of the kitchen in no time!  It is popular with my kids since it has the same flavorings as one of their favorite foods- bread stuffing.

If you haven't tried bulgur yet, you should give it a try.  It has a delicious, almost nutty flavor, and a nice chewy consistency.  You can find bulgur at your local grocery store or at any of the natural food stores (Sunflower, Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc.).  Bulgur comes in several different grinds- usually fine, medium and coarse.  I prefer to use the medium grind in this recipe, as I find the coarse a little too rough, but use whatever type you like the best.

Bulgur with Celery and Sage
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup medium bulgur
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth. low-sodium if possible

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Add all of the ingredients except the broth (bulgur, onions, celery, garlic, sage, and thyme) and saute for 5-8 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. 

Stir in the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is tender but chewy.

Crediting information:  Makes 12 servings.  Each serving creditable for 1 bread/bread alternate at any meal or snack for 3-5 year old children.