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Recipe: Caramel Popcorn Lollipops

Caramel-popcorn-pops

Caramel Popcorn Lollipops by Damaris from Kitchen Corners

Thanksgiving transitions beautifully to Christmas in our home. Last week we jumped on the gratitude wagon and wrote letters to Santa. It started off like this, “Dear Santa I’m thankful for...” and then I had my 4 year old list all the toys he got last year. He only remembers his favorite like the Go Fish cards I got him at the dollar store on a whim. Then we wrote Santa about the things we need. This involves socks and underwear, boring stuff. Then we wrote Santa what we wanted. I for one want new cook books. My husband would like a new surf Board, Enzo tells me to write down jelly beans and quarters, and our baby just wants molars so she can actually chew. Being a young mother of two young children is physically exhausting but at the same time I’m thankful that things are somewhat simple right now. Jelly Beans, quarters, and baby teeth, how lucky am I? I’m glad my kids are content with simple things, for the time being. For example, who would of thought that caramel popcorn on a candy cane stick would of made a little boy so happy?

Caramel Popcorn Lollipop
1 cup popcorn kernels
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup butter
⅓ cup light corn syrup
⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk
12 candy cane sticks

1.    Pop the popcorn on medium heat over the stove top. If you want to use microwave popcorn you will need two bags.
2.    While the popcorn is popping  mix the sugar, butter, light corn syrup, and sweetend condensed milk on a small sauce pan over medium heat until it is well incorporated and begins to bubble.
3.    Put the popcorn in a large bowl and pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn. Mix gently so as to not break the popcorn, making sure that the popcorn gets fully coated with caramel.
4.    Gently form popcorn balls around the tips of the peppermint sticks so as to create a lollipop shape.
5.    Place on top of a tray lined with wax paper to keep from sticking to each other.

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by Damaris from Kitchen Corners

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Recipe: Polenta Crust Pizza

Polenta-pizza-1
Polenta Crust Pizza by Damaris from Kitchen Corners

 The Polenta Crust Pizza is naturally gluten free and perfect for toddlers

Today our bag of flour came to an end. That's a 50lb. bag of flour that we keep under the sink. Today, alone, my husband used 15 cups and I used another 2 cups. Bread and donuts were made. It's always a little surprising when we run out of flour, it's absurd how much we consume.  Not to say that I don't love bread and donuts. I do, but still 50lb. is a lot.

I've been thinking more about trying out gluten free recipes. My son has two close friends with gluten allergies. I have a close friend who became gluten intolerant during her 4th pregnancy and has never recovered. I also have friends who decided not to consume gluten and have no allergies. All this got me thinking and researching alternatives to recipes that I wold otherwise make with flour.

So today Baby Maria and I made a polenta pizza.


Pizza

She tried to eat all the tomatoes before I even had a chance to get them on the pizza. I just smile. I have been a tomato aficionada since I can remember, looks like we have another one tomato lover in the house. I have to say she's way cuter at eating tomatoes than I am.

Polentapizza

Making polenta is easy. Bring 3 cups vegetable broth to a boil. Then turn off the stove and quickly stir 1 1/2 cups corn meal and 2 tablespoons olive oil. I also added salt, garlic, and Italian seasoning. You can add whatever kind of seasoning you like. Then spread the polenta on a tart pan or a spring form pan and bake at 350* for 30 minutes. This is really important because you want your crust to be somewhat dried out so that when you put your toppings it will hold it's form and not become polenta mush. After you bake the crust add tomato sauce and whatever kind of toppings you like. I wanted to go for something fresh and healthy, so I went for spinach, pumpkin, goat cheese, and tomatoes. Then I baked for an additional 15 minutes. I was thrilled with the end result. It was super delicious. Baby Maria ate all the tomatoes even when they were hot. Then she made her way through the rest of the pizza, topping by topping. She loved it.

I think polenta pizza is great for kids, specially kids who only have 7 teeth. I noticed that Baby Maria had a much easier time eating polenta crust, then flour crust. The polenta crust is softer and the corn meal just melts in your mouth. She is also a huge fan of vegetables (yeah, we'll see how long that will last) and it's fun for her to have a colorful selection on top of her pizza. She uses her little chubby finger to pick each topping off one by one.

Tomorrow we're having leftover polenta pizza for lunch.
I'm excited.

by Damaris from Kitchen Corners

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Recipe : Orange Jack-O-Lantern for Halloween


Pumpkin-pudding

Orange Jack-O-Lantern for Halloween by Damaris from Kitchen Corners

I am mom to Enzo, a boy who loves to cook with me. A boy who likes to create and explore new things. I started cooking with Enzo before he was born. I would spend my last three months of pregnancy making meals and freezing them for future chaotic days. I would talk to him about what I was making and he would answer back with baby kicks.

Our adventures in the kitchen hasn't always been blissful. We've had our share of spills and messes and tears, yes tears. Enzo has recently discovered that not all foods are created equal and that according to his taste buds somethings are yucky. I tell him "Enzo, I will never feed you something yucky. I try hard to make delicious food and because I love you I will always feed you delicious food." He doesn't really believe me and many times he says "no thanks" which is code for "There is no way I'm eating that." So we move on. And we cook some more. Cooking with him has been rewarding in that a)he's actually quit helpful and b)he tends to have ownership of what he creates and in those circumstances he's more likely to try new ingredients and be less picky.
Pumpkin-pudding1

We've been in Halloween mode lately and we're experimenting with different treats and dessert. A couple weeks ago I saw an idea that I loved on a parenting website. It's a hallowed orange cut out like a jack-o-lantern filled with chocolate pudding. Spooky!

recipe ingredients:
I wanted to add a touch of nutrition to the dessert so we added pumpkin. We used instant chocolate pudding which calls for 2 cups milk. However, we substituted 1 cup of milk for 1 cup of pumpkin puree  which gave us a creamy pumpkin chocolate pudding. Then we carved our oranges and filled it up to the brim. 

Pumpkin-pudding-2

Then we made another, and another, and another until we had enough to share with friends. One pudding recipe yielded 6 orange jack-o-lanterns, enough for a small crowd, a very happy crowd.


by Damaris Santos-Palmer, Food blogger: Kitchen Corners

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recipe :: 4

Ayurvedic Tradition and New Moms recipe by Surya Pinto from wee gallery

Surya_1

When my (=Surya)  had her baby in india, she went to her mother's house for six weeks where she had special meals cooked for her, a massage once a day by a trained postpartum masseuse, and oodles of rest with no housework since it was not her house! I only realised how beautiful this tradition was till I had my first baby in California with no help! What saved my sanity was an Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula who would stay 3 hrs a day, cook lunch, and give me a massage. We used our savings to hire her for for 10 days. These 10 days changed my whole outlook, and gave me strength for the rest of my mothering days. She taught me the right things to eat, and easy and quick ways to cook while the baby napped. She stressed the importance of rest and allowing for the body to make a peaceful and strong recovery from this amazing feat of childbirth. She would say '42 days for 42 years'. Taking care of mama well in the first 42 days of postpartum would set the tone for the next 42 years!

Surya_2

One of my favourite recipes that she cooked was a dessert called 'halwah' made of farina or cream of wheat. This was so nutritious and yummy that I often make it for my kids now.

Ingredients:
1 cup farina or cream of wheat
1 cup sugar or succanat
1/4 cup butter or ghee
2 cups milk or water
1/3 cup golden raisins

Optional Spices:
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

Surya_3

Method
Melt ghee or butter and add farina. Fry slowly about 6 minutes until it turns golden. Add milk or water and mix well. Cook, constantly stirring, adding spices, and then sugar for about 8-10 minutes until very thick. Add raisins when off the heat. Serve warm by piling onto a plate, or press into a rectangular pan and once it's cool cut out squares and serve. Keeps 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

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Thank You Surya!

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..Surya's personal blog..

..wee gallery..

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recipe :: 3

Salmon Cakes and Chocolate Plates by Jenny Stegall from ApronStrings

I hope you all are having fun with your little ones in preparation for Valentine’s Day! It provides such fun opportunities for cooking with kids! We often, as adults, use food to celebrate: special dinners with friends, all holidays, birthdays, TGIF days, brunches, etc. It is a way to celebrate life and the people we love and to whom we want to show that love.  When it comes to kids, however, it is often little piles of peas, potatoes, and cut up meat- not exactly a celebration. I am as guilty as the next person. I did this many evenings until one night, my daughter, Annie, was up while I was preparing our dinner. She had previously eaten little piles of fish, couscous, and a little pile of veggies on her pre-sectioned child plate. Our plates had much more attention to detail with a mound of couscous topped with pan-fried fish with lemon and capers beside a nice green salad with fruits, nuts, and cheese. She matter-of-factly asked, “When does my dinner get to look like that?” She is exactly right. After we have painstakingly made sure that our children are not allergic to things by introducing them one at a time, children should then be able to graduate to beautiful dinners. This will teach them multiple things: to learn to eat multiple flavors that complement each other and to celebrate life in the simplest of ways. It might mean all sitting together for a dinner or it might mean shifts of children and parents as we often do at our home while our kids are so young and early to bed. Either way - celebrate! Annie makes life fun. She is constantly planning occasions....
Recipe_3_anniewilliam

...She and William are pictured here at their “restaurant”. I was their waitress and we all had a ball! I know what you are thinking: “I don’t have time for that”. The good news is, it doesn’t take much time. Add a little sprinkle of fresh herbs or arrange the plates in a beautiful way. Let them use “special” glasses that won’t crush you if they break. Your kids will see meals as a fun event and will most likely be more willing to eat those sneaky veggies that keep ending up on their plates. Valentine’s Day is the perfect way to celebrate with two of our favorite ingredients- salmon and chocolate (not together!). Salmon is often considered a strong flavor, but when fresh, it is quite mild and very versatile. We love these salmon cakes and will often make mini burgers with them for the kids. They are delicious with mango chutney on top for adults over a rice pilaf and as burgers for the kids with sweet potato fries (recipe coming soon). They have great fresh flavors, but if you know one of them is a hard sell, omit it on the first try or halve the amount of some of the flavors if they are used to more bland foods.

Recipe_3_salmoncakes
What you will need for the Salmon Cakes:
1 lb of salmon, poached or roasted and flaked
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp soy sauce
cup mayonnaise
tsp salt
sweet red pepper, chopped
purple onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
2 Tbsp fresh basil
2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning or other seafood seasoning
1 egg

To do:
Combine first twelve ingredients in a large bowl.
Form mixture into 6 small cakes.
Brown in hot oil for two minutes/side or until golden brown.

Recipe_3_chocolateplates
The second ingredient is not a hard sell- chocolate! I love small amounts of chocolate for a treat for my kids. We often dip fruit in melted chocolate. This trick below requires very little work, but is a huge hit and lots of fun. It will definitely have them licking their plates clean!

Chocolate Painted Plates!

What you will need:
Melt 6 oz of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I like to do this in a double boiler on the stovetop. It is much smoother this way.
Recipe_3_chocoplates
To do:
Funnel chocolate into a squirt bottle (you can find these easily at a drugstore or kitchen supply store). Give each child their own squirt bottle and let them decorate with chocolate all over the plates.
Place in the refrigerator to set if serving later.

*They will be very proud of their décor!

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..Jenny's personal blog..

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recipe :: 2

Kids favorite recipes using home-made pesto by Jenny Stegall from ApronStrings

We often come in at the end of a busy day and the kids are starving and I am short on energy and patience. This is the easiest time to pull out a frozen pizza or the like for their dinner. With a few secret weapons in your pantry, you can more easily get a quick, but healthy meal on the table.  One ingredient that my kitchen is never without is pesto ... it can be homemade or store- bought, but either way, it is on hand. It is super easy to make and freezes really well, but if that seems like too much hassle, there are many great ones to buy.

Pesto adds easy flavor to so many things without much effort. I love this as an ingredient to ease kids into more “adult” flavors. If you make it, they can really get in on the act- tearing off basil, pouring ingredients, etc. The smells of basil and garlic will introduce them to those flavors in a simple and first hand way and they will love the blending process to create something that everyone will enjoy eating. A good strategy is to introduce it on something that they love like pasta  or homemade pizzas. Once they are accustomed to the flavor, become more adventurous on things like fresh salmon.  You can gradually add flavors with the simple recipe ideas below. These are some of my kids favorite recipes using pesto- enjoy! Beware, they sound like real food!
Pesto

What you will need for Classic Pesto
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Pesto_2

To do:
Process nuts and garlic in a blender or food processor for thirty seconds. Add basil, salt, and pepper. While processor is running, add oil. Add cheese and process for one minute. Use immediately or store sealed with a drizzle of olive oil on top.


Pasta, Pesto, and Peas:
*Add pesto to your kids favorite cooked pasta and toss with fresh or frozen peas. The warm pasta will cook the peas so one less step!

Pan Seared Pesto Salmon on Orzo with Roasted  Vine Tomatoes:
*Sprinkle salmon with with pesto and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear salmon pesto side down in a little olive oil over high heat for two minutes. Turn the fish and finish the dish in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. You will be surprised how many little ones will eat this with orzo.

Pesto and Prosciutto Flatbread Pizzas:

Spread pesto over flatbreads or pita breads. Top with prosciutto or  any other thin ham. You can add favorite toppings like cheese or tomatoes. Bake on a  pizza stone or sheet pan at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

..Jenny from ApronStrings..

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recipe :: 1

Vegetable organic pancakes by Jenny Stegall from ApronStrings

Jenny_banner

When Irene asked me (=Jenny) to write for B:Kids about recipes for children, I was thrilled. It is a topic that I am very passionate about. I had a catering company in San Francisco and worked as a personal chef before having three precious children. I now use my skills, time, and energy to feed them, create with them, and make traditions with them. 

Organicmarket_2

I like healthy food for kids, but I am not concerned with the occasional birthday cake, movie popcorn, or candy. All kids will reject some tastes and textures, but after a while, most flavors will grow on them. I don’t follow the no salt, no sugar, no butter rule for kids. If I am roasting vegetables for my kids, I make them taste good- a little (!!) olive oil, a little (!!) kosher salt, etc. I want food bursting with flavor and believe they do too. There are some easy foods to introduce flavors to kids. Don’t start by putting a bowl full of roasted beets in front of them; they might sit there until they get married. Instead, make some yummy Israeli couscous and start adding flavors to it one at a time: shallots, herbs, tomatoes, or beets, pine nuts, and feta cheese. Some other great dishes that are easy to introduce (not hide!!!) flavors in are:  rice salads, couscous, pastas, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a personal favorite- pancakes. When my babies can eat small bites, I start making pancakes filled with grated vegetables- beets, zucchini, squash, carrots, etc. They end up being mostly vegetables with just the batter to hold them together. They love the batter/bread and without realizing it, are becoming aware of flavors that they will later enjoy in a more adult version.

Organicmarket

We visited the San Francisco farmer’s market this morning with our kids. The food from the farmers makes me want to stay in my kitchen for weeks. It is also fun because the kids see the pride and beauty in the many stands of fresh, organic produce. If you find yourself with some extra root vegetables, try some of these yummy pancakes! Keep experimenting with flavors. I think you will be pleased with the results.

What you will need: ( I never measure these, but these measurements will get you started)
1 cups Grated Vegetables or Fruits (carrots, zucchini, beet root, apples)
 1 cup Flour
1 Egg
1 _ cup Milk
1 tsp Baking powder

To do:
1.) Mix all ingredients
2.) Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat
3.) Coat with cooking spray or a small amount of oil or butter
4.) Drop by spoonfuls or _ cup heaps
5.) When bubbles appear on top, flip and finish cooking until golden in color
*These are great to take as snacks or on road-trips. They also freeze well. If they eat enough of these…

*** If you are living in the San Francisco area and are interested in catering you can email Jenny right here :: apronstringssf [at] gmail.com

..Jenny from ApronStrings..

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Miette bakery in San Francisco

Miete

Jenny intruduced me to one of her favorite bakery shops in San Francisco ... Miette

It's not likely that I will be visiting this amazing bakery very soon, but just looking at the beautiful images on their website makes me want learn how to bake cakes myself ... Jenny took some images for us when visiting Miette last week and she is definitly right ... You might want to reward your little ones and yourself occasionally with one of these! Everything they bake is organic and nothing short of amazing!

Carrotcake

Gingerbread

Carrotcake and Gingerbread from Miette (little crumb) bakery in San Francisco

..Jenny from ApronStrings..

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..Miette bakery..

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