(Family Features) Most parents know the first few weeks of school season and new daily routines can be hectic. From stocking up on school supplies to finishing up homework, there's few unused minutes in the day.
One thing that's particularly easy to forget in the mad dash to catch the bus or make it to morning drop-off is a well-balanced, protein-packed breakfast. According to a No Kid Hungry study, when students have a balanced breakfast in the morning, they are more likely to attend school and perform better on standardized tests.
Start the school year off right by giving your kids a breakfast they'll love that also provides the protein they need to kick-start their day. Recipes like Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches or Baked Eggs in Avocado can be ready in minutes and provide fuel long past the first morning school bell.
As a simple time-saver, Smithfield offers pre-diced, cubed and sliced ham that can make breakfast a breeze any day of the week. Incorporate it into a simple breakfast sandwich for a protein boost you can enjoy on-the-go. Served crispy or chewy depending on your preference, Thick Cut Bacon also puts a savory spin on nearly any breakfast plate, whether paired with eggs and avocado or a simple side of toast.
For more information and breakfast ideas, visit smithfield.com.
Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 8 frozen prepared waffles, toasted
- 8 ounces Smithfield Anytime Favorites Quarter Boneless Sliced Ham, any flavor
- 4 large eggs
- 4 slices cheddar or American cheese
- maple syrup (optional)
- Prepare waffles according to package directions; keep warm.
- In nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook ham slices until lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side; keep warm. In same skillet over medium heat, fry eggs until desired doneness.
- Lay out four waffles and top each with sliced cheese, ham and fried egg, topping with remaining waffles to finish. Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired.
Tip: Try spreading fruit jam on your sandwich for a change of pace.
Baked Eggs in Avocado
Cook time: 10 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 large avocados
- 6 eggs
- 4 strips Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon, diced and cooked until crispy
- 1 cup blue cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- Heat oven to 450 F. Spray baking sheet or glass baking pan with cooking spray. Cut avocados in half. Scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of avocado to create well for eggs. Place avocados flesh-side up on prepared baking sheet or glass pan.
- Gently crack one egg in each avocado well, making sure to keep yolk intact. Bake 10 minutes, or until eggs reach desired temperature. Remove.
- Top with bacon pieces, blue cheese and cilantro.
(Family Features) With a new school year beginning, it’s important for parents to be prepared and help their children start forming good habits. For example, most children function better on a routine. They wake up every day at a certain time, they practice the same sports and eat nutritious, fresh foods that fuel their bodies.
One healthy option for kids is seafood. When kids eat at least two servings of seafood each week, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, they can receive big benefits. Fish and shellfish supply nutrients such as vitamins B and D, choline and essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are all needed for strong bones, brain development, healthy immune systems and cardiovascular systems.
In fact, research published in “Acta Paediatrica” shows an association between kids who eat fish at least once a week and better grades.
With a new routine in place, it can sometimes be hard for parents to keep up, but with fast-cooking seafood like thin fish fillets and shrimp, a healthy dinner can be ready in minutes. However, since some kids can be picky eaters, consider these tips from Joe Urban, director of food and nutrition services for Greenville County Schools, to add seafood to your family’s table.
- Start creating meals featuring seafood early in their lives, as children who are exposed to seafood at an early age may develop a fondness for the cuisine.
- Introduce them to mild varieties such as cod, pollock and haddock, then have them try other species as they become accustomed to the taste.
- Seafood can be substituted in nearly any dish that normally calls for chicken, beef, pork or other proteins. Serving seafood in familiar dishes like tacos, enchiladas, soups, salads, burgers and baked dishes can be a beneficial way for kids to eat more seafood.
- Canned seafoods like tuna and salmon make for quick, budget-friendly options when time is short, plus they can be mixed in with a variety of recipes.
For more seafood recipes and meal inspiration, visit seafoodnutrition.org or follow #Seafood2xWk on social media.
Hearty Salmon Skewers over Brown Rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 pound salmon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- paprika, to taste
- 8 skewers
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup pineapple, cubed
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 lemon
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- Coat salmon with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika, to taste. Slide piece of salmon onto skewer, followed by tomato and then pineapple. Repeat three times on each skewer, or until skewer is full.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 cup canola oil 1 minute.
- Place skewers in pan and turn every 2 minutes per side. Squeeze lemon on skewers while cooking.
- To serve, place 1/2 cup rice on each plate and two skewers on top. Squeeze hint of lemon over each serving, if desired.
Source: Seafood Nutrition Partnership
Study finds drinking more milk growing up is associated with increased height at 17
(Family Features) Drinking real dairy milk is especially important for growing kids, and new research suggests regularly drinking more milk throughout childhood is associated with an increase in teenage height, according to a new study in “The Journal of Nutrition.”1
Researchers followed more than 700 kids from the time they were born, analyzing their height and diet from ages 2-17, and found each additional glass of milk kids drank per day throughout childhood increased their height at age 17 by around 0.39 centimeters. That means the more milk kids drank regularly growing up, the taller they were. Water and other beverages, including 100 percent juice and sugar-sweetened beverages, didn’t have the same effect.
These findings add to a growing body of research that suggests regularly drinking milk during the growing years is associated with greater height in the teen years, while regularly skipping milk or drinking non-dairy milk alternatives, like almond or soy milk, is linked to shorter height.2, 3, 4
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend two cups of milk and milk products each day for kids ages 2-3, two and a half cups each day for kids 4-8 and three cups each day for kids 9-18. While it’s hard for kids to get nutrients they need to grow strong without milk in their diets, eighty-five percent of Americans fall short of these daily recommendations, which includes most children over 3 years old.5, 6
Serving an eight-ounce glass of milk alongside meals or snacks is an easy way to give kids nine essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, and get them closer to these recommendations. Try pairing these homemade cereal bars from Jamielyn Nye, author of iheartnaptime.net, with a cold glass of milk for an easy after-school snack, and find more kid-approved recipes at pourmoremilk.com.
Homemade Cereal Bars
Recipe courtesy of Jamielyn Nye, author of iheartnaptime.net, on behalf of Milk Life
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 1/2 cups dry cereal
- Line 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium size sauce pan, combine peanut butter and honey and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Add in dry cereal and stir until completely coated then press into lined pan. Use piece of parchment paper to press firmly down on bars.
- Refrigerate bars 1 hour, or until ready to serve.
- Serve with eight-ounce glass of milk.
Nutritional information per serving: 180 calories; 4 1/2 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 10 g protein; 26 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 160 mg sodium; 306 mg calcium (30% of daily value). Nutrition figures include an eight-ounce glass of fat free milk.
1Marshall TA, Curtis AM, Cavanaugh JE, Warren JJ, Levy SM. Higher longitudinal milk intakes are associated with increased height in a birth cohort followed for 17 years. The Journal of Nutrition. 2018;148(7):1144-1149.
2Wiley AS. Does milk make children grow? Releationships between milk consumption and height in NHANES 1999-2002. American Journal of Human Biology. 2005;17(4):425-441.
3Rockell JEP, Williams SM, Taylor RW, Grant AM, Jones IE, Goulding A. Two-year changes in bone and body composition in young children with a history of prolonged milk avoidance. Osteoporosis International. 2005;16(9):1016-1023.
4 Morency M, Birken CS, Lebovic G, Chen Y, L’Abbé M, Lee GJ, Maguire JL and the TARGet Kids! Collaboration. Association between noncow milk beverage consumption and childhood height. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017;106(2):597-602.
5 Krebs-Smith SM, Guenther PM, Subar AF, Kirkpatrick SI, Dodd KW. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. The Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140:1832-1838.
6 U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015. 8th Edition, 2015.
(Family Features) Coming up with fresh ideas every day to keep kids’ lunches exciting is no small task. When the goal is an empty lunchbox and a full, happy tummy, the winning combination is a blend of nutrition and flavor.
Step up your game this school year with these ideas for a better lunchbox:
Get creative. Foods that look can good taste good, too. Transform sandwiches into fun shapes using cookie cutters or make tiny heart- or star-shaped, bite-size pieces of cheese for a fun finger food. Another fun idea: thread sliced and bite-sized vegetables on a wooden stick for a no-cook kabob. For a sweet variation, use fruit instead and sprinkle with coconut for extra flavor.
Skip the packaging. Little fingers can struggle to open pre-packaged foods, so instead opt for fresh ingredients that fit into a bento-style box. Not only can kids see what tasty treats await and dig straight into their meals, less packaging means less processing, which is good for their health and the environment.
Keep it simple. Opt for delicious, flavorful foods that deliver nutrients kids need and the taste they want without any extras. An option like Hidden Valley Simply Ranch makes for a rich and creamy complement to carrot sticks, cucumber and other lunchbox staples. With no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors this ranch is perfect for encouraging kids to eat the veggies you pack. Look for Classic Ranch or for a special twist, try flavors such as Cucumber Basil or Chili Lime.
Rely on the familiar. Refueling during the day is important to keep kids focused and able to mentally and physically tackle the rest of the school day. Avoid trying out new foods at lunchtime and save experimenting with new flavors for meals at home.
Go for variety. Representing multiple foods groups isn’t only a good way to deliver good nutrition, the variety in colors and textures can make the meal more interesting and encourage kids to eat more. Include savory meats, crunchy crackers, veggies and sweet fruits.
Add a treat. Whether it’s a favorite fruit or yogurt, a single piece of candy or even a simple note that says “I love you and I’m proud of you,” find a way to add something sweet to every lunch and bring a smile to your child’s daily routine.
Look for more kid-friendly meals at hiddenvalley.com.
Portable Veggie Kabobs with Tangy Veggie Dip
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- 6-8 wooden skewers
- Hidden Valley Simply Ranch
- Gently thread cucumber slices, broccoli, carrot slices and cherry tomatoes on skewers, placing 2-3 pieces of each veggie on each skewer to make a rainbow of colors.
- Serve ranch dressing with veggies for dipping.
Tip: Add cheese cubes for protein on kabobs, if desired.
Photo courtesy of Mick Jones
Source: Hidden Valley
(Family Features) When you serve kids milk with breakfast, you can feel good knowing they’ll love the taste. Not to mention, as a parent, you’ll appreciate the quality nutrition in each glass. As one of the original farm-to-table foods that kids already love, milk is a simple, wholesome way to show your family how much you care.
Starting the day around the table with loved ones and a glass of milk will help your family get nine essential nutrients that everyone can benefit from, like calcium and vitamin D. Plus, with 8 grams of high-quality protein per every 8-ounce glass, milk at breakfast is a great way to help power through your morning. It’s no surprise that 96 percent of Americans have milk in their refrigerators – because when you pair quality nutrition with quality family time, everyone will feel the love.
Add some excitement to your morning with these quick and easy Homemade Pop Pastries. Kids will enjoy helping to bake up this homemade, heart-shaped version of a breakfast favorite, perfect to share with the people they love. Pair this strawberry-filled recipe with a glass of milk for a delicious breakfast to start everyone’s day on the right foot.
Homemade Pop Pastries
- 1 package (2 crusts) rolled pie crusts, 9-inch diameter
- 3/4 cup strawberry all-fruit spread
- 2 tablespoons lowfat or fat free milk
- 4 fresh strawberries, stemmed
- Heat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat lightly with nonstick spray.
- Unroll both rounds of pie dough onto a lightly floured work surface and place one on top of the other. Using a pizza wheel or a chef’s knife, cut the rounds into eight wedge-shaped pieces (for a total of 16 wedge-shaped pieces).
- Arrange wedges on a work surface. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of the fruit spread onto eight of the wedges, leaving 1/2-inch margin around the sides. Arrange the eight wedges on the prepared baking sheet and brush the edges with some of the milk.
- Using a small heart-shaped cutter cut a heart out of each of the remaining eight pastry wedges (discard the hearts) and arrange on top of the jam-filled wedges. Press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.
- Brush the tops of the pastries with additional milk and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Let the tarts cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Before serving, slice the fresh strawberries in half from top to bottom to form heart shapes. Place a strawberry slice in each heart cut-out.
- Serve with 8-ounce glass of milk.
Variation: For a flavor twist, spread 1 tablespoon of chocolate hazelnut spread onto eight of the wedges, then spread with just 1 tablespoon of the strawberry spread. Proceed with the recipe as written.
Nutritional information per serving: 260 calories; 11 g fat; 3.5 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 3 g protein; 38 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 180 mg sodium; 16 mg calcium (2% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk.
The original farm-to-table food kids already love – milk
(Family Features) Locally sourced foods are becoming increasingly important to families across the country – and more moms are taking note of where their family’s food comes from. In fact, more than three-quarters of moms are actively looking for locally sourced food options when grocery shopping for themselves and their families, according to a new survey from the National Milk Life Campaign. ¹
From Farm to Glass
Many people are surprised to learn that milk is one of the original farm-to-table foods. Nearly two-thirds of moms think milk takes anywhere from more than two days to more than a week to travel from the farm to grocery stores throughout the country, when it typically arrives on shelves in just 48 hours, on average, after leaving the farm. In fact, milk often originates from many family-owned and operated farms about 300 miles away from your grocery store.²
Part of a Balanced Diet
As a minimally processed and farm-fresh beverage, milk is a wholesome way to help your family get natural protein and balanced nutrition. Whether it’s reduced fat, fat free or organic, dairy milk is remarkably simple, containing just three ingredients: milk, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Whether enjoyed as a beverage or used as an ingredient in your favorite recipe, milk is a versatile pairing for any meal. Even award-winning chefs and restaurateurs like Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli use milk as a foundational farm-to-table ingredient in many of their signature dishes.
For a traditional favorite that kids are sure to enjoy, try Giorgio’s homemade ice cream recipe. The whole family will love making (and eating) this treat, and you can feel good about the wholesome and delicious ingredients like milk.
For more information and delicious recipes, visit milklife.com.
Giorgio’s Homemade Ice Cream
Servings: nine 2/3 cup servings
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and the heavy cream to a simmer, over medium heat.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until they lighten in color. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding in small amounts and then return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla, adjust the seasoning and cook the ice cream base for 3-4 hours.
- Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions.
Nutritional information per serving: 390 calories; 30 g fat; 18 g saturated fat; 260 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 27 g carbohydrates; 0 g fiber; 115 mg sodium; 113 mg calcium (10% of daily value).
¹ Weber Shandwick conducted an online Google survey among 1,010 moms between the ages of 18-54 on behalf of The National Milk Life Campaign between June 22 – June 26.
² “Milk: More Local Than You May Think,” http://dairygood.org, (August 06, 2014).
Fueling kids for back to school
(Family Features) As kids head back to school, it’s a good time to refocus on nutritious food and beverage choices to make sure kids are properly fueled and ready to learn. Making the best choices for her family is every mom’s priority, but it can be confusing to navigate all the options available.
For example, many celebrity websites, diet books, blogs and popular social media feeds make it appear trendy to ditch dairy. Yet experts say going dairy-free has significant downfalls, especially for kids and young adults. A survey from the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) found 6 in 10 moms have tried restricting their dairy intake, and fewer moms encourage their kids to drink milk today compared to how many were encouraged to drink milk themselves as children – in fact, some are even restricting their children’s intake of dairy.
It can be hard to get enough nutrients without milk in your diet. Drinking dairy milk during childhood through early adulthood is important to help achieve maximum bone strength. It’s also important to drink milk as an adult to help maintain bone strength and density. Most dairy alternatives don’t have the same nutrients as dairy milk and kids may not eat enough kale, spinach or sardines to replace the calcium in milk.
However, many moms know how important milk is for their kids. According to the NOF survey, more than 80 percent of moms know milk is nutrient-rich. In fact, milk is the top food source for three of the four nutrients of concern identified by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans: calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
Incorporating farm-fresh milk into your diet can be fun for the whole family. Try making your own flavored milk or smoothie at home with these recipes for Vanilla Cinnamon Milk or a Rainbow Unicorn Smoothie.
Find more information and nutritious recipes to pair with milk at milklife.com.
Vanilla Cinnamon Milk
- 8 ounces milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons honey
- In glass, combine milk with vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and honey. Stir until well mixed.
Nutritional information per serving: 130 calories; 5 mg cholesterol; 8 g protein; 24 g carbohydrates; 105 mg sodium; 308 mg calcium (30% of daily value).
Rainbow Unicorn Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat or fat-free milk, plus additional (optional)
- 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 2 cups (about 10 large) frozen strawberries
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup frozen mango chunks
- 6 tablespoons whipped cream
- 4 teaspoons sprinkles
- horn candles, wicks trimmed
- Blend milk, yogurt and fruit until smooth, adding additional milk or water to thin, if needed.
- Divide smoothie into four glasses and, if desired, top each with whipped cream, sprinkles and horn candles.
Nutritional information per serving: 120 calories; 1 g fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 25 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 60 mg sodium; 175 mg calcium (20% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat-free milk.
(Family Features) Getting creative with snack time is an activity the whole family can enjoy. And when it comes to making delicious, fun and contemporary treats, the Jellymongers have turned fun into an art form.
The Jellymongers, Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, are big fans of JELL-O gelatin and are masters when it comes to using it to create spectacular works of art. They have achieved worldwide recognition for their eye-catching sculptures and monuments from their native England. According to Bompas and Parr, making JELL-O creations is a perfect way to have fun in the kitchen. They have put together a few quick tips for some sensational snacks that can be tried at home:
- Everyday home items can be used to create fun shapes — the only limit is your creativity! Try setting JELL-O in ice cube trays, cupcake pans or reusable plastic containers.
- When making the gelatin, stir in fruit or substitute juice for some of the water for an extra fruity creation.
- Looking to give your gelatin a firmer set? Try adding KNOX gelatin to help your shapes and molds keep their form. Perfect for bite-sized snacks!
- To easily release a masterpiece from its mold, dip mold in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds. Wet a sturdy plate, place on top of the mold and invert. The JELL-O will slip out onto the plate for display.
“JELL-O gelatin has a great collection of snack ideas that are fun to make, and even more fun to eat,” says Bompas. “These everyday snacks are easy to do at home and take 20 minutes or less to prepare.”
The classic JELL-O JIGGLERS recipe serves as a wonderful “snacktivity” for small hands. From moons and stars to racecars and footballs, you can create endless, fun shapes with a pan of gelatin and cookie cutters. Finger Gelatin is another bite-sized snack idea, perfect for parties or an afternoon treat.
It’s mix and match time! Unleash inner creativity with Jellin’-Melon, by combining your favorite fruit and gelatin flavor. Try chilling lime gelatin in a hollowed out cantaloupe for a refreshing citrus treat. With all the possible combinations, this makes for an extra special snack time treat.
For more information, creative recipe ideas and special savings, visit www.jello.com.
Prep Time: 15 min. plus refrigerating
Makes: 8 servings
- 1 cantaloupe, or other melon, cut lengthwise in half
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Lime Flavor Gelatin
- 1/2 cup cold water
- REMOVE seeds from melon halves; cut thin slice from bottom of each half. Scoop out melon flesh, leaving 1-inch-thick shells. Place upside-down on paper towels to drain.
- ADD boiling water to gelatin mix; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water. Refrigerate 15 min. or until slightly thickened. Pour into melon shells.
- REFRIGERATE 3 hours or until gelatin is set. Cut into wedges.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 3 hours 10 min. (incl. refrigerating)
Makes: 2 doz. or 24 servings, 1 JIGGLER each
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water (Do not add cold water)
- 2 pkg. (6 oz. each) JELL-O Gelatin, any flavor
- STIR boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl at least 3 min. until completely dissolved. Pour into 13x9-inch pan.
- REFRIGERATE at least 3 hours or until firm.
- DIP bottom of pan in warm water 15 sec. Cut into 24 decorative shapes using 2-inch cookie cutters, being careful to cut all the way through gelatin to bottom of pan. Lift JIGGLERS from pan. Reserve scraps for snacking. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.
Prep Time: 20 min.
Total Time: 1 hour 20 min.
Makes: 12 servings, about 12 squares each
- 3 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Raspberry Flavor Gelatin
- 4 envelopes KNOX Unflavored Gelatin
- 4 cups boiling water
- MIX both gelatins in large bowl; stir in boiling water until completely dissolved.
- POUR into 13x9-inch pan. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
- CUT gelatin mixture into small squares. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.
Layered Mousse Bites
Prep Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 3 hours 10 min.
Makes: 9 servings
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 pkg. (3 oz. each) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
- 2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
- ADD boiling water to gelatin mixes in medium bowl; stir with whisk for 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in COOL WHIP until well blended.
- POUR into 8-inch square pan.
- REFRIGERATE for 3 hours or until firm. Cut into 36 pieces.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 4 hours 10 min.
Makes: 9 servings
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 pkg. (6 oz.) or 2 pkg. (3 oz. each) JELL-O Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
- ADD boiling water to gelatin mix in large bowl; stir for 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water. Pour into 9 parfait or dessert glasses.
- REFRIGERATE for 4 hours or until firm.
- SPOON 2 cups COOL WHIP over desserts; top with berries and remaining COOL WHIP.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Total Time: 4 hours 5 min.
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Sugar Free Gelatin
- 1 cup cold orange juice
- STIR boiling water into gelatin in medium bowl for at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in orange juice.
- REFRIGERATE for 4 hours or until firm.
(Family Features) Named for the earthy, exotic fungi they resemble, chocolate truffles require no hunting, digging or specially trained dogs and they won’t break the budget either. Real white truffles from Italy can set back the pocketbook more than $1000 for just one pound. Of course, chocolate truffles are a visual imitation only; they are sweet, addictive, and a great way to turn some organic chocolate, cream and butter into a decadent treat.
These ultra creamy truffles are made in the tradition of the Swiss style of chocolate truffle using heavy cream and butter to create what is called a ganache – a lovely French word for a mixture of chocolate and cream. According to Monique Hooker, Organic Valley’s French-born Chef, “using the best quality, organic cream and butter makes a difference.”
This recipe is so easy that kids can help and it is open to many variations. One option is to infuse the cream with some rich, floral Organic Madagascar vanilla extract, or split a whole vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the cream as it simmers. Or, try using white chocolate, and roll the balls in finely minced sweetened coconut. For decoration, top each truffle with a small piece of roasted nut such as pistachio or pecan, a tiny candy, or if serving immediately, add one perfect raspberry to each truffle. Serve for parties, birthdays, or any occasion that needs a little chocolate.
For more dessert recipes using organic cream and butter, visit www.organicvalley.coop.
Easy Decadent Chocolate Truffles
Makes 25 truffles
- 1/2 cup Organic Valley heavy whipping cream
- 12 oz best quality semisweet chocolate (preferably Fair Trade and Organic) chopped into small pieces, or 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons Organic Valley unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- In a small heavy saucepan, bring the cream gently to a simmer over medium low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and butter. Stir mixture just until the chocolate has completely melted, using very low heat if necessary. Remove from heat. Pour the chocolate mixture into a shallow bowl, and allow to cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least two hours or overnight.
- Line a cookie sheet or platter with baking parchment or waxed paper. Dip a teaspoon or small scoop such as a melon baller into warm water and scrape across the surface of the truffle mixture to form a 1-inch ball. Quickly roll balls in cocoa powder. Repeat with the remaining truffle mixture. Cover and refrigerate truffles. Serve in paper candy cups which are available in cookware shops or where cake decorating items are sold.
Variations: For a variety of truffles, roll balls in finely chopped nuts, finely minced sweetened coconut flakes, chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar or powdered sugar.
Tips: Truffles make a wonderful gift. Nothing says “I Love You” better than chocolate. Wrap a selection of truffles on a small red paper plate with cellophane and tie with a ribbon.
Source: Organic Valley
Helping kids learn to love healthy eating
(Family Features) According to the 2007 Produce For Kids study, 96 percent of children don’t get the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. That won’t surprise a lot of parents. Getting children to eat any fruits or vegetables at all can be a big challenge. With 39 percent of all U.S. children overweight or obese, getting kids to make better food choices is more important than ever.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, nutrients and fiber, are low in calories and can help prevent many diseases, including high blood pressure, heart disease and some cancers. But kids aren’t compelled by the nutritional benefits of produce. They want to have fun eating food they like. So they need some help to become healthy eaters.
How can a parent get fruit-phobic or veggie-avoiding kids to eat more of what they really need? Mypyramid.gov, a Web site dedicated to helping people make smart food choices, has some tips for coping with picky eaters.
- Let your kids be “produce pickers.” Let them help pick out fruits and veggies at the store.
- Kids like to try foods they help make. All of that mixing, mashing and measuring makes them want to taste what they are creating.
- Make meals a stress-free time. If meals are times for family arguments, your child may learn unhealthy attitudes toward food.
- Offer choices. Rather than ask “Do you want broccoli for dinner?” ask “Which would you like for dinner: broccoli or cauliflower?”
Another suggestion, from The Produce For Kids study, is to use dips to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. Sixty-eight percent of the moms surveyed said that their children ate more fruit and vegetables when they were served with dip.
One of the latest items on the market to help meet this need is Marzetti Dip Snack Packs, a line of fruit and veggie dips for children that makes eating produce fun and nutritious. Each portion-control package contains the right amount of dip for a serving of fruit or vegetables.
Turn the frowns upside down
Do your kids turn up their noses at fruits and veggies? Here are some fun and smart ideas to please even the pickiest of eaters:
- Bagel snake ― Split mini bagels in half. Cut each half into half circles. Spread the halves with tuna salad, egg salad, or peanut butter. Decorate with sliced cherry tomatoes or banana slices. Arrange the half circles to form the body of a snake. Use olives or raisins for the eyes.
- English muffin pizza ― Top half an English muffin with tomato sauce, chopped veggies and low-fat mozzarella cheese. Heat until the cheese is melted.
- Potato pal ― Top half a small baked potato with eyes, ears, and a smile. Try peas for eyes, a halved cherry tomato for a nose, and a low-fat cheese wedge as a smile.
- Fruit smoothies ― Blend fresh or frozen fruit with yogurt and milk or juice. Try 100 percent orange juice, low-fat yogurt, and frozen strawberries.
- Ants on a log ― Thinly spread peanut butter or apple dip on narrow celery sticks. Top with a row of raisins or other diced dried fruit.
- Fruit kabobs – Spear chunks of pineapple, banana and melon on skewers or chopsticks. Let kids dunk them in a fruit dip.
Picky eaters don’t have to stay picky eaters. With some encouragement and creative ideas from parents, they can learn to love eating what’s best for them.
For more information, visit marzetti.com.
Turn PB & J into PB & A — peanut butter and apples! This lunchtime treat is a great way to please picky sandwich eaters and make sure they get some healthy fruit.
Open Face Caramel Peanut Butter Sandwich
Prep Time: 5 minutes
- 2 tablespoons Marzetti Caramel Apple Dip
- 2 tablespoons favorite peanut butter
- 2 slices favorite bread
- Sliced apples, peanuts, dried cranberries or raisins
- In a small bowl, mix together dip and peanut butter until smooth.
- Spread two tablespoons of caramel mixture on each slice of bread.
- Arrange sliced apples, peanuts and dried fruit atop each sandwich and serve.
Put some crunchy fun into snack time with this fruity rice cake. This is one treat the kids will love making themselves — just set out the ingredients and let them build a fruit-filled snack!
Rice Cake Snack
Prep Time: 3 minutes
- 2 tablespoons Marzetti Caramel Apple Dip
- 1 rice cake
Topping options: Diced red or green apple, chopped bananas, favorite dried fruit, mini chocolate chips or favorite chopped nuts
Spread 2 tablespoons dip onto a rice cake. Top with one or two topping options and serve.