Friday, October 18, 2013

The Best Dessert to Make with Kids

The Best Desserts to Make with Kids
By: Claire Clarkson
Cooking at home with your kids is beneficial in so many ways. Not only is cooking something that kids actually want to do with their parents (after all, there’s a tasty treat at the end of it!), but it’s also a great way to teach them about good health and nutrition, and encourages them to learn important skills that they’ll need for adulthood. Unfortunately, many kids aren't too interested in the healthy side of cooking - they’d much rather whip up a batch of chocolate frogs and jelly beans than a spinach and feta pie, for example, so it’s important to find some interesting, kid-friendly recipes that are going to be fun to make, and fun to eat. Here are some tips for making baking a stress-free family activity:

Quick and Easy
As you’ll probably already know, kids don’t always have the best attention spans, and explaining about patience sometimes goes in one ear and out the other! When you’re looking for recipes to make with your kids, always opt for those that are quick and easy, and preferably those that are no-bake, so there’s no waiting round for ingredients to cook in the oven. This is especially good advice if you have a child with special needs, as it can be quite difficult for children with dyslexia, for example, to maintain focus for long periods of time. You can buy recipe books specifically designed for children, and for those with learning difficulties, which list child-friendly no-bake desserts such as cheesecake, rocky road, and mousse. Anything that can be eaten soon after it's been made an doesn't require a lengthy wait while it sets, cools or freezes is also a bonus!

Simple Steps
Keeping with the quick and easy concept, make sure that whatever desserts you choose to bake, that there’s no difficult or complicated steps that children could become frustrated by. For example, although meringue-based desserts may seem like a good idea because they’re relatively simple, kids may not fully understand the notion of folding in the sugar, thus removing all the air from the egg whites. This is going to leave you with a meringue that’s dense and chewy, rather than light and airy, and while the end result doesn't have to be perfect, it should at least be edible! Opt for recipes that include lots of hand mixing, and for batters and doughs that won’t suffer from being over-mixed. Something that includes whipped cream is quite a good idea, such as a fruit trifle.

Healthy Choices
One of the worries of baking with kids is that we’re promoting the idea of treats, and encouraging bad behavior in terms of nutrition, but if you opt for the right type of desserts, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. While it’s OK to bake a decadent chocolate cake every so often, if you and your kids are making desserts on a regular basis, try to include some healthy choices to really show the importance of good food. Jello made up with fresh fruit is a great idea (use grapes and berries rather than stone fruits - these will add too much moisture and the jello won’t set), along with fruit crumbles and homemade freezer pops.



Some Great Ideas
If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some options that are easy, quick, delicious, and your kids are guaranteed to love making them, and love eating them even more:

Peanut Butter Bites
Ask your kids to pour 3 cups of their favorite breakfast cereal into a saucepan, along with a good handful of mini marshmallows, two tablespoons of peanut butter, and a sprinkling of unsalted peanuts. Set the pan on a very low heat (the lowest it will go), and, while supervising, ask your kids to stir continuously until the peanut butter and marshmallows have melted, and everything is sticking together. Spoon the mixture into a tray lined with some parchment, and allow to cool. Cut into bite size pieces and enjoy. The peanut butter in this dessert is a healthy alternative to traditional butter.



Berry Cheesecake
Ask your kids to mix together a tub of cream cheese with a couple of tablespoons of confectioners sugar (how much sugar you add will depend on personal preference - taste as you go along). Keep mixing until the sugar has all been incorporated, and the cream cheese is thick and glossy. Spoon this mixture into a pre-bought pastry case (well, what parent has time to make homemade pastry?) and top with your kids favorite berries or fruits - anything will work, sliced peaches, blueberries, or strawberries are especially delicious. There’s no waiting round for this, you can enjoy immediately!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yes, Desserts CAN be Healthy!

I would like to introduce you to a guest blogger today, Claire Clarkson! If you are interested in blogging for Stay N' Cooking, then email the moderator at elizabeth@thestays.org 

Yes, Desserts CAN be Healthy!
By: Claire Clarkson

If you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle and are watching what you put into your body, you’ve probably become accustomed to saying ‘no, thank you’ when you’re asked if you want dessert when you’re at a dinner party or out at a restaurant. Desserts have a bit of a bad reputation and are widely considered to be unhealthy. After all, have you ever looked at the calories on some popular restaurant desserts? A brownie sundae and a slice of rich chocolate cake can rack up more than 1000 calories each! That’s roughly half of the recommended calorie allowance for adults! What many people don’t know is that the right desserts really can be healthy, and they can be tremendously good for you. It’s all about making the right decisions and cutting down on sugar, fat, and calories. For example, a simple frozen yogurt recipe contains just one tablespoon of sugar, and homemade frozen fruit pops really are as healthy as a piece of fruit!
Opt for Fruity Desserts
The first trick to making or choosing a healthy dessert is to stay away from those that are chocolate, caramel, or toffee-based. Yes, these are mouthwateringly delicious, but they’re also incredibly bad for you. The high calories can encourage weight gain which has detrimental effects on health, including promoting the development of type II diabetes, and the added sugar content can ruin your teeth, leaving you with painful toothache. The problem is that what many people look for in a dessert is that sickly sweet side that balances out the savory main course. Well, did you know that fruits contain naturally occurring sugars that give that same sweetness we crave, without the negative effects?  Fructose is one of the main sugars found naturally in fruits, and, unlike other types of sugar, fructose has little effect on blood sugar levels, so you can happily enjoy a juicy peach or creamy banana without experiencing that sugar high and subsequent crash and burn. Try to incorporate more fruits into your desserts, such as with a yummy german apple pancake or with easy and delicious yogurt-berry parfaits.
Choose Organic Ingredients
Now that you've seen how fruits can be incorporated to make delicious yet healthy desserts, it’s time to start thinking about the types of fruits you buy. Obviously, buying any sort of fruit is going to be better for your health than buying sweets and candies, for example, but if you’re really wanting to look after your body, you should consider buying organic produce, either from your local grocery store or directly from farmers' markets. According to Licensed Prescriptions, organic fruits are typically considered to be ‘higher in beneficial vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants’ as there are restrictions in place that limit the types of products that can be used on an organic farm. Organic fruits are grown without the addition of any pesticides or other chemicals, which is of great concern with non-organic fruits. These chemicals can really affect our health and our bodies, and are even thought to contribute to some types of cancer!
Use Healthy Alternatives
Go and grab one of your cookbooks from the kitchen and flick through the dessert recipes. You’ll see page after page listing sugar, cream, and butter, guaranteed! You may think that these are all the things that make desserts really tasty, but they’re not. It’s components and traits of these ingredients that make desserts delicious, not the specific foods. In using alternative ingredients with the same attributes, you can drastically cut down on the sugars and calories in all your favorite recipes. Rather than using sugar for sweetness in a recipe, use applesauce! It maintains the sweetness, but achieves this with natural fructose rather than synthetic or artificial sugar. You could also use honey instead of sugar, too. Honey is packed with anti-oxidants which help fight off disease. Cream and butter are both typically used to achieve a thick, glossy, creamy consistency, but there’s other ingredients that do the same job. Instead of cream, use yogurt, and instead of butter, used a mashed banana. Try these substitutions out in your favorite cake recipe and see if you can tell the difference! I bet you can't!
Sweet dishes can be healthy, they can be nutritious, and they can be delicious, so say YES to desserts!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The BEST Food For Summer

Hello Everyone! I am SO sorry I have not posted in forever. This last year i've been improving my writing skills and learning what interests YOU! I will not let this blog fade like so many other blogs before it. Thank You for your patience!

As the weather is increasing dramatically you are craving something cold and sweet. What's better than ice cream? That's right just imagine that sweet, cold, creamy dessert touching your lips and it melts slowly in your mouth and as it dissolves you feel the cold, sweet cream slipping down your throat...
Mmmmmm..... is the sound you make as you feel your mouth rising into a smile. You just had a bite of the best ice cream you have ever had, In that favorite flavor you adore.

Now YOU can make your own ice cream in the  favorite flavor YOU adore!

Recipe #1

Simple Vanilla Ice Cream In a Bag Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup half and half
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 sandwich ziploc bag
1 gallon ziploc bag
3 cups ice
1/3 cup salt

1. Put the first 3 ingredients in sandwich bag. Seal bag (tightly) and shake to mix. 

2.Put the last two ingredients in the gallon size ziploc bag. Add the smaller, sealed ziploc bag. Seal the gallon size bag.

3. Shake the bag until desired consistency is reached. (aprox. 10-15 mins.) If not thick enough put in the freezer to thicken.

TO ADD FLAVORS:
Choose the flavor you want (fruit, nut, chocolate, mint, etc.)and add it too the sandwich size bag before sealing. You can add nuts, extracts, fruits, chocolate sauce, or anything you'd like!
Makes 1 serving

Now you have learned how to make basic Ice Cream but what if you are a popsicle fan? Well I have just the thing for you!


Recipe #2

Easy, Sweet Frozen Fruit Pops

Ingredients:
Watermelon (or another fruit)
Skewers
Parchment paper
Cookie sheet
1. If using watermelon cut a slice off and use a cookie cutter to cut out a fun shape. (optional but encouraged)

2. Skewer the fruit and stick on a Cookie sheet covered in Parchment paper. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer. Leave fruit in freezer until frozen. 

Optional:
If you want you can cover fruit in magic shell chocolate sauce after frozen.
Makes desired servings

The thing is you're more of a Fro-yo fan. Don't worry, I didn't forget you! Here is an awesome Fro-yo recipe:

Recipe #3

Easy Frozen Yogurt Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups Greek Yogurt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

1.Add ingredients to freezer safe bowl. Mix and put in freezer. Stir at intervals of 45 minutes until desired consistency is reached. 

Thank you for your time;  I hope that you will try these recipes. I will continue to post and I thank you for your patience. Until next time, Goodbye. 



Friday, June 1, 2012

5 Great Foods from Harry Potter World

Recently, I visited Universal Orlando's Island of Adventures Harry Potter World. The experience was absolutely breathtaking and I had a chance to try food straight from the Harry Potter books and even from England itself. If you plan on visiting I suggest you get in touch with your British side and try the amazing foods below.

1. Butter Beer!  Don't worry it's not real beer! :) This is an AMAZING drink that sings on your taste buds with every sip! This drink comes in two versions; frozen and cold (my preference is frozen) and you can buy it at various locations throughout the park. The best location to purchase it at is at the Hog's Head with little to no line, whereas every other place the line stretches for a good 30 minutes. This is the must buy drink of Harry Potter world so if you're planning on visiting plan on spending some money on a drink (or two) of Butter Beer.












2. Pumpkin Juice- This is a great drink, though it is very controversial. The best way to describe it is a liquid version of pumpkin pie. Some people like it, some don't. I highly recommend buying a jug to try, as it is a Harry Potter World favorite.



3. Every Flavored Jelly Beans- These are so much fun, even if you are not a Harry Potter fan because of all the creative flavors they have come up with (like vomit, soap, and toffee). Me and my family had a lot of fun trying to guess the different flavors (though more often than not we were wrong). This is definitely a kid (and kid-at-heart) friendly food.


4. Cornish Pasties- This is the dish I had for lunch, though the Three Broomsticks carried many main dishes that looked appealing. These have a soft shell (crust) with sweet meat inside. It comes with a typical side salad with various fresh vegetables. I really enjoyed this dish, and I recommend eating at the Three Broomsticks, if you have a chance to bypass the long line.



5. Chocolate frogs- I'm not going to lie, the chocolate is terrible. It's stale and cheap, not what I was expecting for the price I paid. This made it on the list for the experience not the chocolate. The trading card I would say, was worth it, but unless you're a die-hard Harry Potter fan I would not buy one. The box and the trading card was amazing though, so you may have to weigh the odds when it comes to this one.




Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Hi! Welcome to my blog and to all those subscribers out there here's a new recipe! This is a great Cinnamon Roll recipe making store-bought like cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!

Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients


2 cups of Bisquick
2/3 cup of milk
about 1-2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon 

 1.  Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9 inch round pan. Stir together with a fork in a medium sized bowl to a soft dough the Bisquick and the milk. Beat vigorously about 20 strokes or until stiff and sticky.

 2.  Lightly flour a cutting board, roll dough on cutting board.  Knead gently by folding, pressing, and turning. Repeat this 8-10 times to smooth dough. with lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 12x7    inch rectangle.

 3.   Spread the semi thick flat dough with the butter. Sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Beginning at the long side tightly roll up dough. Seal by pinching edge into roll. Cut with a table knife into 1 inch rolls. Cook for 15 minutes.

Makes 12 rolls.


Cinnamon roll icing

Ingredients

1 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
slash of milk (optional)

1. Add all ingredients together except milk. Stir with fork or electric mixer. If needed add splash of milk. Pour on top of cinnamon rolls.







Photo cred: desktopcookbook.com

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yummy German Apple Pancake

This is a great crossover fruit and dessert recipe. Feel free to substitute other fruits for different flavors, Enjoy!

1.Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel and quarter 1-3 apple(s). Throw away core. Thinly slice the quarters.
In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon with a fork. Add the apple slices and mix well.




2. Slice 2 tablespoons butter into a few pieces and add the butter in a 9 or 10 inch glass pie pan. Put pan in oven for 2 minutes. Then remove from oven.







Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter recipes!!!

Are you're kids excited for Easter?  Well help ease the wait with these fun and delicious recipes!

#1 

Bunny biscuits!

Ingredients
  • biscuit dough (10 biscuits)
  • chocolate chips
  • marshmallow
1. Open the can. Spread biscuits on cookie sheet. Slice half the biscuits in half (5 biscuits),and attach the 2 halves to whole biscuits to make it look like bunny ears.


2. Bake for the amount of time and heat as stated on can. Put 2 chocolate chips for eyes and a marshmallow for nose on you're bunny.


Variation
After they cook use the recipe from my beignets (http://cooking.staynalive.com/2011/08/princes-tianas-benyays-from-princess.html) and dip your bunnies in butter and the cinnamon sugar.


This is a great recipe, perfect for Easter parties and celebrations:


#2


Rice Krispie eggs


Here is the link http://www.ricekrispies.com/en_US/recipes/hidden-surprise-easter-egg-treats.html#/en_US/recipes/hidden-surprise-easter-egg-treats
and the recipe

Prep Time: • Total Time• Servings12 

Easter Recipes - Egg shapes with chocolate candies hidden inside

Give these Easter egg-shaped goodies a shake to hear the tasty surprise inside – M&M candies!

  • 12 Plastic snap-apart 3 x 2-in Easter eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
  • - OR -
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal
  • 1/2 cup M&M'S® Brand Chocolate Candies
  • Canned frosting or decorating gel (optional)

1. Clean, then coat inside of plastic eggs with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
3. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.
4. Using greased hands, firmly press 1/4 cup of the cereal mixture into each plastic egg half. Use fingers to make hollow center in each half. Remove from molds. Place on wax paper. Cool slightly.
5. Place about 6 M&M'S® Brand Chocolate Candies in one half of each egg. Gently press two halves of each egg together until they stick. Cool completely.
6. Decorate with frosting and additional M&M'S® Brand Chocolate Candies (if desired). Best if served the same day.

MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS:
 Follow step 1 above. In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 3 through 6 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

Notes:
For best results, use fresh marshmallows.

1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows.

Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container.
















































#3


Cadbury Egg Brownies




This is a great recipe! 

Here is the link http://gingerbreadbagels.com/2011/04/13/cadbury-creme-egg-brownies/


and the recipe

Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies

4 1/2 Cadbury Creme Eggs (total of 9 halves)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the Cadbury Eggs along the crease. You should have a total of 9 halves. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder and kosher salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl with the paddle attachment (a handheld mixer works too), mix together the packed light brown sugar, sugar, melted unsalted butter and vanilla extract on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Add in the eggs one at a time and mix.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients on low speed. Mix until just combined. Take a spatula and fold the ingredients together.
Throw in the semi sweet chocolate chips and fold them in.
Spread the brownie batter into a lightly greased 8×8 inch baking pan. The brownies will bake for a total of 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Once the brownies have baked for 25 minutes, remove them from the oven and carefully press the Cadbury Creme Eggs on top of the brownies. The center of the Cadbury Eggs should be facing up.
Put the brownies back in the oven and continue baking for 5 more minutes.
Cool the brownies and then cut into pieces. Enjoy!