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 

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


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.

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

Watermelon (or another fruit)
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. 

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

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.