The Best and Easiest Gluten-Free Cookie Recipe Ever

Child obesity is a big problem in the United States.

With the holidays approaching, what can parents do to help their children maintain a healthy weight?

  • Provide healthful snacks: vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumbers, celery); fruit slices (apples, pears, orange sections), cheese cubes, whole-grain crackers.
  • Watch meal portions: for example, make a habit of measuring cereal before you pour it into the bowl (most cereals call for ½ to 1 cup as a serving size); use salad plates instead of dinner plates, especially for young children…you will be less likely to serve too much…this works for adults as well.
  • Keep eating out to a minimum and avoid fast-foods as much as possible: if you make food for your family yourself, you can pass on the additives and preservatives and high sodium content present in most restaurant offerings…and you will probably save money.
  • Make a batch of these nutritious cookies with your child: they are high in fiber, low in sugar, salt and fat…and no preservatives or artificial colors.

OVERNIGHT COOKIES

You will need: 2 egg whites, ¼ cup sugar, 1 cup ground almonds, 1 cup raisins, large bowl, electric mixer and a lightly greased cookie sheet.

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.    Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.

3.    Add the sugar and mix in.

4.    Add the raisins and the ground almonds and fold in gently but thoroughly.

5.    Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet.

6.    Bake for 5 minutes.

7.    Turn off oven.

8.    If you like softer cookies, you can remove them from the oven after about 30 minutes.  If you like crispier cookies, you can leave them in for an hour…or overnight.

9.    This recipe makes about 12 – 18 cookies, depending on the size you drop onto the cookie sheet.

 

What a fun recipe to prepare with your child during this holiday season!  You could even make several batches and give some away as gifts.  Cooking with children is a super learning activity…science (how do the runny egg whites change when you beat them), math (fractions, counting), better pre-literacy skills (reading the labels of the egg carton, bag of sugar, etc.).  Best of all, cooking with kids is one of the best ways to strengthen the parent-child connection and build their self-esteem as they master tasks and skills.

Please visit the Show Me How website where you can find out more about the book that provides many more quick and easy cooking activities for kids along with simple arts and crafts activities and story summaries of the 100 picture books every young child should hear.

The book has received praise from many mom and dad bloggers as well as picture book authors and self-esteem experts. http://areelcoolsummer.blogspot.com/2011/08/five-gold-stars-for-show-me-how.html

The New Year is almost here…make a resolution to spend 15 minutes a day, reading or crafting or cooking with your young child…the positive impact it will have on your child cannot be measured. 

Autumn is in the Air: Time to Turn on the Oven and Bake a Cake

 

I love the fall…cool crisp mornings and warm sunny afternoons.

Here in Colorado, the aspen leaves will be turning to gold, while back in New England where my daughter and her family live; the maples will be wearing flaming headdresses of scarlet, crimson and purple.

 

Many parents will be helping their children plan their Halloween costumes and decorate the house with pumpkins and sheaves of autumn wheat and Indian corn.  Years ago, our local library had an annual pumpkin-painting contest and all of my children looked forward to choosing the “perfect” pumpkin to decorate and enter…hoping to win the coveted first place prize ribbon.

 

As the weather cools down, many of us start getting out the muffin pans and cookie sheets in preparation for holiday baking.  I encourage parents to include their children in meal preparation…and holiday baking is an especially fun time to have your kids in the kitchen. If you are looking for simple child-friendly recipes, you’ll find dozens of them in my book, Show Me How!

Here’s a wonderful recipe for Carrot Cake that doesn’t appear in the book.  It’s special enough for festive occasions, but simple enough so that young children can help.

 

The best thing about this cake is that it is very nutritious (one pound of carrots in each cake) and easy on the digestive system.  I recommend it for anyone who suffers from IBS or GERD problems.

CARROT CAKE

You will need: 1½ cups flour, ¾ cup sugar, 1½ tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 egg beaten, ½ cup canola oil, 1 tsp vanilla, zest of 1 orange, 1 pound baby carrots grated, ¾ cup pineapple chunks with juice (about ½ cup), 2 bowls, 1 Bundt pan lightly greased, blender or food processor.

  1. Mix in large bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  2. Mix in another bowl: brown sugar, beaten egg, canola oil, vanilla, orange zest.
  3. Use a blender or food processor to grate the carrots and add the pineapple chunks and juice and blend until fairly smooth.
  4. Add the carrot/pineapple mixture to the brown sugar/egg mixture and stir well till blended.
  5. Add this to the flour mixture and stir gently but thoroughly..
  6. Pour/spoon into lightly greased Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.  After 30 minutes or so, turn upside down on a serving plate and allow the cake to continue cooling.
  8. For storage, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator up to one week.

                                                                     For parents who are local to the Colorado Springs area

PLEASE SAVE THE DATE

STAYING HEALTHY

THIS SCHOOL YEAR!

SHOW-ME-HOW STORY-TIME PROGRAM

Saturday, September 24, 2011

12 to 12:45pm

Family Christian Store: 7165 N. Academy

719-598-1500 to RSVP

Or email vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com

  • Bring your young children and listen to a story
  • Help your child make a simple craft project
  • Get a free flyer: Have a Healthier School Year

Vivian Kirkfield is a local author, former kindergarten and Head Start teacher and mom of three. Her parenting program and award-winning activity book for ages 2-7, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, has helped thousands of parents build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a stronger parent-child connection.

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue: A 4th of July Dessert

Flag of the United States

Image via Wikipedia

 Happy Birthday, America…and Happy July 4th to all!

Whether you are on the road or close to home, enjoy the day and stay safe!

I looked through Show Me How! and found the perfect dessert to serve on this auspicious day…it’s quick, easy, healthy and…RED, WHITE and BLUE!

CHILD-FRIENDLY RAINBOW FRUIT AND RICE PUDDING PARFAITS

Color does lift one’s mood…help your child create a multi-colored dessert for the entire family to enjoy…when everyone compliments this delicious and beautiful treat, your child’s self-esteem will be lifted also.

You will need: 1½ cups cooked white rice (you can use brown rice for more nutrition another time…we want the white for the red, white and blue), ¼ cup honey, ½ cup coconut flakes, ½ cup sliced strawberries, ½ cup blueberries, 1 sliced banana, 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, a large bowl and 4 parfait glasses.

1.     Mix the rice, honey, yogurt and coconut in a large bowl.

2.     Drop a spoonful of this mixture into each parfait glass.

3.     Now spoon in some sliced bananas and cover with another spoonful of the rice mixture.

4.     Add a spoonful of sliced strawberries and cover with the remaining rice mixture.

5.     Top with blueberries.

6.     Makes 4 servings…refrigerate any leftovers.

7.     Creative tip: you can substitute other fruits and or yogurt flavors.

 If this is the type of recipe you enjoy preparing, treat yourself to a copy of my award-winning book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  There are 100 simple child-friendly healthful cooking activities AND 100 easy eco-friendly craft projects.  And that’s not all…you’ll find picture book summaries of the 100 books every young child should hear!  You deserve a hassle-free summer with your kids…be good to yourself and them and grab a copy at 50% off the cover price and you will have fresh ideas and activities for the entire summer and beyond!  Click on this link.

Make-A-Meal Monday: Holiday Treats for Easter and Passover

The Last Supper

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Right now, we are in the middle of two important week-long religious celebrations…for Christians, there is  Easter which is next Sunday, but the entire week has significance as yesterday was Palm Sunday and Thursday is Maundy Thursday and Friday is Good Friday.  For those of the Jewish faith, there is Passover, which starts tonight with the first Seder and continues for an entire week.  For more detailed information about either of these holidays, you can go to http://www.infoplease.com/spot/easter.html.

I thought it would be fun to see if I could find a recipe from my book for parents of preschoolers that would be appropriate for each of these important celebrations.  When you invite your child to help with food preparation, you help build their self-esteem.  It is also a wonderful way to teach young children about holidays and traditions that are important for your family.

CHILD-FRIENDLY NOODLE APPLE CASSEROLE

Here is a really simple recipe that is similar to Noodle Kugel, a delicious treat enjoyed by many during Passover week.

You will need: 4 cups cooked wide noodles, 2 eggs, ¼ cup honey, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 cup grated apple, ½ cup  raisins, 1 Tb margarine or butter, a large bowl and a 2-quart greased casserole dish.

1.     In a large bowl, combine eggs, honey and cinnamon and beat well.

2.     Stir in apples, raisins, noodles and butter.

3.     Pour into a greased casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

4.     Be careful when you pull away the aluminum foil…there may be a lot of steam!

5.     Makes 4 lunch-size servings or many more side dish, snack or dessert servings.

 

CHILD-FRIENDLY HOT CROSS BUNS

This simple recipe forgoes yeast and uses muffin tins…so easy and delicious; you’ll want to enjoy it all during the year, not just at Easter.

You will need: For the buns: ½ cup orange juice, ¾ cup seedless golden raisins, 2 cups flour, 1 Tb baking powder, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ cup milk, 1/3 cup canola oil, 2 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract, zest of 1 orange, 3 mixing bowls and a 12-cup greased muffin tin.  For the icing: 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 Tb orange juice.

1.     Combine orange juice and raisins in a micro-wave safe bowl and micro-wave on high for 1 minute.

2.     In another bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.

3.     In a smaller bowl, whisk together milk, oil, eggs, vanilla and orange zest.

4.     Add the milk mixture and the raisin mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened.

5.     Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean and dry.

6.     Remove the muffin tin from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before placing the muffins on a rack to cool completely.

7.     When the muffins are completely cool, prepare the icing (in a small bowl, mix confectioner’s sugar and 1 Tb orange juice until smooth) and drizzle on top of each muffin to form a cross.

Please stop by tomorrow…and don’t forget that THE HOPPY EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA GIVEAWAY BLOG HOP starts here on Wednesday…and at over 200 other blogs.  You will be able to enter to win a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking and then hop over to the other blogs to enter their giveaways.

How to Eat Healthy This Holiday Season

This is a diagram depicting the rise of overwe...

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We’re coming into that dangerous season of overeating, oversnacking and going overboard when it comes to what we put in our mouths.  As parents, not only should we oversee what our children are eating…we should also try to be good role models.  I actually LOVE junk food…and work really hard to keep most of it out of the house because I know that if it is easily available, it will be eaten by me.   There are a few suggestions I have that work for me…I hope they work for you also.

  • Plan your weekly menus ahead of time…when we get busy as most of us are, failing to plan in this area is almost guaranteed to equal planning to fail.  Fast-food, take-out or frozen TV dinners may have their place on occasion…but if you put aside 30 minutes a week to plan some basic well-balanced meals, your family will be eating more healthfully most of the time.  This also allows you to maximize on weekly specials at your local stores.  And, it gives you more time for other things…like time to read a book or take a bubble bath.
  • Choose one morning or one afternoon or one evening a week to turn on your oven and use it to prepare casseroles, a roast chicken, baked potatoes, healthy cookies/cakes/muffins.  If you are able to put aside several hours on one day for this task, the rest of the week will be a breeze.  Refrigerate or freeze what you have prepared and you will have healthy, ready-made meals for most of the week.
  • Include your family in the planning and preparing…picky or fussy eaters often eat what they help prepare.  Children LOVE helping in the kitchen…it builds their confidence and self-esteem.
  • Think about portions…I truly believe that the large, super-sized meals that many of us eat, at home and in restaurants, are one of the largest contributing factors of childhood obesity.  Just because the cereal bowl can hold 2 or 3 cups of cereal doesn’t mean we should fill it to the top…if you read the portion size on the box of cereal, you’ll see it says 1/2 to 1 cup, depending on the type of cereal.  Dinner plates are really large…maybe you can use smaller plates when serving.
  • Remember to keep hydrated…I know that when I get busy, I forget to drink enough water…and then I think I am hungry and eat a couple of cookies, at 100 calories each, when what my body really wants is a glass of water.  With NO calories!  Also, try to nix the soda…full of empty calories and not much else except a college education for your dentist’s children.
  • Plan to have healthy snacks ready for hungry children and yourself between meals like carrot sticks and humus or apple slices and almond butter.  Again, if we don’t plan ahead, we will probably grab the first thing we see…and that might be cookies or chips.
  • If it works with your schedule, try eating 6 smaller meals, instead of the traditional 3.  When we are REALLY hungry, we tend to eat more than we should because we eat quickly and our internal hunger regulator doesn’t have time to kick in to tell us we are full.  And, on the subject of full, try to stop eating BEFORE you feel full…if you feel full, you’ve had too much.  This always happens to me when I go to an all-you-can-eat buffet…and I am never a happy camper afterwards.
  • Make sure you do allow yourself and your family some special food treats that are part of your holiday traditions or customs…denying oneself EVERYTHING we love is a sure way to feel deprived…and that often leads to overeating, oversnacking and going overboard.  I actually have a small ice-cream (made with fat-free frozen yogurt, a handful of homemade granola and a few almonds) every night after dinner.  I look forward to it and enjoy it immensely…it is my reward to myself for a good day’s work…and, so far, I haven’t had to hide the scale.