Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Roasted Twees (Broccoli)

Oh the cute names we moms conjure up to try to entice our kids to eat something new!
Kale Chips became Green Potato Chips or Dinosaur Chips, an assortment of veggies we call "Eating your Rainbow" etc... so when it came time to experiment with Broccoli, their moniker came directly from the kids themselves.

It was my daughter who lifted it up and said "Mommy, I'm eating a TWEE" and there you have it, Roasted TWEES was officially named!

Roasting is such a simple cooking technique but often hurried parents forget about it in crunch time. The all-too-often used steaming (or as I like to say, "murdering") of veggies gets the job done, but leaves us with a hardly edible, mushy veggie that gets passed over on the plate on the way to the potatoes.

Roasting elevates the flavor of the food by caramelizing the sugars so they are brought to the forefront, creating a sweeter, more bold flavor then you could ever get with a pot of boiling water.

This is a recipe we make often at Wholesome Tummies and it's one that kids actually request by name. I have given this recipe out to many parents after their kids asked for it- now that is a great feeling- kids actually requesting broccoli! I hope this one becomes a replacement for the steamed broccoli in your house like it has in ours so that you too can actually begin enjoying this delicious veggie again!

Roasted Twees (Broccoli)

  • 1 head of broccoli, thoroughly washed and separated.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of sugar (optional)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Put a rimmed baking sheet into the oven and preheat the oven to 475.

Peel the base (stem) of the broccoli and cut into long pieces (it's OK to eat the stems this way!). You should get about 8-10 pieces in 1 head of broccoli.

In a small bowl, combine all the other ingredients and whisk well. Add the broccoli to the bowl and toss well. Once the oven is preheated, place the broccoli and the remainder of the mixture onto the HOT baking sheet and cook for approximate 15-20 minutes, tossing once until the broccoli is cooked and lightly browned.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Nothing really beats a crispy, fresh french fry. It's a taste that is hard to imitate and harder to healthify and really, in moderation, we shouldn't have to. But because they are a sometimes food in our family I have had to create some other fun "french fry-like" variations that still appease my kids without all the fat and grease.

Growing up, sweet potatoes were never part of any family dinner that I recall. I would see them at friend's houses on Thanksgiving but that was it. My mom certainly never cooked one and my first exposure was likely covered in marshmallow fluff anyway so the sweet potato was somewhat indistinguishable.

That all changed when I had my twins. I made all their baby food from scratch and the sweet potato was one of the easiest to master. Simply poke with a fork, bake for 1 hour and voila! - healthy baby food! Not sure if more of it ended up on their faces or in their mouths but they loved it!

When tasked with making my kids french fry tasting sweet potato fries, I attempted many variations. Savory or Sweet but found that overall it was the combo that was the best. (Isn't that always the case!) These sweet potatoes, soft on the inside, crispy on the outside with a touch of spice and sweet that makes them addictive - yet healthy all at the same time!

Sweet Potato Fries

Preheat Oven to 425 Serves 4-6

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tbl kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp freshly, cracked pepper

Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise and place flat side down on the cutting board. Starting at one end make 1/2" vertical sliced cuts around the sweet potato so that the whole piece is now cut into 1/2" strips. Set aside and continue with the remaining potato.

Place the slices onto a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil (approx 3-4 tbl) until nicely coated. Sprinkle on the spices and seasonings and toss well.

Roast for approximately 15 minutes then toss around so they do not stick and roast for another 25 minutes until browned.

Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders

This is one that is a favorite with kids and adults alike. It is just reminiscent enough of nuggets to be devoured by the little ones and just enough sophistication to be enjoyed by their parents.

Prep couldn't be faster so save this for one of those - rushtosoccerpracticenowit's7pmandidonthavedinnerplanned - kinda nights!

Preheat Oven to 425. Serves 4
  • 1 LB of Chicken Tenders (or cut Boneless Chicken Breasts into large chunks)
  • 1.5 cups of Whole Wheat Panko
  • 1 cup of olive oil (or olive oil canola blend)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbl grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Place all the Panko and seasoning (and cheese if using) into a baking dish.

Pour the olive oil into a separate bowl.

Dredge the chicken tenders into the olive oil until fully coated and then into the panko mixture one at a time. Lay them out on a lightly greased cookie sheet and spray with a bit of oil spray on the tops. Bake for approx 15 minutes, then flip the tenders and bake for an additional 10-12 or until fully cooked thru and an instant read thermometer registers at 165.

Serve with plenty of honey mustard or ketchup for dipping.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

  • 2 cups avocado (about 2 medium avocados)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • raspberries or some chocolate chips for garnish


  1. Add all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and whirl until it is creamy and fully blended. Scrape well down the sides to get all the cocoa powder in the pudding.
  2. Chill for 30 minutes and then eat!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A neurotic mommy (and Whole Wheat Pop Tarts)

I know I have gone a little obsessive with what my kids eat. I try so hard to be the "cool" mom- you know, be easy breezy about them eating 4 slices of Dominos pizza at a party followed by some pink liquid (I think its supposed to be juice) and a tootsie roll pop. But the fact is, it kills me inside! Maybe it's the years of research that led me to start Wholesome Tummies. Or the articles I read daily on the increasing rates of obesity, diabetes and other illnesses related to eating processed foods. But I have become a bit of a food "nazi" in my house.

My kids, for the most part, are pretty good. They know the foods they can have and the foods they cannot. They have watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and think McDonalds is disgusting. But there are some things they still ask for occasionally even though they know I'll say "no".

Lucky Charms and Soda for instance. And Pop Tarts. Those nasty, sugar filled, overly processed dessert -like treats that get marketed as breakfast food. UGH.

I found a recipe online for homemade pop tarts and tried to improve them the best I could (but kept the 2 sticks of butter, hey I can't be TOTALLY good all the time!). I swapped all the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour. I eliminated the frosting and opted for a light dusting of powdered sugar instead. I thought they were delicious. Light, flaky, slightly sweet and buttery.

My littlest boy (2) LOVED it. My 3 year old, only ate the strawberry jelly parts. But my 8 year olds said they were delicious and devoured them. One of them, asked if he could have them for dessert tonight too. They aren't the easiest things to do in the morning when you have to rush the kids out to school, but on a Sunday if you have an extra hour, they would be just fine!

Whole Wheat Pop Tarts

Yield: 9 pop-tarts

Prep Time: 1 hour | Bake Time: 25 minutes

For the pastry crust:
2 cups Whole Wheat Pasty Flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk

For the strawberry filling:
¾ cup strawberry jam (or whatever flavor you’d like)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

1 egg, lightly beaten (to brush on pastry)

Prepare the strawberry filling by whisking together the cornstarch and water, and then combine with the jam in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool.

To make the crust, combine together the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter slowly and pulse again until the dough resembled sand or moist crumbs. Whisk together the egg and milk and add to the dough. Mix together until everything is evenly moistened. Dump out onto a floured surface and knead briefly.

Divide the dough in half. (At this point you can wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) If you refrigerate the dough, let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling out. Roll out one piece of dough to about 1/8-inch thick, in a 9½ by 12½ rectangle. Using a sharp knife, pastry wheel or bench scraper, trim the rectangle to 9×12 inches. Cut the sheet of dough into nine 3×4 rectangles. Using a spatula, transfer the rectangles to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Brush the lightly beaten egg on each of the rectangles. Spoon 1-2 tbl of filling into the center of each rectangle, leaving a ½-inch of space around the edges.

Roll out and cut the second piece of dough in the exact same manner as you did the first. One at a time, place a second rectangle of dough on top of the nine assembled ones. Using your fingers, press around the seams of the dough to make sure they are sealed. Press the tines of a fork around the edges of the rectangles. Prick the tops of the rectangles in multiple spots to allow steam to escape. Brush the tops with MORE egg wash so the tops get a nice brown color when baked.

Refrigerate the pan with the pastries (you don’t need to cover them) for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving. Dust with powdered sugar.

Store pastries in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Try the GREEN Chips!

There are just some foods that are high on my "I wish I could be one of those people who loved these" list. You know, things like - Millet, Spriulina (what is that, exactly?), Soy Milk and Kale.

A few months back, I read an article in Bon Appetit Magazine that got me totally inspired to try Kale. I own a healthy foods business- I could do THIS! How bad could it be, I mean this writer made it seem like between Kale and dark chocolate, she'd pick Kale. So I tried it...her way. I sauteed it and did everything right..and it was terrible. Sour and bitter and inedible. I tried to get my kids to just try a few bites and they spit it out all over the table. And I, their mother, could hardly blame them.. so I decided I'd have to get my Vitamin K and A elsewhere.

So tonight, the first night of my diet (yes the same diet I have started about 15 times this year), I decided to make a super foods inspired meal. Wild cod, lightly dredged in whole wheat flour and sauteed in olive oil, lentils with parsley, lemon and caramelized onion and my old friend, kale.

But- instead of sauteing , I found a great recipe for roasting it. The high heat, when combined with kale and a bit of olive oil creates a crispy outside- much like a chip. Yes, I said chips...(tempted yet?)

I got some beautiful kale in my organic co-op delivery yesterday, so I was excited to have another go at this great super food. The recipe couldn't be more simple and the results- fantastic.

They were crunchy with a bit of saltiness and only a slight hint of bitterness. I had a hard time eating just one.

Well I am excited to say that I have welcomed Kale into my family and on permanent rotation, too. I hope you enjoy this as much as we all did. (Note my 2 year old munching down on it- now that is a proud mama moment when your 2 year old says "more more" and he is referring to kale!)

Tuscan Kale Chips

3 cups fresh kale, torn into bite sized pieces
1 tbl olive oil
1/2 tbl kosher salt.

Preheat the oven to 350
Line a baking sheet with parchment
Toss the take leaves with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Lay out flat on the baking sheet, and cook for 10-12 mins until crispy.

(see told you it was easy!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

French Omelet

I don't think there is any recipe that seems so simple and yet is so intimidating as the classic French Omelet. For years, what I thought what I was making, was an omelet. Until one day, I went to the Gourmet Institute (now sadly, defunct) in NYC and sat in a class on eggs. It was there I learned that the true French Omelet is in a class all on its own. I doesn't have the brown edges, or the dryness that I had become accustomed to in my omelets. It was creamy, delicate, moist and perfectly even colored.

Truth be told, I am not an egg lover. I have eaten them mostly because I thought they were some super food that would make me a healthier person. I don't know if that's true or just good marketing by egg farmers or what. You gotta say, for something so small, and pretty simple they pack a pretty good nutritional punch. One little egg only has 4g fat and 7g protein. Its pretty much carb free and a whole bunch of other vitamins that I'm sure do something good.

So back to the omelet. I finally "cracked" (I'm so funny!) the key to a good, creamy French omelet when I followed the following principles:
1) VERY Fresh eggs. I LOVE to use my farm fresh eggs from Rosas Farms but if I cannot get my hands on those babies, I use cage free, organic eggs. (The cage free part is purely for my guilty conscious)

2)Use only 3 eggs at a time. I dont care if you are feeding 34 people. Sorry. Use only 3 eggs at a time. If you try to use more, then you get so much thickness that it takes too long to cook and you get the dreaded "brown crust".

3) Don't over mix. Typically, when I would make scrambled eggs or an omelet I would scramble those suckers like it was an Olympic event. Take it easy, lightly break the yolks and get them nice and mixed but don't be all crazy about it.

4)Use real butter. Use good cheese (if you are using) and have them both at the ready when you start. If you have your omelet in the pan and then you have to go start looking for your cheese in the fridge under last week's leftovers, your omelet will burn and you will be sad. So practice the french art of "mise en place" (everything in its place) before you begin.

Ok- away we go

French Omelet

3 Fresh eggs (I use large)
1 tbl butter
2 tbl cheese or fresh herbs whatever strikes your fancy
Kosher salt and fresh pepper

Place a 10" nonstick skillet on the stove. Heat to med-high.
Crack eggs into a bowl, and gently mix.

When pan is thoroughly heated thru, add the butter. It should melt right away with a bit of a sizzle.

Right before you drop the eggs into the hot pan, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and pepper. If you add the salt too early, it makes the eggs watery.

Pour the eggs into the hot pan. Lower the heat to medium. Grab a rubber spatula, you know, this kind and gently swirl the eggs around. Use the handle of the pan to rotate the eggs around in the pan evenly. You are trying to make a nice, thin layer of eggs. keep lifting the edges with the spatula and give the pan several jerks swiftly over the heat.

You are trying to keep any one section of the eggs from staying in the heat for too long. Keep swirling the eggs around, coating all sides of the pan. Once the bottom layer has set (around 90 seconds) add the cheese or herbs if using down the middle of the omelet.

Swirl a bit more and gently fold one side over the other. If you are feeling daring, flip the omelet onto its other side for 15-20 seconds more and turn off the heat.

Slide the omelet gently, onto a plate, garnish with fresh chives or parsley.