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!)