Cinnamon Apples (Week 37, 52 New Foods)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on September 24, 2012 1 Comment
cinnamon apples


Cinnamon apples are a favorite fall treat for my kids. This easy recipe brings together the best of what goes into making a cozy apple pie, but without refined sugar.

The crisp fall air has arrived in California, and so have farm fresh apples. Bushels were brimming over with red beauties at our local farmers’ market this weekend, so we decided to reinvent one of our favorite fall treats. Apple pie, with its sweet and warm filling, is a must on our fall table. Could we create a recipe easy enough to make on a busy school morning that brings together those delicious fall flavors without the sugar? You bet!

Cinnamon Apples

Prep time: 5 minutes
Assembly time: 5 minutes
Makes about 4 to 6 servings

cinnamon apples ingredients


Ingredients:

5 medium apples, granny smith or empire
½ lemon
½ tsp cinnamon

Directions:

1. Leaving the skins on, slice the apples into ¼” cubes.

cinnamon apples slice


2. Load the apples into a bowl and add the juice from ½ of a lemon.

cinnamon apples lemon


3. Add the cinnamon to the apples and stir.

cinnamon apples mix


4. Enjoy!

cinnamon apples


Crunch a Color Kids Vote:
An apple a day…

What we Liked: This easy recipe has all of the wonderful flavors of apple pie filling, without any refined sugar. We served our cinnamon apples with a side of butterscotch no bake cookies. The lemon keeps the apples from browning, which makes this recipe a perfect lunchbox snack!

* What are your favorite ways to serve apples? Share your ideas!

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Sandwich Pops!

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- the award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun, easy and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com. 

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Healthy Lunch Ideas: Sandwich Pops (Week 36, 52 New Foods)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on September 19, 2012 1 Comment
healthy lunch ideas sandwich pops


Need healthy lunch ideas? Sandwich Pops to the rescue! But watch out: you may find that friends are lining up to sneak a bite of these fun and easy sandwiches on a stick. Be sure to pack enough to share!


Two weeks into the school year and I’m bored. I find myself leaning on the two to three lunch recipes that my kids will reliably eat. So together we set out to reinvent a classic healthy lunch idea: the basic cheese sandwich. With a little chop here, and a tear of lettuce there, my kids came up with a fun and healthy lunch idea: sandwich pops!

Healthy Lunch Ideas: Sandwich Pops

Prep time: 5 minutes
Assembly time: 10 minutes
Makes about 4 to 6 servings

healthy lunch ideas ingredients


Ingredients:
4 large romaine lettuce leaves
2 cups red grapes
1 cup cheddar, diced into ½” cubes
½ French baguette, cut into ½” cubes
12 wooden skewers

Directions:

1. Start by adding a piece of baguette to your skewer.

healthy lunch ideas veggie sandwich skewers


2. Tear a small piece of romaine lettuce and fold it into a square. Add to your skewer.

healthy lunch ideas lettuce


3. Pop on a piece of cheese, then a grape. Then reverse the pattern.

healthy lunch ideas fruit skewers


4. Top with another square of lettuce, and a piece of baguette.

healthy lunch ideas kids


5. Share and enjoy!

healthy lunch ideas sandwich skewers


What we Liked:
My kids gobbled up these delicious sandwiches on a stick. Funny how just a simple change can make an otherwise boring lunch much more fun!

* What are your go-to healthy lunch recipes? Share them with us!

Craving more healthy lunch ideas? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Tomato Pops!

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- the award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun, easy and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

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Tomato Pops: Pint-sized Tomato Mozzarella Skewers (52 Foods, Week 34)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on September 10, 2012 1 Comment
tomato mozzarella skewers


Tomato mozzarella skewers with a kid-friendly twist, this easy recipe for Tomato Pops makes the seasonal bounty of fresh picked cherry tomatoes even more fun to enjoy with your kids!

Our local farmers’ market continues to be a wonderful inspiration for getting my kids to try new foods. Like a scavenger hunt, my kids weave through the market stalls searching for treasures the season has uncovered. Riding the wave into the peak of tomato season in California, my new food explorers decided that beautiful, blushing cherry tomatoes would top our list of new foods to try this week. Baskets overflowing, we headed home with a few simple ingredients to make our fun and easy recipe of the week: Tomato Pops!

Tomato Pops: Pint-Sized Tomato Mozzarella Skewers

Prep time: 5 minutes
Assembly time: 10 minutes
Makes about 4 to 6 servings

tomato mozzarella skewers ingredients


Ingredients:

1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup mozzarella balls or cubes of your favorite cheese
¼ cup olive oil
A handful of fresh basil
¼ tsp kosher salt
12 wooden skewers

Directions:
1. Wash the tomatoes and remove the green tops. Load the tomatoes into a large mixing bowl as you go.

tomato mozzarella skewers step 1


2. Add the mozzarella balls to the tomatoes.

tomato mozzarella skewers step 2


3. Add the olive oil and salt to the tomatoes and mozzarella. Stir gently.

tomato mozzarella skewers step 3


4. Alternating between the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves, add to your skewers. Let the kids decide on the pattern they like most.

tomato mozzarella skewers step 4


5. Serve in a small glass vase or cup, like a bouquet. Mix together the remaining ingredients into a fresh caprese salad.

tomato mozzarella skewers

tomato mozzarella skewers vertical


Crunch a Color Kids Vote:
Pop!

What we Liked: This kid-friendly twist on tomato mozzarella skewers was a fun addition to our farmers’ market fresh family table. They make a great lunchbox snack too! For more food fun, we served up our pops with a side of nut free basil pesto and healthy Caesar salad dressing and let everyone enjoy giving their pops a dip!

* What is your favorite way to serve fresh cherry tomatoes?

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Homemade Granola Bars.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- the award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun, easy and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

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Homemade Granola Bars (52 New Foods, Week 34)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on August 31, 2012 7 Comments
homemade granola bars


Homemade granola bars are an easy and tasty lunchbox treat. This nut free granola bar recipe is made with lots of love and no refined sugar, because your little ones are sweet enough as they are!

Do the math. How much do you spend on the packaged organic granola bars that regularly appear in your kids’ lunchboxes? Conservatively, it’s about $100 per child per year. Then stop and look at the ingredients list. It’s less healthy than you think. “Convenience!” you reply, and I completely understand. As a busy parent, I need a grab and go solution some mornings too. But when I discovered this simple recipe for homemade granola bars I was surprised at how easy, tasty and simple it is to make your own granola bars at home for a fraction of the cost.

Homemade Granola Bars

This nut free, homemade granola bar recipe is fun and easy for kids to make. Although it’s a sweet treat, it is free of refined sugars. It can easily be modified to feature your favorite fixings. My kids added dried cranberries. Raisins or dates could easily be used as well. Have fun mixing it up!

Ingredients:
4 cups oats
¼ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 cup dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit)
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup grapeseed oil
½ cup honey

*Cooking tip: Add the oil, then the honey, using the same measuring cup. The oil will make it easy for the honey to slip right off into the mixing bowl.

Directions:

1.     Preheat the oven to 325 F.

2.     In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, coconut, and salt.

homemade granola bars add oats


3.    
Add the oil, then the honey to the dry mixture. Stir to combine.

homemade granola bars add honey


4.    
Add the cranberries and mix well.

homemade granola bars add cranberries


5.    
Grease a baking sheet (or add parchment) and press the granola mixture into the pan.

homemade granola bars press into baking sheet


6.    
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

7.     Cool, then cut into bars.

homemade granola bars


Crunch a Color Kids Vote:
Grab and go!

What we Liked: These homemade granola bars are crunchy and crumbly. When you’re done cutting them, the baking sheet will be filled with tasty chunks of yummy granola. Perfect for sprinkling over yogurt parfaits!

* Do you have a favorite recipe for making homemade granola bars?
* What ingredients do you like to add to your mix?

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Easy Spanish rice.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color -- the award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods! Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun, easy and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.  

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Easy Spanish Rice (52 New Foods, Week 33)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on August 18, 2012 0 Comments
easy spanish rice


Easy Spanish Rice: Transform a few simple ingredients found at a convenience store into a tasty side dish.

Last week we took our healthy eating challenge to the convenience store. Our goal was to prove that with a little effort (and creative thinking) you can eat healthy on the road even when healthy choices are few and far between. Along with black beans we served up a side of easy Spanish rice and mixed veggies.

Easy Spanish Rice

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes about 6 to 8 servings

Since we were limited to the ingredients found in a convenience store, and the only fresh produce we could find was a lonely banana, we had to work in a few extra spices to infuse flavor into our Spanish rice recipe. The convenience store only offered canned tomato paste, but if you can find them it’s always better to use fresh tomatoes and onions when making this dish.

Ingredients:
2 cups medium grain rice
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1) Heat a saucepan over medium high heat, then add the olive oil and heat for a minute or two. Add the rice and cook until lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.

easy spanish rice step one: sautee the rice


2) In a separate saucepan, whisk together the tomato paste, chicken broth and garlic powder, then add the rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.

easy spanish rice step two: add broth


3) Serve with a side of black beans and colorful veggies.

easy spanish rice


What we Liked: We could certainly make this meal healthier by eliminating the BPA-laden cans and using farm fresh tomatoes from a roadside stand. Better than a corn dog and a soda? You bet! It was encouraging to show my kids that even when fast food choices seem like the only option, there is always a way to eat healthy if you try.

*What are your favorite, easy ways to serve Spanish rice?

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: How to cook black beans.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color -- the award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods! Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun, easy and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

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