Whipped Banana Graham

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The best 3 minute snack for after school. Whipped banana Graham’s are the perfect for a more healthy sweet snack time. My kids wanted a sweet treat and so I went to the refrigerator and the pantry.

I was thinking about banana cream pie for some reason and also just discovered that whipped cream had less than 2g of sugar per serving. And thus the whipped banana graham was conceived. Needless to say my kids loved it!

Whipped banana graham

1-2 bananas

1 can of spray whipped cream

1 package of graham crackers

Slice bananas into 1/2 inch slices. Break graham crackers in half. Spray whip cream on top of each of the banana slices so the cookie doesn’t get soggy. Assemble by setting the whipped topped banana on the graham cracker. Serve and enjoy immediately.

Note: bananas will turn brown and the whipped cream will liquify if not enjoyed immediately.

imageWhipped cream on bananas before assembly.

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My Kid Rockin’ Rice Recipe

I admit I was raised as a minute rice kid. What does that mean? Anytime we had rice it was from a box that said it would cook in five minutes or less. It was 12 years ago that I started the mostly Gluten-free journey for my threshold sensitivity to flour. It was the closest diet change I could make that would help. Yes, it helped that I lived abroad in Uruguay for a year and a half and had some amazing rice and that I knew a lot of Mexico natives after being raised in California, and then working for a Japanese restaurant to add a lot of rice to my diet instead of pasta.

I learned rice is very versatile and can be cooked a variety of ways. Did you know that most French don’t even measure out water to rice but fill up a large pot and boil however much they desire in it for 25 minutes and drain it and serve? Then you have the Italian Risotto that can take forever to cook but boy is the texture amazing and creamy after adding hot broth constantly during cooking. Yes, I owned a really nice rice cooker (a wedding gift from my restaurant buddies that came with a huge bag of rice as well) and had many epic fails to find the perfect rice.

Now my kids love rice but are pretty picky as far as flavor, salinity and texture. This simple recipe finally came after many conversations with different people and ethnicities and lots of batches of rice and combinations for my kids to love and enjoy. Remember rice absorbs flavor exceptionally well so feel free to add “extras” once you get used to what your family likes, or remove ingredients like garlic if your family isn’t a fan. I mean my italian great aunt couldn’t stand the taste of garlic…so use your culinary judgment. On my rice journey I ended up going through the bag of rice that was our wedding gift and buying a huge bag of Jasmine Rice from Costco.  The quality and price of the rice is fantastic. Remember this is not a brown rice recipe. Cook times vary based on brown vs. white rice, long grain vs short grain, and par-boiled.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Jasmine Rice

2 Cups of Water

1 Tbsp of Canola Oil

3 Chicken Bouillon Cubes

1 minced or crushed clove of Garlic

Put pot of medium heat with the 1 tbsp of canola oil. Add the 3 chicken bouillon cubes and smash in the oil. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic and the Jasmine rice. Turn heat to medium and stir until the rice is coated and looks slightly clear. Add the 2 cups of water to the mixture. Cover and turn heat to high. Once water appears to boil (about 3 minutes) reduce heat to low and set timer on 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Serve as a side dish or main dish.

Now variations of this recipe include adding onion during the sauté stage and or substituting tomato sauce for a portion of the liquid to give the rice the red Mexican rice look. This rice, once it’s been cooled, may also be made into fried rice by sautéing in a pan with some canola oil, soy sauce and vegetables. Want to make it for stir fry you can even add a little ginger to the rice, or for tacos we have been known to add taco seasoning with the bouillon cubes. Have fun and remember that in 30 minutes even without a rice cooker you can have delicious rice. Your kids will love you and you will be the super rockin’ mom chef you hope to be.

Canning and Strawberry Jam

Last year after we picked strawberries I tried my hand at canning. It wasn’t as pretty as it should have been so this year I gave it another go around.

Washington Farms in Loganville, Georgia had a pick 2 buckets and get 1 free deal going on during a rainy week so my two children and I headed out to face the mud and pick 3 gallons of strawberries. Luckily, they hadn’t been picked for a few days so there were tons of strawberries and after picking for 1 hour, my kids getting very muddy and eating as many strawberries as they could (not really allowed) and going up 1/3 of the row we were done. I do not own a pressure canner so I use what I have available, a large stock pot filled with water and other utensils that do not make canning safe to say the least. So here we go.

Slightly modified Strawberry Jam recipe

(modified from the certo package of the liquid pectin)

5-6 cups of fresh strawberries

1 package of liquid pectin

5 cups of sugar

1 tbsp. of butter

2 tbsp of pampered chef madagascar vanilla

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I had to sterilize my jars and lids in boiling water so I left them in a sheet pan while I prepped everything. I put my berries in my pampered chef manual food processor so I could gauge the exact consistency I wanted for my berries. I then added the berries to one of my stock pots with the sugar.

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I mixed it up and turned on the heat. I waited for it to start boiling I added the pectin.

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Then I added my butter to keep it from over foaming.

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I then added my Pampered Chef Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.

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There is foam that develops on top of the mixture and it is very important to scrape this off. Last year I didn’t and it looked horrible and caused the top of the jam even though it was canned to change colors.

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After I scraped off all of the foam this is how much I had scraped off to give you an idea.

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So instead of throwing this “foam” away, I made some toast and put it on it right away. Then I ladeled out the amount of my jam mixture I wanted in each jar and used a funnel to help me get it into my wide neck mason jars.

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After using my ladle, I screwed the lids an bands on the jars and got ready to put them in the large stock pot and boiled them for 5-10 minutes.

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Now, I highly recommend having proper canning equipment to remove hot jars. I had a spatula and a pampered chef microwave grip and it was rather dangerous.

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After dangerously removing the jam I had to make sure all of the seals were down and that they had time to cool. Image

Needless to say my final creation was delicious and beautiful. I was very blessed to not burn my hand or face off trying to navigate a hot stock pot and hot jars with a spatula and microwave grip. My father-in-law did gift me a water-bath canning starter set to help me can more safely now that I know that this is something that even I can do.

Super Easy Homemade Peanut Butter (So easy a child could make with adult supervision)

My three and a half year old daughter and 18 month old son love peanut butter. I’m so grateful they don’t have peanut allergies. As we approach the end of our store bought peanut butter container I noticed a huge #10 can of Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts in my pantry from Christmas baking time with 3/4 of the can left. So you can imagine my thought of buying more peanut butter with that can staring me in the face yesterday. So I mentioned to my daughter that we could possibly make peanut butter. Well she took the idea and owned it. Literally, she wanted to do everything. This was so easy my daughter did most of it and I just assisted and gave safety warnings. What a great do-it-yourself peanut butter activity.  So many children see peanut butter and many other products like Jelly and have no idea that they really started from a peanut or from a berry. Okay so lets get to what we did and how we did it.

 

Easy Homemade Peanut Butter

2 1/4 cups of Dry Roasted Peanuts

1 TBSP Fresh local Honey

(That’s it, now compare that to the ingredients in your store bought peanut butter).

Get out your huge can of peanuts that you picked up at Costco for around $6.98 or so.

The number 10 can of Dry Roasted Peanuts I picked up at Costco

In your food processor add your peanuts. Put the lid on it and turn on for about 2 minutes. It will look as though the peanuts are being chopped very fine. When they are chopped super fine stop the machine and allow the peanuts to rest and release oil. This takes about 30 seconds. Then pulse for 30 seconds. Allow to rest for 30 seconds. Pulse again for 30 seconds. Do this until the consistency is what you want. You will notice that it will turn into a cream within about 6 minutes of beginning this process. Will this be as creamy as your creamy you buy, well no. There isn’t any additional oil added. If you need a creamier consistency you can always add some additional peanut oil in the process but that wasn’t what I was going for.

a photo Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts Homemade Peanut butter consistency

My daughter tasted it, this is important, if it isn’t salty enough or sweet enough you can add your extra ingredients at this point. She wanted to use “her honey” from the Lilburn Days Festival that was from a local beekeeper. She dumped it in but it appeared to me that she put about a tablespoon in. This seemed right for whats she was going for.

a photo Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts Homemade Peanut butter

I save some glass jars just in case and this old jelly jar was the perfect size. The recipe made approximately one cup of peanut butter which is enough for us for a few days. It should keep in the fridge for a few weeks since there aren’t any preservatives but I’m sure this will be devoured in a few days.

a photo Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts Homemade Peanut Butter final

 

The total time including prep and packaging took about 10 minutes. This was a perfect activity for our attention span:)