Once You Get a hold of Yeast…Make Fool-Proof Soft Pretzels.

I’ve made these soft pretzels with developmentally delayed Pre-K classes for years and have never had an instance when they didn’t turn out well.  The only prep needed are clean hands, a sheet of waxed paper for each student, and an oven. ( I used a toaster oven in the classroom and they turned out great.)

SOFT PRETZELS: 1 pk. yeast,  4 C. flour ( I use 1 C. whole wheat, 3 C. regular),  1 1/2 C. warm water,  1 T. sugar,   1 T. salt,   1 egg beaten for glaze,  poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse salt, Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.

1. Mix yeast, water, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

2. Stir in flour. Knead until smooth. Here comes the fun part. Give each child a glob of dough to roll and shape into the first letter of his/her name.  This will ensure that each child gets his own pretzel when it comes out of the oven.  Once they are shaped and placed on a cookie sheet, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with the seasoning of your choice.

3. Bake at 425 degrees for 15- 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. They may look crazy, but they will taste great. Guaranteed! The texture is like a bagel and it’s hard to eat just one.

Enjoy, and let me know how it goes. I’d love to see the results.

No Cook Father’s Day Supper

If You’re looking for something nutritious and delicious that children can prepare for dinner, here is a no-cook salad that is perfect for a hot summer day.  If you make it for Father’s Day, add some make your own sundaes for dessert, and Dad will feel pampered and satisfied.

MIXED GREENS SALAD:  1. Wash and pat dry a mix of salad greens such as romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, or any combination you like. Now the tasty fun begins.

Add any or all of the following to make a plain salad a satisfying main dish: sliced cucumbers, olives, shredded carrots, dried cherries or cranberries, sliced strawberries, blueberries, or grapes. Add toasted, slivered almonds or walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and grated Parmesan cheese (or any cheese of your choice). If you’re a vegetarian, you can stop here.

The photo version has a packet of salmon on top. I’ve eaten it with shredded chicken or tuna as well. ANY leftover meat works well.

Sprinkle with your favorite dressing – I used a raspberry balsamic with olive oil – and serve with breadsticks or garlic toast and you will get rave reviews.  HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Make Dad Feel Special – Part 2

Here’s the easy, kid-friendly recipe for a breakfast casserole you can assemble the night before and bake for breakfast.

BREAKFAST CASSEROLE: 1. Spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish with non-stick spray.

2. Line the dish with 2 slices of bread torn into pieces.  3. Cook 1 lb. of bulk sausage and crumble it over the bread layer.  

4.Mix 2 C milk, 6 eggs, 3/4 t. dry mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over the sausage.

5. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese.  Sprinkle with paprika.

sausage,cheese and egg casserole

6. Refrigerate overnight.  Next morning, Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set.  Serve with fruit or a salad at brunch.

While it’s baking, why not do something special for/with Dad.  Here are a few ideas:  back rub, wash the car, sweep the steps and pick weeds in the garden, take out the trash, challenge him to a game of thumb wrestling, make him some popcorn and watch a movie together. offer to do an errand, 

Happy Father’s Day!

No Cook Mother’s Day Treats

Who doesn’t love ice cream or frozen yogurt?  Even those with a lactose intolerance can now find a frozen treat to enjoy. Jazz up your favorite flavors to celebrate Mother’s Day with Make Your Own Sundaes.  A few fun toppings will turn an ordinary dessert into a party for mom.

Try any of the following: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coconut, crushed cookies or graham crackers, mini M&M’s, crushed candy bars, chocolate syrup or caramel sauce, sprinkles, or whatever your favorite add-on might be. Don’t forget whipped cream. Decorate a large bowl with paper cut-out hearts or flowers. Make a Mother’s Day crown for the “World’s Best MOM, and serve the sundae with a hug and kiss.  I don’t know any MOM who could resist!


Crunch Your Greens

KALE CHIPS are a fun way to get children to eat vegetables.  They’re surprisingly easy to make, store well and taste amazing. Even adults who shy away from their veggies will enjoy these low calorie treats.

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Wash kale and pat dry.  Remove the tough stems.  Tear kale leaves into pieces.

3. Coat kale leaves with olive oil and place them one at a time onto the parchment.

4. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in a 275 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.  Check after 20 minutes to see if kale is crispy to the touch.

5. Let them cool.  Munch away!  Store uneaten chips in a plastic storage container so they don’t break. These are a great chip with a sandwich or as a snack.  You can eat a pan full with no guilt.  HAPPY MUNCHING!

Healthy Food Doesn’t Have to Taste Like Cardboard

Darlene’s Zucchini Muffins

1- 1/4 C. white flour, 3/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 C. oat bran, 2t. baking soda,
1/2t. baking powder, 2 t. cinnamon Mix these dry ingredients together and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the following: 3/4 c. sugar, 1/4 c. canola oil, 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce, (substitute plain yogurt if you prefer…both work well) 2 c. shredded zucchini (I like to mix yellow and green zucchini. You can also add carrots) 1t. vanilla, 3 eggs.

Pour dry ingredients into wet mixture. Add 1 c. chopped walnuts. Stir until fully combined.
Pour into prepared muffins cups or loaf pans. This recipe makes 20 muffins, or 2 loaves or a combination of each.
Bake at 350. It takes 18 min. to bake the muffins in my oven. Check after 15 or so to make sure you don’t overcook. Loaves take 35-40 minutes. These freeze well and are perfect for breakfast, lunch with a bowl of soup, as a snack or a simple dessert with a scoop of vanilla yogurt or ice cream.
I’ve adapted this recipe from one that originally had twice the sugar, and a whole cup of oil. A significant number of calories are gone, but none of the flavor.

ENJOY! Happy Spring!

Homemade Granola

Children will need assistance to make easy recipe because of the use of an oven.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl: 1. Mix: 1/3 C canola oil, 1/4 C honey, 1/4 C brown sugar, zest from 1 orange (grate the peel of an orange you’ve washed), 1tsp. vanilla. 2. Add 2 C. oats and stir to coat. 3. Spread on a baking sheet and bake 15 to 18 minutes, stirring every few minutes for even browning. 4. Let Cool.  5. Transfer to a bowl or zip lock bag and add 1/2 C chopped nuts, and 1/2 C dried fruit of your choice.

This Granola keeps well when stored in an airtight container. It tastes great as a snack, with milk or stirred in yogurt. Enjoy!