Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Homemade Plantain Chips

I love plantains... probably would have never discovered them for cooking at home if it weren't for my Honduran Mother in Law. It seems almost every time she comes by she brings a mango and plantains. She typically fries the plantains, which is really tasty, but I decided to try baking them today to save a few calories. Plantains are actually really good for you! They are high in fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C!

I started with about 3 yellow plantains which I peeled and sliced (to peel you have to actually cut off the outside, they don't peel like a banana). The thinner you slice them, the crispier they will be. I like them a little thicker so they have a softness inside. I then tossed them with a few tbs of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Bake for 20 min or so in a 375 oven and presto... an instant healthy snack! I eat them plain or even dipped in salsa and sour cream. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Want to Make Veggies More Fun?? Try a CSA!

Hi all- I'm reposting this info from last year since it's CSA time again!!! Contact me if you'd like to join in on the CSA I'm hosting here in Northbrook!

Spring is here and that means we will once again be able to get organic fresh produce directly from some of our local farms! I'm sure most of you are familiar with farmer's markets, but have you heard of CSAs?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is a fun way to get a variety of very fresh fruits and vegetables (and sometimes meat and dairy) from your local farmer. Essentially you buy a "share" of the farm and each week you get a box full of the produce that was just picked. It's a great way to support a local farm and also introduce your family to a larger variety of fruits and vegetables. 

At our home, each week is like an adventure when we unpack our box and explore the variety of fruits and vegetables we have for the week. Annie loves to pick the first thing we eat! It's fun to get kids excited by showing them the variety of colors in the box and encouraging them to try the new veggies they have not seen before. Some farms also offer tours... this is an awesome way to teach kids where their food comes from. What kid doesn't like to visit a farm?

If you're thinking about joining a CSA, many of the farms have local drop off locations near large cities. Here in Chicago, farms have drop off locations all over the city and suburbs. For those of you near me, I'm actually participating as a produce drop off site for Grass is Greener Gardens out of Monroe, Wisconsin. I can send you more info if you're interested. The Local Beet also has a full list of local farms offering CSAs. 

Most CSAs start deliveries in June, so now is a great time to sign up and reserve your spot! 

I know in our family, we are looking forward to spring and new adventures in organic local produce!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Cupcakes- Bird's Nest

I made these yesterday for Easter and thought they were too cute not to blog about. And they are pretty easy too!

Simply pick your favorite chocolate cake recipe and bake the cupcakes, cool. Then make your favorite vanilla butter creme frosting.  I used this one (except I used milk instead of cream). Spread a thin layer of frosting on each cupcake then pipe a circle on each about 1/4-1/2 inch tall. Top with toasted coconut and place 3 jellybeans in each "nest" (I use the Trader Joe's- they use natural colors!).


Friday, April 6, 2012

Overnight Oatmeal

This recipe is great... I love to wake up to some warm, comforting oatmeal ready for breakfast! Plus, its so easy... just dump everything in the crock pot. I'll probably do this for Easter morning... start the day off right before we head to church. 

Slow-Cooker Oatmeal
1 cup steel cut oats (not instant)
4 cups water
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup half-and-half or milk (soy milk works well too)
Dried fruits or nuts (optional)
Cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup brown sugar, or to taste

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and set to low heat. Cover and let cook for 8 to 9 hours (low setting).
Stir and remove to serving bowls. This method works best if started before you go to bed. This way your oatmeal will be finished by morning.
Happy Easter!