Monday, August 29, 2011

Guest Blogger of the Month: Nancy Baker

Our guest blogger this month is Nancy Baker, a recent graduate of Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals. Nancy is the owner of Auntie’s Place Child Care in Paramount and President of the Long Beach/Lakewood Family Childcare Association. Check out her story about putting our Yogurt Parfait recipe to use with the kids in her care!

Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals Graduation
One of my favorite Cooking Matters recipes is the Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. We were introduced to this very simple treat in one of the Cooking Matters classes. I had been accustomed to buying individual sized yogurts, but this is truly more economical. We used a mixture of fresh (in season) berries, bananas, and vanilla flavored non-fat yogurt. The children were all able to make their own parfait and to my surprise, they all loved it!

The bonus is that I was able to use this recipe for a teachable moment with the children. We were able to discuss nutrition, science and kitchen safety. This, of course, is only one of the many wonderful, child-friendly recipes given to us in Cooking Matters classes. I am honored to have participated.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Recipe of the Month: Orange Oatmeal Pancakes

We recently made these pancakes in our Cooking Matters for Teens class in El Monte and they were hearty and delicious.  One teen in the class, Jennifer, even posted a picture of the pancakes to our Facebook page after she made them at home for her family.  Top with your favorite fruit and enjoy!

Orange Oatmeal Pancakes
Serves 4, 3 (4-inch) pancakes per serving

Cooking Matters for Teens in El Monte
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup nonfat milk
3/4 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons canola oil
Non-stick cooking spray

  1. Measure and combine both flours, oats, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Mix well.
  2. Crack egg into another bowl, and beat lightly with a fork.
  3. Measure and add milk, orange juice, and canola oil to egg, and mix well.
  4. Coat a large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray, and heat pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Do not overmix.
  6. Use a measuring cup to pour 1/4 cup batter into hot pan for each pancake.  Adjust heat as needed to avoid burning. 
  7. Flip pancakes when bubbles appear on top of the batter and the edges are slightly browned.  Cook until second side is slightly browned.  Serve warm.

Chef's Notes
  1. If using an electric griddle instead of frying pan, coat with non-stick cooking spray and preheat to 375 degrees before using.
  2. For a nutty taste, substitute buckwheat flour for the whole wheat flour.
  3. Chop and add 3 Tablespoons of your favorite nuts in step 5.
  4. Place pancakes on a rack or platter and keep warm in a preheated 250 degree oven until ready to serve.
  5. Top with mixed berries, sliced bananas, maple syrup, honey, jam, jelly, or fruit preserves.
  6. Make a double batch, cool, and then freeze cooked leftovers.  To prevent the pancakes from sticking together, layer waxed paper between each pancake, then place the stack in an airtight container or ziplock bag.  Keep frozen up to 6 weeks.  Pancakes can be warmed in a microwave, toaster oven, or small frying pan for a quick breakfast.

Nutrition Facts: (per serving) Calories 260, Total Fat 9g, Sat. Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 45mg, Sodium 590mg, Carb 38g, Dietary Fiber 3 g, Sugars 7g, Protein 8g

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Recipe of the Month: Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola

This Yogurt Parfait recipe is a much loved staple in our classes for kids, teens and adults and it so easy to vary the ingredients based on what is seasonal, on sale or looks good at your local market.  The granola recipe is simple and delicious although I have to confess that, in my hurried state in the morning, I typically use cereal instead.  Fortunately, this is also a great meal-to-go as you can make it the night before and, if assembled in a cup, it will fit pefectly in your cup holder the next morning.  Enjoy!
Cooking Matters for Kids/photo by Alex Kasman

Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Granola
Serves 6, 1 parfait per serving

2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Tablespoons sliced or chopped almonds (for granola)
Non-stick cooking spray
1/4 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, dates, or prunes)
4 cups medium strawberries
3 cups fat-free vanilla yogurt
Optional: 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds (for parfait topping)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix honey, canola oil, and cinnamon in a large bowl, using a whisk or fork.
  3. Add the oats and 2 Tablespoons almonds, and stir until coated throroughly with the honey mixture.
  4. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cookng spray, and spread oat mixture evenly onto the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-20 minutes until lightly browned, stirring every 5 minutes to cook granola evenly.  Remove from oven and cool completely, before placing in a bowl.
  6. Stir dried fruit into cooled granola.
  7. Rinse and cut leafy tops off of strawberries.  Cut strawberries into 1/4-inch thick slices, should yield about 3 cups.
  8. Layer 1/4 cup yogurt into each of six parfait cups or bowls, followed by 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, and 2 Tablespoons granola.
  9. Repeat layers one more time, ending with a layer of granola.
  10. Top with optional sliced almonds if desired.

Chef's Notes
  1. Assemble parfait layers just before serving, so granola stays crunchy.
  2. Substitute any high-figer cereal you like for the granola.
  3. Substitute any diced or sliced fruit for the strawberries.
  4. The parfait looks best when served in a clear cup or bowl.
  5. Try topping with rinsed and chopped fresh mint leaves for extra flavor and color.
  6. The granola can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for up to three weeks in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
Nutrition Facts:  Calories 260, Total Fat 4.5g, Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 90mg, Total Carb 47g, Fiber 4g, Sugars 34g, Protein 9g