Serving up veggies in all of our products!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Holiday Prep!

There are so many reasons to love this time of year: crisp, clean weather, vibrant fall leaves, roaring fireplaces and BAKING!  Now is our favorite time here at Peas HQ to reinvent classic holiday desserts by making them healthier and more cost effective. This week we are sharing some simple recipes to make homemade baking essentials. Making your own vanilla extract, baking powder, brown sugar and vanilla sugar are fun projects you can do with the kids and also a good way to ensure that all your baking products are natural and free of any additives.

Vanilla Extract
(In order to have your vanilla extract ready for holiday baking we recommend you start this project ASAP.)
Ingredients:
  • 1 bottle small bottle of vodka (750 ml)
  • 15 vanilla beans (cost effective hint: the best place to get inexpensive vanilla beans is at an Indian Grocery store)  
Method: Cut the vanilla beans length wise and gently open the pod. Fill vodka bottle with all of the beans. Shake and store in a cool, dry place until your holiday baking party.  For best results shake once a week.

Baking powder
Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cream of tarter
Method: Mix cream of tarter and baking soda together thoroughly and use immediately in place of baking powder.

Brown Sugar
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp Molasses
Method:
Measure one cup of granulated sugar and one tablespoon of molasses into a mixing bowl.

Vanilla Sugar
Method:
Simply place to vanilla beans (cut length wise and opened) in the container you store your granulated sugar in (sugar bowl, the bag the sugar came in or a sugar canister).  Let beans sit for as long as you have sugar.  This makes for delicious baked goods as well as for your morning cup of joe!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hot Lunch vs Cold Lunch

We all face different temperature issues when packing lunches for our kiddos. Sometimes it's how to keep everything cool, other times we try to find ways for them to eat a hot, home-cooked lunch.

Hot lunches are a great way to avoid sandwich fatigue and re-purposed leftovers so we aren't always making something new. Some schools, especially for the younger tots, will heat up packed lunches for them. But as our kids have gotten older, it's a bit more of a free-for-all! Our best solution so far has been using a thermos, but here are a couple of our lunch packing tips!


For keeping cold:

Freeze your bread! Freezing the sliced bread for sandwiches keeps it fresher longer, and also ensures that the sandwich filling (like chicken or egg salad) stays cooler longer. The bread will be perfectly defrosted by lunch time!


Freeze yogurt! Yogurt can last longer than you think without strong refrigeration because it's bacteria cultures fight off anything hazardous, but freezing a yogurt is an easy way to add an "ice pack" without taking up a lot of extra space in a lunch.

Freeze a water bottle! Even a small water bottle or juice pack will keep lunches nice and cool in a backpack until lunch time.

Freeze the thermos! In the morning while you're packing a lunch and mainlining coffee, fill the thermos with ice water and let it sit in the freezer for 10 minutes. Pour out the ice water, put in your cold items, and be amazed at how long they stay chilly! This is perfect for packing a smoothie or milkshake for their lunches!

For keeping warm: 

Boil the (wide mouthed) thermos! Simply boil a small pot of water and pour it directly into the empty thermos, screw on the lid, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Remove the water and put in your favorite hot lunch! We love everything from an omelet, to chili, to meatball or mac n cheese. Even potstickers or shepherds' pie make great options!

Separate! Put napkins with utensils, a pack of crackers, or a banana in between the hot thermos and any sort of cold food you might be packing.

What are your lunchbox hacks? And how in the world do you get your kids to bring home the ice packs and all the containers?! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Waffle Iron Dinners

Thursday nights are always a tough night in our home for family dinners. The fridge has thinned out from last weekends shopping trip and we have eaten up all our leftovers. Mentally, we are ready for the weekend and don't feel like cooking anything substantial.

Our solution: pull out the waffle iron, it can do much more that make basic breakfast waffles and is a snap to clean!

There are many recipes out there for Zucchini Waffles, but we encourage you to stack ours up against the rest. We find that the other recipes produce a soggy product, while ours have a crunchy exterior and fluffy interior!


Veggie Waffles
-2 cups of grated vegetable (zucchini, sweet potato, parsnip) feel free to mix a few veggies. The waffles pictured above are made with zucchini. Note*: when grating the vegetables, make sure they are in smaller pieces (about 1 inch in length maximum).
-1 egg
-1/4 cup of milk
-1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup of brown rice flour
-1/4 cup of finely diced onion
-1 tsp salt
-cooking spray if your waffle is not a non-stick

Heat your waffle iron on high.

Put your grated veggies in a sieve and cover with paper towel. Push down on the veggies trying to rid them from as much water as possible. (Some veggies, like parsnips, may not leak much water).

In a small bowl whisk together the milk and egg. Then add the Parmesan cheese, brown rice flour and salt. Mix until combined. Lastly, stir in the onion and veggies.

Spoon the batter into your waffle iron and cook until done. Make the waffles any size you want (larger waffles will take a bit longer to cook). Cool on wire wrack.

When ready to eat, pop your veggie waffles in the toaster and toast on medium-high to get crunchy! Serve with applesauce and plain yogurt.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Forbidden Rice Krispy Squares

We have already created a healthier version of the Rice Krispy, called Kamut Krispies, but we wanted to recreate this American classic yet again using another ancient grain, Forbidden Rice or Black Rice due to it's amazing health benefits!

We turned to the rice experts, Lotus Foods, to learn why Forbidden Rice is so healthy. Apparently, this “ancient grain was once eaten exclusively by the Emperors of China” to increase health and longevity; and new studies show that “10 spoonfuls of cooked black rice contains the same amount of antioxidants as a spoonful of fresh blueberries”!

Now you know what you will be making for your child's next bake sale!

Forbidden Rice Krispy Squares
-3 cups of canola oil
-1 cup of Forbidden rice/black rice (will yield about 2 C of puffed rice)
-1/2 bag of mini marshmallows
-1.5 TBL butter

Spray an 8x8" baking pan with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan heat your oil over medium high heat. Add the rice and stir constantly. After about 25 seconds, the rice will begin to puff and the white insides of the grain will be exposed. Remove the puffed rice from the oil at this time and put on a paper towel to cool. Set aside 2 tablepoons of the puffed rice to sprinkle on the top of the squares.



Heat a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add butter and melt completely. Add marshmallows and stir constantly until they have melted. Add puffed rice (except for the 2 tablespoons that are set aside) and stir until combined. Take off heat and transfer rice mixture to your greased pan. Spread completely and sprinkle with remaining puffed rice. Let cool and enjoy! 


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pack it: Lunchbox Inspiration

"Pack it" our new series focusing on healthy "on-the-go" food, for your kids. The lunchbox is the perfect place to begin because it's September and back-to-school time. Here are some new lunchbox ideas that are quick, easy and don't call for too many ingredients.



1) DIY Veggie Patties
Steam any veggie of your choice until tender. To save time simply put veggies in a bowl with a little water and microwave for about 2 minutes until tender. We like using a broccoli-spinach mix. Next, put your veggies into a blender/cuisonart. Add eggs (1 egg per every cup of veggies), grated cheese of your choice (1/4 cup of cheese per every cup of veggies), breadcrumbs (1/4 cup of breadcrumbs per every cup of veggies, we use whole wheat crumbs for a nuttier taste), seasoning of your choice... we use garlic powder (about 1/8 tsp per every cup of veggies) and salt to taste.

Now blend until mixture is smooth. Coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil and heat on medium-high heat. Make mixture into thin patties/pancakes and fry both sides until nice and golden in color. These are great warm or cold. Dip in ketchup or tomato sauce! These can be made from start to finish in 30 minutes. Stash the extra's in your freezer.

2) DIY Crunchy Beans
open a can of beans of your choice. Firmer beans like chickpeas will have the best result but feel free to use any bean of choice. Strain the beans, wash them under cold water and pat dry. Coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil and heat on medium-high heat. Put in your beans and cook until lightly golden, about 15 minutes, stirring beans often. Put into a bowl and toss with seasoning of choice (we like using garlic powder), parmesan cheese and salt to taste. These crunchy beans can be eaten in so many ways: as a crunchy snack or mixed in with pasta for a yummy school lunch.

3) DIY Savory Oatmeal Bars
Savory oatmeal bars are the healthier, updated version of quiche. Our Savory Oatmeal Bars are full of oats and veggies instead of eggs and butter. Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8 baking pan. In a medium bowl mix together: 2 cups of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp of salt and any spices you wish. In another medium bowl mix together: 2.5 cups of the milk, 1 egg, 1/2 cup of grated zucchini or sweet potato or other grated veggie of choice. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into the baking pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the center is set. Once cooled cut into bars and store in the fridge or freeze.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Serving of Veggies

The start of a new school year is like New Years, a brand new year for resolutions and goals and a chance to start fresh! Do your kids eat enough vegetables in their diet? I am sure most of you will say no. Make the commitment this school year to get more veggies in your kids!

This chart shows the amount of vegetables the USDA suggests for children and what they are actually consuming.



OK lots of room for improvement here! All of our products have real servings of vegetable in them so you don't have to guess how many servings your kids are actually eating. Also, we use REAL broccoli, carrot and cauliflower and NOT dehydrated powders!

Here is a photo of our Cauliflower Tots... this IS a full serving of vegetables! We would happily eat 2 or 3 servings of these guys, they are THAT good!


















Source: USDA, www.choosemyplate.gov

Monday, August 1, 2016

One Last Hurrah!

One last hurrah before back-to-school in a few weeks.

Camping with kids can be so much work and preparation but completely worth it for the memories, family time and to just unplug for a few days. If getting to a campsite is not possible, camping can simply mean sleeping under the stars in your own backyard. Dreams are not limited by distance, go as far as your dreams can take you!

Here is a great bedtime Hot Coconut Cocoa recipe perfect for the camping stove or over the fire!



















Bedtime Hot Coconut Cocoa: 
-4 cup of coconut milk
-2 tablespoons of honey
-1/2 of vanilla bean, using the scraped insides
-6 oz of premium dark or milk chocolate, broken into small pieces
-water

Heat coconut milk in a medium saucepan over a medium-low flame. Add the honey and vanilla and stir until completely combined. Add the chocolate and take off of the burner or raise up from the flame. Stir constantly until melted. If you are using a camping stove, you may need to lower the heat and put the saucepan back on the flame if the chocolate needs more heat to melt. If the hot chocolate seems too thick, add water to desired thickness.