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Monday, August 26, 2013

Back-to-school: Nutritional snacks, meals and recipes to start the year

It's coming. Kids will grumble and parents will silently cheer as the big day quickly approaches.
It's the first day of school. Kids and their parents are beginning the yearly ritual of preparing for the fast approaching first day of school.
If you're out and about doing any shopping at this time, you can easily spot the school shoppers. Mom's will be calmly (or not) explaining to their children why they can't have the clothes they've picked out. The younger kids will sulk and the teenagers may be having what looks like mini-meltdowns. And then, after a little compromising the task of clothes shopping will be behind them and they will move on to the easier task of picking up the school supplies.
For the most part, parents allow their kids to pick out their own back packs and lunch bags. Supplies such as paper, pencils, crayons, etc. is pretty standard and usually determined by the teacher. So this part of the back-to-school preparation should be just routine and stress free.
Now that you've clothed them and filled their back packs with school supplies, it's time to plan the meals and snacks.
Photo courtesy of ALDI
What and when you feed your family will probably change when the kids make their way back to school. More and more you hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day - and especially for kids. Studies show that kids who skip breakfast have a higher rate of tardiness and absenteeism in school. Everyone, and especially kids, need a nutritious breakfast to give them that much needed brain power to begin the day.
Most parents are looking for quick, yet nutritional snacks and lunch items when packing their child's lunch And there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of all the pre-packaged meals and snacks being offered at your local grocery stores and markets. A lot of these items are both nutritional and easy on the wallet.
If you shop at ALDI's, you already know they offer all these items and more. If you haven't shopped at ALDI's - you're missing out.
Here's a few lunch and snack items that ALDI's is offering to help with your back-to-school lunch needs:.

Lunch Mate Honey Turkey & Oven Roasted Turkey (16 oz.) – from $3.29 to $2.99 
Happy Farms Deli Sliced Cheddar & Pepper Jack Cheese (8 oz.) – from $1.99 to $1.79
Lunch Buddies Turkey & Cheese or Ham & Cheese Lunches (8.9 – 9.1 oz.) – from $1.99 to $1.79
Nature’s Nectar 100% Apple Juice Boxes (8 – 6.75 oz.) – from $1.99 to $1.49
Lunch Buddies All Natural Fruit Snacks (19.2 oz.) – from $3.69 to $3.49
Lunch Buddies Chocolate Pudding Cups (13-14 oz.) – from $0.89 to $0.69
Benton’s Animal Crackers (13 oz.) – from $1.29 to $0.99
Photo courtesy of ALDI


And parent's are not only looking for cost savings. Making sure kids are getting the proper nutrition and will eat what you prepare, is top priority.
Here's a couple recipes from Chef Jonathan, courtesy of Aldi Test Kitchen to consider when packing lunches or preparing a healthy snack: 
This is healthy and tastes great too!


Fruit and Hazelnut Panini


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Courtesy of ALDI Test Kitchen

Yields: 4 sandwiches
Ingredients:
½ cup sliced strawberries
½ cup raspberries
½ cup blueberries
½ cup Berryhill Hazelnut Spread
4 ounces Happy Farms Cream Cheese, softened
8 slices L'oven Fresh 12 Grain Wide Pan Bread
2 bananas, sliced in quarters lengthwise
Directions:
Preheat sandwich press or waffle maker.
In a medium bowl, mix berries together.
In another medium bowl, combine hazelnut spread and cream cheese.
To assemble sandwiches: Spread 1 tablespoon of hazelnut mixture on each slice of bread, place 2 slices of banana on each bottom slice, top with mixed berries, and top each sandwich with 1 slice of bread.
Place 2 sandwiches in sandwich press or waffle maker, cook until bread is crispy and hazelnut spread is melted, approximately 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Cut sandwiches in half diagonally or in quarters.

Kids can help to prepare this after school snack and can be made ahead.
Frozen Fruit Dippers

Prep time: 10 minutes (plus 2 hours, 10 minutes to freeze)
Cook time: 2 minutes
Servings: 4
Ingredients:
Dippers:
Courtesy of ALDI Test Kitchen
½ pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 banana, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
½ cup raspberries
Dip:
½ cup Baker's Corner Real Semi-Sweet Morsels
¼ cup Peanut Delight Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
Directions:
Line a sheet pan with wax or parchment paper. Place all fruit in a single layer.
Place sheet pan in the freezer for 2-4 hours.
Microwave chocolate and peanut butter for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Stir; continue microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until fully melted and smooth.
Using your hands or a toothpick, dip the fruit halfway into the chocolate mixture and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Place into freezer for 10 minutes or until ready to serve.
TIP: Kids can help make the dip by combining the chocolate and peanut butter and pushing the microwave buttons!

And here at Grandma's house, you can't go wrong if you always have a bowl of fresh fruit on the table, no matter what you're serving up for breakfast.
Try this for a nutritional breakfast before school, it's always a favorite with my grandkids. Serve as finger food.
Mix in bowl and set on table:
Seedless grapes, cut in half
Whole strawberries, sliced
Blueberries
Toast a whole grain frozen waffle, or two for the bigger kids, and cut into strips. Serve with a side of peanut butter or substitute low-fat Strawberry Cream Cheese for dipping for variety or in case of peanut allergies.
This is quick, easy and your kids will eagerly devour this before school.
Teenagers always seem to want to skip out on breakfast. Try having this nutritional smoothie ready to blend of a morning and get their day started out right. One of my favorite smoothies.
Vanilla-Strawberry Smoothie
1/2 cup non-fat Greek vanilla yogurt
2 whole bananas cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups cleaned and cut-up fresh strawberries
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
1 cup ice
Place all ingredients in blender except for yogurt. Blend until smooth. Add yogurt and blend just until mixed.
If you're looking for more recipes or cost saving products. Visit ALDI's website for back-to-school ideas, recipes and weekly product sales.
Contact Vicki.Arsenault@oakpress.com for food and product reviews.Email your favorite recipe to enter my bi-weekly cookbook giveaway. Follow on Twitter @OCKidsKorner.

 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Submit your favorite recipe and win "125 Cheesecake Recipes" Cookbook

Would you like to win a great cookbook just by sending in your favorite recipe? My next cookbook giveaway is Aug. 31. Send me your favorite recipe and you'll be entered to win the "125 Best Cheesecake Recipes" cookbook. You'll find recipes that’ll please the novice and the seasoned baker. From a simple New York Style cheesecake and a variety of fruit, chocolate or savory to holiday and celebration cheesecakes.
Here's how to enter:
Email one of your favorite recipes to me at Vicki.Arsenault@oakpress.com or if you prefer, you can send by mail: Vicki Arsenault, The Oakland Press, 48 W. Huron St., Pontiac, MI 48342. If sending by mail, please include a contact number for questions or notifying the winner.
If you have a photo, please send that along with your recipe. 
Contact Vicki Arsenault at 248-745-4621 or email Vicki.arsenault@oakpress.com Follow me on Twitter @OCKidsKorner

Saturday, August 3, 2013

CAKES GALORE: Have you ever tried Piggy or Mayonnaise Cake - what about a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble



Congratulations Karen Mincy of Shelby Township! Karen was the winner of this week’s Cookbook Giveaway and will receive The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!
Karen’s winning recipes and other submitted favorites could become one of your favorites.

Four-layer Chocolate Dessert
Mix the following like a pie crust and press into 9”x 13” pan:
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1-1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp. sugar
Bake 15 min. at 350° and Cool
Beat together:
1 8-oz. and 1 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese
1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Fold in:
1-1/2 cups Cool Whip
Spread evenly on first layer
Beat together until thick:
3 small pkgs. chocolate instant pudding
4-1/2 cups milk
Pour over cheese mixture.
Spread remainder of Cool Whip over chocolate layer.
Keep refrigerated.
Sweet N’ Sour Rotini Chicken
Ingredients
2 chicken breasts
2 cups tri-color rotini or fusilli
1 each - large green pepper and large yellow pepper
2 carrots sliced (and/or any other vegetables)
1 cup fresh pineapple
1 jar Chun’s Sweet n’ Sour Sauce
Directions
Slice chicken and thoroughly cook, slightly browning.  Cut into pieces.
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add 1 tsp. salt and pasta. Simmer for approximately 8 minutes.  Drain pasta.
Place chicken and cut-up vegetables and pineapple in large bowl. Top with Chun’s Sweet n’ Sour Sauce. Mix with rotini.
Serves 3-4
(Chun’s can be purchased at Meijer’s)
Thanks to Karen Mincy for her Four-layer chocolate dessert and Sweet N’ Sour Rotini Chicken.

Jo-Ellen Lockwood of West Bloomfield has been making this cake for over 40 years. She says you can stir it up without a mixer and because it doesn't need a frosting, it is easy to transport to picnics and potlucks.Drawing cookbook winner
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cake
Ingredients
1 3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup quick oats
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter or margarine – softened
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
1 Tsp. baking soda
1/2 Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Cocoa
1 12-oz bag chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Directions
In a large mixing bowl pour boiling water over quick oats. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in white and brown sugars and softened butter or margarine. Add eggs, flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa and mix well. Stir in 1/2 package of chocolate chips and pour into a 9”x12” pan prepared with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and chopped nuts over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Thank you, Jo-Ellen for your long-time favorite cake recipe and for entering my cookbook giveaway.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
Ingredients
5 cups Rhubarb, cut into small pieces
1 cup sugar
1 6-oz box strawberry Jello
1 bag frozen whole strawberries
1/2 cup water
1 yellow cake mix
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup chopped walnuts
Oatmeal
Directions
Heat rhubarb, sugar, Jello, strawberries and water in large sauce pan. Pour heated mixture into greased 9x13 baking pan.
Combine, using fork: cake mix, butter or margarine, walnuts and 2 or 3 handfuls of oatmeal. Mixture will be crumbly. Pour cake mixture over top of rhubarb mixture.
2 or 3 handfuls of oatmeal
1 cup walnuts
Mixture will be a bit crumbly
Pour cake mixture on top of rhubarb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. ENJOY!!
Thank you, Loma Fischer for submitting this delightful recipe and entering my cookbook giveaway.
Cindi Kwit of Highland submitted this recipe and says it is a favorite cake of all the chocoholics in her family. Well Cindi, from one chocoholic family to another – I’ll put this on my to-bake list.

Mayonnaise Cake
Mix the following ingredients 
1 cup sugar                        
2 cups flour
1-1/4 Tsp. baking soda         
1/2 cup cocoa
Add
1 cup cold water              
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tsp. vanilla
Pour into buttered 9”x12” pan and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Frosting 
1 cup sugar                     
1 cup water
3 Tbsp. cornstarch               
2 squares baking chocolate
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Blend all together in a sauce pan over medium heat.
When it starts to boil, add butter and vanilla.  Cook a little longer then spread immediately over cooled cake.  Frosting will be very glossy - and DELICIOUS!

And here’s a favorite all the way from the Sunshine State. Joanne Figurelle of Estero, Florida submitted one of her favorites and was entered in my cookbook giveaway.
Piggy Cake
Ingredients
1 yellow cake mix w/pudding in the mix
3/4 cup salad oil
4 large eggs
1 can mandarin oranges w/juice
Beat all ingredients with mixer and pour into greased 9”x12” pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
When cake is cool, mix and frost with:
1 20-oz can crushed pineapple w/juice
1 large box instant lemon pudding mix
1 8-oz tub Cool Whip
Chill and serve.

Not too early to start thinking pumpkin! Bridgetta Snider of West Bloomfield submits this quick, family recipe.
Pumpkin Pound Cake
1 yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 16-oz can solid pack pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup water
Mix all ingredients with electric mixer for 3 minutes. Bake in floured Bundt or tube pan at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Lemon Cake Pudding
1 lemon cake mix prepared according to directions on box using an oiled and floured Bundt pan.
1 box lemon Jello instant pudding
1 small tub Cool Whip
Prepare pudding in large bowl. Mix in tub of Cool Whip. Completely cover cake on sides and top. Refrigerate.
Thank you, Julia Murray of Pontiac for sharing this recipe for all the lemon lovers out there.

Would you like to win a great cookbook just by sending in your favorite recipe?

Here’s how to enter:
Email one of your favorite recipes to me at Vicki.Arsenault@oakpress.com or if you prefer, you can send by mail: Vicki Arsenault, The Oakland Press, 48 W. Huron St., Pontiac, MI 48342. If sending by mail, please include a contact number for questions or notifying the winner.
If you have a photo, please send that along with your recipe. 
Contact Vicki Arsenault at 248-745-4621 or email Vicki.arsenault@oakpress.com Follow me on Twitter @OCKidKorner Touting @ http://www.tout.com/u/ockidskorner