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From Muesli to Miso - Help in the Kitchen
My house is a maze of boxes and suffused with the energy and excitement combo that accompanies an approaching change. No, I'm not in one of my rare seasonal house-cleansing frenzies. This weekend our daughter and family are moving out and forward, on to their next life adventure, ending their six-month transition period of living with us. A season where our house has pulsed with the activities and kafuffle generated by five people (and one cat) – added to our mix of two.
No surprise that the kitchen has been the hub – and a huge amount of gratitude goes to my daughter, Renee, who's masterminded (and implemented) most of the healthy feeding program to sustain all the creative and physical energy.
One person can't – or wouldn't want to – do such a task singularily. Renee's husband, Damien, has 'done' most breakfasts and I've taken some shifts as head or sous chef, cleaner-upper and filling in other gaps. Celine, Laurent and Brienne – aged 12, 10, and 8 – have had their daily kitchen chores plus food prep as requested. They're proficient in cutting and chopping veggies, concocting delicious salad dressings (move over, olive oil and balsamic vinegar), and blending super smoothies – all adding to the wake of accumulated food bits and pieces scattered on the kitchen floor.
My body has probably never been happier with iself – fuelled mostly by fruits and veggies, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, dried fruits instead of sugar. Meals and snacks (a favorite part of the food plan) have been just out-and-out delicious and nutritious....
African Peanut-Potato Stew...Tortillas...Pumpkin & Black Bean Casserole... Falafel...Simple Oatmeal Raisin Cookies...Slow-Cooked Tofu in Pineapple Barbecue Sauce...Creamy Cashew Lemon Pie...Easy Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna... Hearty One-Pot Meal Miso Soup...Raw Peanut Butter Cookies...Buckwheat Hazelnut Pancakes...Grated Beet & Carrot Salad... Chickpea and Roasted Tomato Salad...Savoury Millet Stew...Breakfast Rice Pudding...Roasted Potato & Asparagus Salad...Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge...
But even when it's great, we can have our moments when we want a change of menu. This week for Celine, that meant finding an alternative breakfast recipe that she could make for the household. This health-aware pre-teen found one, tweaked it to use ingredients she had available – and we ate it this morning! Yum yum.
The Recipe: Pomegranate Muesli
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup steel cut oats (could also use old fashioned oats – not quick or instant)
1/2 cup each sunflower and pumpkin seeds
4 apples, peeled and grated
1/4 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
5-6 cups fruit – combination of sliced strawberries and blueberries
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
2-3 Tbsp. hemp hearts
Soak oats and seeds in pomegranate juice overnight in refrigerator.
In the morning, stir in remaining ingredients.
Note – add or substitute other fruits.
Makes 5-6 servings.
-- soaking the oats and seeds overnight contributes to better digestion
-- pomegranates - high in vitamin K, contain vitamin C, choline, magnesium, potassium and calcium
-- hemp hearts - high in protein and fibre
-- flax seeds - omega-3 fats, selenium, fibre, phytochemicals, antioxidants
Celine's Dad peeled the apples (to helped speed up the operation) but she did pretty much everything else. When it came time to dish up our breakfast bowls, it wasn't only Celine who appreciated something new on the breakfast menu!
The youngest cook in the house, Brienne, is not one to be left behind - in anything. You have to check out her Miso Soup Recipe - and try it. It's sure to become a lunch standby.
Cooking healthy meals takes planning, time and work - at any age. Inviting and allowing young cooks to mess about in the kitchen is messy. But it's fun - and offers them the pleasure of creating, and eating, nutritious food. A gift that will come back in spades - for their own healthy food habits and opening a window for future shared cooking experiences.
When these young cooks are your grandkids, the pleasure is especially sweet. Who helps you in your kitchen?
(Photo thanks and credits to Fimby.)