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Pavlova Perfection!

Pavlova Perfection!

I hope you area all having a great summer! My favourite part of summer is all the get-togethers with family and friends. In the case of my family, our parties always revolve around what’s on the table. In the summer, most people like desserts that are light and fresh. Pavlova is perfect!

Pavlova was a actually a recent discovery of mine. It’s a dessert of a meringue base topped with freshly whipped cream and fruit, usually. I love taking a fork and biting into the pavlova-it’s crisp on the outside and marshmallow-like on the inside. If you like macaroons, you’ve got to try this. It was actually named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, despite the dessert originating from New Zealand.

I got my first taste of Pavlova while living in the Netherlands. We got invited to a Scottish friend’s house and we had the dish, and it was love at first bite. I believe that Pavlova was topped with a fruit sauce; I like fresh fruit better, but do whatever you prefer!

Plus…these Pavlovas are topped with whipped cream that is actually made with a combination of yogurt and cream! It’s lighter and tangier than whipped cream…delicious!

pavlova pic 1

 Here are the ingredients you need! Makes 8 Pavlovas

Meringue base:

-5 eggs

-3/4 cup sugar

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

-1 teaspoon white vinegar (both the vinegar and cornstarch act as stabilizers)

 Whipped Cream:

-3/4 cup cold heavy cream

-1 tablespoon granulated sugar

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (I used plain, original yogurt, which yielded a slightly thinner whipped cream, I would recommend using Greek yogurt for the best results)

Topping:

Fresh fruit (I use strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries)

Directions:

  1. Prepare to bake the Pavlovas. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Line apavolova parchment circles baking pan with parchment paper and draw 8 circles, a few inches apart (use drinking glasses as a guide). Flip the parchment over.
  2. meringe for pavolovaIn a large bowl, whip the egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks, about 10 minutes. I like to enlist a family member at this point to help me with the whipping-and I promise them a plate at the end!
  3. pavolova pic 2In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add it into the egg whites 2 tablespoons at a time, whipping for a few minutes after each addition, increasing mixer speeds after each addition; starting at low speed and ending at high speed. The egg whites should now have stiff peaks.
  4. pavolova vanilla and meringueIn another small bowl, combine the vanilla extract and white vinegar. Add it into the egg mixture, and whip for about a minute at medium speed.
  5. With a spatula, place equal amounts of the egg mixture into each raw pavolovacircle on the parchment. Bake for about 60 minutes, until crisp on the outside.
  6. pavolova whipped creamTo make the whipped cream: Place the chilled cream into a bowl and whip with the yogurt until soft peaks are formed (even better…chill your bowl and beaters beforehand, too!).
  7. Add in the vanilla extract and sugar and whip until combined.
  8. Top the cooled Pavlova pavolova biscuitwith the whipped cream and berries. Enjoy! pavolova completed

Note: I decided to make individual Pavlovas, but feel free to make one large one! Just bake the large Pavlova for about 70 minutes instead.

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Let’s Get Our Pumpkin On!

Let’s Get Our Pumpkin On!

November 12, 2014

By: Denise K. Livotti – www.PetitsChefsAcademy.com

So what to do with all that pumpkin? Don’t throw it out! Here are a few ideas;

20141104_0920091)      The Worms will thank you: If you’re going to throw out your pumpkin why not give it to Cathy of Cathy Crawly Composters she can feed her worms with it. Worms love pumpkin! And they’re going to play an ever increasing role in waste management and soil production. It is essential that we all learn how and teach children how. Cathy does a wonderful job in raising awareness about the wonder of worms and how we can all become more sustainable.

2)      Compost it! Pumpkin breaks down nicely in a composter and feeds your garden in the spring and summer months.

20141104_0922083)      What… a cannoli!? All you have to do is roast your pumpkin in the oven at 425 degrees until it is soft then put it into the food processor and purée it. You can add some of the pumpkin purée to ricotta, plus all the other ingredients you would use to make cannoli including a dash of;

Pumpkin Spice & All Things Nice (Mix the following in a nice gift jar and give it to someone at Christmas or gift it to yourself!)

  • 1/3 cup ground cinnamon.
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger.
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg or mace.
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cloves.
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground allspice.20141109_131917

And voila you have a pumpkin infused cannoli for something different, this recipe was inspired by a friend Jenny and her blog, Fables and Focaccia you must check it out and try some of her recipes!

4)   Last but certainly not least make a Pumpkin & Bacon Soup, like I did for the ‘famiglia’ this past weekend. They devoured it and came back for seconds.

Pumpkin & Bacon Soup-page-001

 

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5 Ingredients You Can Swap That Will Make Your Cooking Healthier

We modify or substitute ingredients in our recipes every day.  It has become an easy practice for us and once you too get doing it will master with ease. These simple swaps can make a big difference in nutrition with no sacrifice to flavor.

1.       Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream

The formerly exotic treat muscled its way into American supermarkets and pushed regular old yogurt out of our fridges. You can toss out the sour cream too. With one-fifth of the fat and a similar texture and taste, Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute in baking, dips, baked potatoes, tacos, and chili.

2.      Avocados for Mayo

For sandwiches, avoid the artery-clogging fat of mayo, and mash half an avocado to use asavocados for mayo a spread instead. On top of the extra flavor, you’ll get a shot of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, and other nutrients.

3.      Quinoa for Rice

It’s the grain that isn’t but acts like one. Replacing a carbohydrate-rich staple like rice with nuttier quinoa seeds will give you more flavor and nutrients. One cup contains eight grams of protein and plenty of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. Serve with vegetables and even more protein for a full meal.

4.      Oatmeal for Breadcrumbs-

Instagram-worthy brunches may make a bowl of oatmeal seem boring, but here’s one reason not to toss out the box: For recipes that call for bread crumbs, you can use vitamin B–rich oats instead. Use them for dredging chicken and salmon, yielding satisfyingly crunchy results, or add them to meatball and meat loaf mixes as a binding agent.

chia seeds for eggs5.      Chia or Flax Seeds for Eggs

Here’s a neat vegan trick: Combine one tablespoon of ground chia seeds or flax seeds with three tablespoons of water, and let the mixture sit for five minutes, until it turns goopy. Use it to replace eggs in baking, and enjoy the extra fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and good-for-you fatty acids.

You can see our Petits Chefs in action using these ingredients in good numbers in any of our weekly Cooking Classes, Workshops, PA Days, Camps, After School Programs, Team Building events on-site in our state-of-the-art cooking Academy, or off-site, in any of our Cooking Club Programs at a schools and play centers in your area. For a full list of programs and services please see www.PetitsChefsAcademy.com or call us at Tel: 289-553-4445

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Kitchen Rental Space

Petits Chefs Academy kitchen is a viable way for a small business to open a food service operation and or experiment with their food products. The cost of building and maintaining a commercial kitchen in this day and time does not make it feasible for a small business to set up and maintain a fully operating kitchen.

Petits Chefs Academy kitchen solution allows you to minimize your overhead costs while you develop your customer base and product line or product lines in our state-of-the-art, health department licensed, commercial kitchen. It is the perfect solution for a competitive edge for a new business: an excellent opportunity for chefs doing private parties, catering companies, farmers market vendors and visiting event and corporate caterers – the possibilities are limitless. Best of all is that you have a commercial kitchen built and maintained by Petits Chefs Academy.

We invite you to make an appointment to visit our facility and detail your requirements to see if we can fulfill your needs. We are located on Jane St., in Vaughan, Ontario across from Canada’s Wonderland right off of Hwy. 400. We look forward to hearing from you.

FEES AND REQUIREMENTS

All companies must provide their own insurance and food-handling certificate. The insurance certificate we require is a general liability insurance, which must list us additionally to be insured as the property managers. We can help you facilitate this certificate at your expense but all tenants in the kitchen require this certificate. The food handler certificate has to be recognized by the province of Ontario, online courses are available if you do not have one. You are responsible for all other business licenses required by law in your choice of fields.

Over 50 hrs per month we charge a rate of $25 per hour with a deposit of $1000 and a monthly minimum requirement of $500 this includes permanent storage and fridge space, kitchen priority and extra hours if needed and all utilities and rent. Access to rentals and service equipment at rates unmatched in the market place.

Under 50 hrs per month we charge a rate of $35 per hour with a deposit of $500 and a monthly minimum of $350 this includes all utilities and rent and priority on extra hours booked monthly in advance.

All members must sign a contract which stipulate kitchen rules that must be followed or risk losing their kitchen time and or deposit.

There are many hidden benefits as well as sacrifices in sharing space and Petits Chefs Academy Manager is aware of these problems, if you are a Team Player we look forward to hearing from you, together we can work to make your business a success.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN MOVING FORWARD PLEASE CALL US AT TEL: 289-553-4445 or INFO@PETITSCHEFSACADEMY.COM AND ASK US FOR OUR KITCHEN RENTAL RULES

 

 

 

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8 Tips for Parents Packing Lunches Kids Will Love

DENISE K. LIVOTTI OF PETITS CHEFS ACADEMY

There is nothing worse than taking the time to make and pack healthy snacks and lunches for your kids only to have then return half eaten or not eaten at all. Here are some tips on how to make your kids love their lunches.

1. Have them pick out their lunch bags and storage containers – Pride of Ownership: I know that my kids have wanted to pick out their own lunch boxes and colourful containers for the past few years. It allows them the freedom of choice based on their likes. As long as it is functional and makes sense then why not! This way they feel part of the process and own their lunch time experiences right from the onset!

2. Ask them what they would like for their snack and lunches – Choice and Decision Making: If you’re the type of Mom who has her fridge fully stocked with healthy options have them pick out what they’d like. Otherwise, give them a few options with what you have on hand and take it from there. This helps kids with decision making and is a fool proof way that they’ll eat the lunch they’ve selected for themselves.

3. Get them to help in the kitchen – Life-Skills: There is no better way to teach kids about food, where it comes from and how to cook then in their very own kitchen. Get them to chop up their celery sticks (using kiddie proof knives, we love these plastic kiddie knives that actually cut produce but not little hands by Curious Chef on Amazon) or blend up some chickpeas for a homemade hummus you can pack and store for the week. Make it fun with music and storytelling, watch and see your Petits Chefs grow in the kitchen and in life.

4. Make it REAL – Add the BAM! in your Cooking: We want kids to LOVE REAL FOOD. So cooking is high on our priority list. So if you’re going to cook a lunch, do it in the morning as food will stay warm up until lunch in a proper heat insulating container. Don’t forget to add the BAM! (which is love) into your cooking, trust us it tastes so much better and you’ll see how your kids will gobble it up.

5. Nothing in the fridge? Go grocery shopping together! Educational: This can be a very educational experience for all, parents and kids included. Make it an adventure in trying some new fruit or veggie the family has never eaten before and have kids pick out things they like, this does not give “cart blanc” (get the pun?) to have a shopping cart… J full of junk food. Our ratio for a healthy, balanced lifestyle is 80-20, meaning 80% clean, whole, real foods to 20% not so clean, whole, real foods. There is nothing worse than seeing a child’s lunch box full of processed, pre-packaged foods, which are high in sugar, fats, and sodium. So for every 10 items only 2 items are on the naughty list and only to be indulged in once, maybe twice a week.

6. Snack foods – Preferences and Selective Eaters: Some kids would prefer snack foods. A lunch broken down individually into smaller containers, for instance a deconstructed turkey and ham sandwich. Have turkey in one container, ham in another, cheese in another, some cherry tomatoes, and crackers. This is great for little kids with little fingers!

7. Make it fun, make it personal – Individuality, Confidence Building, and just the Thing to Put a Smile on their Face: Here we have to tread lightly, especially, if you have kids in different age groups. There may be some tweens/teens out there that wouldn’t appreciate their Mom or Dad cutting their sandwich into a bunny rabbit, worried that their friends would see it! So, maybe a private little note with a sticker saying, “I Love U” or some other encouraging, confidence boosting message would be okay. For smaller children they would love the bunny rabbit and maybe not so much the note. Be genuine, know your kids and respect their uniqueness and make it fun for every age and every personality type. They’ll eat with pleasure knowing you thought specifically about them.

8. Lunch game – Rewards and Incentives: At the beginning of the week, make a spreadsheet for each child with a list of all the food included in the lunch box daily. At the end of the day when emptying out the lunch boxes take a tally of what was left, each item not finished gets a point on the spreadsheet. The child with the least amount of points at the end of the week WINS. It could be something as simple as picking out an item from the dollar store or a book at the bookstore. Prizes or incentives work great for selective, picky eaters where parents are struggling it also gives parents a good idea of what their child/ren like or don’t like.

About the Author: Denise K. Livotti founded Petits Chefs Academy in January 2011 in the hope of inspiring children and their parents to take back the kitchen and discover the fun, value, and joy in cooking healthy, nutritious foods. With many years in the corporate world as a Sales and Marketing specialist working for large corporations such as FedEx and CN, Denise realized her real calling over a bowl of home-cooked stew. A Certified L.E.A.N. Healthy Lifestyle Coach and Sustainable Local Food Advocate, she decided it was time to pursue her passion for cooking good food while teaching others to do the same. Visit www.petitschefsacademy.com for more info.

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Tips for Creating and Raising Healthy Eaters

Written by Denise K. Livotti – www.PetitsChefsAcademy.com

1)      Remember our children are what we eat – before and after they are born!

Pre & post baby you are what you eat and so are your children. A baby will have gotten a taste for what Mom has been eating throughout her pregnancy. So what we eat during baby’s gestation is the first step in creating and raising a healthy eater. We also believe, monkey see, monkey do. Therefore, if we lead by example and our children see us eating wholesome, fresh, real food so they too will gravitate to real food.

2)      Cook & eat as many meals at home together as possible.

This is a sure fire (gas or electric – no pun intended) way in ensuring that you’re creating an environment around food that is valuable and joyful, together as a family. A family that cooks and eats together is a family that stays together.  If parents are putting importance on the food at the table then so will the children. Parents don’t be scared in getting your children to help in the kitchen. Assign simple tasks from the youngest to the oldest. It’s great that they help set and clear the table, but they also need to get hands-on with the food that they’re eating. The only way to get them engaged is to get them to help you cook it. If you’re concerned with safety, the mess or learning proper cooking skills via a professional then please look us up, www.PetitsChefsAcademy.com, that is what we do, we have certified Chefs, ECE’s and Nutritionists on staff to handle all your needs through fun, educational, curriculum based programming.  We offer on-site and off-site events, for schools, private such as Bridal Showers, Baby Showers, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and corporate, PLUS Birthday Parties, Camps, PA Days, Workshops, Special Needs and Nutrition Counselling.

3)      Pack healthy lunches & snacks high in fruits and veggies, low in dairy, meat and processed carbohydrates.

If you start lunches and snacks off right, from first day, entry into kindergarten, then you’ve started to pave the way to successful lunch and snack time eating. Children get used to what they see and to what they have available to them in their lunch box. If you pack colorful fruits and veggies with lots of variety and options then that is what they’ll know and will grow up eating. I usually pack two options of fruit and two options of veggies per day (sometimes even three) if there are extra-curricular activities right after school.  If you give them very little options and those being pre-packaged, processed items then that is what they grow up thinking is normal and the right thing to be eating. The fast, quick, convenient way is not the good or healthy way. Take a little extra time in the evening, before going to bed to peel carrots, chop up apples and oranges into wedges making it easier for little fingers to grab and eat, throw in a salad with their favourite dressing and source healthy snacks low in sodium, sugar and trans-fats. You’ll be securing a lifetime of healthy, happy eaters. Their bodies and minds fuelled for a full day of learning and a lifetime of health, it’s worth the extra time, don’t you think.

4)      Encourage children to help plan menus and select foods.

Kids that are active in the kitchen, helping Mom, Dad or both in preparing, selecting and having a voice in the decision making of menus and foods are more likely to eat what they’ve taken part in making, preparing or choosing. Allow them the freedom of expression through the very food they’ll be eating, so when out at the grocery store have them select their favourite fruits and veggies and direct them to healthier snack choices by reading through the ingredients list and scoring the nutrition labels. Children even as young as 2/3 years old will see Mommy and Daddy taking extra time looking at and reading the labels and will come to learn that this is important to do when sourcing healthful foods for their livelihood.

5)      Serve colorful foods and expose, expose, expose!

Usually colour means health, eat the colour of the rainbow, this is true when it comes to fresh, real food such as veggies and fruits, but not so when boxed, pre-prepared. Usually color on a box is served as a marketing tool to get kids and adults more interested. The more colour the more attention grabbing it is. Then add a cartoon figure such as Dora, Swiper or Sponge Bob and the food industry has you wrapped, just like a fruit roll up! Be careful of these gimmicks, they don’t have your health at heart, nor your children’s.

Then there are the “limited” or “selective” eaters, I don’t like calling them “picky” eaters, the term picky is negative and does not allow the child the opportunity to explore their food identity. What child under 5 is not, at some point, selective with the foods they will or will not eat? If you are introducing a new food item and it does not go favourably, remember that a child needs to be exposed to that food between 10-15 times before he/she will accept it.  So don’t give up the good food fight, keep at it, one day it’ll click.

6)      Have a snack tray with small amounts of healthy options for grazing all day long.

When my children where younger this was a fantastic little tool, I would take a muffin tin and in each tin I would add different snacks/items from fresh fruit/veggies (cut up in little pieces big enough for little hands) to whole crackers, pieces of bite sized cheese, dried fruit and nuts (luckily my children have no allergies).  They would snack on these items from the tins throughout the day, not too much, not too little and always something healthy, high in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids for growing bodies and brains.

So don’t give up the good food fight, with the right winning combinations you’ll be on your way to creating and raising healthy eaters for a lifetime!  Good luck and hope to see you soon.

To learn more on how you can raise healthier eaters please see our programs and services at www.PetitsChefsAcademy.com or call us at Tel: 289-553-4445 or email us at Info@PetitsChefsAcademy.com

Fuelling Children’s Minds and Bodies with the Right Winning Combination through the LOVE of REAL FOOD!

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Heart Healthy Ways in the Kitchen

Our heart healthy ways in the kitchen are simple, true to taste and kid approved!human heart

1)      Make sure you put lots of love into the food you make. It translates in appearance, texture, quality PLUS the more love the better it tastes!

2)      Sprinkle/add ground or whole flax and chia seed where and when you can. Ground flax/chia seed is better for maximum absorption. I add either or to eggs, our favourite organic cereals and sprinkled on top of yogurt, smoothies, really it can be added anywhere even waffles/pancakes on top of soups etc…

Flax seeds: is considered a grain (but low carbohydrates, which makes it a great alternative in limiting high starches and sugars) but leaves other grains in the dust due to its rich nutrient payload in fiber, antioxidants and Omega-3 Fatty Acids which is brain food, great for helping kids concentrate.

Chia seeds: It contains calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, and is a great source of healthy omega-3 fats PLUS high in fiber!

3)      Load up on fresh fruit and veggies. Make it a colourful family affair! Instead of having boxed, pre-packaged snacks in the cupboard, clean up and threw them out. Top up the fruit and veggie baskets. This way all you and the kids have to snack on is REAL food.  You may have to go grocery shopping every other day for fresh produce so bring along the kids so that they can help pick out their favourites. 

Fruits and vegetables to choose  
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits
  • Low-sodium canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit packed in juice or water

Fruits and vegetables to avoid

  • Vegetables with creamy sauces
  • Fried or breaded vegetables
  • Canned fruit packed in heavy syrup
  • Frozen fruit with sugar added

4)      Make Friday’s fish night. Yes, that’s right fish every Friday night as once was. Make it cold water fish, not farmed and not from the Pacific Ocean (due to Fukushima radiation).  Cold water fish, such as Salmon is a great source of protein, it’s so versatile, easy to cook quickly and tastes great.  

Recipe idea: Marinate salmon in a lime, onion, garlic, and coconut milk mixture for 15 minutes before grilling for a delicious fish taco or grilled fish sandwich.

5)      Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol (saturated/trans fats & cholesterol):

This is important to stay heart healthy and will reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease.  It can be done simply by reducing the amount of butter, margarine and shortening you use in your cooking and baking.

You can also reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by trimming fat off your meat or choosing lean meats with less than 10 percent fat and skinless poultry.

For example, top your baked potato with salsa or low-fat yogurt rather than butter, or use low-sugar fruit spread on your toast instead of margarine.

You may also want to check the food labels of some cookies, crackers and chips. Many of these snacks — even those labeled “reduced fat” — may be made with oils containing trans-fats. One clue that a food has some trans-fat in it is the phrase “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list.

When you do use fats, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds, also are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your total blood cholesterol. But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.

Fats to choose  
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Margarine that’s free of trans-fats

Fats to limit

  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Bacon fat
  • Gravy
  • Cream sauce
  • Non-dairy creamers
  • Hydrogenated margarine and shortening
  • Cocoa butter, found in chocolate
  • Coconut, palm, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils

6)      Meatless Monday’s – Eat more of these! Legumes — beans, peas and lentils:  Good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. Substituting plant protein for animal protein — for example, a bean burger for a hamburger — will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake. We make a mean black bean and sweet potatoe burger at Petits Chefs Academy. 

7)      Reduce sodium: Most all foods that you buy in the grocery store are already loaded up with salt (aka. Sodium) as it’s used as a preservative, to extend the shelf life of the product. Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet.

  • Healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day (about a teaspoon)2300 salt

How much salt do you think you’re having daily??  You’re the Chef so taste all that you make and judge based on taste tests throughout the cooking process. Also, choose condiments and foods that read reduced-sodium.

These are all the heart healthy checklists we live by on a daily, weekly basis but we do allow an indulgence every now and then. A candy bar or handful of potato chips won’t derail your heart-healthy diet. What’s important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time, that you put love into the foods you make and that you enjoy them with family and friends and pass along your heart healthy ways and recipes to the younger generation. Happy Valentine’s.

For additional information on our programs and services please call us at 289-553-4445 or view our website at www.PetitsChefsAcademy.com

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Want your kids to grow up to be healthy adults? Teach them to cook

Want your #kids to grow up to be #healthy adults? Teach them to #cook.
Our 9 Week Cooking Program starts the week of Feb. 3rd 2014. You’re still in time to register.
Tel: 289-553-4445
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Snack, lunches should be nutritious

Packing kids’ lunches shouldn’t be tedious or time consuming and it most certainly shouldn’t be considered a nuisance or chore. As parents, we made a commitment that we would, at all costs, secure and protect our children, especially when it comes to their health and well-being, which is priceless. Some kids are in school, with many in before and after-care programs from 6AM to 6PM, that can be a total of 12 hours per day, 5 days a week and unless your school programs offer healthy, whole, well rounded snacks and lunches then your child will need you to have their back, for the duration of the day with nutrient dense foods that will fuel their body and brain.

It has become so routine that I only have to think of a few things before packing my kids lunches such as; do I have all my food staples, a couple of items from each of the 4 food groups noted in Canada’s Food Guide? Canada Food Guide and by a couple of items I don’t mean Ritz Crackers in place of a grain product, which a school in Manitoba served up as part of a balanced meal plan.

So here are some tips on packing easy, smart, healthy kids school snacks and lunches that they’ll eat!

Save Money and Pack Smart

  • The food industry has done a good job with convenience and kid-friendly looking foods, but is it healthy for you?  Avoid pre-packaged, processed foods for your kids’ lunches. They’re expensive and loaded with fat, sodium and preservatives.
  • Think outside the lunchbox. Did your kids love last night’s roasted chicken and vegetables? Pack some in a thermos to eat the next day. Pack leftover meatballs into a whole-grain pita pocket for a lunchtime sandwich. Mix leftover rice and vegetables and top with chunks of tuna or chicken.
  • There’s no rule that lunch has to include a sandwich, chips and a cookie. Try a tasting plate of chicken chunks or deli turkey roll-ups with a handful of grapes, and carrots with a small container of low-fat dressing. Finger foods are usually a hit with kids.
  • Be safe. Pack lunches properly to ensure food safety and freshness. Invest in a reusable ice-pack, a thermos to hold warm foods and a variety of different sized containers. Include a cloth napkin and reusable utensils to cut down on waste. Remind your child to always wash her hands before she eats.

Don’t forget to include something from each food group and be creative.  Please see the Canada Food Guide for further information on all four food groups and come to our workshop on How to Pack Snacks & Lunches for a Healthy 2014 on Saturday January 18th 2014 from 10AM to 11:30AM.

RSVP Required as limited spots available.

Please visit us at www.PetitsChefsAcademy.com or call us to find out more about our programs and services Tel: 289-553-4445 or Info@PetitsChefsAcademy.com

Fuelling Children’s Minds and Bodies with the Right Winning Combination

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Cooking with children fun Christmas holiday activity

Contributed blog post by Petits Chefs Academy to the #Vaughan Citizen, http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/4287471-cooking-with-children-fun-christmas-holiday-activity/

Vaughan Citizen

By Petits Chefs Academy

You may be wondering what to do with your children now that they are off school until Jan. 6.

You’re likely reading this and wondering what you are going to do with the kid(s) for the next two weeks?

You can drop them off at your parents or in-law’s place for a visit. Or take them someplace else where they end up not doing much. They come home complaining that they’re bored and say they’d like to stay home and watch TV all day or play video games till the wee hours of the night.

You know that they should be doing something creative, interactive, fun, hands-on and educational. So, what to do with your kids?

Here are some great ideas that you can do with your kid(s) during the next two weeks.

Increase your family time and have a few laughs by:

•Make cookies together. This is something you can do during the holiday season. Who doesn’t like cookies? Below, Petits Chefs Academy has supplied a fun, healthy, cookie recipe so that you can recreate at home for one fun activity.

•Go to a homeless shelter. Serve the homeless food and see your kid(s) learn a life lesson of giving during the holidays. This teaches kid(s) to give thanks, be appreciative and share.

•Plan fun day trips. Create a scavenger hunt game which includes a prize at the end. Create a list of things they need to find with you. Once they’ve found everything on the list, they win a prize. The prize can vary, make it their choice, from a special dinner fixing to a healthy treat.

•Make ethnic dishes at home. The internet has everything. You can make dishes such as butter chicken to poutine with jerk chicken on top. Be creative and have your kid(s) choose something with you and have them help you prepare it. Allow them to Google the country of origin and look at pictures from that area of the world, so that they can appreciate other cultures and foods.

•Snowball fights and outdoor activities. Who doesn’t love a good snowball fight after a great meal? It doesn’t matter how old you are, playing outside is fun, especially with snow. Yes, you may get cold, but nothing beats a hot cocoa or tea and resting near a warm fire afterward, laughing and talking about the memories you’ve created that will last your kid(s) a lifetime.

These are some ideas to keep in mind throughout the holiday season.

There are also great camp options, Petits Chefs Academy has a two-week holiday camp, full-day and half-day options to keep your kid(s) mentally and physically stimulated.

They’ll be making fun, festive meals and snacks that are always health conscious, pleases the tummies and feeds the soul.

If you’re not working for the next two weeks and you find that your kids are spending way too much time watching TV or playing video games, for the next 14 days try these activities and create lasting memories.

From our kitchen to your kitchen, we wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

RECIPE:

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip CookiesV_sweet_potato_cookies___Content

Wet ingredients

3/4 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato (1 medium potato)

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1/4 cup Turbinado sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Dry ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp.  cinnamon

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method

1. Preheat oven to 300°. In a large bowl, cream together the wet Ingredients.

2. In a separate bowl, combine dry Ingredients. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet Ingredients and beat until blended.

3. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by the teaspoonful onto ungreased baking sheets wit and bake at 300° for about 20-25 minutes. Until firm in the middle.

Yields:  20

Equipment: Oven, Baking Tray, Parchment Paper, Whisk, Spatula, Measuring Cups, Measuring Spoons, Tablespoons, Bowls

This column was submitted by Petits Chefs Academy owner Denise Livotti  and chef Jennifer Lucchetti.

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