Cooking with Kids: Apple “Donuts”

Apple Donuts
When I initially started Nourishing Foundations, I had these great aspirations of cooking with kids: birthday parties, small group cooking classes at play spaces, friends coming over to cook with us, preschool fundraisers, family parties… I thought it would be great! And then I dove in and started experimenting with these ideas and quickly realized it takes A LOT of patience to cook with kids. I also found that, for me, it’s truly a labor of love to lay my Type A proclivities aside and allow kids to enter fully into the cooking process. It’s fun, but it’s definitely a discipline for me to let go of my ideas of how things should go (especially around areas such as mess, germs, attention spans etc.) and truly enjoy the experience. Welcome to parenthood, Jen!
Making “apple donuts” is one project that lends itself to incorporating kids into the cooking process in a way that is fun, healthy, allows their creativity to thrive and feels relatively manageable. I had seen a version of this idea on Pinterest a while back, but was a little disheartened by the idea of using frosting as a topping (I’ll pass on the sugar and hydrogenated oil, thanks). Even homemade frosting felt a little too laden with sugar for my idea of a healthy snack. (That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for sweets in our diets!) So I did a little tweaking and here’s what I came up with….

Wholesome Apple “Donuts”
Kid tested, mom approved

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about cooking with kids, it’s that preparation REALLY helps the process run smoother. For this project, I had my son (who is almost 4) help me wash the apples: I plugged the sink and filled it with water/apples and about a 1/2 cup of white vinegar (to strip any pesticides as the apples we were using weren’t organic). I gave him aclean new pop-up sponge (which is fun in and of itself) and let him go to town. Once the apples were cleaned, I sliced them horizontally and used a small circular cookie cutter to cut out the seeds in the center (you can also do this with a knife), making our  apple “donuts”. If there will be a length of time between making the “donuts” and decorating them, consider putting apples in a ziplock bag with a little bit of orange juice or lemon juice so they won’t oxidize and look brown.

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The next step involves making your healthy “frosting”. I’d recommend having this ready BEFORE you start the project with your kids. You can store the frosting(s) in glass containers and reheat easily in the microwave at the time of the project.
If you are going nut free, use Sun Butter. If nuts aren’t a concern, any nut butter will do. If you don’t mind a little sugar, I’d recommend also making a dark chocolate topping. Here’s the easiest way to do this that I’ve found:
1. Make a double boiler by placing a glass jar (I used a small mason jar) in a pot of water.
2. In the glass jar place approx. 1/2 c. nut butter, sun butter or chocolate chips, 1/4 c. coconut oil and 2 TBSP maple syrup.
3. Heat over medium heat and mix until smooth.Finally, assemble your toppings. If you are going nut free, some suggestions are:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Mini choc chips
  • Raisins/Dried berries
  •  ​Unsweetened Coconut flakes
  • Hemp hearts/seeds
  • Cocoa nibs

If you are ok with nuts, consider adding almond slices and other chopped nuts.


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Now let the fun begin! For moms that are a little neurotic like me, a few thoughts:
1. Do it outside if the weather is nice! This makes clean up a lot easer.
2. Use parchment paper on a cookie sheet for apple “donuts” and “frosting”.
3. Give each kid his/her own plate on which to decorate the donut.
4. Depending on you kids’ age/ability, consider spooning the “frosting” on the apple donut for them and let them spread it with a knife.
5. If doing this project with multiple kids, let each child choose the toppings s/he wants to use and pour them directly on his/her plate. This will prevent spreading the germs that inevitably will come from licking hands, taste-testing toppings and then going back for more.

Let the fun begin! Kids will love mixing and matching toppings for their donuts. There will probably be a lot of simultaneous creating and taste testing. Let them enjoy and have fun!

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And once the donuts have been created, the mess continues… It’s all part of the process.

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If you give this a try, please post a comment and let me know how it goes! I’d especially love to hear about any other topping ideas that worked well for you.

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Wholesome Apple “Donuts”

A kid friendly, mama approved snack!

Source: nourishingfoundations.weebly.com

Serves: 1 Scale

Ingredients

  • 4-6 apples washed, sliced horizontally, centers cut out
  • 12 cup nut butter of choice or sun butter if nut free
  • 12 cup dark chocolate chips optional
  • 4 TBSP Pure maple syrup
  • 1412 cup coconut oil you will need 1/2 cup if making chocolate “frosting” in addition to nut butter frosting
  • 14 cup hulled hemp seeds
  • 14 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 14 cup raisins or other dried berries
  • 14 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 14 cup sunflower seeds
  • 14 cup raw almond slices omit if nut free
  • 14 cup chopped nuts of chioce omit if nut free

Directions

  1. Wash apples, slice horizontally and cut out centers to make apple “donuts”. If there will be a length of time between making the “donuts” and decorating them, consider putting apples in a ziplock bag with a little bit of orange juice or lemon juice so they won’t oxidize and look brown.
  2. Make a double boiler by placing a glass jar (in my case I used a small mason jar) in a pot of water. In the glass jar place approx. 1/2 c. nut butter, sun butter or chocolate chips, 1/4 c. coconut oil and 2 TBSP maple syrup. Heat over medium heat and mix until smooth.
  3. Assemble your toppings on a plate or in individual bowls/jars.
  4. To make:
  5. Spoon the “frosting” on the apple “donut” and spread.
  6. Decorate with toppings of choice.

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Easy Peasy Multi-Purpose Granola

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Every week or two I try to make a big batch of Easy Peasy Multi-Purpose Granola. This is a VERY easy project in which to involve kids. The recipe changes every time based on what I have on hand and the proportions I desire, but it never fails to be delicious and quickly disappears! Following is the basic idea. Feel free to use/adapt as you see fit!

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I store my granola in an airtight container and usually do one of three things with it through the week:
1. Use as granola. Eat with milk of choice or mix with yogurt.
2. Use as a trail mix/snack
3. Mix with almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice for a simple fruit crisp topping. Place on top of any combination of fruit (including, but no limited to the half eaten pieces of fruit my son leaves around the house that I “redeem” in breakfast crisps. Bake at 350 for approx. 15-20 minutes.
A few things to note:

  • If you’re going grain free, it’s great to have just nuts/seeds/dried fruit in the mixture.
  • If you want to stretch the mixture (after all, nuts can be expensive!), add more items such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds etc. You can also add oatmeal.
  • To make a sweeter mixture, add dark chocolate chips!
  • The most economical and convenient source I’ve found for nuts is us Trader Joe’s, however, Aldi and Costco/BJ’s are also great options if you live near any of those locations.

Enjoy!

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Easy Peasy Multi-Purpose Granola

Course: Breakfast

Serves: 1 Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw walnut pieces
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw almond slices or whole!
  • 1 cup cashew pieces
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 cup dried fruit organic and without sulfur is best! I usually use raisins. Can also use goji berries, chopped aprico
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1

Directions

  1. Grab a big bowl. Let your kids throw in a little bit of this and a little bit of that based on proportions that work for you/your family. Mix and enjoy!

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Ice Cream Soup

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Tonight my little guy had a friend over for dinner. I thought it would be fun to test out our new Play and Freeze Ice Cream Ball Ice Cream Maker that I got for $15 (still in box!) off of Offer Up. They had a blast! My attempts at a “healthified” ice cream recipe didn’t quite pan out they way I had hoped, which could have been due to several factors:
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1. The size of our ice cubes were a bit to big to fit in the outer compartment of the ball, so I blended them into a fine shaved ice…which quickly melted.
2. While rolling the ball back and forth did keep these toddlers occupied for a good fifteen minutes, they soon lost interest and I was unwilling to pick up their slack.
3. Coconut milk and maple syrup simply aren’t good substitutes for cream and sugar.
Here’s the recipe I tried:
​1 can (13.5 oz) full fat organic coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

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Any thoughts on ways to improve? Please leave a comment! We will definitely continue to experiment with this and the ice cream ball will be coming with us on our upcoming family camping trip. Yum!

Flourless Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Cooking with kids can be an absolute blast! The trick is to pick SIMPLE recipes that involve lots of opportunities for hands-on engagement.  Flourless Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars are an all-time favorite simple dessert in our household. Detoxinista hits the nail on the head with the following recipe. Enjoy!

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Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Source: detoxinista.com

Course: Desserts

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Total Time: 35 min

Serves: 16 Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter Or any nut butter
  • 13 cup honey Or maple syrup
  • 1 whole egg
  • 14 teaspoon sea salt (*if using unsalted peanut butter)
  • 12 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ square pan with butter or coconut oil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter, honey, egg, salt and baking soda until well combined, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the batter into the greased pan, and use a spatula to smooth the top.
  4. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown. (it only took 20 minutes in my oven)
  5. Let cool, then cut into squares and serve!

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