This post has got me feeling all crazy-like; I’m just so excited! I love the idea of growing your own food, especially in urban areas. Last year, a parent in my son’s class initiated an environmental awareness project. One of the activities linked to the project, involved planting radish seeds in a used tea bag. The seeds soon sprouted and the kids then transferred the plants into used containers. A short time thereafter, Tristan brought his plants home.
We don’t have our own yard, nor a balcony for that matter, but Tristan was determined to grow his radishes. We put the seedlings in a window planter and placed the container on the window sill. We waited patiently and doted on the two seedlings until the kids could wait no more.
They were so excited, they actually squealed when they pulled the 2 radishes out of the soil. After posing for the mandatory photo, they quickly got to work making 4 bowls of salad. My daughter doesn’t even like salad but she temporarily forgot; that’s how excited she was. Such is the magic of growing your own food, which brings me back to the baby bok choy.
I got the idea from Pinterest and instantly fell in love with it. How cool is it to grow food from something you would normally chuck in the garbage? (Unless of course you have a compost). The borough I live in only offers composting to a select few, as they are studying the feasibility of implementing the program city-wide. You can click on the link here to find more ideas on what kind of veggies to grow from kitchen scraps.
Can’t wait to get started? Here’s how to do it.
- Cut up your bok choy, leaving the bottom of the stalks untouched.
- Use the chopped up bok choy to make a yummy salad.
- Place the bottoms in a container with a bit of water.
- Leave the container by a window, but not in direct sunlight.
- Overnight, the leaves will start to grow! It’s like magic!
- Leave them in the water for 7 to 10 days, making sure to add a bit of water if needed.
- Plant in a container, place outside and avoid direct sunlight.
- Be patient, in a few weeks you should have yourself some garden-fresh bok choy to munch on. When you harvest the bok choy you can cut off just the leaves, leaving the bottom of the stalk intact. The leaves should start growing again, just like that! Here’s a link to a short YouTube video that I found useful.
My kids have been helping in the kitchen since they were teeny-weeny. There is so much they learn by being in the kitchen: counting, measuring, mixing, assembling, manipulating, following directions, organizing, teamwork, reading, and the list goes on and on. My kids each have their own speciality. This one excels at licking the spoon. She always has and always will.The other is a multitasker. He can measure, pour, stir, roll and focus, all the while sticking his tongue out. Who’s a proud momma? I have a friend who has declared Thursday nights in her home ‘Survive or Starve night’. Essentially her kids need to fend for themselves on Thursday nights, that or they starve. Her kids are older than mine, but I like the idea of fostering the skills they need to make them self-sufficient early on. My own kids have started making recipes by themselves, and the sense of pride they derive from that is priceless. It also makes them more adventurous in terms of trying different foods, although it in no way guarantees they will like them. Today’s recipe is an easy one. Basically fool-proof. My six-year-old made it all by herself last week. I wrote down the ingredients for her on a piece of paper and she took it from there. The original recipe has only three ingredients and can be found here, on the Kraft website. I however, do not like plain peanut butter cookies so I added oats and semi-sweet chocolate chips. I love chocolate chip cookies. Thank you Ruth Wakefield. For those of you who don’t know Ruth, she’s the inventor of chocolate chip cookies. I know, it’s hard to believe there was a time when chocolate chip cookies did not exist. Off you go now, go bake some cookies.
Peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies
- 1 Cup Kraft smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 1 /2 Cup oats
- 1/2 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until well blended.
- Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Flatten the balls with a fork.
- Bake for 15 minutes (or less), until cookies are slightly golden.
- Let cool and enjoy.
On a side note, two recipe books that I found useful when the kids were pre-readers: Kids Cooking A very slightly Messy Manual, and Pretend Soup. Both books have illustrated versions of the recipes so that a non-reader can follow along. ‘Pretend Soup’ is for preschoolers, and the illustrations are very clear and simple to follow. The illustrations in ‘Kids Cooking’ are engaging but not as straight forward. The ‘Kids Cooking ‘does come with colour coded measuring spoons though, and that makes measuring a lot easier. I also think that ‘Kids Cooking’ will appeal to older children as well, and not just the preschool set.
We established last week that I was not a foodie. The only hope of an epicurean in the family, lies squarely on the shoulders of the boy. He’s eight. Today, at four, he’s meeting a professional tea taster to discuss and sample teas (obviously). He loves blue cheese and shucks his own oysters. For Christmas this year, “Santa” gave him a pomegranate deseeder. Granted, when he unwrapped his gift, he shrugged his shoulders and the look on his face said; “Santa, what the heck? Where’s my Lego? What is this thing?” He came around when I showed him what it was and how to use it. I also told him he would be having pomegranate in his lunch more often now. Call me lazy, but I really don’t enjoy spending 10 minutes deseeding a pomegranate for a lunch box.You’ve never used a deseeder? Let me show you how it works: first you cut your fruit in half, then you place it on the deseeder with the lid on, and then, you WHACK, WHACK, WHACK, the pomegranate with a spoon. That part is very therapeutic. Whack it again, it feels good. With the lid still on, drain the juice to do with what you will. As a last step, you add water and the white skins will float to the top, skim them off the surface, drain the water and voila, pomegranate deseeded! Now on to the recipe.
Baby Bok Choy Salad
- 5 heads of baby bok choy, washed and chopped
- 3 green onions, minced
- half a pomegranate, deseeded
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp Bragg liquid seasoning, or light soya sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (I’ve used white vinegar and apple cider vinegar)
- Place the chopped baby bok choy in a salad bowl, sprinkle with green onions and pomegranate seeds. Set aside.
- Whisk the oil, Bragg and vinegar in a small glass container and drizzle over salad. Serve. (I only add the salad dressing to the bowl if I know the whole salad will be eaten, otherwise I let people dress their own salad).
- Enjoy! I know most people crave things like chocolate, but I actually get cravings for this salad. It’s so green, and pretty, and crunchy, and yummy. (and easy!) I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.
I was going to call the recipe section of the blog “Foodie Fridays,” but alas, I am not a foodie. I took an online test and it was confirmed. They were polite enough with the results; “Go watch the Food Network,” they suggested. Sigh.
So, in the spirit of keeping this blog real, I decided to go with “Feed me Fridays.” Imagine, if you will, two little monsters with outstretched arms, mouth half-open, dragging themselves home from school. “Feed me,” they moan in unison. That’s what my Fridays are like, so are my Thursdays, and pretty much every other day before and after.
This week has been a sneeze, cough, wheeze, my throat hurts, my head hurt hurts, I can’t move my joints, where are the Kleenex, kind of week. Accompanying me in my misery was monster number one. Needless to say, cooking was not one of the things I felt like doing, but monsters must be fed. So, I made soup. Soup is easy, soup is warm, and soup makes you feel gooder. I know gooder is not a real word but maybe it should be. Without further ado, I give you soup.
Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup
- 1 small head of cauliflower
- 4 cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- Sweet paprika
- 1 small onion diced
- 4 Cups vegetable broth
- Preheat oven to 400F (205C)
- Cut cauliflower into florets, wash and drain. Set aside.
- Peel the cloves of garlic.
- Put the florets and whole cloves of garlic in an ovenproof dish; drizzle with oil. I don’t measure the oil, but I make sure that everything is covered.
- Sprinkle with salt and paprika. Again, I don’t measure. For those of you who are understandably annoyed at my lack of quantities I’ll say ½ teaspoon of each. Really though, I just make sure that every floret has a bit of salt and a bit of paprika. The paprika has a mild taste and I add it for colour. That being said, I wouldn’t omit it from the recipe.
- Toss the ingredients gently, cover the dish with foil or an ovenproof lid, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cover for the last 10 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, dice the onion.
- When the cauliflower is done, remove from the oven. In a medium sized pot, fry the onion with a bit of oil until it becomes translucent. If the onion starts to stick you can add a bit of broth. Add the cauliflower and garlic, stir. Make sure to scrape the dish, so all the flavours end up in your pot of soup. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10minutes, partially covered.
- Puree the soup and voila, you’re done. I use an immersion blender to puree the soup, but if you use a regular blender make sure to let the soup cool down first. Hot soup in a blender can cause the soup to explode. Ouch!
I often serve this soup with roasted butternut squash, grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum! I also save just enough of the soup for lunches the next day. If you’re feeling adventurous you can use turmeric instead of paprika. It gives the soup a vibrant yellow colour and you can tell the kids they’re eating banana soup. What else would cause it to be yellow? To tell you the truth though, my kids didn’t like the banana version. I on the other hand, thought it was stunning.