Sauteed Mushrooms with Sherry & Garlic

 

A guest post from our customer Michelle:

Mmmm Mmmm Mushrooms!

I am sharing a delicious recipe for marvelous mushrooms for which I yearn from time to time. It is great as a side dish or on top of hamburgers or steaks.

In the past, I was always afraid of cooking mushrooms. Somehow, tales from my youth taught me that every so often, someone chooses the wrong mushroom in the forest and that’s the end of everything. As an adult, I am more trusting of mushrooms, especially since I do not pick my own. Brewers Organics provides great, trustful mushrooms for all!

Marvelous Mushroom Recipe

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced or crushed

1 lb baby portobella mushrooms (also called baby bellas or crimini)

1 Tablespoon sage

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup cooking sherry

1. In a pan, heat olive oil, then add garlic, mushrooms and sage. Saute until the mushrooms are tender or about 5 minutes.

2. Sprinkle with salt or pepper, according to your taste.

3. Add the cooking sherry and cook for about 3 more minutes.

4. Eat!

Note:

Trying to get my 4 and 6 year old kids to try cooked mushrooms is a bit of a battle to say the least. Enticing them with facts helps a little:

-A mushroom is a body of a fungus.

-Mushrooms were once considered magical by Egyptian pharoahs.

-In ancient Rome, mushrooms were believed to give warriors god-like strength.

Calling mushrooms “little umbrellas” or the mushroom caps “car wheels” almost works, but if your little ones are not as impressed with eating them as much as playing with them, you are not alone. They’ll come around in a few (or many) years like I did. I love them now!

mushrooms

 

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe

pumpkin seed recipe

 

A guest post from Michelle:

The pumpkin is carved. The squishy pulp evicted. The seeds await their next purpose in life: cooking or planting. I always save at least 10 completely cleaned and dried seeds to plant in my Spring garden. The rest are for eating! Here is a great family-favorite recipe for cooking your pumpkin seeds.

¾ cup pumpkin seeds, cleaned and rinsed in a colander

1 Tbsp butter, melted

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp seasoned salt

1. Put the pumpkin seeds into a bowl, then coat with melted butter.

2. Add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and seasoned salt.

3. Spread coated seeds onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 25 minutes at 300 degrees.

This recipe emits such a wonderful, spicy Fall scent to your autumn home. Great for a quick snack while waiting for Trick-or-Treaters, delicious tossed on a salad and a good source of protein!

Homemade Tomato Sauce

 

A guest post from Michelle:

Pomodoro Sauce

Here is my all-time favorite tomato sauce recipe to serve with a delicious spaghetti squash or your favorite pasta. Pomodoro is an Italian word that simply means tomato. Summer tomatoes taste totally different than other tomatoes. Eat them fresh or cooked, it is a taste like no other. Tomatoes from Brewers Organics are wonderful, especially at this time of the year! This recipe has two big steps: preparing the tomatoes and preparing the sauce.

Blanching Tomatoes:

The first step to making this delicious homemade sauce is to gather your tomatoes for blanching. Blanching is a process to remove the tomato skins. I used about 3-4 huge tomatoes to make 3 cups of blanched tomatoes, but it depends on the juiciness of each tomato

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl nearby.

3. Cut a small “x” on the bottom of each tomato.

4. In batches, place tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds to one minute (or until the skins are easy to peel off).

5. Remove the tomato immediately and plunge into the ice bath.

6. Peel the tomatoes and halve horizontally.

7. The messy part: over a small bowl, squeeze out all the seeds, using your fingers to get all the seeds out.

8. Chop the peeled and seeded tomatoes.

Pomodoro Sauce:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced (more if you prefer)

3 cups of blanched tomatoes (24-28 ounces if fine if you have juicy tomatoes!)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon organic or cane sugar

12 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook it for about one minute, until it turns light brown.

2. Add your delicious tomatoes (including juice) with salt, pepper and sugar.

3. Boil.

4. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. With a wooden spoon, crush the tomatoes as the sauce thickens a bit.

5. Remove from heat and stir in the basil.

Serve with cooked spaghetti squash or cooked pasta. This makes about 1 ½- 2 cups of sauce, depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes. I like to make many batches since the sauce can be frozen for up to six months. In the winter months of Wisconsin, this sauce is a welcome sight!

Pomodoro sauce 2

Chocolate-Chip Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake (1)

 

A guest post from Michelle:

Ah, the end of summer and all the delicious vegetables from Brewers Organics are extra wonderful! Here is a great recipe that we tried that is so moist and yummy. It uses zucchini, a member of the squash family, which provides lots of vitamin A. My family loves this cake. The zucchini helps keep the cake moist and my children don’t mind that they are eating cooked zucchini inside the cake!

Ingredients:

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup vegetable oil (or equivalent substitute)

1 2/3 cups organic sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

2 ½ cups flour

¼ cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup buttermilk

2 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded/grated

¾ cup + ½ cup organic chocolate chips, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. (I know, baking in the summer is hot, but choose a day that is not over 90 degrees.) Hint: reduce oven by 25 degrees if you are using a glass pan.

Grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

1. Beat butter, oil and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add vanilla.

2. Combine dry ingredients, then add to wet ingredients alternately with buttermilk.

3. Stir in zucchini and ¾ cup of chocolate chips.

4. Pour into pan, then sprinkle top with ½ cup chocolate chips.

Bake 55 minutes.

Cool and eat. YUM!

Nolan’s Strawberry-Blueberry-Banana Yogurt Popsicle Recipe

 

M Frozen Yogurt ingredient
Here is a super fun recipe for kids and parents to prepare together. My 5  year old son, Nolan, was so excited to help!

On a hot day, turn off the air-conditioning for a few hours to enjoy the true heat of summer then wait for the excited requests for cold treats like popsicles. “Why don’t we make our own popsicles today?” was met with eager disbelief. There followed a helpful scurry to find delicious fruits for the perfect taste. Nolan decided on a mixture of strawberries, blueberries and  bananas from our Brewers Organics produce box. When asked if he would like to make three different flavors, he answered incredulously, “No, we have to use all three in one popsicle!” And a chef is born.

M Nolan working the blender

The super simple recipe:

1 cup vanilla yogurt

1 cup fruit [We used 1/3 cup sliced strawberries + 1/3 cup blueberries + 1/3  cup sliced bananas.]

2 Tbsp honey

Blend all in a blender, then fill a popsicle mold almost to the top. (Leave a little room for liquids to expand.)

M Nolan's Frozen Yogurt heading for freezer

Freeze for 2-4 hours. Done!

This created 4 popsicles so we quickly whipped up another batch to have 8 total. Of course, we needed a pre-frozen taste test, so we drank a little extra as fruit smoothies. Delicious!

M Nolan eats frozen yogurt on steps

 

I’m always amazed at how serious kids can be about some aspects of cooking.  Here are some teachable moments for my five year old today:

1. Fruit smoothies can easily be frozen into popsicles. (Go Science!)

2. Red (strawberries) and blue (blueberries) mix together to make the color  purple! (Go Art!) We also sang our favorite Preschool Rock N Learn song “Red and  Blue, mixed together, makes the color purple.” (Go Music!)

3. A 1-cup measuring cup can be filled with 1/3 cup strawberries, 1/3 cup  blueberries and 1/3 cup bananas. (Go Math!)

4. Dollar Store Ice Pop Makers make good popsicles and only cost a dollar.  (Go Economics!)

5. Honey is a natural sweetener for berries. (Go Home Economics!) Actually,  depending on the ripeness of the fruit, honey may not be needed. Summer berries are so delicious without any help this month!

6. Cooking is fun! (Go Life Skills!)

-Michelle and Nolan Gagne
A Lauren eats Nolan's Frozen Yogurt

4th of July Fruitworks! festive fireworks of watermelon stars and blueberry sparkles

4th of July Fruitworks

A guest blog from Michelle:

Here is a festive layout design for a patriotic picnic featuring a creatively carved watermelon and a scattering of blueberries. Cheerfully delicious, watermelons boast lots of vitamins A, C and Vitamin B6 while blueberries are one of the most antioxidant rich foods and offers manganese, fiber and vitamin C to name a few benefits.

A watermelon is a wonderful fruit to carve for those who love to be creative with beautiful produce from Brewers Organics. The red fruit can be cut easily with a star cookie cutter while the green rind can be carved with a sharp knife. The perfect solution for those who love to carve pumpkins but can’t wait until October! The watermelon is first cut into slices as usual, then the cookie cutter has all the fun making star shapes. The “fireworks” (or “watermelon fries” as my family called them) are tiny, thin sticks of watermelon for easy grabbing and eating! The rind took some careful cutting with a sharp knife to produce the letters “USA.” The rind letters can be used by itself or the hollow rind shapes can be filled with blueberries for an extra splash of patriotic color.

This is a fun project for kids to help design, too. Kids can easily cut watermelon shapes with any type of cookie cutter. They can load the fruit onto skewers or straws for an eye-catching table setting. They can create their own patriotic design of a flag with rows of red stars and a square of blueberries. They can venture out into other red fruits such as strawberries, raspberries or cherries. Adults could carve kid-suggested shapes or letters into the watermelon’s rind and fill each shape with blue or red fruits. Great summer fun!

4th of July Watermelon Blueberries Flag 2

Broccoli Salad

 

Broccoli Salad ingredients

 

Here is a delicious salad for the hot summer months! It uses a lot of fresh broccoli florets and has a punch of color with dried cherries, red onion and bacon bits. Add some cashew halves for more protein and, voila! the meal is ready!

Salad Dressing:

2 cups real mayonnaise

¼ cup vinegar

¼ cup sugar

Prepare the dressing first as it should be whipped together and refrigerated at least 4 hours. Depending on the amount of broccoli you have, don’t add all the dressing to your salad! Add half the dressing, then do a taste test! Less is more!

Salad:

3 bunches of broccoli, washed and broken into small pieces (using mostly florets)

3 oz of diced cooked bacon or bacon bits

½ cup dried cherries

1 ½ cups cashew halves

½ red onion, diced (Wow, this can be strong! Don’t add it to the salad until just before serving!)

 

Mix the salad and salad dressing together about a half hour before serving.

Delicious! This salad makes about 8 servings. It also tastes great with the addition of tomatoes and shredded cheese.

Families with young children: this salad is better tolerated without any dressing or onions. Allowing dinosaur toys at the table turns this vegetable salad into a fun lesson in prehistoric plant eaters! Kids can turn broccoli florets into mini-trees and turn dried cherries into mini-flowers. Bacon bits can be anything from ants to dino-treats! Halved cashews make great cell-phones for dinosaurs. (Well, you know, you have to keep it a little silly!) Have a little fun with nutritious meals!

 

 Broccoli Salad

“Cheap-Cheep” Baby Food with Sweet Potato, Carrot and Chicken

Chicken Baby Food

Here is a great baby food for babies that are adding meat to their diet.  Easy, inexpensive and tastes great to many babies. Give it a try and see if your baby likes it!

Chicken is one of the first meats that 6-9 month old babies try. My babies were not keen on many of the store-brand meat baby food so this was a great  resource for protein. The sweet addition of carrots and sweet potatoes help disguise the meat-taste if this is a first attempt at meat. My son loved this recipe!

Ingredients:

½ small onion, chopped (If your baby is picky, skip the onion.)

1 tablespoon butter

½ skinless chicken breast (raw), diced

1 carrot, sliced

2½ cups sweet potato, diced

1¼ cups chicken broth

Directions:

In a large pot, saute onion in butter until softened. Add chicken and cook for about 4 minutes. The carrots and sweet potatoes are added next then the broth is poured over all. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes until veggies are tender. Let cool a few minutes, then puree in blender. Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays.

A two-ounce portion seems to be a great start for babies. This recipe makes about three cups (24 ounces) of food for your baby to enjoy for the week!

Parents: this recipe has a few options for your meal, too! Mealtimes can sometimes take forever with a playful or uninterested baby and it is important  for parents to keep up their own strength (and patience)! This is an easy soup to grab some quick protein while feeding your baby. I would usually reserve a bowl for me before pureeing the rest in the blender for the baby. Or, if  everything is already pureed, it can be served warm over biscuits or rolls for a quick meal.

Banana and Mango Smoothie or “It’s Raining Bananas and Mangos”

Banana Mango Smoothie in glasses

 

My kids have fallen in love with mangos. Each week, we eat at least 4 of this  sweet fruit. Perhaps I need to grow a mango tree. In Wisconsin? Sorry, kids! Did  you know mango trees can grow up to 60 feet tall? Not really for my small back  yard! This “king of fruit” is rich in anti-oxidants, potassium and fiber. Who can turn down requests for mango snacks?

We love to eat this delicious fruit in its purest form: peeled and cut into  bite-sized pieces. However, this week we decided to branch out into the smoothie world. It has been a hot week so far, so we have been searching for cool drinks  and snacks. We came up with this recipe to use mango and banana with our favorite vanilla yogurt. Nutritious and delicious!

Ingredients:

1½ cups mango, peeled and cut-up

1 medium banana, sliced

1 ½ cups vanilla yogurt

½ cup milk (or more, if desired)

Banana Mango Smoothie food prep

Directions:

1. For this recipe, it is helpful to freeze the mango pieces for an hour or so to make the smoothie nice and cold! Let thaw for 10 minutes before putting it  in the blender.

2. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

3. Add a bright colored straw and drink with delight! If the smoothie is too thick to your liking, add more milk to your cup and simply stir with your straw.

Banana Mango Smoothie and Nolan

 

The verdict was “Yum Yum!“ and “Amazing!“ from my two children. Discussions of what to call this drink started very silly and then ended with “It’s Raining  Bananas and Mangos.” The children also helped with the visual presentation by  adding their toy banana and tropical Little Person to the table. (Sorry, no toy  mangos in the toy box!) The best part of this demonstration was watching them drink contentedly in silence until the final loud slurps of the straw emptying every last drop from the bottom of the glass.

Snacky Tomato & Tuna Sailboats

Snacky Sailboats with police boat

Ahoy! Here is a nutritious, snacky lunch that kids will eat without complaints, especially if they like tuna fish. My kids love tuna fish! This creative lunch would be fun for a special, nautical-themed picnic where sailboat toys, rubber duckies and any number of fish toys would be most welcomed.

Ingredients:
Tomato, halved
2 cans of tuna fish
Celery, diced
Onion, diced (optional)
Cheddar cheese slices
Goldfish crackers
Dab of cream cheese (optional)

Directions:
1. The sailboat consists of a hollowed out tomato. I used almost an entire tomato because my kids love tomatoes! Green peppers, red peppers, yellow peppers or cucumbers could also be used for the vessel. The boat is filled with tuna salad. (I used two cans of drained tuna, one tablespoon of mayonnaise, and one diced celery after my kids banned the onion.)

2. The mast of the sailboat is made from a carrot stick. We LOVE using the rainbow carrots from Brewers Organics! How fun are purple carrots?? Your mast could be one of many possible carrot colors! The mast is pushed deep into the tuna salad.

3. The sail of the sailboat is created from cheese. We used cheddar cheese. since a swiss-cheese sail might be asking for sailing trouble! To adhere the sail to the mast, use a sticky substance such as cream cheese. Other possible sails could be designed with a lettuce leaf or a slice of mango or pear.

Finally, the table can be prepared to look like Lake Michigan! I used blue wrapping paper with scattered Goldfish crackers. We also welcomed my son’s special police boat to the meal. Soon, the edible boats were devoured and creative commentaries were heard about the perils of vegetable-sailing on Lake Michigan. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” spouted from the mouths of these young sailors before they caught all the remaining fish. Fun, nutritious and enjoyable!

Snacky Sailboat alone