Popcorn, the whole grain snack food

July 24, 2008 | by Diana

My teens eat popcorn quite a bit especially my son.  He pops it right in the microwave in a bag.  I also have a popper I can stick into the microwave, plus you can make it the old fashioned way with a pot coated with oil on the bottom and in college, I used a hot air popper.  Sometimes the fun is in the popping process but the healthiest way to prepare popcorn is the hot air method because it has the least amount of calories and fat. Don’t tell the kids though, that popcorn qualifies as a whole grain product that is good for you (without a lot of butter or salt). Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel — the bran, germ, and endosperm.   To read more about how Popcorn satisfies the criterium for a whole grain in your diet, please visit popcorn.org.



Lifeway’s Probugs & Kefir Products

July 23, 2008 | by Diana

ProBug_Lime For Healthy Snacks week, I’d like to introduce you to Probugs kids drinks and Kefir products.  Probugs is a drink for kids, that has the consistency of yogurt drinks, with natural fruit flavoring.  Even though my kids are older, they tried the Probugs drinks, enjoyed them, and went back for more.  They said the blueberry, had a slightly sour blueberry taste like you had real blueberries in it, not the fake blueberry taste.  The drinks came in individual pouches with a no spill spout kids could drink in the car or for a snack.  My kids had to try squeezing to see if they could get it to spurt (they’re teenagers, what do you want?) and while they could, it was much easier to control and didn’t cause a big mess like holding a juice box often does.  The pro bugs name stands for the probiotics contained in the kefir based drink.


Deb’s Fruity Yogurt Smoothie

July 23, 2008 | by Deb Ng

 Fruit Yogurt Smoothie

Many mornings, I make a fruit yogurt smoothie and sip that while I have breakfast. My son also enjoys it for a snack. What I like about this smoothie is that it has plenty of calcium and a couple of servings of fruit. Plus you can use any fruit you want – to make it your own. Here’s how I make it:

Combine all the ingredients in the blender and let it whirl. In the summer, I like to use fat free frozen yogurt or ice cream as it makes a great, healthy cold treat. I’ll also use a more kid friendly brand of yogurt for my son’s smoothie – though he likes mine too. In mine, I might also add some oat bran for a little fiber – and to keep me full throughout the morning.

Image via stock.xchnge

Yummy Earth Organic Candy

July 22, 2008 | by Deb Ng

 Yummy Earth Organic Candy

Not too many candies can be considered healthy snacks but Yummy Earth Organic Candy comes pretty darn close. These pops and drops are gluten free and filled with lots of good ingredients. And the flavors!  Super Sour Pops, Wild Peppermint, Pomegranate Pucker, Citrus Grove Vitamin C Drops, Freshest Fruit, Ginger Zest, Hot Chili Pops and more – and with names like that you know your tastebuds do a happy dance when you place one of these puppies into your mouth.

We received a generous case of candy from the good folks at Yummy Earth and my family has been enjoying trying the different types. It’s not like your usual run of the mill supermarket candy. You can really taste the fruity goodness and the flavors and colors just pop.

Though Yummy Earth is only about 20 months old, their organic candies are found all around the globe now. Find them in the U.S. at Whole Foods, Linens ‘N Things, Party City and more. You won’t be disappointed.

Healthy Snack Week: 5 Tips to Getting Kids to Snack Healthy

July 21, 2008 | by Deb Ng

 Peaches - Kids’ Healthy Snacks

We lucked out. Our son eats his fruits and vegetables and never fights with us about eating healthy. He loves fish, eats whole grain or wheat bread and doesn’t like melted cheese all over everything. I’ll stop there, I know there’s a lot of eye rolling going on. No kid is perfect, right? True – and believe me when I tell you ours has his kidzilla moments. When it comes to eating though, we’re pretty pleased.

Here are a few things we did which we believe helped our son develop good habits early on:

1. Get the  kids involved in the meal planning and food cooking process. My son has been helping me cook and bake since he was two. I read that kids who develop an early interest in food and how it works, and who help with the meals, are more likely to eat what’s on their plate. At first “Helping” was mixing or playing with some dough on his high chair or cutting out cookies, but soon he was mixing and rolling. Now, at 6, our son chooses Saturday’s dinner menu. He goes to the store, picks out the ingredients and helps with the cooking. He even goes to camp at the Children’s Chef Academy.


Corn Salsa

July 21, 2008 | by Deb Ng

 Corn Salsa

Yesterday we had a barbecue to celebrate my birthday which was July 17th and my bother in law’s whose birthday was yesterday, the 19th. Everyone brought a couple of dishes, which is always the best part of these types of gatherings. My sister in law Katharine also likes to experiment with food and recipes and didn’t disappoint. Yesterday she brought over a corn salsa that was to die for. What I loved about the corn salsa was that there was so many flavors going on – the salsa was delicious on tortilla chips or in a bowl on its own. Katharine made a huge bowl of this wonderful appetizer but it didn’t last.

Corn Salsa


A Few Products to Help You Through Those Kitchen Mishaps

July 21, 2008 | by Deb Ng

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s kitchen safety week here at Cookerati. Even people who do their best to follow all safety precautions find themselves cutting a finger or suffering a burn. Fortunately common kitchen accidents aren’t life threatening. If you do suffer a mishap, one of these products might help to ease your symptoms:

KytoStat BandageKytoStat Bandages: Would you believe me if I told you these bandages were made from compost from shrimp shells? That’s right – it’s a natural technology. These aren’t your usual bandaids either. They claim to wrap the wound tight to stop bleeding fast and I wanted to find out if it was true. I wasn’t about to injure myself, however so I had to wait a while before I could give them a true test. It happened last week when I cut myself slicing a cucumber. The slit on my finger was a heavy bleeder so I got the KytoStat out of the medicine cabinet and wrapped it around the wound.

Normally with a wound of this caliber I’d have to change the bandage a few times. I’m happy to report it wasn’t this way with the KytoStat bandages. I followed the instructions to make sure to have the white part of the bandage directly on the wound and apply pressure after putting on the bandage. I even wore surgical gloves to take a shower because the instructions on the box don’t recommend getting the bandage wet. Though I kept the bandage on overnight, the wound did stop bleeding within an hour and I didn’t have to keep changing iy. We’re pretty happy with the results. (more…)

5 Fire Extiguisher Safety Tips

July 20, 2008 | by Deb Ng

 Fire Extinguisher Safety Tips

Does your kitchen have a fire extiguisher? If not, it should It stands to reason anywhere flames and heating elements are used on a regular basis should have at least a small kitchen-sized fire extiguisher nearby. If you do have a fire extinguisher, good work. Maybe you’ll interested in these fire extinguisher safety tips.

Kitchen fires can be easily contained if their small. For large kitchen fires, call 911 and get your family out of the house immediately.

1. Use the P.A.S.S. method for using a fire extiguisher.  PULL (the pin), AIM (the nozzle),  SQUEEZE (the trigger), SWEEP (the nozzle).

2.  Always aim the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. To aim at the top or even the middle can spread the fire, not put it out.

3. Only use your fire extiguisher if you’re sure it will put out that specific fire. Many fires can’t be put out with a common kitchen fire extinguisher.

4. Don’t use a fire extiguisher if the fire is out of control. Instead find an escape route.

5. Don’t use a fire extinguisher if a fire is bigger in size than a barrel or trash container.

Whaever you do, don’t stay in the house to fight a fire that doesn’t seem to be going out. Get out of the house immediately.

Disclaimer: Though most of this advice is commonplace, do read your fire extinguishers manual or view one of the many online videos for fire extinguisher safety to know more about using it properly.

Image via morguefile

Pace Salsa Fiesta Contest Winner

July 18, 2008 | by Diana


_ Can you say that five times fast?  We had a great time with the contest.  I’ve learned some new ideas on what to do with salsa.  Cottage cheese and salsa for some zing, fish topped with salsa, eggs and salsa (my daughter does that), all great ideas.  Our winner is… (drum roll please)  Dara Nix who said," I LOVE Pico De Gallo, so this would probably be my favorite item from Pace as well. How would I eat it?? In a big bowl served with tortilla chips, of course!! Oh — HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEB!!! "  Thanks Dara, a big bowl of chips would be great with this.   Deb wants to thank all those who wished her a happy birthday and she was really pleased with the person who sang for her (after clearing their throat).  She had a great day turning – oh wait, that’s part of the confidentiality agreement I signed.  Dara, I will send you an email to collect your address for the Pace people.  Everyone have a nice summer, it’s getting hot out there, time to hit the pool.

Kids in the Kitchen: A Few Safety Tips

July 16, 2008 | by Deb Ng

 Pizza cutter

Today I took my six year old son to the local kid’s cooking academy for cooking camp. While there, I chatted with Chef Lisa who gave me a couple of very cool safety tips for kids in the kitchen.

Wear shoes – Kids in Chef Lisa’s class don’t wear sandals or flip flops. Shoes or crocs offer better protection if something hot, hard or sharp drop on little feet.

Use a pizza cutter or kids’ safety scissors – When the kids chop veggies or foods they use a pizza cutter! What a great idea – I wouldn’t have thought of this. For cutting herbs they use children’s safety scissors.

I love the pizza cutter idea. My son always wants to help me make salad but as I’m afraid for him to use a knife, he usually tears lettuce or helps put the ingredients in a bowl. We’ll definitely try the pizza cutter idea in our kitchen.

Do you have special “tools” to use with your kids in the kitchen? Let us know in the comments.