Monday, September 30, 2013

Gluten-Free Chips and Dip: Animal Style

(Today's recipe comes courtesy of health coach, Eryn McEntee.)

I feel like parents are always asking how to get more veggies into their children. Well, this recipe will aid in the effort without the fuss. It’s a quick and fun veggie accompaniment to school lunches or a great after school snack. Smiles all around!

Not only will kids enjoy, but they can play an active role in the preparation as well. To bring up healthy eaters, it is vital to get children into the garden and the kitchen at an early age so that they know where their food comes from and what they are putting into their bodies. Interacting with food and taking an active part in its preparation will allow them to utilize and develop their creativity and increase the likelihood they will eat what they are helping to make.

Gluten-Free Chips and Dip
An original recipe by Eryn McEntee

  • A variety of hard veggies and fruits in various colors such as the following:
·       2-3 medium to large raw beets, in a variety of colors
·       1 sweet potato
·       1 cucumber
·       1 jicama or daikon radish (the latter is spicy)
·       1 large apple, any variety
·       1 pear
  • Quinoa Polenta pre-baked
For the Dip:
  • 1 c cooked black eyed peas
  • (if using canned I highly recommend Eden Brand; they presoak their beans and cook them with Kombu, a seaweed that both enhances the digestibility for sensitive tummies as well as provides added nutrients for growing bodies)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-2 t tahini or almond butter (the almond butter will provide a slightly sweeter flavor)
  • 1T lemon juice
  • ½ c steamed kale (another yummy way to get veggies into your kids)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • about 2-4 T water (as needed to thin it)
You will need micro cookie cutters about 1inch by 1inch (available at Michael’s craft stores)
  • Cut package of polenta in half down the middle. Unpeel the wrapper. Cut in thin rounds. Older children can help with this part especially if you have plastic veggie knives but not appropriate for younger children. *Remember always to make a “claw” with the hand holding the polenta when cutting.
  • Peel the beets and sweet potato if using. The other veggies and fruit do not need to be peeled but if not organic I would recommend it. Wash those with peel on. Starting from the outer edge, cut the veggies and fruit into thin slices vertically. This will require the assistance of an adult.
  • Once the polenta and all the veggies and fruit are cut up, bring out the mini cookie cutters. Kids can go “animals” with all the designs they can create. Holiday and other themes and stories are also welcome for example, the ones I made were animals based on Noah’s Ark.
  • Once all the shapes have been created, lay the polenta ones on a cookie sheet with parchment if not stainless steel or ceramic. Place in an oven heated to 250 degrees. Cook for 10 mins. You can include the fruit and veggies on the try to cook them as well, but is not necessary.
For the Dip:
  • Combine all ingredients in food processor except for the water. Pulse and scrape down the sides. Add the water as it runs tsp by tsp to thin as desired.
Serve the “animal crackers” with the dip. Experiment with other dips such as mashed up avocado, traditional hummus and nut butters. Even tapenade or salsa some children may readily consume.

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