Cooking delicious healthy food kids love!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Healthy Breakfast!

If you have kids, you probably know how hard it is to get them out the door in the morning with a healthy breakfast to start their day. Here are some ideas for a Quick, Easy, Healthy breakfast that they will love!

Ice Cream - for Breakfast! (really!)

Banana Nice Cream

2 Bananas, cut up and frozen overnight
1 cup Almond Milk (or Soy or Cow's)
2 TBS peanut or almond butter

1. Combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse two or three times, until smooth and creamy
2. Spoon into two bowls, serve immediately

(Recipe from Whole Foods website)

Goldilocks Favorite Meal
"Just Right Oatmeal" (Serves 4)

This oatmeal takes less than a minute of prep at night before, and it will be smooth, warm and so creamy just waiting for you to add your favorite toppings in the morning.

1 cup oats (use steel-cut if you like texture, rolled oats if you like it really creamy)
4 cups water

Combine oats and water in crock pot, cover and cook on low 7 - 8 hours (overnight.)

1/2 cup milk (or almond or rice milk)
1 cup dried fruit of choice, optional
(apples, raisins, cranberries, apricots etc)
or 1 - fresh apple (chopped)
2 - 4 TBS chopped almonds or walnuts
2 TBS coconut flakes
2 TBS brown sugar or 2 TBS real maple syrup
2-3 tsp cinnamon sugar

Super smoothie

Combine in a blender:
1 small banana
1/2 cup frozen berries
2 TBS plain yogurt
1 cup almond milk, rice milk, cows milk or orange juice

If you don't have an immersion blender (hand blender), you can make this in a regular blender. I love using the immersion blender because there is almost no clean-up!

"No Recipe Ideas"
Slice of whole grain toast or whole grain english muffin with peanut butter

Yogurt with granola

Yogurt parfait - vanilla yogurt layered with granola, fresh or frozen fruit

Sliced apple with cheddar cheese and whole grain crackers

Please - share any other ideas you have!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Healthy Lunchbox Ideas!

Most kids only have 20 minutes for lunch at school. In that time, they need to find a seat, unpack their lunch, eat, and pack up again. Plus, lunch is a social break from their studies. Make sure they eat during the break so they are fueled for the rest of their day by including enough healthy choices (that are low in sugar and high in nutrition) that are easy to eat (i.e. cut up their fruit, have everything already assembled)

If your kids will only eat "blue shark fruit roll ups" and pre-packaged lunch-box kits, work together with them to create a chart of healthy choices they WILL eat and be sure to pack those. It does take a little more time and effort on everyone's part - but it is worth it. Eating a healthy diet helps people feel better, have more energy, and helps people to concentrate and learn. Studies have shown behavior to improve with a healthy diet ( )

Consider makeing a chart with ideas from which to choose. Include a "growing food" / protein source, a vegetable and a fruit. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Growing Food/protein source:

- Hummus Dip and whole grain pita triangles or whole grain crackers
- Yogurt (watch for sugar content - but please do not choose artificially sweeteners)
- Chicken Vegetable Noodle Soup
- Sandwich with baked or grilled chicken (leftover from night before) on whole grain bread
- Black bean salad w/ corn tortilla chips (choose organic chips if you can)
- Small container of tamari-roasted almonds or other nuts
- Peanut butter sandwich with banana slices
- Hard Boiled Egg (already peeled, please!)
- Peanut butter on a whole grain rice cake

Healthy Wraps (make sure ingredients are dried well before you add them, so you don't end with a soggy mess!)
- leftover chicken or shrimp, shredded lettuce, cheese
- black bean salad wrap
- beans and rice with shredded lettuce
- hummus with sprouts and tomatoes


- Carrot sticks, red or green pepper strips with dressing for dipping
- Zucchini muffin (see recipe below)
- Steamed Edamame (shelled)
- Roasted carrots (leftover from night before)
- Cucumber slices
- Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds (leftover from night before: wash and slice sweet potato into 1/4 inch thick rounds, skin on. Spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with a little salt and paprika or cumin - roast on cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes)
- lightly steamed green beans
- snow peas
- small salad loaded with their favorite things: craisins, carrots, sunflower seeds, etc. (Be sure to tear lettuce into small easy-to-eat pieces)


- Apple slices (Cut it up for them! Sprinkle with a little lemon or orange juice so they don't get brown)
- Grapes
- Peach slices
- Cut up melon
- Strawberries
- Homemade Applesauce (recipe below)
- Mandarin oranges (packed in juice, not syrup)

Fun Recipes you and your child can make together!

Home Made Applesauce

12 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly

2 cups water

3 cinnamon sticks (or 2 tsp cinnamon)

1/8 tsp salt

2 - 3 TBS honey

Combine ingredients, bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer covered about 15 minutes. Mash with potato masher.

Zucchini Muffins
(Makes 12 muffins - make a double batch,wrap them individually, and freeze them - then pop one in the lunchbox once in a while)

2 eggs

½ cup oil

¾ cup brown sugar

½ tsp vanilla

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup flax seed meal (optional)

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cardamom

½ cup raisins (or craisins or blueberries)

PreHeat oven to 350. Combine wet ingredients in large bowl. Combine dry ingredients in bowl. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients, do not overmix! Place cupcake papers in tin. Fill muffin tins ¾ full. Bake 20 -25 minutes

Happy Healthy Lunches | on Our Blue Ridge! WSLS 10

Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy Healthy Cooks on Live TV - Fresh fruit from the farm!

Matthew Quintana, Madeleine Taylor and I make 2 delicious dipping sauces for fruit kabobs. And, we talk about the importance of parents modeling healthy eating as a part of encouraging their kids to make healthier choices.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Healthy Cooks - Cooks on LIVE TV!

WSLS 10 / NBC  "Our Blue Ridge"
Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Healthy Cooks Summer Camps Are FULL! Please send an email if you would like to be included on our mailing list for future camps!

Happy Healthy Cooks Announces Summer CAMPS for kids!

3 Weeks Only
Only 12 spots open each week.

Mon, August 16 - Friday, August 20  
9am - 1pm
Ages 7 - 11

Mon, August 23 - Friday, August 27  
9am - 1pm
Ages 7 - 11

Mon, August 30 - Friday, Sept 3  
9am - 1pm
Ages 7 - 11

Happy Healthy Cooks knows that people who are involved in learning about and preparing new foods are more likely to try them AND like them! In our summer camp, students will experience delicious whole foods in an engaging, hands-on, fun atmosphere! We will prepare and taste fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes using recipes and methods from different cultures around the world. We'll make our own healthy delicious snacks and lunch each day.  We'll spend time in the gardens learning about how our food grows and where it comes from (not a box!) Your child will learn how to safely use kitchen equipment, and we will always practice our best manners and being respectful. Our successful program has been featured on WVTF / NPR, WSET / ABC, WSLS / NBC, and The Roanoke Times!

Happy Healthy Cooks camp will be held in a beautiful bright white cottage filled with natural light and surrounded by gardens at Grandin Gardens, on Grandin Road.

Happy Healthy Cooks Camp Includes:

• Happy Healthy Cooks apron
• Happy Healthy Cooks mini cookbook
• Snack and Lunch each day
• A week of fun in the kitchen and the gardens
• Knowledge that will last a lifetime!

The classes will be kept small with a ratio of 6 children per adult.
We will keep it to 12 children maximum each week.

$160/week - Registration will be first come, first served.

Heather Quintana, Co-Founder of Happy Healthy Cooks, is a Certified Food Educator through The Food Studies Institute and a Certified Health Coach (pending) with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the mother of two young boys.

Email Heather Quintana with any questions:

Take a look/listen at Happy Healthy Cooks in the news!

WVTF/NPR Tuesday, May 11, 2010:

WSLS 10/NBC "Our Blue Ridge": Monday, April 26, 2010:

Roanoke Times: Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 (front page of the Virginia Section):

WSET 13/ABC TV News: Friday, April 2, 2010:

Roanoke Times: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 (front page of the Virginia Section):

"Like" us on Facebook at Happy Healthy Cooks

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Listen to Happy Healthy Cooks on NPR!

While children may not always be known for their culinary sophistication, st graders at one Roanoke City school have come a long way from chicken nuggets and corn dogs. It's thanks to some fundraising and a band of volunteers who've spent the year teaching kids how to cook and eat healthfully. WVTF's Connie Stevens profiles the Happy Healthy Cooks team.

Happy Healthy Snacks!

Today we made Happy Healthy Snacks:

Hummus Rice Cake Faces

Lemony Hummus
1 Can Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans), drained - reserve some liquid
1 clove garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon (or more, if you like)
1 TBS tahini
dash of salt

Process together in food processor until smooth. Add some of the reserved liquid a little at a time to make a smooth, creamy hummus.

We used:
Grated Carrots for hair
Raisins for eyes
Soy Nuts for nose
Dried Cranberries for mouth

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Great ideas for packing helathy lunches

Schools improve lunch nutrition, but at a cost - Local -

Schools improve lunch nutrition, but at a cost - Local -

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Healthy Cooks on WSLS 10's "Our Blue Ridge"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Healthy Cooks on TV! WSET / ABC 13

ABC 13 came to do a story on us as a lead-in to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution show on the same network:

Roanoke Co., VA - A new program is underway at one Roanoke elementary where a group of volunteers is trying to educate students at an early age about the importance of trying new foods.In the class, “Happy Healthy Cooks," students learn to take a bite out of bad nutrition.Heather Quintana was so concerned about the food on the menu at her child's school that she now brings cooking to the classroom, once a week, for the 75 first graders at Grandin Court Elementary.

"I want them to be open to eating fruit and vegetable and whole grain and maybe look at that Pop Tart and say, 'Maybe that's not so good for me,'” she said. “We're a group of volunteers who feel really passionate about having kids exposed to healthy, delicious foods in a non-threatening, hands-on environment."

Cathy Cox is the Roanoke City (web) Schools wellness director. She's interested in Quintana's "Happy Healthy Cooks" program because it's her job to work with kids, district-wide, in understanding the importance of eating good food."We always want our kids to try new foods because their taste buds need to get used to foods they wouldn't try at home necessarily," she said.Which is part of the problem. When Cox wants to switch around school menus to be more nutritious, kids, many of whom get a bulk of their nutrition from school, often times opt out for fear of trying new foods. The children lose and the food program at school loses because less kids involved means less money supporting the school lunch program.

"If kids are learning about the food and involved in preparing the food they're more likely to be open to trying it," Quintana said.

"So that they aren't cranky and they're coming to school in a good mood. Food has a direct effect on their behavior," Cox said. "So it's the parents, the school system, it's the collaborative effect to get kids to try new foods."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stir It Up! (little darlins)

Today, the first graders at Grandin Court Elementary School made food from the Caribbean!

“Beans and Rice” are a staple dish in much of the Caribbean. The beans and rice are cooked together with different seasonings ranging from coconut milk to hot pepper but they are always served together. Together, beans and rice provide a complete protein.

The Caribbean is a series of more than 7,000 islands that are spread out from the south of Florida to the north of South America. The climate is tropical (consistent high temperatures, high humidity, heavy rainfall) and produces a lot of fruits such as mango, papaya, coconuts, bananas, and pineapple. (Food is Elementary, 2001 – Dr. Antonia Demas)

We made Red Caroltta Beans and Rice and served it with pineapple, papaya and mango, Every child and adult in the room loved it!

Here's the recipe:

4 cups red beans (2 can)
2 cups brown rice
1 T oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small chili pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tsp – 1 TBS cumin
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper

Saute the onion, green pepper and garlic in the oil.
Add the beans, tomatoes, pepper, and chili pepper.
Simmer until thoroughly heated and thick.
Cook the rice separately in boiling water until rice is fully hydrated.
Serve by placing rice on a platter and top with the beans.
Serve with tropical fruit on the side!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Healthy Cooks in the news!

Front page of the Virginia section of the Roanoke Times, Tuesday, Feb 24, 2010:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Indian Red Lentil Dahl

Today we made Indian Red Lentil Dahl. Dahl is the Indian name for any member of the legume family - lentils, split peas, chick peas, beans, etc. Dahl recipes are traditionally made fairly thick and may be served over rice or with flatbread and a vegetable side dish.

A local Indian restaurant, Taza, donated freshly made warm Indian Flatbread for us to try!

Most of the kids tasted the food - and everyone who tasted it, liked it!

The kids really enjoy peeling and cutting the food and they loved seeing and smelling all the spices. We showed them the whole spices and let them have a turn with a mortar and pestle so they could grind them up.

We played traditional music from India and shared pictures from some books about India that we borrowed from the library.

Here's the recipe:

Indian Red Lentil Dahl

2 1/2 cups Red Lentils (or brown lentils, yellow split peas or green split peas)
4 cups water
1 TBS oil
1 onion, diced
1 red or green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger root (you can just peel and cut off a little from the end, then freeze what you don't use)
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes, with juices
2 small or 1 large potato, (or sweet potato) peeled and cut in small cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 TBS curry powder (or prepare your own curry blend - see below)
Fresh cilantro, minced (optional)

Curry (use this OR pre-made curry powder)
In traditional Indian cuisine, whole spices are roasted, then ground, and are added to the dahl. A simpler method is to use already ground spices to make your own curry. Below is a combination of ground spices that work well in this recipe:

2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground corriander
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves

Saute the onion and bell pepper inthe oil for about 5 minutes
Add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minute
Add the canned tomatoes, lentils and potatoes and 4 cups water.
Bring to a boil. Turn heat down, and simmer.
Add the curry salt, pepper and red pepper.
Cover and let the mixture simmer until all of the water is absorbed, adding additional water if necessary and stirring on occasion until the mixture becomes thick.
Serve with cilatnry on top (optional) and eat with Indian flat bread (or try whole grain flour tortillas or pita bread)