I must share the coolest gift ever.  Perfect for the kids for Christmas.  Perfect for birthdays. Perfect for spending time together connecting in the kitchen.  What is it?  Raddish Cooking Kits for kids and their families.  We recently became subscribers to Raddish and have loved every monthly shipment which includes three recipes with pictures step-by-step instructions, fun facts and activities to learn more about food plus an iron-on patch, shopping list, table talk conversation cards and more.
 
I was able to write a blog post for Raddish a few weeks ago on the theme of “Celebrating Our Roots in the Kitchen” to go along with the November cooking kit theme of “Celebrating Our Roots” which featured some great recipes my family loved like Sweet Potato Mash and Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables (which made a fantastic chicken noodle soup the day after!). 
So I wanted to find out more about Raddish and it’s creator, Samantha Barnes. And Samantha was gracious enough to share a little more about her and her company.
Raddish Cooking Kits for Families
 
Q. Where did the idea for the Raddish Kits come from?
A. In 2006, I left my job as a middle school teacher to merge my two passions, teaching and cooking, and founded Kitchen Kid.  I had become troubled by the food choices my students were making, and saw a real need for edible education that empowered kids to cook delicious and good-for-you food. Kitchen Kid has since grown to become Los Angeles’ premier mobile cooking school for kids, offering school enrichment programs, in-home parties, and summer camps.
 
I wanted to share my passion for cooking with kids to families everywhere and inspire parents to make memories with their kids: Raddish does just that. Our cooking kits adapt Kitchen Kid’s techniques, engaging lessons, and delightful recipes, and packages them for home kitchens from coast to coast. 
 
Q. What do you think the biggest benefit is of using these kits?
A. Raddish inspires parents to make kitchen memories with their children and discover a new appreciation and joy for cooking together. Raddish is designed by teachers who believe the kitchen classroom is the tastiest place to learn. With Raddish, kids cultivate a diverse palate, experience culinary creativity, and build a foundation for a wholesome future and a lifelong love of cooking.
 
Raddish Cooking Kits for Families
 
Q. What kind of feedback have you received?
A. Families are consistently surprised and delighted by the durability and quality of our product. The illustrations in the recipe guides are easy to follow for pre-readers, yet engaging for 12 year olds, with additional tips and tidbits that educate parents. Parents and homeschool families love the multi-faceted approach to cooking: each box teaches a host of skills like math, science, nutrition, culture, and geography.  We provide lesson plans, additional recipes, and culinary activities (our grocery store scavenger hunt is a monthly favorite!) as extensions on our website as well. Parents are also appreciative that the kit is a wonderful tool to help expand palates and encourage adventurous eaters. 
  
Q. Biggest accomplishment or what Raddish is most proud of with the kits?
A. Raddish is the first national cooking club for kids to market, with a mission to change the way kids and families eat. We are building a community of kids and parents – of all ages and culinary abilities – who discover the value in teaching cooking to kids. And we’re excited to see the number of families reached increase month after month!
 
Q. Anything new in the future subscribers can look forward to?
A. Each month we create a different thematic kit so every month is a new adventure! A sneak peek at our holiday box, Season’s Eatings, includes a festive party toast recipe and an edible gift activity for homemade salt.  Raddish makes a delicious gift and can be pre-ordered online! 
 
Samantha Barnes is a former middle school teacher and the founder of Los Angeles based Kitchen Kid (KitchenKid.com), a mobile cooking school for kids, and Raddish (RaddishKids.com), a monthly cooking club that provides all the tools necessary to make cooking as a family educational and fun. Samantha is passionate about culinary education and believes the kitchen classroom is the tastiest place to learn! 
 
Thanks to Samantha at Raddish for sharing more about Raddish Cooking Kits that really can bring you closer together as a family.  My daughter made her own roast chicken two nights ago all because of this kit.  As moms, we really can change the world – the future habits of our kids with these fun cooking kits.  Check out the Raddish website for more information on how to subscribe. 
 
I didn’t receive compensation for this post – but just love the product.  I hope you check them out!

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How do you celebrate your family roots in the kitchen? Most people would say with food, of course! All of our family celebrations seem to include food and there can never be too many cooks in the kitchen, especially when we are trying to pass down traditions to our children.  Fascinating research featured in the book, The Secrets of Happy Families, shows that kids who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face life challenges.  And knowing a lot about family history can happen over preparing traditional recipes made right in our kitchen or at the family dinner table through conversation. Celebrate Family Roots Kitchen As we received our monthly Raddish Cooking Kit in November, the theme was celebrating our roots, a time to explore our family’s history.  Check out my blog post on the subject featured on the Raddish Blog! That cooking kit inspired my kids to ask questions like these at our Thanksgiving meal and it was so much fun to hear the answers of my great grandma, mom, dad and mother-in-law all sharing their stories about their childhoods and even stories about my husband and I as kids.  We all learned a lot more about each other that day.  Answers to questions like:

  • Where did your grandparents grow up?
  • Where did your mom and dad meet?
  • Where did your mom and dad go to high school?
  • What was something terrible that happened in the family and how was it dealt with?
  • What was your favorite food as a child?
  • What piece of advice do you have for me as I go through life?

Knowing these answers shows our kids they are part of something bigger than themselves.  It’s more WE, instead of ME.  Here are some fun ways to bring family history into the kitchen:

  1. Cook with a kit. Companies like Raddish Kids and Kid Stir, are creating cooking kits for families to connect in the kitchen. As a subscriber, you receive a themed kit every month via the mail that features kid-friendly recipes, kitchen skill-building ideas and even table conversation to create family conversation. Perfect for families that yearn to make the kitchen a place to create and have fun, these kits also create a lot of quality time in the kitchen to share essential family history.
  2. Make a fun cooking video with a relative. This is an entertaining way to get that famed recipe on tape and it’s just a whole bunch of fun to do!! Grandma’s Apple Pie or Mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup, the recipe doesn’t matter, just be sure to get the details on where the recipe came from, how long it’s been in the family, favorite kitchen tools and secrets…share them all inside the video. You will love the memory you created. Be sure to share the video with family.
  3. Spend a day with a relative making a traditional recipe that’s been passed down from generations before. Favorite holiday recipes lend themselves well to this, as there are so many favorite family recipes that are prepared year after year. Why not make an event of it?

And of course, after making that special recipe, be sure to invite the family to the table for a memorable meal for more story sharing.  Sharing recipes can be part of sharing our family’s history.  I can’t wait to hear more about how you are celebrating your roots!  Share your ideas in the comments!

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Thanksgiving is here! One of my favorite things to make on Thanksgiving is winter squash.  Yet, with some guests watching their calories to support healthier weights and other guests monitoring carbohydrates because of diabetes, sometimes it gets a bit tricky when thinking about which recipes still fit.  I’m all about how food is love and part of making a guest feel welcome is making sure the food you provide on your table can be enjoyed by all.  One way to do that?  Use a low-calorie sweetener, like aspartame, in some of your favorite dishes.

Thanksgiving Maple Glazed Squash

Here’s a quick look at what the science says about aspartame:

  • Over 6,000 products around the world have aspartame as an ingredient to lower calories and lower carbohydrates while still providing a sweet flavor.
  • The acceptable daily intake (ADI) for aspartame in a typical adult weighing 150 pounds is 3,400 mg per day. This is equal to 97 packets of tabletop sweetener or 42 (4 ounce) cups of sugar-free gelatin, or 20 (12 ounce) carbonated diet soft drinks.
  • Despite what you might see on sensational stories about aspartame, aspartame itself does not enter the bloodstream. It is completely digested by the body into components that can be found in other foods.
  • Aspartame is made from common food components, the same ones that occur naturally in meats, grains, dairy products and ripening fruits.
  • Aspartame does not cause cancer, does not increase appetite or food intake, does not cause tooth decay and does not raise blood sugar levels.
  • Aspartame is one of the most studied ingredients in the world, first discovered in 1965 and now with more than 200 studies that support its safety.

Hopefully with reading those facts, you are more comfortable cooking with low-calorie sweeteners like aspartame.  Because here is a sweet dish to add to your Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving Maple Glazed Squash

 

Maple Glazed Squash
Serves 4
A sweet side dish perfect for Thanksgiving. Diabetic-friendly.
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Squash
  1. 1 large acorn squash, seeded and quartered
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. Non-stick cooking spray
  4. 1 large cooking apple, unpeeled, cored and sliced
  5. 1/4 cup raisins
  6. 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Maple Flavored Syrup
  1. 1 cup apple juice
  2. 2-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  3. 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  4. 1/4 cup Equal Spoonful (granulated)*
  5. 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash quarters cut side up in square baking dish. Add 1/2 cup water. Bake, covered, for 30-40 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, spray a medium skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat. Add apples, raisins and walnuts. Cook for 5 minutes or until apple slices are tender. Set aside.
  3. For maple syrup, combine apple juice and cornstarch in a small pan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir until thickened and bubbly (it should coat the back of a spoon). Remove from heat. Stir in butter, sweetener, maple flavoring and vanilla until well blended.
  4. Add maple flavored syrup to apple mixture. Cook 2-3 more minutes or until heated through.
  5. As squash comes out of oven, place squash on serving platter and spoon apple mixture over top of squash.
Notes
  1. *May substitute 6 packets of Equal sweetener
Nutrition Information
  1. Calories: 228
  2. Fat: 8 grams
  3. Carbohydrates: 40 grams
  4. Sodium: 41 mg
Jen Haugen RD http://www.jenhaugen.com/
 

Disclosure: As a Calorie Control Council advisor, I was compensated to write this post.  But all thoughts and writing are my own. 

References:

Calorie Control Council

American Cancer Society

American Diabetes Association

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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I remember my first time making the Thanksgiving meal.  The meal that everyone loves to eat.  The meal that my guests skip other meals for because they know they will indulge in the every single one of the dishes.  I made all the favorites: Green Bean Casserole, Baked Squash with Brown Sugar, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Roast Turkey and even Pumpkin Pie.  Yet, I wanted a new recipe to make my own, to become my signature dish on Thanksgiving.  What was it?  Cranberry Apple Pecan Stuffing.  Grandma loved it and that’s the true measure of success.  If you are looking for that one recipe you can possibly make your signature dish, look no further.  I have a recipe round up – Thanksgiving style - of ideas for you from my blogger friends!  

Min from MJ and Hungryman’s Vegetarian Cauliflower Cornbread Dressing with Mushrooms

Vegetarian-Cauliflower-Cornbread-Dressing-with-Mushrooms-3

 

Lightened Up Seven Layer Bars Meal Makeover Moms Lightened Up Seven Layer Bars by the Meal Makeover Moms Slow Cooker Baked Apples Kara Lydon Slow Cooker Baked Apples by The Foodie Dietitian sweet potato pecan streusel casserole Sweet Potato Pecan Streusel Casserole by Nourished RDs

 

2012-11-07-Cranberry-Sauce-002-1024x769 Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce by Nutrioulicious

 

IMG_vintageharvestpotatoes2-682x1024 New Millennium Mashed Potatoes by Cape Fear Nutrition Holiday-Cranberry-Cake-pin Holiday Cranberry Cake by Deanna at Teaspoon Communications

 

Sesame Brussels Sprouts Sesame Brussels Sprouts with Dates and Toasted Walnuts

 

no knead honey raisin bread No Knead Honey Raisin Bread by Regan Miller Jones of Healthy Aperture Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes Peanut Butter Cup Mini Cheesecakes by Jen!

  and last but not least…Holiday Popcorn by Karman at Nutrition Adventures! Which one will you try?    

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Memories are made when food is shared.  At least that is my motto.  And there is no better way to share food than by cooking with your kids in the kitchen and then sitting down to that meal you all created!  Recently, my son asked us if we remembered eating under the table for an upside down meal.  When my kids were younger, I know I tried to create some fun meals, but I didn’t remember this one! But both of my kids did because it was fun, out of the ordinary and apparently we ended up getting out from under the table because it was hard to eat laying down on our stomachs!  Mom fail.

Raddish Logo

Enter Raddish Kids.

A brilliant company that I discovered a few months back while scrolling through my Facebook feed.  Raddish creates kits for parents or even grandparents to make memories in the kitchen with their children.  How cool is that?

What’s even cooler, is that as a subscriber (as we are) you receive a monthly, themed kit that features three recipes that are laminated  (complete with easy to follow, step-by-step pictured instructions and food facts and history) , a shopping list for those recipes, an iron-on apron patch (hey just like those other clubs!), a skill card that encourages kids to learn something new in the kitchen (like how to set the table), table talk conversation starters, and even a fun activity that’s connected to the theme.  You can also find bonus content on their website including lesson plans for extending the theme.

I’m pretty impressed.  We love how it’s so organized, comes right to our door about the middle of the month and how it allows families to create memories together.  And no more upside down, under the table meals! :)

Our first kit included a fun restaurant theme, complete with pad to take orders on, a menu board and paper money. 

Restaurante Meals at Home

Learning how to set a table was the skill – a great one to teach not only to learn how to set the table, but we used our best dishes so we could learn how to eat in a restaurant too.

 Setting the Table

And of course, the food.  We loved the Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas and they now have become a favorite on our menu! Sorry for the poor food photo, but we were making memories and couldn’t stop eating them because they were that good!!  

Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas
A quick and easy dinner the whole family can make and eat together!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 red pepper, diced
  2. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  3. 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  6. 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  7. 2 tablespoons butter
  8. 6 large whole wheat tortillas
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Toss vegetables with oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast until tender, approximately 20 minutes.
  3. Mix cheeses in a bowl.
  4. Once vegetables are finished roasting, remove from oven and set aside. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add a 1/2 tablespoon butter to pan.
  5. Set one tortilla in pan. Sprinkle with 1/6th of cheese and 1/6th of vegetables.
  6. Cook until golden brown (1-2 minutes) and fold in half. Remove to baking sheet.
  7. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Bake quesadillas until cheese oozes (3 minutes).
  8. Slice and serve warm with salsa and light cream. Taste and share!
Adapted from Raddish Kids
Adapted from Raddish Kids
Jen Haugen RD http://www.jenhaugen.com/
 If you are looking to create fun, food memories in the kitchen, check out Raddish Kids!

And check out my dietitian friends who also had to share a favorite food memory in this month’s Recipe ReDux Link Up!

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