Alright folks. I’m back in the kitchen after a couple of weeks without trying to cook anything new. It’s been really tough to have time to look for an interesting recipe and try it out. Last night as I was cooking some simple pasta for dinner I noticed some pears my wife had brought back from her parents house. I though about making poached pears. I had never made it but I’ve seen in some cooking tv shows and it looks good. But as I check the recipe it asked for cranberry juice and we didn’t have any kind of juice in the fridge.
Then I spot a recipe for a pear bread. That caught my attention. It looked delicious and at the same time challenging as I had never even thought of something like that. So I pretty much copied the entire recipe from AllRecipes.com just using Stevia instead of sugar (so it’s sugar free), walnuts instead of pecans and I added some raising too.
So, let’s get to the recipe:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup Stevia* (or 2 cups of sugar)
- 2 cups peeled shredded pears
- 1 cup chopped walnuts* (or pecans)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of the bowl.
- In a separate bowl combine the oil, eggs, sugar, grated pears, pecans, and vanilla. Blend well. Add to well of dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 8x5x3 inch loaf pans.
- Bake in a preheated 325 degree F (165 degrees C) oven for one hour and 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack before removing from the loaf pans.
I still don’t know if it worked or not. I prepared it last night and left it cooling to eat this morning but I won’t have time to write after breakfast so tonight, when I come home from work I’ll update this paragraph.
I just couldn’t resist and I just eat a piece of it. It tastes really good, however, the consistency is not as firm as I wanted. I did follow the recipe with the exception of the sugar. I don’t know if using Stevia is what made it crumbly but, oh well, we’ll still eat it because it does taste delicious.
Some of know you may have noticed that I frequently post recipes here. My wife thinks I’m a good cook and so far Lucas hasn’t really complained about the taste of anything I served him. Cooking is easy and fun. It might have been harder in the past when some of the best recipes were passed from mothers to daughters by word of mouth or written in old secret notebooks. Nowadays it takes about 30 seconds of a simple Google search to find out the ingredients and the preparation of that grandma style meatloaf you loved so much.
What I’ve heard from some of my fellow dads is that they don’t cook because they don’t have time. I can’t argue with that. It does take some time to look up a recipe, get the ingredients together, prep them and them cook the dish. I’d say the total time to cook a good dinner for three takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour if you already have all the ingredients you need. However it’s not a waste of time. You’ll be doing something to your family, something to put a smile on their faces and if your kids are old enough you can get them involved in the process and that is a great opportunity for bonding.
If time is reeeeealy a big issue maybe you could choose one day of the week to be “dad’s cooking day”. Pick a day that you’re lees stressed, you can also ask the family to choose from pre-determined menu options the day before so that you have time to check the recipe and if you have everything you need.
I also suggest you to be creative. Pizza, burgers, hot dogs, fries,… yes, these are all kids’ favorites but why not introduce new flavors, colors and give your family some healthier and tastier. I suggest visiting AllRecipes.comif you want to find some easy recipes. I find a
lot of stuff there.
Once you feel comfortable in the kitchen it’s time to think outside the box. Add or change the ingredients of a recipe to make it healthier or even tastier. Replacing sugar for stevia in a cupcake or muffin recipe, for example, won’t change the flavor but it will substantially drop the amount of calories.
We all want our kids to grow healthy and strong and food play a huge role in doing that. It truly saddens me when I see an obese family eating at a fast food place. I have nothing to do with anybody’s lives or decisions but I can’t help thinking that those parents are showing their kids that eating junk food is normal even if it makes them sick. Well let me stop here before I get too worked up.
People like to say that their kids are picky eaters and that no matter what they do they can’t get them to eat veggies, or fruits, or this or that. I’ll tell you this: if you cook flavorful food they will eat. Don’t just steam some broccoli and give it plain to a child. A little bit of soy sauce makes a lot of difference.
This is something you can start doing as soon as they start eating solids but if you already have a picky eater in your house what you can do is work together on a list of foods (fruits, vegetables, meats, carbs, juices, etc…) that they would like to add to their menu. Give them options but tell them that they have to come up with a certain number of vegetables and fruits that they like and in different colors as well.
I know this might be a tough task (not to say annoying at times) but it will bring joy to you and your family in the end.
(PS.: I just got a new job after more than 2 years of unemployment and sub-jobs and intense fruitless searching. I’ll start tomorrow from 7:45am to 2:00pm as an Instructional Aide for emotionally disturbed children. Not the easiest jobs on the planet but it’s fit for me. I’m looking forward to making a difference in those kids lives. The blog will continue but the posts might be up later in the day from now on. Thank you)
“Oh my God! This is very sweet!” That’s what I heard from my wife when I asked her to try one of these coconut bites. Well, if she said it’s very sweet I’m sure every kid will love it.
The recipe is very simple but the prep is a pain in the … But it’s worth it if you
want something simple and yet 100% natural to use as, lets say, birthday party treats.
- 1 dry coconut
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- Drain the water from the coconut in a cup (I used a hammer and a clean screwdriver to make two holes on that part the looks like a bowling ball).
- Hold the coconut on the palm of your hand and gently hit with the hammer all around. (This will help removing the meat)
- Find a hard surface, preferably outside, and using the hammer break the coconut shell
- Remove the meat using a small knife. THIS IS A TRULY DANGEROUS TASK. BE VERY CAREFUL OR YOU WILL CUT YOURSELF
- Wash the meat with water and cut in small cubes (if you also want to remove the brown peel it’s up to you)
- Mix all the ingredients in a large pan
- Cook in high heat until the water dries out a little bit (about 5 minutes) always stirring
- Lower the heat and keep on stirring until it’s completely dry. (If you use crystallized sugar your coconut cubes will have a golden brown glaze. If you use granulated sugar they will remain white)
- Spread the coconut bites on a baking sheet and let then cool off for about 15 minutes.
- Serve the portions in small sample cups or make colorful paper cones.
I don’t expect every dad to be able or even interested in cooking but if you want to transition from dad to Super Dad you might consider developing a few “kitchen skills”. Here is an easy recipe for a healthy yet delicious pineapple muffin.
I’ll first post the original recipe I got from All Recipes.com but because of my son’s milk allergy I made a few substitutions and also added some stuff for a better nutritional value. So first with the original:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour muffin pans, or line with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt. Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the reserved juice, egg, milk, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Mix just until blended.
- Spoon batter into muffin cups, then spoon crushed pineapple over the batter
- Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the crown of the muffin comes out clean.