Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Guacamole

For Christmas, my cousin gave Jake his own set of cooking tools – a mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, a whisk, an apron… the works. He’s absolutely enthralled with it. We rearranged a cabinet so all of his stuff could be kept where he could reach it and – you guessed it – he’s been begging to help with dinner nearly every night since.

I love cooking with the kids. I really do. But on a Thursday evening when I’m just trying to get something on the table before everyone start melting down, the last thing I want to do is slow down enough for toddler hands – so I’ve been working on giving him his own, supplemental project to help with.

JakeGuac

Like guacamole as I work on the burritos.

This, by far, isn’t the fanciest guac recipe out there, but it’s perfect for a kid to help with (or do mostly themselves – Jake did!)

Kids can:

  • Scoop out and mash the avocado
  • Stir everything together
  • Older kids can measure the lime juice and salt, younger kids can add in pre-measured ingredients

Adults will need to:

  • Cut the avocado and remove the pit
  • Chop the tomato
  • Measure ingredients, if working with a younger child

 
Guacamole

Easy Guacamole
 (from Jake’s Amazing Chef set!)
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2-3 ripe avocados
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
Tortilla chips, for serving

Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash.

Stir in the lime juice, tomato, and salt.

Serve with chips.

www.KateRecipeBox.com

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Southwest Bean Soup

This soup was my contribution to the Soup Swap Party. It’s one my Mom has been making for years – it’s really easy and really good.

I generally expect soup recipes to take a while, but this one is super quick. The bulk of this soup is canned beans and canned tomatoes so the faster you open cans, the faster this makes it to the table. It took me about twenty minutes total, because I’m generally a terrible can-opener and was juggling the baby. I’m fairly certain you would be faster.

I eat mine without toppings (cornbread on the side is my go-to!) but it would be good with tortilla strips, cheddar or sour cream.

SouthwesternBeanSoup

Southwest Bean Soup
(from Taste of Home)
Makes 3 quarts

1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. canola oil
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
2 cans vegetable broth
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. hot sauce

In a large pot, heat the oil to shimmering and cook onion until translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Salad Jar

While we’re really only a few days into October Unprocessed, I think I already found my favorite dish of the month. This salad is fantastic. I whipped it up on a day that baby boy was particularly needy so it literally took me all day to get it finished. When Mark walked in from work at 8 pm, he’s like, “Is that dinner?” and when I said, “No, its today’s lunch” he knew better than to ask too many questions (and graciously helped do the dishes when I finally finished). I had really thought about ditching these once lunch time passed and I didn’t have anything more than some burned sweet potato, but I’m really, really glad I didn’t.

Much like the oats I shared a few days ago, I suggest multiplying the recipe and making several at once – it’s just more efficient to cook a few days worth of sweet potatoes and quinoa in one shot if you’ll be eating this for several days.

QuinoaSalad

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Salad Jar
(from Popsugar Fitness)
Makes 1

1 small sweet potato, unpeeled, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 red pepper, diced
2 cups baby spinach
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:
1/4 cup mango, fresh or frozen
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. water

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Toss the diced sweet potato with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the quinoa to a covered pot along with half a cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the water is all absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

Make the dressing: combine mango, vinegar and water in a blender and pulse until smooth.

Assemble the salad in a jar: Place the black beans at the bottom and then layer on the quinoa, dressing, red pepper, spinach, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

Cover jar and refrigerate until ready to serve. When you’re ready to eat, shake the jar or dump it into a bowl and toss to combine.

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars

This week has felt kind of crazy.

I’m used to working from home three days a week. This week, I was in the office every day to help with some training. When you add up the one hour commute each way and the lunch hour I usually use to do housework, nine of my usual “doing stuff” hours have been chewed up. That’s like an extra day! Quite obviously, quick and easy has been the go-to for food this week.

I mixed these bars up over the weekend and they’ve been a great go-to for breakfast or a post-gym snack. Loaded with nuts and seeds, they’re quite filling – and since they’re no-bake, they only take about five minutes to prepare.

These can easily be made vegan – just use vegan chocolate chips – and gluten-free – just make sure you’re using gluten-free oats.

NoBakeGranolaBars

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars
(slightly adapted from 86 Lemons)
Makes an 8×8 pan worth

1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. flax seed meal
1/8 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/3 c. pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. cashews
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. agave nectar
3/4 c. natural peanut butter

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flax meal, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds and chocolate chips. Stir agave nectar in until evenly distributed. Stir in peanut butter until well combined throughout.

Press mixture into prepared pan. Freeze for 1 hour, then remove from pan and cut into bars. Store in freezer until ready to eat.