The art of cooking, just like any other creative outlet, requires tools to help one master their craft. As an artist needs paints and brushes, so too does the chef need the proper items to allow for culinary magic to take place. There are many kinds of kitchen gadgets out there, each with its own purpose and function. Some get lost in the kitchen-cabinet graveyard of unwanted and unneeded items, but others, however, withstand the test of time. One of those kitchen tools is the knife. We use and need knives for so many reasons in this world, especially in the kitchen. There are many different kinds of knives out there but the home cook only needs 4 of them to help make cooking easier.
1. Paring Knife- the smallest on the list, the paring knife serves a big purpose despite its size. The most popular use is for peeling (thick and thin) skins from fruits and vegetables. Other uses include slicing and using the tip of the knife for accomplishing small jobs like destemming strawberries or deveining shrimp.
2. Chef’s Knife- this is the most important knife that a chef can own. Most have 8” blades and, due to their sharp edges, are used to mince, chop, and slice vegetables and meat. They are very versatile in use.
3. Utility Knife- larger than a paring knife yet smaller than a chef’s knife, the utility knife is used to cut and slice vegetables and deli meats that are too big for a paring knife but too small for a chef’s knife. Utility knives are also known as “sandwich knives”.
4. Bread Knife- the long, serrated, thick blade of this knife works great for cutting through the thick, hard crust of bread. Other uses include cutting blocks of chocolate, cutting off the rinds of melons, cutting cake slices, and even shaping cake prior to frosting.
America loves burgers. We consume about 50 billion each year. Yes…that’s 50 “billion”. That’s an awful lot of burger-eating! There’s even a place in Seymour, Wisconsin that celebrates hamburger history with its “Hamburger Hall of Fame”. Maybe they’re our favorite sandwiches, not only because they taste great, but because they are so versatile. There are so many ways to prepare and top a burger, the options are endless. There are also many types of burgers to use, so we’ve compiled a list of our favorites. Here’s Healthy Little Cooks’ top 10 list of burger options for your next barbeque:
1. Beef Hamburger- this top selling sandwich in the U.S. is definitely a go-to staple in American cuisine. When making your own version at home, look for lean ground beef to cut down on the fat content. The most lean option is 95%.
2. Turkey Burger- this is a lean version of the beef burger. It is very versatile for pairing with a variety of flavors.
3. Pork Burger- this is also a very versatile meat that packs a lot of taste.
4. Chicken Burger- ground chicken is similar to ground turkey in taste and texture, but not as lean.
5. Veggie Burger- this is a meatless burger made from vegetables (like corn), soy, tofu, legumes, grains, seeds, and nuts. It’s a great option for vegetarians!
6. Black Bean Burger- for vegans, this may be a perfect option. It’s gluten-free, has fewer calories than beef burgers, and is high in fiber.
7. Salmon Burger- another option for those looking for a healthier version of the traditional burger. Salmon is high in protein and omega-3 (heart-healthy) fats.
8. Portobello Mushroom Burger- this is another great healthy option. Portobello mushrooms are excellent sources of copper and selenium. Copper is especially important for helping your body form connective tissue and metabolize iron.
9. Tuna Burger- tuna is high in protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, iron, and vitamin C, making tuna burgers a healthy option for those looking to eat burgers in a health-conscious way.
10. Lentil Burgers- part of the legume family, lentils can be made into burgers. They are high in fiber, folate, and magnesium, Try using coconut flour as a binding agent to make this burger gluten-free, as well as vegan!
When you think of the summer, does the beach come to mind? Surf, sun, and sand goes hand-in-hand with the summer! It’s relaxing and fun, but what’s not fun is getting sand mixed in with the food you bring along. Don’t fret…there are food items that pack well to the beach. Here are 10 items that will be sure to please, no matter where your vacation takes you:
1. Popcorn- be sure to not add in wet ingredients like butter. It’ll only make it sticky and hard to eat.
2. Hard-Skinned Fruit- fruit like apples and bananas are healthy and come complete with their own natural protection.
3. Grapes- just like the above option, grapes have their own natural protection. Plus, they are healthy and the perfect size for little hands.
4. Sliced Watermelon- this fruit is perfectly refreshing and hydrating for hot summer days. Be sure to pack in containers with ice packs to keep them cool, and don’t forget to bring along wipes to clean off sandy hands before eating.
5. Iced Water- it’s important to stay hydrated when out in the sun. Pack ice water to keep every healthy…and cool! Try pre-freezing water bottles to bring along, just make sure there’s space at the top of the bottles because water expands when it freezes.
6. Homemade Trail Mix- a healthy option for a protein-packed snack. It’ll give you energy you need to play all day long outside.
7. Crackers or Pretzel Chips- this snack will also give you energy and is perfect for the beach since they are dry and easy to handle.
8. Wraps or Sandwiches- wraps and sandwiches are a great to pack along healthy lunches. Make sure to avoid mayo, but still pack ice or ice packs in a cooler to keep your food from spoiling in the hot sun.
9. Frozen Fruits- frozen fruits will be refreshing and also hydrating for you and your family. Just like with sliced watermelon, be sure to use hand wipes prior to handling.
10. Raw Veggies- a healthy snack for any occasion. If bringing to the beach, skip the dips to avoid it spoiling in the heat.
Water is not only hydrating but a necessary part of life. We need it to live and we need lots of it to be healthy. The daily recommendation for drinking water is eight 8-ounce glasses. This comes to 2 liters (or half of a gallon) per day. It’s also referred to as the 8×8 rule: 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water per glass. That might be an easy rule to remember, but it’s harder to actually accomplish. It can be a task to try to get in that much water each day, especially if you’re not already. Habits are hard to change. Healthy Little Cooks wants you to know that it is possible to drink more water and there are funs ways to do so. Here is our list of 10 fun ways to drink more water!
1. Add in Natural Flavor- dropping in some fruit will infuse your water with natural flavor. Try citrus fruits (like lemons or oranges), melons (like watermelon or honeydew), cucumbers, or even mint.
2. Get a Filtered, Clear Pitcher-storing water directly in your refrigerator will ensure that you always have clear, clean water available. Pitchers come in a variety of sizes and colors with filters designed right inside the container. Be sure to replace the filter (about every 2-3 months) and always keep it filled!
3. Make it a Rule-make a rule for your family to drink one full glass of water before drinking any juice or soda. This will help cut down on drinking sugary beverages and help get in more water.
4. Make it a Secondary Rule- you can also make another rule for your family that they must drink one glass of water with every meal.
5. Set a Reminder- try setting a reminder on your phone or leaving a post-it by the sink or refrigerator that reminds everyone to drink water.
6. Use a Silly Straw-have your kids (even adults, too) drink their water from a straw. The sillier and crazier the straw the better!
7. Get a Cup-drinking out of your own cup makes it more fun…and personal! Especially with kids, having them pick out their own cup with their favorite character on it will help them get into the action of drinking more water.
8. Find Fun Ice Trays-freeze water in fun, interesting shaped ice trays. Your kids will love to add in these “ice cubes” into their drinks!
9. Always Have it Available- pack individual water bottles and keep them filled. You can even find filtered water bottles for everyone in the family. This will ensure that they’re drinking the best water and that it’s always around, even when away from home.
10. Use Frozen Fruit- sometimes you can opt out of ice cubes and in for frozen fruit. It serves to keep the water cold and, as it slowly thaws in the water, it infuses the drink with a bit of natural flavor. Try mixing and matching fruit combinations according to your personal taste.
This summer has been proving to be warm and bright, which is a welcomed delight from the harsh, cold winter weather. The summertime is our favorite and we hope that it’s yours, too, so in honor of the summer solstice (which begins on June 21st of each year) Healthy Little Cooks has comprised a list of our top 21 favorite summertime foods!
8. Fresh Herbs
9. Bell Peppers
15. Green Beans