White Cannellini Bean Spread with Hazelnuts and Lemon

This spread is a great way to get kids to eat healthful beans. Also try it as a dip for vegetables (cucumbers or carrots) or pita bread, it’s lovely! Cannellini beans + hazelnuts are a nice healthy powerful food for your kids. A good balance of complex carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins.

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It only takes 5 minutes to prepare and it is insanely easy to make…my little Alex helped me with the blender!!

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I usually prepare a jar of spread and keep it in the refrigerator ready to use. It lasts up to 10 days…but it is usually finished in 4 😉

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That’s all you need to fill a 8oz. mason jar:

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And that’s how simple is to prepare the spread.

– Rinse the cannellini beans under running water for 1 minute. I usually buy organic canned cannellini beans with no added salt (or check the different brands to pick up the one with less added salt).

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– In a food processor or food blender add all the ingredients at once: cannellini beans, raw hazelnuts, lemon juice, Extra Virgin oil of olive, pinch of salt, Tahini paste, water. The quantity of water may vary from 1/4 to 1/2 cup pending how thick you want the spread to be.

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– Mix for 5 minutes. As I’m cooking for kids I want the hazelnuts to completely break creating a smooth cream. If you like the spread to be more chunky, 3 minutes will be fine.

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posted on May 28, 2015

Strawberry chocolate pancake cake – dairy free

I shared with you many healthy recipes for a 1st bday cake (no eggs, no milk, no sugar…) delicate and tasty at the same time. But what about the 2nd bday?? I rather prefer to stay on the healthy side with a beautiful decadent multi-layer cake.

The cake structure is made with fluffy homemade pancakes (dairy free thanks to coconut or almond milk!!). On top of the pancakes slices of seasonal super sweet strawberries (or any other seasonal fruit your little one likes) and to keep everything together a smooth and creamy chocolate frosting…without chocolate. Yes, it’s real!!! it tastes like chocolate but doesn’t have chocolate or dairy at all!! only dates, avocado and cocoa. Incredible :-)

Here you are the ingredients for 3 mini cakes (6 layers of pancakes each):

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And that’s how to proceed:

– The day before preparing the cake place the dates in a medium bowl with lukewarm water. Let them rest in the water for at least 8 hours. I usually do it in the evening so that the dates are ready for the next day :-)

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– Let’s prepare the dairy free pancakes. Add 1 tbsp of white vinegar to the milk, stir and set it apart. In 5 minutes the milk will get curdled. It’s an easy way to prepare homemade buttermilk :-)

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– In a medium bowl combine the other ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, egg, oil, sugar. Add the “buttermilk” and wish for few minutes in order to obtain a smooth cream.

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– Place a small non stick frying pan on the stove at low heat. When the pan is warm add 1/2 ladle of pancake mix. Gently “shake” the pan for few seconds to give a nice regular round shape to the pancake.

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– Let the pancake cook for 2/3 minutes. When small bubbles will start forming on the pancake, it will be time to flip it on the other side and let it cook for an additional minute.

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– For this particular cake you want to make small pancakes, 4 inches diameter max. Keep cooking the pancakes and pile them up in a kind of tower. That will keep them warm and fluffy.

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– Wash and cut the strawberries in thin slices

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– Prepare the frosting. Remove the dates from the water. They should have doubled their size getting very very soft. Place the dates in a blender. Remember to remove the pit!! Add one ripe avocado. I really LOVE the “Hass” variety, so creamy and tasty!! If you are worried that the frosting will taste like avocado, do not worry: the dates and the cocoa will totally cover any other taste. Add the unsweetened cocoa powder and mix everything for few minutes in order to obtain a smooth thick cream.

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– Place 7 pancakes on a flat surface. Spread one tablespoon of chocolate frosting on each pancake. Add a layer of fresh strawberries, except for one pancake that you will use as the final top one.

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– Take the cake stand or serving dish that you are going to use. Place one pancake in the center and layer all the others on top, finishing with the one without strawberries.

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– With a spatula or a cheese knife start spreading the chocolate frosting on the sides of the cake.

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– the cake is almost done. Sprinkle some coconut flakes on top of the cake and on the sides to give some color

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The cake can be prepared the day before the party and stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container.

Enjoy the party!!!

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posted on May 23, 2015

Vegetable Frittata

Young picky eaters 99% of the times do not like vegetables and do not like green (aka 90% of vegetables). I like finding creative and healthy ways to offer vegetables to kids without them even noticing it. Usually it works. But what works too is using the powerful colors of vegetables all together to surprise and excite curiosity in your kids. The vegetable frittata is loaded with seasonal vegetables, full of colors and cut in different shapes. You can serve it to your kids cut in slices or you can play with shapes even more and use cookie cutters to have fun with frittata bites!!

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It’s a nice idea for a lunchbox or for a spring picnic too.

The frittata has a light and fluffy texture thanks to the plain greek yogurt that I substituted to the heavy cream or creme fraiche requested by the original recipe.

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Here you are all the ingredients that you will need for 6 servings:

vegetable frittata ingred

And that’s how to proceed:

– Wash the swiss chard and remove only the leaves (the stems, even cooked, will be too tough for this recipe). Place them in boiling water for just 5 minutes (you do not want to overcook them and loose all the good nutrients inside). Drain them and let them cool down.

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– Steam the sweet peas for 6 minutes.

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– Wash and prepare the other vegetables. Chop the spring onion in small pieces. Do the same with the carrots.

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– Add three tablespoons of water in a frying pan. Turn the heat on at medium. Add the spring onions and the carrots. Cook for 10/15 minutes stirring occasionally and adding some lukewarm water two/three times to prevent them from drying out.

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– In a medium bowl add all the other ingredients: eggs + pinch of salt + yogurt + grated parmesan cheese. Stir

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– Take the swiss chard and squeeze them in bunches in your hands. You want to remove the extra water. Chop them in small small pieces.

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– Add the swiss chard and the sweet peas to the other vegetables.

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– Also add the egg mix and the cheese cut in cubes. Mix. Add some fresh basil leaves broken in pieces.

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– Take a medium size rectangular baking dish, grease with some olive oil and sprinkle an handful of breadcrumbs on the bottom. Fill with the frittata mix and level the surface.

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– Bake the frittata in the preheated oven at 350F./180C. for 50/60 minutes. Enjoy!!!

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posted on May 13, 2015

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