Sunday, May 9, 2010

Magic Wands and Fairy Dust

When I was at co-op, I got to play the role every day of fairy Godmother, evil witch or crafy magician (depending on who you talked to). Nobody knew what to expect the kitchen to unleash - including me - and so long as I could get a gaggle of kids to settle down for a little while and make it through a lesson plan anything went! Luckily I had one of the easier tasks when it came to keeping the kids entertained, since they knew that regardless of the stuff they had to sit through and do while in my care (including - horrors - dishes!) eventually they would be rewarded with something tasty to supplement whatever the daily snack of the day was. Of course, they knew I was a Nutrition major, even if they didn't really know what that meant, so everything was suspect until they could be convinced that adding a bit of whole wheat or oatmeal to a recipe, cutting down on the sugar and fat or putting a little effort and pride into their food was really not the end of the world. Tasting is believing, I say!

One of the most successful lessons I taught the kids was this basic, sweetened bread dough that we turned into cinnamon-swirled breadsticks. Playing off the idea from a certain pizza chain, I rolled each spicy, whole wheat and oatmeal-laced stick in a cinnamon-sugar mixture and added my flair - a twisted, rope-like appearance. To top it all off (literally), I considered my options. There was no way I was about to give the kids an icing to dunk sugary bread into, but I knew they would probably be missing that aspect since I was trying to bill them as a take-out substitute. Thank goodness we at least had a well-stocked pantry that week, and a fridge with a plethora of dairy I could use! A quick beat together of plain, fat-free yogurt, low-fat cream cheese, a touch of sugar and a spoonful of all-fruit, low-sugar strawberry jam turned into a creamy, dunk-able mixture that the kids eagerly downed not only on their sticks but also on plain pita bread, leftover tortillas and even *gasp* carrot sticks!

I can't vouch for the carrot pairing, but hey, whatever works, right?

Sweet Cinnamon Twistie Sticks
Makes 10
4 cups flour
½ cup oatmeal
3 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 ¾ cups milk
2 tbsp melted butter or margarine
1 tsp salt
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
Water, for brushing dough
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease 2 baking sheets.
  2. Put the flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the milk, melted butter and salt.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, mix it to make a soft dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Flour a countertop well and turn the dough out onto it. Knead for about 10 minutes.
  6. Divide dough into 10 pieces, set aside.
  7. In a small bowl mix together the 2 tbsp sugar and the cinnamon.
  8. One piece at a time, roll dough portions into a long snakes.
  9. Brush the snakes with a small amount of water and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
  10. Fold each roll in half and twist into a rope. Place on the baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, serve warm.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 288.3
Total Fat: 4.3 g
Cholesterol: 9.5 mg
Sodium: 75.3 mg
Total Carbs: 53.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 8.6 g
 
Sweet Fruit Dipper 
Makes 16 (two-tablespoon) servings
1 cup low fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup all-fruit strawberry jam
  1. Beat together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add yogurt and jam, beat well.
  3. Store, covered, in the fridge.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 70.2
Total Fat: 2.7 g
Cholesterol: 8.6 mg
Sodium: 53.9 mg
Total Carbs: 9.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 2.2 g

1 comment :

David T. Macknet said...

Awesome! Sounds like you're broadening their experience! Well done!