5 Tips for Holiday Cooking with Kids

It’s no secret we all end up spending a lot of time baking or cooking during year-end holidays. If you have kids at home, spending time together in the kitchen could be a great family bonding time while ensuring that the kids are involved in the holiday festivities. The most important question to ask yourself is if the kids are going to increase your kitchen load or are you down for establishing some family traditions. We all know keeping a perfectly clean kitchen counter is out of the question if kids are involved. In this blog, we share some pre-holiday baking tips that will help keep things simple of your little ones are joining you in the kitchen this holiday season:

children-cooking-with-their-mother-throwing-flour_1153-1998

  • Have a plan: One can never underestimate the significance of planning in cooking. More so, if you have a bunch of 6 years involved in the process. Start by selecting an appropriate recipe – one that’s simple yet allows the kids to be part of the cooking process. Make sure you keep all the required ingredients and equipment’s ready to avoid chaos. Pre-plan the tasks they would assist you with if needed, appoint a sous chef.
  • Don’t get too worried about messiness: Moms typically spend a lot of time cleaning and making sure the house looks beautiful for holiday guests and visitors. However, when you decide to involve kids in a cooking ritual, remember messiness will be part of the deal. Try not to get too focused on keeping things tidy. It could discourage kids from being part of the process the next time.
  • Supervision will be the key to success: Remember, you are the leader of the kitchen, and oversight will be necessary to avoid any unpleasant incidents in the kitchen, primarily if sharp objects like knives are being used in the kitchen.
  • Ask the kids to touch everything: You can never start the kids too early on this life skill – cooking. Use this opportunity to teach your kids about utensils, different kinds of spoons and spatulas, vegetable, and more. Ask them to touch and feel the texture of things. That’s how kids will be more engaged in the process.
  • Appoint a decorating committee: If there is one thing, all kids love its – Holiday decoration, and the kitchen is no exception to this rule. Make sure you have an appointed cake and cookie and let them take the lead on the decorations.

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9 Interesting Facts You Need to Know About Cookies

December officially marks the beginning of the baking month, where all of us spend tons of time baking holiday treats and what better way to start it than the National Cookie Day!. December 4th is National Cookie Day, and according to a recent survey, 33% American population eats at least one cookie a week. We, therefore, thought of sharing some fun facts about this classic holiday treat.

leaves-scarf-near-cookies-beverage_23-2147885983

  • The word cookie comes from the Dutch word “Koekje,” which means little cake. Dutch settlers brought the concept of cookies to America before It became a phenomenon in the country. 
  • Cookies first made their appearance in America in the 17th century, and the most popular ones were gingerbread and macaroons. Today, the USA leads the world as the country with the largest population of both bakers and cookie eaters, spending over $500 million annually on Oreos alone.
  • A cookie is enjoyed the world over and is known as “biscuits” in the UK and Australia, “galletas” in Spain, “Plätzchen” in Germany and “biscotti” in Italy.
  • The first-ever Chocolate Chip cookie was baked by Ruth Wakefield in 1939, who owned a Toll House Inn with her husband. The recipe was later acquired by Nestle and Wakefield was paid for her recipe with a lifetime supply of chocolate by the company.
  • Chocolate chip cookie is the most popular cookie in America, followed by a peanut butter cookie and oatmeal cookie.
  • The Immaculate Baking Company in North Carolina holds the record of baking the biggest chocolate chip cookie that weighed 40,000 pounds and had a diameter of 101 feet
  • Oreo cookies are over 100 years old and have enjoyed the status of being the most popular cookies of the 20th century. Oreo cookies were developed and introduced by a company called Nabisco from New Jersey in 1912.
  • Girl Scouts today are known for their tradition of selling cookies. However, the custom began in 1917 as a way to finance their scouting activities.
  • Joplin Museum Complex in Missouri houses the National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum.

Do you think we missed mentioning something worth knowing about cookies? Let us know by commenting below.

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Fun Facts About Guacamole

November 14 is the National Guacamole Day, which gives us the perfect opportunity to share fun facts about the much loved ‘Guacamole.’ Everyone knows Guacamole comes from the very versatile avocado and is often enjoyed as a toppings/ dips with salads, sandwiches, and nachos.

National Guacamole Day

  • First known as ahuacate, the origins of avocado can be traced back to 500 BCE. It was cultivated in Mexico, Central, and North America.
  • Spaniards get the credit for discovering the now much loved Guacamole. They found Aztec sauce called ahuaca-molli; molli was the Nahautl word for “something mashed or pureed.”
  • In the early 20th century, avocado was known as “Alligator Pear’ due to its bumpy green skin. The fruit had to go through several name transitions –Calavo, Butter Pear, Avocado Pear before Avocado stuck.
  • There are over 450 varieties of avocado grown around the world, but the Hass is popular, It is predominately cultivated in Mexico and California. Interestingly Rudolph Hass – a postal worker from California owns the patent for the seedling since 1935.
  • California is known as the ‘King of Avocado’ in the United States and accounts for over 90% of avocado production in the country.
  • competes with the much famous buffalo wings and pizza at the Superbowl Food, owing to the massive popularity and
  • Westfalia Guacamole contains the same health benefits as avocados straight from the tree – it’s high in antioxidants, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and naturally cholesterol-free, and Banting-friendly too.

Did we miss sharing an interesting fact about Guacamole? Let us know by commenting below.

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5 Foods that are Healthier when Consumed Raw

There is more buzz today than there has ever been about getting ‘healthy’. With the advent of social media, we are constantly blitzed with information on nutritional choices in our social feeds. We all have a fair understanding of what is healthy for us and what’s not. Do you know it’s better to consume certain foods raw to exploit the nutritional value? In fact, it is scientifically proven that boiling, grilling, steaming reduces the nutritional composition of the food. Interested in understanding this better? Take a look through the list of foods that can be eaten raw for maximum nutrition:

Foods that are better when eaten raw

Foods that are better when eaten raw

  • Beets: They are high in fiber, Vitamin, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and the B vitamin folate. In one word – they are nutritionally charged, making them an excellent source to boost the immune system, enhance stamina, fight inflammation and prevent cancer in the long run. Beets tend to lose more than 25% folate when cooked. Folate is a b vitamin that reduces the risk of birth defects during fetal development. Hence, we recommend including raw beets to your salads instead of steaming them for consumption.
  • Broccoli: Cruciferous produce should be your diet staple. Doctors can’t stop mentioning the benefits and rightly so. Broccoli is a wholesome cruciferous vegetable that should be on the top of your grocery list. Broccoli offers plentiful sulforaphane -a compound known to fight cancer cells, improve health and provide the benefits of anti-aging and enhance immunity. According to a study it was found eating broccoli raw allowed a better and higher absorption of sulforaphane when eaten raw in comparison to when eaten cooked.
  • Onions: Nobody is a fan of how onions smell, but let’s face it they are abundantly gifted when it comes to nutrition They contain allicin – a phytonutrient known to curb hunger, promote cardiovascular health and reduce high blood pressure. This very component also tears you up when you are chopping this vegetable Scientifically you will be able to derive more benefits of this vegetable if you eat the raw as opposed to eating them cooked. Onions are often liberally used in recipes, make sure you include them raw in some recipes to get the most out of them nutritionally.
  • Red Bell Peppers: Vitamin C is well known as a powerful anti-oxidant and Red bell peppers are a mighty source of that. They provide three times the vitamin C intake you need for the day and are also a fantastic source of vitamin B6, Vitamin E, and magnesium. Avoid roasting, frying and grilling bell peppers for a long duration a high temperature, this will cause the vitamin C properties to break down. Consume them raw to get their full nutritional benefit
  • Nuts: Nuts are the king of nutrition, they provide healthy fats and can be highly beneficial to balance your diet. The essential fats can be helpful to lower bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of developing blood clots and promote good artery health. Nowadays you can find plenty of roasted nut toppings in the grocery store. The process of enhancing the flavor with roasting does take away the nutrition. Raw nuts are higher in iron, magnesium and contain no GMO oils. Stick to raw nuts instead of processed in your salads.

Think we missed mentioning something on this list? Tell us by commenting below.

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5 worthy substitutes of Dairy Butter when Baking

Who can say no to a delicious cake? If you raised your hand in “I can,” we weren’t talking to you. We are talking about the rest of us who simply cannot. Won’t it be just perfect if you could eat all the cakes and cookies without having to worry about the calorie count? Butter is an essential baking ingredient, and it is composed of milk fat that has been separated from other milk components. Since Butter is mainly composed of fat, it is a high-calorie food. One tablespoon of butter contains approximately 101 calories.

Butter

If you are a baker who has been struggling to find the butter substitute, help is at hand. Remember we are specifically talking about baking and no other form of cooking:

Yogurt: For a higher protein substitution, you can use yogurt. Make sure you use plain yogurt instead of flavored yogurt to maintain the taste. Using Mango Yogurt in a vanilla cake will undoubtedly throw off the palate. This substitution works exceptionally well in cakes because it creates a velvety texture to maintain the flavors. Yogurt’s distinctive, tart flavor adds complexity to baked goods.

Buttermilk: A popular dairy drink – Buttermilk is the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cultured cream. One can substitute 1/2 cup of buttermilk for every 1 cup of butter. Owing to their liquidly consistencies, they can help retain moisture in batters and dough. Buttermilk is also loaded with healthy fats and nutritional value making it a favorite butter substitute.

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a powerhouse of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) instead of the average saturated fat making it a fantastic source of nutrition. When baking with coconut oil, it is generally substituted for other fats on a 1:1 basis. What that means if for every cup of butter use oil in equal proportion as a substitute. When using coconut oil in place of butter for pie crusts, make sure you use solid, room temperature coconut oil to create a flakier crust.

Applesauce: A healthy butter alternative when baking – Applesauce is packed full of vitamins and nutrients. If you are worried about the sugar content in applesauce, use the unsweetened variety. Applesauce is known to be a fantastic binding agent when baking and will create a slight change in taste and texture. Applesauce creates a sweet and soft texture in oil-based goods when substituted for butter. A good rule of thumb is to use half the amount the applesauce for every cup of butter

Nut Butter: Nut butter such as almond and peanut butter make excellent dairy butter alternatives. Owing to their sweet and creamy consistencies, they can help retain moisture in batters and significantly reduce the amount of sugar needed in a recipe. It’s no secret that they are also rich in healthy fats and nutritional value and mostly enjoyed as topping on a varied food. Although some might argue that nut butter has higher overall fat value than dairy butter, the quality of fat differs since nut butter is mainly comprised of monounsaturated fats.

Have you very own baking substitute for dairy butter? Tell us by leaving a comment below.

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5 whole vegetarian protein sources

Nutritionists often emphasize why adequate protein is an integral part of a well-planned diet. There is an umpteen number of animal protein sources, but the same can not be said about plant protein. Protein is essential as it promotes weight loss, satiety, and muscle strength. However, vegetarians repeatedly suffer from the lack of vegan/ vegetarian sources of protein. A generous helping of tofu is appetizing occasionally, but let’s be honest, surviving on tofu seven days a week isn’t something drool worthy. If you are someone who has been struggling to find a good source of vegetarian protein, read our list:

 

Vegetarian protein source

Vegetarian protein source

  • Tempeh and Edamame:  Tempeh and Edamame are both soy-based protein like Tofu. Soybean is known for being a whole source of protein, which means they provide all essential amino acids to the body.  While Edamame is immature soybeans, Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans before pressing them into a patty. You can use either one of them for a protein-rich meal. Both contain iron, calcium and 10-19 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces.
  • Lentils: They are an Indian staple food. Reason? A vast majority of Indian population is vegetarian, and lentils are a preferred source of protein in the country. Lentils can be used in a variety of dishes including soups, salads, and dahls. A bowl of lentil (250 ml) provides about 12 gm of protein. Lentils are also an excellent source of slowly digested carbs and fiber, so next time you need a quick protein source- don’t ignore the humble lentils.
  • Beans (kidney beans, garbanzo, black beans): Beans are a powerhouse of proteins along with being an excellent source of complex carbs, fiber, potassium, magnesium and more. A cooked bean bowl (240 ml) contains about 16 gm of protein. Studies show a diet rich in bean can significantly reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and reduce belly fat.
  • Green Peas:  Regularly served as a side dish, the modest green peas contain 10 gm of protein per cooked cup (250 ml). Green peas also great to meet your fiber, B vitamin, iron, magnesium, and copper requirements. Get experimental and use them often in your dishes if you have been looking for a rich protein source.
  • Seitan:  Known as wheat gluten, early origins of seitan can be found in Asian cuisine. It has been a common meat substitute for many years. Traditionally, seitan was the byproduct of rinsing and cooking wheat dough to remove the starch, leaving a protein-rich substance that was an excellent meat substitute. Seitan is now readily available in stores and gave origin to ‘Gardein’ menu that you often see in the restaurants.

Have a vegan/ vegetarian protein source that’s not mentioned in our list? Tell us by commenting below.

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Tips to be a perfect host this Christmas

The most beautiful holiday of the year – ‘Christmas’ is only a few days away! If you are wondering how to host the ultimate Christmas dinner, read on…

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner

  • Be a welcoming host: We can’t emphasize enough on this. Think about this – you get invited to a Christmas dinner. As soon as you enter you see the host distressed about how far behind schedule they are and how they still to get the bacon in the oven. We bet you will be immediately on your crisis control mode. Do you want this for your guest? We bet the answer is a loud – No! A well put together dinner demands the host be welcoming, relaxed and most importantly prepared. No matter how big or small the party is.
  • Be prepared: We did touch upon this in our last tip. A well-prepared host can make even the most elaborate party look easy breezy. Take the time to prepare the menu, finding caterers or finding simple recipes if you are cooking yourself, understanding any special dietary requirements, what kind of beverages do the invitees prefer. Planning can tackle a majority of your stress.
  • Stock Up: We all hate storing food we know will never be consumed but make sure you are stocking plenty of food and snack (if kids are invited) without going overboard. Extra liquor, salad, cheese is all an excellent place to start.
  • Invest time in picking the right menu: Food is central to a good party. Take the time to plan a full course meal from starters to dessert. You don’t want to put things off last minute that will not be enjoyed by your guests. Most of all keep the menu refreshing yet straightforward and make it easy for yourself. You don’t want to spend the entire party in the kitchen. Co-ordination is the key; schedule everything beforehand.
  • Consider Tableware and Crockery: Make your dinner table an oasis complete with scented candle, ideal centerpiece, silverware, and porcelain. Being a perfect host demands attention to detail.
  • Entertainment: There may be conflicting views regarding this suggestion of ours. Some of you might feel organizing games for after dinner might take away from the important family time but remember Christmas is also about the family having fun together. So we recommend some fun activities post-Christmas dinner to up your host game.

Have a tip that should be part of our list? Tell us by commenting below.

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5 interesting facts about Maple Syrup

Who doesn’t love maple syrup? Besides being an excellent pancake topping, maple syrup has become widely popular as a healthy sugar alternative. On the National Maple Syrup day here are little-known facts about your favorite maple syrup:

Pancake with Maple Syrup

Pancake with Maple Syrup

  • It takes 40 liters of sap to produce a liter of maple syrup:  It’s a well-known fact that most trees yield anywhere between 35-55 liters of sap in a season and a tree takes close to 40 years before it’s matured enough to tap, hence, producing syrup is a time and labor-intensive process.
  • Only three maple tree species are used for making syrup: Currently, there are 13 recognized species of maple tree (native to Canada). However, only three are utilized for maple production – sugar maples, blanch maple, and red maple.
  • There are three federal categories of maple syrup: CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and the provincial governments have established classification systems based on color and taste for commercially produced maple. Category 1 (extra light, light, and medium grades) and Category 2, (an amber grade) have maple flavors that are “typical” for their color grade. Category 3, which includes the dark grade and any other ungraded colors, also contains traces of caramel, plant bud or sap flavors.
  • Quebec, Canada produces two-thirds of the world’s maple syrup: The Canadian province of Quebec is currently the largest producer maple syrup. It is responsible for about three-quarters of the world’s output; Canadian exports of maple syrup exceed 141 million USD per year. Vermont is the largest producer in the United States, generating about 5.5 percent of the global supply.
  • Maple syrup as a sugar alternative: The sugar content of sap averages 2.5 percent; sugar content of maple syrup is at least 66 percent or more. The syrup offers many health benefits – A 60 ml portion of maple syrup contains 100 percent of your daily recommended allowance of manganese, as well as 37 percent of riboflavin, 18 percent of zinc, 7 percent of magnesium, and 5 percent of calcium and potassium

Know a fun fact about maple syrup that we missed mentioning here? Tell us by commenting below.

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5 Thanksgiving hacks to stay healthy

Yes, we are approaching that time of the year when every meal will be rich, flavorful and hearty. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. What this also means is most likely you will ditch your year-long healthy diet in favor of turkey, pies, and wine. Don’t like the sound of that? If you are committed to maintaining a healthy diet, learn our hacks to stay on track during the festive season:

Thanksgiving

  • One big meal a day: Yes, we know holidays are all about indulgence. However, concentrate on having one big meal in the day instead of three. Go easy on the other two meals. If you can’t, we strongly suggest portion control. Do not load up your plates and watch what you are eating carefully.
  • Whisk up a veggie gravy:  Gravy is a Thanksgiving essential, but it doesn’t have to be loaded with a ton of fat. Whisk up a veggie gravy, that’s still as tasty but without a ton of fat. We bet your favorite veggies can make a perfectly flavorful gravy that can be draped over mashed potatoes minus the saturated fat Plus, you will be thankful for eating the vegetables.
  • Go Brown: The humble bread is part of every Thanksgiving feast, and so are all the calories that come with it. To cut down on all the calories from bread – go easy on the butter even better replace it with a healthy oil – coconut or olive and use whole grains.
  • Grill Easy: Oil thick marinades are the most significant source of unnecessary calories when grilling. Avoid using them generously instead use zesty lemon or orange if you care to be experimental.
  • “Cut the Mas”: Finally act on the old age suggestion of adding cauliflower to your potatoes. Doesn’t sound appetizing? You can’t be further than the truth. This small tip already has many fans, and you will be one too once you try it.  Cauliflower has far lesser starch than potatoes, and it retains the unbeatable richness of mashed potatoes with a lighter texture and more minerals.

Have a great tip that should be here? Comment below to let us know.

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We love The Teal Pumpkin Project. Here is why.

At Burpy we love everything that says Halloween. This is one holiday that not only brings the family and friends together but inspires people to embrace the fun aspect of their personality and celebrate gluttony. Halloween is synonymous with candy. It is all about consuming special treats that mothers typically tend to keep away from the kids all year long – candies, chocolates, gummy worms, candy corn, pumpkins pies, and cupcakes.

Burpy_Teal Pumpkin Project

Teal Pumpkin Project

In the recent times’ Pumpkins of a different color has grown in popularity exponentially If you are a trick or treater, we bet you have noticed them too. Ever came across a Teal Colored Pumpkin? Do you know what it means? FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project is a nationwide effort to simply Halloween for kids with food allergies and makes it more inclusive. The incidence of food allergies has been on an upsurge, and according to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education®), one in 13 children has a food allergy. Does that mean kids and parents who suffer food allergies need to stay away from this holiday? Absolutely not and the Teal Pumpkin project is an answer to this.

If you wish to participate in this effort – all you have to do is put a teal colored pumpkin or a sign on the porch to let trick-or-treaters know you are partaking in this initiative where you will be offering both non-food and candy treats. Simply ask the child to choose which treat would they prefer?

If you do decide to participate in this initiative here are ten non-food treats we are sure the young trick-or-treaters will love:

1.    Halloween stickers or temporary tattoos

2.    Mini cans of play-doh

3.    Glow sticks or glow-in-the-dark jewelry

4.    Halloween mini Beanie Babies

5.    Small flashlights

6.    Origami animals

7.    Mini puzzles

8.    Spider or insect rings

9.    Coloring books (mini)

10.  Toothbrushes

Have an interesting fact about the Teal Pumpkin Project that we missed mentioning?Share with us by commenting on this post.

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