Monday, December 20, 2010

Easy Chocolate Fudge

Yummy for the holidays or to bring as a gift. You do not even have to turn on the oven!!

Easy Chocolate Fudge

This easy chocolate fudge is a snap to make with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and a little butter. If you use the microwave to heat the mixture, be sure to stir it frequently until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is well blended.
•1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
•2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)
•1 cup milk chocolate chips (6 ounces)
•2 tablespoons butter
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan; line with a piece of plastic wrap about 18 to 24 inches in length, leaving the ends out to cover the finished fudge. The ends will also serve as "handles" which will help you lift the fudge out of the pan.
Heat the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts, if using; pour into the prepared pan. Spread gently then cover lightly with the ends of the plastic wrap. Chill until firm. Lift out of the pan and cut into small squares

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Trick or Treat what are you having at your house?

You couldn't ignore Halloween if you tried, not with the shelves of nearly every store piled high with candy. There's chocolate, candy bars, lollypops, licorice, chewy coloured candy in cute shapes, hard candy, gum, and more ... much more.

This overwhelming reminder of the approach of Halloween represents more than just a tradition of dressing up in costumes to celebrate the day of the dead and then showing them off to your neighbours. Today Halloween is really nothing more than an excuse to eat lots of sugary, insulin-triggering treats.

So in an age when one in four Canadian children are overweight or obese should we be rethinking our manner of celebrating this increasingly popular holiday, or simply carry on with what we've been doing?

Alternatives to Sugar Crashes

Parents and caregivers should try to change the focus of the day away from the habit of collecting and eating candy. Try to emphasize other fun aspects of Halloween, such as creating great costumes. Some helpful ideas for parents to think about:

• Allowing children to make the rounds of houses in the neighbourhood, but then limiting the candy they are allowed to keep to a reasonable number of their favourite pieces when they return home.
• Predetermine this amount before kids go out and to keep the rule consistent for all children in the family regardless of their age.
• implement a system of buying back most of the candy their children have collected and then removing it from the home. "Do not keep enough candy in the house for the next six months."
• Try healthier customs. Use the family pumpkin carving experience as a means to encourage healthy eating by making tasty snacks from the interior, such as muffins, cookies and baked pumpkin seeds.
• Hold a Halloween neighbourhood party. Parents meet and plan the event ahead of time and organize entertaining activities such as costume contests, games and even a potluck dinner. Have fun by celebrating the occasion together rather than just gathering candy.

Plan Healthy Halloween Strategies

Rather than go out with your kids, have a Halloween party at the house and have fun watching the other kids come by in their costumes. Limit the amount of "treats" you hand out to other kids and opt for healthier choices. Offer your children Halloween toys or stickers instead of candy. Instead of going around collecting candy, have your child go around collecting loose pennies and nickels for a favourite charity UNICEF is traditionally supported, but it need not be the only one.
If your child does collect candy, have him or her trade in the candy for a new toy or activity such as going to a movie, sports event or amusement park.

Lori Tinella founder, owner of Little Chefs based in Erin, Ontario

Monday, October 4, 2010

Perfect to Make for a Cool Fall Day!

Well is was a little chiller this morning than usual so Fall is here. My good friend Patti e-mailed this morning for some ispiration for a food to make on this cool day. This recipe is so easy and made in a slow cooker. Excellent to prepare the night before and start in morning and come home to enjoy!

Chunky Beef & Sausage Chili

28oz can diced or whole tomatoes (I use 2 cans)
5.5 oz can tomato paste
5 garlic cloves
2 onions coarsely chopped
2 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp each ground cinnamon, dried oregano, cayenne
½ tsp salt
4 hot or mild Italian sausages
1 lb cubed stewing beef
2 green peppers
19 oz bean medley

1. Drain tomatoes. Place in slow cooker. If using whole tomatoes , break up. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, onions and seasonings. Cut each sausage into 4 or 5 pieces. Stir in along with beef and peppers.
2. Cover and cook until beef is very tender, 4 – 6 hours on high or 8 – 10 hours on low. Then rinse and drain the beans and stir in. Cover and cook until hot, 5 – 10 min. Ladle int bowls and serve with dollops of sour cream , grated cheddar or chopped avocado. Chili will keep well, covered and refrigerated, up to 5 days days or freeze up to 3 months. Enjoy , spicy if using hot sausages.

Happy Cooking,
Little Chefs
Cook Up Some Fun Today!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh My Spaghetti Pie !

I enjoy spending time in the kitchen this time of year - the kids are off at school, it is cooler out, and I have more time. How about you? When I have extra time, I like to pop a few things into my freezer to use on the days when I am super busy, (or just feeling lazy). Today I thought I would share with you one of my favourite recipes that you can make and freeze for later!

Spaghetti Pie (Pizza)

1 lb cooked pasta(I like to use spaghetti)
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk or plain yoghurt
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, garlic powder, parsley)
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, cheddar, or Monterey jack shredded (whatever is your fav!)
Additional topping ie. veggies, meats or fruits

In a very large bowl, beat the spaghetti sauce, egg, milk and Italian seasonings until well-combined.
Add the cooked spaghetti and stir to coat well.
Pour spaghetti mixture into prepared pan.
Top with shredded cheese(s)and any other toppings you like.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. If you make two then let cool and wrap well and freeze for later. Enjoy!

Lori Tinella
Little Chefs

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Apple Muffins to make with your Little Chefs

Healthy Apple a Day Muffins!!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 egg
3/4 milk or yoghurt ( plain or vanilla)
1/4 canola oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-1 1/2 cups grated apple

Mix egg in a bowl, stir in milk or yoghurt, oil, and apple.
Mix dry ingredients together and add in to wet just until moistened.

Pour into a lined muffin tin.


1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix together and sprinkle on top of muffins. Bake for 25 minutes or using tester comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins. Enjoy!!

Lori Tinella
Little Chefs

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Healthy School Lunch Ideas

1. Chicken, turkey, ham or salami, Swiss cheese and lettuce on whole wheat bread
2. Turkey or ham, red bell pepper strips, and Cheddar cheese wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla, with mayonnaise, spicy mustard or salsa
3. Tuna, chicken or egg salad with whole grain crackers or on a bagel with cucumbers or lettuce
4. Cheddar or havarti cheese and sliced tomato sandwich (put the tomato between the slices of cheese so the bread doesn't get soggy) with a little mayonnaise or mustard
5. Cream cheese spread on a tortilla (pack sliced apples to add just before eating) This is my daughter’s fav!
6. Leftovers like pasta, tortellini with tomato sauce, pizza, chicken, turkey sausage or steak (kids don't seem to mind eating them cold). Save little condiment packages from takeout food to use as dips
7. Black beans and rice or other rice salad
8. Healthy soup or chilli in a thermos
9. Whole grain bagel or rice cakes with cream cheese
10. Trail mix made with raisins, pretzels, cherrios, and chocolate chips (or your kids' favourite items)
11. Healthy dried cereals (milk is optional)
12. Baby carrots, celery, sliced cucumbers, red bell peppers and pita chips with hummus or other dip
13. All varieties of fresh fruit (cut apples, mango, oranges and other hard to eat fruit, if needed)
14. Popcorn (a kid-friendly whole grain), alone or mixed with raisins and nuts
15. Whole grain tortilla chips and salsa (look for a brand without added sugar) or black bean dip
16. Low fat yogurt or cottage cheese with fresh fruit and granola or other cereal (keep them separate and let your child combine them at lunch)
17. Drinkable, spoon-able, or squeezable yogurt or kefir
18. Cheese and whole grain crackers
19. Proteins like cheese sticks or cubes, hard-boiled eggs, chickpeas, edamame, or other legumes
20. Breakfast type food like an omelette or even French toast if child is ok with it cold.

P.S. In an effort to create less environmental waste, I'm packing everything I can in reusable containers (Laptop lunchbox).

Lori Tinella
Little Chefs
Cook Up Some Fun today!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Packing School Lunches

If you're like most parents, you want to pack a school lunch that is healthy, tasty, inexpensive, easy to prepare, and won't be wasted. Here are some healthy school lunch ideas and guidelines to follow to make sure your kids enjoy their school lunches every time:

• Nutritionists recommend that kids eat fruits, vegetables and lean proteins like chicken, turkey or beans in their school lunches. It's good advice, but you don't have to set impossible standards for yourself, either.
• What I mean is, if your kids are used to taking bologna and cheese with mayo on white bread, don't switch to tofu and brown rice cakes in one day. Make changes to healthier foods gradually. Keep the bologna and cheese, but put it on whole wheat bread, or make bologna and cheese roll-ups.
• Choose natural foods wherever possible. There are so many convenient natural snacks nowadays, from baby carrots and dip to natural cheese whole grian crackers, that it's easy to pack a healthy lunch that doesn't take a ton of time to prepare.
• Use whole wheat bread. If your kids don't like whole wheat bread, try a "white" whole wheat bread, which is made with an albino strain of wheat and has the same nutritional profile as regular whole wheat bread.
• Skip the pops, and limit juices. Pop has no nutritional value and juices, even 100% natural juices, can be high in sugar and calories. Water and milk are better healthier choices. But if the kids really want juice, try alternating between water and juice, or giving them a choice between juice or dessert. If I had a choice between drinking water and having chocolate cookies in my lunch, I'm going to pick the cookies. But that's just me.
• Keep it simple. Most young kids prefer plain foods over fancy, less seasoned over spicy, and simply prepared over fussy. For older kids, add variety by grilling sandwiches and wrapping in foil. Chicken quesadillas are one of my kids' favourite lunch box foods.
• Pack small quantities of a variety of foods in separate containers(eco-friendly). This is not only more visually-appealing to kids, makes it easy to eat in a hurry, it keeps food from getting soggy and can be a great way to get kids to try new foods.

Lori Tinella, founder
Little Chefs519-940-1131