Easy dishes kids can make for moms
Wilmette's Beth Aldrich dices a sweet potato for her quesadillas. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
(From Beth Aldrich)
3 cups raw walnuts 16 dates, pitted
16 dates, pitted
1/4 cup dried raisins, cranberries or cherries
1/4 cup cacao nibs or chocolate chips
Process each of the first three ingredients in order in a food processor until smooth (periodically, push batter down from the sides of the processor bowl throughout blending). Pulse in dried fruit and chips to keep some of the chunks dispersed throughout the batter. Press into glass 9 x 14-inch cake pan, and cover with wax paper. Flatten and smooth out the top of brownies with hands or a rolling pin over wax paper. Discard waxed paper.
Chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, slice and serve with sliced fruit, coconut flakes or powdered sugar.
Updated: May 17, 2012 10:36AM
She’s one hot mama. But cookbook author Beth Aldrich thinks all moms are hot moms. The Wilmette-based lifestyles coach believes every mom can stay healthy while enjoying food, and she provides helpful recipes to do so in her new cookbook, Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight and Feel Fabulous (New American Library, 2012). The cookbook was released in January.
Two of the featured recipes, No-bake Brownies and Hot Moms Quesadillas, are simple enough for kids to make. “These recipes have very few ingredients and are easy to prepare. They are almost foolproof,” Aldrich said. “The best part is they’re fast to make, which is good for kids, because sometimes they get bored with more detailed recipes.”
The brownies, which do not require the use of an oven, are made with dates, walnuts, cacao powder, raisins and cacao nibs or chocolate chips. Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor and spread evenly in a baking dish and you’re done. The result is a healthier brownie that tastes even more decadent than traditional baked versions.
Rich and gooey
Aldrich suggests serving these brownies with sliced seasonal fruits, a few coconut flakes or a sprinkle of powdered sugar. “You only need a little bit of the brownies to hit the spot. They are richer and gooier than most traditional brownies,” Aldrich said.
She enjoys making the brownies with her kids. “My 9-year-old son helps me make these, and he loves how easy the recipe is. Every time I work in the kitchen with him, it’s an adventure. He’s very attentive and wants to learn. The end result is always fun and that’s what it’s all about.”
Her Hot Moms Quesadillas showcase an unlikely quesadilla ingredient: sweet potatoes. Rich in vitamins A and C, calcium and iron, sweet potatoes bring as much nutrient value as flavor and bright color to quesadillas. Aldrich peels, dices and steams them for this recipe.
In the U. S., Julia Ward Howe, Civil War activist and author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” is widely credited for suggesting a “Mothering Sunday” for Americans. The idea took hold, and Mother’s Day, as it quickly became known, has since been celebrated in the U.S. on the second Sunday in May.
This Mother’s Day, Aldrich, a very modern mom, will take a break from her busy schedule. Lately she has been occupied with everything from book signings to blogging about healthy lifestyles tips (www.RealMomsLovetoEat.com), and running Bitsy Cakes (www.BitsyCakes.com), which makes satisfying, two-bite cupcakes to order. And, when she can, Aldrich consults with other moms, leading “pantry raids,” organizing shelves to make the most of the foods on hand.
“I love working with busy moms,” she said. “Food is my passion.”
But on Mother’s Day, she’ll rest. “Sleeping in until 8 a.m. is a huge deal to me. I usually get up at 6 a.m.,” she said. And when she does wake up, another treat is in order. “I’m sure,” she said, “my sons will make me breakfast in bed.”