Vitamin C for Dessert, Yes Please!

I am highlighting oranges today. 4 year old, Chef Izabella here. My family and I love oranges.

Oranges are available fresh almost year round in some form of seasonal variety. Oranges are typically inexpensive too, especially when bought in a 5 or 10 pound bag.  We buy oranges in bulk from local farm stands about once a month. We also love to pick fresh oranges from our neighbor's tree. They are the best tasting oranges I've ever had.

I Love to peel a freshly picked orange, outside on a warm afternoon. Once I peel back that first section of the orange, my nose is instantly met with a delicious aroma of citrus perfection. I start to peel faster, so that my taste buds can smile with that first bite of the delectable, sweet, juicy orange. I love the sticky, sweet smell of the remaining juice on my hands, especially if a gusty breeze blows by, in which case I usually jump up and twirl to the music of the nearby wind chimes, as the scent of orange dances in the air.
A good juicy orange forces me to wash my hands afterwards.

We like to juice oranges and enjoy fresh orange juice with breakfast. We freeze left over juice so that we can use it in sauces or dressings later. It's convenient to freeze orange juice in an ice cube tray, and pop out a couple juice cubes for a homemade dressing or sauce later.
We use the orange peel or zest in a lot of things. The orange zest adds a pop of color and a zing of flavor to many dishes. We'll add orange zest to our chicken dishes, crepes, pancakes, dressings, pestos, cookies, quinoa, pastas and more.

Oranges are loaded with vitamin C, so although the saying goes "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" I'd strongly suggest that an orange a day keeps the doctor away, especially during cold season. Oranges have about 60-70 calories per orange, which make oranges an ideal afternoon snack.

Well let's get to the nitty gritty. My favorite use for freshly squeezed orange juice, is in fresh orange juice popsicles. We like to squeeze our oranges, add a bit of raw sugar to the juice, dice up freshly picked strawberries and pour the juice over the berries. We let the popsicle molds freeze for a few hours and then voila... we enjoy our fresh popsicles. They are better than any store bought popsicle. So indulge in your own Vitamin C rich treat for dessert tonight. Click here for my orange popsicle video.


Breakfast With Bacon and a Kiss

4 year old, Chef Izabella, here. I have been trying to decide which meal of the day is my favorite. This is a tough one, since each meal presents an opportunity to make great food and to sit and enjoy the food with the ones I love. However, I have concluded that although all meals and snacks are great... breakfast is my favorite.
I especially love weekend brunch with the whole family.
Just like a car needs fuel to get from one place to another, our bodies need energy from food to jump start our day. Breakfast should be power packed with lots of nutrition, love and quality time together.
One of my favorite foods in life (besides chocolate) is bacon. Seriously, if my mom ever wants to track us down like a homing beacon device... she just starts to saute up some bacon. Everyone gravitates toward the kitchen. Our breakfasts and brunches almost always include bacon.
We also love waffles, pancakes, mini souffles, crepes, oatmeal with fruit and nuts, egg scrambles, cinnamon rolls, smoothies, frittatas, biscotti and more.
What are some of your favorite breakfast meals? 
Plan a breakfast date with your loved ones soon. Allocate an hour or two for the breakfast. Do all the preparation, cooking and clean up together (designate age appropriate tasks to everyone). Talk and laugh and play fun music as you spend time together. Sit and sip some orange juice or sparkling cider in a fancy glass. Dip biscotti in hot cocoa, coffee or chocolate milk.
Linger. Laugh. Listen. Enjoy breakfast with bacon and a kiss with the ones you love, today!
Chef Izabella's Pancake Demo Video

Salute and cheers,
Chef Izabella

Birthday Cake All Year Long

4 year old Chef Izabella here. I love the major holidays. They are great. But all year long, I live for birthdays. I love to help my parents, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends celebrate their birthdays. The streamers, balloons, hats, music, dancing, singing and time spent together is wonderful. But.... the BEST part of every birthday is the cake! It's even better, if it is made with CHOCOLATE! In our family we crave chocolate daily. Recently my mom was explaining to me how my new baby sister flails around because she lacks self control. I laughed and said jokingly, "Is it like you with chocolate mom?" We both laughed hysterically. We both love chocolate.
My mom and I frequently task ourselves with making the cake for the birthday guest of honor. This is our gift to him/her. We always add lots of love... and chocolate to every cake.

I love the time spent with my mom while we make the special birthday cake. We laugh a lot. We learn as we measure out all of the ingredients. We get creative with sprinkles and powdered sugar and other little decorative items.

We hope to encourage other parents and kids to make more birthday cakes this year. It's easy to run to the store and buy a store bought cake. But in the time it takes to load up the car, drive to the store, buy and pay for the cake.... you could be half way if not all the way done with your delicious homemade cake.... made with love and quality time together.

Cook Out Loud and spend quality time together in the kitchen.
Salute, Chef Izabella