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Cooking with your kids this summer

Summer break is finally here for most of us! My daughter has finished up kindergarten and we are looking forward to several weeks of quality time at home together. My other three little ones and I have really missed her this year. She is excited and curious about cooking so I’m looking forward to connecting with her in the kitchen during the break. She loves to enjoy the food that she knows she made herself, which makes it so rewarding! When it gets her excited about eating fresh greenhouse grown vegetables, I call that a win! We recently made this Rainbow Quinoa Salad together that was PACKED with tons of healthy vegetables that she couldn’t get enough of.

HOW TO GET THEM INVOLVED

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My oldest daughter received a set of kid’s knives for her birthday a couple of years ago, and that is what sparked her curiosity for cooking! She loves helping chop things in the kitchen. If you have a kid that loves to chop up foods too, it’s a great way to keep them entertained while you are making dinner. I think it’s so important to start them young with life skills, so they feel confident with them throughout their life! If your little one has never chopped things with you in the kitchen, it’s a great task to give them to feel involved, with supervision of course! Either way this recipe is a great one to try together because there are so many vegetable options that you can include in it. You can choose whichever vegetables your little ones are comfortable with or enjoy eating.

THE PERFECT SALAD FOR SUMMER

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I love any type of salad in the summer. Chicken salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, veggie salad, you name it- if it is something cold that I can prep and just pull from the fridge… I am here for it! This recipe is packed with three different Pure Flavor® products that tie beautifully together like Yellow Sweet Bell Peppers, and Long English Cucumbersbut today I am focusing on the crisp and juicy Azuca Red Cherry Tomatoes in a Rainbow Quinoa Salad

These Azuca Red Cherry Tomatoes are full of lycopene, iron, and potassium, making them an excellent pairing to a protein or fat for a well-rounded balanced meal. They help in maintaining blood cells, heart, and kidney health, and speaking of summer- the lycopene also helps in preventing sunburn! The Yellow Sweet Bell Peppers add a rich and balanced flavor to this dish. They are full of Vitamins C and A that help protect against infections and keep your families’ immune systems healthy during your busiest time together! The Long English Cucumbers add a refreshing crunch to the dish and are full of water to keep your bodies hydrated in the summer. 

PREPARING THE VEGETABLES

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To start this recipe the first thing you need to do is to prepare all the vegetable ingredients. The tomatoes need to be halved, which can easily be done by your kiddos! The bell pepper, cucumber and onion are to be finely diced. I’d suggest letting them start the initial cutting to keep them busy and have an adult finish the dicing until they are more comfortable with a knife. The carrot “rice” takes a little more time to prepare but can be fun as they need to be peeled, chopped, and then pulsed in the food processor a few times until you get a rice like consistency. The work is worth it because this is one of the only ways that my kids will eat carrots.  Side note – this is also my favorite way to add them into baked goods without them knowing! You can involve them in this step by having them peel, chop and pulse the carrots! 

You’ll need cooked quinoa for the recipe. The good news is that you and your little ones can do all this chopping while the quinoa in the pressure cooker is cooking, releasing, and cooling! The last thing you need to prep during this time is the lemony dressing that is made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and sea salt. Things that are always in my fridge and pantry, making it easy to throw together when I’m in the mood for this crunchy, hydrating summer salad. My kids love to mix all the dressing ingredients together and do some taste testing of course!

PERFECT FOR MEAL PREP

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Once all of your ingredients are ready, you can toss them all together in a big bowl and see all the beautiful colors of this salad come together. I find that this salad is best when made ahead and kept in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to marinate together. It will also keep for 5-7 days in the fridge making it perfect for meal prepping ahead of time! Try creating this recipe with your kids on a night you’re looking forward to spending quality time together and enjoy it when you have a lot on the go! Alternatively, you can work together to prep all the ingredients and store them in the fridge so that when you need a quick dinner option, everything can be mixed. With busy summer nights ahead of us it’s nice to have healthy meal options full of greenhouse grown vegetables in the fridge to grab on the run.

THAT’S A WRAP

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Make the most of the extra time at home with your kids on summer break by getting them involved in the kitchen! It’s seriously the easiest way I’ve found to get them to truly care about what they are eating. I love watching their little hands reaching for vegetables to snack on when we are cooking. Remember to always be safe, supervise whatever they are doing, and start with the easy tasks so that they are not overwhelmed by the experience. Cooking together not only creates a special bonding time between you and your little ones but teaches them useful life skills and helps intrigue them about the foods they are going to eat for dinner.

Thank you Pure Flavor, Megan Hutson.

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