In October, I joined Jennifer Tyler Lee’s 52 New Foods Challenge, and shared my Sweet Potato and Crunchy Kool Kohlrabi Fritters recipe, inspired by her new book, which helps families try one new food a week together 52 weeks of the year.
Part of this challenge is a giveaway of Jennifer’s new book, which you can enter by voting for your favorite recipes from the challenge. You don’t have to vote for my Sweet Potato and Crunchy Kool Kohlrabi fritters, but I do encourage you to enter the contest through voting, which you can do right here:
If the voting widget is taking a while to load, try refreshing the page. The voting period closes December 19th, so get cooking! Feel free to let us know what new foods you love in the comments below as well.
This week, I’m so happy to share a recipe that’s inspired by Jennifer’s no bake challenge and some yummy seasonal ingredients in our pantry: pomegranates and canned pumpkin!
How are you going to use up that leftover, organic pureed pumpkin from Thanksgiving that’s filling up your pantry shelves? This is exactly the kind of food challenge kids adore. This week, the 52 New Foods Challenge continues in the JoyFoodly® kitchen as I get creative and make a sweet and festive treat out of something leftover and even manage to keep my oven turned off!
Making food fun happens in the most unexpected moments when you cook with kids. Take this canned pumpkin dilemma. An adult may shrug their shoulders and get stuck inside the mentality that it’s pie or nothing. But when you ask a child to get creative with a mystery ingredient like a can of pumpkin, you’ll discover their inner chef comes through in wild and wonderful flavor combinations.
With this canned pumpkin dilemma, I channeled my inner child and with the help of my husband who has a serious sweet tooth, we came up with a playful treat that can be enjoyed for breakfast or dessert. Here’s how you can take your kids on a fun food adventure with our Spiced Pumpkin and Pomegranate Chia Pudding exploring a new seasonal ingredient, pomegranates, and running your own science experiment with fabulously weird (and great for you), chia seeds.
Jennifer and I agree–this fall fruit is one to have on hand to try with your children. There is nothing more fun than digging those crunchy, tangy ruby red arils out of a pomegranate. Kids are fascinated with the treasure trove of seeds inside and by stories of this glorious fruit symbolizing a joyful and prosperous future when given as a gift at weddings in far away lands like Persia, Turkey and China.
In addition to Jennifer’s tried and true way for removing the seeds without total chaos in the kitchen, I have another fun method I learned from a friend that you may want to try with your child this fall: cut the pomegranate in half (not through its stem but around its center); then push out the center a bit with your hands; give your child a wooden spoon and a big bowl and let them start whacking the back of it with a wooden spoon. All the seeds should fall right out into the bowl!
Chia Seeds (Cha-cha-cha-chia!)
What a weird and wonderful seed to use in cooking with kids. I always find that any science lesson or transformation of an ingredient really gets kids thinking about cooking. When we were growing up, we all had a chia pet at some point (you know you did!), but it turns out you can actually eat the chia seed which is full of omega three fatty acids and fiber, and an essential ingredient in our no-bake challenge. Ask your kids to be on top of watching the pudding transform as the hard seeds turn into gelatinous pods that firm up the pudding within the hour.
After you make this pudding with your children, why not extend the challenge on another day and have them try a popular Mexican drink, chia fresca, which is made by soaking chia seeds in water until they become gelatinous and then adding sugar and lemon or lime juice.
Yogurt and Spices!
As with any challenge, I dove into my refrigerator to see what on earth I could combine with canned pumpkin to make a sweet treat. When I saw the plain Greek yogurt, I immediate thought, “Lassi!” This popular drink from India is made from blended fruit, yogurt, spices like cardamom, sugar and ice–and is so refreshing. In my lassi inspired pudding, I chose cinnamon and nutmeg, but you could let your children decide which spices from your pantry they may want to try: ginger, allspice, or cardamon? Once they learn this basic recipe, the next time they are hankering for a sweet treat, remind them to put their creative lassi making hats on, and maybe they’ll come up with another seasonal combo–why not pear and banana?!
Here’s to your family finding fun and easy ways to cook together and eat well this holiday season.
Join us! Our winter season of the Joyful 12 releases on December 5th! We’d love to have you join us for a year of learning how to eat in season. My online kitchen learning lab teaches parents my proven methods for engaging kids to love eating fresh produce and my simple cooking strategies for how to make vegetables and fruits taste delicious.
- pomegranate, 1 (yields about 1 cup of seeds)
- orange, 1 medium
- yogurt, plain (Greek Style), 2 cups (19 oz)
- organic pureed pumpkin, 15 oz can
- maple syrup (can substitute honey or agave nectar), 1/4 cup
- cinnamon, 1/4 tsp
- nutmeg (ground), 1/4 tsp
- chia seeds, 4 TBS
- Take 5 minutes to get out all your ingredients, measuring and cooking equipment needed, and place them on a cookie sheet within easy reach.
- Wash all produce.
- Cut pomegranate open and remove seeds over a bowl of water. Drain water out and reserve seeds.
- Juice and zest orange. Place the juice into the blender. Set the zest aside.
- Blend 1 cup of the pomegranate seeds and the juice of the orange together. Strain the juice, catching all the seeds.
- Place pomegranate and orange juice along with the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, yogurt, maple syrup and orange zest into a blender and pulse until smooth.
- In each serving glass, put one tablespoon of raw chia seeds on the bottom. Fill the cup with the yogurt mixture and stir the chia seeds to incorporate. Cover and chill for at least one hour or overnight to set the pudding. This is a great make-ahead breakfast!
- Serve with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds on top.
- To make this dessert dairy free, substitute a plain yogurt made from an almond or coconut milk. We are using a bpa free, canned organic pumpkin puree, but you can make your own by roasting some pumpkin or acorn squash and pureeing in the blender.
- We love this chia pudding for breakfast or dessert. We like to make it before we go to bed, so we can easily get in a healthy breakfast the next day when we’re in a hurry!
- The pudding takes an hour to set, so be patient!