Carrie Fehr

Kitchen Garden Food and Fitness

Tag: Citrus Fruit

Lemon Energy Treats

Lemon "Energy" TreatWhile “better-for-you” energy bars are part of an on-the-go lifestyle, most are hiding a hefty (and expensive) amount of sugar, oil, and calories.  It is no surprise that obesity rates have increased in a society when meals are a rare occurrence in a busy schedule.

The healthiest nutrition bars do not contain added sugar and are full of ingredients that provide slow sustaining fuel, with whole foods such as nuts, seeds and fruits.  A homemade version is even healthier than almost any energy bar that you can buy in a store, and is incredibly simple to throw together, for a fraction of the cost.

Lemon “energy” treats are primarily dates, sesame seeds, and almonds, and are generously flavored with fresh lemon juice, that add a bit of zing to compliment a blanket of snowy white unsweetened coconut.  The later gives this energy treat its pronounced taste that pairs well with the floral-scented lemon.

The inside of this lemony treat is soft and slightly sweet, thanks to the flecks of creamy dates.  Dates not only replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly, but also contain the right amount of sugar to bring glucose levels up. It is no wonder that Muslims break their daylong Ramadan fast with this nourishing fruit.

The very best energy boost ultimately comes from healthy living.  People who eat real foods, (not processed) drink ample water, and exercise daily will have plenty of energy, the natural way.

Lemon “Energy” Treats

Lemon “energy” treats come from a Whole Foods Recipe that I tweaked, just slightly. I substituted toasted almonds for walnuts, and then added a couple of tablespoons of water to the mixture, using a blender to purée it, instead of a food processor.  A small-sized ice cream scoop is handy to portion these energy treats into even 2 “ round shapes. Oh, and one more thing, these raw energy delights are gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

Adapted from Whole Foods

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pitted dates, (I used Medjool dates)

1 cup toasted almonds

1 cup toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 lemon, zest

1-2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Directions:

Place dates, almonds, sesame seeds, lemon juice, zest and water in a food processor or blender and mix until creamy. If using a blender place 1/2 of the mixture into the blender and mix until creamy and repeat with the other half. The mixture will be slightly sticky.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop mixture in coconut and roll into a ball shape.  Chill until ready to serve. Makes 2 dozen 2” sized balls.

The Science of Cooking: Citrus Rocks

By Carrie Fehr

“If we look deeply into a flower, what do we see? Sunshine, a cloud, earth, minerals, the gardener, the complete cosmos.”-Thich Nhat Hanh

Citrus Rocks:  Citrus rocks the Science of Cooking Class where fourth grade Chef Scientists explore the link between minerals that originate in the soil, to the unique role it plays on the human diet through plants, such as fruits and vegetables, along with a little history about citrus, some fun anecdotes, and a healthy recipe.

Citrus Love: With its sheer variety and profusion of colors, citrus fruit esteemed in many cultures as a symbol of happiness, is not hard to love. Even though many citrus fruits are common, there are a few lesser known examples in our harvest basket that stand out, like the wild-looking, yet extremely fragrant Buddha’s hand, or the tiny oval kumquat often classified in its own genus, though with its sweet rind and intense tart pulp–make our lips pucker, to the beloved pomelo, which is heavy like a bowling bowl, and grows on a tree that spans across the landscape up to an impressive 50 feet high.  The citrus harvest basket is brimming with diverse learning opportunities that weave together its folklore, health, and environment, and imparts a sense of wonder and appreciation that inspire students to retell the citrus anecdotes from memory, throughout the year.  Retelling a story is a valuable sequencing skill that supports reading comprehension and writing skills in the classroom, and is notable, since cooking classes only meet one hour a month, and in some cases, less than that.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Good to the Bone:  As we turn our spotlight over to the science lab, fourth graders  discover that minerals come from the earth, and that humans absorb these minerals through the plants they eat.  As scientists, they explore the nutrients in citrus fruit, and learn that aside from the immune boosting benefits of Vitamin C, it is chock-full of minerals that help our bones, teeth, and muscles, to name a few.  And last but not least, folate, a nutrient that improves mood by raising the serotonin levels in our body, can help explain why we feel so good after eating citrus fruit.

Getting Pithy:  One of the many virtues of citrus is the entire fruit is usable– the pulp, the juice, and aromatic peel, complete as nature intended, and as it turns out, is the perfect ingredient for the recipe– Fruit Roll Ups.  Click here for the link to the recipe.  Student chefs put their cooking skills into action using four colorful varieties of citrus fruit– the Cara Cara, Moro Blood, and Navel Oranges, along with the Satsuma Mandarin. As they section, slice, zest, peel, and juice, their way through the recipe, our chefs discover after eating the soft pulp leftover from juicing, that the hollowed out navel orange morphs into a drinking cup!  Finally, we mix and match citrus vocabulary words, like pithy, zesty, and juicy in a citrus acrostic poem, where students create phrases using the concepts they learned from the Science of Cooking Class.  Mindful eating, along with citrus poetry is a great ending to our class.

Meditation On A Citrus Fruit

The cheerful colors, fragrance and sweet taste of seasonal citrus fruit, bring a burst of sunshine in the middle of winter that enliven our senses, and welcomes the New Year with positive energy.

To celebrate the citrus harvest, students begin cooking classes with a time-honored tradition of meditating on a satsuma mandarin orange.  Through mindful eating practices, students learn how to awaken a deeper appreciation of the food they eat, and become more conscious of the connection it has to their health and environment.  As we pause and refresh our breath, we close our eyes, and savor the beauty of the mandarin, with gratitude for its nourishment, and its sweet nectar that embrace all our senses.  And with the knowledge that it belongs to a greater whole—the land, sun, and sky—we fully appreciate the splendor of this gift of nature, in this precious moment of calm and stillness.