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Amaranth with Cream, Maple Syrup, Coconut and Apricots

by Deliciously Organic on March 4, 2011

Moms constantly tell me they wish they could get their kids to eat more vegetables. A study done back in 1982  showed it can take preschool children as many as 10 tastes over a period of weeks before they embrace a new food. My experience with my own kids exactly matches this result. When they were very young, I continued putting a small serving of vegetables on their plates every day (the ones they didn’t like). After many weeks they started eating them. My oldest daughter wouldn’t even touch a salad and now she asks for one every evening at dinner. We even have  a running joke in our house about whose oven roasted vegetables taste best – Mom’s or Dad’s.

We’ve made in a point in our home to discuss why we eat the foods we eat. Years ago I decided to teach my kids what I’ve learned in my own personal research so they could better understand why our pantry and fridge look so different from some other homes. We discuss sugars, whole grains, why we buy organic, genetically modified foods, corn syrup, etc. We try to prepare our kids for life outside our home and help them make informed choices for themselves. Every day, every time we eat, we have a choice to make. “Will I eat something that provides nourishment for my body or something unhealthy?” My girls know it’s often as simple as that.

My friends always ask me if we ever splurge. Of course! For example, I tell the kids that if they go to a party  featuring candy, soda, and cake, maybe they should choose to eat the soda and cake but leave the candy out. It’s simple little choices like this that my kids now understand they have the control to make.

Last week my daughter’s class wrote about healthy eating. Bubbling with excitement, she handed me this:

“Eating healthy food is very important because it keeps our bodies physically fit. Eating things with small amounts or no sugar in them is a good way to keep your body healthy. Another way is to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy. Healthy foods can really help prevent sickness too. It can really change the way you look and how you feel.

Eating things with small amounts of sugar or no sugar at all can keep your body healthy. For example, if you ate candy for a snack, that is not very good for your body. But, if you ate a granola bar instead, it would be a healthier choice because it has less sugar. When I get home from school my mom always says to have a fruit or vegetable for a snack. Eating things with less sugar is a good way to stay healthy.

To stay healthy, eating lots of fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy will help a lot. These are very healthy because they have a lot of the vitamins and minerals you need every day. Also, drinking water instead of soda is a very good way to stay healthy. When I went on vacation once, I had a lot of treats. At the end, I just really wanted a salad!

Healthy foods can help prevent sickness too. For example, if you eat junk food all the time you can get sick quick. But, if you eat healthy foods, you have a less chance of getting sick. My mom cooks very healthy foods, and by that I haven’t gotten sick for about two years! Eating foods that are good for you can really change you a lot.” ~ my 9 year old daughter.

As you can imagine, I was so proud to read these words and to know that if we teach our kids about healthy eating, they can understand so much, so quickly.

I had the opportunity to appear on Life.Style show along with Michelle Stern this week where we discussed the topic “Cooking with Kids”. If you’d like to hear more on this topic head on over to The Pulse.

My kids are huge fans of oats with maple syrup and cream so I thought I’d change it up a bit and use amaranth. Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that can be used as a porridge or also ground up and used as flour. It has 28 grams of protein in one cup and contains high amounts of magnesium, iron and fiber – a great way to start your morning. So this week, bring your kids into the kitchen with you, teach them about a new grain and let them have fun putting on their own toppings. I’m pretty sure they’re going to love it.

 

Amaranth with Cream, Maple Syrup, Coconut and Apricots

Amaranth with Cream, Maple Syrup, Coconut and Apricots

The maple sweetened coconut flakes is a mixture of 1/4 cup maple syrup and 2 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes. Stir the two ingredients in a bowl, spread on a baking sheet, and bake at 300ºF for about 8 minutes until toasted. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup amaranth
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Toppings:

  • Maple Syrup

  • Heavy Cream

  • Maple sweetened coconut flakes

  • Dried apricots, chopped

  • Walnuts, chopped

Instructions

The night before stir together amaranth, lemon juice and 1 cup of water in a small bowl. Leave at room temperature overnight.

The following morning bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil in a medium sauce pan. Add amaranth, stir, and lower to medium heat. Simmer amaranth for about 15-18 minutes until tender. Spoon amaranth into bowls and top with maple syrup, cream, coconut, apricots, and walnuts.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria March 4, 2011 at 7:06 am

Love this recipe and your photos! Your daughter is such a cutie!

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the urban baker March 4, 2011 at 7:07 am

love every word of this post, Carrie. And your photos just keep getting better and better. You continue to be an inspiration.

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Lauren March 4, 2011 at 8:35 am

This is the way I aspire to raise my future children. It sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job of teaching your kids about the importance of following a healthy diet!

I love the sound of maple-sweetened coconut flakes. I’m going to make some this weekend!

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Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} March 4, 2011 at 1:17 pm

What a smart daughter you have! I loved reading her essay. I hope my daughter will grow up understanding the value of healthy eating, too.

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Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) March 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm

This is what I am trying to teach my kids, and in the same natural and organic way, instead of through lecturing. My kids like to help me cook. When we cook together it’s a great chance to talk about why I choose the foods I do for our family and what they can do to make healthy choices for themselves.

Too often I hear kids told about calories and fat and I think to myself “NOOO!!!!” Around our dinner table we talk about nutrition and health and I think it makes for a much better message.

My kids are only 6 and 3 but everyday they still have choices to make and mom and dad walking the walk helps reinforce those healthy habits.

Thanks for the great post!

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Allison [Haute Box] March 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I am sold on the maple syrup! I just love that amaranth is so versatile and good for you. Yum!

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Gillian March 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Very impressive essay for a nine-year old! She’s adorable :)
I hadn’t heard of amaranth before. Glad that you introduced me to it as it reminds me of quinoa which I love, and I hadn’t thought of ever making a sweet quinoa dish – I love that idea! I’ll definitely try the amaranth, though. This looks delicious and practical – great for any time of the day! Thanks, Carrie.

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Lucy Lean March 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm

How delicious – this is just what I’ve been looking for – getting tired of oatmeal and steel cut oatmeal – have you tried Quinoa porridge – this reminds me of it.
Thanks for sharing – and loved your daughters words of wisdom – she’s learned from the best of the best!

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marla {family fresh cooking} March 7, 2011 at 9:02 am

Like you guys, in our family we love to eat & discuss the benefits of how we feel when we eat the right foods. The icky moods that happen after the wrong stuff proves the point without even having to exchange words.
Gotta grind up some amaranth flour to use in recipes. This porridge looks wonderful! xo

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Sarah March 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm

This looks & sounds delicious! I just got back from the store & wish I had picked up some amaranth. I saw it there & thought I didn’t know what I’d do with it. Now I know!! I think my boys will like it too. Can’t wait to try it, thanks!

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Brooks March 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I hope Asher has the same mind set at 9! (and that he doesn’t outgrow his current love of green veggies ;)

Like the recipe, although the taste/texture of the Amaranth was a little “different” for me for breakfast. Did you know you can “pop” it and make it into a cereal? Definitely going to be my next experiment with it! http://edibleperspective.com/2011/02/diy-cereal/

Thanks for the intro to a new food! :)

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Jeanne March 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I tried this recipe this morning, and I think I need some help learning how best to cook the amaranth. My grains did not get much larger after soaking. They stayed quite small, and didn’t clump together as in the photo. Any advice? Thanks!

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Deliciously Organic March 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I shot the photo close-up so I think the grains look a bit bigger than they do in real life. I also spooned the amaranth into the pot to create a mound (to create more movement in the photo). So how do I say this, maybe the way I styled it threw you off? :) I made it again this morning and my amaranth stayed small also and is much like quinoa in consistency. Does that help?

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alison March 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Great post! We also teach our kids about healthy eating, making good food choices and even about making sure we have lots of “colors” on our plates. So wonderful to read about other families doing the same!

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Amy May 5, 2011 at 6:25 am

This looks delicious. Do you rinse the amaranth before cooking or dump the whole thing in the pot?

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Deliciously Organic May 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I don’t rinse mine. Just add it to the pot.

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