Saturday, May 3, 2014

Easy Peasy Guacamole and Tacos...

As part of two-week long activities with my kids leading up to Food Revolution Day 2014, tonight was on-- let them know what's in their food.

One of the fun things to do suggested on Jamie Oliver's site was to compare the ingredients in a store-bought guacamole to a recipe for a homemade guacamole. I began by having my 4-1/2 year old twins perform a series of tasks to ready my version of this dip and taco ingredients for dinner. Guacamole is such a simple recipe my kids love making from scratch to finish which lets them just do it without much assistance. From washing, prepping the fresh ingredients, scooping the avocado seed, mashing and seasoning to enjoying the fruits of their labour, they adore this healthy dip.

We started by identifying the vegetables and then sleeves were rolled up for thorough washing. 

Easy Peasy Guacamole

2 large avocados, seed removed and flesh mashed
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tomato, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
a handful cilantro, leaves plucked and chopped
juice of 1/4 lime
salt, ground black pepper and hot sauce (optional) to taste

Mix well and serve with tortilla chips or veggie sticks. Perfect for a taco and burrito topping!

For an alternative version, try making an edamole with edamame beans. 

The best part-- Enjoying the fruits of their labour with organic blue tortilla chips.

My youngest getting in on the fun with his brothers husking corn.

Onto the tacos. For the taco seasoning mix, the brand that came with the prepared hard taco shells had ingredients in it such as maltodextrin, silicon dioxide and yeast extract. Instead, I opted to make my own mix using 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/4 tsp. each garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, ground black pepper and 1 tsp. kosher salt. It is actually cheaper to make it yourself and you know everything that's in it!

Brown 1 lb. lean ground beef in skillet with 1/2 small onion chopped and 1 garlic clove, chopped; drain. I added 1 grated zucchini (chopped kale and spinach are awesome too). Add seasoning mix and 3/4 cup water; stir. Bring to boil; simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

This brand of prepared guacamole has a relatively clean ingredient list, but in a fresh guacamole you will not need lime juice concentrate or ascorbic acid to maintain freshness. Avocado naturally browns after being exposed to the air too long; fresh lemon juice helps preserve the colour for a few hours but dips like this usually has a shelf-life of one month! 

As you can see there was no contest at the dinner table. The store-bought guacamole was pasty, lacked the fresh creamy avocado taste and everyone agreed it was dominated by strong acidic notes. I had to toss it out.

A taco feast with toppings of lettuce, tomatoes, yellow pepper, cilantro, red onions, green onions, guacamole, cheddar cheese, lime juice for splashing, salsa and hot sauce.

Étienne loves his mild green hot sauce.

My kids were excited off the bat to help me in the kitchen. Sébastien thought it would be quick but he told me afterwards that he was glad he was able to help for a long time because he had so much fun and was looking forward to the next session. I was filled with joy.

Things You Can Do To Teach Your Kids What's In Their Food:
* Go to free-stuff and download What's In Their Food in Fun For Kids for the guacamole comparison worksheet.
* Before starting the recipe at hand ask your kids if they can guess what goes into it, and quiz them afterwards. 
* Get children to read labels on a range of snack foods and to investigate what ingredients they contain, and how they can make their own favourite snacks at home.

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