Snow, Seeds, and Planning for Spring!

Spring sure seems a long way off, at least here in snowy Minnesota. But seed starting will be here before you know it! 

 

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Kids in the Kitchen

We know exploring and preparing food is a great way to increase kids' understanding about and interest in trying new foods. However, just because it's a good idea doesn't mean it's always easy to do! But the good news is, there are lots of tips and resources for how to get kids of all ages involved in the kitchen. Here are just a few:

1. Rinsing fruits and vegetables, transferring, mixing: these can be easy ways to get the youngest kids involved. While it adds another step, try measuring into a kid-safe container, then letting kids add spices or other ingredients to a recipe. They can also transfer ingredients - for example, chopped veggies into a bowl. Check out this resource from Growing Minds for ideas of what different ages of children can do, as well as some recipes and tips! 

 

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Giving Thanks

A holiday that is for many centered on food and giving thanks is a great place to think about farm to early care. De-Colonizing Your Thanksgiving Curriculum has content relevant to many ages (and us adults who are unlearning and re-learning). Check out the slides at the bottom for integrated links to resources. They mention that with the youngest learners, gratitude and food is a great entry point. 

The providers we worked with to provide CSAs this summer thought about gratitude a lot with their kids. Some providers talked about the CSA box as a gift from the farmer, or that "farmers grew this just for you!". Danette and the kids she cares for made thank you notes for the farmers - what a great way to think about gratitude with early care and school-age kids! 

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Introducing Pint Size Produce!

Like many of you, we have been working to figure out how we can work in new and different ways, in many times from afar. Over the years, providers and other farm to early care supporters have indicated a desire for more 'grab and go' resources for providers. To that end, we've created 'Pint Size Produce' for providers, families, or anyone that wants to explore local food with young kids! 

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Save those Seeds!

Aside from their versatility, yummy flavor, pretty colors, and vitamin richness, squash packs another big benefit: their seeds! This time of year, even giant pumpkins make for delicious roasted pumpkin seeds. Check out an easy recipe here.

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Apples for Early Care

 

Did you know? October is Farm to School and Farm to Early Care month! One of the great activities that takes place in October is the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, happening next Thursday, October 8th.

In Minnesota, we are lucky to have many great orchards, and so many delicious apples. Each year, 20 million pounds of apples are produced in Minnesota orchards. Check out https://minnesotagrown.com/apples/ to find a local orchard near you, or look for local apples in the grocery store. 

Once you've got your local apple, join us to crunch and check out some of my favorite little-person-friendly apple resources below! 

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Baked Sweet Potatoes

This colorful variation of a classic baked potato is a good way to sneak lots of fresh veggies into your meal (and your little eaters’ mouths). 

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Loving (and using) your leftover produce

Is your fridge full of half tomatoes, quartered peppers, and partial cucumbers? If so, you’re not alone. Try these kid-friendly ways to use up all that saran-wrapped produce tucked away in your fridge.

Fry baked or raw sweet potatoes in coconut oil for breakfast.  

This is a sweet, delicious addition to any breakfast. It pairs wonderfully with eggs. You’ll have to cook the potatoes a bit longer if you’re starting with raw potatoes. 

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Taco Cups!

Need a fun and interactive way to involve your kids with meal prep? Make taco cups!

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Super Yummy Summer Squash

If you garden, you’ve probably noticed that once summer squash starts to grow, it comes on fast and with great abundance. From yellow crookneck to zucchini, summer squash comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors. And, it has just as many uses! 

Unlike their winter counterparts, summer squashes have thinner skins and a shorter shelf life and need to be used faster (you can’t store them in a cool, dry place for months on end). So, if your counters are piling up with summer squash (or even if you just have a few!), try some of these recipes.  

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