Mangoes have been growing in India for over 5000 years, and in fact the name in Hindi is aam, which means “common.” The fruit and leaves are used in Hindu rituals, and also play a role in Buddhist folklore, where the fruit is considered sacred. In fact, one of Buddha’s followers gave him a mango orchard, so that he could rest and meditate in the shade of the mango trees.
In the US, we gets most of our mangoes from Mexico, Haiti, Peru, and Brazil, while the EU imports from India, South Africa, Pakistan, and Thailand. When you find the countries on the map, notice their distance from the equator. What conditions do mango tree need to thrive? Can they grow where you live?
Mangoes are one of our favorite fruits: they are as sweet as candy, packed with antioxidants, and high in vitamin C and A. Their soft and juicy texture allowed them to be one of my babies’ first solid foods that I didn’t have to mash, and my kids have enjoyed this high-fiber, low-calorie fruit ever since. Recently I was buying a box of ripe mangoes in the supermarket, and someone asked me how I would serve them. Here’s how my kids love to eat mangoes.
I am going to introduce you to a Mexican culinary secret that will revolutionize your after-school snack. Throw out the goldfish crackers, and bring on the fresh produce…. with a $1 bottle of seasoning:
Fruit with Tajin: mango, pineapple, oranges, watermelon.
On street corners, plazas, markets, and beaches in Mexico, there are small stands selling fruits and vegetables: cucumbers, jicama, mango, coconut, papaya, watermelon, and pineapple are the most common that I have seen. You choose which fruit or veggies you’d like, and then the vendor will squeeze a couple of limes on top, and sprinkle with a special chile powder. It is the most refreshing snack– healthy “fast food” that everyone loves. You can create this at home with the Mexican seasoning “Tajin.” Continue reading
Snack on sweet dates- kids think they taste like candy!
Almonds and pistachios, cinnamon, mint, feta and Haloumy cheese, cucumbers, pomegranates, dates, grapes… there are so many kid-friendly ingredients in Egyptian cuisine that are easy to incorporate into daily snacks. Kids learn about Egyptian pyramids, the pharaohs, hieroglyphics, and a myriad of other ancient Egyptian topics- but sometimes we forget to talk about contemporary Egypt, and other modern societies around the world. I think it is important for kids to realize that kids around the world are going to school, playing sports, listening to music, and sharing meals and snacks with their families. Learning about our similarities and differences helps broaden our kids’ minds, and make them aware that they share this world with millions of other kids. An after-school snack can turn into a mini-lesson with an added benefit: continuously providing a wide variety of healthy foods to even picky eaters will help them make better choices and they’ll be more willing to try new foods the more they have been exposed to. So stimulate their palates, and don’t be surprised if they start to like the new tastes. Continue reading
The story goes like this: back in the 1800′s, workers in the fields and mines had a chance to take a small break and get a bite to eat. It was prohibited from drinking alcohol, and so with each other they used the code word once, (meaning “11″ and pronounced own-say) to signify aguardiente, an alcoholic drink that contains 11 letters in its name. Another similar legend has men using the term once in front of women, to clandestinely have a sip of their drink. Once began to evolve as more and more of the population used the word to signify the light meal taken as a break in the day. Today, in modern Chile, once refers to a light dinner or evening snack that consists of coffee or tea, and delicious bread with cheese, marmalade, or other accompaniments. Have you ever come home from a big midday meal, didn’t want to make dinner, and didn’t know what to feed the kids? Here is your fresh and delicious answer– nutritious and ready in under 5 minutes. Continue reading
Ethiopia is truly the land of milk and honey… especially the honey part! Because of a climate that produces such a diversity of flowering plants, and a rich history of thousands of years of beekeeping, Ethiopia is the leading African nation in production of beeswax and honey and in the top 10 nations worldwide. One way to eat honey is to bake it in bread. This is a recipe for a not-so-common bread called Yemarina Yewotet Dabo. Yemar means honey, yewotet means milk, and dabo means bread in Amharic, one of the main languages of Ethiopia. Most dabo (bread) do not have honey, eggs, nor milk as part of the ingredients, which makes this bread unique. Continue reading
Enjoying her mango and blackberry batido
One of my favorite things about traveling is all of the fresh fruit, freshly squeezed juices, and freshly blended smoothies! Costa Rica is a lush paradise where tropical fruit thrives: pineapples, bananas, mangos, maracuyás, guayabas, coconut, cas, etc. Making these easy, super-healthy batidos at home brings a little bit of Costa Rica to your kitchen. Continue reading