Spring is almost here! Spring will keep you on your toes because sometimes the weather is warm for running, playing, or gardening outside, and other days the weather is wild and cold so its easier to find things to do inside to stay active.
Do you have a plan to stay busy or are you hoping to just get lucky? Captain Create loves to run, jump, and play, as well as learn new things, and he has a fun family checklist to share.
Do you think you and your family can check off all the boxes? Print this page and stick it somewhere the whole family can see, like on the fridge or by the door, and make a plan to check off the list as a family!
Winter is the best time of year for bright and delicious citrus like tiny little clementines. They are packed with flavor, fiber and our favorite immune boosting vitamin C! Try them as a fun family project and fruity dessert this week! Bright red blood oranges are also in season and they have a wild red color and taste a little different than an orange colored orange. Try them out!
Captain Create is Genoa, on the famous Italian Riviera in Liguria learning how to make a pasta shape known as TROFIE. Its a hand-rolled pasta, and a lot of fun to make! Its name comes from a Greek word for “nourishment.” Trofie are almost always served with fresh basil pesto (Captain Create has a recipe for that too!)
There are nearly as many pasta shapes in Italy as there are Italians, and the kind of pasta they make and eat depends on the part of Italy that they live. In the northern regions they often make fresh pasta with flour and water or sometimes eggs, and as you move south the pasta shapes and recipes change. The hot and dry climate of southern Italy makes it easy to make dried pasta with just flour and water, and they use a fun machine called an extruder to make the dried pasta shapes we are used to buying at the store. Central Italy is a meeting point where they sometimes make the egg dough of the north, and sometimes used the dried pasta of the south. The warm climate is also perfect to grow Genovese Basil, the base of the pesto sauce you usually eat with Trofie. Look how pretty that field of basil is!
Making trofie is a great family activity, and you’re going to make a bit of a mess, but its okay! You’ll have time to clean up before dinner is served.
In Italy, this pasta is made using Semolina Flour, which is ground from hard wheat, and gives the pasta a yellow color and a little bit different texture, If you can find semolina flour to use that’s great, but it is not a deal breaker. You can use all purpose flour too and you’ll still get yummy noodles!
Now for the fun part!
On a clean table or countertop or in a mixing bowl, make a mountain of 1 1/2 cups flour, then make the flour into a bowl and add 1/2 tsp salt. Next add a little bit of water to the flour-bowl and start mixing with your hands! Really get in there and knead it. You may use up to a cup of water, and you need to knead until its a smooth ball.
Once your dough is kneaded into a nice ball, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. This gives you time to clean up a bit and to make the basil pesto that is traditionally served with this pasta shape in Liguria. (You can serve this pasta with whatever sauce you’d like to though! Its your meal, so create what you like!
Now that your dough is all rested, its ready for the next step: rolling! First, start a big pot of boiling water with salt in it. Then back to the dough: roll out a big long worm, then cut of little bits about the size of a marble.
Roll out each dough-marble to a little worm shape and let them rest on a tray while you make the next one!
Cook the little Trofie in the boiling water for about 4 minutes, then drain them and while the trofie are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the basil pesto and enjoy!
Let us know how your pasta making adventure goes, and don’t be afraid to have a grown up help you learn about more Italian pasta shapes and recipes!
Adding more nutrition to things you already eat is an easy way to maintain your health and branch out a little bit to see if you like a new thing! Trying new things is a fun way to go on a little adventure every day,
Captain Create has toast for breakfast a lot of mornings; do you know what kind?! That’s right! Whole Wheat Toast! At store, Captain Create checks for this handy gold stamp to help him be sure there are whole grains in there! Do you know to look for the stamp? Show your grown ups what it looks like for the next time they go shopping.
What can you add to toast so you can add more of the MyPlate categories to it?
Let’s look at the plate again and brainstorm some toast upgrades!
Captain Create has gone to Juab County to make amazing veggies with his friend Laurie! She loves to create new dishes, and she practices varying her veggies by cooking what is in season. Looks like colorful squash and zuchinni are some of her favorites. Let’s cook Amazing Veggies with Laurie today!
Sometimes veggies can take a long time to roast, so while you’re patiently waiting for your yummy veggies, you can ask a grown-up print this fun worksheet and plan a meal or two! Be sure to add your favorite fruits, veggies, whole grains, and a yummy protein.
Do you remember how big a serving is?
How many servings from each food group do you need each day?
What will you drink? Milk is a good choice, but juice might go with your plan better.
When the whole family helps to plan the meal, the whole family will have more fun cooking and eating dinner together! Casseroles are an easy way to use up foods you already have on hand, or to take advantage of some leftovers. Getting everyone in the family involved also means they are more likely to eat it!
Captain Create is known for his CREATING skills, and casseroles are fun to create! Simply choose and ingredient from each category, cook it up, and choose a name for your new creation!
Need a little inspiration? Here are some tried and true casserole recipes your family will love!
We all have our favorite easy weeknight meals, and mac and cheese is a classic American comfort food. By itself, it’s got the grains and dairy groups easily, but there aren’t and fruits, veggies, or much protein in there. Don’t fret! It is easy to upgrade a humble box of mac and cheese to a meal that is both delicious and has all the food groups!
As always, you can mix, match, or make up your own upgrades depending on what you like to eat and what you have at home. Make a game of it and try a new upgrade each month until you have your family’s favorite nutritious upgrade!
Ola from Brazil! Today Captain Create is in Rio de Janeiro, the former capital of Brazil. In Colonial times, this coastal city was the hub of all commerce and activity because ocean travel was the only way to get in and out to go far away. (No airplanes in the 18th century!) As you can see, this city has a lot of access to the ocean, and there are often parties on the beach with lots of music and dancing.
Do you like music and dancing?
Brazilians often dance the Samba, which is a lot of stepping backwards and forwards with your knees bent while fast music plays. If you are at a dancing competition, there are rules to follow; if you are dancing at home (or at the beach) there are no rules! Just have fun! You can also have a grown up help you use the internet to find Samba lessons for kids and try it out!
Brazil used to be controlled by the Portuguese, and the national language in Brazil is still Portuguese, but there are a few small differences from what they speak in Portugal. Kind of like how the people in the American South sound different from people who grew up in the Mountain West. There are more languages than just Portuguese spoken in Brazil though. The (very large) population of Brazil speaks or signs approximately 228 languages, of which 217 are indigenous and 11 came with immigrants. Because there are so many different cultures living in the same place, the food in Brazil is very diverse and delicious.
Chef Teresa Corção, who owns the restaurant O Navegador in Rio de Janeiro, says that her favorite Brazilian food, Feijoada (black bean stew), has as many different recipes as there are Brazilians! The food she cooks in her restaurant is all either raised or grown in Brazil, and she works hard with other chefs and farmers to make sure that the unique foods of Brazil are going to be preserved because they are important to the people and history of Brazil.
She taught Captain Create how to make Feijoada, and a yummy snack to go with it, Pão de Queijo (Gluten-free cheese rolls!). Because some of the ingredients Chef Teresa uses aren’t as easy to find in the USA, Captain Create changed the Feijoada recipe a little bit, but that is okay! Remember there are as many recipes for feijoada as there are Brazilians!
Let’s get cooking!
Traditionally, the Feijoada starts from dry black beans, which need to be soaked overnight in plenty of cold water. Be sure to plan ahead, or check the notes at the end of the recipe to use canned beans. This is an easy recipe to adapt to what you like and have at home. Serving oranges along with this stew is traditional, and can even help your body absorb more iron from the stew!
Pão de Queijo is an easy and really yummy gluten free cheesy bread made from what the Brazilians call Manioc root. It grows wild and on farms in tropical regions, and it is very flavorless, but used in lots of South American and African countries. Lucky for us, it is sold in the US as Tapioca (use the powdery tapioca flour from the grains section of the store, not the pudding tapicoa pearls!)
Captain Create loves to see what you make, so share your family’s Feijoada and Pão de Queijo in the comments!