Around the World in 80 Plates: New Zealand // Pavlova

Captain Create has floated in his hot air balloon all the way around the world to New Zealand! This beautiful island nation is made up of 2 big islands — the North Island and the South Island —and over 700 smaller islands, but most of the people live on the northern island. New Zealand is also known as Aotearoa in the Maori language. Māori are the tangata whenua (indigenous people) of Aotearoa/ New Zealand and their culture is an integral part of local life. If you visit New Zealand, you’ll be able to see many ways the Maori influence the culture, art, and food across the country. One of the most noticeable Maori traditions is their Ta Moko.

Modern New Zealand is famous for the itty bitty kiwi birds, raising sheep on their mountain ranges, and their love of rugby! They learned the rough game of rugby, and other less rough games like soccer and cricket, from the British during the time they ruled over New Zealand as a colony. The British colonizers brought their traditional recipes with them from Europe and over time as they cooked and lived in New Zealand, the cuisines combined to create modern New Zealand food.

One such tasty food is the Pavlova! It was brought to both New Zealand and Australia in the 1920’s and has been a much loved dessert ever since. It is usually made with whipped egg whites and sugar, then topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream, and sometimes tart lemon or lime curd. The baked egg whites are crispy and crunchy on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside like a marshmallow!

Captain Create knows that some folks can’t eat eggs, or that they choose not to, and there is a way to make a pavlova without eggs! The liquid from inside a can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) can be whipped with sugar and it makes a fluffy white foam, just like whipped egg whites! You can try it either way, and see which you like better!

Nutrition Tip of the Week: Plan for Snack Success

After school snacks are a big deal; learning all day uses a lot of energy! Captain Create has a few tips and tricks to make after school snack time less like a feeding frenzy on the savannah, and more like a quick stop in the kitchen before homework or play starts!

Take a few minutes each week to plan after school snack time with your family. Consider looking in the weekly grocery store ad, or shopping in your own pantry to make a list. Letting everyone in the family help to write the list of possible after school snacks makes it more likely that these after school snacks will get eaten up after school each day.

Captain Create loves a healthy after school snack that will keep your brain and body going until dinner time! By combining three food groups from the MyPlate plate, you are already almost done.

A filling snack to satisfy any hungry tummy (and brain) has THREE EASY PARTS:

  • 1- Grain: Whole grains work hard in your body! They give your brain energy, help fuel your muscles, and keep you full with fiber!
  • 2- Fruit or Veggie– Fruits and Veggies bring vitamins, minerals, and lots of flavor to your snacktime. Did Captain Create mention that they taste really good?! Especially with a tasty dip or sauce!
  • 3- Protein: Foods from the protein group keep your tummy full, help to build your muscles for lots of after school yoga, running, jumping, or even a walk around the block.

Try planning your after school snacks ahead of time to make them easy to find and eat!

Gather the family with a pen and paper and think, think, think!

What is growing right now? What is your favorite fruit or veggie?

Was there a sale at the store? Are there leftovers in the fridge you can upgrade?

Go check the freezer and pantry too; Frozen & canned foods have lots of nutrition in them!

Here are a few snacks Captain Create likes to make to keep his energy up all afternoon. Try them, then make up your own favorite combination of Grains, Fruits & Veggies, and Protein!

Sometimes you can make a snack that is so tasty you want to eat it everyday. That’s okay! Do it! Then, when you decide to try a new one, go try that one!

Top 5 Ways to Upgrade a Can of Tuna!

Folks often overlook these little cans of tasty fish, and they are missing out on a lot of opportunity! Tuna in a can is easy to keep in your pantry, lasts a long time, is low-cost, and is a great source of low-calorie protein! There are an endless amount of recipes that take advantage of this cost-effective and easy to use source of protein. Your family may even have their own go-to canned tuna recipe.

When choosing a can of tuna, look for light tuna packed in water for a lower fat option that will provide more flavor right from the fish, instead of from the oil surrounding it.
While many of us have tried dishes from a can of tuna like Tuna Noodle Casserole, or mixed it with mayo and relish for a tuna sandwich, there are lots of other tasty ways to try new things and get that muscle building protien and helpful B vitamins.

Try one of Captain Create’s Easy Upgrades!

Recipe of the Week: Lime & Tuna Salad

February is National Snack Month, and this easy peasy snack is packed with protein to keep you going all afternoon, whether you’re on a hike, digging a garden, or doing trigonometry homework. You can serve it in crunchy lettuce leaves, on whole wheat crackers, or between two slices of toasted whole grain bread.

Crack open a tasty can of tuna packed in water and stir it all together. You can mix and match any flavors you like too; there are no rules! Switch up the parsley, apple and walnuts for jicama, cilantro, and spicy pecans for a spicy and crunchy alternative.

Captain Create’s Red Fruit Roundup

Happy Valentine’s Day! There are lots of easy ways to share the love today whether its a card, a hug, a bunch of flowers or something tasty to eat, there is always room for healthy snacks!

Fruit always adds a sweet bite to any meal or snack, and red fruits in particular are full of helpful vitamins to keep hearts beating and arms strong to write Valentine’s Day cards.

Red fruits have tons of benefits like lots of fiber, vitamins C and A, and nutrients like folate and lycopene, and are full of antioxidants which are thought to combat cancer.

How are you going to add red fruits to your day? Captain Create has a few ideas for you!

Recipe of the Week: Spicy Fruit Salad

Its cold outside! Once you’re done shoveling, sledding, or skiing go inside for some tasty spicy fruit to warm up! This is another no-rules recipe; use the fruit you like or have on hand, and switch it up until you find your favorite combination!

Around the World in 80 Plates: Colombia

Colombia has been in the news and on our screens lately in a fun animated musical, so Captain Create decided it was time for a visit to Bogota. It is the capital city of Colombia, and home to nearly 7.5 million people! The city is built high in Andes mountain range at 8,660 feet above sea level (that’s even higher than Denver in the Rocky Mountains!), and the weather is cool most of the year. Even though Colombia is close to the equator, and some of the forests are tropical, much of the weather is cooler because of the high elevation. They grow lots of tasty food, and can catch fish from the ocean and some high mountain rivers and lakes. Colombian farmers raise everything from coffee to corn to cattle, and even cocoa! What would you eat first if you got to visit?

Most of the children play soccer and baseball. If you have the chance to visit, walking anywhere will probably be a hike for you in the super tall Andes Mountains, which stretch across much of Colombia. There is one really incredible place to hike to: the Caño Cristales, or the River of Five Colors. It turns colors because of the different aquatic plants that grow there, and its unlike anywhere else in the world. You’d need a couple plane rides and a local hiking guide to take you there, and if world travel is not your cup of tea, you can check out the pictures of this amazing river that Captain Create has found from folks that did go!

After hiking all that way, or visiting any of the museums, like the The National Museum, or Museo Nacional, which highlights the history of the region and the indigenous people and cultures, or the Museo de Oro (Gold Museum full of beautiful and ancient artifacts) in Bogota, you’ll need some food! Something that nearly every Colombian will have eaten over and over is the simple little Arepa, which is a griddle-cooked corn cake that usually has melty cheese inside it. Sometimes they are served plain, but you’ll also find them with salsas, barbecued eat, vegetables, scrambled eggs or as a side to a bigger meal. There as many ways to eat an arepa as there are Colombians, so try one and make it the way you like best!

Here are a few examples of what to look for if you aren’t familiar with these tasty latin ingredients. Most can be found in latin markets, but some big chain stores have them as well.

Nutrition Tip of the Week: Upgrade your Quesadilla!

Everyone loves a quick and easy meal of melty cheese and crisp warm tortillas, but why not add more flavor and nutrition with a few easy upgrades?

Start with a whole wheat tortilla to add lasting energy, extra fiber, and minerals, then boost your immune system support with colorful veggies and bright sauces. Last, but not least, get creative! Try a spinach tortilla, breakfast fillings, or fold in other global flavors and cuisines.

There are no rules when it comes to filling a quesadilla!

Celebrate National Peanut Butter Day!

What a tasty holiday! Peanut butter is an American classic and can be found in almost every pantry cabinet in the country. Its tasty, packed with protein, and easy to eat in all sorts of foods.

Captain Create has a tasty recipe to share below, and his friend Candi over at has a whole collection of tasty peanut butter recipes to help you celebrate!

Recipe of the Week: Easiest Ever Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are the perfect nutrient-packed veggie to keep your body going in the early parts of the new year. They are easy to cook, full of vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and high in fiber and best of all, they taste great! Sweet potatoes and yams are very similar, and can be used in place of each other in most recipes. There are even sweet potatoes that are purple on the inside!

Lots of people think of sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner, then forget about them for the rest of the year, but they are useful in any way you’d use another potato, or many other veggies!

Roast them and add chives for dinner, roast and smash one up for breakfast with an egg on top, or sprinkle in a bit of cinnamon and just a bit of butter for a sweet after school snack.

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