Kids in the Kitchen: anything in breadcrumbs!

Children like breadcrumbs!

If your house is anything like ours you eat a lot of bread.

With that comes a lot of bread that goes stale, which is perfect for making homemade breadcrumbs. If you have a food processor just blitz them in there for 30 seconds and store in the freezer till needed!

So when thinking about using breadcrumbs, and involving Joe, the first dinner that comes to mind is Chicken Parmesan.

For 4 chicken cutlets:

In one bowl: Joe likes to crack and whisk the eggs

  • 2 eggs
  • dash of mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a second bowl: Joe likes to mix this up with his hands

  • 3 cups breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan cheese to taste (1/2 a cup to start)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chicken breasts are dipped into the egg mix then the breadcrumbs, and baked on a cookie sheet at 400 F for 20 mins.

Joe enjoying getting his hands sticky! ~ 3.5 years old

Joe enjoying getting his hands sticky! ~ 3.5 years old

Its struck me recently that this idea can be adapted easily!

Replace chicken with mushrooms, tofu, eggplant, or other meats and fishes

Spice up the breadcrumbs with coconut, sun dried tomatoes, herbs, spices,

Add extra nutrients or fiber by adding grains, flax, seeds, even ground nuts to the breadcrumbs or even in replacement for them.

Its quick, easy, healthy, messy and easy to engage your little people!

– Sarah

Posted in Kids in the Kitchen, Main Course | 2 Comments

Healthy alternative to cupcakes for celebrations!

Saw this, too cute not to share

Source: Luz’s Unique Creations

Posted in Snack, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kids in the Kitchen: starting early

Joe has been joining me in the kitchen since he was old enough to stand on stool.

Check  out some of these old photos of him getting involved:

Cornish Pasties - 8/2011 Joe ~18 months

Cornish Pasties – 8/2011 Joe ~18 months

Cornish Pasties - 8/2011 Joe ~18 months

Cornish Pasties – 8/2011 Joe ~18 months

Chopping (and eating) mushrooms - 12/2011 Joe ~23 months

Chopping (and eating) mushrooms – 12/2011 Joe ~23 months

excuse the blurry photos, its the child not the camera!

Do your children help out in the kitchen?

– Sarah

Posted in Kids in the Kitchen | 1 Comment

Which box to buy?

Hi Central eaters!

By way of introduction, I’m Sarah, Joe Chiaramonte’s mum, a new central eats blogger! Joe has been at CMS for nearly 2 years now (Ms Parham’s class) and we couldn’t be happier.

One of the many things that drew us to CMS was the food policy. Both Joe’s Dad, Jay, and I grew up with “self sufficient” parents who grew or raised most of our diet. We strive to give Joe a more moderate yet natural based diet.

Before we joined CMS I did a lot of research on lunch boxes.

I hate plastic ware! I know, strong words, but not only does it clutter up the kitchen cupboards, break, leak and stain, but as a former cancer researcher I do not feel comfortable storing my foods in plastic.

So my mission was to find something not plastic, preferably stainless steel, that would withstand daily trips to school, not leak, wash easily, and was kind to the planet.

My research bought me to the Planet Box

We could not be more happy with it over the last 2 years. The bag was a little challenging to keep clean when Joe was younger but does go in the washing machine, despite the directions saying not. We have had to replace the bag once but now have 2 boxes which we rotate.

Here’s a picture of one of Joe’s lunches in his Planet Box.


Apples, Grapes, Banana, some mixed nuts, pitta bread, salad, and leftover eggplant Parmesan

Do you have a favorite Lunch box system? or even one you don’t recommend?

Posted in Lunchbox | 4 Comments

Vegan Pink Berry Pudding

I am always looking for low sugar substitutes for dessert or special treats. I found this one at and, in honor of the upcoming holiday, thought I would share. It’s vegan, raw and low sugar. And it’s quite tasty.


Makes about 4 servings

1 cup cashews
1 1/2 frozen organic raspberries or strawberries (or a combo of both)
4-5 Tbsp maple syrup
4-5 Tbsp non-dairy milk such as coconut, almond, or soy
Toppings such as berries, granola, even chocolate shavings
Gather the ingredients. Put the nuts in a bowl and cover with water (preferably filtered). Let soak for 2-3 hours to soften the cashews and make them easier for blending.Drain the cashews. Place all the ingredients in a blender. I recommend putting the maple syrup and non-dairy milk in before the cashews or strawberries and/or raspberries to make blending easier. For both the milk and maple syrup, start with 4 Tbsp and add another only if needed. Blend until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides of the blender as necessary.Using a spatula, spoon the pudding out of the blender and into the Mason jars. If serving immediately, add desired toppings. Or cover the puddings with a lid and refrigerate until ready to serve. This recipe makes about enough to fill four 1/2 pint Mason jars.

– See more at:

Posted in Dessert, Lunchbox, Snack, Uncategorized, Vegan | 14 Comments

Cheesy Roasted Chickpeas


One of my birthday gifts this year, from my very thoughtful daughter, was a vegan lunchbox cookbook. Not sure what the message was, but I really did need some new ideas.

Yesterday we broke out the book and made a quick snack to add to the lunch boxes this week.
These are super fast and easy and very delicious. We sampled a few and later I caught my daughter several times up at the counter sneaking more.  She said “Mama I just can’t stop eating them. Can you hide them from me so I have some to take to school?” My sentiments exactly, I was thinking we should at least double the recipe next time.

1 15oz. can Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl toss the beans with the salt, yeast and oil. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and crispy. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

**Recipe from Vegan Lunch Box, by Jennifer McCann.

Posted in Lunchbox, Snack, Uncategorized, Vegan | 2 Comments

Easy Baked Potato

For a warm, easy, winter dinner, a baked potato is a blank canvas.  Go easy and simple – just add some butter, cheese, sour cream, and chopped fresh veggies such as scallions black olives, sweet peppers.  Or deck it out with leftover beans or chili, or freshly steamed veggies like broccoli, carrots, green beans, edamame.  So many options.  Moreover this is one that the little ones can help to cook and assemble.

baked potato












This one’s dressed up with turkey sausage, steamed broccoli, parmesan, sour cream and some salt and black pepper.

Ingredients: big baking potato and whatever toppings you want to add once its done

Instructions (fun from the get go):

  • stab each potato a few times all around with a fork (or you could skip this part if you want an exploded potato, giant mess and perhaps a busted microwave)
  • coat with a light sheen of olive oil (optional.  I read that softer skins help the spud to cook more thoroughly and quickly, but I have never done this)
  • place in a single layer on a plate and microwave for 5 minutes.  Same goes if cooking more than one.
  • turn each potato over and microwave another 5 minutes
  • remove from microwave
  • make one slice lengthwise along the top
  • chop up or spread out the insides
  • add toppings and eat

A quick trick to expose the innards: place fingers and thumb of each hand at each end of the potato, as if you are going to pinch back together the long cut you made in the top of the potato.  Then push your fingers and thumbs together, toward the center of the potato, forcing all the insides up and out.  This’ll expose lots of steaming surface area for the butter, cheese and/or for planting that broccoli forest on the top.

Posted in Frugal, Main Course, Vegan | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment