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3 Must-Have Kid-Friendly Holiday Recipes

Melissa Roja Lawlor
Nov. 1, 2012

Blogger Katie Morford introduces three deliciously healthy holiday treats as part of the Care.com Interview Series

Katie Morford of Mom's Kitchen Handbook knows a thing or two about making great food for the whole family; the tagline of her blog -- raising fresh-food kids in a French-fried world -- says it all. The mother of three knows it's not easy to get kids to eat the fresh, seasonal food that adults love, but recently, she introduced us to three delicious must-haves for your holiday table that both you and your kids can enjoy!

Similar to making regular hummus, only using beets, topped with a dab of goat's cheese. Kids love it and it goes over well with adults too. Very pretty and festive!

Makes about 2 cups


3 large red beets
2-3 tablespoons beet cooking water
1/2 cup roasted almonds
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, peeled
Salt to taste

For serving: chilled English cucumber and fresh goat cheese (chevre)


  1. Trim off the beet greens and save for another use. Scrub the beets well and put into a medium pot covered by a couple of inches with water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Drop the heat a touch until the beets cook at a medium boil until tender enough that you can easily slide a paring knife into the center. You don't want any "crunch" to your beets. The time will vary depending on how big the beets are and how rapid the boil. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beets from the cooking water (don't toss the water, you will need it).
  3. When the beets are cool enough to touch, use your hands to slip the skins off of them, discard. Be cautious here, since beet juice stains.
  4. Cut the beets into quarters and put into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add 1 tablespoon of the beet cooking water, the almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Turn on the processor and let it run until the beets turn into a fine puree. If it seems too thick, add another tablespoon or 2 of beet cooking water and puree again. Taste it and add more salt if needed.
  5. To serve for an appetizer, spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of Beet Hummus onto a slice of chilled, unpeeled, English cucumber. Top with a dot of fresh goat cheese.

An alternative to traditional applesauce that is nice on a holiday buffet or as a snack/breakfast item. Great with roast pork or pork chops.

Makes about 4 1/2 cups


8 large ripe pears, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup water


  1. Put the pears, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, and water into a medium pot, stir well, and set over high heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, drop the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer.
  2. Cook the pears, stirring occasionally, until they are tender enough to mash with a fork, about 20 minutes. Be sure that a little liquid remains in the bottom of the pot at all times. If not, add a tablespoon or 2 of water as needed. If quite a bit of juice remains when the pears are nearly cooked, remove the lid and turn up the heat so excess liquid evaporates.
  3. Transfer the pears to a blender or food processor and puree until silky smooth. Pour into a bowl or storage container and refrigerate. The sauce will firm up as it cools.

This alternative to holiday pie is great for dessert or a holiday brunch; easy to make and practically foolproof!

Makes 10 servings

This cake is made in a nine-inch spring form pan. You can also use a 10-inch pan as long as you decrease the cooking time by five to 10 minutes.


Butter and flour for dusting the pan
3 Granny Smith apples
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-inch spring form pan with butter. Lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
  2. Peel and core the apples. Slice into ¼-inch-thick wedges. Set aside.
  3. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl. Add the oil and use a whisk to mix it together until one even consistency. Add the orange juice, flour, sugar, and baking powder, and whisk until creamy and smooth.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the apples in the batter in a circle around the edge of the pan, overlapping slightly. Gently press the apples into the batter. Lay an inside circle of apples into the batter as you did the first.
  5. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes. Remove the outside of the spring form pan and serve.

Recipe adapted from Fontana del Papa.

Get more family-friendly recipe ideas in our Care.com Interview Series: 16 Easy Holiday Recipes That I Would Actually Eat »

Katie Morford is the author of Mom's Kitchen Handbook, and lives in San Francisco with her husband and three daughters. The freelance food and nutrition writer, registered dietitician, and cooking teacher has been published in the New York Times, Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, Self, and Parenting. You can also find Katie on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo used with permission from Katie Morford.

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