Happy 1st Birthday to School Bites! Plus, A Recipe for Mini Carrot Cupcakes (Kids Cook Monday)
|April 1, 2013||Posted by Stacy under Improving school food, Making change, Recipes, Uncategorized|
It was exactly one year ago today that I wrote and published my very first post for School Bites. At the time, I was taking a digital journalism class that required starting a blog. While some of my classmates struggled to come up with a topic, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about: the insane amount of junk food at my son’s elementary school—and my attempt to do something about it.
Over the past year, I have spoken my mind about parents bearing trays of cupcakes, discussed school district wellness policies and food rewards, and offered up ideas for healthy classroom parties. I’ve featured cool school wellness programs like Rainbow Day and healthy school success stories. I became a Kids Cook Monday blogger, a PreventObesity.net leader and a Jamie Oliver Food Ambassador. (Oh, and in case you didn’t notice the emblem on the right, School Bites was named Jamie Oliver Food Revolution’s Blog of the Month in January—an incredible honor!).
Through it all, I have learned a ton. I have stayed up into the wee hours delving into United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations, researching ideas for healthy fundraisers, and writing emails to our school principal. I’ve explored my motivation for fighting for better school food and my problem with candy Valentines. I’ve come to realize how difficult it can be to change the food culture at a school. But despite my frustration, I have refused to give up and continue to encourage other parents to join the fight.
Though I wish I had made more progress curbing the junk food at my son’s school, there’s still a lot to celebrate. And what better way to do it than with a cupcake?
To mark this special occasion, I’ve decided to share my beloved mini carrot cupcake recipe. I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like these moist, flavorful cupcakes, which I’ve served at several of my children’s birthday parties. Because, yes, I do think that there’s room in our kids’ diets for sweet treats. In moderation. That means a few times a week, preferably at home–not in the classroom!
Mini Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted (just a smidge!) from Ellie Krieger via Food Network
Yields: 28 mini cupcakes
1 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs (preferably cage free)
2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 3 medium carrots, peeled)
1/2 cup natural applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (preferably organic)
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, such as Neufchatel, at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 28 mini muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, oil and eggs until well combined. Add carrots, applesauce and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Divide the batter among the mini muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 11 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- With an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes. For fun, I sometimes top mine with India Tree natural sprinkles and/or heart-shaped strawberries. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
On this special anniversary, I have one wish: for you to tell me what types of stories you’d like to see more (or less) of on School Bites. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.