Summering Indoors

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Summering Indoors

By Brooke Deen

Summers are supposed to be sunny and hot, but here in Savannah the weather is so unbearable and the mosquitoes are so thick that we might as well be snowed in. Even the pool is already over 100 degrees, making it feel like a hot shower. So we take refuge in our air-conditioned home and try to come up with new and creative ways to spend our days together.

When trying to think up something fun, I like to take cues from Jack—to keep in mind what he already likes to do. He loves to create, especially when it comes to cooking. Each morning he gets up and asks me, “What can we make today?” Jamie and I have found that we can get him to eat healthy if we can figure out ways to make it fun. I’m not one of those people where everything’s got to be organic, but I go to lengths to avoid excess fat and processed food when I can, which is really important since Jack is in the middle of (another) growth spurt. For example, I try to not use butter when we do steamed vegetables and we always have fresh fruit on hand. So Jack and I have started a summer tradition of making fruit smoothies everyday. We try out all sorts of different ingredients but follow a general recipe that includes Greek yogurt for protein, one frozen fruit, one fresh fruit and a splash of apple juice for sweetness. I’ve included our delicious mango-banana-pineapple smoothie recipe for you to try (he named it “Jack’s Favorite”). He tops it off with a fun straw (we printed the straw toppers in the photo from the Nick Jr. site) and sucks it down. Jack’s gotten so good at making smoothies that he’s sure we could open our very own smoothie stand (clearly, he’s a Deen).

Some of the fruits we use come from Jack’s own garden. See, we also discovered that involving Jack in gardening has widened his appreciation for foods he otherwise may have turned up his nose at. We use a small window box in the backyard as Jack’s personal garden. There he’s planted different fruits and vegetables. Right now he’s got basil and tomatoes. And he’s really excited about it. He gets up each morning before it starts to swelter outside and he checks on his plants, waters them and picks the fruits and veggies when they’re ready. He eats them right there. Before he grew tomatoes, he wouldn’t have anything to do with them. But now that he can grow tomatoes and pick them right off the vine, he’s eating them! Gardening is such a great activity for all kids, and for 4-year-olds, a small container garden like Jack’s window box is a great place to start.

These morning rituals have become a big part of our summer together. And besides being fun, cooking and gardening teach young children to appreciate the taste of healthy foods and understand how we get them. And who knows, maybe Jack has a future in fresh-fruit smoothie sales. But for now, I think we’ll keep it indoors.

“Jack’s Favorite”: Mango-Banana-Pineapple Smoothie

1 Cup frozen Mango chunks
1 Cup frozen Pineapple chunks
1 Medium banana
1 Container vanilla Greek yogurt (5.3 oz)
1 1/2 cups apple juice

Place the fruit in the base of the blender. Add yogurt and juice. Blend on low, stopping the blender to stir if necessary, until smooth. Increase to high for a several seconds. Divide the mixture among your cups and top with fresh mango or pineapple.

Other Smoothie Recipes from Jack’s Grandma:
Peach Smoothie
Tropical Fruit Smoothie
Pina Colada Smoothie

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Reader Comments:


hello brooke you are the best

By Anonymous on October 09, 2013


Brooke, I love how you and Jamie portray everyday cooking and living ideas!! Your boys are adorable!! I have a little tip for the Mosquitos. Being a Texas gal, I learned way back in the early 80's, with my little baby, to use a little bit of Thiamine everyday for about two weeks just right before the spring/summer season. It will emit an odor, undetected by humans, but the bugs can't stand it!!! We uses to get it in liquid form so you could add to the baby's bottle but I don't think they make liquid anymore. Honest to goodness, y'all!! Don't let your babies get bit anymore! God bless 😊

By Sherry Hammett on October 14, 2012


Can you tell us more about Jack's garden? I wanted to start something small in Spring 2012 for my 3 year old daughter. Will try out the smoothie recipes. Look great.

By Kim on September 06, 2011


LOVE ALL YA'LL. Sure wish you could post more pictures of that beautiful baby Matthew and that beautiful big boy Jack. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK. BEST DISHES FROM MY KITCHEN TO YOURS.

By wanda on August 22, 2011


Hey paula you should so make some red velvet cake with puding now that sound good !!!!!!!!!!!! smile Ilove your show i watch it all the time on foodnetwork! Your my idol your the best cook of them all!!!! smile

By Emily on August 21, 2011


Mmmmmmmm... That sounds amazing mabey i'll make some... and looks good too! Wel itried to make some ones red velvet cake ...... that epicly failed but i'll try this one! I just don't want to mess this up so you know. Well im going to the store rite now i hope i get the rite things... wish me luck!!

By Emily on August 21, 2011


He-Jack just looks so cute with the drink.

By Renate Uhl on August 21, 2011


Paula i just love your show and all your recipes! I'm glad you didnt let what Anthony said effect you. The things he said were rude and disrespectful and it's him that will lose fans and admirers not the only way around. Thank you for all you heart warming recipes and love smile

By Ellie on August 21, 2011


I love this smoothies recipe! There a favorite with the young ones in my family!

By Fancy Nancy on August 09, 2011


I'm sitting here dreading the start of school. Why? Because that seems to be the hottest time of the year. Taking the children to school isn't so much the issue, it's picking them up in the afternoon, after the planet has warmed up. Last year, on September 27, 2010, we reached a record 113 degrees in Los Angeles - with high humidity. It was so hot that you had to squint because the heat burned your eyeballs - I'm not kidding. God must have been looking after us, though, because as the sun started to set, the sky turned pink, and fluffy cumulus clouds delivered cooling rain. I took tall glasses, filled them with ice, then poured a tablespoon of Torani Crème De Menthe syrup, a teaspoon of Torani Chocolate Milano syrup, added water, stirred and called it a York Peppermint Pattie. We took those out on the patio, enjoyed the rain, and called it a day. I'd better stock up, September is coming!

By Adrienne Boswell on August 08, 2011


Paula and Brooke... Thanks so much for sharing these sweet pics of Jack.. He's a doll baby.. How proud you both must be.. I'm a grandmother of two grandsons as well.. one is 17 and the youngest is almost 4..(jan. 22nd ) Love the smoothie recipes.. LOVE LOVE LOVE them and so do my grandsons'Keep bringing the great recipes.. Love your show Paula... watch it all the time.. made many many of your great recipes... Love from Ohio... Wanda Bolen.

By wanda bolen on August 07, 2011


Hi paula, We have a nice pool the kids love that. Some days we are inside making crafts and keeping cool. We also go on adventures on the local bus and shopping right for school . Have a lot to do and get for school . I have 4 monkeys aleta 7, Connor 5, Isaiah 5, and Revan 3, my 3 oldest start the 22nd and my youngest well I'm hoping he will start a pre pre school program. Keeping them busy is hard and can be fun. The are fun and crazy. Today we are having a quite day inside tomorrow pool all day and some shopping once it cools off. Love ya Paula .smile

By aleasha on August 07, 2011


Paula I agree it's hot enough here ya can't catch your breath!! So anything that is cool or cold goes over great round here. The only problem I have is like you I have a house full of male children,(24,22,19,& 15) who think they have to have "momma's" cooking!!! Please give me some ideas that would satisfy them but not heat up the kitchen to a boiling point! Thanks a million. Shannon

By Shannon Dendy on August 04, 2011


It sure has been a long hot summer in Memphis. Love this post. I need a good cool drink to get me in the mood to work. Thanks

By sherri in tn on July 29, 2011


I did not make this recipe but I did try making the Ooey Gooey Chocolate Ice Cream Cake for a co-workers going away party as he got a new job in Atlanta. The cake taste great but the recipe fails to mention when you should remove it from the spring form pan. Don't know if anyone at the Mag reads these but a little more instruction would be helpful. Thanks,

By Anna on July 27, 2011


The smoothies are just so tasty. Jack is just a doll and getting sooo big already.

By Susan on July 26, 2011


Paula: We love to hear from and about Jack....he seems such a sweet boy and we love to see him on your programs. I have 4 grand children so i know how you feel...give him a big hug and a kiss for us. Thanks for sharing him with us.

By Donna Rosenthal on July 26, 2011


Paula, That is so inspiring , We have 2 little grandsons that are going to be 4 also this year I think that would be a very good project for them to see how vegetables grow and how different fresh food tastes, so much better then frozen or in cans . Thanks , and I am going to have to try the smoothies myself, Now I do not remember do you use any ice in them to make them colder or can you .

By jan on July 26, 2011


Brooke, thanks for reminding me (a person who doesn't have young children) that apple juice is a perfect addition to a smoothie! Great post!

By Libbie Summers, Senior Food Editor for Paula Deen on July 23, 2011


I made these this morning with my little boys - 5 and 3. I always used vanilla yogurt before and was so glad that they didn't even notice the lack of sugar when I tried the Greek yogurt. I did add a splash of vanilla. They both loved them. Thanks! Michelle

By Michelle Paramoure on July 23, 2011

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