Actor Reed Alexander, best known for his role as the villainous Nevel on the Nickelodeon series “iCarly,” has long had a love of cooking – healthy cooking to be exact. His website KewlBites.com is full of healthy versions of kid favorites, like ice pops, cookies, chicken wings, and burgers.
Today is the release of his new cookbook “Kewl Bites: 100 Nutritious, Delicious, and Family-Friendly Dishes” (Rodale Books, $21.99). The 18-year-old, who just started NYU, is a spokesperson for the Clinton Foundation Allliance for a Healthier Generation, and a collaborator for first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program.
He has compiled his favorite 100 kid-tested and parent-approved recipes into a 212-page softcover book filled with recipes, tips, tricks and strategies to get kids to eat healthier, fresher foods.
As a young actor, Alexander found himself overweight and lethargic and decided to overhaul his diet by learning to cook his favorite foods in a healthier way. He lost around 15 pounds a few years ago and launched his KewlBites web site.
The cookbook, which he discussed with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on today’s “Today” show, features recipes for every meal of the day, snacks, sides, soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. There’s also a section on stocking a KewlBites pantry, lots of color photos with step-by-step directions, and close-ups of the dishes.
And it’s not just “kiddie food” like sliders and cupcakes – although you’ll find recipes for those, too -- there are some quite sophisticated dishes such as Spiced Chai Latte, Plum-Apple Chutney, Braised Pork Loin, and fantastic-looking Tapas-Style Open-Faced Salmon Sandwiches With Dill Pesto.
Looking for healthy after-school snacks? There’s a chapter devoted to snacking with dishes including Fig and Apple Bars, a Banana Split Smoothie, and Flavored Popcorn 3 Ways. The dessert chapter also has good choices, such as Carrot Cupcakes, Watermelon-Lime Ice Pops, and Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Bars, which he showed off on Tuesday’s “Today” show.
Want to try his Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Bars? Here’s the recipe, from “Kewl Bites”:
Peanut butter-chocolate chip bars
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup raw sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 10-inch square baking pan with canola oil.
In a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, espresso powder and salt.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), beat the sugar, butter, peanut butter, and vanilla extract for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the egg and egg white and beat 1 minute on medium speed. Gradually incorporate the flour mixture, mixing constantly. Stir in the chocolate and peanut butter chips.
Spread the batter in the pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the bars are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing into 16 squares.
Makes 16 bars.