Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Don't toss the peels!

It is clementine season! I just bought a BIG crate of them for $5 at the grocery store, and the kids love them because they can peel them themselves and they have no seeds.

It might not look pretty, but it smells so good!
Instead of throwing away your citrus peels, toss them into a pot of water with some cinnamon (and/or nutmeg, cloves, etc.) and simmer on your stove for a lovely and natural air freshener. My mom used to do this during the holiday seasons, so it reminds me of my childhood. I hope my kids will have the same memory!

Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm still full!

Oh how I love Thanksgiving. It isn't commercialized, it focuses on something so simple and pure (thankfulness and family), and there is massively delicious food involved. Real food...food you have to spend days cooking. Ahhhhhhhh....

My kids thoroughly enjoyed the holiday as well. I have been witness to many Thanksgiving meals where the kids barely had anything on their plates because they didn't know how to react to a "real" meal. How sad! Holidays are a great time to introduce your kids to new foods, especially if you have various family members bringing dishes that might not be what you typically make at home. I've already gotten my sister's pasta salad recipe!

Part of the spread...I couldn't fit it all in one photo!

Grayson's (first) plate - his favorite was the Tofurkey (my sister is vegan).
Harper's favorite was my mom's sweet potato pudding.

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving...keep enjoying those leftovers!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Birthday party food

As the mom of a 7 year old and 4 year old, I've gotten to know a thing or two about birthday parties. You can count on tons of junk food being served at most. Don't get me wrong, if there was ever a time for junk food, a birthday party is that time. The thing is, kids will eat junk if it is around (as will most adults). If it isn't, then they won't! (And they probably won't miss it.)

In addition to the delicious cake, I offered pretzels, cheese, veggies, and organic ranch dressing (Grayson's choices). We also roast marshmallows at the end of the day, but the kids care more about the process of that than actually eating them it seems.

So yes, serve up cake and ice cream and any other big treat your kid is dying to have on their birthday, but also remember that kids aren't there to eat, so you don't have to provide a junk food buffet.. They just want to play, have fun, and celebrate!
The main attraction!

Marshmallow perfection!

The healthier stuff!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Grayson!

Seven years ago today, I became a mother for the first time! My journey to healthy eating started that very day, and I have my son to thank for that. I am so proud of him...I couldn't have asked for anyone better to be my kid! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that he isn't a picky eater and that he loves food! :) Happy birthday baby boy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Annoying commercial #19

Pop-tarts are a breakfast staple in so many homes. I know I ate my fair share of them growing up. But realistically, these should be treated as a dessert and a not a food to start your day with. Two frosted blueberry Pop-tarts (which is how they are packaged, in twos) have 34 grams of sugar, 400 calories, 10 grams of fat, and a bunch of funky ingredients. A package of Twinkies would be about the same. Yes, Pop-tarts are easy, but a piece of whole grain toast with a little jam or a bowl of nutritious cereal is just as simple and a lot healthier.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Southern traditions can be healthy!

I love traditions. It is nice to be able to count on something familiar happening at the same time every year and look forward to it. One local tradition we always participate in is making Brunswick stew every fall. Every church and fire department around seems to make one, plus various charitable organizations and families make them as well. It is a great way to make a large quantity of food at one time to freeze and eat all winter long.

My best friend's family made a stew on Saturday, and my family pitched in to help. If you turn it into a party, no one has to do all the work. :) We cut potatoes and onions Friday night and came over on Saturday morning to help stir. The stew is made up of tomatoes, potatoes, onions, beef, chicken, corn, Lima beans, and seasoning. The way it is cooked makes it thick and delicious!

So yes, the South is known for fried, buttery foods, but we also have some pretty healthy traditions as well...traditions I am proud to be part of and teach my children the way my grandparents and parents taught me.

Grayson packed a thermos full of stew for his lunch today. YUM!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hard boiled eggs

I made a big batch of egg salad for the rest of the week's lunches, and I was thinking to myself how many hard boiled eggs I've ruined over my lifetime until I learned how to make them just right. I've read many "recipes" on how to do them perfectly, but this is what works for me.

-Start with eggs that are about 5 days old (from day you bought)
-Place eggs in single layer in the bottom of a pot
-Cover with cold water, 1-2 inches over eggs
-Bring to a boil, cut heat off, and cover
-Let set for exactly 10 minutes
-Drain hot water off and cover with cold water
-Let set until cool, about 20 minutes
-Roll eggs gently on counter, crack, the peel

This method works for me every time, and I hope it works for you too!

Monday, November 8, 2010

New week, new lunch

Last night, I asked Grayson what he wanted for lunch today - the choice between a sandwich or a salad. He said he wanted both. At first, I told him to pick one, then I said...what the heck, you can have both! Sometimes the simplest ideas make the most sense.

Turkey & cheese on whole grain bread,  salad with mixed greens, cucumber, carrots, turkey pepperoni, mixed nuts, and cheese

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Annoying commercial #18

Several things bother me about this commercial:
1. Hiding vegetables (the new "in" thing to do)
2. Chef Boyardee for a snack?
3. Punishing a child for telling the truth
4. Where are the vegetables? Aren't tomatoes considered fruit?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Improvements in packaged fruit!

We all know that the healthiest fruit is fresh fruit, but as the weather gets colder, good produce can become harder to find and more expensive. When packing my kids' lunches, I sometimes like to include those little plastic fruit cups. It has been hard to find many that weren't packed in syrup and covered in added sugar or artificial sweetener.

During my last trip to the grocery store, I noticed that Dole has a fantastic new selection of fruits packed in juice (I saw pineapple, peaches, tropical fruit, and pears - but it seems more are offered.). Big improvement! And yes, I'm still going to pick fresh fruit whenever I can, but these are a good alternative when you need it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Seasonal smoothie

Since our town did trick-or-treating on Saturday, I didn't want to let the actual day of Halloween float by with no recognition. We spent a lot of time outdoors on a gorgeous fall day, which was lovely. After dinner, I made pumpkin smoothies to enjoy while watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. They turned out great, the kids loved them, and they were a healthy way to end a very unhealthy weekend!

I didn't measure my ingredients, but here is what I included in this smoothie:

-pureed canned pumpkin
-1 banana
-fat free plain yogurt
-sprinkle of brown sugar
-spoonful of soy nut butter

It was like a nutritious pumpkin pie in a glass!

I hope you all had a fun Halloween!