Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back to school prep

It is that time of year again. Time to get my little girl ready for first grade. The school supplies are waiting in her Barbie back pack. The newest line of Gymboree is hanging in her closet. Her hair is cut into an easy to manage length. The only thing left to do is start planning lunches. As Hannah put it last year she "is a packer, NOT a buyer".

I am a list writer. So of course when I started thinking about back to school meals I made a couple of lists. Here is my back to school meal plan:

- Muffins (All of these recipes are from Gluten-free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam)
*chocolate banana
*cinnamon crumb
*tart apple spice
*honey walnut
*banana pecan
- Eggs
- Almond flour pancakes
- Smoothies (All of these recipes are from Everyday Paleo: Embracing a Natural Diet &Lifestle to Increase Your Family's Health, Fitness, and Longevity by Sarah Fragoso)
*blueberry bonanza
*berry chocolate
*mango madness
- Paleo waffles

- Entrees
- turkey/ham rollups
- pb&j yogurt
- grilled/roasted chicken with dip
- almond butter and banana coconut flour crepes

- Sides
- sliced veggies (carrot, cucumber, celery, etc.)
- fruit segments (apple slices, oranges, grapes, etc)
- trail mix (nuts, seeds, & dried fruit)
- great balls of dates (Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso)
- bugs in a boat (Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso)
- yogurt
- apple/pear sauce

- Fruit slices
- Cheese slices
- Mini-muffins
- Trail mix
- Lara bar
- Apple/pear sauce
- Dried fruit (cantaloupe is the favorite right now)
- banana bread

Of course the bready/muffiny items are grain-free and home made.

What are you planning to put in your little one's lunch box?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Crockpot coconut chicken

I'm clearing out my pantry and freezer in preperation for a major kitchen renovation.  Major.  Walls will be knocked down and ceilings raised.  To get ready, I'm trying to use up everything in my pantry (the pantry will be demolished) and freezers.  Thankfully I have a second fridge/freezer in my laundry room so we can live for a few months without this appliance in the kitchen.  I need to be able to condense the two fridges into one though.  Another way I'm trying to prepare is to make a list of dinners that I can make in a crockpot on top of my washing machine.  The thought of dinner being cooked on top of the washing machine amuses me now, it might not be so funny in a few months.

This dinner takes care of both kitchen reno prep duties.  There are only three ingredients that were pulled from my pantry and freezer.

Crockpot Coconut Chicken
(serves 2 adults and 2 small children but could definitely be doubled)

3 chicken breasts
1 can of coconut milk
1 Tbs. garam marsala

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot.  Top with coconut milk and garam marsala.  Cook on low 8-10 hours.

The end result is a chicken breast that is incredibly tender and has a mild flavor.  Both of my kids gobble this up. I typically serve it with buttered broccoli.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

This Christmas we bought the kids a few toys to replenish their toy kitchen stock.  We found two great Melissa & Doug sets that the kids have been enjoying.

This set includes seven types of fruit that the kids can pretend to slice.  Ben served me a very nice wooden fruit salad today.  The kindergarten teacher in me can see lots of matching and fraction practice too.

This is the other pretend food set that was under the Christmas tree.  It is a stir fry set that includes various vegetables, shrimp, and beef, along with the necessary kitchen tools - wok, spoon, knife, and chop sticks.  Some of the foods can be chopped into smaller pieces with the knife.  Hannah has created several stir fries for her baby dolls already.  I hope that if we create matching stir fries in the kitchen maybe the kids will eat them.

Did your kitchen (real or pretend) get a little bigger Christmas morning?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trick or Treat

Halloween is just around the corner.  We try to eat healthy (obviously - given the nature of this blog) and not let Halloween derail the healthy habits we work so hard to foster.  Halloween is NOT the beginning of holiday eating.

Here is how we manage a cavity-free Halloween:

1)  Make the focus on dressing up.  The kids love choosing  their costumes and picking out the finishing touches.  This year Hannah is going to be Cinderella and Ben is going to be Elmo.  Hannah made sure to point out that Cinderella does not wear a tiara, she wears a blue satin headband and matching choker necklace.

2)  Limit trick or treating to one event.  In my town there are many many opportunities for trick or treating.  Just about all the shopping centers, malls, and even zoo have trick or treat hours that are not on Halloween.   We only go trick or treating once, around the neighborhood on Halloween.

3) Eat most of the Halloween candy on Halloween night.  I know, this probably sounds crazy.  Normally I would not condone eating large amounts of sugar but it is Halloween.  I have read that it is better for your teeth to eat a heavy dose of sugar once (and then brush well) than to be constantly snacking on sugar.  My kids are allowed to eat as much candy as they want when they come home from trick or treating.  They are usually so overwhelmed that they only eat about 5 pieces.

4)  Get rid of the candy that isn't an absolute favorite.  There is no need to eat candy that you don't like just because it was free.  The neighbors will never know you threw it away.

5)  Switch Witch!!  Every year on Halloween we have a special visitor - the Switch Witch.  The Switch Witch is kind of like the Halloween version of Santa Claus.  Instead of leaving milk and cookies we leave the majority of the Halloween candy.  The kids each pick 10 pieces to keep and the rest is left on the table.  In the morning the candy is gone and a gift is left in it's place.  My kids typically only get new toys on their birthday and Christmas so this is very exciting to them. 

How do you handle Halloween in your house?  Do you place limits on the amount of candy allowed to be eaten at once?  Do you pass out anything other than candy?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10 Commandments of healthy eating for parents

I received this as an e-mail recently and thought it was worth sharing.  We try to follow these guidelines in our home.

The 10 Commandments of Healthy Eating for Parents

It's as simple as counting to 10!
  1. Thou shalt not force, bribe or coerce thy child to eat.
  2. Thou shalt set a good example by eating at least five fruits per day thyself.
  3. Thou shalt make mealtimes pleasant.
  4. Thou shalt encourage thy child to help in meal planning, preparation, and cleanup.
  5. Thou shalt back off when mealtime becomes a power struggle.
  6. Thou shalt accept food "binges" as phases that will eventually pass.
  7. Thou shalt accept the fact that thy child is an individual and thus will dislike certain foods (and there may be many).
  8. Thou shalt not give up on introducing thy child to new foods. Thou shalt realize it sometimes takes 10 tries to get a child to accept a food.
  9. Thou shalt use this division of responsibility for eating: As the parent, thou art responsible for deciding when and what to serve. Thy child is responsible for deciding how much (if any) will be eaten.
  10. Thou shalt give thy child a multivitamin-mineral supplement if he is a picky eater.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sauteed green beans and mushrooms

Sauteed green beans and mushrooms

1 lb. green beans, cleaned and trimmed
1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
extra virgin olive oil

1. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with extra virgin olive oil.
2. Cook the onion and garlic over medium heat until they start to soften.
3.  Add the green beans, mushrooms, and a light sprinkling of salt.  Stir often until the veggies are soft and tender.
4.  Eat :-)

This side dish is ridiculously easy but it is very yummy.  It comes together in just a few minutes and goes great with many fall dishes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Food coloring is evil

Yesterday afternoon was a bad afternoon, very very bad.  Hannah jumped off the school bus talking a mile a minute about the cupcake she had in class to celebrate a classmate's birthday.  She was very excited about it which I understand.  We do not bake cupcakes very often so they are truly a treat for her.  She's 5.  In her opinion a surprise cupcake in school = best day ever!

Within 2 minutes of getting off the bus she was already picking on her little brother - snatching his toy trucks away and then throwing them at him when told to give them back.  You know it is a bad sign when a time out has been issued before we even make it through the front door!

All through the homework process Hannah fussed that she couldn't concentrate.  The homework was just too hard, she couldn't do it, clearly I hate her for making her write the number 2 a couple of times.  Oh, believe me when I tell you that my normally happy child was gone and no where to be found.  After some questioning, Hannah told me that the cupcakes were very very colorful ("like rainbows").

Now I see the problem.  Hannah and food coloring do not mix well.  It isn't surprising since food coloring is a neurotoxin.  Add it into a ball of sugar and wheat and pass it out in a party atmosphere and we have trouble.  Big trouble.  Put the kids to bed early and pour a glass of wine kind of trouble.

I don't know what I can do about this problem.  I certainly don't want to label it as an allergy with the school and have Hannah singled out during special events.  Honestly, it isn't the cupcake that bothers me.  There is plenty of room in Hannah's 20% for a birthday cupcake.  It is just the food coloring that bothers me.  If the cupcakes had been left white we likely would have had a better evening. 

I suppose there isn't anything I can do to avoid this.  Hannah is bound to have a colorful cupcake again this year.  All I can do is make sure we are stocked up on wine when I see a birthday coming up on her class calendar.