Ever been to an elementary school's cafeteria? If not, then you will surprised to discover that much of what the schools serve is downright unhealthy.
Case in point: Two weeks ago, I had lunch with my twelve-year-old sister, who brings lunch to school, and I noticed that most of her friends were eating cafeteria food. The choices were grim: nachos, hamburgers, and a plethora of fat and sodium-laden side dishes. Sure, the children could choose the vegetarian option, but how many children do you know that would choose a salad over chili cheese fries!
To avoid children eating these unhealthy lunches it is better to send your children off to school with a nutritious brown bag lunch. Here are some wonderful and nutritious lunches that will have your child begging for home cooked food over cafeteria junk---
If you do a quick Google search for "healing cavities naturally," you will surprisingly discover dozens of health and wellness blogs boasting about the exact same study and doctor. And while the doctor in question (from a very long time ago) had some brilliant nutrition studies, these bloggers are clearly being paid by somebody to promote the Paleo diet and natural healing.
And while I am a proponent of healing everything naturally, and in fact have healed a cavity without dental intervention, I am calling bullshit on these bloggers. How is it that all of these folks stumbled upon the same treatment, which promotes cod liver oil and butter oil supplements along with fat soluble vitamins, and a diet that very much looks like the Paleo diet to heal their teeth?
And more bullshit surfaces when not a single one of these folks have photographic evidence of said miracles. Even the blogger who states that the photos prove that the cavity disappeared is clearly not showing healing.
And oftentimes, along with this miracle treatment, the writer talk about a study (which I couldn't find) in the British Medical Journal about kids who ate oatmeal and kids who didn't. Supposedly, kids who ate oatmeal increased the amount of cavities they ate even when following a very healthy "Paleoesque" lifestyle.
Oatmeal? Seriously? I'm here to set some things straight. It isn't good ole fashioned oatmeal giving people cavities; I've been eating oatmeal for years and I don't have a mouthful of cavities. And so has my child. No fucking cavities. But do you know what we don't eat? Processed sugary oatmeal. I'll bet money that oatmeal is getting a bed reputation here because most Americans aren't eating oatmeal cooked in a pot.
They are eating oatmeal from a teeny tiny package loaded with sugar. Did you know that a small package of instant oatmeal (Strawberries and Cream, or whatever) has roughly 10 grams of sugar! What the fuck. Who the fuck wants to eat that much sugar for breakfast? Oh yeah, that's right, kids. Because kids love sugar.
But regardless, I'd still argue that even that isn't causing cavities. Most likely it is all of the other stuff that comprises Americans' diets.
Okay, I should get back on track. I wanted to save oatmeal from catastrophe by giving you my two favorite ways to make oatmeal, all of which use good old fashioned oats that must be cooked on the stove.
If you are worried about phytates or other mineral-binding chemicals in this relatively innocent grain, I suggest soaking them overnight in water and a tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
I do love apples. Apples are the pinnacle of fall. I know that fall is right around the corner when the little apples on my tree begin to clunk on the ground. And as you'd expect, I run outside and snag it to safety.
The birds and I are at war for those apples. Little buggers. They may have eaten my beet seedlings, but they won't get all of the apples.
Now that I have enough apples, I can make mulled apple cider, which is on my list of things to do during the fall. I've gathered apples, vanilla, a bit of wine, honey, cinnamon, and cloves to make this wonderful cider.
The word pizzette is so much cuter than the word pizza. Instantly, I want to pull it from the oven and read it a story. Pizzettes are miniature pizzas, yes, no surprise there, but something about the novelty makes it easier to dress them up..give them a fine dining makeover.
My favorite toppings are spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and goat's cheese. And of course, rosemary. I could eat rosemary on anything.
Somehow Gwenyth Paltrow cornerstoned avocado toast a few years back with her cookbook...and when I saw it, I laughed and laughed. I stood there in some bookstore, flipping through her book when I stumbled across "avocado toast," a recipe that smashes avocados and spreads them onto toasted bread.
Yes people, you heard me. She built an entire fucking recipe around something everybody knows how to do. So I thought I'd rectify the food world with some really delicious renditions of avocado that do not involve spreading it onto toast (c'mon people, it's toast).
1/4 ripe avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp.minced ginger
1/2 cup frozen mango cubes
1/3 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1 Tbsp.lemon juice
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 cup water
1 cup ice cubes
Just lend it together.
Avocado Noodle Salad:
Soup is a beautiful and rememberable dish that leads to the a remarkable finish, namely the main dish. Soup often gets forgotten, but this make your Thanksgiving soup one to remember. Instead of large bowls, aim to pour the soup into highball glasses or miniature bowls.
You may want to unbutton your pants for this one. And you may need to milk an extra for the amount of butter I'm about to ask you to retrieve.
This Irish whiskey cake is a family tradition at my house. We make it each year for Thanksgiving AND Christmas. But trust me, one piece will do.
Kids love it. I love it. Most love it. Unless you hate raisins, then you won't love it.
I went on a shopping trip with my parents last weekend, and on the way home, we decided to stop in at Wing Stop to get dinner for ourselves and take out for the rest of the family at home.
Now, my family (me, kids, etc...) doesn't eat out very much. Actually, my idea of eating out is going to Starbucks and getting unsweetened iced black coffee. Or chowing on a real salad at Sweet Tomatoes (and not the other "food" they offer there). You can imagine my feelings upon entering this little wing joint.
They don't even have salad, unless you consider mayo-coleslaw salad. And I don't. I was hungry though -- I ordered some naked chicken wings without sauce and veggie sticks.
But I watched my mom and dad dig into their wings. I, know in this world people eat wings. And as a treat, it isn't something to fret over. But what worried me most about the place was watching folks load their 64-ounce cups full of soda. Who the heck drinks a half gallon of Dr. Pepper? That would make me so sick to my stomach.
I was glad to be out of there (although I smelled like fried chicken!). The reason I am telling you this story is because November 16 is National Fast Food Day, and I can't even understand why anyone would want to celebrate one of the leading causes of obesity, so this year, I'd like you to join me in boycotting fast food by eating at home.
Instead of fast food loaded with sodium, try one of my favorite "copycat" recipes that are way healthier for you!
Butternut squash is one of those winter veggies that most people shy away from because they are not sure how to prepare it or they think they might not like the flavor. Well, let me say this, this squash is loaded with a crisp, sweet, and refreshing flavor that will make anybody fall in love with it.
Thanksgiving is all about using the fall bounty, and squash is just right for this holiday because it represents the vegetables that orginated in America. The ones the Native Americans shared with our ancestors. This Thanksgiving make this dish and watch everybody come back for seconds! Or just make it for lunch...screw those hungry guests.
1. Cook the peas according tp the package directions(use the 1/4 cup of water). Puree with the cooking water, butter, scallions, the lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Stir together curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper on a plate. Coat the scallops with the mitxture.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Sauté scallops cooking through, about 4 minutes.
4. Serve scallops over pea purée.
Spice. Fish. And everything nice. And while I know that seafood stew seems to be a summertime love, I prefer to cook it in the bare autumn, as the temperatures dip. I need something healthy and full of protein to keep me moving in the cold.
In our house, we stick to a fairly clean diet: fresh produce, fresh fish, seeds, nuts and a bit of rice. Eating out is rare, as is dairy (which doesn't mean you won't find some hand-churned mint chocolate chip in the freezer because I do).
This recipe is perfect for the paleo folk, but also delicious with a buttered slice of sourdough.
8 (6-ounce) pieces skinless Pacific cod fillet
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 pound large shrimp in shell, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pound roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
2 yellow plantains, cut diagonally into 8 pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Pat fish fillets dry and put in a bowl. Stir together lime juice, peppers, 1 tablespoon garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, then pour over fish and toss to combine. Marinate, covered and chilled, 30 minutes. Add shrimp and chill at least 30 minutes but no longer than 1 1/2 hours more.
2. Put tomatoes in bottom of a wide 5- to 6-quart heavy pot. Add the onions, then the plantains to the pot, layering evenly. Sprinkle the remaining salt. Place the fish in the pot, add the cilantro and parsley. Layer the shrimp, and finally pour the oil and marinade evenly over the ingredients.
3. Bring to a simmer, then cover pot. Adjust heat to gently simmer for 20 minutes.
With summer wrapping up and school in session, our schedules seemed to be too full to cook and even if we wanted to cook it is far too hot to turn on the oven! With the change of season comes earthen tone fruits and vegetables that provide that warm sense of homeyness that we all crave.
And from my kitchen, I want you to taste me no-bake pumpkin pie. No-bake makes my life so easy and it will make yours too. As avid baker, I am used to the intense heat a small oven can produce in my small apartment. Sometimes the heat becomes unbearable and I don't feel like baking another pie. I started doing this pie a couple of years back for Thanksgiving when I had a lot of company over and not enough oven space for desserts.
Today was the first day of school for the little genius and I thought that it would be appropriate to celebrate with pancakes. But wait! These pancakes aren't the kind that cause a sugar rush or interfere with attention spans or anything...they are delicious, protein-packed pancakes with a few butterscotch chips tossed in (literally, 5-6 per pancake).
These are the sort of pancakes that make you smile. They are sweet and salty and hit that "gotta have carbs" spot in your belly...or in my case, in my heart. Because I love carbs. Carbs love me. It's a win-win situation.
Anywho, let's get straight to the point because I hate those bloggers that go on and on and on with their story about their pancakes. You want the recipe. Let's do this thing. The recipe DOES NOT require bananas or any special egg tricks, but it does require protein powder. If you don't have protein powder, I would add a few tablespoons of flour, but no guarantees here.
**Because I love you, I have placed links to the ingredients that we used. Of course, you can use what you want, but as you know, I am an Amazon addict and these are the best deals for this stuff. GF cooking is freakin' expensive.
Chilled soup can make a great main dish during the fall because it is not cool enough for hot soup, and that is why gazpacho makes a great soup. Give this one a try, I promise the flavors will have you wishing you made enough for seconds!
Take the sweetness of autumn corn and toss it with the tang of kalamata olives, and you get a delicious corn salad. I love this salad because you can turn it into a main dish or hell, get crazy and make it a dip by skipping out on the lettuce.
I love to make this whenever I am strapped for time but still want something that uses all of the fresh produce and takes great. Place this along side a roasted turkey or butternut squash soup.
Okay okay, so you all know that I live for a smoothie in the morning. I mean, I practically sleep with my blender. Smoothies are a great way to get a HUGE amount of nutrients into your body in one go. Most of my smoothies have some veggies in it, but this one doesn't.
The nectarine raspberry smoothie is my sweet tooth option for mornings that I need to energize. And energize quickly. The smoothie blends together pears, nectarines and raspberries together for the ultimate breakfast treat.
So what does a sweet potato do for your body? Well, quite a bit, more than it is given credit for! It provides fiber, over 200% of your daily value of vitamin A(don't worry you will not OD your child, part of this is not digested), plus it is a complex carb. The great thing about a sweet potato is that it is naturally sweet and children love the taste!
Shoot. Okay, so I caved and I made this Shepherd's pie using ground turkey because we had company over and I just knew that my girlfriend's husband would have soiled his freshly pressed True Religion jeans if there was an ounce of tofu in sight.
So, I cowered through Whole Foods (which I hate now, to be posted soon) and purchased a $15 1lb. slab of turkey. Thankfully, the ground turkey was from Diestel Turkey Ranch, a family that I grew up with in my hillbilly home town.
The meal went off fabulously and my little one who is mostly vegan as well, truly enjoyed the meal. So much so that for the last week she has been pretending that everything that she eats is turkey.
What is The Fourth of July without watermelon, pasta salad, and burgers? American culture takes great pride in celebrating its Independence amidst the scorching temperatures of summertime. Barbeque's, camping, beaches, lakes, shores, all have a common ground to the 4th of July celebration. This year, instead of having the same ole punch'n'pasta as last year, follow this simple menu to show off your color and spice! The great thing is that these recipes are quick and easy to follow. Enjoy!
Did you know that nearly 50 billion burgers are eaten by Americans each year? Yup. PBS told me so. This statistic doesn't count for alternative meat substitutes...only red meat. Cow.
I brought my daughter up vegan for nearly four years because I felt it was important to establish a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and the like. During that time, she grew like any other toddler and never had a health problem. In fact, she is super healthy and has only had two colds in her life. She has no allergies and she is incredibly bright. I did supplement her with fortified soy or almond milk and a vitamin to be sure. You never know.
I know. I know, where the hell am I going with this-- I did have a point. You don't need to eat animals to survive. However, you can't survive without fortified foods or a vitamin. B12 is an essential part of our diet that tends to come only from animals or through processing. Either way, I am okay with it, but I want to keep our lifestyles as close to the earth as possible.
Okay, back to my point. I never intended to force her into a vegan diet or lifestyle. Honestly, I don't think we should consume dairy often because it is weird and eggs sort of freak me out...so..when my daughter turned four, I told her that if she wanted to try animals, she could.
We started with fish, which she loved. And now she is into turkey. This week we made turkey burgers. But not just any turkey burger! These turkey burgers are loaded with pureed carrots, bell peppers, garlic, and onion. Because even though she is eating a bit of animal, our consumption of vegetables will not wane. Now, our diet includes 1-2 meals per week that had fish or turkey. I'm still keeping most dairy out of the picture, and I don't know if I'll keep this animal-eating practice up, but for now, it is what we are playing with.
My house doesn't do syrup. I could never justify making something healthy only to ravage it with sugar-liquid. If you are going to have sugar for breakfast, you might as well have the sugar come from fruit...or a chocolate bar. I'm not judging you too much though, if you do drench your pancakes/cereal/waffles/french toast in sugar--sometimes, we add little sugar to our breakfast.
Although, we never use syrup. We never make "pancakes" a la IHOP either. The pancakes made in this kitchen are delectable, nutritious, and dolloped with a healthy spoonful of Lemon Curd ;0) I'm feelin' a little feisty this morning okay. The sun is rising and the coffee is brewing.
Our house has become pancakeville. A few weeks back I made blueberry cornmeal pancakes, topped them with the lemon curd we bought at Farmer's Market, and now I am forever required to serve pancakes for breakfast. Good thing, I'm only feeding one child. Pancakes are complicated. You have to make them. Mornings here aren't timely to say the least...so I make pancakes on Sunday for the whole week and reheat them in the oven.
That makes me "The Best Mom Ever" every single morning.
Okay, back to my pancakes. I don't like the idea of feeding my child "cake" in the morning, so I have never been privy to pancake breakfasts. And when I was a kid, pancakes were a special treat. So now you ask, "Then why the heck are you feeding her pancakes?" Because these pancakes are good for your whole body...and they warm your belly.
I add pulverized hemp seeds to my pancakes. If you don't know what hemp seeds are, you should check them out because they are super duper healthy AND loaded with protein. Complete protein. In this house, where Vegetable is King, that is a big deal. I pile these pancakes with a healthy helping of blueberries too. And kids love blueberries in their pancakes because they explode. I also use cornmeal. The texture is so much better than buttermilk.
Okay, now I'll shut up and give you the recipe:
Do you know what I miss more about living in San Diego? Good barbecue. Deliciously good BBQ baked beans, creamy coleslaw (with a bite of acid), and skillet cornbread. I made myself a promise the other night that I would go back to my home flavors and make BBQ baked beans that wouldn't come from a can. Gritty, honey cornbread too. Recipe to follow.