Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Small sabbatical

Hello, my readers. I just want to let you know that I'm taking a little break from blogging. Everything's fine. It's just that sometimes life can get the best of you, and so I need to take some time to reprioritize and to rethink the focus of this blog. I've got some thoughts in the works. Just need some time to process and mull it over for a bit. Thanks for your patience.

In the meantime, leave a comment with some ideas that you would like to see me blog about. x2Ipi&4efI

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Quick Bento

Last night, while I was packing the kids' lunches, I was reviewing the components that I wanted to add to the lunches - protein, fruit, veggie, grain, dairy. Lately, I've been giving them pbj sandwiches plus a veggie and a fruit, simply for sake of ease. But I had hard-boiled eggs on hand, so I thought I'd substitute that for the PB part of the sandwich.

Then I got to thinking: what should I put this hard-boiled egg in? A little container? A baggie? Nope, wouldn't work too well. Oh right, I have bento boxes. I haven't used them in so long, that I forgot I had them. A bento box is perfect!

And so my big kiddos ended up with a bento box full of good food:
* A hard-boiled egg, shelled and cut into sections
* Edamame, with the end snipped off, for quicker eating
* Carrot sticks
* Apple chunks, dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning
* Cheese stick, chunked
* Little package of oyster crackers on the side

This morning, when they were getting their lunches out of the frig, they were ecstatic that I had packed bento lunches. Just further proof that lunches don't have to be fancy, just delicious. And fun packaging doesn't hurt either. :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Kids Food Adventure App

Trying new foods ... that can be a battle in some households. While our kids are not normally picky eaters, we have some guidelines set up in order to have them try new foods. Namely, we all (adults too) take a "no thank you" helping, the size of which depends upon age. A toddler gets a tablespoon or two, whereas an elementary-school-child received a serving-spoonful of the new food. This "no thank you helping":
(1) enables the child to try a small portion of a new food
(2) teaches the child how to politely eat what it put in front of them - a valuable skill for adulthood :)

For instance, SuperBoy likes strawberries on his oatmeal. He likes freeze-dried strawberries or fresh strawberries. However, this morning, all I had were dried strawberries. He dubiously consented to try a small amount (a "no thank you helping") mixed into his oatmeal, with the agreement that if he didn't like them, then I would give him a different type of fruit for tomorrow's oatmeal. Guess what ... not only did SuperBoy love them, but LoveBug noticed and asked for dried strawberries in tomorrow's oatmeal as well! But if I had never enforced the "no thank you helping", neither child would have discovered their love for dried strawberries ...

So this app takes some of the fight out of "trying new foods" battle. Plus adds in an element of fun AND learning. And the best part  ... it's free!

#1: The homepage. From this page on the app, you can access
     * Months - about 7 new foods per month
     * Stickers - child earns these by trying and rating foods (more to come on that)
     * Users - each child (and even you) has their own user id
     * Scores - shows the overall ratings of each child
#2: Edit your user id. Make an id and for each child (and even you!).
#3: Here's an overview of a month. May has 7 different foods to try, all of which should be in season.
#4: Oats is one of May's foods. Under each food, there is a write-up of facts and nutrition. I usually read this blurb at mealtime, while we are eating the new food.
#5: Each child is able to rate their own thoughts about the food - yummy, yucky or so-so
#6: This is the overall ratings of what the child thought of the foods they have tried.

By trying new foods, kids get to earn "stickers" (achievements) to collect - 1st food, 10th food, etc. And then there are stickers for each category ...

"I love Cheese" features tastes of feta, gouda, ricotta, manchego and gruyere.

"Far East" - smoked fish, lychee, tofu and edamame.

"Fall" category - brown rice, cranberry, mushrooms, pear and pumpkin.

Down on the Farm - broccoli, cauliflower, oats, parsnips and spinach.

Fishing - shrimp, salmon and sea bass.

A taste of French cuisine - asparagus, almond, camembert, green beans and olives - Bon appetit!

Grains - brown rice, barley, whole wheat pasta and bulgur wheat.

Dutch cuisine - gouda, cabbage, kale, peas and plain yogurt.
Greens - kale, spinach, cabbage and romaine.

Citrus - pineapple, grapefruit, blood orange and honey.
Greek - honey, lamb, feta and olives.

Italian foods - whole wheat pasta, fresh mozzarella, arugula, parmigiana region and sweet basil.

Protein category features: almonds, salmon, quinoa and cannellini beans.

The winter category features lentils, walnuts, scallops, polenta and sweet potato.
Seeds and nuts - flax seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, walnuts and sunflower seeds.

Tropics - mango, pineapple, avocado, papaya and kiwi fruit.

Americana - salmon, oats, cherries, blueberries and sweet potato.
Summer - mint, melons, blueberries, strawberries and summer squash.

Spring season consists of goat cheese, couscous, spinach and asparagus.

Daredevil - eggplant, mussels, blue cheese, olives and prunes.

Desert foods include: fresh figs, dates, couscous, chick peas and plain yogurt.

A Rainbow of foods includes beets, blood oranges, bell peppers, blueberries and pomegranate.

My ONLY peeve with this app (and it's a small, petty 'peeve') - There's a sticker for the 1st food, 10th food and 50th food. As we've seen, there are plenty of stickers for completing different categories, but it feels like there is a long time between the 1st and 10th foods and completing a category. My kids were a bit disappointed that they were not accumulating stickers quickly. But that is my ONLY downside to this awesome app.

I'd encourage you to give it a try. Especially since it's free!
What's the worst that can happen? It doesn't work out for your family.
What's the best scenario? Your child could learn to like a new food or too!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Writer's block and life

Hey y'all. Writer's block, plus a lack of sleep, is hindering my posts from being written. I'm in the (slow) process of concocting one right now, but you'll have to wait until Friday. But I promise it'll be good!

Here's a sneak peek: a fun, interactive, nutrition-knowledge-building way to get your kids to try new foods ...

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review of TJ's April Fearless Flyer

So here's our thoughts on the lunch items from Trader Joe's April Fearless Flyer:

Chile Lime Chicken Burger. Hmm, well ... it had potential, but I don't think it followed through on its promise for deliciousness. The chile flavor came through in several bites, but I desperately wanted more lime. (I LOVE lime!) If you were just looking for a decent chicken burger, this one works. However, if you were hoping for a chile-lime-flavored chicken burger, you might want to look elsewhere.

Iberico cheese. Trader Joe's describes this cheese as "A flavorful blend of cow, sheep and goat milk" from Spain." It reminds me of a soft Parmesan-tasting cheese. It was good, but since it's $9.99/#, I don't know that I'd go out and buy it often. I think I'll save my moola for TJ's smoked gouda - one of my favorites.

* Organic Sugar Snap Peas. Yum, yum, yum. Delicious, slightly sweet, crunchy. Get some.

Freeze Dried Strawberries. These dried fruits are listed online, but I didn't see a Fearless Flyer sign in the store. However, I'm glad I picked them up, since my kids raved about them. In fact, LoveBug and SuperBoy asked for these bits o' fruit in their morning oatmeal.

Just Mango Slices. Chewy yumminess. Pure fruit. Only problem ... My son just lost 4 teeth within the past few weeks, so the lack of teeth proved a little problematic against the chewiness of the dried mangoes. But he powered through. :)

Multigrain Crackers. Oh wow. The taste of these little round crackers reminds me of a Wheat Thin crossed with a stone-ground wheat cracker. They are good! Definitely on my list of items to buy again.

Did you try any TJ's item recently? Post below and let me know.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Trader Joe's April Fearless Flyer

Trader Joe's just released the April Fearless Flyer, and oh boy, does it have some yummy-looking items advertised!

I chose several different items from the Fearless Flyer. Not only did I make a packed bento lunch ...

I also created a plated version of this lunch, in order to give those of you who work from home an idea of a healthy lunch as well.

Here are the items that I picked:
* Multigrain Crackers
* Just Mango Slices
* Freeze Dried Strawberries
* Iberico cheese
* Organic Sugar Snap Peas
* Chile Lime Chicken Burgers

Check back on Thursday to see our reviews of these foods.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

We lost our dog this week

Please forgive my absenteeism. We lost our beloved Boxer this week.

I'll try to return to consistent blog posts again next week.