Posts Tagged ‘whole foods’

Tasty Tuesday: 5 Fun Ways to Get Kids Eating Veggies!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

We all know how important it is to have a diet high in fresh, whole foods, including lots of vegetables! Veggies are chock-full of vitamins and nutrients that have significant immediate and long term benefits.

Although we also know that sometimes it’s a struggle to get veggies into our kids. Here are 5 fun ways to encourage your little ones to enjoy vegetables!

1. PRESENTATION: Putting out a plate full of raw, freshly chopped, colorful veggies can entice kids to munch and nibble on veggies for a snack. Many kids prefer to graze throughout the day, so having healthy options readily available for them such as a veggie platter can avoid the constant opening of the fridge and pantry doors as they rummage for food. My kids’ favorites are red pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and carrots.

2. DIPS and SAUCES: If a beautiful veggie tray isn’t quite enough¬†on it’s own¬†to get your little ones excited about eating veggies, try adding some fun dips to go along with them. Hummus is one of our favorites, but many kids like a ranch style dressing.

3. SMOOTHIES – Cannot say enough about smoothies. They are such a great way to get all kinds of healthy things into your family’s diet…even things that don’t taste all that great. Fruit seems to mask almost anything in a smoothie. Frozen fruit is even better as it gives a nice, creamy textures to a smoothie and is extra refreshing!

4. BURRITOS – Another food that is easy to hide all kinds of veggies in is a burrito!¬†You can dice up veggies in a food processor into super small pieces and sneak them into your kids’ burritos. I feel like my kids are happy with anything wrapped in a tortilla.

5. OWNERSHIP – Giving kids ownership over their food can definitely impact food choices. This could be planting a garden, shopping together at a local farmer’s market, or even having them prepare snacks/food for themselves. I have one friend that whenever I visit her I am amazed at how self-reliant her children are in preparing themselves a healthy snack. For example her six year old will pull a red pepper out of the fridge, slice it up on a cutting board, put it on a plate, and sit at the table to eat it…and then put his plate in the sink when he is done. Obviously she has taught him how to do this and while that took a little time on the front end, the end result is well worth the time investment!

What tips and tricks do you have to help encourage little ones to eat more veggies? Would love to hear from you!

-Sarah

 

Tasty Tuesday with a Twist: A Video Tour of My Pantry

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

For many, many years I cooked meals out of a pantry that was in complete disarray. When I would get home from the grocery store I would put the food wherever there was room on the shelves with no rhyme or reason to their location. I was just happy to get groceries from the car, into the house, and unpiled from the kitchen table. It actually never even occurred to me to be more systematic about putting groceries away.

That is until I saw a few photos from a friend’s immaculately organized¬†kitchen/pantry. She happens to be a pretty incredible cook who prepares deliciously clean, whole foods for her family. I felt inspired by her photos and really liked the idea of grouping food items together by category. So when¬†we moved into¬†our new house that¬†seemed like the perfect opportunity to get¬†my pantry under control.¬†Additionally over the previous year or so I had become more adept at feeding my family; including knowing what were staples in our diet and how much we consumed during a typical week. Thus I had a better idea of how to adequately stock my pantry.

After almost a year of cooking from a well-organized and well-stocked pantry, I fully appreciate how it has positively enhanced the task of preparing healthy meals for my family. It makes meal-planning way easier, writing a grocery list is a cinch, food preparation is much faster, and our overall grocery bill has been reduced.

Because I share so many recipes here, I thought I would invite you all into my pantry! :) Perhaps seeing what works for our family might help you develop a helpful system for your own family? I know I am very grateful my friend shared her photos with me many moons ago because it had a definite impact on our daily lives.  Feeding our family is something most of us do multiple times a day so efficiency with meal planning and preparation is a high priority for most mamas! :)

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Tasty Tuesday: Vegan “Cheese Tease” Sauce

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Many moons ago, when hubby and I were dating, one of our favorite snacks was tortilla chips with cheese queso¬†dip. Believe it or not we would buy a brick of Velveeta cheese, melt it in the microwave, and add a jar of salsa. You know that brick of cheese I’m talking about…the one you question if it is actually food or some strange edible plastic….eewww!

Once we became more conscientious about our health, we definitely stopped eating Velveeta cheese all together. I will admit though I missed eating queso dip. That is until I discovered an awesome vegan substitute that is made entirely of WHOLE FOODS! And as a bonus I can whip it together in less than 10 minutes! Seriously less than 10 minutes for a delicious, homemade, healthy, vegan, nacho cheese substitute. This recipe originated from the Vitamix recipe collection, however I have seen several variations of it floating around since I first discovered a few years ago. After experimenting a bit, the version I share below is not only my favorite, it’s also the easiest/fastest method.

I have made this cheese tease dip for non-vegan foodies and they have LOVED it. In fact most of the time they are SHOCKED when I finally divulge the ingredient list to them. You can enjoy this Cheese Tease Sauce as a dip for tortilla chips. Or poured over broccoli or mashed potatoes. Or drizzled over a fajita. Or mixed with noodles for a dairy-free mac-n-cheese. There are so many possibilities for this yummy sauce. It’s equally tasty hot or cold.

I hope you enjoy this Cheese Tease Sauce as much as I do. Actually my belly is about to explode right now from enjoying it a little too much this evening, lol! :)

Ingredients:

1 cup  water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 roasted red pepper*

2/3 cup  whole raw almonds

1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder

1/4 cup  nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons sea salt

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend at high speed for approximately 3 minutes. See, easy-peasy just like I promised it would be!

*Red peppers are super duper easy to roast yourself. I roast mine in our toaster oven.

ENJOY!

Sarah

Product Review: Wean Green 5.1 oz. Wean Tubs | Pack of 2

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Packing up snacks for outings is pretty much a daily task for most mamas. It’s often far cheaper and healthier to bring your own food with you wherever you go…especially with little ones who like to munch all.day.long! It is¬†quite common for toddlers to be “grazers”; rather than eat a large portion/meal in one sitting they like to nibble here and there throughout the day. Mamas usually learn rather quickly that packing lots of snacks makes outings go much smoother.

The concept of “zero waste” snack packs/lunch sacks is becomingly increasingly popular. Zero waste means nothing is thrown away, no packaging of any kind! In addition to the ecological benefits, there is a secondary benefit. If you are packing zero waste lunches/snacks for your children, there is an increased likelihood you are providing them with¬†nutrient dense whole foods. Hooray for healthy and environmentally friendly concepts! I definitely strive for zero waste snacks/lunches as much as possible. I have learned that in order to be successful in doing so, it takes a small up front investment in re-usable containers.

I recently got a 2 pack of Wean Green 5.1 oz. Wean Tubs. These containers are made from tempered glass making¬†them extra durable. In fact check out this youtube video demonstrating just how incredibly strong Wean Green products are! After several uses here’s my take on this product:

What I love about Wean Green Wean Tubs:

  • They really are as durable as they claim to be! Recently while picnicking with a friend, I excitedly showed her my new Wean Green Wean Tubs. She was skeptical about using glass with kids. I assured her they were practically indestructible even if you intentionally tried to break them. “Prove it” she says. So I chucked one of the containers right onto the concrete ground. After recovering from hysterical laughter on both our parts (“I cannot believe you just did that!” she said and I have to agree it was a bit impulsive of me) she was convinced that they were indeed a quality product made to last.
  • They seem to hold the perfect portion and are leak proof!¬†This gets HUGE bonus points for me because I like to pack salads with the dressing on the side so the veggies don’t get soggy. But finding true leak proof containers is tricky…and the only way to really know if they are leak proof¬†is to test them out. Spilled salad dressing is a pain in the rear to clean up, so I am quite thrilled when a container passes the leak test for me!
  • They are super easy to wash out. Even messy oils, sticky nut butters, and goopy dips wash up squeaky clean in no time at all. And because they are made of glass, I never have to worry about chemicals leaching or staining from pasta sauces, turmeric, berries, or the like.
  • Same sized containers stack nicely making them easy to store. I don’t know about you but my collection of plastic containers and lids (which I am slowly diminishing over time as I can replace with more eco-friendly options) is always a disaster. I am constantly digging through a mountain of plastic trying to find matching lids and containers. The Wean Green lids snap right onto the container and stack neatly so they are always ready to grab and stuff!
Healhy hummus and almond butter all ready to go on a picnic!

Stuff I am not crazy about:

  • I have three boys with BIG appetites to pack for so you can imagine how heavy it would be to exclusively use glass containers to pack for an all day outing. The Wean Green containers, although small, are made of rather thick glass so they are actually quite heavy. It seems my two 5.1 oz containers have become the designated hummus and almond butter carriers for us. Then I use our Planet Wise Reusable Snack Bags to pack apple slices, baby carrots, celery sticks, red pepper slices, etc for dipping. This combination of eco-friendly containers is the perfect mix and keeps my snack bag at a manageable weight to haul around.
  • The tops snap on/off and while¬†I appreciate the tight, leak-proof fit they are a bit challenging for my 3 year old to open and close himself. No a huge deal, but does require a little extra supervision/support on my part. Also something to bare in mind if you were planning on sending them to school in a young child/preschooler’s lunch.

All in all, the Wean Green Wean Tubs are an awesome eco-friendly, budget friendly (they will save you money over time of purchasing plastic disposable baggies and will definitely outlast cheap plastic containers), and health friendly product! I can’t wait to add more to collection.

-Sarah

Recipe: Vegan “BLT” Sandwich

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

I made this for dinner tonight and¬†it was¬†super yummy and sooo easy that I thought I would share the recipe. You might be aware that you can buy vegetarian “bacon” however it is typically heavily processed and often full of questionable ingredients. Being vegan (for me) is about eating healthy whole foods so the convenient fake meat substitutes are rarely on my grocery list or in my fridge.

In this¬†plant-based version of a BLT the ‘bacon” is actually tempeh. Tempeh is a soy¬†product,¬†however it is different than tofu. Some nutritionist think that¬†tempeh is a healthier choice than tofu because it is¬†made from fermented soy.¬†I like to buy my tempeh from Trader Joe’s.¬†¬†I basically¬†love all things Trader Joe’s but their package of organic tempeh for $1.69 is one of my favorite products (which I hope they do not discontinue!! If you are a regular at Trader Joe’s you know that have a tendency to discontinue products at random). The ingredients in Trader Joe’s brand of Tempeh are all familiar foods which include: organic soybeans, water, organic brown rice, organic barley, organic millet, and lactic acid (from plant sources). The other great thing about this product is that it has 20 grams of protein per serving! That makes this vegan smile! As well as gives me a great answer to the commonly asked question “where do you get your protein from?”

There are many different delicious ways to use/prepare tempeh, but this BLT sandwich is my current favorite. The following recipe will make 4 sandwiches.

Ingredients:

One package of tempeh

8 slices of bread

1 Roma tomato

4 leaves of lettuce

vegan mayonnaise (oragnic Vegenaise is my favorite brand)

Oil (a high heat oil such as safflower oil works best)

Onion powder

garlic powder

Soy Sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)

Directions:

Cut tempeh in half lengthwise and width-wise to create four squares of tempeh. Heat oil in pan. Place tempeh in pan. Flip over when golden brown on the bottom side. Sprinkle liberally with onion, powder and garlic powder. Squirt with soy sauce to taste. Continue to fry in pan until both sides are golden brown. Assemble sandwich on toasted bread including one slice of tempeh, sliced tomato, mayonnaise, and lettuce on each.

That’s it! It serioulsy takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and is a deliciously healthy alternative to a traditional BLT sandwich. Serve with soup and salad for a complete meal.

 

-Sarah