The blog that aims to help you reach your goals, one step at a time!


 

The Family Garden by guest blogger, Nicole Roth Posted by Gail F. on Apr 30, 2014

As spring weather finally starts to arrive and you find yourself wanting to spend more time outside, the idea of planting a garden might be something to try with your family.  Gardening is something that all members of your family can get involved in, and can lead to delicious greens and produce.  You might be thinking well, gardening is a lot of work; what am I going to gain from doing this?  Actually the benefits to having a garden are quite endless.  For starters, planting with your family can teach your children about the plant cycle and get them interested in new types of food.  Studies have shown that kids are more likely to try food and eat it consecutively if they had a part in making it.  Growing plants also teaches patience and hard work.  You need to nurture the plants, and care for them as if they were your own.  This includes watering, weeding, and maintenance.  They need the right environment to grow and mature and it is your job as a...Read More

 

Meals Make the Family Posted by Gail F. on Apr 23, 2014

A recent experience reminded me of just how important it is to eat meals together.  I was required to attend a training session with others from across the state.  The ten of us had never met before, and found ourselves holed up for a weekend in a somewhat remote cabin (a large, posh cabin, I would add).  By the time we parted, it felt as though we had all known each other forever.  And when I stopped to think about how that happened, it was one thing that stood out: Meals. The first night there, we all sat around the large dining table and ate family style.  Dishes were passed, and conversation immediately flowed to the types of foods we enjoyed.  This carried over to where the food was purchased, and what we all eat at home.  Which then led to talking about how we eat at home, how our families eat, which necessitated each one explaining his or her own family situation.  By the second night, dinner stretched out to hours of sitting around the dining table as there was...Read More

 

Play With Your Food Posted by Gail F. on Mar 23, 2014

My son informed me recently that he was considering a new career possibility – he would like to be a ‘food artist’.  He explained that he has gotten in the habit of turning the remnants of his friends’ cafeteria meals into high art.  I responded that I thought this was an interesting idea, but since he is a mere two months away from graduating from college, it might be a bit late to consider it as career option – but, I added, it could be a fun hobby! And why wait for remnants?  Why not play with the food before it is eaten to make it more appealing?  Maybe that way there wouldn’t be any remnants! And if this is something that works for college students, how much more fun would it be for your little one?  You don’t even have to know how to cook to have fun with food, and encourage kids to eat fruits and veggies in the process.  I know that we have all seen the Pinterest fails like these:    ...Read More

 

Cook Up Some Memories Posted by Gail F. on Mar 9, 2014

When I was a kid, I had a slightly crazy aunt who lived a couple of blocks away from us – walking distance for an 8 or 9 year old.  Since my mother worked full time, I would often drop by to visit my aunt after school rather than go home to an empty house.  I’m pretty sure that this aunt taught me how to cook, and I do know for sure that she taught me to be creative in the kitchen.  I will never forget the time I showed up at her door to find her making chicken soup with matzo balls.  For the uninitiated, matzo balls are pretty much just dumplings, but made with matzo meal instead of flour, and are a staple of Jewish cooking.  With her usual enthusiasm, she showed me how to take the dough, roll it into a ball, and drop it in the broth to cook, and then left that job to me while she attended to other things.  Well, after rolling two or three balls, I started to get a bit bored, so I started to make them cigar shaped – and then mold them into squares and triangles – and...Read More

 

The 'Cooking With Kids' Food Event Drawing! Posted by Gail F. on Mar 5, 2014

I am super excited about the Kids Food Event coming up at the Children's Museum of Green Bay, this Saturday, March 8!  Last year's event was sooo much fun, that I can't wait to do it again.  There will be lots of games and activities for the kids, as well as all of the musuem exhibits to play with.  And with this lingering cold weather, wouldn't it be great to have a warm, safe place for the kids to run around and burn off some pent up energy?  And then when everyone has built up an appetite, you can go and try all six food creations especially created by local chefs to appeal to kids and meet their health needs.  Then everyone gets to vote on their favorite, and the chef/recipe with the most votes will win!  Last year's winner - the SNC Dining Team and their Turkey Shawarma - will be back again trying to defend their title.  But the competition looks pretty fierce!  I may have to try two helpings of each dish before I can make up my mind! While...Read More

 

Better than the Box Posted by Gail F. on Feb 23, 2014

What is a fast meal go-to that is almost universally loved by children?  Macaroni and cheese is usually a winner, and who among us has never reached for the box of white noodles and orange powder because it was so ‘easy’? But can those white elbow noodles and little packet of powder really begin to compare to the taste and nutritional value of made-from-scratch mac n’ cheese? I should say not!  And the good news is that it is just as fast to make your own. I made a large batch of ‘Magic Mac n’ Cheese’ to take to a chili cook-off this weekend.  I knew there would be lots of kids there who would want something to eat other than chili, so I decided to go with the perennial favorite.  I started with a recipe for ‘Fast-as-boxed macaroni and cheese’ (see below) and got creative with it.  Here are the ingredients I ended up using:   Do you see what I did here?  First, I started with a healthier, and more fun, pasta.  The kids loved...Read More

 

Cooking with ‘Village’ Kids Posted by Gail F. on Feb 16, 2014

Cooking with my kids was always one of my favorite activities.  That creative process that ends up with a product you can sit down and enjoy together was such a great bonding experience, and provided them with a wonderful sense of accomplishment.  Now that they are all off doing their own thing, I miss that experience.  So every now and then, I just have to ‘borrow’ a child. We have all heard about how it takes a ‘village’ to raise a child, and I’m sure that you – like me – have some children in your village who would benefit from spending time with caring adults other than their parents.  If you are in the ‘empty nest’ or ‘pre-nesting’ stage of your life, you can provide a great service to young parents by giving them a couple of hours of free time while you teach their child how to make cookies, or soup, or pizza, or even a salad. See this darling creature? This is my best kitchen-friend, Mihret. ...Read More

 

Get a Jump Start on Breakfast Posted by Gail F. on Feb 10, 2014

I promised that I would address the issue of breakfast for those of you who don’t have time to actually prepare a meal in the morning, and I’m here to keep that promise.  Being a night person myself (and apparently this is driven by genetics, according to recent studies) I have to simplify my mornings as much as possible.  So I do as much as I possibly can to get myself out the door the night before, including making breakfast.  You can even make an entire week’s worth of breakfast on the weekend when the kids are home to help! If you have the time to sit down to eat in the morning, these Stuffed Breakfast Peppers are amazing!  The filling is made from 6 eggs, ¼ cup skim milk, and ½ cup of low fat shredded cheese.  Stir in a mix of your favorite sautéed veggies, such as onion, kale, spinach, and mushrooms, or even a little bit of chopped chicken, turkey sausage, or black beans, along with some chopped garlic and parsley.  Pour the mixture...Read More

 

Cooking with Kids: Start with Breakfast Posted by Gail F. on Feb 3, 2014

I think we all know that it’s important to eat breakfast.  Kids particularly need to power up in the morning to help them do better in school, have more energy, and eat healthier the rest of the day.   But new research shows that it’s not enough to just grab a donut and go.  Swedish researchers discovered that kids who ate an ‘inadequate’ breakfast were 68% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome in adulthood. Wow! That’s a huge increase in the likelihood of getting high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and a few other things you’d rather not have.  And this group included the kids who had pop-tarts daily, as well as those who skipped breakfast entirely. So it seems that breakfast is a good place to start when cooking with the kids.  Breakfast recipes are often the quickest and simplest, making them a great place for a beginner to start.  And the kids are more likely to actually eat breakfast if...Read More

 

Live 54218 Cooking with Kids Challenge: Getting Your Kids in the Kitchen in 2014! Posted by Gail F. on Jan 27, 2014

Kids love to cook.  I recently taught a cooking class at the Boys & Girls Club, and I was surprised by the number, diversity, and enthusiasm of the students in the class.  The group had a pretty even number of boys and girls, and the ages ranged from about 7 to 14 years old.  Many of these students were already kitchen pros, cracking eggs and wielding knives like experts, and they  were happy to help the less experienced students learn the techniques.  And each student made their own mini frittatas, each one loaded with veggies, and gobbled them up eagerly when they were done.  My experience with this cooking class demonstrates several of the reasons why cooking with kids is such a great activity; (1) kids are more likely to try new foods if they make it themselves, (2) kids who cook eat more fruits and vegetables, (3) teaching kids to cook provides them an important lifelong skill, and (4) working together in the kitchen...Read More