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


 

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

 

Food Trends for 2014 Posted by Gail F. on Jan 14, 2014

Every year, something new seems to take the forefront in the food world.  Kale, raw foods, sushi, paleo – they’ve all had their day.  Some trends are better than others, and no one trend is the answer to all dietary issues, but somehow we just feel better about our food choices if we are on track with the ‘cool foodie crowd’.  So if you want to be a food trendsetter, here are some of the best emerging trends for 2014! DIY is in, so get back in the kitchen, pull out your canning supplies, food dehydrator, and any other food preservation tools you have and get going!  Doing it yourself is a great trend, since you know exactly what is going into your food, and can make healthy adjustments as you go.  Sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, jams, jellies, or even your own nut butters taste so much better than store bought.  Since these are items that can be stored for a long time, you can make a lot in just one day and have homemade deliciousness for many months.  And it is super...Read More

 

Make Any Day a Holiday Posted by Gail F. on Dec 26, 2013

What do you love about the holidays? Gathering with friends and family? The food? Giving gifts? Taking time to play with the kids? Having the chance to sleep in? Or is it just the mere fact that you are doing something different than your normal routine? Americans are notorious for not taking enough vacation, and unfortunately our health suffers for it.  We are hurried, harried and stressed, all-the-time!  In the long run, this makes us less productive and most certainly takes much of the enjoyment out of life. Many of us have scheduling and financial limitations that prevent us from taking a ‘real’ vacation, but that’s still no reason why we can’t give ourselves more regular ‘holidays’.  Start by analyzing what it is that brings you joy when you have an official holiday to celebrate, then pursue those things on a regular basis. Love to get together with friends and family? Plan outings with others when you have a day off. Take time to call and talk to loved ones...Read More