Posts tagged under Family. Show all posts.
My sons aren’t what you would call “picky eaters”, but that doesn’t mean they’ll eat anything I put in front of them. I have been known to finish off a child’s plateful of food or two, begrudgingly agree to macaroni and cheese for the third meal in a row, and I am also guilty of offering more than one meal option in my nine years of parenting. I would love for my sons to share the same passion for food as I do, so as much as possible I strive to offer meals that are healthy, fun and creative. For the healthy part, I think I am OK, but for the creative part, I call upon the help of professionals. One of my favourite family cookbooks is Whining & Dining – Mealtime Survival for Picky Eaters and the Families Who Love Them by Emma Waverman and Eshun Mott, food professionals and moms to three children each. The first couple of chapters focus on nutritional information, the importance of eating together as a family, and practical advice and tips for managing picky (or not) eaters, while the rest of the book is made up of over 100 kid-tested recipes for every meal (including birthday and dinner party recipes) and age group. I particularly like the tips and nutrition facts that are printed alongside each of the recipes. A few of my kids’ favourite recipes include their Multigrain Buttermilk Waffles, Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins, Turkey and Bean Chili, and Meat Loaf. If I were to choose one family-friendly cookbook to have in my kitchen it would be this one. Available to purchase online at www.randomhouse.ca.
What’s your favourite cookbook?
Back in my pre-kid days, when most of my meals were eaten in hotels, airports and client cafeterias, I didn’t have to worry about getting dinner on the table every night. That allowed me to devote all my cooking efforts to planning lovely dinner parties for our friends, on the weekends when I was home. A week or two before a dinner was planned, I would take my favourite cookbooks to bed with me and idly flip through them picking and choosing perfect combinations of dishes (with no ingredient repeats) to make for our friends. It was my hobby and a great way to relax.
Fast-forward to today and our three-soccer-practice, four-ballet-class weeks, getting dinner on the table is a seven-night a week affair and needs to be done as efficiently as possible—no relaxing allowed. But my current obsession with sodium means that I really try to stay away from prepared foods and store-bought frozen foods…which means even more cooking. So I am finding that having a copy of The Good Food Book for Families by Brenda Bradshaw and Cheryl Mutch, MD in my kitchen is like having my own nutrition consultant and executive chef all rolled into one. The cookbook is full of delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinners, snacks and desserts, and also includes menu planning tools and a host of nutritional tips and help on interpreting Canada’s Food Guide for family eating. All the basics are covered (meatball, tuna melts and more) but the recipes I like the most are for the little things like make-your-own ice cream and peanut butter hummus. Off to make dinner now!
No matter how busy our family schedule gets, I make it my mission to ensure that we eat as many home-cooked meals during the week as possible. As we move into cold and flu season, I’m also looking for ways to boost the children’s immunity and ward off seasonal viruses. Vitamin supplements and flu shots are fine, but I think one of the easiest and most practical solutions is eating homemade soup. Canned soup is quick and inexpensive, but it can be high in sodium and fat and quite modest in nutritional value. A steaming bowl of homemade soup, when you can control the sodium, fat, and nutritional value, is an ideal food for any healthy family eating plan.
While on a recent media tour of Williams-Sonoma on Bloor Street, we received a copy of Maria Helm Sinskey’s Williams-Sonoma Family Meals – Creating Traditions in the Kitchen cookbook. Always searching for new family-friendly recipes, I was excited to give it a try. Family Meals is full of delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes, and is organized by ingredients. Each chapter begins with a fun cooking project that teaches you and your children about ingredients, seasonal availability, and nutrition. Based on what I had in the crisper and the number of sick children in our school, I chose to make the Veggie Minestrone. This soup features a variety of seasonal, vitamin and nutrient-enriched vegetables. I was a little apprehensive about including the “green bits”, otherwise known as kale, but thought I should stick to the recipe the first time. Kale is low in saturated fat and a very good source of fibre and Vitamins A and C. Much to my surprise and delight both of my children devoured their first bowl and asked for a second. The leftovers got packed into their thermos’ for school the next day. With this soup, you can substitute with other favourite vegetables or throw in whatever is left in your crisper—a different soup every time. Create your own family-favourite version.
Serves 8 – 10
What is your favourite soup recipe?
The food team at SavvyMom are pleased as punch with the new and improved version of EatSavvy this month. We’re delivering the same great tried and tested savvy recipes for busy families but we have improved the look and feel of the site. We love the bigger food shots done by our very own Holly Sisson. They look almost as delicious as they are in real life. We also worked on making the site a bit easier for you to navigate and find what you need.
We’re always looking for ways to improve and make your experience better at SavvyMom so feel free to share your thoughts with us anytime.
What improvements do you like on EatSavvy or what else would you like us to change?
My mom was obsessed with having family dinners. It became clear to me the night before my older sister left home for university and my mom burst into tears at the dinner table crying “We’ll never have another family dinner again”. Sure enough, we were all back at the table two months later for Thanksgiving. And we didn’t let my mom live that one down.
But now that I can’t deny I’m turning into my mother, I will admit that I know exactly where she is coming from. I, too, am obsessed with family dinners. Every Sunday night, I chart out the calendar for the nights when we will all be home to eat together that week then begin planning the menus. It’s not about the cooking and eating—it’s about the sitting together and sharing. It’s the rituals that evolve over time from sitting down together day after day. Let’s be honest, it’s not all smiles and laughter all the time. There’s still a lot of correcting of manners and checking in on what happened during the day—sometimes not always good news. But when else are you going to hear that information and learn to handle it as a team?
Needless to say, I was excited when a new book came to our attention at SavvyMom called The Family Dinner, Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt. The foreward by Dr. Harvey Karp MD lured me in on the first page with a few interesting and alarming stats:
These practices are apparently a result of what he calls the fast-paced, no-frills society that has pushed us toward an assembly line view of life. The book is clearly not just a collection of recipes (although it is filled with many good ones). It also delivers inspirational quotes and stories from people who appreciate the family dinner and it’s organized in a very unique way. Some chapter titles include: “Cook Together at the Table”, “Table Talk”, “Kids in the Kitchen” and “Why Family Dinners Matter”, among others.
In a society that can find an extra two hours a day to spend online, it’s amazing that families can’t find the time to sit and enjoy a meal together. I give this book a huge savvy stamp of approval and hope you will enjoy it as much as I have been.
Do you sit down as a family to eat your meals? I would love to know.
When you think Apple, do you think fresh and tasty or bits and bytes? It’s time to get back to basics and celebrate Family Day with your family by taking them to the ball. In celebration of the McIntosh Apple’s 200th anniversary—one of Canada’s native and most popular varieties—the Ontario Apple Growers are hosting an exciting Winter Apple Ball on Monday, February 21st (Family Day) at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.
SavvyMom is giving away 8 family passes of 4 tickets to the upcoming event. Attractions at the ball include:
And we have our winners:
Pamela Braithwaite, Natalie Hedderson, Melissa Erskine, Kari Lockett, Tracy Travers, Danielle Smith, Mary Tong and C. Smith.
Faye Clack Communications, the PR firm representing Ontario Apple Growers, will be contacting you all directly by email with your e-ticket. Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to everyone who submitted a comment.
I love getting my kids in the kitchen with me whenever I can and taco salad is one dish that I love to have them help me prepare.
For starters, there are so many jobs for this dinner that kids from ages three onwards can easily be assigned something to do. Whether it’s crushing the nacho chips, grating the cheese or rinsing the beans, little hands can help with almost anything in this recipe.
Most kids like the flavour profile of a taco, so even if they’re a little skeptical of eating the salad, they’re more likely to want to eat it if they’re involved in the process of putting it all together (and choosing what goes inside).
What are your favourite meals to cook with your kids?
Terrific Taco Salad Wraps
Prep and Cook:
Taco Meat Recipe:
This is an adult job, which can be done in advance.
Prep and Cook:
Last week, my family ate like the French for five days. We used the rules laid out in Karen Le Billon’s new book French Kids Eat Everything and combined them with my own personal experiences of living in the south of France, to come up with some guidelines for the what, when and how much we should consume.
I’m happy to report that we fared quite well, and only two complaints arose during the five-day trial. The first was from my husband, Rob. He confessed to feeling hungry every single night of this experiment, and found he was always craving a snack around 10 pm. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think that’s any different from any other night, but I believe he was more aware of it because he didn’t have the option of getting something to eat (one of Karen’s rules is ‘no snacking’—she believes it’s okay to feel hungry sometimes).
The second complaint came from the kids, and was related to… snacking! While they wanted to eat a little more frequently than I would let them, by the fourth day they stopped asking for something before bed, which ultimately felt like a really good thing.
Here’s a brief breakdown of what we ate last week:
Breakfast: This was the same every day. Warm baguettes (fortunately we live around the corner from a patisserie) topped with creamy butter, local honey and/or Nutella.
Lunch: This was the hardest meal to make, mostly because I was packing lunches for everyone. I included roast chicken, vegetables, leftover soups/stews, fresh fruit, cheeses, cured meats, dips, and crackers in the lunch boxes (Rob brown bags his lunch, too).
Snack (Gouter): This is an important part of the French diet and we indulged in this mini-meal every day. No one complained about the slices of cake, chocolate croissants and homemade cookies eaten after school.
Dinner: This was easy and often very simple. I made vegetable soups and served them yogurt, cheese and meats. Other dinners were made up of stew, lentils and sausages, roasted vegetables, and omelettes.
A few of Karen’s other rules include:
Could you eat this way for a week? A month? Do you agree with Karen’s rules?
Last week, Disney announced that all products advertised on their child-oriented TV channels, radio stations and Internet sites will soon need to comply with a new set of nutritional standards.
Effective in early 2015—it can’t be any earlier due to existing advertising contracts—the Disney corporation will no longer accept advertising materials that contain candy, sugary cereals, fast food and popular, yet mostly unhealthy, grocery store items.
Instead, the company wants to position themselves as a brand that families can trust, and taking note of the increase in consumer interest in nutritious food is just one of the ways they intend to do this.
However, programming won’t be the only thing affected by the new Disney guidelines. They also plan on reducing the sodium in the food served at their theme parks, and aspire to create fun promotions advocating exercise and healthy eating.
I’ve read a few articles on this topic in the past week, and while some folks are praising the company for finally acknowledging corporate responsibility, others wonder what’s really so bad about eating a bit of junk food every once in a while. There are also the skeptics who see this a just a move designed to keep moms happy, which in turn will keep them purchasing Disney products and DVDs for their kids.
What do you think? Is this just about the bottom dollar for the company, or are they really trying to make a difference for the kids? Would you be more likely to purchase a Disney product or vacation knowing that they’re taking a stand on childhood nutrition?
If I had found nothing but cookbooks under the Christmas tree this year, I wouldn’t have been the slightest bit disappointed. The ones I have are among my most prized possessions, and I add to my collection far more often than my husband probably approves of. After all, there is a limit to how many bookshelves I can fit in my small urban home.
This past year had a slew of stellar cookbooks and several of them were geared to cooking for and with a family. Here is a list of some of my family-favourite publications that I think might be worth adding to your home collection. They are in heavy rotation around my house and one of them even sits on my bedside table because the stories in it alone are worth the purchase price—even if you don’t ever cook from it.
Dinner: A Love Story
By Jenny Rosenstrach
Although this book landed on my doorstep last June, I’ve yet to officially file it away on my bookshelf. Instead, I keep it on my bedside table, coffee table or kitchen counter so that it’s always within arms reach. The recipes are simple and clever, but it’s really the stories of parenting—and sharing food with family—that have me reading passages over and over again.
Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine
By Shaina Olmanson
Serving food in jars was a popular trend in 2012 and I don’t see it going away anytime soon. Shaina’s creative collection of sweets served in glass vessels is inspiring, family-friendly and the perfect way to get the kids in the kitchen with you. Combining favourite, yet traditional desserts, with playful and decadent original ideas, the recipes are accompanied by the author’s gorgeous photography. I’m partial to the chapter at the back of the book dedicated to edible gifts and will certainly reference it when it comes time to make something for the teachers or the grandparents.
The Homemade Pantry
By Alana Chernila
I loved this book so much that I featured it on the blog a few months ago. It’s authoritative, practical and down-to-earth, and convinces home cooks that making their own pantry staples is far easier, and fun, than they might expect. If you’re concerned about feeding packaged snacks to your kids, this book will help you figure out how to make some of your familiy’s favourite treats at home.