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Read any mom tip book or visit any website, and you will inevitably come across a chapter on how to get your kids to eat more vegetables. It’s a national maternal pastime. There’s the sneaking veggie puree into everything strategy, playing games with food and the ’50 times before they like it’ approach. I am proud to say all three of my kids love to eat raw veggies as snacks and with meals—and the way they developed that taste was simple, no games required.
I started always keeping a ‘veggie box’ in the fridge—a Tupperware container full of raw, cut-up vegetables such as carrots, celery, peppers, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, sliced cucumber, and cauliflower, that I refill every few days. When the kids are really hungry (like after school or when we come in for lunch after an active morning skiing or playing soccer), out comes the veggie box as the first choice for snacks, along with some vague excuse from me like ‘Just eat these for now, I’ll get you something else in a minute’ or ‘I am looking for your sandwich in the cooler’. Then lo and behold, when I turn around in a few minutes, half the box is gone. (The only thing that’s been rejected out of hand so far is radishes.) And the more often they eat them, the more they seem to like them. An added benefit is that I am eating a lot more veggies too, as they are always washed and ready to be eaten. Perfect with hummus when I get home from work.
What’s your tip for getting your kids to eat veggies?
Now that soup season is upon us I can’t help but look at the seasonal vegetables in the market without thinking about roasting, pureeing, and turning them into some kind of soup. The cooler temperatures, gorgeous fall colours, and the need for a sweater all make me long for comfort food—specifically soup.
This is the first year that I have done more than just admire the piles of brightly coloured pumpkins at my local market. In the past I have purchased pure canned pumpkin to make pumpkin pies and roasted pumpkin seeds from our Jack-o-lantern, but that’s as close as I’ve come to cooking with this versatile, low fat, high fibre vegetable.
One of the recipes we chose to include in this month’s EatSavvy edition was Pumpkin Apple Soup. Little did I know how simple it was to cut, roast and puree this delicious winter squash. Not as rich in flavour as butternut squash, nor as deep in colour as acorn squash, but delicious and simple to use nonetheless.
I freeze leftover soup in two cup serving containers or freezer bags, remove one from the freezer before I go to bed, and it is thawed by morning. I add a whole grain pita with cream cheese or hummus to my lunch bag and I’ve got a hot, nutritious lunch to look forward to at the office.
What are you making for lunch?
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?
If you think the season of turkey is over just because the hols are over, think again. I was loving our December EatSavvy recipes so much I had to go out and buy a turkey breast last week to make more pot pie for my family ski weekends and there was even enough left over for some of the delicious soup.
Stay tuned for some more delicious and nutritious recipes on EatSavvy coming next week but be sure to visit back often for all of the recipes that are archived on the site for your enjoyment.
Remember to eat savvy!
As publishers of our very own online food magazine EatSavvy, eating plays an integral part in our day at Savvy HQ. On any given day, we can be found swapping recipes, sharing potluck lunches, taste-testing new recipes, and trading afternoon snacks. Not to mention keeping the fridge stocked with our top two vices—Diet Coke and chocolate (any kind)!
Most of us bring a packed lunch (or the ingredients to make it) to the office on a daily basis, more for health-related reasons than anything else, and eat at our desks. Plus, if you already have the lunch packing assembly line going at home, it isn’t any more work to add one more. We have a fully-equipped mini kitchen, comprised of a bar fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle, dishware, and a varied selection of condiments here, all of which make it easier to keep fresh ingredients on hand, prepare nutritious lunches, and ultimately enjoy our lunch.
We bring in everything from leftover spaghetti, to sandwiches, soups, salads, and frozen entrees. Today, Robyn is having homemade Harira soup, Leslie popped out to the bakery for a fresh roll to accompany the fillings she brought from home, I am having a turkey, brie and avocado sandwich, and Sarah brought in a huge bowl of her favourite Quinoa Greek Rainbow Salad.
On those days when getting the kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door in snow gear is more than we bargained for or we just happen to have a craving for something new, we have lots of options for take-out or dining in the neighbourhood where we can grab something to eat. Today Minnow is enjoying her favourite take-out lunch of homemade mushroom soup and fresh bread from Epi Breads, while Myra’s favourite indulgence is a slice of cheese pizza from Pizza Pizza.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow, when I don’t need to pack a lunch. It’s our monthly photo shoot for our January edition of EatSavvy, so there will be lots of delicious food to dine on. We are very excited about this month’s EatSavvy, so don’t miss it.
What do you take for lunch?
Have I mentioned how much we love to eat at Savvy HQ? I don’t know if it’s because most of us love to cook and are proud of our culinary skills, or that we’re publishers of an online food magazine, or maybe it’s just because we receive so many food samples to test. Whatever the reason, we seem to do a lot of taste testing, sharing, and recipe swapping at lunch time. And we like it.
Just before the holidays we organized a Holiday Bake-Off. And, since our Bake-Off was such a success, we decided to put our cooking skills to the test with a Mid-Winter Soup-Off.
In preparation for an upcoming EatSavvy edition, we asked anyone wishing to participate to submit a sample of their family’s favourite soup recipe. The criteria were as follows: all recipes must be kid-friendly, not too labour intensive, healthy, and not too spicy. Robyn was first to submit an entry—Mexican Pozole Soup (a huge hit), Sarah brought in a heart healthy (and low-carb) white bean and chicken soup and Minnow keeps talking about an asparagus and pear soup (not yet tested).
All of these delicious soups (and more) will be reviewed and tested for possible inclusion into EatSavvy next week, but not all of them will be selected. Stay tuned and be sure to open your edition of EatSavvy this month to find out.
What is your favourite family soup recipe? Send it in and it could be selected!
There has been a lot in the news about sodium being the silent killer. You might have read about it on SavvyMom or our blogs. I think it’s safe to say that it’s something we’re all watching very closely in our diets – especially for our kids.
That’s why it’s so great to see what some of the bigger brands are doing with soup—one of my favourite foods but also one of the worst offenders on the sodium front.
President’s Choice has just come out with a host of new Blue Menu products and my favourite by far is the Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper ready to serve soup. It is seriously tasty, low in cals (100 calories a cup) and low in sodium (140 mg a cup). It’s also a great way to get some veggies into your kids. Drop a fishy or two in the bowl, some grated cheese and everyone’s a winner.
For more recipes on how to serve soup AND keep the sodium count down…watch for our next edition of EatSavvy—coming soon!
We know what food we like and what food we buy and cook. How well do we really know that food? Do you know what’s inside it? I’m not talking about the jelly inside a donut. I’m talking about the nutritional information, of course.
The irony is that if we are buying packaged foods, we can read the label on the outside and find out. But if we cook the food with fresh (or not so fresh) ingredients at home, we don’t always know.
Well there is good news for those chefs who are preparing real food if you want to make sure you are following dietary guidelines or just get some reinforcement that the foods you are serving are as healthy as you think they are.
It’s a site called The Recipe Analyzer and it will convert your recipe into a label like the one you’d find on the side of a box. Let’s hope you don’t have the same amount of sodium on yours! (Did I really write that?)
Try it out here.
Do you have a favourite food site that you like for nutritional information?
Everyone loves celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver. We love his cookbooks (The Naked Chef), cooking shows, restaurants and overall good looks, but more than anything we love what he stands for—enjoying great food by eating healthy.
Most recently, Jamie has been receiving a lot of attention from the introduction of his newest television show Jamie’s Food Revolution.
In a school in Huntington, West Virginia, Jamie addresses America’s obesity crisis with young people. He starts with making changes to the lunches that are served in schools and attempts to educate lunch staff, kids and their families about the importance of choosing, cooking and eating meals with ‘real’ and fresh ingredients. If you haven’t had a chance to see the first episodes, try and catch the Season Finale this coming Friday on ABC @ 9:00 p.m. ET.
It is Jamie’s hope to inspire other cities and countries and to start a reaction of positive change across the country. To continue with these efforts, Jamie has created an online petition which he plans to present to the White House. Have you signed Jamie Oliver’s petition to improve school lunches? Help spread the word. Sign the petition and then forward it to a friend.
We’ve been admirers of Lianne Phillipson-Webb around here for a long time. If you don’t know her, she’s the mom entrepreneur and registered nutritionist behind Sprout Right, which offers a wide range of nutrition services for ‘tummies to toddlers’. She’s got a huge following of moms in Toronto who have consulted her for prenatal nutrition, and then moved on to making organic baby food under her supervision. And now, for moms everywhere, she’s published a great resource book entitled Sprout Right—Nutrition from Tummy to Toddler (Penguin, $26, May 2010).
I was lucky enough to get a chance to read an advance copy and flattered to be asked for a testimonial. As I am quoted on the back cover, this book is “a fantastic resource about nutrition for expecting and new moms—the only book you’ll need in your kitchen.” It’s full of the latest nutritional research for pregnancy, babies and children; tips and tricks for healthy eating, and over 75 healthy and yummy food recipes for babies and beyond.
My kids are older now, so no more baby food for me, but what I love the most in the book is all the recipes for healthy snacks, such as Divine Cookies (sugar-free but you would never know), gluten-free Sinless Chocolate Almond Brownies, Go Faster Granola Bars and our family fave, Organic Rice Crisp Surprise Squares, a much healthier version of the old bake-sale classic. Enjoy the recipe—I am sure your kids will.
Organic Rice Crisp Surprise Squares
Prep and Cook
It might sound like something for Dash and his dad, Mr. Incredible. But Mission Nutrition is actually an initiative for every family. That’s why we’re partnering with them on the Healthy Kitchen Cupboard, Healthy Eating Contest. You might have read about it on SavvyMom already, but in case you missed it, it’s a contest for a chance to win a consultation with a registered dietitian right in your home and a $300 shopping spree! She will assess what’s in your cupboard and show you how to maximize your family’s healthy eating habits—for good.
Some superheroes need to focus on saving their families instead of the world. They’re called Moms. That’s why Mission Nutrition just makes sense. You can get started on your mission right here—just enter for your chance to win!
I have to admit that the EatSavvy ingredient this month is one of my favourite foods. So when June comes around every year and it’s fresh pea season in Ontario, I am always a bit biased when choosing the main ingredient for EatSavvy. Luckily, Denise Smith our food editor, knows about my obsession and is a fan of peas herself—or she just pretends to humor me which is just as likely the case.
Either way, we have a few yummy recipes for you to choose from on EatSavvy this month that all incorporate peas. They are lovely this time of year and my kids enjoy eating them right out of the pod, while they are still crunchy.
Keep the recipes in your favourites and make them all year long with frozen peas, too. And teach the kids to say ‘Peas, please.’
It’s the last week of school and (in preparation for summer holidays) a perfect week to clean out the refrigerator and use up leftovers. One of my kids’ favourite mid-week family dinner options are fajitas. So, whenever we have chicken or beef, I try and remember to make more than we need in order to have leftovers for fajitas the next night.
Last night, we used leftover barbequed roast beef, reheated it on the barbeque, grilled a few peppers and onion, cleaned up some other vegetables in the crisper and threw together a simple, quick and healthy dinner for four.
Grilled Beef and Vegetable Fajitas
Prep and Cook
Good to know: If your family prefers to have their cheese melted, place the completed fajitas in the microwave for 20 sec. prior to serving.
Tomorrow night I am hoping to use up some leftover meat sauce in the freezer to make Sloppy Joes!
What are your favourite dinners to make with leftovers?
I don’t know if it’s because there is more local fish available at this time, or because I prefer to eat a lighter meal during the summer months, but for whatever reason I tend to cook more fish now than any other time of the year.
If I am cooking a fish that is light in texture (or falls apart easily), I prefer to take the safe route and pan fry it. When cooking a firmer fish, I tend to switch back and forth between baking and broiling, depending on the sauce or side dish. The biggest challenge I have when cooking any type of fish is preventing it from falling apart.
While strolling through the aisles of my local grocery store last week, I came across the perfect solution—PaperChef’s Parchment Paper Cooking Bags. As an avid baker, I am quite familiar with the advantages of using parchment paper. I guess I could cut and fold the rolled paper to make my own bags, but why would I? Culinary parchment cooking bags make cooking fish (or vegetables) so much easier.
Some of the advantages to using parchment paper cooking bags include:
Here is a simple recipe for cooking fish in parchment paper cooking bags.
Fish & Summer Vegetable Pockets
Prep and Cook
PaperChef Culinary Parchment products are available at specialty cooking stores and in Loblaws stores across Canada.
What will you be cooking in your cooking bag?
One of my fondest childhood summer memories is eating sweet corn-on-the-cob fresh from my grandparent’s vegetable garden. They grew all kinds of vegetables, but corn was always a family favourite. The corn was sweet, crisp and almost as good as dessert. My Nana and I would pick it, husk it and cook it, all within an hour. Summer dinners consisted primarily of vegetables, beginning with corn and ending with whatever other fresh vegetables were ready to harvest that day.
Whether you buy it from a roadside stand or your local grocery store, choose corn with dark green husks and moist stems. Because corn loses its natural sugars as soon as it is picked, it should be eaten as soon as possible. Keep it in the refrigerator if it isn’t going to be consumed that day. Whether you boil or grill it, corn is a delicious summer treat.
Here are some tips on preparation: