Real Food Tips: What to Make vs. Buy

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Providing real food meals is totally worth the extra preparation time, but that doesn’t mean every. single. item. has to be completely 100% homemade (thank goodness)! There are some decent store bought options out there, many of which only have one ingredient, and there are also plenty of food-like substances I’d recommend steering away from no matter what.

So here’s a little guide to help you decide when to go that extra made-from-scratch mile…

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Recipe: Quick Chicken Piccata

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This is one of those rare occasions when I cook with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I am not usually a big fan (of the taste/texture) except for when it comes to a super easy dish like this that gets two thumbs up from the whole family! FYI – If you plan to serve this chicken piccata over pasta or rice, consider doubling the sauce!

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Giveaway: $65 Gift Basket from Einkorn (Nature’s Original Wheat)

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Wheat is a hot topic these days. With so many people suddenly developing an allergy or intolerance - the landscape just isn’t quite the same as it used to be! My thought has long been this: if you feel better not eating wheat, then by all means avoid it! But there’s no reason for the rest of us to aimlessly eliminate wheat – at least in my opinion.

So that’s why I am excited to introduce you to our sponsor Jovial Foods, creators of einkorn wheat products. Einkorn was one of the first species of wheat grown by man more than 12,000 years ago, therefore one of the “purest” wheats out there. Have you tried it before?

Video: Candy-Free Easter Ideas (that are still fun!)

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Yes, I know…. Easter is only one day a year so “let kids be kids!” Well, guess what? I think kids can still be kids with sidewalk chalk and new games and bubbles and water balloons and craft supplies and even their very own gardening tools! There are way too many holidays and “special” occasions centered around junk food these days (which, frankly, isn’t so great for our kids’ health). So how about shifting the focus when you’re the one in control?

Here are some fun candy-free Easter ideas that your kid will love plus what we do for our own kids on Easter morning every year – in both news clip and text form (just below).
FYI – There is an Easter Bunny spoiler alert in the video so don’t watch it with your kids!

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Recipe: Chicken and Wild Rice Slow Cooker Soup

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Oh, how I love hearty real food slow cooker recipes that don’t require any advance cooking! So here’s another one to add to your repertoire. And my kids especially loved it when I packed this chicken and wild rice soup in their school lunch, so be sure to freeze the leftovers in individual portions, making it easy for you to do the same.

Also, this recipe is one of those that is rather flexible, so here are some variations to meet your needs:

  • Don’t like celery? Substitute carrots.
  • Don’t like mushrooms? Omit them from the recipe.
  • On a tight budget? Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts.
  • Short on time? Buy pre-sliced mushrooms.
  • Like being thrifty? Make and use homemade stock.
  • Too busy to cook during the week? Make this over the weekend and you can count on leftovers.

Enjoy!

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Taste Testing Games for Picky Eaters (and for fun!)

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As I’ve shared before, I am part of a “Healthy Child & Earth” committee at our elementary school, and one of our initiatives this year was to form a Cooking & Gardening Club. This new after school club meets weekly, and the volunteers on our committee take turns teaching different lessons.

The first time I led this group of 1st through 5th graders, I explained the importance of whole grains and let the kids make their own whole-wheat pasta with a hand crank machine. Most of the parents I spoke to afterward said their kids boiled their pasta (and gobbled it right up) as soon as they got home—yay!

The second class I taught (last week) was all about taste testing. And this lesson taught me:

Taste testing games are a great way to get even the pickiest of kids to warm up to new foods!

These games are so easy, they by no means have to happen in the classroom. Today I want to share all the details so you can do this at home with your own kids (and/or their friends). This could honestly even be a fun birthday or slumber party activity (depending on how “out of the box” you like to be and how much you like the idea of positive peer pressure!). The kids in the class enjoyed the activities much more than I expected, and by the end, several of them were saying, “Oh, I wish we could do the blind taste test game again. It was soooo fun!” Score!

 

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