This Sunday Sauce is a hearty, delicious crowd pleaser. There is just no other way to describe it! I was first introduced to this style of spaghetti sauce by our old babysitter, Kim, long ago when we lived in Florida and I was working full time for corporate America. While the baby (who is now 8 going on 9!) was napping and I was working, Kim would start or sometimes even make our dinner for us. And with our work schedules back then, her extra help with dinner was such a life saver at times. Granted, at that time in our lives, the meat wasn’t local and the tomatoes weren’t organic and the pasta definitely wasn’t whole-grain, BUT it was still a somewhat wholesome meal I very much enjoyed and remember to this day.
And thanks to a similar dish made by my friend Trang and a “Super Sunday Sauce” recipe I found in Rachael Ray Magazine, I was able to piece together how Kim made this for us, plus – added bonus – turn it into a dish that can simmer all day long in the slow cooker!
Today I am excited to share some great school lunch packing tips from my friend Laura Fuentes with MOMables! We all know that we should be packing our kids a variety of colorful, wholesome, healthy foods they will love, but sometimes that is just easier said than done. And that’s exactly why Laura, mom of three kids ages 7-years-old and younger, came up with an idea for helping parents make this a reality.
She developed a meal planning planning service with the school lunch box in mind, ensuring that anyone who followed along could kiss the “Sandwich Rut” goodbye. And, as I’ve mentioned before, aside from this paid meal planning service Laura also has a blog and facebook page where she continuously shares super creative and fun food ideas. It’s honestly one of my favorite Facebook pages to follow – so thank you Laura for sponsoring today’s blog post (and for always keeping my Facebook news feed interesting)!
If you decide to try out the MOMables meal planning service you’ll get 5 real food lunch ideas, a prep-ahead sheet, and a shopping list – all of which can help any busy parent feed their kids a variety of foods – for only $6.50 per month!Their Classic plan has built in gluten-free, nut-free, and vegetarian substitutions; while the Grain Free meal plan is completely gluten-free and limits dairy and legumes. So there is an option for everyone!
Now, back to all those fabulous little MOMables tips I was telling you about. Here are 7 quick fixes from Laura for those unwelcome lunchbox dilemmas!
The number one way to know what’s really in your food – and how highly processed it is – is to read the ingredient label. There are some products that you just know are total junk food without even seeing what’s inside like Doritos, Coca-Cola, and pretty much any Little Debbie Snack. Then there are others that I don’t think are so obvious (to the average shopper), for example… Cheese and crackers? Peanut butter and jelly with fruit? All white chicken strips with a smoothie? C’mon, you have to admit those combinations sound more innocent and not nearly as bad as a Swiss Cake Roll.
It’s no secret that these are some of the combinations packaged up and sold as Lunchables. I can totally see the attraction to buying these “lunches” for your kids. There is no question that they are convenient for the adults and desired by (most) little ones. But, at what point do we stop letting the benefits of convenience outweigh the importance of our children’s health? I know we are all busy. Let’s face it though, we all have the same 24 hours in a day and it’s up to each individual to prioritize what is important in their own life. I don’t think one Lunchable is going to put anyone’s health over the edge, but please tell me that we can all agree this is not what we should be feeding our children on a weekly basis. Let’s take a look at what’s inside. Continue Reading »
One of the easiest, most versatile side dishes is roasted vegetables. You’d be amazed at what 20-40 minutes in the good ol’ oven can do to your veggies. We’re talking crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, warm, comforting, and nourishing real foods. What could be better?! I almost always have a mixture of roasted veggies in our fridge, either prepared to roast or ready to reheat (a bonus for those who love leftovers).
The process of roasting coaxes out the sweetness of the vegetables, which caramelize when cooked. But the great thing about roasting vegetables is that it’s simple. You wash, chop, mix in a little olive oil, garlic and salt, a few optional spices, and pop it in the oven. Seriously, this is win-win for many reasons.
I am excited to invite you into my kitchen with our first ever professionally made video, or “vlog” as some call it! There was just no better way to show you how we set up for school lunch around here to ensure school mornings go as smoothly as possible. So enjoy (and be sure to check out the video notes just below).
P.S. In the video you’ll also get a sneak peak of our new logo coming soon!
Aside from all the blog work our team members do to keep this site going round, each person has their own special real food talents and knowledge as well. After all, that’s what brought us together in the first place (well, except for me and my husband of course…that was actually a fraternity party in college and a story for another day!).
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to reach out to each person behind the scenes over here and ask them to share their best advice for convincing a reluctant family member to join you on the real food bandwagon as well as their favorite recipe!
From Jason, Business Manager (and my husband)
Tip: I’m going to cheat here and give two tips.
Have your reluctant family members read In Defense of Food and watch Food, Inc. so they have some background on why you are making a change. They could even borrow the audio book from the library and listen during their daily commute. There is no shame in changing old behavior as the result of education, but this requires an open mind.
Make real food your new normal. Things cease to be “new and different” when they turn into just “how things are done” in your house (consistently, most of the time).
I remember growing up and comparing my experiences (bedtime, TV time, chore list, privileges, etc.) with those of my friends. If I ever complained to my mom, she would reply with, “I’m not your friend’s mother. I’m your mother, and in this house, this is how it’s going to be.” It’s important to go beyond groupthink and embrace your own individuality. You have the power to influence your own family’s experiences and wellbeing, and if you are a parent, that power could extend to future generations.
Recipe: My favorite real food recipe is Pork Carnitas Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas. It is just incredible, rivaling authentically prepared food I’ve had in Mexico. If you are a novice cook, you can go with store bought corn tortillas the first time around (Ezekiel brand is clean), but once your family falls in love with the tacos you have to make some homemade tortillas the next time. They will rock your world.