I would be lying if I said coming up with a variety of healthy, real food, peanut-free, tree nut-free, portable lunch options wasn’t a challenge. I understand that the school is trying to protect children with severe peanut/tree nut allergies, but I have to admit that I often feel their little rules conflict with what we are trying to do…eat real food that is. On the school’s “safe snack list” which offers hundreds of “approved” options I literally found only 15 items that we would also consider to be “approved” for our kindergartner. They seriously have “Wendy’s Frosties” listed as an approved option so I suppose they would rather me send in one of those or something like a package of goldfish for her snack instead of a little all-natural cashew/dried fruit mix?
Summer is the perfect time to take a break from the heat with a cold treat. I know last summer my kids went through their fair share of popsicles, freezie pops, push-ups, and ice cream. Well you may have noticed that we are on day 11 of our 100 Days of Real Food and of course none of those treats will be allowed this summer…not that I really want my kids sucking down frozen nutrition-less high-fructose corn syrup anyway. So I had to get creative and come up with as many attractive alternatives as I could if I expect my kids to forget about the store-bought stuff!
This particular recipe is my favorite “salad” of all time. Maybe this is because it doesn’t contain any lettuce and I am not too much of a lettuce person. This variation of the caprese salad is especially fabulous with locally grown in-season tomatoes. I ate the one pictured last night, and felt like I could have licked my plate at the end. Now that is a good salad. And if you love it as much as I do you can get creative with different ways to serve it. Check out the panini I made (pictured below), which is just the salad ingredients melted inside two pieces of whole-wheat bread and served with balsamic vinegar for dipping.
This is another recipe where you can use a lot of in-season ingredients from the farmer’s market. Once assembled, these veggie burgers do freeze well.
We made it through the first three days, but there is still a LONG way to go! The day after we kicked off our 100 Days of Real Food we were set to host a little party for the neighborhood kids (and their parents). Since it was a field day type event focused on the kids I also provided all of the “kid food”, too. I certainly didn’t want my children to have to eat anything special or different so this meant that all 16 kids (little did they know) would be eating by our new rules! I know I’ve said this before, but I must say it again…thank you popcorn for being a 100% whole-grain! Popcorn is tasty and fun – especially when served in individual little popcorn bags (which I found at World Market). In addition to the popcorn we cut up a big watermelon, which disappeared quite fast. For the main course I knew I wanted to serve hot dogs, but of course they couldn’t be just any hot dogs. I managed to find a local farm that makes hot dogs out of decent cuts of pork and beef, which we picked up at the Charlotte Farmer’s Market. I also special ordered two dozen honey whole-wheat hot dog buns from Great Harvest Bread Company. This was definitely the first time I had ever special ordered anything food related for a bunch of kids….but you gotta do what you gotta do!
Have you ever tried homemade flour tortillas before? Let me just say that the taste and texture is far superior to those that come in a plastic bag at the grocery store. Those at the store honestly don’t even deserve to be called tortillas compared to the real thing. And luckily, the tastiness of homemade tortillas justifies the effort it takes to make them. Up until now almost all the recipes I have posted have been easy to make, but I must admit that this one is definitely an exception to the rule. I will also say that I actually tried a couple of different methods for making tortillas and this is the easy (easier) version. Please trust me when I tell you…it is worth it!
It’s no secret that I recently started perusing our local farmer’s market. These outings have left me with a variety of nutritious, tasty vegetables…that I often times have no idea what to do with! Which is exactly why I am so excited about this stir-fry recipe. I was able to use 5 of the items that I found at the farmers’ market in this one recipe – that is definitely a record! Plus, if you make the sauce yourself and serve it with brown rice, you end up with a delicious, healthy meal.
Prior to this year I don’t ever recall eating kale before. I even discussed it with a few of my friends, and they also weren’t sure if they had eaten it before either (have you?). I don’t know what it is about the name “kale”, but the sound of it just isn’t appealing for some reason. However, things have changed and since I am trying my best to buy and eat local foods, I decided to go out on a limb and try it! I first discovered that kale can be substituted for (and even added to) spinach in some recipes like creamed spinach. I of course couldn’t get my daughters to even think about wanting to eat that. But (drum roll, please) when I received this super easy recipe below, courtesy of my husband’s step-mom, not only did my children like it, but they loved it and kept asking for more! I will add that when my daughter first saw this greenish looking dish, just like any 2-yr-old would, she said “I don’t like that” without even trying it. She did follow the rule of trying at least one bite though, and with surprise in her voice she said “I like the kale” and then kept eating it. And I have to agree that I was also surprised how good something with the name “kale” could turn out to be!
My girls love to help me make this recipe. My 5-yr-old can practically mix and pat out the crust all by herself (if she can do it so can you!) while my 2-yr-old happily stirs the egg mixture. We decided to make our quiche half ham and cheese and half goat cheese and tomato the other night, but there are many tasty things that you can add to this dish depending on your mood (and the contents of your fridge). Quiche is no longer just a breakfast dish with all of these options to consider: sautéed mushrooms, caramelized shallots or onions, broccoli, bacon, sausage, swiss cheese, spinach, asparagus, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs…the possibilities are endless! Whenever I serve quiche both of my girls always ask for seconds – which can make any mom’s day. It is good leftover the next day too, and you can also try to freeze it once it has been baked. In my opinion it is not quite as spectacular after it has been frozen, but it is still pretty tasty and incredibly convenient!