October 23rd, 2015
I’ve been wanting to make caramel apples for a long time but, sadly, this is not the year. I’m way too busy. So, instead, I’m making these easy shortcut Caramel Apple Turnovers that look like mummies. This is Halloween gold, people!
I make these using puff pastry, caramel candies (melted with just a little bit of water; I know, but it’s Halloween, after all), and apples. Real fresh ones (ha!). If you want to go scratch, or even semi-homemade, you can use homemade pie dough (store bought works, too, if you can’t find puff pastry) and even homemade caramel sauce. I have recipes for both!
October 9th, 2015
With the hectic back-to-school season behind us you’re probably (hopefully!) in a groove with school lunch. But what about dinner?! I find that I get so wrapped up in preparing to pack lunches and getting my healthy snack game on that I forget—completely—about how hard it is to get healthy dinners on the table come fall.
With the kids in school all day, I always think that I’ll have more time to cook but, in reality, outdoor after school activities, homework, the early fall of darkness, and school night bedtimes make getting home cooked dinners on the table way harder than in the summer. And that’s not to mention more limited produce choices, at least in many parts of the country. Having go-to recipes that I can count on to be easy, healthy, and fast is key to maintaining my sanity while keeping the family healthy through this busy time of year.
September 30th, 2015
It used to be that vegetables were the thing that always came home in my boys’ lunch boxes, but there was a strange reversal over the summer. Suddenly, the peppers and cucumbers, carrot stick and snap peas were eaten, but the fruit was coming home. Fruit? Sweet summer fruit! What gives?
Back in the day, I might have investigated this strange phenomenon. And maybe back then I would have written a long (possibly inspiring? or at least informational?) post about the psychology of children eating fruit. But you know what having a nearly 6-year-old and 8 1/2-year-old has done for me? It has freed me. I don’t need to investigate. I’m not even all that curious. It’s just the way of raising children. One day they like fruit and the next they don’t. One day pasta is their favorite food in the world and then next it’s quite possibly the most disgusting thing they have ever seen plated for human consumption.
There’s just no telling and luckily, at this point in my motherhood journey, I can rest assured in that reality. Instead, I focus a little energy—whatever I have—on looking for creative and easy solutions that get them to eat well. In this case, it comes in the form of fruit sushi.
Before I explain what fruit sushi is, how I make it, and why I refuse to call it “frushi” (it just sounds bad), I do hope that my “move along” attitude is, in some strange way, as helpful as the long examining posts of yesteryear. If you have younger children, I encourage you to still put the energy into learning about how and why kids eat the way that they do. Here are some resources that I hope help: 5 simple ways to feed baby while feeding yourself, why hiding vegetables misses the point, introducing high allergen foods. But I also hope that you don’t stress out too much. I get that you may not be able to just “move along” if you’re in the thick of dealing with a picky 3-year-old—I wouldn’t have been able to—but I also wish that someone had told me that my efforts were better spent eating well myself as a good model, having fun coming up with healthy meals that we could all ostensibly share, and not stressing when the kids refused my healthy meals. (Your kids won’t starve. Seriously. I promise.)
I wish someone had told me to make it easy because my best was good enough. And then I wish that someone had shown me fruit sushi. Because look at how fun!
September 22nd, 2015
The number one thing that slows home cooks down is chopping. And, of all the things to chop, the most frustrating is onion. It’s also the most common thing to chop. It figures, right? I mean, how many times a week do you chop an onion? If you don’t know how to do it correctly, it probably feels like a million.
It’s not all bad news, though. The good is that there is a simple method for cutting an onion that will make even the slowest choppers go fast (safely!). It also creates a perfect dice, so there’s that, too. No more need for hacking a big pile of wonky onions. Because you know what they say about wonky onions.
September 15th, 2015
While everyone is scrambling to come up with the next new school lunch idea, I’m taking a different approach this year. I’m thinking it’s not about new recipes or fresh lunch ideas—at least, not entirely. Instead, it’s about changing up presentation. Who cares if it’s the same old, same old. In fact, if it’s healthy and the kids will eat it, why wouldn’t you stick with what works?!
But a new presentation? That’s everything to kids.
August 25th, 2015
It’s back to school and everyone is talking about school lunch. I get it: packing a lunchbox day after day can feel like a seriously thankless chore. For me, though, figuring out quick, healthy breakfasts for busy school day mornings is the big challenge. After an enthusiastic start, I inevitably find it hard to sustain a morning routine of anything more than smoothies and a bowl of cereal. Not very inspired, which is why, this school year, I want to help you—and myself!—by collecting quick, healthy breakfast recipes that we can rely on all year long in one place.
Look no further.
August 18th, 2015
Back to school season means back to school lunch packing. (Our favorite!) I’ve found that the best way to get good and FAST at something—anything, really—is to figure out the best approach and practice it over and over again. Packing a school lunch is no different, which is why I’ve put together these 5 easy steps to pack school lunch like a pro.
Think of these steps as best practices for packing a healthy, balanced school lunch without too much extra thought or effort on your part. Follow them, over and over, and before you know it you’ll be moving through the task at lightening speed. And, even better, you’ll get so good that you’ll be able to start riffing and coming up with your own best practices.
When that happens, come back here and tell me what they are. Don’t forget the little people.
August 11th, 2015
It seems like nearly everyone has to pack lunch for nut-free classrooms these days. Whether yours is a family contenting with nut allergies or just looking for a nutritious swap for your staple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sunflower seed butter is a life saver. Sunbutter, the most popular brand, comes in creamy or crunchy and is pretty tasty, too. (My kids think it tastes a whole lot like peanut butter.) The only problem is that it can be pricy. So, instead of buying it—since I also stock peanut butter for non-school days—I make small batches using this DIY Sunbutter recipe to cover school lunch.
August 4th, 2015
Hard boiled eggs are one of my favorite things to always have on hand. They make a great healthy snack with nothing more than salt and pepper (okay, and maybe a smear of mayo) and can be used to throw together a brainy breakfast like these 5 easy breakfast recipes. I don’t know how I could pack school lunch without hard boiled eggs: It’s one of my 4 pantry ingredients essential for great school lunches. Hard boiled eggs can even be used to make a super simple, lightening fast dinner like these Quick Curried Eggs (a favorite in my house). And, of course, no party appetizer is complete without deviled eggs.
July 28th, 2015
It’s hard to believe that back-to-school season is about to kick off. And, around these parts, back-to-school means school lunch. We still have a little time, but we’re going to warm up by looking back. These are my top 5 school lunch recipes and ideas. My all-stars.
There is a ton of inspiration in these videos from gluten-free to make-ahead school lunches and ideas for how to use leftovers and think beyond the sandwich. It’s a lot—but the year is also long.
July 22nd, 2015
Fresh pineapple is a favorite treat in my house. The hungry boys love that it’s so naturally sweet—eating it plain is one of their favorites—and I love that its natural sweetness makes it a great addition to everything from smoothies to juices to muffins. Often, once you add pineapple, you can cut down on the other sweeteners. And, as much a I love eating local fruit, I live in NYC where having a few, delicious all-year-around fruits is a lifesaver. (Thank you, pineapple.)
The only bummer is having to cut them. At least, it used to be—but not anymore thanks to this quick tutorial on how to cut pineapple like a pro in 5 easy steps.
July 16th, 2015
Do you guys remember a little while back when I was freaking out about a smoothie recipe app that I can’t live without? Well, The Blender Girl Smoothies is now a book. And, yes, even though it’s a new release, my copy has found a permanent spot on the kitchen counter, already dogeared and splattered.
We drink smoothies on a nearly daily basis in my house and the author of The Blender Girl Smoothies, Tess Masters of The Blender Girl blog, has become our smoothie guru. Now we have a smoothie bible with 100 deliciously unique recipes. And if you’re worried that this book is going to tell you to blend a strawberry with a banana and some orange juice, think again. The blends that Tess has come up with go wayyyy beyond that.
July 15th, 2015
We love hummus in my house. We love it SO much that I decided to make an alternative recipe with same ease and appeal, but a change in flavor to keep things interesting. Instead of adding spices or other mix-in’s to traditional hummus, I decided to swap out chick peas all together for hearts of palm. And the result—this mouthwatering Hearts of Palm Dip—is sublime.
July 7th, 2015
As you can tell from the title of this post, I believe that Yogurt Chia Pudding has many virtues. This healthy snack recipe is a favorite in my house and I think with good reason.
First of all, it’s dead easy to make. You whisk a few ingredients together (sometimes I don’t even measure) and then let the mixture sit in the fridge for a few hours. That’s it. Then there’s the fact that it’s refreshing (perfect for summer), high in protein (to fuel long, hot afternoons), and can be flavored any which way. Oh yea, and it tastes good. Real good.
June 23rd, 2015
One of the best—and absolutely easiest—ways to add a burst of flavor to your cooking is to add citrus zest from lemons, limes, or oranges. But do it wrong and things get bitter. Literally. So, if you ask me, knowing how to zest citrus properly is a critical kitchen skill. It’s easy to do, but also easy to get wrong. And when it goes wrong, zest can ruin a dish. Here’s how zest citrus like a pro in 5 easy steps.