August 5th, 2014
Oh, school lunch. It starts out fun enough: picking out new lunch boxes, buying cute lunch box gear, and collecting fun school lunch ideas. But it gets old fast, right? A few weeks in, I know it can be hard to muster up the wherewithal to pack anything more than a PB&J and bag of popcorn. I’m here to help with a brand new series of school lunch videos to give you fresh ideas that will make packing—and eating!—school lunch easy and way more fun. First up are healthy dip recipes that are perfect for packing in a lunch box.
One of the easiest ways to get stuck in a school lunch rut is to get stuck thinking strictly about sandwiches. Sandwiches day in and sandwiches day out make for a very boring school year. Believe me: I know because I’ve been there. One of my boys spent an entire school year refusing leftovers which left, well, sandwiches. That is, until I got sick of it and started thinking beyond the sandwich. Dips were one of the things that saved lunch that year.
August 4th, 2014
I’ve been keeping something from you. I’m not sure why I’ve been so secretive about my love for zucchini noodles. It’s not like zucchini noodles have been particularly faithful to me. Just one google search and you’ll see: zucchini noodles get around. But, still, I remain faithful and even try to keep things exciting by experimenting. (Uh-huh, that’s right.)
Everything I’ve made with them has been delicious, but this Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles, well, this was the dish worth coming out for. So here we are, me professing my love for zucchini noodles, especially ones slathered in a garlicky, lemony butter sauce. Oh yea.
Now that I think about it, I may have been keeping my zucchini noodle love on the DL because I feel a little silly that I bought a gadget to make them. It’s nothing fancy, just a spiral vegetable cutter, but you can honestly use a vegetable peeler the way that I did to make these Zucchini Ribbons with Sausage. It’s just that my spiral veggie cutter makes prepping zucchini noodles fast and way more fun. The kids are super into it, too. Even the 4-year-old can make zucchini noodle magic on his own.
August 1st, 2014
Traveling often means not knowing where your next meal is coming from or whether it will be healthy. And even healthy (or healthy sounding) restaurant options can be deceptive. Taking control of snacks and finding easy ways to boost the nutrition of restaurant or room service meals is the best way to keep it healthy while traveling. And also not stressing too much about it, but more on that in a minute.
Here are my 5 favorite tricks for making smart family food choices while traveling, along with tons of delicious, money-saving travel snack recipes.
July 30th, 2014
On Sunday night, after a big lunch, a last, lazy swim in a pond, and long drive back to our city digs, I unpacked our bags, got the kids to bed, and poured myself a glass of wine. Then I realized I was hungry. Unwilling to cook, I scooped plain Greek yogurt into a bowl, topped it with a dollop—okay, two—of lime curd, and the most amazingly sweet, fresh raspberries.
I know it’s only been three days, but I can honestly say that I’m obsessed. I’ve eaten this every day since and they say that three instances defines a trend, so there’s that. And my kids are obsessed.
Now I just have to make more lime curd.
July 28th, 2014
Last week was my birthday. I didn’t want cake, I’m kinda over cupcakes, and ice cream, well, meh. For my birthday, I wanted pie, so pie I made. A classic Sour Cherry Pie. And it was birthday perfection.
July 25th, 2014
The Kale Berry Pops and Mango Grape Pops from earlier this week were all about simple, kid-friendly flavors. I’m trying to do more of them this summer with a healthy, lower sugar twist since my little one is averse to basically everything else. But last summer was all about grown-up pops like these Chili-Spiced Strawberry Watermelon pops and Honey Roasted Peach Tamarind pops.
July 22nd, 2014
In my house, popsicles aren’t just for kids. I’m a sucker for popsicles, too, which is how I end up with grown up flavors like Tarragon Blackberry Grapefruit Pops (delicious, but tart) or Chili-Spiced Strawberry Watermelon Pops (not typical kid fare).
Eye-rolling aside, my little one’s picky palate has reminded me of the joy of simple sweet flavors, especially when it comes to popsicles. His taste has forced me to figure out healthier ways to achieve his favorite kid-friendly combos without tons of added sugar. So this summer, with the help of my friends at Earthbound Farm Organic, I’m ditching the herbs and spices and making pops out of berries, grapes, mango and just a little bit of kale.
What? You didn’t think I was going completely soft, did you?
July 20th, 2014
Today is National Ice Cream Day.
National Ice Cream Day!!!
I cannot possibly let the day pass without paying my respect to everyone’s favorite frozen treat so, without further ado, check out my favorite ice cream recipes from One Hungry Mama and around the web, too.
Choose a favorite, eat, celebrate.
July 18th, 2014
The beauty of the grill is in the simplicity of the meals it makes. It doesn’t take much to grill something delicious, whether meat, fish, veg or even tofu. A good marinade and, if you’re feeling fancy, a special sauce to finish, are really all it takes. These grilled Lemon-Oregano Lamb Kabobs are a perfect example.
Quick and easy, they can make a weeknight meal alongside a simple salad and rice. They are also elegant enough to fit into a more elaborate weekend or celebratory meal like the one I made for my father-in-law’s birthday (you know, the one I made after serving the boys this pantry pasta dinner.)
July 16th, 2014
I almost never feed my boys a separate kids meal. I can’t lie: partly it’s on principle. Mostly, though, it’s about keeping things easy for me. It’s about doing and eating what I want. Every once and while, though, making a quick, separate kids meal works out better for me and, when it does, I go for it.
This weekend, I wanted to take my time to prep a big birthday meal that the grown ups would eat later in the evening with a special guest. Instead of cooking early and having the meal sit, I threw together a summer pantry meal for the boys, got them to bed, and then sipped on a Aperol Spritz while prepping lamb kabobs, pilaf, string beans with yogurt and pine nuts, and a spinach salad with dates, almonds and quick pickled red onion.
That was easier. That was what I wanted.
On occasions when I make separate meals for the boys, I rely heavily on my pantry. In the winter, that means digging through my cupboard and freezer like I did for this all-pantry dinner recipe. In the summer, when produce is abundant and easy to have on hand at all times (I’m looking at you zucchini), I can throw in some fresh produce. This Pasta with Zucchini and Chickpeas is a perfect example of a quick meal that I can make in 15 minutes, any night of the week, all summer long. And, by the way, it is delicious enough that the some of the late-dining grownups couldn’t resist a pasta appetizer, so don’t think this is just a kids meal.
July 11th, 2014
Last summer it was a Pimm’s Cup. This summer I’m all about the Aperol Spritz. It’s THE drink of the summer. Or, at least, MY drink of the summer.
What can I say? I can’t get my trip to Italy out of my system.
July 7th, 2014
I’m on a serious Italian food kick. Ever since returning from Italy, we’ve been feasting on easy summer pestos, meatballs, fresh mozzarella and tomato salads, prosciutto sandwiches, and even fruit and mascarpone dessert pizza!
Having just been in Bologna, one of my biggest cravings has been meat sauce. Having just returned from an eating vacation, I’ve also been wanting to lighten up. So, unlike my restaurant-style approach with Chicken Marsala, I riffed on classic bolognese to make a healthier version.
This Mushroom and Lentil “Bolognese” sauce is not meant to taste like a stand in for real meat-sauce, but it is just as hearty and full of umami flavor as the real thing. Totally delicious and satisfying.
July 2nd, 2014
If you follow me on Instagram or even Facebook you know that I was recently in Italy. And, you guys, I can’t get it out of my system. I want to go back. But, sadly, having just gotten the boys adjusted to NYC time and settled in camp—you know, among other things—I won’t be heading back to Italia anytime soon. So, for now, I’m bringing Italy to Brooklyn, and this weekend it was in the form of a dessert pizza that turned into a breakfast pizza. Because everyone in Italy knows that breakfast and dessert are interchangeable.
The Italians are so smart.