Love and food

A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you. -Author Unknown

What are you eating tonight to celebrate the holiday? I’m all about the food! I baked a pasta dish and bought special cupcakes to eat with my little boy and my husband. They were delicious and met our dietary requirements! 🙂

I wish I could go out on the town with my husband, but that will have to wait until we have family in town again.

Happy Love Day!
(don’t forget to love yourself too)

Lunch Literature Book Club and Veggiecation on TV

“I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace is twenty minutes. It involves Russia.” -Woody Allen

I’m making incredibly slow progress in Free For All. Time is my enemy, not the book.

I’ve finished Chapter Two, which covers some of the history of school lunch. Let’s just say that there is way more than meets the eye. Just like so many things in life, the reason kids get lunch at school is a lot more complex than it seems. Did you know that little baby pigs figure in to the story? I’m not going to give it away, but feel free to comment below about how baby pigs fit into the picture.

The discussion question for this week is What surprised you about the history of school lunch? My answer: the baby pigs running through the streets of Chicago (p 48). I didn’t see that one coming.

I’ve taken your suggestions and decided to name the book club “Lunch Literature Book Club.” Additionally, when we choose a new book in March, I’ll let you guys choose it and also I’ll have you help me lead the discussion because as you can see I wasn’t born to be a book club leader! 🙂

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Lisa Suriano of Veggiecation appeared on TV in New York (video below) to discuss how her nutrition education program works. She brought along some adorable little broccoli tasters. It’s worth checking out what Ms. Suriano, a Titanium Spork Award Winner, had to say about her creative approach to getting veggies into schools — great job!

View more videos at: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/.

Lunch wrap up #6 – diary of a desperate mom

My son had a cold all last week (translation: does not eat well when he’s stuffed up — who can blame him?) and then this week he threw up on Monday night and stopped eating very much. My husband and I haven’t been able to pin it down to anything in particular that caused his episode, but needless to say, his bad eating from having a cold changed to practically no eating…
Thankfully, he started eating a little better yesterday and ate really great today, which we hope is the end of roughly two weeks of us ripping our hair out. Hats off to all of you moms and dads who deal with this every day…
Click below for the photos…

MY SON’S LUNCHES
(gluten-free/dairy-free)
MONDAY
Basmati rice, sardines, green beans, pepitas,
strawberry coconut milk yogurt, crackers, and sliced pears
I asked my son what he ate for lunch and he told me, “beans.” He didn’t eat the rice or fish. The other stuff he ate during snack. I’m missing my sardine lover! The daycare menu was meat and cheese lasagna, pineapple bits, green beans with fruit and ice cream as snacks.
TUESDAY
Ground chicken taco meat (with corn and tomato paste), sliced baked potatoes,
green beans, Ella’s smoothie packet, crackers and cheese, bar
He was ill on Monday night, we all overslept since we were up in the night – this was a throw-it-together meal. Again he just ate the beans and then the rest of the “snacky” food. Daycare menu: ground beef, mashed potatoes, orange wedges, diced carrots with yogurt and bread with soynut butter as a snacks.

WEDNESDAY
Pasta and peas, sliced pears, hard-boiled egg, bacon,
blueberry muffin, crackers.

All he ate was the bacon. He even left the muffin, which I had made specifically because I knew the other kids were getting super junky blueberry muffins from a package. For snack he ate the crackers. When I picked him up, he was very fragile. Not a shocker since he didn’t eat! Daycare menu was tuna with whole wheat pasts, diced pears, peas with fruit and blueberry muffins as snacks.

THURSDAY
Soup, applesauce, muffin, pears, chocolate coconut milk yogurt,
muffin, sliced pears, bacon.

I gave him more bacon since that’s obviously a favorite. I’m told he didn’t touch the soup, but ate the bacon, yogurt and applesauce. He didn’t eat the muffin, but maybe had a slice of pear. Waaahhh, I want my soup lover back. Daycare menu was: cheese ravioli, strawberry yogurt, diced peaches, green beans with fruit and ice cream as snacks

FRIDAY
Applesauce, muffin, chocolate yogurt with pomegranate seeds,
baked trout with baked carrot sticks, cornbread with honey, pretzels in bag

That’s the same muffin by the way. They sent it back so I left it there. Thankfully they told me he ate a little of everything. Who knows if we’re out of the woods though. Daycare menu: chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, applesauce, diced carrots with yogurt and pretzels with cream cheese as snacks.

MY LUNCHES
MONDAY
Open face chicken salad sandwich, blueberries in passionfruit yogurt, grapes
(apple & KIND bar not pictured)

I didn’t make this chicken salad myself — we went out last weekend and I bought it at a gluten free restaurant. I had a ton leftover. It was amazing.

TUESDAY

Naked juice, more chicken salad, grapes, baked potato

I made the most divine baked potatoes with just olive oil and sea salt baked for an hour at 350. They were amazing for dinner, though not as delectable the next day but not terrible at all. I was in a hurry since we overslept.

WEDNESDAY
peas and pasta, egg, muffin, apple

There’s something simple and lovely about peas and pasta. I actually could have added more peas.

THURSDAY
Smoked salmon, avocado, spinach leaves, crackers (in foil bag),
applesauce and apple

I got out the salmon and put it in my lunch (having already made my son’s packed lunch). He saw the salmon and asked for some. Assuming he’d just eat one bite, I gave him a small piece. He ended up eating the rest of the package. So that was a good thing, but I didn’t have any left to put in his lunch…

FRIDAY
Crappy hurry up lentil soup, grapes and blueberries, cornbread with honey
apple, KIND bar

Friday was one of those days where I wish I could eat school lunch. We were in such a rush. I just had to throw together a crappy thin brown lentil soup from a can (I say crappy because I know it looks bad, but it actually tasted fine). I did find the time to squeeze honey all over my cornbread so by the time I ate my lunch, it had thoroughly sunk in and was delicious.

Foodie sound off: the challenges of blogging

It all started on Sunday night.

I had my feet up on the couch and I was enjoying me some football.
It was nice to be next to my husband on the couch.
It was nice to laugh.
It was nice to put my feet up.
It was nice to watch some TV.
It was nice not to be in front of the computer (though I was following Twitter sporadically on my phone to see what people were saying about the game real-time…)

It was nice.

Then my son got sick on Monday night and this whole week went downhill.

I spend every second of my free time doing something related to this blog. Of course the “free time” of a working mom is after I put my son down…and then spend the rest of the night on the computer. One night this week I had the audacity to talk to my husband for about 50 minutes and ended up going to bed at 11:30. I can’t do that and be functional. Then with my son’s illness, he was up for almost two hours in the middle of the night. It’s my job as mom to be there for him (and I love it — his little comments in the night were hysterical); it’s just a lot.

I need to go through all the emails I have received since January 14th.
I need to announce the winners of The Unhealthy Truth giveaway.
I need to post pictures of our lunches sometime this weekend.
Sorry to anyone waiting — I’m tapped out!

I haven’t decided if I’m post less frequently or take a week off from blogging (or both) some time in the next month. I love doing this, I just need a little break.

What are your biggest challenges as a blogger?

Review: No Whine With Dinner

Liz Weiss from Meal Makeover Moms contacted me a long time about her book No Whine with Dinner, which she co-wrote with Janice Newell Bissex. They are moms and registered dieticians who get it. The book came about after they surveyed “600 moms who identified ‘picky eaters who whine and complain’ as the number one obstacle to getting their children to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.” She sent me a copy of her book and I wanted to share it with you.

I must have smited the parenting gods by talking openly about my son as a “good eater.” This week has been hard as he is fighting his second cold/flu thingy. He has been refusing everything and we’re hoping it will pass, but I really need this book right now!

What makes this a great cookbook:

  • The Healthy Basics section focuses on nutrition categories and nutritional guidelines as well as a “Pantry Picks” guide on food categories and brands to have in stock at home — I need guidance on both nutritional guidelines and what I should have on hand at home.
  • There’s a lot of all different recipes — recipes for the morning, for packing lunch, for the slow cooker, and even “veggies you don’t have to hide” as well as drinks and smoothies! Included is a section of “bloggers’ best” with recipes contributed by bloggers.
  •  Lastly, the authors share 50 “secrets” for getting picky eaters to try new foods. I like it because none of the suggestions involve “hiding” veggies in other foods, which isn’t always bad, but it does have the potential to break trust. Although the authors do add various creative ingredients to recipes, the objective of the cookbook is to get kids to try new foods so that includes showing them what they are eating!
  • Many of the recipes are have few ingredients, which makes it easy to throw together in a pinch as well as assisting those managing food allergies (quick scans for ingredients and easy substitutes). 

I want to reclaim the phrase “kid-friendly” back from the dark side. Whenever I hear it, I immediately think “chicken nuggets.” Instead I want to think of some of the healthy food from this cookbook: Cherry-O Granola, Banana Brownie Waffles, Fruity Chicken Kebabs, Bacon and Egg Salad Rolls, Orzo Zucchini Bake, Shepherd’s Pie, Salmon Noodle Bake…and on and on…

No Whine with Dinner shares recipes for foods that I would eat, but made fun for kids to eat and even to help create. Real food can be made fun enough for kids to eat. Hold the chicken nuggets please!

FCC full disclosure: I received one free No Whine with Dinner book to review. I was not given any cash compensation for sharing my opinion on the product. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. If I claim or appear to be an expert on a certain topic or product or service area, I will only endorse products or services that I believe, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

BlogHer Food 2011

In October 2010, I spoke at BlogHer Food 2010 as part of the panel: Values – Our Food Future: Kids, Cooking, and Health. What made BlogHer Food special for me was that I was able to connect with people who care about food. It was like finding my posse.

What is BlogHer? Well, BlogHer is an organization and a community devoted to women, and men, bloggers. I’m a member of BlogHer and I participate in their ad network.

This year I was honored to be invited to be a part of the BlogHer Food 2011 advisory committee. Being part of the committee means I will offer suggestions on speakers (bloggers) as related to important issues in food politics, food policy, and social change in food blogs. The conference is to be held in Atlanta, Georgia on May 20-21.

Please feel free to submit your suggestions for speakers. Which food blogger do you want to see in person? What would you want to learn about? What do you want to see discussed in terms of food policy issues? In addition to suggesting topics and presenters, you can submit your own proposal for speaking. The “Call for Ideasends next Tuesday, February 15th.

Oh yeah, I’ll be in attending the conference too. I might even speak again…

Ad critique: Bagel Bites

October 2010, Working Mother magazine
The ad compares the ingredients used in the cheese of different two pizza products. The ad appeals to me because it feels more factual than other food advertising directed at parents and kids. I wouldn’t buy either of these products (see: dietary restrictions), but nice to see companies thinking about their ingredients. Thoughts?
Many school food products are processed and processing often adds fillers, dyes, and flavorings to foods. I still don’t understand how processing food and adding more ingredients can be cost-effective when you factor in cost of transportation and labor. Can anyone help me with this one?

The First Lady’s Let’s Move Video

Here is the First Lady’s message regarding the first anniversary of Let’s Move! I found the video to be uplifting and of course I think she’s a great First Lady:

If you want to keep up with what the President and the First Lady are doing, I suggest you follow the blog Obama Foodorama. If you watch the regular news on the TV, you don’t get very much information about what the President and his wife are doing every day. I mean, I don’t want to know everything, but by subscribing to the blog’s RSS feed, I have found out that I really enjoy hearing about their public appearances, especially as they relate to food. Most of which is not covered by mainstream news outlets. Seriously, it’s a great blog.