Healthy Eating: Week 5, Sunbutter (#52NewFoods)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on January 30, 2012 3 Comments

No bake, nut-free cookies that kids can cook! Paired with a sweet touch of honey and wholesome oats, these protein power bites are the new lunchbox regulars at our house.

No Peanut Butter“But the best ‘wich that I ever had was
A peanut butter sandwich made with jam
Yum yum yummy yum yum!”

Raffi’s wisdom runs deep, and never more than when it comes to peanut butter. A staple in most kids lunchboxes, that creamy creation is the go-to, normally no-fail solution for moms struggling to get their kids to eat lunch at school – me included! So when our school went nut-free, I had to find an equally unequivocal lunchtime companion. The recommendation from teachers and allergy-experienced parents: sunbutter.

Feature Recipe: No Bake Sunbutter Bites from The Scramble

No bake peanut butter bites The ScrambleRemember the joys of baking your very own cupcake creations under the heat of a lightbulb in the Easy Bake Oven? My love for baking started early, and though I still have a high-school-crush-style love of the sport, busy mom syndrome has set in and I don’t often have time for whipping up homemade creations. I’m always on the hunt for tasty, easy, healthy recipes my kids can cook, so when I stumbled on No Bake Peanut Butter cookies from The Scramble I jumped on it. Quick and easy to make, I decided to take these bewitching bake-free bites for a spin, using sunbutter instead of peanut butter to create a healthy, nut-free lunchtime snack.

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: 2 Thumbs Up! Best in class!

Sunbutter bitesWhat we liked: These mini-morsels were so easy and fast, we decided to make two batches: one with sunbutter and the other with peanut butter. Unlike on a sandwich, it was tough to tell the difference between the peanut butter and the sunbutter bites in our blind taste test. Whether it was because of the hint of honey, or the wholesome crunchiness of oats, this recipe resulted in a healthy treat that will become a regular feature on our lunchtime and afterschool snack menu. Next time we’ll try adding raisins or cranberries to the mix! A nice added bonus -- go ahead and enjoy the batter.

Want a prize for trying something new? Tell me which new food you’d like your kids to try and enter to win a 3-month subscription to The Scramble. Life just got a little easier!

Next up: Curry

Slow Cooker CurryA cozy curry with piping hot vegetables and a side of Naan is a winter-time recipe I love. My kids normally shy away from this wonderful, Indian-inspired dish. But when they meet Slow Cooker Curry from The Family Dinner they may change their minds. Our next new food of the week: curry.

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Spinach Cake Muffins.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, FoodCorps, and Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor and #52NewFoods to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

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Healthy Eating: Week 4, Spinach (#52NewFoods)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on January 28, 2012 0 Comments

Planted firmly toe to toe, it was a piercing stare down contest of epic proportions. Two unrelenting, iron wills: Spinach vs. my picky eater. What’s a mom to do?

healthy eating spinachDark, leafy and overflowing with wholesome healthiness, spinach has long been the holy grail of healthy eating. Popeye cried, “I'm strong to the finich, ‘cause I eats me spinach!” to coax children into eating spinach to channel superhero strength. But not my picky eater! First, the polite pass, “No thank you, not today.” Second, the more direct, “My taste buds and spinach aren’t friends.” Culminating in the uniquely Seussian, “Not in a car, not in a tree, not on a train, Mom, let me be!”  

To succeed, I needed a game changer: a crafty, colorful creation my picky eater could have fun cooking. There’s one person I know who could pull that off: Catherine McCord of Weelicious.

Feature Recipe: Spinach Cake Muffins

weelicious spinach cake muffinsWeelicious is a gold mine of tasty, easy, healthy recipes you and your kids can cook. Catherine has done the heavy lifting for us busy moms and figured out how to make healthy eating easy and fun. She’s woven beets into pancakes, gone wild for wheat berry, and in this case, spun spinach into healthy muffins. In my house, no one is going to turn down a piping hot muffin and with fewer than 10 ingredients and ready to bake in less than 10 minutes I decided I'd take Spinach Cake Muffins for a spin.

 

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: 2 Thumbs Up! It’s my turn with the food processor!

spinach cake muffins cuisinartWhat we liked: Any recipe that involves a Cuisinart is sure to be a winner with kids. What’s more fun than loading a bushel full of ingredients into a big bowl and flipping the switch to blend it into a blur? Instant entertainment. We also had a blast guessing the “magic” ingredient. We baked up a batch, shared it with friends, and challenged, “Guess the magic ingredient!” Green tea, melon, peas, mint chip ice cream and avocado were some of the speculations. With each bite, a new guess. So much fun! These mighty muffins are tasty, healthy and easy: the trifecta of healthy eating. A great lunchbox snack or power breakfast partner, Spinach Cake Muffins will be a regular in our kitchen this year.

Watch Catherine and her helper Chloe whip up these tasty treats in this adorable Weelicious video:

Do your kids like spinach? What are some of your favorite folate-fortified recipes? Share your comments!

Next up: Sunbutter

no bake sunbutter bitesWhen our school went nut-free, I sighed a long, tired sigh. What would I do without those cute, crustless PB&J sandwiches? Sunbutter, a peanut butter alternative made from sunflower seeds, was recommended. But on a sandwich it made my kids simply long for the real McCoy. Thanks to the amazing Aviva Goldfarb at The Scramble, I may have found the solution. Next up: No Bake Sunbutter Bites.

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Avocado and Orange Salad.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, FoodCorps, and Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor and #52NewFoods to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.


 

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Healthy Eating: Week 2, Brussels Sprouts (#52newfoods)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on January 16, 2012 0 Comments

Sizzle, sizzle, pop! A comforting aroma filled our kitchen as we fried the pancetta for our new food of the week: Brussels Sprouts. If I plan to advocate for my kids to try new foods, I figured I had better set a good example by trying something new myself!

Setting a Good Example 

brussels sproutsFor me, Pancetta goes hand in hand with comfort food. My grandmother used it in every one of my favorite family dishes. Reasoning that I liked most everything that I had tried with Pancetta, I thought the addition of this deliciously crispy complement would make Brussels Sprouts palate pleasing for my whole family (me included!).


Feature Recipe: Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pancetta

cooking brussels sproutsDawn Viola is masterful at creating delightfully easy recipes that showcase the beauty of bringing together a few simple ingredients. Using what are staples in most kitchens – lemon, garlic, olive oil, and pancetta (or bacon) – her recipe for pan-seared Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pancetta was a delicious addition to our meal and made our weekday dinner feel like a special occasion.

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: 2 Thumbs Up! We'd make it again.

What we liked: This dish required minimal prep work (yeah!), was easy enough for my 5 year old to make, and made a ho-hum weeknight dinner feel festive.  I always try to get three colors on our plate with healthy sides, but I tend to lean heavily on the basic (and sometimes boring) lightly steamed version of fresh veggies. Dawn’s recipe provided an easy and tasty way for me to dress up our dinner! While they are still in season, we’ll keep Brussels Sprouts on our weekly shopping list.

Healthy Eating: Week 3, Mandarin Oranges

mandarin orangeWith Chinese New Year fast approaching, my mind has turned to the special treats we love to indulge in at this time of year. Mandarin oranges, with their bright personalities both in taste and appearance, are an important part of this celebration. Ambassadors of prosperity and good luck, these mini bursts of citrus delight always make my little food adventurers smile. So I thought I’d try a new twist on an old favorite. Our feature recipe for week 3 of #52NewFoods comes from Natalie Perry at Perry’s Plate: Avocado and orange salad with hazelnuts. I’ll swap mandarin oranges for the regular orange slices called for in this dish. I hope you’ll try it with me.

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? What are some of your favorite dishes to bring in a New Year filled with prosperity and good health?

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s Beef Vegetable Soup.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, FoodCorps, and Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor and #52newfoods to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

 

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Healthy Eating: Week 1, Onions (#52NewFoods)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on January 09, 2012 0 Comments

The allure of bonus points for trying a new food wasn’t even enough to get my picky eater to try onions. She would pick them out of her dishes with the precision of a well-trained surgeon. For our healthy eating adventure, I decided to start with a real challenge: get my daughter to try onions! 

Warm Up: Green Onion Pancakes 

healthy eating green onionsWe started the week with a heart-warming, staple of Chinese menus: green onion pancakes. This simple dish is easy enough for a 5 year old to make, and the delicate taste of green onions tucked in a warm blanket of lightly pan-fried dough is irresistible. I put my young chefs in charge of preparing this tasty treat, using Grape Seed oil as a healthier substitute, and my strategy worked. The entire batch was devoured before I could clean the pans!

Feature Recipe: Vegetable Beef Soup

healthy eating beef vegetable soupWith a strong start out of the gate, we ventured to try our feature recipe of the week: Out of the Box Food’s Vegetable Beef Soup. Kim’s recipe is a healthy spin on Progresso’s Beef Barley Vegetable Soup. I used Cippolini onions for the base of this hearty soup, reasoning that their milder taste would be more appealing to my daughter’s picky palate. I also swapped pasta for the beans.

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: 2 Thumbs Up! We'd make it again.

What we liked: This recipe was easy enough for my kids to make, quick to prepare, and provided two delicious meals. We loaded the ingredients into the slow cooker, turned it on low for several hours and were rewarded with a tasty soup that was reminiscent of my husband’s tasty short rib recipe.

Healthy Eating: Week 2, Brussels Sprouts

healthy eating brussels sproutsA visit to a local farm stand in Half Moon Bay resulted in our new food choice for this week: Brussels Sprouts. According to MyPlate’s Food-A-Pedia, a comprehensive guide to nutritional information, these little powerhouses of the cabbage clan are packed with Vitamin C.  I have to confess, I'm not really a fan of these tiny green jewels, but Dawn Viola’s Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pancetta may win me over.  Do you have a favorite Brussels Sprouts recipe? Share your ideas and we’ll give them a try. You may be featured in our favorites next week! 

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, FoodCorps, and Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor and #52newfoods to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

 

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Healthy Eating: 52 weeks, 52 new foods (#52NewFoods)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on January 04, 2012 0 Comments

Healthy Eating will top countless New Year’s resolution lists this year. The Crunch a Color kids decided to take on this challenge in a new way: 52 weeks, 52 new foods (#52NewFoods). I hope you and your picky eaters will join us on this yearlong adventure of eating healthy and trying new, kid-friendly, easy recipes. Jamie Oliver will feature our culinary journey -- it’s a New Year’s food revolution!

This article was originally published on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, January 6, 2012.

Healthy Eating OnionsCrisp air and sunlight sparkling on the Golden Gate Bridge served as a perfect backdrop to our family outing. The fresh market was buzzing with curious customers sampling and savoring delicious treats from local artisans and farmers. It was New Year’s Day and a visit to the farmer’s market in San Francisco was top on my list for starting 2012 on the right track. The goal: Try a new healthy food every week. 52 weeks, 52 new foods. A healthy eating adventure for my whole family.

Eating healthy will top many lists of New Year’s resolutions this year, my family included. Instead of focusing on what we can’t have, I am challenging my family to find and try healthy new foods to expand our repertoire of favorites. Putting the children in charge of this culinary adventure is the key to success: when they choose, they are more likely to enjoy. Each week I will write about a new food that my family will try. Whether it’s an entirely new healthy food, like the Jujube’s we sampled at the market that sunny Sunday in San Francisco, or old favorites prepared in a new way, my family and I will try a healthy food and recipe from aspiring Jamie Oliver Food Revolution chefs each week.

Week #1: Onion
You may be thinking, “Onion, is that really new to you?” Well, it’s certainly not new to me but my picky eater runs a fast mile when she spots them on her plate. My jaw dropped when I spotted her gobbling up a delicately pan-fried onion pancake at the market. She even ventured to try a belly-warming, homemade organic fennel and cipollini onion soup. Maybe it was the new twist on a familiar food that got her past her picky palate? Or maybe it was because she got to choose what she would try from a magnificent array of artisanal creations? Whatever the reason, this staple of healthy eating will be our starting point this year.

Featured Recipe: Out of the Box Food's Vegetable Beef Soup
With loads of leftovers from bountiful holiday celebrations, I decided Out of the Box Food’s healthy take on Vegetable Beef Soup
would be the perfect place to start, where onions form the foundation of this hearty dish. Kim Gerber does an outstanding job turning some of America’s favorite dishes into healthy, easy recipes that your whole family will enjoy. I hope you’ll join me this week in trying Kim’s recipe. Scout out an unusual onion (or two) to feature in your creation and be sure to share your stories and favorite recipes. Let me know if you've got a great recipe that you'd like me to try. I’ll report back on our experiment next week!

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, FoodCorps, and Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor and #52newfoods to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

 

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