Growing a Meal: Fava Beans

Posted by Jennifer Lee on June 09, 2012 0 Comments

Farmers’ market tables are filled with fava beans! What do they taste like? How do we prepare them? Can we grow them? Our new food adventure takes us on a journey up the bean stalk as we explore fava beans. 

The local farmers’ market has been a wonderful inspiration for getting my picky eaters to try new foods. Fresh crisp air, bustling crowds, and overflowing tables of colorful fruits and veggies come together to set the perfect stage for exploring. Some mornings my kids eat an entire meal just sampling from each table. Recently, a new veggie has been making regular appearances at our market: fava beans. New to me, and my kids, we thought we’d give them a try.

Fava Beans

How to Prepare Fava Beans

Big, broad fava beans seem to be made for tiny fingers. Like a sweet pea, but even easier to unfurl, my kids enjoyed peeling open each bright green pod to reveal the treasure inside. But before you dig in, there’s one extra step: remove the waxy outer coating. Here's how:

Prep time: 8 to 10 min
Cook time: 1 to 2 min
Ready in: 9 to 12 min

Step 1: Shell the Beans. Pull the stem, unzipping the pod on both sides.

Step 2: Boil the Beans. Boil the shelled beans in water for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 3: Bathe the Beans. Give the beans a cool bath in ice water before peeling off the waxy outer covering.

Step 4: Enjoy! Now those tasty fava beans are ready for eating!

Fava beans have a buttery texture, and a mild, nutty flavor. Simply delicious on their own, they made a perfect snack and lunchbox companion. We also discovered a simple recipe for grilling fava beans, from Sunset Magazine, which we’ll give a try this weekend. Sounds like a tasty and fun weekend activity!

A note of caution: Some people may experience allergic reactions to fava beans, according to NPR. Be sure to consult your doctor if you are concerned. 

What inspired you at your local farmers’ market this weekend? Share your comments!

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food adventure: How to pick your own strawberries.

 

 

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. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor on Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes. Crunch a Color is a proud supporter of non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Available online at www.crunchacolor.com and in stores nationwide at Pottery Barn Kids.

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Summer Fun: Pick Your Own Strawberries

Posted by Jennifer Lee on June 06, 2012 0 Comments

Imagine the giddy laughter heard from kids picking and eating their way through an open farm field covered with fresh, ripe strawberries. Pure joy. This week our new food adventure takes us to a coastal farm where you can pick your own strawberries.

Our new food adventure took on a different flavor this week. We were traveling, so cooking wasn’t top on our list. But we found a new food inspiration at a local farm. Nestled in a sun-drenched field along the California coast, my kids discovered the joy of picking your own strawberries. 

Pick Your Own Strawberries

How and Where Pick Your Own Strawberries

There is something thrilling about venturing into a wide-open field, little pails in hand, to find and pick your own bounty of summer fruit. Maybe it’s the simple pleasure of eating fruit straight from the vine, or the excitement of standing face to face with thousands of sweet buds lining the carefully laid rows of strawberry plants. Whatever the reason, this adventure provided a jam-packed morning for the whole family. It’s a food adventure we’d highly recommend adding to your list of summer activities.  A few tips to get you started:

Pick Your Own Strawberries 21)   Find a local pick-your-own farm. Pick Your Own is a great resource for finding farms in your area, as well as what’s in season.

2)   Choose organic. Seek out farms that are certified organic. When grown conventionally, strawberries are considered part of the dirty dozen, which means they can be laden with pesticides. 

3)   Bring two pails. One for perfectly ripe fruit, the other for just-past-ripe fruit. Farmers will often give you the just-past-ripe fruit for free (as they did in our case this week), and the fruit is perfect for making jam!

4)   Save a portion of your bounty for freezing. You’ll appreciate those sweet summer berries in smoothies when the winter blues hit.

5)   Use your just-past-ripe strawberries to make jam. The Naptime Chef has a wonderfully easy and tasty recipe for Strawberry Vanilla Jam – yum! 

6)   Enjoy with friends. Upon returning to our hotel, the resident chef was kind enough to wash and prepare the several pounds of berries that we picked. The most fun part: enjoying an overflowing bowl of fresh local strawberries, and the stories of our adventure, with friends and family.

 

 

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. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor on Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes. Crunch a Color is a proud supporter of non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Available online at www.crunchacolor.com and in stores nationwide at Pottery Barn Kids.

 

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Reduce Reuse Recycle: Green Your Lunchbox

Posted by Jennifer Lee on May 29, 2012 0 Comments

Kids lunch boxes can be the worst offenders when it comes to waste. But a few simple changes can help you green your lunchbox. Swap disposable plastic baggies for BPA-free, reuseable lunch containers. Use cloth napkins instead of paper. Only pack what you really think your kids will eat to minimize food waste. 

A Few Reasons Why We Need to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Did you know...

On average, Americans use 20 million plastic baggies a day.

100,000 sea turtles (and other marine life) die each year by ingesting plastic bags.

According to the EPA, each child generates 67 pounds of waste each year.

Packing a bag free lunch saves over $2000 per year.

You and your kids can make a difference with a few easy changes and by keeping the 3 Rs in mind: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

good reasons to reduce plastic bag usage

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Healthy Cooking Tips and Tricks

Posted by Jennifer Lee on May 29, 2012 0 Comments

As a busy mom, I'm always looking for easy tips and tricks to make healthy cooking a breeze. In honor of Jamie Oliver's Global Food Revolution Day, I brought together a few close friends to swap healthy cooking tips and share in the joy of cooking together. Amy The Family Chef generously donated her time and served as our guide in this fantastic food adventure. Here’s a few of the recipes we made:

View this list »

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How to Prepare Cauliflower (52 New Foods, Week 21)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on May 28, 2012 0 Comments

A visit to our school garden ignited our new food adventure this week: how to prepare cauliflower.

A school garden is a true treasure. At its best, it is a wonderfully integrated classroom. Children experience the full life cycle of our food, planting-growing-harvesting-cooking-eating-composting-planting, and they literally step inside the world of living math, science and literature. It surrounds them.  For our family, the school garden has an additional benefit – an opportunity to try new foods.

“Today we tried cauliflower from the garden! I loved it!” my daughter declared with pride. My heart smiled a big smile. I had been trying to get her to try cauliflower for months, to no avail. “How did you prepare the cauliflower?” I inquired. “We just picked it and ate it!” she replied, enthusiastically. In that spirit, this week we focused on the simple ways to enjoy cauliflower. I taught my daughter how to prepare cauliflower after it is harvested and we enjoyed it both raw and lightly roasted – simple pleasures.

How to Prepare Cauliflower

Step 1: Pull off the outer leaves and trim the stem.

How to prepare cauliflower step 1

How to prepare cauliflower step 2

Step 2: Turn the cauliflower upside down, stem facing up. Using a paring knife, cut around the core to remove it. Remind kids to always cut away from themselves and down.

How to prepare cauliflower step 3

Step 3: Cut the florets from the inner stem.

How to prepare cauliflower step 4

Step 4: Cut the florets in half.

How to prepare cauliflower step 5

Step 5: Enjoy raw or lightly roasted.

To roast cauliflower, simply toss in a little olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can do this right on the baking pan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, tossing frequently to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Enjoy!

What we liked: The simple preparation of this garden fresh veggie was our favorite part of this week’s adventure.

How do you like to prepare cauliflower? Share your tips and recipes!

Next up: Heirloom tomatoes caught our eye at the market this week. We’re experimenting with a few different recipes. Tune in next week when we share our favorite!

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Simple cherry compote.

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 non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor on Facebook and Twitter to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

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