Tips and Recipes

Gingersnap Crust October 22 2012, 0 Comments

homemade pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust

Gingersnap crust is the perfect complement to our homemade pumpkin pie. A delicious fall treat!    

 

How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds (Week 40, 52 New Foods) October 15 2012, 1 Comment

how to bake pumpkin seedsTeach your kids how to bake pumpkin seeds for a fun and tasty fall activity!


Savory Apple Soup with Pears and Walnuts (Week 39, 52 New Foods) October 08 2012, 0 Comments

apple soup 

Simple, savory apple soup is the best way to warm your kiddos from head to toe on a chilly fall day. Easy and fun to make, this tasty recipe brings together our favorite fall flavors for a cozy dish the whole family loves.


Cinnamon Apples (Week 37, 52 New Foods) September 24 2012, 1 Comment

cinnamon apples 

Cinnamon apples are a favorite fall treat for my kids. This easy recipe brings together the best of what goes into making a cozy apple pie, but without refined sugar.


Healthy Lunch Ideas: Sandwich Pops (Week 36, 52 New Foods) September 19 2012, 1 Comment

healthy lunch ideas sandwich pops 

Need healthy lunch ideas? Sandwich Pops to the rescue! But watch out: you may find that friends are lining up to sneak a bite of these fun and easy sandwiches on a stick. Be sure to pack enough to share!


Tomato Pops: Pint-sized Tomato Mozzarella Skewers (52 Foods, Week 34) September 11 2012, 1 Comment

tomato mozzarella skewers 

Tomato mozzarella skewers with a kid-friendly twist, this easy recipe for Tomato Pops makes the seasonal bounty of fresh picked cherry tomatoes even more fun to enjoy with your kids!


Homemade Granola Bars (52 New Foods, Week 34) August 31 2012, 2 Comments

homemade granola bars 


Homemade granola bars are an easy and tasty lunchbox treat. This nut free granola bar recipe is made with lots of love and no refined sugar, because your little ones are sweet enough as they are!

This nut free, homemade granola bar recipe is fun and easy for kids to make. Although it’s a sweet treat, it is free of refined sugars. It can easily be modified to feature your favorite fixings. My kids added dried cranberries. Raisins or dates could easily be used as well. Have fun mixing it up! 


Easy Spanish Rice (52 New Foods, Week 33) August 24 2012, 0 Comments

Easy Spanish Rice: Transform a few simple ingredients found at a convenience store into a tasty side dish.

easy spanish riceLast week we took our healthy eating challenge to the convenience store. Our goal was to prove that with a little effort (and creative thinking) you can eat healthy on the road even when healthy choices are few and far between. Along with black beans we served up a side of easy Spanish rice and mixed veggies.


A Convenient Meal: How to Cook Black Beans (52 New Foods, Week 32) August 17 2012, 4 Comments

How to cook black beans 

Stopping at a convenience store on our road trip, the healthy food choices were scarce. But nestled between the canned spaghetti and corn chowder we found a healthy friend: black beans.


Road Tripping: Eating Healthy On the Road August 06 2012, 9 Comments

healthy eating on the road 

Our family may be taking a vacation, but our healthy eating habits are not. How we plan to keep eating healthy on the road.


Strawberry Lemonade Without Sugar (52 New Foods, Week 30) August 01 2012, 0 Comments

strawberry lemonade 

A sip of sunshine, this strawberry lemonade is worthy of any roadside lemonade stand. Even better that it’s made without refined sugar!

 

Healthy No Bake Cookies July 27 2012, 2 Comments

 

Healthy no bake cookies continue to be a favorite on our lunchtime menu.


Quick and easy (for you or your kids) to make, these tasty no bake cookies use sunflower butter instead of peanut butter to create a delicious batch of nut-free, healthy, no bake cookies that are great for dessert or a lunchtime snack. Watch how easy these tasty, healthy no bake cookies are to make.

Healthy No Bake Cookies

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Makes about 12 cookies

Ingredients:
½ cup oats
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup sunflower butter
¼ cup honey
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Directions:

1)   In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, sunflower butter and honey.

2)   Mix well.

3)   Use a tablespoon to portion a small amount of dough into your hands. Roll into a ball the size of a large marble.

4)   Roll the balls in the powdered sugar.

5)   Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

Optional: Add dried cranberries or raisins for a little pop of color.

*Cooking tip: Lightly grease a measuring cup before adding the honey. It'll make it easy for the honey to slip right off into the mixing bowl.

Our healthy no bake cookies were inspired by the fabulous Aviva Goldfarb at www.thescramble.com.  

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. 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 kids' nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Available at www.crunchacolor.com and in stores nationwide at Pottery Barn Kids. 


Veggie Pizza: When Pizza is a Vegetable (52 New Foods, Week 29) July 23 2012, 0 Comments

veggie pizza


Veggie pizza grown from our school garden will certainly challenge the debate that pizza is a vegetable.

Our school lunch menu listed “pizza” as one of the menu items this week. I was jumping for joy (and so were my kids). After the fierce debate about Congress declaring pizza a vegetable this year, why would I be cheering? Because this wasn’t your regular school pizza! With ingredients grown and harvested from our school garden – beets, onions, basil, oregano and fresh tomatoes – my food explorers harvested and cooked a delicious and healthy veggie pizza that we all happily enjoyed.

Pizza is a Vegetable (When it’s Garden Grown)

veggie pizza school garden


Running down the shaded, tree-lined path, the roosters beckoned us to join them in their playground. Nestled like a jewel in a sun drenched clearing at the bottom of a gentle hill was our school garden – an outdoor classroom of sorts where my kids and their friends happily tend to a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables and enjoy getting their hands dirty learning how to grow and harvest their own food. Today was a particularly special day. Gathered around the weather-worn picnic tables were hungry friends and teachers, ready for a feast. To celebrate the end of week’s worth of hard work in the garden, the children were preparing a lunchtime meal worthy of Outstanding in the Field.

Veggie Pizza

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes one medium pizza, about 8 slices

Ingredients:
Use whatever fresh veggies are growing in your garden. This week we used:
2 large beets, steamed and chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bunch oregano
1 Tbsp olive oil
Homemade tomato sauce
Fresh pizza dough

Directions:

1) Harvest your vegetables. Use whatever is growing in your garden and add veggies from the local farmers’ market if you need extra. Tomatoes, onions, beets, basil and oregano were the features in our school garden this week.

veggie pizza garden

veggie pizza harvest

2) Spread the fresh pizza dough onto a baking sheet.

3) Add olive oil and homemade tomato sauce as your base.

4) Add the chopped veggies.

5) Sprinkle lightly with shredded mozzarella.

6) Bake in a 400 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are slightly browned. 

7) Enjoy!

veggie pizza enjoy

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: Delicious!

What we liked: Gathering friends together to enjoy harvesting and cooking fresh garden veggies is one of our favorite summer activities. Enjoying veggie pizza together made it even more fun! To our absolute delight, we gobbled up the beets (a vegetable even I have had a notoriously hard time with!). With a bounty of garden fresh veggies on our pizza, we think you’ll agree that our version of pizza is a vegetable. 

* What are your favorite veggies to feature on your pizza?

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Watermelon Popsicles with a Twist (of Lime).

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. 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 kids' nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Available at www.crunchacolor.com and in stores nationwide at Pottery Barn Kids.


Cool It: Watermelon Popsicles with a Twist (52 New Foods, Week 28) July 15 2012, 1 Comment

watermelon popsicles with a twist of lime 

A summer heat wave inspired us to chill out and make a frosty treat: watermelon popsicles with a twist (of lime).

Opening the door to the back garden, a rush of sun burnt air came barreling into the house announcing the arrival of a summer heat wave. There’s no better way to cool rising temperatures than with a homemade frosty treat. Thanks to The Naptime Chef, it was watermelon popsicles to the rescue!

Where’s Watermelon?

Despite our best gardening efforts, the melons in our kitchen garden didn’t make it. Staying true to our Eat Dirt challenge, we sourced our summer giant from the local farmers’ market. According to Jeff Leach, author of Dirtying up Our Diets, dirt from the farmers’ market is the next best thing to dirt from our garden. Armed with a farm fresh juicy watermelon and an easy recipe, we headed to the kitchen to cool off.

Watermelon Popsicles with a Twist (of Lime)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes about 9 ice pops
Adapted from The Naptime Chef

Ingredients:
4 cups seedless watermelon

Juice from 3 fresh limes

Directions:

1) Using a melon baller, scoop about 4 cups of watermelon. You could cut the watermelon with a knife, but my kids think the melon baller is much more fun!

watermelon popsicles scoop

watermelon popsicles scoop step 2

2) Load the watermelon into a food processor and blend until smooth.

watermelon popsicles puree
3) Run the watermelon puree through a sieve or food mill to remove the seeds.

watermelon popsicles strain

4) Squeeze in the juice from three fresh limes. Stir.

watermelon popsicles with lime

5) We made our pops with a Zoku ice pop maker. For best results when using a Zoku, chill the watermelon lime juice for about 10 minutes before loading into the popsicle maker.

watermelon popsicles zoku

6) Enjoy!

watermelon popsicles enjoy

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: Cool!

What we liked: This recipe is colorful, easy and tasty! With garden fresh summer fruit, we didn’t need a drop of sugar to sweeten this treat. Such a welcome change from the sugary treats you’ll find in the frozen dessert aisle at the grocery store – and a fraction of the cost!

What is your favorite fruit to use in summer popsicles?

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Nut free basil pesto.

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. 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 kids' nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Available at www.crunchacolor.com and in stores nationwide at Pottery Barn Kids.



Dig In: Nut Free Basil Pesto (52 New Foods, Week 27) July 10 2012, 3 Comments

nut free basil pest


This week we dirty up our diets with nut free basil pesto made straight from our garden. Dig in!


Our new food adventures this week continue to focus on dirtying up our diets. Overflowing in our tiny kitchen garden is fresh basil. A distinct and refreshing partner in soups and pasta dishes, basil is one of our favorite garden herbs. With a hearty crop on our hands, we decided it was time to try basil pesto!

Basil Pesto (Without the Nuts)

basil pesto pasta

Most basil pesto recipes call for pine nuts, or walnuts, but Susan from Our Family Eats had a creative twist on this simple recipe: sunflower seeds. Our school is nut free, so I am always looking for delicious and easy recipes that can be equally featured on our dinner and lunchbox menus. Nut free basil pesto was the ticket!

Nut Free Basil Pesto

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Makes about 1 cup of pesto, enough for 2 to 3 meals

Ingredients:
1 cup garden fresh basil, packed
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1) Harvest your fresh basil! Wash thoroughly with water. Give your hands a good wash too, with soap and water.

basil pesto harvest

2) Load your ingredients into a food processor.

basil pesto load

3) Blend it up! Add salt and pepper to taste. We added a little extra olive oil to give our pesto a smoother texture.

basil pesto blend

4) Enjoy!

basil pesto enjoy

Tip: If you want to freeze your basil pesto, leave out the cheese. It doesn't freeze well. Portion the cheese-free pesto into an ice cube tray, cover and freeze. Once frozen, remove from the tray and store in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to use your sauce, defrost and add the grated Parmesan.

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: Let’s dig in!

What we liked: This recipe is so fresh and easy! It’s also super flexible. We featured our basil pesto on homemade pasta. It would also be tasty served over chicken, or on a fresh, crusty French baguette. The possibilities are endless!

* What is your favorite way to prepare pesto?

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Butter Lettuce with a Side of Dirt.

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 kids' 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 Twitter and Pinterest to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.


Butter Lettuce with a Side of Dirt (52 New Foods, Week 26) July 04 2012, 3 Comments

Dirt (along with butter lettuce) is our new food of the week. It may be what we need to stay healthy.

A recent article in The New York Times on the merits of dirtying up our diets ignited a lively discussion at our dinner table. Could dirt help us ward off the germs that lead to the inevitable sniffles in the first weeks of school? Or reduce the itchy, watery eyes that plague our outdoor summer adventures? If what these researchers are arguing is true -- that a little dirt in our diets can improve our health by strengthening our immune systems and reducing allergies – then getting down and dirty might be a fun and inexpensive way to stay healthy.

Butter Lettuce

 

Digging Deeper

Before we decided to dig in, we needed to know, “What kind of dirt is good dirt?” Is dirt from our garden just as healthy as the dirt found lining the shelves of the grocery store? Certainly I had to provide some guidelines to my new food adventurers out of fear that they might throw all of their hygiene cares to the wind. Jeff Leach, science and archaeology writer and founder of the Human Food Project, offered this practical guidance:

No matter worrying about the soil in your local grocery store, as there is almost none (aside from the occasional potato and mushroom). Dirt from your local sources (yard, farmers’ market, etc) would be best. Importantly, the simple act of playing outside will expose our kiddos to a vast microbial community - so, from Angry Birds to Dirty Birds.”

With those simple rules as our guiding principles, we headed out to the garden to add a little dirt to our diet.

Butter Lettuce Wraps with Sunbutter

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Makes about 12 wraps

Butter Lettuce with Sunbutter

 

Ingredients:

1 head, garden grown butter lettuce
¼ cup, sunflower butter

Directions:

1) Harvest your butter lettuce. Have fun getting your hands dirty!

Harvest the Butter Lettuce

 

2) Wash the lettuce thoroughly with water. Give your hands a good wash, too, with soap and water (don’t kill all the good bugs with super zapper hand sanitizer).

Wash the Butter Lettuce

 

We found a teensy chameleon critter, the same vibrant green as the butter lettuce, which we gingerly placed back in our garden.

Critter

 

3) Keeping the leaves intact, spread about a teaspoon of sunflower butter into each piece of lettuce.

Spread Sunbutter on the Butter Lettuce

 

4) Wrap and enjoy!

Enjoy Butter Lettuce

 

5) Then plant a new crop.

Plant a New Crop

 

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: Diggin’ it!

What we liked: Anything grown from our tiny kitchen garden seems to taste better. The kids thrilled at enjoying the lettuce they planted as seeds and grew into a nourishing meal. Harvesting the lettuce inspired us to plant another crop of new vegetables to try, and gave us the wonderful opportunity to spend more time outside, soaking up the beautiful sunshine and soil that makes us healthy. The experience even inspired our first family food challenge – more to come on that soon!    

* What will you plant in your garden this week?

* How do you dirty up your diet?

Lettuce is a super easy crop to grow. If you don’t have any growing in your garden right now, plant a few seeds and you’ll have a feast before the end of summer.

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Healthy Zucchini 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 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 Twitter and Pinterest to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.


Healthy Zucchini Muffins (52 New Foods, Week 25) June 28 2012, 8 Comments

healthy zucchini muffinsHealthy zucchini muffins were the pick of the week in our new food adventure. A tasty treat for kids (and adults)!

 

A Winning Recipe Inspired by Michelle Obama June 17 2012, 0 Comments

Inspired by Michelle Obama’s garden book, American Grown, a group of elementary school kids create a community lunch that brings together garden fresh veggies, good friends, and a healthy meal even picky eaters will love.

Friendship Garden Soup Friends

One of the most effective ways to get kids eating (and enjoying) vegetables is to get them out in the garden: growing, picking, and preparing their own food. That’s old news for many, including my picky eaters. For months our food adventures have focused on finding new foods to try from our garden or the local farmers’ market. It’s been an effective strategy for getting my picky eaters to eat healthy and try new foods, and a great source of Crunch a Color™ bonus points at our family table.

A call to action from First Lady Michelle Obama brought a new twist to our weekly food challenge, and sparked an idea for my 8 year old.

As part of her mission to get kids eating healthy, Michelle Obama issued a healthy lunchtime challenge to kids across the country. The goal: design a kid-inspired, healthy lunch recipe. Like most kids, there’s nothing more fun for my daughter than spending an afternoon with friends, so she decided to turn Michelle Obama’s challenge into just that.

Friendship Garden Soup Chopping Cauliflower

The invitation to each child was simple: bring a favorite fresh vegetable from your garden and join us for an afternoon of cooking “Friendship Garden Soup.” In a garden get-together worthy of the classic tale, Stone Soup, my daughter’s friends gathered for an afternoon of chopping, dicing, sautéing, simmering and sipping a delicious soup together. For the recipe she created, check out Friendship Garden Soup.

“My idea for Friendship Garden Soup came from a book I read when I was little. The book is called Stone Soup and tells the story of villagers who bring food to make a soup with a stone in it. They learned to make something by sharing everything they had. So I thought that it would be nice to invite my friends to share vegetables from their own gardens. When you share it makes everything better” – Catherine, age 8


The best part of this activity was how a community of friends came together to create something special – and each person’s contribution (no matter the size) was important. One brought oregano from her garden, infusing a beautiful herbal flavor into the dish. Another found rainbow carrots at her local farmers’ market, adding playful color and crunch. My daughter added cauliflower, a new food favorite from our school garden.  My son added a “magic leaf” – a small bay leave that we ceremoniously add to all of our homemade soups to magically turn our ingredients into a tasty dish. Each child contributed something different to the soup to add to its unique flavor, in the same way that each friend brings something unique and special to my daughter’s life.

Friendship Garden Soup Friends 2

Who knows whether my daughter’s recipe will win Michelle Obama’s healthy lunchtime challenge. But in the end, the journey was worth every minute. Bringing friends together for a laughter-filled afternoon, enjoying fresh vegetables (familiar and new) grown from our gardens, and celebrating the joy of cooking and eating together. That’s a winning recipe in my family cookbook.

Friendship Garden Soup

Are your kids more likely to try new foods when they come from the garden?

Does a visit to a local farmers’ market result in the same positive changes in eating habits?

If you only have space for a small planter, which vegetables would you plant with your kids?

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, Twitter and Pinterest to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes. 


Friendship Garden Soup June 17 2012, 0 Comments

Inspired by Michelle Obama’s healthy lunchtime challenge, my 8 year old daughter created this simple recipe that brings together garden fresh veggies and good friends for an afternoon of kid-style cookin’! 


Friendship Garden Soup Friends

Invite your friends to bring a favorite vegetable from their garden (or local farmers’ market). This recipe is wonderfully flexible; it can accommodate pretty much anything you can throw at it! Just be sure to have at least onions, celery and carrots as your base.  The best part of this recipe is that each person adds something unique to the pot, in the same way that each friend brings something unique and special to your life. Enjoy cooking and eating healthy together!

Friendship Garden Soup

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

2 cups cauliflower, diced (see our tips for how to prepare cauliflower)
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup rainbow carrots, diced (use regular carrots if you can’t find the multi-colored variety)
1 cup fresh English peas, removed from the pods
½ medium onion, diced
1 handful fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cup cooked chicken, cut into ¼” cubes
2 32oz boxes of low sodium chicken broth (use homemade broth if you have it)
2 cups cooked pasta (macaroni or penne work the best)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1)   Wash and prepare the vegetables. Give each child one vegetable to prepare.

Peel and dice the carrots and celery...

Friendship Garden Soup Peeling Carrots 

 and the cauliflower. Here's a quick tip for how to prepare cauliflower.

Friendship Garden Soup Chopping Cauliflower 

Remove the peas from the pods.

Friendship Garden Soup Fresh Peas

Dice the onions (remember to light a votive to stop the tears!).

Friendship Garden Soup Chopping Onions

2)   Heat a large stockpot, add the olive oil, then add the onions. Sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Friendship Garden Soup Saute Onions

3)   Add the cauliflower, celery and carrots. Cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the veggies are slightly browned.

Friendship Garden Soup Saute Veggies

4)   Add the chicken broth, cooked chicken, a few handfuls of oregano, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil.

Friendship Garden Soup Bay Leaf

5)   Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

6)   Add the fresh peas. Simmer 2 minutes more.

7)   Add the cooked pasta. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Friendship Garden Soup

8)   Enjoy with friends and family!

Friendship Garden Soup Friends 2

“I brought oregano, which grows wild in my garden. My family planted seeds a few years ago and now it just keeps growing. The oregano added familial flavor. My family grew up eating lots of Italian food and oregano is in all of it, so it reminds me of my Grandma, who makes the best pasta sauce.” – Elli, age 10

“Celery is one of my favorite vegetables. I like it cooked in many different ways, including soup.” – Carissa, age 8

"I brought rainbow carrots and peas. I chose them because they are really good in soups and the colors were so pretty." - Marina, age 8

"I put a 'magic leaf' in because it makes soup taste good." - James, age 5

Have you hosted a cooking party with your friends? What did you prepare? Share your comments!

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, Twitter and Pinterest to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.


Growing a Meal: Fava Beans 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.


Summer Fun: Pick Your Own Strawberries 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.

 

Reduce Reuse Recycle: Green Your Lunchbox 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

Healthy Cooking Tips and Tricks 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:


How to Prepare Cauliflower (52 New Foods, Week 21) May 28 2012, 0 Comments

How to prepare cauliflower step 1

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