Category Archives: Family and Health

toddler hummus dip

Expanding Your Baby and Toddler’s Palette with Dips

One of our favorite things to do with our toddler is introduce new foods and flavors. Sometimes, though, little ones can be hesitant to try something different. However now can be the best time for toddlers to expand their palettes.

The bright colors of vegetables and fruits can entice some of the pickiest eaters to at least have a bite or two. If your toddler loves to dip his foods, preparing some hummus, avocado, or even eggplant dip can be the way to get them to enjoy eating well.

Easy Hummus

toddler hummus dip
Think beyond chickpeas with hummus

You can use this hummus recipe with vegetables, tortilla chips, or pita wedges. You can also adjust and add the recipes to introduce more flavors.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned chickepeas
  • 1/3 cup tahini sauce
  • 1/2 clove of minced garlic (you can add more if your toddler really enjoys garlic)
  • lemon juice
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

Preparation

  • Rinse and drain chickpeas thoroughly
  • Put the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and cumin in a food professor
  • Process it until it’s smooth (you can add more lemon juice and olive oil to you preference)

You can store the hummus for about a week in an airtight container.

Easy Eggplant Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

 Preparation

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prick the eggplant several times with a fork. Bake until soft, about 45 minutes.
  • Allow the eggplant to cool, and scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin.
  • In a blender or food processor, combine the eggplant and the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Thoughts on Feeding Picky Eaters

What dips have you made that have been a hit with your picky eater?

Photo Credit:  yummyporky

sweet potato salad

Summer Snacks Ideas

Even though summer won’t be officially be here for a couple of weeks, the heat and humidity has already gotten me in a summer time mood. With the warmer weather, my eating habits are starting to shift. While cold weather makes me crave bigger meals, the warm weather has me wanting to drink more and eat lighter (but more frequently).

I mentioned that we enjoy fruit bars, but that’s not enough. I want something more than fruit salad this summer. I’ve been looking for ideas and recipes that taste good, will help me eat healthy, and are easy to make.

6 Summer Snacks

After some digging I found some great dishes to try out. The bets part is that many of them will allow us to use our produce deliveries more effectively and reduce waste. fresh salsa

Asian Noodle Salad

One of my concerns with summer eating is finding the balance light meals and filling dishes. Having a noodle salad can satisfy both and it can be prepared in about 20 minutes.

Greek Salad Skewers

This is incredibly simple and really fun, especially for the young ones. I love Greek Salad so when I saw this, I knew I had to include it on the list.

Fresh Homemade Salsa

Having salsa on hand as a summer staple can make healthy snacking easy and very quick. It’s also very versatile – you can incorporate fruits, add some beans make it more filling, and you can spice it up to your desire heat level. I love some lime and cilantro with my salsa, but I’m also enjoy eating some fruit with it, like pineapple or mango. The sweet heat is perfect.

Sweet Potato Hummus

Having hummus available can help curb the damage with impulsive snacking. This recipe has a spicy/sweet kick to it, which I think makes it a perfect summer go-to dip.

Rotisserie Chicken Lettuce Wraps 

I know I just recently wrote about them, but they are too good not to mention here!

Caribbean Sweet Potato Salad

Instead of the traditional kind, this potato salad can add a bit of fun and color to your next grill party.

Thoughts on Summer Snacks

How will you be snacking this summer? What are some of your favorites bites and drinks to have when the weather warms up?

thank you mom

Gift Ideas for a Foodie Mom

Mother’s Day is Sunday, and if your wife or Mom is the family chef (and a foodie), she may appreciate a little extra pampering in the kitchen department this holiday.

Foodie Mom Gifts 

While I do most of the cooking at our house, my love for food, combined with a Mom who enjoys the finer things kitchens have to offer has produced a list of things a foodie Mom could really enjoy:

1. Gourmet Salts. It turns out there are many types of salts (each with specific uses in the kitchen), and each type offers unique varieties from the farthest corners of the world. You can buy a variety set of gourmet salts to start, or select from specific salts if you feel more adventurous. In either case, you should expect to spend no more than $50 for a decent introduction into the world of salt. Google “gourmet,” or “artisan” salt and have a look at your options.

2. Mini-gardens. Apartment gardening in all the rage lately, especially with urban-dwellers who are trying to do their part in the organic movement. Among the more interesting finds is this micro-greens kit from Uncommon Goods, featuring a couple of things that I’ve never heard of. It’s stylish, functional, and interesting.

3. Good wine. It’s hard to go wrong with a nice bottle of wine for any Mom that enjoys some alcohol every now and then. Hopefully, you have an idea of her preference in reds or whites, and any particular varietals that she doesn’t like.

4. Customized kitchen apron. Sure, things that say World’s Best Mom are very cheesy, but many Moms and grandmas alike love to be reminder that their loved ones appreciate them year-round. Match the apron’s style to Mom’s personality and it’s sure to be a hit.

5. The Ultimate Guide to… Most home chefs love the idea of a new volume full of inspiration and instruction, and many have a cooking still they’ve been dying to learn for a long time. For example, if someone who loved me very much wanted to buy me a big book on learning to jar fruits and vegetables, complete with recipes, I would be eternally grateful. ;)

6. Great night out. If there’s a great restaurant in town that serves amazing, original food, this might be the perfect opportunity to show Mom how much you really care about her. Once-in-a-lifetime food is an experience, not just a meal.

7. CSA shares. What better gift that the one that keeps on giving–shares in a community supported farm that delivers (or provides pickup) of fresh, and often organic, fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season. Check Local Harvest for locations near you.

8. Cooking lessons. If you look hard enough, there are usually at least a handful of local joints offering cooking lessons by pros, often combined with dinner. Get her tickets for two and you might get to join her on the adventure.

Whatever you do, make sure you pamper Mom this weekend and let her know that she means the world to you. Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo Credit

baby food

Your Food or Baby Food?

We’ve drastically cut back on baby food. I had mentioned that we were thinking about getting a processor to make our own baby food for our little girl. Instead we’ve been using a mix of store bought baby food along with our own meals to feed her (we’re still breastfeeding too). baby food

Family Dinners Together

Basically we started introducing vegetables and fruits with the baby food from the stores. We checked out the labels to make sure we were buying items that had no additives (besides water). It was a simple process – every 2-3 days she tried something new. After we found out that she enjoys most foods we then began sharing small portions of our meals that we have at home.

We’re careful to make sure she doesn’t eat certain food yet (such as honey). However we wanted to introduce her to different flavors as quickly as she could take and enjoy. Something surprising for us was that she really likes food with a kick. Hot foods are not her thing, but she prefers having a little bit of heat.

When we go on trips we pick up a couple of jars of baby food as back up in case a relative makes something she can’t or won’t eat. Last time we went up for a visit, though, she had a wonderful time munching on a variety of dishes. her favorites are steamed vegetables cut into finger sized bites. She loves to feed herself (or at least try). Plus having her eat meals with us is just more fun. We tend to catch-up on the day with each other and she likes to chime in.

Thoughts on Meals with Babies

For parents that have gone through the process, how did you introduce foods? How did you go from pureed foods to bitty bite sized foods? Does your little one (under 2) eat with you or do you feed him/her at a different time?

Photo Credit

kids cooking in kitchen

Having Fun with Food and Kids

I’ve started to enjoy cooking meals at home over the last few years as I’ve learned more about how to prepare meals. My husband has also had their ‘awakening’ as he discovers the grill and the crockpot. However I’ve suddenly noticed a huge shift in my interest with food and it’s due to one person – my baby girl.

kids cooking in kitchen

Babies and Kids in the Kitchen

She’s now at the stage of trying new foods and I’ve found the kitchen to be an incredible way for us to connect. While she’s in her high chair watching what’s going on, I try to include her by letting her touch the food (which promptly goes to her mouth) and taste what I’m making. She gets excited about EVERYTHING. The faces she makes just trying something new is more than worth cleaning up the mess.

As she gets older we’ll do our best to include her with meal preparation. Maybe we can encourage her to pick up some cooking tricks from a few of our friends :)

Baking and Breaking Bread Together

I’m not the only one that enjoys it, Jaimie Franchi of Two Chicks and a Hen has been sharing tips on how to include your kids in the kitchen and some of the benefits. Some of my favorite bonuses of having your kids help out include:

  • Time Together/Teamwork: I think is most important because you’re working together on a project.
  • Promoting Healthy Eating: Having kids assist can let them take ownership of the meal and make them more likely to eat the healthier they’ve prepared.
  • Self-Esteem: While keeping a watchful is vital, kids get to explore and do an assignment by themselves.
I also agree with Wojo that establishing family rules when it comes to meals can enrich the time spent together.

Thoughts on Kids and Food

When did you start including your kids in the meals? What have been some of your favorite memories of your family cooking together?

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