Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Junk food is NOT cheaper than healthy food!

The statement and myth has always been that junk food is cheaper than healthy food.  A recent Op-Ed in the New York Times has proven what many of us have known for years, junk food is NOT cheaper than healthy food.  My thought process on this is of course!  The potential and probable increase in costs due to a diet containing mainly processed foods and junk food related to; health concerns and health care, absenteeism from work and/or school, and general mental well-being or dissatisfaction with life .  People who eat a diet with variety of foods, natural ingredients and a rainbow of colors in their fruits and vegetables tend to be healthier and have a more positive outlook on their lives because their brains and bodies are getting the proper nourishment that they need.

Another reason why we should start our kids eating better foods right from the start! This is the first generation of kids in two centuries that will not have a life expectancy longer than their parents (read the New York Times Health article for more information)! Children today are exposed to so many processed foods, chemicals and junk food and it is really taking a toll on their health.  The rates of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and kidney failure is affecting younger people at an alarming rate.  We really need to take a look at what we are feeding (and teaching) our children and why:

*School Lunch Programs-With more and more kids each year qualifying for Free and Reduced Lunches we need to do a better job at properly feeding our kids.  The reality is that for some of these kids, the meals they eat at school are the only meals they will eat during the day.  So lets give them proper nutrition that will help them learn and grow and that is not pop tarts, donuts, Rib-e-que sandwiches and Lunchables.

*Home Meals-Lets face it, our society is busy and my family is no exception.  That is one reason I started this blog, to help others learn that good meals can be easy, affordable, healthy and fast!

*Society-Our society has become for manipulated by marketing-print, radio and television.  How many of us as parents have heard our children clamor for a cereal because of the cartoon character on the box or to go get a Happy Meal because of the toy inside  or to have a certain food in their lunch because their best friend does.  It is all a societal pressure game.  We need to stop listening to society and take a stand for what is good and right for our families health and well-being.

*Lack of Food education-We need to teach our children where food comes from, how it grows, what it does (both positive and negative) to our bodies, to taste a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, to explore different foods from other cultures, learn to cook or better cooking techniques, and what it means to eat a variety in our diets.

*Lack of Exercise-Families need to take more time together exploring the outdoors, playing a game of soccer together, going on a hike, walking instead of driving, etc.  For a busy society we all tend to sit far too much and it is growing our backsides and not our brains and true family time!  

So, I just gave you my soap box sermon for the day.  What thoughts do you have on these two articles, healthy foods, obesity, or any of my comments?


Breakfast Casserole

I love eggs for breakfast.  But lets face it, on busy weekday mornings it is hard to cook eggs for the whole family and get out of the door on time.  My mother in law had a great recipe for a breakfast casserole, but I wanted to make it my own--easy to remember, and toppings my family would enjoy.  This recipe is great to make the night before and cook in the morning (it does take about an hour to bake) or to make over the weekend and just re-heat during the week.  So here it is:

1/2 loaf of wheat bread-I love to use home made or artisan wheat bread because it is heartier
10 eggs
1 cup of heavy cream-you can use milk, I just like the thickness of the cream.
2 cups shredded cheese-I like to use a colby jack or whatever I have in the fridge.
Toppings (whatever you like):
My usual toppings included:
Red Peppers
Portabella Mushrooms
9x13 pan

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Grease 9x13 pan
-break bread and spread it evenly across the bottom of the pan, and set aside
-in a bowl break eggs and whisk them about 30 seconds
-add cream and 1 cup of cheeses to the eggs and whisk together, then set aside
-chop you toppings then layer them on top of the bread
-pour the egg mixture over the bread and veggies
-let the pan sit for a couple minutes to allow the egg mixture soak into the bread
-Cover and place in the oven for about 45 minutes
-Uncover and spread the remaining cheese on top, place back in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the middle is firm.

I hope you enjoy this great breakfast with your family!!

Healthy Eatings,


Friday, September 16, 2011

Corn and Cheese Stuffed Shells

I love corn and we had some left over ears that we had to get eating right away, so here is a great recipe to use up those last few ears of corn or in the winter when you need a hearty meal and you can substitute frozen corn.

Jumbo Shells-I used about 1/2 of the box or about 20 shells)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of white wine-I used a Pinot Gris
2 eggs
16oz of  tomatoes-I used cherry and baby heirloom tomatoes
12 oz can of tomato paste
1 cup cooked spinach
Italian seasoning
15 oz of Ricotta cheese
4 ears of corn (or about 2 cups)
8 oz feta cheese
8 oz Italian or mozzarella cheese
1 jar of artichoke hearts
9 x 13 pan lightly greased

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees
-Cut the tomatoes (how small you cut them depends on how chunky you want your sauce) and the artichokes then place in a large bowl.
-Add the white wine to the bowl with the tomatoes and artichokes and set aside.
-Set 2 pots to boil, 1 for the corn and 1 for the shells (Add a little olive oil to the pot for the shells).  After they are brought to a boil, add the corn and shells and cook until tender.
-mix the ricotta cheese, feta cheese, eggs and spinach together in a bowl and set aside.
-Take the tomatoes and artichoke mix and simmer in a pot until the tomatoes are soft, then add in the tomato paste and Italian seasoning to taste and mix until it bubbles, then remove from heat.
-drain the corn and use a sharp knife to remove the corn from the cob (I use a Kyotsu knife).  Add the corn to the cheese mixture.
-Drain and rinse the shells
-Spread a soup ladle nor two worth of sauce on the bottom of the pan.
-Stuff the shells with approximately 2 Tablespoons (I did not really measure it out, just eyeballed it) worth of the cheese, spinach and corn mixture and place in your pan
-Cover the shells with the remaining sauce
-Cover with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes
-Remove the foil, sprinkle with shredded cheese and place back in the oven for 30 more minutes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Where did the time go?!?!

Hard to believe that my last post was in July!!!  The summer is filled with such great vegetables and fruits, just ripe for recipe creating and experimenting (that was supposed to be a bad joke, it is okay to laugh a little to yourself).  I guess I got carried away with all the eating and creating I forgot to post.  That will change today!!  I will be posting some of my latest and greatest (or at least my family thinks they are great) throughout the rest of this week.

Thanks for your patience...

Happy Eatings,