Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to get kids healthy Part 1.1

So, I was planning on doing Part 2 today about incorporating exercise, and that may come later, but I just found a GREAT article about getting kids into the kitchen and I just had to post it!

I can't even summarize my joy over this article and some of the research behind the importance of teaching our kids proper nutrition and encouraging their help in the kitchen.  The findings about how nutrition curriculum and practice can impact children's behavior in the cafeteria alone solidifies the fact that if we teach our kids about their food and why they need to make good choices, they will do it and they will ASK for it! Now, if we could just get Congress to put down their pizza and fries, or as they call them vegetables, and let kids learn and grow with proper nutrition and encourage them maybe we will become a healthier society!

Please share your thoughts!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to get kids fit in the era of video games-Part 1

So many parents wonder, how do I get my kids healthier and active in the era of video games and technology?

Activity and healthy living have always been a focal point in our family because it is such a passion of mine.  But that is not the case in all families, especially when there are so many inactive options for kids between iPads, computer games, video games, television, etc.  One of the most important things we can do is to start when our kids are young setting the example of getting and staying active, teaching them about proper nutrition, what consequences food has on their bodies (both good and bad) and how they can help keep your family healthy.

Life isn't always perfect and we all make mistakes and forget that we are setting the example for our kids.  I have been guilty of picking up a pizza because of soccer practices or running through the drive-thru because I stayed late at work, but every now and then should be the exception and not the rule.  The other night my son reminded me of that when we were driving to my parents house.  He was so excited that he had received a McDonald's gift card from his prayer partner at church and wanted to buy the family McFlurries with his "debit card".  The joy on his face that he got to order and pay for the treat was so cute, I almost wished I had video taped it to go with this post!  Later in the car he said to me, "You know mama, I really should not have had this today."  His reaction surprised me, so I had to ask, "Why is that?"  His response in a wise 7 year old voice, "Because I had hot lunch and 2 birthday treats at school today, so another treat was probably not appropriate."  I was so happy that my kids were getting the point about good nutritional choices and voicing it on their own, I doing a little dance in my head.  But I know that everyday cannot always be full of perfect proper nutrition, to say otherwise would be hypocritical.  I just responded, "I am proud of you for realizing that too much junk food is not healthy for you.  But, you know, it's okay to have a free day now and then where you can enjoy special days and treats with your friends and family.  Tomorrow you will just need to remember the treats you had today and make wise choices for meals and snacks."  He finished that McFlurry with a big smile on his face.  As we celebrated Thanskgiving with my family the next day I had a big smile on my face, and doing that same little dance in my head, when he asked if we could split a piece of apple pie because he was "making good choices today".

So in my story about the pride in my son and his "ah-ha" moment, I know that not all people have the passion and the knowledge that I do around nutrition and healthy living, but that there are resources out there that can help.  I was on WebMd  yesterday looking at an article when I noticed an icon called "What's fit for Kids?" and thought I would check it out.  While there are video game type activities on this portion of the site, I really think they get kids and families thinking about the right things as far as how foods and exercise help our bodies so we can have healthier days!

I love that the site has different sections depending our your children's ages; 2-7, 8-12, and 13-18.  This allows for a tailored age appropriate messages around 4 main areas of Food, Recharge, Move and Mood.  Kids can answer quizzes, take on a challenge, learn about new foods, and more.

Another great feature actually links to's, "What food am I?" game.  This game is great!  It allows parents and children to pick out their meal choices from the day before, then gives results and offers what your child should eat more of in order to achieve a healthier diet based on age, gender and activity level.  It also has a graph of how many calories the child should intake versus how many were actually consumed, a shopping by color guide, recipe tips and a funny chef who makes recipes.

One last think about cooking, no matter what you choose to make, it is educational!  Not only does it teach your kids how to make food that is good for them, it helps with their reading, math and science skills!  Make it fun for them; wear silly apron's together, have them pick out the recipe, allow them to stir or pour the ingredients into the bowl, let them turn on the food processor, the options are up to you and your child's age!

Try out these websites with your kids tonight!  Then go outside and take a quick walk around the block before you make your meal together!!

Healthy Eatings,


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


My family does Thanksgiving the Saturday before the big day.  This year I made the stuffing and it turned out quite good.  My sister said I should post it on the blog, so here it goes :)

I do need to mention that I adapted this recipe from one I found in the November issue of Food Network Magazine

17 cups of cubed bread-I used 8 cups of pumpernickel, 4 cups of white and 5 cups of whole wheat
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups diced celery
2 cups carrots
1 tablespoon sage
1 tablespoon thyme
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon parsley
Buttered 9x13 pan (I cooked mine in a 5 quart baking dish)

Note: for a “crispier” stuffing, use day old bread or place the bread cubes in the oven on 300 degrees for about 15 minutes. 
-Heat ½ cup butter
 in a large skillet over medium heat.
-Add onions, celery, carrots, sage and thyme.  Stir occasionally until the vegetables are tender, but not mushy, or about 5 minutes.
-Add chicken broth, bring to a simmer then remove from the heat
-Pour the eggs over the bread, then stir into the broth mixture, make sure the bread is coated well.
-Pour into your buttered pan and cover with foil.
-Refrigerate overnight or put it in the oven right away, I refrigerated mine overnight.
-Cook for 30 minutes covered in the oven at 375 degrees, then uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

Healthy Eatings, 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cherry Spinach Salad with Yogurt Dressing-Thanksgiving style

This is a "repeat post" but I think it is a great salad to add to your Thanksgiving table!  

1-8 oz bag of spinach
1-5 oz container of reduced fat blue cheese, I used about 3-4 oz.
1-5 oz container of vanilla or honey greek yogurt, I used Dannon's Honey Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup of white wine, I used [yellow tail] Reisling
1 cup of fresh or dried cherries or dried cranberries, halved and pitted 
Optional-your favorite nut; walnut, pecan, or almond

Rinse Spinach and place in a medium size bowl.  Add the blue cheese and cherries/cranberries and toss.
Place yogurt in a small bowl.
Add the wine and mix until blended together nicely, then set aside.
You can either mix in the yogurt dressing into the salad until everything is coasted nicely OR serve it on the side, so everyone can add their own.
If you add the nuts into the salad.  I suggest having the nuts on the side because if they are mixed into to the dressing they may get soggy.  The nuts provide a great crunch and should be sprinkled on top, they also provide a great presentation.

Healthy Eatings, 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Pork chops with tomato pesto and polenta

Yesterday was a balmy 45 degrees at my house, perfect time to find the deep freezer in need of defrosting.  I suddenly found myself knee deep in meat and ice and wondering, what should I fix for dinner?  Naturally I chose pork chops, but unlike the Brady's we did not have "porkchops and applesauce".   This recipe uses a nut free pesto that provides great flavor and a gluten-free side, that is also very tasty.

Please note: If you click on the links below to the Frieda's products, please note that the prices are for multi-unit packages and the prices at your local store will vary.

4-6 pork chops, thawed
1-2 jars Frieda's Tomato Pesto
1 package Frieda's Sun Dried Tomato and Garlic Polenta

-Place pork chops in a marinating container or glass pan.  Cover with the pesto, place lid or saran wrap on the container, then place in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.
-Turn oven to broil or preheat your grill.
-Cut polenta into slices
-Place pork pesto side up on foil covered grill or on in a pan in the oven
-Flip after about 7-8 minutes, cooking to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees
-Place polenta on grill or in oven, flip after about 4 minutes until golden brown and soft
-Transfer to a serving plate with the polenta placed on top of the pork chops.

Healthy Eatings,


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Be careful how close you watch what you eat!

The holidays are right around the corner.  Which means eating lots of good food and treats with family and friends.  After the holidays, is when many start to think about loosing weight and getting healthy, which explains why so many new years resolutions are to lose weight and get healthy.  When you want to lose weight you might think cutting calories is the best and fastest way.  However there is a real danger in consuming too few calories in your day.  Everyday Health covered this topic in an article on the health dangers of cutting too many calories from your day.

A rule that I try to follow is to eat all day long!  Kidding, kinda.  What I actually do is eat a few smaller meals throughout the day with healthy snacks in between those meals.  My go to snacks include: greek yogurt with honey, hummus and pretzels, fresh fruit, applesauce, hummus and veggies, veggies and guacamole, or rice chips and salsa.  To learn more about eating small meals throughout the day and calorie guidelines for that type of eating check out Boosting Metabolism with Mini Meals.

Healthy Eatings,


Saturday, November 12, 2011

no fail steaks

I made these on vacation for some friends because I wanted something that would taste great without a lot of work or extra pressure to get it just right.

1 bottle of beer-I used Bud Light
4-6 steaks-I used Top Sirloin Filets
McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
6 oz feta cheese
3 portabello mushroom caps, de-gilled, and diced

Early in the day:
Place steaks in a container and pour beer over top until the steaks are covered.  Sprinkle about a table spoon of the seasoning on top.  Place lid or cling wrap over the container and refridgerate for at least 3-5 hours.

Grill the steaks to you preferred temperature.
Place mushrooms in a small sautee pan with a bit of olive oil or butter.  Sautee until soft then, reduce heat to low and add the feta cheese until it is soft and melting.

Serve the steaks with the mushrooms and cheese on the side or on top.

I paired this recipe with broiled garlic asparagus (recipe below) and boiled baby yukon potatoes.

Garlic Asparagus:
1 bunch asparagus placed in a baking dish.
Spread about a tablespoon of butter over the asparagus
Use a clove of fresh pressed garlic and spread over top
Broil about 5-8 minutes, flipping the asparagus every couple of minutes

Healthy Eatings,


Thursday, November 3, 2011

What is happening to me??

Ever have those days or weeks where nothing goes right??  In the past few weeks I have been in such a cooking rut and to top it all off, I had lost my newest issue of Food Network Magazine.  I was really struggling because I wanted to post a new recipe, but had nothing to post.  A couple of good friends brought to my attention that maybe I was so excited for my upcoming vacation that my heart wasn't in it and could post some healthy tips when I have "cookers block" (my version of writers block).  So, in addition to some new recipe posts I am going to be infusing some quick health tips into the blog.  I really hope that you enjoy these posts in addition to enjoying my recipes.  I am also hoping to gain some "southern inspiration" while on vacation in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Healthy Eatings,