The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “Fall”

Souper Easy

souper

This Week’s Recipe

A couple weeks ago, a few girlfriends and I got away for the weekend. Our spouses and kids stayed at home. We took off for a lake cottage. It was quiet and we had the opportunity to reconnect with each other. In order to accomplish this, we took several steps to prepare. None of them were hard, and at least one was souper easy!

  1. We turned off our cell phones and left the other electronic devices that guide (demand) our time. I admit, I did check it each night before turning in, and when I got up. But, I did not check it each time it dinged because with it off, it doesn’t ding!
  2. We potlucked, leaving little food preparation that had to be done while we were away. Do you remember that soup can be an entire meal (or two!)? We dined on two different soups, and with crackers we had plenty. I had forgotten how easy soup can be, especially when using a crock-pot.
  3. We listened to each other. In this fast-paced, get-it-done-yesterday world, we stopped talking over one another and actually had the time and energy to hear what the others were saying.
  4. We looked out the window and were reminded why Indiana is the place to be in the fall with the beautifully changing leaves (or winter with the snow, or spring with the new leaves). Then, either alone, or with a couple of friends we went for a walk and the bright sunshine and fresh air were rejuvenating.
  5. We laughed, and laughed, and laughed. It was like we were in college again. No cares, no clocks, just friends who made the time to reconnect.

Once it came time to pack and head home, I really was ready to get back to the kids and hubby. The slower pace we had just practiced reminded me to see them, to look at their eyes and watch their smiles. By reconnecting with my friends, I was able to breathe a bit. That is too often missing from my normal M-F routine.

Frances_Brooks-2012

Frances Brooks

Director of Operations & Business Development and Mother of Two

S.O.S. – Selecting an Orange Squash!

pumpkin_v_pumpkin

Recipe of the Week

The days are getting shorter. The leaves are falling. And, there is a crisp chill in the air. All this can mean only one thing…

Time to pick the perfect pumpkin!

Whether your family is getting yours at the grocery, heading to a local farmers market, or you have found the “most sincere pumpkin patch”, here are a few tips on selecting a supreme orange squash for your fall festivities.

For Carving the Perfect Jack-o-lantern:

  1. Pick a pumpkin with a firm skin. Tap it with your knuckle and listen for a hollow sound.
  2. The heavier the pumpkin, the thicker the wall, and the more you have to carve through.
  3. The taller your pumpkin the stringier the flesh. This can also make it harder to carve.
  4. Make sure it has a flat solid base. Nothing is worse than a rolly-polly pumpkin with a candle inside!
  5. Smaller pumpkins are great for younger kids. They can even paint their pumpkin instead of carving.

For Your Culinary Delights:

  1. Smaller varieties, about 2 to 6 pounds, are preferred for cooking.
  2. Unlike above you want a dense, fleshy, thick walled pumpkin to cook with.
  3. Look for a smooth surface with a dense flesh indicating higher sugar content.
  4. Like with any fruit or vegetable, watch out for bruises and blemishes on the surface.
  5. Figure on getting about one cup of puree for each pound of pumpkin.

After you have carved your jack-o-lanterns and baked your pies, don’t forget about the seeds! Roasted pumpkins seeds make a great fall snack for everyone in your family!

Scott Nitza

Scott Nitza
Graphic Designer & Marketing Associate and Father of Three

Trying New Foods this Fall

Quite little graphic of an apple tree in fall

Recipe of the Week

As fall approaches, my husband and I have discovered that this is a great time of year to visit our local farmers markets or stop by a roadside stand selling produce. At this time of year you will find many root vegetables such as potatoes, yams, turnips and parsnips. You may also find bags of onions, cabbage, pumpkins or beautiful mums.

I find the meals I am cooking start to change this time of year, too. I start looking for recipes that use more of the vegetables listed above, things that are hearty but still easy to cook, and I try using our crockpot more often. This week’s Apple Kielbasa recipe is one of our favorites and is easy and versatile. Enjoy trying this mix of fall flavors!

Twila Smith
Administrative Assistant and Mother of Two

Five Quick Ways to Play with Your Food!

play_with_your_food

Recipe of the Week

I know, I know, I can hear my mom and yours in the background saying, “DON’T play with your food!” But, if you have picky eaters in your family it might take a bit of creative thinking to get them to eat healthy.

Seeing as the summer is quickly coming to an end, apples will soon be in season. You and I know apples make a great tasting healthy snack, but if your kids are not too keen, a little playtime might help. Below are five examples of quick ways to make a boring old apple into something fun and exciting. My kids and I also used grapes and peanut butter to make these, but you and your family can experiment with your own ingredients!

  1. Smile – two apple section lips, white grape teeth, and a little peanut butter to hold it together
    play_with_your_food_01_smile
  2. Race Car – an apple section for the car, grape wheels, a grape headed driver, and again the “magic peanut butter glue” as my kids call it
    play_with_your_food_02_Race_Car
  3. Turtle – a green apple half (with the stem as a tail), grape feet, a grape head, and peanut butter if needed
    play_with_your_food_03_Turtle
  4. Butterfly – thinly cut apple section wings on either side of a grape body
    play_with_your_food_04_Butterfly
  5. UFO (my favorite) – a cross section of an apple with a grape alien in the middle
    play_with_your_food_05_UFO

 

Scott Nitza

Scott Nitza
Graphic Designer & Marketing Associate and Father of Three

Tip of the Week: Souper, Super Easy!

Souper, Super Easy

A couple weekends ago, a few of girlfriends and I got away for the weekend. Our spouses and kids stayed at home to run the rat race which seems to be our weekends these days. We took off for a lake cottage. In October, there are quite a few less people frolicking about in the water and sunshine. It was quiet and we had the opportunity to reconnect with each other. In order to accomplish this, we took several steps to prepare. None of them were hard, and at least one was souper, super easy!

1) We turned off our cell phones and left the other electronic devices that guide (demand) our time at home. I admit, I did check it each night before turning in, and promptly when I got up. But, I did not check it each time it dinged because with it off, it doesn’t ding!
2) We potlucked, leaving little food preparation that had to be done while we were away. Do you remember that soup can be an entire meal (or two!)? We dined on two different soups, and with crackers we had plenty. I had forgotten how easy soup can be, especially when using a crockpot.
3) We listened to each other. In this fast-paced, get-it-done-yesterday world, we stopped talking over one another and actually had the time and energy to hear what the others were saying.
4) We looked out the window and were reminded why Indiana is the place to be in the fall with the beautifully changing leaves (or winter with the snow, or spring with the new leaves). Then, either alone, or with a couple of friends we went for a walk and the bright sunshine and fresh air were rejuvenating.
5) We laughed, and laughed, and laughed. It was like we were in college again. No cares, no clocks, just ‘sisters’ who made the time to remember silliness.

Once it came time to pack and head home, I really was ready to get back to the kids and hubby. The slower pace we had just practiced reminded me to see them, to look at their eyes and watch their smiles. By reconnecting with my friends, I was able to breathe a bit. That is too often missing from my normal M-F routine.

Recipe – http://www.girlmakesfood.com/black-bean-soup-vegetarian-and-vegan/

Frances_Brooks-2012

Frances Brooks

Director of Marketing

You’re Invited to the Family Table Celebration Dinner – Sept. 27th

shutterstock_73350817

Family Table Celebration Dinner – Sept. 27th

Celebrate the success of Family Table’s 2nd year by joining the McMillen Center at Fort4Fitness.

On Friday, September 27, the McMillen Center will announce the year 3 theme for the Family Table project, as well as celebrate “Together, We Eat Better.” In partnership with Fort4Fitness, a family meal is planned from 5 – 8:30 p.m. Bring a meal to Parkview Field, or join us at the Huntington University Picnic Pavilion for a pasta dinner. Contribute $10 to the Family Table project and receive a FREE pasta dinner.

Contribute $10 to the Family Table project and receive a FREE pasta dinner

To make a one time contribution, use your debit card, a Paypal account is not required.

SIGN UP to Receive Prizes:

  • $200 Waiter on the Way Gift Certificate
  • $300 Package from Bussick Orthodonics
  • Admission and Lessons to Ice Skate at Lutheran Health Sports Center
  • 2 Olive Oil Bottles and Gift Basket from The Olive Twist
  • Tanglewood Berry Farm Cookbook
  • Canlin Ice Family Pass Certificate
  • Sky Zone 4 Family Fun Package
  • Crazy Pinz Group Party Package
  • Crazy Pinz Kingpin Membership

For more infromation on Family Meals, visit http://www.FamilyTableOnline.org

McMillen Center for Health Education | 260-456-4511 | schedule@mcmillencenter.org | http://www.mcmillencenter.org | 600 Jim Kelley Blvd. | Fort Wayne, IN 46816

Thanks to our Family Table sponsors:

Tip of the Week: Decorative Gourds

This Week’s Featured Recipe

Last week, Linda, our Program Manager, brought in a bunch of those funny-shaped, bright colored gourds. She’d picked some up for her family at a local farm store and had some to share. (She’s so great for things like that!) Knowing my kids would love them, I took a couple home. Luckily, they were just as excited as I thought they might be, but I was surprised when they asked if we could cook them. I really had no idea.

I usually think of their strange colors and shapes as great for decorations, or for the kids to draw on them, or we make silly crafts. But eat them – I’d never considered it.

After doing a Google search, I discovered the Home & Garden Ideas site which says, “Yes, to certain kinds.” I have to tell you, I still haven’t tried it yet. I personally would rather draw them than eat them. Or, roasted pumpkin seeds are more my speed. But, if any of you (or your family or friends) are brave and try it, we’d love to hear about it on our Facebook page!
– Frances

P.S. If any of you will be at Go Red For Women on Thursday, please stop by our booth and say, “Hi!”

Tip of the Week: Fall Yardwork

This Week’s Featured Recipe

It’s fall – if you weren’t sure, the pile of leaves waiting to be bagged in my backyard is a clear clue. This time of year is my favorite – probably because it brings to mind raking leaves with my dad. My childhood home has a huge yard, and we did the entire yard by hand. No leaf-blowers for us. As an adult, I can appreciate the hours he still spends taking care of the yard, preparing it for the winter wind and snow that is sure to be part of our lives sooner than we’d like!

The smell of the burning leaves, the warm house that awaited our cold feet, and the hot chocolate Mom would have waiting for us when we came in the house, all added up to time spent together. My girls’ experience is somewhat different – a smaller yard, a few less trees and as a working mom, less time to complete the project. But studies report that the amount of time is not the important part – the time spent together focusing on those around us, is the difference.

Consider inviting friends and family over to help make big projects smaller. 10 Tips for Fall Yard Work Whether you are sharing a rake (oh, my kids love leaf piles!) or putting the last details together for dinner, or washing the dishes – remember that these are the memories that make your family table so important.

I am positive that the leaf-raking excitement will pass, all too quickly. But when the leaves start to fall in years to come, the memories of working together will kick back in, rejuvenating those feelings of belonging and working as a team.

-Frances

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