The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “Family Table Night”

Tip of the Week: Easter Memories


This Week’s Featured Recipe

With every holiday in my home growing up, I have very fond memories. My parents are very traditional (my friends go even further and say old-school) but they have created lasting memories that my brother and I will forever cherish. At Easter, there were festivities all day long, but the day always ended with a beautiful meal that my parents prepared together. We all gathered in the formal dining room with all my mother’s best china, silver, and linens. Dinner included roasted lamb, baked potatoes, green beans or broccoli, cottage cheese and dinner rolls.

Another tradition that I loved when I was growing up was decorating eggs. We would spend hours making different colored eggs, personalizing them for each person, adding the wraps, and then of course finding them. Most egg hunts in Fort Wayne were too cold and muddy to be outside, but my parents would hide eggs throughout the entire house. My parents would give us one clue that would start us on a scavenger hunt. The clues would send us all over the house, garage and even inside my dad’s car! Growing up, I always had the same multi-color wicker basket, with green grass, that would be filled with candy, fruit and small toys, wrapped in cellophane and tied with a big bow at the top. My husband and I hope we too will be able in instill a sense of tradition and lasting holiday memories with our children.


Bethany Clapper, Director of Development, wife and mom

Tip of the Week : Krazy for Kale!


This Week’s Featured Recipe

I don’t know about you, but lately I have been seeing a lot of information about kale. It seems kale is the hot new veggie, and with good reason. Kale is called a “super food” because of its high level of vitamins. Kale has more calcium than milk and more iron than lean red meat! Frankly, I didn’t think kale looked so appetizing, but I gave it a try and loved it. I first tried kale chips, which are just kale tossed in a little olive oil and sea salt and baked. The kids loved these super healthy “chips”. I then started putting kale into salads, soups and pasta sauces. Kale can substitute for spinach, holds up to cooking much better than spinach, and has a milder flavor.

On our McMillen Center Pinterest page we’ve pinned several recipes which feature kale.  On Sunday evenings I have started making a big batch of stir fried veggies which we eat throughout the week. I sauté chopped kale, onions, a bag of broccoli slaw, green peppers, and zucchini or yellow squash. While the veggies are cooking I put a sweet potato in the microwave and when the veggies are done I stir in the chopped baked sweet potato. I season with sea salt and cumin, my husband seasons with low-sodium soy sauce.  It’s a time saver to have this big batch of veggies done as a side dish so I can put together a very quick weekday dinner by sautéing chicken breasts or broiling fish – in about 15 minutes dinner is done!

Visit for more information about the benefits of eating together as a family.

vitality_awards_logoDSTickets are available for the McMillen Center Vitality Awards. Landmark Centre on Thursday, March 21st


Holli Seabury, CEO

Tip of the Week: Family Game Night

Carcassonne game

This Week’s Featured Recipe

Dinner is over, the table has been cleared and it is Thursday night… let the competition begin! As we discuss making our families stronger, an important aspect of this in our house is good sportsmanship. Different families learn these skills in different ways – through sports leagues, club games, or art, dance and music lessons. For our family – it is a game board night. Our current favorite for adults and kids alike is Carcassonne, a puzzle game. Whether just my husband and I are playing, or if it is a group of family and friends, the opportunity to sit down at the table together and laugh leads to learning we can all benefit from! And the conversations that spark from the friendly rivalry are an opportunity for us to catch up on each other’s lives.

We’ve been making the effort to provide healthier snacks because it seems that with game table chatter, a food bowl empties faster than ever! These are the times where we exceed our daily calories (and not even notice!) faster than any other. I love game night because we are providing an example of how to play fairly, disagree, be competitive and be together. And, when we change up the game we’re playing, it gives different people an advantage. My oldest daughter is best at logic and puzzle games, my husband at music trivia and strategy and my youngest and I, well, talking is our advantage!

Planning your own game night soon? Be sure to share about that experience on our Facebook page – once we reach 500 fans, we’re giving away a date night from Waiter on the Way.

Visit for more information about the benefits of eating together as a family.

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

Frances Brooks, Director of Operations & Marketing, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Fondue with the Family


This Week’s Featured Recipe

One of my favorite family table activities has been our fondue night. Recently, we introduced the concept of fondue to our four year old son, Gentry. Fondue is the delicious art of dipping different types of food into a sauce. The great thing about fondue is that you can get very creative with the sauce and types of food you dip.

As I explained this to Gentry, you could just see him light up with excitement. So after dinner, I set up our little fondue pot at the table and got all the fruit out to prepare. I let Gentry help wash the fruit and pick out his favorite color skewer. That night we melted chocolate and peanut butter. Peanut butter seemed to be a big hit and something besides the traditional chocolate. There are many other options for fondue out there. See this week’s recipe for some ideas for your fondue night.

As I try to create more family activities, I am starting to see amazing results. As we were talking and having fun with our fondue that night Gentry said, “We are a family. I love our family! I love family time fondue!” Family activities show us a side of Gentry that we love so much.

Another one of my favorite things to hear my son say when we sit down to eat together is, “So, Mommy, how was your day?” In these moments I know we are teaching him the importance of family time and he gets it! I know this will benefit him in his social skills, peer pressure, eating habits, and education. Recently CNN provided some great tips on improving your family time at the table.

Our family is very busy, but that short amount of time at the dinner table together benefits our family in so many ways. There is nothing I love more than seeing our family have fun and enjoy conversation together!

Visit for more information about the benefits of eating together as a family.


Hannah Keith 2012

Hannah Keith, Marketing Assistant, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Staying Connected


This Week’s Featured Recipe

I was recently asked an interesting question, “How do we do family meals when all the members of my family aren’t together?”  Today’s families can be separated by job travel, military service, or may have members, such as grandparents, who live in another area.  There are lots of creative ideas, such as using Skype or FaceTime, to include far flung members at the table.  One family I know cooks the same meal in Fort Wayne as the grandparents cook at their house in Florida and then they eat “together” using Skype.  They laugh when a child asks someone to pass the carrots and Grandma will say, “here you go,” and hold the carrots up to the computer screen, forgetting they are in another state!

Right now I am missing my oldest son from my family table as he completes a combat deployment in Afghanistan.  He surprised me a few weeks ago by sending me a recipe for Blackberry Lemon Bread Pudding.  Since the food is so bad on base, apparently he has taken to noticing when recipes come across his Facebook feed!  I made the recipe together with his fiancée and we took pictures of her eating the delicious dessert and sent them to him.  Not only was it a way for me to connect with a future member of my family, but it helped my son to feel connected to us, knowing we were baking a recipe he sent.

If this is anything like when he has gone on long trainings in the past, in the weeks before he comes home I will be getting a lot of meal suggestions for his first meals at home!  Nothing says home like the food you grew up eating.

I’ve included the Blackberry Lemon Bread Pudding recipe in the Recipe of the Week link at the top; don’t skimp on the lemon sauce, it really makes it!


Holli Seabury, CEO

Tip of the Week: Party Safe Home in the New Year

This Week’s Featured Recipe

New Year’s Eve is a big deal at our house. While we do not dress up and dance (my Mr. isn’t as excited about that idea as I am), we do include the kids in our festivities. In fact, this year, they have started planning their own ‘party’ on the second floor! Many people think of this time of year as an end. Not us – we usually have a small group of friends and family over for a night of games and to share in the promise of a New Year.

Many people also think of drinking as the center of the night – from movies to TV shows, alcohol consumption is often central to the story time. Our home is not alcohol free, but it is important to show our children that you can have a great time and celebrate without getting drunk and ‘forgetting’ all the details. Family table research shows that teens in families who eat together consume less alcohol, and use less tobacco and marijuana. If you agree that this is important, consider pledging to be a Party Safe Home.

In the upcoming new year, we hope that you and your family are healthy and make family meals a priority!

Tip of the Week: Holiday’s Bright Colors


Phytochemicals help give plants their distinctive colors, smells and tastes.

This Week’s Featured Recipe

The holiday rush has more than started – it’s almost a sprint to the finish line. The one thing that seems to make a big impact on my kids is all the colors! You see bright lights and decorations. Reds and greens and golds. It is quite remarkable.

It’s also one thing that will help our families eat more healthy – bright-colored foods are key to adding additional nutrients to our diets. And, no, I am not referring to the fruity flavors in candies – but the gorgeous reds, oranges and greens that are found naturally in fruits and vegetables.

Their benefits are featured in a recent Whole Living article. Eating seasonal foods (IE: apples in the fall) that are bright in color is important to our bodies. To help explain this to kids, download the What Color is Your Food activity sheet, from the North Dakota State University. And, while you’re at it, match your next holiday gift wrap with your meal. We’re giving away a Meijer gift card this month on our Facebook page – upload your photo of your colorful plate to enter.

Tip of the Week: Fall Grading Period

Where are you from? You might think I’m referring to where you were born, or where you live now – actually, I mean: Where do you identify with, when you think of ‘home’ – what do you think of?

I grew up in a house where homework was done at the kitchen counter. Mom was just an “I-need-help” call away. Dinner was served at 5pm. And, everyone washed their hands before sitting down. I hope that is where my kids are growing up, too.

As the end of the first grading period comes to a close, many of us – parents, grandparents and other important people in our families lives – ask “how are the kids doing in school – we wanted to share that the family meal is making an impact.

No matter if it is dinner at 5pm, or 6:15, like my own family tries to do – or Saturday brunch. Or, maybe like someone else in our office – your family gathers for a big, all-round-the-table breakfast each morning. These connections help your kids study habits, which helps their grades – which means that parent teacher conference you might have coming up, might go that much more smoothly.

And, even if it doesn’t – at the table you can discuss what the heck happened to that homework that you KNOW they did! Happy fall grading period!

Tip of the Week: National Family Day – Sept. 24

Tomorrow, September 20, is Family Table Day at Chick-Fil-A at Jefferson Pointe, Fort Wayne. From 5pm to 7pm have your family join mine, with proceeds benefiting the Family Table!  It all helps to spread the word that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, use drugs, have a teen pregnancy, or bully other children!

Make dinner plans now for September 24, Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children.  Let’s all eat dinner with our families and post pics and comments to the Family Table Online Facebook page.  This would be a great day to cook a traditional recipe from your family. I’ll be making meatloaf and mashed potatoes, my favorite when I was a child, and a fave with my kids too.

We could use your help! This survey will help us guide the direction of the Tip of the Week for the next year. Plus, once you’ve completed it, you will be entered to win a $200 gift card to Meijer! The winner will be drawn September 21st.

“If I could wave a magic wand to make a dent in our nation’s substance abuse problem, I would make sure that every child in America had dinner with his or her parents at least five times a week.” Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASAColumbia Founder and Chairman Emeritus

Tip of the Week: Local Food Conference

Share the promotion!
Win tickets to the Finding Food in Farm Country conference by sharing our event on your Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win two FREE tickets! Winner drawn Monday, July 16th.

Finding Food in Farm Country panelist Pete Eshelman of Joseph Decuis Restaurant and Farm is quoted as saying “…every Sunday [my great, great grandmother] served a great meal on a white tablecloth, to an extended family who enjoyed dining together. The food was so good, as a little kid I couldn’t stop eating. Dining together was a bonding experience for our family.” That is exactly the experience we desire the Family Table project to encourage.

He shared this as part of the Hoosier Farmer? Emerging Food Systems in Indiana research, which will be presented at the July 17th event…
This event is designed to spark ideas and continue our regions path toward improved economic recovery and better health for all of our residents. Please make plans for your family and friends to attend the conference. More information available at

Breakout Sessions include:
Get Your Game on – Powerhouse Eating to LiVe! Kathy Wehrle, RD, Parkview LiVe
Learn the amazing health benefits of eating whole foods and learn which vegetables and fruits are “powerhouses” and hold the highest disease fighting capability. Tips on feeding your family and learn about Parkview’s newest health initiative – the “LiVe” program. Locations of local farmers markets and recipes, will be available.

Farm to Fork Margy Hooker, Tanglewood Berry Farm
Learn how to create delicious and healthy dishes using fresh Indiana ingredients from your garden or local farmer’s market. The term “farm to fork” is related to organic farming initiatives, sustainable agriculture, and community supported agriculture. Included in her discussion will be the Ins and Outs of the Farmer’s Market and a cooking demo.

Modern Technology Makes Farmers More Productive, Gonzalee Martin, Purdue Ext. Svcs.
Biotechnology, global positioning systems, and communication are the keys that offer benefit to farmers, consumers and the environment. Change is accelerating and irreversible. Some oppose the use of newer technologies, based more on emotion than on a needed balance between science and emotion.

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