The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “farmer’s market”

Tip of the Week: Top 10 Grocery Shopping Tips


This Week’s Featured Recipe

Grocery Shopping

Planning is the key to quick, easy and economical grocery shopping.  Check out our ten tips to help make your shopping painless.

1.  Plan meals and snacks a week in advance and write them down.  Create or download a form that makes sense to you. There are phone apps for this as well.

2.  Set aside one-half hour to write it all down; gather your family calendar (and the school’s lunch calendar) to determine who will be eating which meals.  This half-hour will shrink to about 7 minutes in no time as you re-cycle your best days.

3.  Be realistic; if no one likes Brussels Sprouts, don’t plan them into your menus.

4. Check your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards for inventory.  Any foods that need to be used up?  Any foods that no one has any intention of eating?  Plan to use up the odds and ends or donate or discard the “bad” purchases.

5. Don’t hesitate to make planned-overs (they taste so much better than leftovers). That roast chicken on Sunday not only becomes a sandwich on Monday but chicken noodle soup on Tuesday.

6.  There’s great convenience in single serving items for lunches but you are paying more for the package than the food.  Buy a large bag and have one of the kids count out portions into reusable containers.

7. For fresh produce, consider their shelf-life.  Use highly perishable fruits and veggies early in the week and keep those that have a longer shelf life for days 6 and 7.

8. Frozen fruits and vegetables can easily round out that end-of-the-week meal.

9. Make sure you have storage containers and supplies.  Those two pounds of hamburger in the freezer will be harder to use quickly than the 1/2 pound packages you created (and labeled and dated!).

10. Encourage the whole family to participate.  You can educate everyone about budgeting, time management, cooking and, of course, good nutrition. Dole out questions, tasks and responsibilities appropriate for your age child.

We promise, careful planning will make feeding your family a real joy!


Marcia Crawford, MS, RDN

Tip of the Week: A New School Year


This Week’s Featured Recipe

Judging by the amount of parents I saw this past weekend, a lot of us were out buying back-to-school supplies. Every year at this time, as I pack bookbags with new pencils and yet another ruler (what happens to the previous year’s ruler?) I pledge to begin the school year as Mom of the Year. I vow to send my kids to school with healthy lunches, make sure homework is done properly and put neatly in the bookbags, and to put a delicious home cooked dinner on the table every night so my family can eat together and share the exciting news of the day. By October, this has usually disintegrated into trying to find something quasi-edible they can take for lunch and realizing I never checked the homework as they run out the door late for the bus (again).

This school year, I am still holding out hope of getting dinner on the table, at least most nights. I recently received an email from a friend on this subject. He sent me a link to Michael Pollan’s latest book about cooking. Pollan makes the interesting observation in his latest book, Cooked, that home-cooked food is generally healthier because it’s just too difficult and messy to cook unhealthy food, like french fries, at home. And, if we are cooking what we eat, we won’t eat as many desserts because it will be too much work to make them. I don’t know about you, but I will skip the ice cream before I churn my own!

Often though, we tend to fall into the habit of using too many processed foods in our home cooking. The problem with these convenience foods like boxed macaroni and cheese, veggies with pre-made sauces, and pre-made mashed potatoes, is that they just aren’t healthy because of all the chemicals and sodium. Do you want ideas for how to get an easy, healthy meal on the table? Watch our video How to Get a Meal on the Table Faster than You Can Go Through the Drive-Thru. If you happened to be in England recently, you might have seen this video on the telly there; it’s being played throughout England by a London television station.


Holli Seabury, CEO, wife and mom 7

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: 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: 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.

Tip of the Week: Freedom

Happy Independence Day!
Today’s tip will be honoring a few of the things that we are thrilled to be free from, at least in the shortterm!

1) School schedules… if you are like me, the kids keep you hopping. During the school year, it seems MUCH worse because of the balance required by the school schedule. Now, don’t get me wrong, my kids (mostly) enjoy school, but this month we’re free and clear of homework, gym shoes and bus rides.

2) Darkness in the evening… This is the month to get out and enjoy the sunshine! Truly from up in-the-morning until down-at-night, my family is on the go – making sleeping time that much quieter, and more restful. Being active helps everyone. Get some great exercise and help celebrate Foster Park’s Centennial Year by participating in the KaBOOM! Play Day. NOTE: Date change from July 6th to July 27th. Plan to stop by the Family Table and Parkview LiVe booths and say hi!

3) Canned and frozen foods… With our goal of half a plate of vegetables and fruit, the fresh foods available from our garden and farmer’s markets means the table is full of bright colors and is high in vitamins! Just remember to wash them safely.

To make your own, mix 1 part white vinegar with 3 parts water and put it in a spray bottle. Simply spray the mixture over the produce and let it sit for a minute or so, then rinse well. This also works well on cutting boards and countertops as a disinfectant. Interested in finding out more about eating fresh? Make plans to attend the Finding Food in Farm Country at the McMillen Center on July 17th.

Tip of the Week: Farmer’s Markets

With so little water, our gardens at home are struggling. Be it flower, or vegetable, they certainly are requiring the attention we would not normally give them until August. So, while I wait for the heat of summer to ripen my tiny tomatoes, I’ve seen some great offerings at the local farmer’s market…onions, lettuces, even a tomato or two. I would describe myself as a seeker – I’m always on the lookout for a great deal.

One local CSA (community supported agriculture) makes their small box available each week for just $15. And it’s delivered close to home! Now, looking at some of those odd looking lettuces, or the bok choy my friend had in her box this week, will make any child turn up their nose faster than they would at a tomato worm halfway through their feast! But, when my girls pick out their own fresh foods, they seem more likely to try them.

While nothing beats picking a ripe cucumber right off the vine, picking your very own out of the bushel basket at the local market comes in a close second. And raw green beans, just freshly washed? Those are great too! Help your family appreciate these true Indiana experiences by finding out their favorites at your local market or shop.
Interested in learning about eating local and sustainable farming?

Make plans to attend the McMillen Health Lecture Series: Finding Food in Farm Country on July 17th to see how you can make a difference in our economy and your family’s health.

We have a couple garden plots open in Our Edible Garden community garden here at the McMillen Center. If you are interested in trying your hand – give us a call!

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