The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “garden”

Tip of the Week : Krazy for Kale!


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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: Goal Charts


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This year, our family has taken a different approach with New Year’s resolutions. It seems like resolutions are often difficult to stick to for an entire year.  So, instead of locking ourselves in for a year of something we really want to achieve but lose sight of somewhere in the midst of life, we have started family goal charts.

Goal charts are beneficial in keeping you on track to achieving your goals and letting you see your progress. It is nice to have the support of family and friends to help you stay on track. If they can see your progress, they can help keep you motivated, focused, and achieve their own goals along the way.

For our 4 year old son, we have included behavior goals, like eating all his dinner, brushing his teeth, cleaning up his toys and so on. Each day he completes a task or shows improvement he gets a sticker on his chart. At the end of the month, we review the chart and based on how many stickers he received, he will get a reward. When we discussed the chart with him over dinner one night he seemed open to the idea. His favorite part, of course, is the reward at the end. He was able to give me so many ideas for rewards for him – imagine that!

For my goal chart, I have included a healthy living goal. This includes eating better, losing weight, and getting in better shape. Progress in this category can be charted by amount of weight lost, time spent at the gym and keeping track of healthy meals I cook for my family. One of my new favorite things to do is take family meal suggestions and find ways to make it a healthier meal for us. Healthy living can be easy if you just take it one day at a time!

For more information about the Family Table online project visit our website!

Hannah Keith 2012

Hannah Keith, Marketing Assistant, wife and mom of two

Tip of the Week: Decorative Gourds

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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

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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.


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!

Tip of the Week: Gardening

These hot days remind me of when I was a kid and my parents had a HUGE garden. Well, to me and my sister, who had to weed it before we could go swimming, it seemed huge. As I think back, that experience of being in the dry dirt, pulling weeds with deep roots was akin to the family table. We talked up a storm. Probably not about much important, but it was a chance to spend time doing something together with a shared benefit – that cool dip in the lake for refreshment.

My parents still grow a (much smaller) garden today. My sister and I, and our families, benefit from the fresh vegetables my dad spends his time weeding. This month, watering too. Too bad I seem to have gotten a black thumb. But, that’s what farmer’s markets are for – right? There, I can still teach my girls that nothing beats a fresh, plump tomato or a just-picked-cucumber.  Thinking about your own fresh tomatoes? Learn more here.

Whichever way you come across your fresh fruits and veggies, I’ve come to the conclusion that gardening is much like a family. Nurture the plants, remove the dangers that impede their growth and tenderly care for them, from blossom to harvest.

– Frances, Mktg & Comm, wife and mom of 2

Next week, we’ll discover some great local markets. We’d love to see you on July 17 at the McMillen Health Lecture Series: Finding Food in Farm Country.

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