The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “parenting”

Casseroles are quick and easy!

casserole

Recipe of the Week

Casseroles are easy to make and can use up whatever foods you have may have available in your pantry. Use this quick list as you look at your pantry, it may even be a big help as you think of something fast to feed the kids before heading out to trick or treat or other nightly activities.

  1. Look for a grain – preferably whole grain like rice or pasta and cook it. One cup uncooked rice or pasta will give you about 2 cups cooked.
  2. Add 1 to 2 cups of leftover vegetables (or frozen or canned) like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage.
  3. Add 1-2 cups of leftover or cooked or canned meat (browned hamburger, cooked chicken/turkey, tuna) or canned /cooked beans (kidney, chili beans, pinto, black), or even tofu.
  4. Mix in 1 -2 cups of cheese (shredded or sliced), maybe even stir in a can of your favorite creamed soup for the salt and added creaminess.

Heat this all together in a pan and you have supper. You can add a salad and some fruit on the side with a glass of milk and you have an incredibly easy, fast way to get supper on the table with all the food groups included. This recipe would be enough food for four nice size servings. If you have more mouths to feed, then increase the quantities. The great thing about casseroles is that if it turns out delicious, then write down the ingredients you used and you have now made your own recipe! If it is not your favorite, eat it and don’t use that combination again. If you have your kids help with cutting up vegetables or adding the other ingredients, you are encouraging them to be confident enough to try their own ideas. You or your kids may be the next great chef!

Linda Hathaway
Director of Curriculum & Education and Mother of Six

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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

How Do You Like Them Apples? Five Ways To Enjoy Those Fabulous Fall Fruits

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Recipe of the Week

With fall upon us it is time to talk about one of my family’s favorite seasonal fruits, apples. And, there is nothing my kids love more than heading out to our local orchard and picking peck after peck of fresh red, yellow, and green apples. From Granny Smiths to Fujis, this time of year it is not hard to find apples of every variety. It’s like those things grow on trees!

Sometimes with all that is available it can be hard to decide what to do if you happen to get too many of them (besides, of course, just eating them as a quick and easy snack). Here are five quick and easy ideas to help you get your creative apple juices flowing. As a bonus, with the sweetness built into the apples, all of these have little or no added sugar!

  1. Apple Crisp
  2. Applesauce
  3. Apple Butter
  4. Fried Apples
  5. Apple Salad

Scott Nitza

Scott Nitza
Graphic Designer & Marketing Associate and Father of Three

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

5 Tips for Adjusting to College Life

healthy_U

Recipe of the Week

In August comes the time not only for young children and youth to get back to studying, but also those young adults who are attending college. Whether your student is going to college locally or away from home, there are always concerns that parents have. Here are some suggestions to help both you and your student adjust:

  1. Talk WITH them not just at them. Listen to what they have to say and ask open ended questions to get at what they are thinking. “What are you excited about?” “What are you anxious about?”
  2. Share stories of what was good about your school experience. Share stories about what was bad about your school experience – as well as what you would have done differently. Look for stories of other people’s experiences and share those stories – both good and bad. Our kids can learn from the experience of other people and our experiences without actually needing to go through it. Use the news to explain how great and how negative choices impact not only the person making the choice, but their family members, workplace and school.
  3. Remember your job as a parent is to get them ready to go out to be adults. Your actions and words have been the blue print for them to follow. If you feel you have done a great job then try to relax and let them know you will be available with suggestions if they need it. If you feel you have not done a great job, then be honest and help them to find resources in other adults or other services that can fill in the gaps of where you have left off.
  4. Encourage them to find resources on campus – tutoring, career centers, social groups that will help them to navigate the every changing world in which they will function.
  5. Be prepared to see them grow up into the cool adults they will be… Check out the site of the college where they are heading so that you know what resources you can send them to. Become educated yourself.

Take a big breath and try to relax and adjust. This is a big step for you as well as your student.

Linda Hathaway
Director of Curriculum & Education and Mother of Six

Tip of the Week: Dealing with “Terrible Two’s and Terrifying Three’s”

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Among my circle of friends we have children that range from babies to teenagers. Two weeks ago we had quite the conversation, via Facebook, about dealing with the, “Terrible Two’s – and even worse, the Terrifying Three’s.” The conversation was started when my friend, who is a first time mom, said she was stressed out with her almost three year-old daughter’s behavior. She said, “I thought the Terrible Two’s were bad, but these Terrifying Threes are giving me a run for my money.” Many of us who have already experienced this age told her, “You will be fine, just try to be patient.” We discussed the constant meltdowns, children testing their limits, sassy/back talk, and the drama that comes with the age. We also discussed the good things that come with this age. At this age your child starts to assert their independence, which is a perfect opportunity to teach them new things.

For instance, with my four year-old son, dinner time has always been a bit of a struggle. So instead of dreading dinner, I decided to take a new approach, and use his independence as a learning tool. First, we purchased one of the My Plate, plates to teach him about nutritious foods, how much of each food group he should be eating at each meal, and how each type of food helps his body grow big and strong, like a big boy! This has helped tremendously. On our way home, at the end of each work day, we love to talk about what we will eat for dinner and how to incorporate foods he likes at meal time. He loves to fill his plate with vegetables, fruits, and dairy. Grains and protein he is learning to like more each day. One of his favorite ways to eat chicken, other than in nugget form, is with a little bit of cheese on top of his chicken breast. Here is an easy, kid-friendly recipe www.kraftrecipes.com.

At the end of the conversation on Facebook, we moms all decided that we have smart young children, who are eager to learn. During each phase that our children go through, we can support each other to find the positives and do the best for our families.

BethanyClapper_2012

Bethany Clapper

Director of Development

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