The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “Summer”

Starting an Herb Garden


This Week’s Recipe

We may have just had a spring snow, but we have also had a few days now where spring has shown us that it is (hopefully) right around the corner. I love hearing the birds in the morning and seeing the sunshine! I am so ready for this winter to be over and to be doing activities outside! Do you feel the same?

I want to head out to a local nursery and buy plants and seeds and soil. This year I want to try something new; planting an herb garden. I love watching flowers bloom that we have planted and this year I also want to be able to taste what we are growing in our salads, sauces and soups! I am going to be following these simple guidelines:

  1. Picking your herbs- start with picking out your favorite seeds. Some basics include basil, chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
  2. Location- you want a spot with good soil that will receive ample sun light, yet be shielded from wind.
  3. Care for your herbs- water regularly, place mulch around the base, fertilize monthly and prune as needed
  4. Harvest- and ENJOY!

Growing herbs is a great family activity, too. Kids can help throughout the entire process and they will love seeing what they have helped grow in their dinner.


Bethany Clapper, Director of Development & Marketing and Mother of Two

Five Quick Ways to 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
  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
  3. Turtle – a green apple half (with the stem as a tail), grape feet, a grape head, and peanut butter if needed
  4. Butterfly – thinly cut apple section wings on either side of a grape body
  5. UFO (my favorite) – a cross section of an apple with a grape alien in the middle


Scott Nitza

Scott Nitza
Graphic Designer & Marketing Associate and Father of Three

Grilling as Easy as 1, 2, 3!


Recipe of the Week

Labor Day is right around the corner and is the second largest grilling day in America. I will be joining that group and will be getting the grill out for what might be one of the last big grilling days before the start of fall.

In my home I like to use a charcoal grill. I find charcoal to be very easy to use and the flavor it adds to meats and vegetables is one of the advantages over propane gas grilling. To set up your grill using my method: add charcoal to the grill (stacked in the shape of a pyramid), add lighter fluid, wait approximately five minutes, add some additional lighter fluid, then light the charcoal. After most of the charcoal has turned white, spread the coals evenly across the bottom of the grill, and place your grill rack on. You are now ready to grill!

My family loves to grill vegetable like yellow potatoes, asparagus, scallions, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini. One of the easiest ways I have found to cook those vegetables is to take a sheet of aluminum foil, add your vegetables and butter, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, then seal the foil closed and place on the grill. In 10 to 15 minutes your veggies will be soft and tender and ready to eat.

Our favorite meat to grill is Korean BBQ chicken – which is easy to make too! Take five pounds of chicken strips and place into a bowl. Add half a jar of Korean BBQ Sauce (my family’s favorite is CJ Korean BBQ Bulgogi marinade), place a lid on the bowl and shake the chicken around until it is evenly coated with the marinade. Refrigerate overnight. Grilling time the next day is 8-15 minutes.

Another benefit to grilling is the extra time spent with my family. My family likes to come out and help me grill or just hang out outside. On nice days we will enjoy our meal together in the backyard.

Have a great Labor Day and enjoy the long weekend with your family!

Damian Roach Technology & Facility Manager and father of one

Damian Roach
Technology & Facility Manager and Father of One

Tip of the Week: Summer Meals

Shrimp and Arugula Salad

Recipe of the Week

Our house was a bit quieter last week– summer camp is in full force and our kids had gone to a residential camp.  This was most noticeable at two points during the day: in the morning when my husband and I are usually hustling them to finish getting ready for the day and to eat breakfast, and in the evening, when we generally sit down together to eat dinner.  We found ourselves with some additional time on our hands.

I have to confess, I get off lightly in the food preparation responsibility – my husband does almost all of the grocery shopping and cooking for our house! (I’m so spoiled, I know.)  And, our kids are not particularly picky eaters, thank goodness.  But cooking for just two of us is a bit different.  Fortunately, many online recipes allow you to alter how many servings you are cooking.  It is awfully hard to crack just 1.5 eggs!  Even our grocery bill changed.

We ate more salads, partially due to the heat, but also because without those two growing girls gobbling everything in sight, we cooked less.  I noticed that there was less dressing bottles on the table at dinner (not to mention less dressing used!)  We also ate some meals that we wouldn’t usually prepare with the girls at home, like Shrimp and Arugula salad.

There were also fewer dishes to wash because for some reason, each of our daughters pulls a new cup out for every drink of water they consume.  If this is a glimpse of what empty nesters experience when their kids first move out, I was excited early in the week, but I have to confess, I was a little lost by the end of it.  Friday night they returned (with all of their camp laundry, too!)  Yep, we’re back to those extra dirty glasses, but the giggles and silly songs were a welcome sound to the silence of last week’s meal times.  Being away from each other for a week has definitely given us lots to talk about at the dinner table, as the girls share their adventures with us!


Frances Brooks

Director of Operations & Business Development and mother of two

Tip of the Week: Summer Bucket List


Recipe of the Week

This was certainly a long, hard winter and while we were stuck inside, my family talked a lot about all the fun summer things we wanted to do. I spent some time looking up parks, sports activities, and new outdoor games we could play together. Many of my friends and social media feeds were talking about making a “Summer Bucket List.” First on our list was outside summer sports. We have registered my son for a summer sports program, of his choice, and all the outdoor toys that were stored in the garage quickly came out.

Once we started thinking about items to add to our list, I started seeing several social media sites on the same topic. Instead of creating something new, I decided I would use the great Summer Bucket List created by LeAnn Nome, who blogs as Real Fit Real Food Mom. I added a few new activities that I know my family will really enjoy doing together, and we are ready for summer fun! Come over to our Facebook page where we would love to hear about the exciting activities you have added to your Summer Bucket List!

Bethany RG Clapper
Director of Development and mother of two

Tip of the Week: Summer Injuries


This Week’s Featured Recipe

Summer is finally here! And with summer comes one of my least favorite things of all—bugs! As we were sitting at the dinner table the other night, I look over to see a giant bug bite on my 4-year-old’s leg. We soon found out that he had five mosquito bites, all the size of a nickel! As the days went on, his bites started to swell and irritate his skin even more. It got to the point where his sandals were very snug because of the swelling from the bite on his foot.

We love to grill and often eat dinner together out on the patio. My son loves to be outdoors swimming, running through the sprinkler, and going to the park. There are so many summer injuries to be aware of for our families. To prevent further issues, I stocked up on insect repellent, sunscreen, aloe, and Band-Aids. I want to make sure my family can relax and enjoy our time outdoors together without worrying about these issues. Plus, it will be an opportunity to teach him about bugs that are irritating, ones that help us, and ones that are fun, like lightning bugs!

Hannah Keith 2012

Hannah Keith, Marketing Assistant, wife and mom of 2

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