The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “veggies”

Grilling as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

grill_with_food

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

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Tip of the Week: Pantry List

Week2

This Week’s Featured Recipe

Often, there is a point during our week when we hit the, “oops, we forgot to plan something for dinner, but man, we really don’t want to get back in the car and eat out.” For our family, this usually means we are having a family favorite – or a ‘go-to meal,’ as some people call it. For our household, that means: brinner! Breakfast, for dinner. Crazy as it sounds, having an omelet, or pancakes and sausage, with a side of fresh fruit and OJ for dinner brings my kids running to the table like little else. (Why can’t they respond that way in the morning?)

Not only is it quick, but it is also an inexpensive way to get a meal on the table using a number of items you probably already have on hand! If you find your pantry to be empty on a regular basis, may we suggest using a standardized grocery list, like the one from Family Table to check each time before you leave for the store? Holli Seabury, McMillen Center CEO, says “The meals you can make with these items are pretty much endless – everything from a veggie/cheese omelet served with pan fried potatoes and toast, to pasta with a meat sauce, or chicken and stir fry veggies, served over rice.”

Other quick suggestions for dinner when the cupboard seems bare: local fruits and veggies that are in season are very plentiful at garden markets and roadside stands this time of year. Green beans, tomatoes and peaches are especially plentiful right now!

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

Frances Brooks, Director of Operations & Business Development, and mother of two

Tip of the week: Saving Time, Freezing Meals

freezer before&AFTER

My freezer is key to getting meals on the table – I routinely try to cook twice as much as my family needs so I can freeze the rest. It doesn’t usually take any time to double a recipe, and then all I have to do is go to my freezer, pull out a meal to thaw, and then dinner is ready. Well, in theory. In practice, my freezer became the place where meals went to die. It was such a mess that I couldn’t find anything, and it got to be too much work to dig around in there to try to find something edible.

Pinterest came to my rescue! I saw a beautifully organized freezer on Pinterest and decided that was what I needed to make my freezer work for me, instead of against me. I started by removing all the food, throwing away anything too old or scary looking. Then, re-organized my frozen food into neat baskets with laminated labels. Laminating the lables might have been a little over the top, but I was on a roll!

I also added a dry erase board on the front of the freezer, so now I know what’s in there without even opening the door. Before I go grocery shopping, I take a picture of the dry erase board so if I see frozen veggies or meat on sale, I know how much I already have in stock. When I cleaned out my freezer I had about two dozen bags of peas – hopefully, I’ve solved that problem for the future!

I also keep a Sharpie marker on top of the freezer so I can remember to label and date all meals I put in the freezer. I have a terrible habit of putting unlabeled meals in the freezer and thinking that I will remember what they are. Since I don’t have to search for a marker anymore, hopefully there will be no more “freezer surprise” meals for my family!

Holli-Seabury-2012

Holli Seabury, CEO

McMillen Center for Health Education

Tip of the Week:

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This Week’s Featured Recipe

You’re eating breakfast at the table, and the family is ‘shoveling it in.’ After taking the time to prepare a full meal, it would be great to have them look up and acknowledge that there are other people at the table. But let’s be honest, morning is about the worst time to expect good conversation. When working to fit in three meals with all of us together at the table, summer is has proven to be a bit difficult. A meal in the evenings has proven to be quite challenging recently, so especially on the weekends, we try to have at least one morning meal together.

Here are three ideas to consider for making morning meal times more interactive:

#1: Having a conversation at the breakfast table about how their day went seems odd. Some other ideas include: a word of the day, or having everyone wearing the same color for the day, or “one thing I’d like to accomplish today…” Try to think of accomplishments beyond the typical chores list, considering creative ideas or new skills you’d like to learn.

#2: Set a goal for the next week’s meals. Ask your family for suggestions on what might be added to the grocery list. While cleaning up their plate, have them try to have them give you ideas for foods that are ‘the colors of the rainbow,’ that are both bright-colored and crunchy. (Yes, we know that Skittles are both brightly colored and crunchy, but this is not necessarily the health-conscious choice we were endorsing!) Sneak some power foods into breakfast with this week’s Recipe of the Week that features Veggies for Breakfast.

#3: Consider talking about the Health Tips from Fort4Fitness. Their Tip of the Day can give your family different suggestions on how to make little changes that can make a big impact!

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

Frances Brooks, Director of Business Development & Operations, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Kids Choice Dinner

kidscook

This Week’s Featured Recipe

We’ve all heard it a 1,000 times (at least 1,000!)… “I don’t want that!” from the seat across from you at the table. It often refers to the green veggie-like items that you’ve set down as the perfect complement to your hearty entrée. Often in our office, we discuss what we eat, or are eating. This inevitably leads to what our children won’t eat! My friends go through this quite often, in fact, so much so that when they are coming over for a meal, I try to remember what their kids don’t eat. In one family, it is almost everything but spaghetti, and in another it’s anything with cheese on it. So, in an effort to figure out how to manage this minefield – because really, who likes a fight at the dinner table? – we have been trying to get our kids to cook more often and choose what we all will dine on. Some people call this “Kids Choice Dinner”

Breakfast is very easy. My oldest has started cooking eggs. Since she only likes them one way, that is how we all eat them. Or, my youngest made salad the other night. True, I encouraged her to cut the romaine lettuce leaves smaller, but she decided we would have Caesar Salad with chicken. Then, when we all sat down to eat, we built our own, as opposed to mixing the dressing on, in the bowl; we each added our own. Surprisingly, there were no leftovers! With younger kids, it might be easiest to try new items next to ones that everyone loves – like a new side dish with chicken fingers, or a new veggie pasta in your favorite pasta salad.

Kids are resilient – and if you are really bold, and try to include them in the meal planning, you might find that “ball beans” as my sister called peas, are a new, re-appearing guest at your table!

Happy summer!

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

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

Tip of the Week : Krazy for Kale!

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 www.familytableonline.org 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-2012

Holli Seabury, CEO

Tip of the Week: Heart Healthy Conversation

AHA Pinot Party promo image

This Week’s Featured Recipe

As you look around your family table at each person’s face, hopefully you can appreciate the differences that each person brings to your family. The things we have in common are often obvious. The ways we differ are often the most challenging. They also can make for great conversation! When our family sits down together, we often ask about each others’ day and what’s going on in the upcoming days. A couple of weeks ago, we ended up having a chat about ‘what is art’ and I can tell you, my kids had a strong opinion about what was not art! In a few weeks, the McMillen Center and the local American Heart Association are inviting you to a conversation about maintaining a healthy heart and a healthy lifestyle.

We all know that making healthy choices in diet and exercise can benefit in a longer healthier life. Putting it in practice can be a bit of a struggle for some (me included!) The American Heart Association Nutrition Center has several tips on how to make healthy choices at the grocery store, while cooking and when dining out. These simple lifestyle changes can help get you on the right track to a healthy life and a healthy heart. To make the learning a bit more fun, the McMillen Center for Health Education will be hosting the American Heart Association’s 2013 Pinot and Prevention party.

Please make plans to join us in learning about how to stay heart healthy with this women’s only, 21 and older, event on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are just $20.

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

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

Tip of the Week: Goal Charts

myplate

This Week’s Featured Recipe

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: Together, We Eat Better

tobaggon

This Week’s Featured Recipe

Recently, I took my kids and some friends to Pokagon to go tobogganing. While playing outside, I just couldn’t seem to catch my breath. I was surprised to find myself dizzy from carrying/dragging the sled, climbing the hill and then the stairs. I’ve always been comfortable with who I am but that changed this weekend. It’s past time to admit I’m out of shape.  I have made a resolution to start paying a lot more attention to what I’m eating and how much I’m really on the move.

I’ve known I should be doing more for a long time, but I just ignored it. Please don’t worry that I’m about to update you weekly on my progress and diet; I’m not. The Family Table is supposed to be about practical ideas for our families’ health. And, I eat with my family almost every night of the week, and weekends, too. Eating together at the table is hugely beneficial.

No matter if you’re eating together at 9 a.m., noon or 7 p.m., the benefits of better responses to peer pressure, later onset of sexual activity and lower abuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as the obvious nutritional benefits don’t change. But, honestly, what you put on the table matters. We eat fruit and vegetables. We’re about to start eating a whole lot more of them.

The Family Table tagline for this year is Together, We Eat Better. So, as I am making changes to become more aware of my calorie intake and exercise habits, my husband is doing the same. Research says when you make a commitment to work out with a friend and have someone to keep you accountable, you’ll have more success. We’re going to try it.

Below is a list of some free apps, websites and suggestions for ideas that I’ve incorporated into my new plans. If you have some others, please feel free to share them on our Facebook page or Family Table blog.

My Fitness Pal – A calorie and exercise counter. I love that you can scan the UPC code on the package and it will upload the nutritional information for you.

Fitness Blender – YouTube-based videos for every stage of fitness. They also have a great segment on grocery shopping.

Active Healthy Families – A video series on making better nutritional choices, like A Meal in Less Time Than It Takes to Go Through the Drive Thru.

Fort4Fitness – and their 1 Year 1 Change program – numerous tips and local resources to making a healthy commitment.

IN Shape Indiana – Resources to eat better, move more and avoid tobacco.

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

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

Tip of the Week: Holiday’s Bright Colors

rainbow_food

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.

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