Keep on keeping healthy!

With that first month of the new year under my belt, I’m also starting to feel those resolutions slipping from my mind. Here are a few little hints and tricks that help keep my family healthy eating all year round, enjoy!

#1 Cook with love!

I’ve never had an awesome meal after I spent hours slamming pots and pans and muttering about the days grievances. Enter your kitchen with your loved ones in mind and remember what you are preparing for them now is what will sustain them. A good healthy meal/snack shows how much you care and when it’s made with love it tastes that much better!

#2 Start early…in life.

We are what we eat, or so they say. If we encourage our kiddos to eat mindfully at a young age, it stands to reason they will grow up to be healthy eaters. Or at least you can feel good that you gave a great foundation.

#3 Get everyone involved- in all of it! The menu planning, the shopping, the cooking and plating.

It’s actually eye opening to ask for input on some of these things once in a while. Why should I have to be the only one coming up with ideas and being creative when it comes to meals? I love writing things like “2 side veggies” on my husbands grocery list, I’m often surprised with something I would have walked right by without noticing. I’m also a fan of establishing meal nights for each member to plan. It’s fun to see a recipe that hasn’t been made in months or a new one added to the menu, it’s also a good way to gauge what everyone is “craving” or “into” at any given time.

#4 “Mix it Up” and don’t quit trying!

This is quite literal. Mix it, blend it, puree it, dice it, shred it, slice it and don’t quit trying! A ton of foods that are so good for us, aren’t our favorite when prepared in different ways. It’s fine to not like certain foods, but its a disservice to not give everything a fair shot. I love the challenge of learning new ways to prepare the “same old” ingredients.

Something like spinach is very versatile and often disliked by kids. I never hated it but it wasn’t until I was a nanny that I learned I loved it cooked, thanks to a 3 year old girl who requested it daily. Spinach is awesome blended in a smoothie, makes a great salad raw, can be added into pasta sauces and soups.

Cauliflower is another sneaky guy. As a dairy sensitive gal with a love for all things mac and cheese, this is my latest and greatest find. Cauliflower can be substituted as rice, mashed into “potatoes,” pureed into “Alfredo” sauce. It takes on flavors similar to tofu, so it’s pretty amazing roasted with your favorite herbs or spices. It’s also fairly easy to turn this veg into a thickening agent for chowder soups or to half the “dairy” in homemade mac and cheese.

#5 Make it a “treat”- once in a while.

Don’t tell any one but healthy food can also be super yummy. Ever heard of brownies made with beets? How about making your own trail mix, sure you can add chocolate bits but also dried fruits and protein packed nuts! What about a fruit packed Popsicle or making your own fruit roll ups? Here’s a new one…shredded carrot in the cake?!? What? Just kidding on that one, haha.

 

 

What to do with last weeks groceries…

Growing up dinner was often decided by a quick glance in the fridge, followed by an inventory of what was most in need of being used. Recipes were referenced but I really wouldn’t say “used.” When I was learning to cook, I was taught using a method of waste nothing, don’t follow the rules, and measurements are for suckers. Of course while this was going on, I was under the impression this was how everyone prepared a meal.

Waste nothing is still one of my favorite “rules” of my kitchen. Every weekend I like to open the fridge and clear it out…but not into my compost bin (the horror!), instead I pretend I’m on one of those cooking shows with mystery baskets and I’ve got to use every item. This week I was incredibly impressed with that came out of my kitchen (and my fridge) so I just have to share!

This week my fridge was an “odd” mix for me. Items I generally don’t have on hand were inching toward their expiration dates (guess that’s why I generally don’t have them, haha) and I was thrown a little of my game. I had french bread for sandwiches I never made, too many cherries, sour cream, mushrooms, and eggs for days. Now when I play my version, I’m allowed research so pintrest and allrecipes are top on my list and almost always save the day.

Yesterday my husband got busy doing man stuff aka the stuff I don’t really want to do (hang shelves and wash the car) and I got busy in the kitchen.

To my delight, I found a recipe for an overnight french toast that not only tackled most of my bread dilemma, it also used almost half my eggs! Even better, I got to use a pantry item that has also been sitting on a shelf way to long without a purpose (bye bye pumpkin butter, love you but you’ve got to go)! Eggs -check, bread-check, breakfast for this morning made before I open my eyes-check! 🙂

I finished of the bread by slicing thin and spraying each side lightly with olive oil, popped them in oven for 10 minutes per side at 350 and made crostinis. Snack for this afternoon-done (we always have some hummus or cheese on hand for easy snacking).

The mushrooms and sour cream got turned into a hearty dinner of beef stroganoff…only 5 ingredients and soooooo tasty.

And finally the cherries. I made the most amazing sauce for pork chops. A sweet twist for the taste buds and the menu. I’ve heard they pair well and was so pleased with how well they truly play together. Yet another reason to support the local fruit farmers.

With my fridge now back to the basic staple items, my tummy full and my heart content I can look forward to another wonderful week without any unpleasant fridge finds.