Posts Tagged ‘food’

Hearty Vegetable Soup recipe

When I need something easy to make, vegetable soup is always a nice go to, as long as I have everything on hand of course. But the great thing about vegetable soup is you can improvise and use the vegetables you have on hand. I made this last night and it was a hit, so jotting it down here so I can repeat it in the future. This will give us about 4 meals (I froze 1 meals worth, then we will have 1 lunch and 1 dinner ready for this week. Woohoo!)

I used:
2 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 box vegetable stock (organic)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp basil
1 box Pomi chopped tomatoes
4 cups of water (use more as needed)
4 cups organic mixed frozen vegetables (green beans, peas, carrots, edemame)
1 1/2 cups frozen black eyed peas
8 oz pasta (optional, but you’ll want to add a little more water if you do)
4 medium potatoes, diced

In a large stock pot, heat 2 tbls oil. Sauté onions until tender, during last minute, add the garlic. Then add vegetable stock and other ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour (or longer to let all the flavors blend together more). Next time I am going to try fresh celery (and eliminate the celery seed), and sauté with the onions. Either way, this soup was yummy!

Today’s (and yesterday’s) healthy bento lunch box: breakfast for lunch & PB and banana

I forgot to post yesterday’s lunch. Such a busy day! I think it was her favorite lunch – breakfast for lunch. She LOVES breakfast!

I packed her pumpkin waffles, maple syrup, boiled egg, Canadian bacon rolls and mixed berries. Pumpkin waffle recipe here. They are soooo good.

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Today’s lunch was by request, it was a peanut butter and banana roll up, blueberry yogurt, pineapple and Pirate Booty. Pirate Booty you ask? It’s an all natural “popcorn” style snack with aged cheddar cheese flavor. Pretty good and no icky stuff, even if it is processed, but it’s an occasional treat so I don’t fret. Oh her little treat is chocolate covered almonds.

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My son had the same only strawberry yogurt and no chocolate covered almonds.

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See other lunch box ideas.

Keep checking back daily for more healthy lunch ideas.

Today’s healthy bento box lunch

I didn’t post my daughters lunch yesterday. Time just got away from me and I forgot!

She had rice and beans (rice, black beans, onions, with bits of sausage and bacon). Plus peanut butter and strawberry jelly roll ups. The apple was her snack.

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Today my son packed daddy’s “concoction,” cucumber and cream cheese roll ups, tomato slices and plum slices. So you are wondering what concoction is? Something my husband invented after learning more about the Paleo diet. He (OK, I) take romaine (or other dark leafy green like kale), carrots, onion, bell pepper, cucumber and broccoli and run it through the food processor. Just use your desired amount of each item. We top that with sun dried tomatoes, sun flower seeds, apple cider vinegar, tobacco and sometimes extra virgin olive oil. My son usually prefers it without the ACV, so basically just eats a bowl of shredded veggies! And he absolutely LOVES it.

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See other lunch box ideas.

Keep checking back daily for more healthy lunch ideas.

Today’s healthy lunch box: hummus pinwheels, veggies

Today my daughter had organic black cherry yogurt, granola, plums, and hummus pinwheels. I put a few chocolate chips for dessert in the center as well. I typically use lavash for the pinwheels (flat, rectangle bread), but it can be hard to find, so I used another flat bread and cut off the round ends, spread a semi thin layer of hummus and rolled it up! And forgive me for lidding the dippers, got a cold going on and had a cloudy head!

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My son really loves the cherry type tomatoes, so he had organic grape tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, boiled egg, sliced avocado and yogurt. I squeezed a bit of lemon juice on the avocado and sprayed a bit of pure EVOO on it to help prevent it from going brown. So thankful my boy eats like this. It’s his dream lunch!

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See other lunch box ideas.

Keep checking back daily for more healthy lunch ideas.

Today’s healthy lunch box

Today’s lunch is yogurt with granola, nectarine slices, and a peanut butter and banana roll up sandwich. I had planned on a hard boiled egg as well, but she opted to eat it for breakfast with her whole wheat pancakes. Her snack is a fresh plum.

The banana roll up is easy to make. I grabbed a whole wheat tortilla, spread peanut butter all over it, placed. A banana in the middle, then wrapped it all up.

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See other lunch box ideas.

Keep checking back daily for more healthy lunch ideas.

Today’s lunch: Mexican soup

Leftovers. Definitely use leftovers when practical or possible. I bought this awesome insulated Thermos Food Jar for packing hot foods like soups or rice and beans.

Today’s lunch is Mexican corn and bean soup (get the recipe from weelicious.com), whole wheat crackers and mandarin oranges. And of course our thermos of water. This bottle is a Thermos Funtainer as well. It’s insulated and always still has ice in it when she gets home from school!

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See other lunch box ideas.

Today’s lunch box

I am going to start sharing my kids lunch boxes in hopes that it may give parents other ideas about healthy lunches. What got me going was a few weeks ago having lunch with my daughter and seeing some of the lunches other kids brought. My friend and I are health food eaters and feed our family this way. Our daughters both have the PlanetBox lunch system and we pack it full of lots of fruit, beans, proteins, and veggies. Everything is fresh, homemade, healthy and delicious!

One mom who was having lunch with her son, made him hide his lunch after seeing my daughters and our other little friend’s lunches. It was funny, but it occurred to us while she was asking all kinds of questions about the lunch box and food, that most parents don’t know how to pack a healthy lunch.

Aim for color: fresh fruits and veggies, a protein, a grain. Actually, the PlanetBox has 4 compartments and each holds about the correct portion size as what the USDA recommends for these basic food groups. I hate to break it to you, but a healthy lunch does not include pre packaged food, white bread, Fritos, etc.

So, that’s what’s getting my started on sharing my lunches. I hope it will inspire some healthier lunch box choices!

Today’s lunch was a egg sandwich on a whole wheat tortilla, pear slices, raspberries, sliced carrots with homemade ranch dip, and a few chocolate covered almonds for a treat. And as always, we had water in our stainless steel water bottle. She is thankfully not a big juice drinker and prefers water!

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Use whole wheat bread, tortillas, etc. They offer more nutrients and have more fiber than white bread and flour tortillas. Tortillas are also a great way to make sandwiches more interesting.

I soaked the pear slices in a lemon juice and water mixture then rinsed well to keep them from browning.

I made the ranch dip using this recipe from weelicious. Its healthy and amazingly good!

See other lunch box ideas.

Ways to go green and eat smart

Going green really is not a big deal and in some ways can make your life easier and can save you money! Here are some very simple things we can all do to go green and eat smart.

Eat smart
1. Plant a garden
2. Compost food scraps
3. Buy local, if not available, then organic foods whenever possible
4. Join a farm co-op
5. Go meatless at least one meal a week (i.e. Meatless Monday). We’ve done this with great success and even look forward to it now. We are a meat and potatoes family, so if we can do it, anyone can! 
6. Buy foods that are in season
7. Use glass storage containers and baby bottles to avoid plastic – definitely avoid polycarbonate (BPA), Styrofoam and PVC plastic. Sometimes plastic can’t be avoided. Be sure you choose safer options.
8. Do not cook in any type of plastic (includes rewarming in the microwave) even if it is label microwave safe
9. Buy in bulk and freeze or share what you can’t use
10. Getting take out? Bring your own container to reduce on waste. Great way to carry home leftovers when dining out too
11. Don’t use Teflon coated pans
12. Avoid artficial sweetners, flavors and colors
13. Avoid MSG and high fructose corn syrup
14. Avoid processed foods, opt for fresh or frozen whenever possible
15. Avoid canned foods – most are lined with BPA which leaches into food (exception is Eden Foods, all but canned tomatoes are BPA free. Pomi tomatoes are boxed and BPA-free. Other BPA-free tomato options can be found here.)

Related Articles

Easy ways to go green and save energy

BPA, PVC and lead free lunch boxes for back to school

Lead as you know is toxic to children (and adults for that matter), so it’s important that the place their lunch is stored in is lead-free. PVC is toxic as it contains phthalates and lead. Lead can also be ingested from your child touching the bag and then their food. And BPA is the hormone disrupting chemical found in plastics whose toxic effects have been hitting the news and blogs for the last several years. crockcreekcountries

Before purchasing a lunch box for your child, read the label. Make sure it is not made of PVC. Nylon, polypropelyne or cloth are much safer materials. Look for tags that say PVC-free. You also want to avoid BPA if you are purchasing a water bottle or food storage containers.

Crockodile Creek Countries lunch box.

Here is a list of BPA, PVC and lead free lunch boxes.

The Cool Tote is a replacement for the traditional brown bag. It’s made of nylon thus lead and other toxin-free.

Crocodile Creek. These are SO CUTE, and my favorite of the bunch. I saw these at Whole Foods and they are very well-made and have very cute traditional style, zippered lunch box and kid-friendly designs like dinosaurs, the solar system, horses (purple for girls) , trucks/vehicles (boyish), girls from around the world, flowers, countries with animals, farm animals  and a sunflower.

Laptop lunches are good for those who don’t like their food to touch. There are little compartments for separating food.

LL Bean has a critter lunch box line that is really cute and lead and PVC-free.  They would be great for a tween who wants something stylish without licensed characters.

The Lunch Pak by Fleurville is a backpack design, but does have a handle to carry like a traditional lunch box. They also offer a lunch buddy which is more of a traditional lunch box style.

Mimi the Sardine has cute cloth lunch totes that are PVC and lead free. There are several designs such as the ladybug, monkey/elephant/flower pattern, bugs and mice (my favorite).

Munchlers look like zoo animals and they fold out into a placemat, also very cute. They are insulated and come in several designs including a yellow tiger, white dog, green bunny and pink panda. My daughter has the white dog.

ZAK Designs offers several licensed character insulated lunch boxes that are lead free and lined with PVC-free material. Note, they just mention “PVC-free lining” so leads me to believe the entire lunch box may not be PVC-free. Some of the characters available include: iron man, Wall-E, The Little Mermaid, Tinkerbell, Spongebob Square Pants, Diego, Spiderman and many others. Wal-Mart and Target carry Zak lunch boxes.

California Innovations is a nice lunch bag that Wal-Mart carries. It’s stylish no-nonesense bag and free from any characters or crazy prints.

Lunchopolis is another zippered, traditional style, no-nonesense lunch box.

Citizens Pip is a new one available only online from what I can tell. The cool thing is you can customize your lunch box with accessories — separate food compartments, stainless steel bottle, cloth napkins, fork/spoon set, and of course the lunch bos itself!

Kid Konserve is a similar to Citizens Pip’s customizable lunch box system and available on their website.

Thermapod is another similar concept to the laptop lunch. However, it is one piece with 4 sections, which may not be desireable for some.

ReusableBags.comhas a whole section also dedicated to lead, PVC, and BPA-free lunches. I bought two ACME lunch bags — one to carry bottles in for my son to daycare (it fits three Dr. Brown bottles) and one for me for the milk I pump for him at work (it fits six medela bottles).

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Organic Milk vs Hormone Free Milk

Alison asked if hormone-free milk was as good as organic.

As for as Organic milk vs hormone free, neither will have the hormone added, but the hormone “free”-only will still have pesticide residue. Organic milk comes from cows fed an organic diet – grain or grass. In most cases, organic cows are treated better (more room per cow, most organic cows graze in an open pasture), while conventional cows don’t have much room to move around. So that to me even means healthier milk since cows treated better tend to be healthier anyway, thus not needing antibiotics, etc.

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Hormone free vs organic – cows naturally produce hormones, so the milk is not entirely hormone free, however no synthetic hormones are added (which to me is still better than conventional milk). However, it seems as though “hormone-free” is more of a marketing term.

CNN also reported on this topic pointing out research has shown there is no difference in milk from cows treated with rbST and cows that were not. However, the author echos many who feel “science” and the FDA has let us down before and consumers are questioning the safety of, well everything.

But then again, Natural News debunks that and gives a glowing review of why adding hormones is not good, including pus getting into the milk from these cows who often get mastitis due to the overproduction of milk and these cows are then given antibiotics to treat the mastitis infection. Now, who wants all that in their milk?

Benefits of Organic Milk
Here is another very good article showing the benefits of organic milk vs conventional milk. Such benefits include less pesticide contamination, more vitamins and antioxidants, improves the quality of breastmilk and helps prevent asthma and eczema in children. Read the entire article for more benefits.

SFMilk-FamilyAs for as choosing a good organic milk, first things first – Horizon milk is not really organic, which is really sad considering it is the best selling brand of organic milk. There are several links on there, one of which is a link to thorough research of many organic brands of milk rated on how “organic” they really are. So if you choose to stay/go organic, you can choose a good brand. Also, you can usually sign up on the manufacturer’s website and get coupons — for example, Stonyfield Farm or Organic Valley may send out coupons in a newsletter.

We eat the “dirty dozen” fruits and veggies (mostly these are the ones where the outer skin is exposed like peaches, grapes, strawberries, potatoes, apples…) these are the ones that will have the most pesticides and bananas for example, do not have near as many pesticides since it is protected by a thick peel. So I get organic apples, but not bananas. I say that to give you an example that there are tradeoffs. You don’t have to go 100% organic on everything. To me, milk is one of those areas where the benefit definitely shows organic to be better.

Certainly cost is a factor. I get our milk from Whole Foods. If you drink a lot of milk or you have room in your freezer, Whole Foods gives you 10% off if you purchase a case of milk (4 gallons). We go through that in about 10-14 days, so I do this sometimes, but it’s a little hard to drink that much milk when we still give our 3 year old whole milk. And I am not sure about freezing milk, have not tried it, but know people who have with great success. And as mentioned, you can usually sign up to get newsletters which may contain coupons.

Related Articles
Food manufacturers confess they have no idea if their food is safe
Grass-fed beef is healthier
Is your organic food really organic?

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