Archive for the ‘
Food ’ Category
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
Interviewing Joe Biden was only one reason I found myself in Washington, D.C., at the White House last week. Earlier that same day, I was among a group of digital editors there to discuss healthy eating and how people use the internet to find recipes for their families. We met with officials from the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), the Let’s Move! initiative that the First Lady launched, and other White House staffers who are involved in the effort to promote healthy eating habits (and feed the First Family).
The meeting marked the beginning of a partnership between Let’s Move!, PHA, and major magazine and web brands, including Parents and several of our sister brands at Meredith, such as Family Circle, Recipe.com, and AllRecipes.com. The aim is to grow awareness and use of the USDA’s MyPlate nutritional guidelines, and of course, to encourage families to eat healthier. As you may know, MyPlate replaced the classic Food Pyramid and offers a simple-to-use graphic depicting in clear terms the relative proportions of different food types that we should aim to eat. The message it–and this partnership–intends to send is that healthy eating doesn’t need to be more difficult, more expensive, or less delicious than eating unhealthily.
Through this collaboration, you’ll find many delicious, healthy Parents recipes pinned on MyPlate’s Pinterest boards, and you’ll soon see the MyPlate logo on some Parents.com slideshows, offering you an at-a-glance way to know that those recipes conform to these important guidelines for healthy eating.
While a handful of editors at the meeting got to continue the discussion directly with Michelle Obama afterward, the highlight of the event for the rest of us was a tour of the White House garden, conducted by the White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses. In the garden in back of the White House, the staff grows vegetables year-round, and in the middle of February it was amazing to see broccoli and spinach and other greens still growing.
Personally, I was most interested in the White House beehive–yep, their own natural honey machine. Yosses explained how eating locally produced honey can reduce allergies through its trace amounts of local pollen, which get your body accustomed to the allergens it faces in your area. It was also fun to pass by the Obama girls’ swing set!
See some photos from the day:
A shot of the White House garden
Bill Yosses, White House pastry chef, brings us on a tour of the White House garden.
A sign embedded in the garden, with a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “…the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another; and instead of one harvest, a continued one throughout the year.”
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The swing set on the White House lawn.
Monday, February 18th, 2013
Job number one: Feed your baby! Is there a bottle your little one has grown to love? What about a breast pump that makes it easier to serve breastmilk? Click on favorites in either or both categories, then leave a comment below explaining why the product works so well for you. Finally, enter for the chance to win a $250 gift card! Don’t see your brand? Feel free to write it in.
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Thursday, November 29th, 2012
As the first and only female winner of Iron Chef America, Cat Cora isn’t a stranger to challenges. But like the rest of you, sometimes her biggest battle is getting her four kids to eat healthy food. I met Cora at an event for Wonderful Almond Accents where she shared some of her secrets to keeping a peaceful dinnertime.
Make clear rules
Cora gives her kids one choice for dinner and her rule is that they must try at least one bite. “I tell my kids, ‘If you don’t like dinner, breakfast will be delicious the next day!” she said.
Sometimes it’s okay to compromise
Cora said that one mealtime her kids wanted chicken, but she was planning on making pancakes. Cora found a happy medium by blending chicken into the pancakes with a little honey and created a brand new recipe that they were all happy with.
Let your kids help you cook
Cora says her kids are more likely to enjoy their food if they are a part of the cooking process. For instance, children ages 4 and up can sprinkle on almond slivers, grated cheese, sunflower seeds, or chopped herbs on their salad. (For younger kids, nuts and seeds are choking hazards.)
Cora also shared her recipe for a lettuce-free salad.
Greek Chopped Salad with Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Almonds
Makes 6-8 servings
½ cup Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Wonderful Almond Accents
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried kosher salt)
Freshly ground black pepper
6 large ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
- In a small skillet over medium-high heat, sauté garlic in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, stirring often, until garlic is caramelized and crunchy. Be careful not to burn.
- In a large bowl, whisk together remaining olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Add tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta and olives. Mix well.
- Stir in caramelized garlic and Wonderful Almond Accents just before serving.
Photos: Courtesy of Wonderful Almond Accents
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Friday, November 9th, 2012
I’m not a crafter. But I am cheap. And after splurging on a generator for my house when Hurricane Sandy hit last week, I decided to do a little DIY for my son Grant’s 4th birthday.
The party theme was a Batman birthday — I used last year’s Halloween decorations (cut-out bats hanging by fishing wire) as the main decoration, hanging them from the ceiling and even sticking them to the walls. And I bought a big piece of poster board and had my husband create a Pin the Tail on Batman game. There’s no tail but it still worked OK.
But the most important part of the party (at least as far as I was concerned) was creating a Batman cake. I’m a decent cook so I figured I could do this. But when I googled “batman cake” and looked for ones on Pinterest, they were all made out of fondant or in fancy shapes. I just didn’t have the patience. I decided to hit my local Michael’s and see what else I could do instead. I stumbled upon this Wilton product: Sugar Sheets. All you do is cut out the image that you want and plop it on the cake. And you can eat it too! I thought it turned out pretty well! Grant and his friends did too. It was demolished in 10 minutes. Which is also why I’m grateful I saved the money and did it myself!
Hooray for cheap moms!
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Thursday, October 25th, 2012
When you head to the polls on November 6, there may be an item on your ballot that you haven’t heard of before. Californian voters will have the option to vote on Proposition 37, a bill that would require foods with genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) to be labeled for consumers. A GMO is a food that has had specific changes to its DNA by genetic engineering techniques. The purpose of these genetic alterations is to make crops more resistant to rain, drought and pests.
Supporters of the bill say that GMO’s have been linked to allergies, organ toxicity and other health problems. Fifty countries in the world, including all of Europe, Japan, India and China, already require labels on GMO’s. Over 400 nationally renowned chefs have signed a petition in support of the bill saying that consumers should have a right to know if their food has been genetically engineered.
Based on those facts, passing Prop 37 may seem like an easy decision. However, its opponents firmly believe otherwise. According to No Prop 37, GMO’s are products of biotechnology— a safe anti-pesticide process that has been going on for nearly two decades. Opponents believe that by banning the sale of millions of common grocery products unless they are repackaged or made with higher cost ingredients would increase government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs.
To research both sides further, visit CA Right to Know and No Prop 37.
Do you think GMO foods should be labeled? Let us know in the comments.
Image: Woman checking food labeling in super market, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
A video just debuted last week from the Center for Science in the Public Interest addressing the dangers of drinking too much soda. Called “The Real Bears,” it stars a family of animated polar bears and it’s set to an fun original song by Jason Mraz. The backstory to the video is getting lots of attention, because it’s the creation of an advertising legend named Alex Bogusky, whose former clients include Coca-Cola. In fact, he helped make that famous Coke commercial starring four different animated polar bears, but he’s not discussing any comparisons. (“They’re just some bears,” he told USA Today. “I leave it up to people to decide if they see a parallel.”)
I definitely recommend watching it and sharing it–but it’s not for young kids, as it depicts the major hazards of consuming too much sugary soda, including obesity and diabetes-induced amputations. (!) The target audience, says Bogusky, is us moms: “Guys give up when things get tough,” he said in the USA Today interview, “but moms figure it out. I want moms to see it and get passionate about it.”
I’m far from a health-food fanatic–and I looooooove Diet Coke–soda is completely off-limits to my daughters, ages 4 and 7. (Well, there was one time last summer when I plied them with Shirley Temples in order to buy me and my husband a little more time at an outdoor beach bar, but that was it. Really.) I’d kind of assumed most parents felt that way, but it surprises me how many children’s birthday parties I’ve been to where soda is served to the kids themselves.
A note about the very end of the video, which I found a little jarring because it shows the bears dumping their soda into the ocean instead of drinking it. It wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but apparently lots of people felt the way I did. Says Bogusky: “That was the number-one reaction we got to the ending: What will happen to the fish? That’s so wild. We’re willing to drink cola and serve it to our kids, but we’re concerned the moment we put four bottles of it in the ocean.”
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Thursday, October 11th, 2012
To continue our parade of giveaways tied to our American Baby Bests Awards, I’d like to present this year’s totally new category…the babyfood maker! We know that making purees for new eaters is hugely popular right now. Though there are some fancy, much-loved appliances that can both steam and smash food, our readers say their favorite tool is the more affordable Baby Bullet, which is ready to turn anything you’ve already cooked to mush.
Why use this instead of your home blender? It’s sized right for baby portions, for one thing, and also comes with babyfood-storage containers plus a refrigerator tray and freezer tray. When you order the Baby Bullet you also get a guide to feeding your baby and some ideas of what to puree. (We also list some fairly sophisticated and fun to try babyfood recipes on Parents.com.)
In short, our readers say it’s worth the $60 investment. But hold tight! Leave a comment here and you could be one of two people to win a Baby Bullet, courtesy of the Baby Bullet team. If your baby is already on solids, tell us what he or she likes best. If babyfood-making is in your future, tell us what you’re eager to try. (I for one had a disaster trying to feed my daughter home-pureed carrots and never went back, but now I regret not experimenting with some other recipes before I abandoned hope!) You can leave up to one comment a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, October 17th. The official rules are here. Goody luck!
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Monday, October 8th, 2012
Calling all bakers! Dream up your own cupcake creation for a chance to win drool-worthy goodies including a high-end stand mixer. Visit Reynolds Wrap on Facebook to design your own cupcake liner, and pair it with the virtual cake and icing of your choice. (And next time you’re in the kitchen, try the foil-lined StayBrite Baking Cups, which help prevent your batter from seeping out into a goopy mess.)
Submit your masterpiece by October 19, 2012, then check back on October 22 to vote for your fave. The winner will be selected by cupcake wizards Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, authors of the book Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My! (This duo really can make baking magic–just check out the wild cake Karen designed for our zoo-themed birthday bash.) Good luck!
Image: Many cupcakes via Shutterstock
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