Thursday, November 27, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Corn For Thanksgiving Day

I recently watched a Thanksgiving themed episode of Top Chef.  The chefs had to cook a Thanksgiving meal using only food and equipment that was available at the time of the first Thanksgiving.  I was surprised to learn that turkey was not served at the first Thanksgiving.  I was equally surprised and impressed with how delicious and inventive their dishes were despite the obstacles thrown at them.   

The episode made me think of how different things are now compared to the first Thanksgiving.  We now have a wide assortment of food and gadgets at our disposal.  But while modern technology brings convenience, modern food bears very little resemblance to the food served at the first Thanksgiving.  

For instance, whole ears of corn were available at the first Thanksgiving.  Nowadays, we are much more likely to consume corn in the form of highly processed high fructose corn syrup than we are to eat it in its whole and natural form.  My kids love eating corn right off the cob.  One way you can keep the traditions of the first Thanksgiving while also enjoying corn in an innovative way is to grill corn and serve it with a chili mayo like I did in the following video:

Have a great Thanksgiving Day!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Pumpkin Pie for Kids on Thanksgiving Day


This Thanksgiving will be one of the few Thanksgivings that I won't be spending with my parents.  They will be on a much deserved vacation to Australia.  At first I was saddened by the prospect of not spending the holidays with my parents.  And then I remembered how lucky I am to be spending the holidays with Cassie, Colin, and Cailya.  I almost forgot that this is only the second Thanksgiving that I will be spending with Cailya.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts is pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin pie has a special place in my heart not only because it is a tasty treat, but because it evokes feelings of tradition, family, and togetherness.  A couple tips for making a healthier pumpkin pie include making your own pumpkin puree (which is less processed), and making your pie crust out of almond flour instead of wheat flour.  

Try making a healthier pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving and be thankful for those friends and family that you can spend your Thanksgiving with!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Portable Granola Snacks

Eating in the modern era has its challenges.  We live in such a fast paced, agenda driven world, that we can sometimes forget to eat.  You might forget to prepare food for your kids, but your kids won't forget to get hungry.  Kids' stomaches are on a three hour alarm schedule.  And if you forget to feed them, you will most definitely regret it.

One thing we can all do is stop, sit down, and eat.  I know that I need to do a better job of slowing down, savoring the moment, and pausing for what is really important in life.

That being said, if you have travel plans, sometimes you do have to eat on the go.  The other day, we took an airplane trip with the kids and thankfully Cassie had the presence of mind to pack a healthy snack for the kids.  If it weren't for those healthy snacks, we would have had a set of irritable kids and passengers glaring at us.

Although most people consider granola bars to be healthy, many store bought granola bars are laden with refined sugars and sweeteners.  I have been on the lookout for a healthier homemade granola bar recipe and I recently found one.  This homemade granola bar is naturally sweetened with applesauce and maple syrup.  The applesauce and chia seeds also help to bind the granola into a fairly serviceable bar.

I'm glad we were able to add this healthy granola bar to our snack bag of tricks on our last trip.  It really helped to keep the kids satiated and our travels peaceful.

Friday, November 7, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Use Fun Characters to Get Kids to Eat Salad


The other day, we went out with some friends for dinner.  Our friends are raising their son to be a vegetarian.  The waiter served their son a green salad, and he dove right in.  I was dumbfounded.  Typically, if there are any raw greens in a dish, Colin will quickly spot them and comment, "I don't like crunchy."

Green salads are some of the most challenging foods to get kids to eat.  One of the reasons kids don't like salads is they are turned off by the crunchy texture of raw vegetables and greens.  However, believe it or not, your kid has already developed a preference for some raw foods.  Most kids I know don't need any convincing to chomp down on fruit, which is typically served raw.

So, I decided to prepare my kids a chicken salad with a secret ingredient…fruit.  Using fruit such as apples or dried cranberries is a wholesome way to sweeten up your dishes and get your kids to eat their salads.  In addition to fruit, I had one more trick up my sleeve…the Cooking Monster.  Take a look at this colorful character in the following video:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Make Homemade Applesauce

I was recently fortunate enough to join Colin on a class field trip to a farm.  I dropped him off in the morning as per my usual routine, then showed up fifteen minutes later to surprise him.  When he saw me, he smiled broadly then he shouted, "Daddy!"  Boy did that feel good.

I took his hand in mine and together we boarded the bus.  On the ride over to the farm, we sang songs together and I let him play with my iPhone for a short while.  When we arrived, the kids, teachers, and I    all excitedly got off the bus and headed over to the farm.  

The kids enjoyed stomping around in the corn bin, seeing the animals, and picking out pumpkins.  We even got to go on a hayride.  As I sat on a bale of moving hay with my son, I thought to myself, "It doesn't get better than this."

When it was time to go, each kid received an apple from the farm.  On the ride back to daycare, Colin and I shared pieces of the apple.  It was a sweet ending to a sweet trip.  

Apples are a great way to add some natural sweetness to your dishes.  One particularly useful way of using apples is making your own homemade applesauce.  Not only is homemade applesauce easy to make, you can be assured that there are no added sugars when you make it yourself.  Take a look at how you can make your own homemade applesauce in the following video:

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