This is lunch for our kids…REALLY?

I just can’t quite believe that this is going on. This is the age of childhood obesity, Michelle Obama on the front lines fighting to get kids healthy, local PTAs taking over their school cafeterias in order to bring local food into their schools…I could go on and on.  So where is the disconnect?

Read it, you won’t believe it!

 

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/07/school-lunch-conference-cheetos

 

 

 

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Roasted Veggie and Lentil Salad

imageHands down my new favorite!  This salad is super versatile too…if you don’t like asparagus you can use haricot verts (the super skinny green beans) or try carrots sliced in skinny strips. The asparagus is best when you can find the very narrow spears.

This takes a few steps but it gets better as it sits in the fridge so it’s perfect to make on a Sunday and bring to lunch the following week.  I used Trader Joes steamed lentils that they sell in the produce section.  Of course, you can easily start from scratch with a bag of uncooked lentils.  Lentils are a great source of protein and the veggies are loaded with an array of vitamins and antioxidants so this is perfect for a one bowl lunch or dinner.  You will definitely want to consider doubling this recipe!

Roasted Veggie and Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

1 c lentils

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

2 ears sweet corn

9 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 c chopped dill

1/4 c chopped basil leaves

3 T red wine vinegar

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on veggies prior to roasting

sea salt

If cooking your own lentils:

Combine lentils, garlic, and 1/2 t salt in a saucepan.  Add enough water to cover lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender. Drain and transfer to large bowl.

While cooking lentils, bring pot of  salted water to a boil and cook corn for 4 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.  Using a sharp knife, cut kernels from cob.  Combine corn with cooked lentils.

Preheat oven to 425.  On large foil-lined cookie sheet place halved cherry tomatoes and asparagus (and/or any other veggie that suits your fancy).  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Season with sea salt.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Some of the veggies should be starting to brown on top. I like them a little crunchy!

Add remaining ingredients to lentils, corn, and veggies and toss well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm or cold.  YUM!

Eat your veggies:)

Melissa

Brown Bag Lunch Idea for School or the Office

I have produce coming out of my ears, between the Farmers’ Markets and my CSA produce AND the produce I buy at the grocery store ( I know it’s a sickness) it is abundant.  I need to be creative to get it out of my fridge and into my kids before it goes bad.  Veggie wraps are a lunch that my kids love, I guess it has some kind of cool factor because it’s not on boring bread.  Smear a tortilla with hummus or cream cheese and top with thin slices of cucumber, tomato, bell peppers and spinach leaves and you have a great energizing lunch to get them  through the afternoon.  Add a cup of berries and veggie sticks to their lunch bag and they are good to go.  Tortillas are a great alternative to bread if you are trying to cut down on sugar.  Try to find a loaf of bread that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup or sugar in a conventional grocery store, nearly impossible!

Even if you aren’t a big fan of veggie wraps or whole grain tortillas your kids might be. Introduced  the nutrient dense stuff now and there may be less resistance than when they are older.  Think of it as giving them a gift that keeps on giving:  Life long healthy eating.

Remember this brown bag lunch idea isn’t just for the kidos, take it to the office.  You deserve a healthy, high energy lunch too!

Make it Matter. – Andrea

Citrus Mexican Salad

I took this salad to a neighborhood picnic last weekend and it was a hit!  Rich and I liked it so much that we wanted more the following day so I made it again.  Then we proceeded to eat it for the next 3 days tucked in a whole wheat pita for lunch and rolled into a burrito the next night for dinner.  Yeah, we liked it just a little:)  I love to find a delicious recipe that’s full of goodness too.

There are lots of ingredients and a bit of chopping, but all quite easy and doable.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 can black beans, well-rinsed

1 bag frozen corn, thawed

1/4 c sliced black olives

2 oranges, chopped into cubes

1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 vidalia onion, diced

1 to 2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 avocado, diced (if avocado is small, use 2!)

4 c baby spinach leaves, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces

1 jalapeno, diced, optional (I left this out)

2 limes

1 T agave or honey

1 T olive oil

3 T apple cider vinegar

For the dressing:

Whisk together the juice of 2 limes, 1 T agave syrup or honey,  1 T olive oil, 3 T apple cider vinegar

To prepare, throw the beans, corn, olives, tomatoes, onions, spinach, and cilantro into a large bowl and gently toss.  In separate bowl place diced avocado.  Toss orange pieces on top of avocado and fold in. (The citrus will keep the avocado from browning, so you want to get it coated in the juice from the orange).  Place the orange and avocado mixture on top of the salad, add the dressing and gently toss it all together.  Sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready.  Gets better every day!

Peace and Beans,

Melissa

Challenge #8

TGIF!  Looking forward to our last weekend before school starts for my kids on a year-round schedule.  We’ve had 4 weeks of fun and I know they will want to blow it out this weekend with lots of pool time, ice cream, and probably a trip to a favorite pizza or Mexican restaurant.  When I know “crazy” is coming, it helps to stock my fridge with quick, healthy options to grab on the way to the pool or for a fast lunch.  I like to make a salad that will last all weekend and be sure to have plenty of fruit on hand.

The challenge for the weekend is two-fold.  First, take a few minutes to prepare or shop for some easy, healthy options.  I love this cold chickpea salad recipe.  I have to run out this morning for more tomatoes but I promise to make it today and post a picture.  It is super easy and you can be creative and add whatever other chopped veggie you’d like.  The second part of the challenge is to look ahead to your weekend and see where you can carve out at least 30 minutes of time for yourself.  If you can find an hour, even better.  Sneak off to the hammock, coffee shop, closest park. Take a book or take nothing at all.  Just be. Breathe. Observe. Enjoy!

Cold Chickpea Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

2 pints grape tomatoes, sliced in half (of course, any variety will work!)

2  15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1  large cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced

1 cup snipped fresh cilantro (or 3 cubes frozen Trader Joes cilantro, microwave for a few seconds, mix with a drizzle of olive oil and add to bowl)

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

juice of 1/2 lemon

6 T olive oil 

4 T red wine vinegar

 2 tsp coarse kosher salt

1 clove garlic, minced

Toss everything together and chill for at least an hour.  I like this salad even better the second day when all the flavors have really mingled.

Be back later with a photo!

Melissa

 

Fun with Roasted Veggies

First off, I apologize for my post yesterday.  I didn’t realize until this morning that the link to the slim down article wasn’t exactly right.  Just fixed it if you are interested in reading it.

I know you must be sick of my roasted veggies, but they are truly my favorite spring dinner.  So easy to make and the roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables.  The kids don’t love them like I do but this week when I added cilantro lime brown basmati rice and seaweed they enjoyed making roasted veggie “sushi rolls” and ended up eating more veggies than usual.   You can buy large sheets of seaweed called “laver” at any Asian market or try the Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack.  I love the type from the Asian market because you can tear them into any size you’d like.

Check out the olive oil section at your favorite market and you will find lots of new flavors.  I have been using an Herb de Provence flavored olive oil to roast my veggies and it’s delicious.  Add a little sea salt and pepper and you are done!   For the rice, prepare as you normally would and as soon as it is done add 2 T of chopped fresh cilantro, the juice of a lime, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Let the rice cool a bit before serving.  My kids like to put a spoonful of rice on the seaweed and then fold it in half and eat it with their hands.  My friend and neighbor, Sue, is from Korea and she introduced us to this yummy treat.  She says that in Korea this is what all the kids eat…sort of like our Mac-n-Cheese!  ( Mae loves to bring this combo to school in her lunchbox.)  Adding the veggies is something Charlie came up with on his own at dinner and it was a hit.  Any way to get more green in my kids makes me happy!

Peace and Greens,

Melissa