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Posts Tagged ‘collard greens

Lunch can get boring for little kids so why not put it on a stick.   It’s amazing how they’ll eat something new just because it looks different.  I realized the other night that other than birthday parties, I’ve never done a lunch on skewers.

I used 8″ wooden skewers and broke them at the end to fit the size needed.  I made little square almond butter and agave sandwiches with grape tomatoes inbetween.  The fruit skewers on either side are green and red seedless grapes and raspberries.  At the top left are cashews and dried cranberries and the top right are snap peas and mini carrots packed in her Easy LunchBoxes container.

For a snack at school today, Miss G has a butterfly container with mini carrots and one of the new Easy LunchBoxes Mini Dippers with almond butter for dipping.

Little Miss A has a smaller version of the same.  Her lunch includes blackberries too packed in a LunchBots Uno stainless container.

And another cashew and dried cranberries snack packed in the new Easy LunchBoxes Mini Dippers that are now available.

My husband had leftovers from last night’s dinner.   He has Hoppin John in the main compartment of his Easy LunchBoxes container, sugar snap peas at the top left and mini carrots in the top right compartment.  The green heart is Avocado Cucumber dressing.

  I have always been a fan of Hoppin’ John.  It’s a flavorful dish traditionally made with rice, black eyed peas and ground beef  or bacon served often in the Southern United States on New Year’s Day.  I found this recipe for the plant based, meatless and healthier version on a website I admire by Chef Cathy Fisher and her website Straight Up Food.  She also has a Facebook page where you can follow her at Straight Up Food on Facebook.  This recipe is not just meatless.  It’s dairy free, salt and oil free too.  It’s also packed full of collard greens which aid in cholesterol lowering, cancer prevention and are high in vitamin K,  vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese, and calcium.  We’ll be making it again.  Please visit Straight Up Food here for the recipe!

Hoppin John with Avocado Cucumber Dressing by Cathy Fisher of Straight Up Food

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Our dear friend Amy mentioned a local farm to us quite a few months back.  It’s only about a 10 minute drive from our house, and we didn’t know about it.  King Family Farm and Market is a local, family owned farm in our area that uses organic practices.  I can’t say enough great things the farm itself and the kindness of the King family and staff.  I did a previous post on Earth Day about a baby sheep at the farm which was a special experience for my kids.  King Family Farm‘s latest addition, “April”, a baby sheep.

In the last few months, my 2 and 4 year old have learned what plants look like when they grow, that insects and bugs ARE an important part of growing plants, that knowing your local farmer makes you appreciate your food and most importantly my kids get to CHOOSE the vegetables and fruits they are going to try that week.  Since we’ve been visiting the farm, my kids now eat, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, romanseco, leeks and even ask for tomatoes for a snack.  Everything is packed with nutrients because it hasn’t been shipped anywhere.  In fact, it’s usually picked that morning.  One day I asked for collared greens because I didn’t see them, and they had someone cut me a fresh bunch.  I was floored.  We love eating local and supporting our neighbors.  The only drawback for us is that most of the farms here close for the summer.  It’s already about 90 degrees every day which doesn’t make for ideal growing conditions.

The best part about visiting the farm for my kids is that it’s an open space for them to run.  They can climb a big tree or two, run in the field and all while they learn where their food comes from.  There is also a fenced area with sheep and a donkey better known as Bubba the burro.  Bubba is there to protect the sheep from coyotes.  We immediately fell in love with Bubba.  At first we just went to check out the animals.  Now my kids start chanting Bubba in the car if they think it’s been too long since we’ve seen him.  We even buy fresh carrots from the farm to feed Bubba and the sheep.

What’s not to love about this face?

When we returned yesterday from visiting the farm before they close for the summer, I made the girls these lunches.

What’s my point?  I am always trying to help friend and families find new ways of introducing kids to new foods.  Kids embrace new experiences with enthusiasm.  They will be more willing to try new things if they choose them on their own.

I am encouraging you rather than taking the kids to the grocery store, save your produce shopping for the local farmer’s markets, the u-pick farms and seek our local farmers like these for your fruits, vegetables, and other local foods, plants and homemade products.  Not only will you eat better, but your food will be fresher, contain more nutrients, most likely more affordable and you will get your kids to try the new things they choose themselves.  Our rule at home is that they don’t have to like it right away but they do have to try it.  Very often they decide they like it and eat it anyway!

Here are some resources for you no matter where you are in the country:

http://www.localharvest.org/

http://www.pickyourown.org/

http://www.eatwellguide.org/

Field of zinnias at King Family Farm and Market, Bradenton, FL

One last very important thing!  THANK YOU to all of you who voted for me!  I am unofficially in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Foodie Moms list!  Voting ended last night, and I came in at #17.  They will officially publish the list next month.  I appreciate everyone who took the time to vote!  Thanks again!


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