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Posts Tagged ‘Earth Day blog hop

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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For Earth Day, I linked up with my fellow blogger moms for a fun day to celebrate.  You can find the amazing, fun creations here for our Earth Day Blog Hop.

We all do our best to reduce waste by using reusable bento boxes each day, eliminating plastic bags and packing leftovers for our kids.   A good friend of mine makes wonderful croutons by coating the scraps with olive oil and sprinkling herbs de Provence over them and baking.

One of the favorite ideas from Earth Day was one that Lunches with Love suggested.  Please click on the link below or the picture to find her original recipe.

Lunches with Love French Toast Casserole

Many of us have used it for the use of our leftover bread scraps.  I store them in the freezer in a gallon bag until the bag is full.  For the sake of my vegan readers, I am showing you how I converted her great recipe for those who have milk and egg aversions, casein free diets, allergies and vegans.  You can use any kind of bread for this casserole so it can be gluten free too depending on your bread.  We buy Rudi’s Whole Grain bread about 90% of the time so that’s what is in ours.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

You will need:

5 cups of cubed bread
(= about one gallon sized ziploc bag full)
4 beaten eggs (I used 6 teaspoons Ener G brand egg replacer mixed with 8 tablespoons of warm water)
Ener G Egg Replacer which is free of gluten, wheat, casein, dairy, yeast, egg, soy, nut, low protein, low/no sodium
1 1/2 cups of milk ( I used 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk)
1/4 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup of organic sucanat, which is dehydrated cane sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter ( I used earth balance brand organic coconut spread)
1/3 cup of pancake mix (I used Namaste brand gluten free Pancake & waffle mix)
cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

I smeared about 1 tablespoon of the coconut spread around my porcelain casserole dish to prevent sticking.
In large bowl mix egg replacer, almond or other plant based milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar of your choice, salt and vanilla together.
Then add 1/3 cup of pancake mix and mix well.
Carefully add bread to mixture and coat well.
(You can also add bread to casserole dish and pour the milk-egg mixture over it. If you do, let the dish stand for a couple of minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. I like tossing the bread – even though it is messy – because it coats the bread faster)
Add to buttered casserole dish.
Cut remaining butter into small pieces and sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon to taste.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 – 20 minutes or until brown and crispy.
This recipe would be great with fruit like blueberries added in too.
Served with cups of blueberries and pineapple and honeydew melon pieces.
Thanks again, Lunches with Love, for the great brunch idea!
One last item,  I’m in the running for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Foodie Moms of 2012, and I’d appreciate your vote!  I am currently at #16, and each vote counts.  Only 3 days left!

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