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Posts Tagged ‘kale

When my kitchen’s full of leftovers, I always try to turn it into lunch for the next day. Last night’s was enough to make 3 lunches!

At the top left Miss G has seasoned soy crumbles with black olive eyes, lashes and a grape tomato mouth. Above are mini corn chips for dipping.  At the top right are grape tomatoes and black olives.  In the middle of her Goodbyn bynto is her leakproof water bottle.  In the bottom compartment are plums and mango pieces.

And snacktime for Miss G has d’anjou pears and a happy apple in her Happy Tiffin stainless bento.  The round container has So Delicious brand raspberry coconut milk yogurt in it.

Miss 2 year old is still picking at her lunches like most 2 year olds.  I have been limiting her breads since I find that’s all she eats.  She has a mini version of the leftovers in her LunchBots Quad.

My husband has the adult version.  He has Lightlife brand soy chicken strips with taco seasoning on a bed of romaine and red, leafy kale topped with black olives and grape tomatoes.  At the top left are the same mini corn chips and at the top right are organic figs packed in his Easy LunchBoxes container.

Things I used to make this lunch:

60 MILLION.  That’s how many plastic straws consumers use in a day.  Plastics account for 25% of the trash in our landfills.  One can’t easily escape the news that plastic is quickly filling our oceans.  We need solutions, and I met a mom who invented one.  I found out from a friend about GreenPaxx reusable straws and caps.  I contacted the CEO, Cindy,  and asked if I could review her product.  I did receive 2 straws and a cool cap to try in trade for a review.  I used them for quite a few weeks and let my children (2 and 4 year olds) play with them for a while to test their durability.  GreenPaxx is a brand new product.  They are silicone reusable, eco-friendly straws (available in pink or blue sets) and lids (called Cool Caps).

5 Great Reasons to buy GreenPaxx straws and Cool Caps:

1. They are eco-friendly.  The products arrived in a plain brown envelope wrapped in tissue in a minimalist fashion.  Many people want the glossy packaging, but it made me smile.  I was SO glad to get something that didn’t contain foam or plastic packing.  Also, none of the products (straws or cap) leech any chemicals into your family’s drinks.

2.The straws and lids make foods and drinks more fun.  I must admit I’m trying more new drinks for traveling myself and as a result my family is too.  With the colorful pink and blue GreenPaxx straws, my girls will try almost anything (within reason) that I put in front of them.  Try blending up a small bit of kale or spinach with some sweet fruits before your daily errands and watch your kids drink it up.  Your whole family will be developing healthy habits together.  Make eating healthy fun!

3. They are a permanent, versatile solution to replace plastic straws.  My 2 and 4 year old want their straws every morning now.  They drink more of their liquids than they did before because the straws are theirs and because they are pink.  I love that they take seconds (literally) to wash with soap & warm water, create no trash and are ready to reuse whenever I need them.  Their 2 part construction means nothing gets stuck in the bend or gets funny smells.  They are dishwasher safe too!

4. Stay better hydrated.  I would like to think I plan well for school mornings or before sports classes, but like many moms I’m often rushing around.  The straws and lids allow me to throw a lid on my smoothie or protein shake and go.  Normally it would go back in the fridge, and I would forget about it until later.  Or worse yet I’m have to put it in yet another container or it would spill all over my already kid decorated car.  My kids are fueling their bodies with healthy drinks from home now instead of something sugary or store-bought.  They get the health benefit, and my car doesn’t have the mess!

5. You are supporting a home-based small businesses.  Your money goes straight to a small business, a mom of 4 kids and an inventor.  What better way to keep our shopping local!   GreenPaxx straws and Cool Caps are available for sale on Amazon.com and on the GreenPaxx website.  I ended up purchasing some as gifts and more straws for our family at home after a few weeks of using them.  I plan on giving some more as gifts later this year (think teachers, smoothie and protein shake drinking friends and anyone who needs a great on-the-go gift).

Drawbacks?  There are no downsides to the straws in my opinion.  I only wish I had invented them myself.  They are innovative, can be used with just about anything,  come apart for easy of cleaning and they’re practically indestructible (as tested by my 2 and 4 year olds).  The products were used as instructed as well as being tied in knots, made into choo choo trains, hidden in rooms, stepped on and thrown.  They still look exactly like they did when they arrived.

The Cool Caps don’t fit every single glass in my home.  If you own tiny juice glasses or small toddler cups, they will not fit.  They also do not fit the enormous sized stadium glasses you may have sitting around.  They do fit all of my pint glasses, most mason jars and many drinking glasses.  We primarily use pint sized glasses on which the Cool Caps give a snug, leak-free fit.

I made my own version of a Vitamix recipe by adding in things I had at home.  I did purchase a Thai coconut especially for this drink, and it was worth all the work to open it!  My kids loved it too with not a drop left.  This is how I squeeze in extra vegetables by blending things like kale, collard greens and spinach with sweet fruits.  As long as it’s blended well, they devour it!

Kale and coconut smoothie recipe

1 Thai coconut water and meat

5 kale leaves, stems removed

2 nectarines, pitted & sliced

1 heaping pint very ripe strawberries

1 mango, pitted and peeled

The end result.

First things first.  GreenPaxx is offering the code SUMMER to everyone at checkout to save 20% off through September 14, 2012.

YOUR CHANCE TO WIN:

The Prize: 4 pack of GreenPaxx reusable straws

and a 2 pack of Cool Cap lids in your choice of pink or blue.

MANDATORY ENTRY:

* Visit the GreenPaxx website http://greenpaxx.com return here to my blog and comment on something you like about the website

1 ADDITIONAL ENTRY FOR EACH:

Like GreenPaxx on Facebook

Follow GreenPaxx on Twitter and comment below with your Twitter handle

Pin a GreenPaxx image on Pinterest from this review and leave me the link to the Pin below

CONTEST ENDS MONDAY, AUGUST 13TH, 2012 AT 11PM EST.  WINNER WILL BE DRAWN AT RANDOM BY RANDOM.ORG.

This giveaway is offered to US residents only.  Please do not enter this giveaway if you have received free products from GreenPaxx within the past 3 months.

The girls were starving by the time we were ready for lunch today so I had to come up with something quick!  They often want Hello Kitty which you may be tired of seeing by now, but they always like it.

Miss G had a Hello Kitty face sandwich on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  She also had organic seedless green grapes, Hello Kitty shaped cantaloupe pieces and a small container of dried cranberries packed in her Sanrio brand Hello Kitty bento box.

Little Sis had the same thing just in different shapes.  She had Hello Kitty sitting down with the same Hello Kitty stamped cantaloupe, green grapes and Craisins packed in her Hello Kitty bento box too.

The sandwich cutters came from the local Sanrio store and are cookie cutters.  The small vegetable & fruit cutters with stamps I found on eBay in Japan along with the Hello Kitty bento picks.

My husband has another healthy salad for lunch today.  He has all baby greens (spinach, kale, arugula and radicchio) topped with an orange heirloom tomato sliced and star shaped carrot slices.  At the top left are grapes and pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top.  At the top right was last night’s dinner here.  It’s Einkorn rigatoni, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and white wine vinegar mixed with sweet peas, grape and plum tomatoes sliced, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and topped with a small bit of soy feta cheese.  All if it is packed in his Easy Lunch Box.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Today it’s still raining so we’re doing leftovers for lunch.  My husband is having a black bean & spinach enchilada leftover from dinner.  Don’t let the cheese & sour cream fool you.  It’s totally vegan.  Tofutti brand sour cream and Daiya brand cheddar “cheese” shreds are easily substituted and taste just like the real thing.  I incuded some chips and guacamole (not shown) for him to eat with the enchilada.  At the top left are carrot and celery pieces and the top right compartment are nectarine slices packed in his Easy Lunch Box.

The kids got a smaller version of this in quesadilla form today.  I mixed some mild salsa in with black beans, wilted baby kale & spinach & mixed it in too.  Then I stirred in some Daiya brand cheddar “cheese” shreds and small, diced tomatoes.  I put them on a whole grain tortilla in a skillet and warmed them, folded the tortilla over & cut into slices.  The heart cup is Tofutti brand sour cream mixed with lime juice for dipping.  At the top are organic nectarine slices.

Tools I used to make this lunch:

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!

And we’re off.  School’s off, it’s Memorial Day weekend, and we’re using the last day of our 3 day passes to visit DisneyLand for the day.  I think I’ve mentioned before just how fortunate we are.  We live near one of the top beaches in the U.S. (Siesta Key) and we’re under a 2 hour drive from the Disney gates.  The girls are excited, and lunches are packed.  For the sake of simplicity, I am not doing a full description of sandwiches today since we are in a rush to get going early.  I just simply loaded up all 4 of our Easy Lunch Boxes with as many fruits and veggies as I could fit.  We will be there all day, and the meatless and cheeseless selections at the parks are few, very far between and not so reasonably priced.  We may end up getting a small snack there, but I try to prepare as many simple, healthy options for us as possible.  I also pack Larabars wherever we go.

Daddy Mouse gets the bigger sandwich and I fashioned girls’ mouse face sandwiches & ears out of smaller sandwich pockets (and leftover bread for the girls.  The mouse containers all have Craisins in them.  I’m the one eating the kale salad with cucumbers and red carrots (mouse in the middle).  Wishing everyone a safe & relaxing weekend.

If you’ve been voting for me in the Circle of Moms contest, I appreciate it!  I am struggling to stay in the top 25 so please keep voting every day.  You can vote every 24 hours from an IP address.   Just a click, and no registration.  Thank you again!

I must admit that I’ve tried to eat kale many times in my life.  I KNOW how good it is for me, but like many vegetables can be it has a distinct and somewhat bitter taste.  I just couldn’t do it. Most people recognize it as the fake, dark green lettuce looking stuff they throw on plates at a restaurant as “garnish”.

Once we decided to give up meat as of January, I was committed to trying new foods and old ones that I had previously scoffed at in order to be the healthiest I can be.  I had to find a way to make them tasty.  This recipe that I found is what converted me.  This salad makes me eat kale and LIKE it each week, and I’m now eating kale chips too.  The lemon juice and honey (or agave nectar) soften the kale and take the bitterness out of it.

Reasons to eat kale:

*One cup of chopped raw kale provides more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins A, C, and K (Web MD)

*Kale is packed with antioxidants, and research shows that it can lower your risks of 5 different types of cancer: bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate.

*Kale contains lutein which keeps the eyes and vision healthy.

*Kale is a great resource for minerals such as copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus which control blood pressure and iron which controls red blood cell production.

The Food Network’s Aarti Sequiera posted this recipe on line.  Here is the link:

Massaged Kale Salad

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons ( substitute pistachios, sunflower seeds or whatever I have on hand.

You can also use other sweet fruits if you’re not a mango fan.  Peaches, strawberries or whatever is in season are also a great substitute.

I started with lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale that I found at our local King Family Farm and Market.

I had to look up the different kinds of kale before hitting the farmer’s market to re-educate myself on the different types of kale.  Here’s a link from Eco Localizer that might help you before you go shopping.

Photo guide to different varieties of kale

The salad will taste better if you cut off the branchy ends of the kale and remove the spines after washing it.  Then I just cut the pieces into bite size and toss in the bowl.

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. I minimize the oil because of calories from fat (100% of the calories in any oil come from fat).  Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a separate, small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey (or agave nectar to taste) and freshly ground black pepper. Add oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.   Then top with the cut fruit and seeds of your choice and enjoy!


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