Sweet Cherry Smoothie

IMG_3219As I mentioned yesterday, it is the peak time to get cherries, so we stocked up.  I finally got some washed, pitted, and frozen so that we can use them in smoothies in a couple of weeks.  Talk about a mess.  I may rank pitting cherries up there with my least favorite kitchen task.  Boiling chicken is still # 1.  Regardless of how few or how many, I end up having to split some open because the pitter does not always work perfectly, so there is juice on my hands.  My fingers begin to look stained by the end of the process and the clean trash bag is now stained as if there was a horrible kitchen accident.  Luckily this time around I managed to not get the juice on my shorts.  As I complete this process, I keep picturing the episode of “I Love Lucy” where they crush grapes with their feet.  Okay I just dated myself some, but as a kid I loved to watch the “I Love Lucy” reruns that TBS aired.

Having made a really nice adult drink with the cherries, I decided to start our day on Monday with a family friendly drink.  Little Miss Mixture and I had somewhere to go, so it was a great morning for smoothies in the car.  Thank goodness the car is old enough I do not care about cherry juice and in a nicely topped cup the likelihood of a cherry juice mishap is slim.  I would never have fresh cherries consumed in the car in any other form.  Honestly I have often thought of serving them outside as I constantly fear the juice ending up on the upholstery or the walls.  I know too much information about how I may be a little too type A, but at least I can admit it.

We had fresh pineapple from Sunday’s dinner which gave me the idea for the smoothie; however I ended up using frozen to get the consistency I wanted.  This simple fruit smoothie had a bright and somewhat tropical flavor to it.

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Sweet Cherry Smoothie

20 Pitted Cherries

1/2 cup Skim Milk

3 Tbsp. Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 cup Frozen Pineapple

Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix.  Remember liquid on the bottom and frozen on top when using a vitamix.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into about a 12 oz glass or split into two smaller servings and enjoy.

Printable Recipe & Nutrition Info

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Monday Mixture: Surviving Food Shopping, Meal Planning & Prep with the kids home for Summer, Meatless Monday

3 school days left

While I am counting the days until we can sleep in and have some less structured days, I know it can be hard to get things done with the kids around.  As much as we like summer vacation, the job of primary cook and meal planner gets even harder.  Here are some ways to involve the kids with these tasks.  While it may take a little longer to get some things done, you will be teaching some great life skills while keeping their academic skills sharp.

Grocery List / Errand List – Excellent handwriting, spelling practice, reading practice.  Have your child help write the list for what you need to get at the store.  Not only is this great in teaching them how to organize a list, but they will be able to visualize how much you need and understand how long it may take when you are at the store.  Don’t stop there though.  In the store have your child remind you of the items and cross them off as you pick them up.

Shopping – I have found that I am able to quickly pick up my needed items and breeze through a store if I know where things are.  So start teaching your kids early.  Assign each child a few items to pick up at the store.  Let them know when you are in the aisle or area they can be found and let them find it.  Skills such as knowing how to shop are lifelong and a valuable asset in being organized.  This is also great reading practice for the younger set.

Don’t forget Farmer’s Markets are a great place for kids to learn about new foods, talk to the farmers, and pick a new food to try.

Meal Planning –  I introduced my Recipe Must Make List Page in last Monday’s Mixture.  In this blog I have mentioned that I love to pin recipes on Pinterest, book mark websites, and tear recipes out of magazine.  Over the years I have made lists of what I want to try and certain types of recipes I want to make.  Recently I came across a list I had in 2011.  Apparently I was into baking at the time.  I decided now that I have started blogging I needed to revisit my list, make some updates and add some of the recipes.

Little Miss Mixture like many children is not quite as discerning as myself when it comes to recipes she wants on my to try list.  She pretty much wants me to make any food that looks good in a picture.  Thus my “to try” list multiplied after she looked through a recent Cooking Light magazine.  This got me thinking what a great way to  have your children try new foods.  Give them a magazine, a food website, or a cookbook and have them write down or point out at least 5 recipes they want you to make or that they can help make with you.  The more you involve kids in the kitchen the more apt they are to be interested in healthy eating and expand their variety of foods consumed.  Be sure to let them pick at least one dessert as they all look good in pictures.  Remind them when you serve the food that this is something they picked.  They may not love everything you make, but explain to them that is okay at least we tried.

Cooking – Getting kids in the kitchen is another great way to expand their interest in food and work on new skills.  There are a lot of cookbooks that have kid recipes in them.  We have one that provides great step by step pictures for children.

There are websites and companies that have great tools for helping kids in the kitchen, such as kid stir, Williams Sonoma Kids, Whole Foods Cooking Classes for kids.  However you are their best resource.  They watch you and they want to be like you.  Allow your child to help by washing fruits and vegetables, cutting foods, making a salad, mixing, cracking eggs, rolling pizza dough.  Here is a great list of kitchen skills broken down by age.

A great summer classic is kabobs.  Recently I realized this is also a great fine motor skill activity for children.  You can make fruit kabobs, dessert kabobs, ham & cheese kabobs for their lunch, or help prep kabobs for the grill.

So instead of dreading getting things done this summer, enjoy your time together and build a confident kid in the kitchen by instilling some lifelong skills.

 What we ate this week – 

SaturdayPesto Pasta

Sunday – BBQ Chicken Pizza

Monday – Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Tuesday – Shrimp Fried Rice

Wednesday – Leftovers

Thursday – Pesto pasta redo

Friday– Tuna Melt, Edamame Salad

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Mixture – Meatless Monday

HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO

Cinco De Mayo Smoothie

Have you noticed this holiday has increased in popularity?   In recent years you hear about it more and it is seems to be celebrated more.  I thought it was just the world I lived in as I had grown up and it was a holiday adults enjoyed, but in doing some research about Cinco de Mayo for Little Miss Mixture I found that it was declared a holiday the United Staes would celebrate in 2005.  So in fact it may not be the world I live in, but it seems everyone is abiding by the concurrent resolution that was signed June 7, 2005.  Regardless of if it is my world or everyone, I am going to jump on the bandwagon as there is something about a Mexican cocktail and some chips and salsa that just makes the day.

How are you celebrating?  If you are at all interested in celebrating at home the food blogs have been inundated with recipes over the past week.  I realized as I was writing my Taco post clearly my idea to be ahead of the holiday was not an original.  That is okay because I have been pinning away this week.  Mexican is generally in our weekly rotation and not just in honor of the 5th of May, so now my list of “to try” has doubled.

1. Cinco De Mayo Smoothie

I tried to be creative and fun this morning.  Of course it was one of those days where everyone else in the house seemed to be moving slow so my cuteness was lost in the rush to get out of the house, but the taste was not.

Cinco De Mayo Smoothie (reversed)

Red Layer 

1/2 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup Frozen raspberries

Blend together and pour into glass

White Layer 

1 Banana

1/2 cup Almond Milk

1 Tbsp Coconut

Blend together and pour into glass. This layer was slightly thinner which made it hard to layer, so the addition of a frozen banana might have worked better.

Green Layer (variation of one of our favorite green smoothies Tinker bell Smoothie)

1/2 cup Almond Milk

1 cup Mango

1 cup Baby Spinach

1 cup Frozen Pineapple

Blend together and enjoy.

 

2. Meatless Monday – There is a movement to increase people to eat less meat by going meatless on Monday. Our family has increased our vegetarian meals over the years and while I am not an official Meatless Monday blogger, or at least not yet Let’s Have Mixture will include meatless meals that we find satisfying. If you do not think you can go meatless consider decreasing the portion of meat at your meals. This is beneficial in helping increase your intake of vegetables and healthy grains. Going meatless also has positive impacts on overal risk of chronic disease as well as global benefits to our planet.

 

3. Our week in Food – May is busy with a lot of evening activities wrapping up and meetings at school and what not so this past week’s meals would probably be considered one of my lazier weeks.  Just a glimpse ahead at the coming week will be the same because someone or all of us are busy 3 of the 5 school nights.  We all have these weeks and my goal is to help you determine how to keep feeding your family balanced meals rather than hitting up the drive thru.

Monday – Taco Redo – Mr. Mixture had an evening function so Little Miss Mixture had Taco Night and I had a Taco salad.

Tuesday – Leftovers  – It may not be pretty but most recipes make more than 2 1/ 2 can eat.  On the bright side it allows choices having family members pick what they want.

WednesdayPork Chops with Honey Pecans, Truffled grits with Mushrooms, and Balsamic Roasted Carrots

 

Thursday – Grilled Steak for some Grilled Chicken for others, Roasted Beets & Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Friday – Shrimp Pesto Pizza

Saturday – My night off for Ladies night & Daddy Daughter Date Night

Sunday – Chicken Shawarma and Grilled Asparagus

* Be on the lookout for some of our week in Food recipes in future post.

 

 

Hope your week is off to a good start!

 

Who did you fool?

fools food

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Well April Fool’s day got me to thinking.  I tried to be the fun mom and though I rarely use food coloring or dyes I have some on hand from the last birthday party.  I decided to try the cereal trick – you know I added a couple drops of green coloring to the bottom of Little Miss Mixture’s cereal bowl before she came down.  I poured her milk and nothing happened so I went about my morning routine.  About the third spoon she took into her bowl, the tears began falling.  The green coloring was beginning to seep to the top and as with most pranks it was not accepted as I envisioned.

As a mother and a dietitian I have mixed views on this whole idea of hiding food for our children. We all remember Jessica Seinfeld and how she brought the spotlight to herself with her cookbook Deceptively Delicious and last week Healthy Kids twitted on this topic. But who are we really fooling? Do we think that just because we hide food and get our kids to eat the spinach, carrots, or other healthy foods that we are helping them? Is it just for moms to feel good that their children are eating a more balanced diet? Do we think that hiding food and telling them at a later time what they ate will expand their food preferences?

I understand we cannot all be as lucky as I have been. Little Miss Mixture is a great eater. In fact she is often more openminded than Mr. Mixture, but if the only way we can get vegetables and other foods into anyone than we are not building healthy eating habits. I often make foods that are on the line of being deceptive, such as this delicious Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie or Chocolate Avocado Pudding, but if anyone asks what is in it, I tell them. I am not hiding it because I have to, when it comes to these types of foods I am making them out of pure curiosity on my own part. I have a sweet tooth, so if I can satisfy that with some healthier items I am going to give it a try.  I want to trick my mind problem is I know the ingredients. But hiding veggies and other items just to ensure a balanced diet I do not think I agree with this practice.

I can still recall my little sister was pickier than I. One particular occasion I remember she did not want to eat her peas. My parents asked her to eat one for everyone she loved. Yup you guessed it she not only ate what was on her plate, but wanted more to ensure she ate one for everyone. Was this deceptive, maybe in a a way but at least a parent can feel honest about this and say “look you seemed to enjoy your peas.” Do we want our children to grow up and need their veggies hidden in order to eat a balanced meal? I get it we all have this desire to do what is best for our kids. To give them everything they need to compete in our ever more demanding society, but is this really give them an edge?  Sure for 18 years or so you can ensure they eat their veggies because you are determined to get them in, but what happens when they make their own food choices.  Will never eating a vegetable after they move out of your house be okay?  Will they become the individual who is closed minded about trying new foods.

I have a father in law whom eats less variety than his grandchildren.  Take away that he has a nut allergy and avoids spicy foods, there are a lot of foods in this world.  He is your cheese pizza and vanilla ice cream guy, and not even Vanilla Bean ice cream that would be too much.  I think each time he has eaten at my house or I have brought food to a family get together he is introduced to something new.  At times with reluctance he will try, and I believe I have even taught him to eat some new foods in the past ten years. In his defense there was less variety in foods during his upbringing and we all know change is hard for some people.  The are a multitude of sayings that we all know regarding just this… “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”  So maybe we will go easy on our prior generations.

However I think the idea of hiding food is a newer one and we have not yet seen the effects it will have.  In an ideal world we offer vegetables, they are accepted.  Recently I have heard of lots of people who take the non accepted food and bury it in a kid friendly recipe and  hope it gets accepted.  Fast forward 20 years and we could end up with an individual who has a broad spectrum of consumable foods or we could have a very picky eater.

So the next time you go to “hide” food consider the audience.  Let’s teach our children to expand their repertoire with hands on experiences. Take your child to the farmers market, let them taste.  Plant some vegetables yourself or have them plant something and watch it grow.  Chances are they will be fascinated and want to try. Mix up a smoothie or something creative and show how things can taste good.  There is nothing wrong with trying to sneak some extra healthy food in from time to time, but please consider who is truly benefiting from “hiding” food.

“. . . and a child cannot afford to be fooled” James Baldwin