…it allows you to control ingredient quality, quantity, and nutrient balance. That said, there are better quality cooking methods, such as vapor cooking, which should be on your radar to get optimal health and taste results at home. Vapor cooking is a cooking method that uses a small amount of water in appropriate cookware (designed so vapor creates a complete seal between the lid and the pan base) to deliver optimal taste and texture results for…

…tired, he puts his head on my shoulder. He hugs everyone’s legs. He kisses with enthusiasm. He dances when the music comes on, and even when it ends, because he loves making us smile. That is his love language. It doesn’t have to be said all the time. It doesn’t have to be shown with presents or flowers or cards. It doesn’t have to be dramatic. Your love language can be made up of the tiniest things – it is in the w…

…pans were light and easy to maneuver, but I had to use plastic spatulas, stack them with dish towels to protect the cooking surface, and worry about what chemicals they might release at high heat or when they got scratched. I decided to give cast iron another try…and soon I was in love! Now hardly a day goes by that I don’t use one of my favorite cast-iron pans. I’ve found that a new, pre-seasoned cast-iron pan still needs about six uses f…

…they wanted to serve for dinner and help make it. I have continued this and have my kids choose meals each week. They each get a night to help me make the dinner. They really love it. Once again, I need to remind you that it won’t go beautifully or smoothly. It will be less efficient, messier (way messier) and maybe won’t come out quite as you planned. But your children are learning the effort that goes in to cooking and hopefully the joy of shar…

…ing conversations — inspiring me to put some fundamental thoughts into writing. Our work at Moms Clean Air Force is driven by mother love–but what does that mean, exactly? First, that love isn’t just “owned” by moms. I’m meeting everyone from dads to daughters who feel exactly the same force. One of my partners in this effort has never had children, and she’s as passionate in this cause as any mom with a…

Ok, I will admit that cooking with my kids can be a lot harder at times (most of the time) than cooking by myself. I like to cook.  I find cooking therapeutic. Cooking with kids is not always therapeutic. Really! Sometimes the thought of managing my kids and their inevitable mess is almost enough for me to ban them from the kitchen. But, I remind myself of all the reasons these little chefs should be allowed to help. What are some of the reason…

…ximum nutrition. But could I really get by on a dollar a meal? Could I enjoy it? One night at dinner, I broached the idea to my husband. Bruce looked only mildly horrified. “You can eat extra if you want,” I said. “I’ll just cook for both of us to that budget.” “No, I’ll do it with you. Might as well see just how hungry we get.” (You can see why I love him.) “Well, at least we’ll lose some weight.” The Results: Saving Money Leads to other Savings…

…s shaped by every interaction he or she has, but is shaped most powerfully by how they are loved and parented in their home.  How a child sees themselves will influence every aspect of their life from their education, relationships and over-all well-being. Life is about feeling good enough, competent, loved, successful and happy and the outer world doesn’t always reflect this, so the unconditional love and acceptance at home is the catalyst for t…

…hat can feel onerous as a busy parent. But what if I told you that all it takes is 30 minutes each week? That in the time you’d spend watching an episode of Modern Family, you’ll help your child build skills that are just as important as math and reading? The key is to cook with your kids, not for your kids. And to get past the mental barrier of cooking with kids, you need to reframe it. Instead of thinking of cooking as a chore, think of cooking

…like to have their opinions matter. Encourage experimentation and reward creativity.  As kids spend more time in the kitchen, they will want to experiment with different cooking techniques and flavorings.  Give them recipes with choices to do so.   Click here for a recipe kids love to make and are surprised at how much they like the taste!  It is a simple appetizer that they can take ownership of serving to guests upon arrival before a holi…

Photo by Thijs Knaap. Used by permission.   Most pediatricians agree that a little bit of screen time each day is okay for kids.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children over 2 should be limited to 2 hours of “recreational screen time” per day.  In our house, we try to limit recreational screen time to one hour per day, but because we homeschool our kids do a lot of educational work online.  And they love it!  Our kids ra…

…p; Let them help with the meal planning – That’s easy for me since I own a menu planning service.  After the menus are out for that week I will let the whole family decide what we are eating for the week. It makes a huge difference when they have had a say so on what to eat.  They don’t always agree, but we manage.   Let them help with the cooking – I hear moms say that they would love to let their kids help in the kitchen…

…on’t call during the breakfast, lunch or dinner rushes; 10AM – noon and 2PM – 4PM are probably the best times to call. Creating Traditions One of the silver linings of having food allergies is experimenting with foods you may not have previously considered. And it sometimes forces you to be creative and come up with new ways of cooking old favorites. For example, we love popcorn, but with several family members sensitive to corn…

…is convenient because we always have some on hand. I typically flavor it with strawberries or other berries and the girls drink it down. My younger daughter even has her own kombucha dance because she loves it so much! Milk or Water Kefir If your family drinks a lot of soda, then water kefir may be a good option for you. Water kefir is made by fermenting sugar water with water kefir grains (letting it sit on your counter), and you can flavor it…

And in my almost last cacao post, I must say – cacao is for lovers.  And I am truly not kidding.  Cacao releases the same feeling you feel when you are in love.  The centuries of history of relating cacao to romance are actually based in practicality.  When a couple breaks up, a woman reaches for chocolate.  When a man wants to shower his woman with love (or vice versa), he reaches for chocolate.  These traditions are all rooted in the fa…

…Boo Bear!” I’ve been to many parenting conferences, but this time, I was floored. I participated in the 2000 For the Love of Kids, put on in the Cincinnati, Ohio area by a wonderful non-profit organization called Beech Acres. From the moment we walked in, we could tell that this conference was different. The conference agenda was set “by parents for parents”. Everything was first class. Parenting was treated with the sig…

…it all, too. Last Saturday was cool and breezy for a southern July day in North Carolina. At the market, farmers offered heaping tables of ripe tomatoes, juicy blackberries, peaches, and green beans. Families came with babies in strollers and younger children proudly carrying a single flower. I couldn’t stop smiling as I gathered the makings for gazpacho, cobbler, and pesto with green beans. I admired the dogs of some visitors and swapped cooking

…interests of both our nation’s food producers and our children. Today, as the director of nutrition services for the Berkeley Unified School District, I coordinate 90 employees in 17 locations, who serve over 8,000 meals per day and touch the lives of all of the 9,000 students in the district. We are responsible for producing and serving delicious, nutritious food in the cafeterias, as well as for the implementation of the district’s hands-on coo…

Parents of food-allergic youngsters know that the most surefire way to safeguard their kids from trigger foods is to prepare all meals and snacks at home in a controlled environment. For this week’s series, I asked three top voices in the Twitter food allergy community, Kim Maes, Cybele Pascal and Robyn O’Brien — all parents of children with food allergies — for their favorite cooking tips, essential tools and strategies…

…harder time trying new foods at school where their peers have more familiar foods. Start slowly. Add one or two foreign elements to your child’s favorite food as opposed to serving up a wholly unfamiliar dish out of the blue. If your child loves spaghetti, try making it with udon or soba noodles. Add freshly grated ginger or lemongrass to chicken soup for a Southeast Asian twist. Engage your child in cooking. This makes the new dish a complete s…