If you are looking to save money and increase your health through eating better, I suggest you look into a local farming cooperative or Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA). Programs like these offer you a box (size varies) of fruits and vegetables on a regular schedule for you to either pick up or have delivered to your home. We have been using a service called Abundant Harvest Organics for several months now and are loving it. We decided to order a large box (which is about enough to fill 2 grocery bags) every week and split the order with my sister-in-law and her fiance.
I have learned SO much from our co-op. Not only do they send a newsletter with recipes, but they send veggies I would never have thought to buy at the store. This has forced me to learn how to use these veggies and has greatly increased our vegetable intake. At first I worried that I wouldn’t use all of our veggies and that they would go to waste. I have found that this is not something that occurs very often at all. If we get too many of one kind of veggie for us to use right away, I prep the veggie for cooking and then freeze it. Sometimes I’ll shred a bunch of carrot or parsnip and have it ready to add to any casserole or sauce for added nutrition. I have a stir fry mix in the freezer that is ready to go whenever we need a quick meal. I have used all of the large leafy veggies like kale, collard greens, and chard to make “kale chips”. I sliced up potatoes and froze them a while ago and made a wonderful casserole with these potato slices as the bottom layer just the other night. I freeze the spinach we get and use it for smoothies. The possibilities are endless.
Just last night DD & DS declared that snap peas are their favorite food in the world! While I was prepping them, I gave DD a couple to snack on. DS tried one raw and was not pleased. I decided to saute them in coconut oil and garlic. When we sat down to eat them with dinner, DS did not want to try them again. I showed him how you could open them to get the peas out just like edamame, and he was intrigued. When I asked him if he wanted one of my peas (just the inner pea) he said yes and then grinned and said “yummy!”. It was all over after that. He started by shucking the peas of their shells but then quickly decided that eating the entire pea was just as good. The loved the crunch of the peas and sautéing mellowed the flavor of the snap peas a bit. I love that a slight change in presentation of food can turn kids from refusing to digging in elbow deep.
I find myself going to the store with much less frequency since using the cooperative. I also find that getting a box of veggies inspires me to cook. It’s like a mini Christmas! Cooking used to feel like quite a chore (it still does occasionally) but having all these inspiring foods to pick up weekly makes me want to find recipes to use them. It’s fun exploring the world of cooking! Do a quick search to find a Co-op or CSA near you!
So…. this one time, on Pinterest…. I saw a recipe for asparagus and I thought it was something else. When I read the original post, the recipe didn’t sound as good (due only to my personal tastes). However, I was inspired to come up with a recipe that I would love! At our family Easter dinner, this asparagus went from being our veggie side dish to the quickly consumed appetizer that it should have been!
WonTon wrappers (find in your refrigerator section)
EV Olive Oil
To make Wrapped Appetizer Asparagus:
Cut wonton wrappers in half diagonally. Baste wrapper with beaten egg. Sprinkle the wrapper lightly with garlic salt and roll asparagus up in the wonton wrapper. Fry asparagus wraps in olive oil that just coats the bottom of the entire pan until all sides are light brown. Eat plain or with either a sweet chili sauce or wasabi ranch! So yummy!
This last week we got collard greens and kale in our co-op fruit and vegetable delivery and I wondered….. Would collard greens be as good as kale when I make them into kale chips? As it turns out, it is! I might even like it a bit better! I’m not exactly sure what the nutritional value difference is between the two but cheers to kale and collard green chips! PS my kids love crunchy foods and this makes a veggie (a green veggie even!) crunchy and fun to eat.
If you don’t have the recipe I posted from my friend Crissy ages ago, I will repost it here!
Kale or Collard Green Chips
Wash and dry leaves
Brush leaves lightly with olive oil
Cut stems out of leaves and cut into bite sized pieces
Place leaf pieces on a baking sheet (you may want to brush the baking sheet with a tiny bit of oil also)
Sprinkle garlic salt lightly on leaves
Put leaves in the oven at 300ish (depending on your oven) degrees for 5-10 minutes. The leaves should look green but be crispy when removed. If you put too much oil they won’t crisp before burning.
My friend Amanda recently shared with me a pic of her son’s lunch pail. You might be thinking that is a little strange but it SO wasn’t – she knows me and knew I would love her idea. Amanda often makes a point of telling me whenever she starts to use a reusable product, especially if I don’t know about it. I love this. I’m sure anyone who has ever been on Pinterest has had one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. This was one of those!
I love cupcake pans for making kid sized treats, muffins, etc. but I don’t know anyone who likes cleaning them and getting into every crevice. It’s enough to deter one from using them often. You have the option of using cupcake holders/wrappers but that is just one more thing to throw away/recycle AND have to pay for time and time again. As I try to reduce and reuse as much as possible, finding silicone cupcake holders has been revolutionary in my kitchen. I’m not exaggerating.
Let me share some uses with you.
Here is the adorable bento box style lunch that Amanda put together for her son who recently started Preschool with my twins. I love how everything is kept neat and separate but is also easy for toddlers to get at. All the teacher has to do is open the top! I have separate stainless steel containers I have been using. I’m sure the teachers prefer this method! It makes for a very colorful lunch too!
I guess I should include what they were made for right? They were created for making muffins and cupcakes that don’t stick to the pan or wrapper!
We recently joined an organic fruit and veggie co-op and that has left me with more fruit than I can use on occasion. We got a bunch of lemons and while they do last for a while, I didn’t want them to go bad. Instead, I saved a couple and juiced the rest. I’m not sure how long this juice would last in my refrigerator so I decided to freeze it. How perfectly convenient that the mini cupcake holders hold over 1 Tablespoon of juice and the large cupcake holders hold over 4 Tablespoons! I poured the measured juice in the cups, placed them in a small square pan and froze them. After they were frozen, I popped them out of the silicone cups (very easy to do) and put them in an old yogurt container to keep in the freezer until I need them! Next time I make Chicken Piccata or any dish requiring lemon juice I know it is waiting for me.
My last and favorite suggestion for the cups is for smoothie making ingredients. I recently saw a pin on Pinterest that showed frozen yogurt in cupcake pans but the blogger mentioned that they can be a bit difficult to get out of the pan. Tada! Use the silicone cupcake holders and it’s no problem! I froze yogurt and kiwi juice (we got a lot of kiwis from the co-op!) and put those frozen pops in smoothie sized proportion in baggies in the freezer. I added frozen strawberries and blueberries and spinach! I love that I don’t even taste the spinach because it is overwhelmed by the berry flavor. I have been a crazy smoothie monster lately using whatever we have to mix it up. I juiced pomegranates and that made an amazing addition to our smoothies! Instead of caving into my ice cream addiction in the evening, I make a smoothie. It totally satisfies my craving AND I’m getting better nutrition.
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What are the Super Sprowtz? They are a great bunch of characters dreamed up by Radha Agrawal. Radha is an inspiring woman (and happens to be a twin!) who has created a series of books based on the Super Sprowtz characters. These characters were conceived to build a healthier future for today’s youth. Each of the characters has a super ability based off of their nutritional value. The stories are meant to be read to, or read by, your children to inspire them to eat their veggies and maybe even take on some of these much desired “super powers”.
Radha asked that I do a product review and sent me Brian Broccoli’s book in which he uses his super strength along with his many super sprowtz friends to defeat the evil Greasy G. The book has a great plot line, lots of beautiful illustrations, and a description of broccoli’s nutritional content along with a recipe. It also describes some basic nutritional content of many vegetables as well. My 23 month old twins seemed entertained by the story, and the book has given me some new vocabulary to use when talking to them about food. I have read that it isn’t a very good idea to tell kids “finish your broccoli and then you can have fruit!” (or dessert or whatever) Doing this gives the impression that one food is better than the other. However, if we instead encourage them to eat veggies by taking a bite ourselves and saying “yummy” or perhaps “eat your broccoli all gone so you can be big and strong like Brian Broccoli” we are not insinuating that one food tastes better than another. We are educating them about what is good for them. P.S. it can still be yummy too!
Check out this Super Sprowtz video! SuperSprowtz.com is loaded with tons of great stuff like, recipes, videos, educational information, and you can purchase the books there as well. You can also buy the Super Sprowtz collection at Amazon.com!
Radha has an amazing background as a film and TV producer for 10 years, as well as experience as a fitness instructor. She co-owns two organic restaurants with her twin sister Miki in New York. She wants to eradicate the current obesity epidemic and I want to help! The best way to do this is to educate our young children about eating healthy foods while they are young. I encourage you to check out SuperSprowtz.com. It is an amazing resource!
How to enter: Leave a comment on this blog for EACH of the following actions you take to enter.
Visit SuperSprowtz.com and tell me what you love best about the site.
“Like” Super Sprowtz on Facebook.
Purchase a Super Sprowtz product.
Tweet or post on Facebook about this giveaway.
Donate your Facebook status to informing others about Super Sprowtz.
Repost a Super Sprowtz video on Facebook.
“Like” MommaWords AND vote for MommaWords at the voting sites listed in the sidebar to the right.
Blog about this giveaway and the importance of the Super Sprowtz message and/or your favorite veggie recipe.
A winner will be announced on February 5th, 2011. The contest will close on February 4th, 2011 at 12 midnight. The winner will be chosen via RANDOM.ORG and will be mailed a book directly from Radha. I will contact you via email the day after the contest closes and you will have 48 hours to claim your prize before an new winner is chosen.
Best of luck!