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Robinsbite: May 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Playing with Dough and the Edible Gift of Thyme

Sweet Alex had her 5th birthday last month. I've never racked my brains as hard as I did trying to come up with a gift for this little girl who literally has everything. Refusing to buy one more gift that would be looked at once, maybe twice and tossed in the closet with gifts of years past, my creative juices finally took over. The cooking class gift idea was born.

As someone who loves, respects and enjoys food, I realized this golden opportunity to teach Alex about my passions. Just as important, I could give her the gift of my dedicated time, energy and enthusiasm for her and only her.  Often, we think that our children "crave" sweets, junk or even carbohydrates. In reality,  our time and attention is all that any child craves.  We also know that kids eat better when they are involved in the process of creating food.

“By far, this was the best present Alex received for her 5th birthday." said Alex’s mom, Stacey Gaswirth. “ The gift of time is such a precious commodity.  People often forget that!   They are so anxious to run to the store and purchase something. When in reality it is far more creative and memorable for our kids to get something they don’t get to unwrap.”

If you love food and cooking, consider the gift of a cooking class taught by you! 
  • Take the birthday boy or girl grocery shopping and allow them to select the actual ingredients you'll be using 
  • Provide the child with age appropriate cooking utensils and tools-think mini cutting board, plastic whisks & spoons or a children's apron, chef's coat or toque (hat)
  • Provide recipes for the kiddo to take home to share with Mom and Dad 
  • Take pictures of the process and snap a finished product to place on the recipe
If you love food and cooking but the idea of having kids in the kitchen makes you break out in hives:
  • Consider food related gifts that are age appropriate- a gift certificate to an actual cooking school, cookbooks, dinner or lunch at a restaurant of their choice or cooking utensils
  • A trip to a local Farmer's Market or U-Pick farm 
  • A trip to a bakery, chocolatier or cheese maker to watch true artisans at work. Ask for a behind the scenes tour and samples!
  • Make a donation in the child's name to a food bank, pantry or soup kitchen and volunteer with the child at the organization of his/her choice
The class is happening on May 22. Alex hasn't stopped asking about it since she received the certificate and has inquired as to how she might go about obtaining a six week class instead of just one.

Don’t stop here! Join the carnival and read other Eat, Play, Love blogs from dietitians and moms offering the best advice on raising healthy eaters. And if you don’t get enough today, for more positive, realistic and actionable advice from registered dietitian moms, register for the free, live webinar Eat, Play, Love: Raising Healthy Eaters on Wednesday, May 18.
The Best-Kept Secret for Raising Healthy Eaters, Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD 
Feeding is Love, Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN 
5 Quick Ways to Prepare Veggies with Maximum Flavor, Dayle Hayes, MS, RD 
The Art of Dinnertime, Elana Natker, MS, RD
Children Don’t Need a Short Order Cook, Christy Slaughter
Cut to the Point - My Foodie Rules, Glenda Gourley
Eat, Play, Love - A Challenge for Families, Alysa Bajenaru, RD
Eat, Play, Love ~ Raising Healthy Eaters, Kia Robertson
Get Kids Cooking, Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN  
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Gear Gets Them Cooking, Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD 
Kids that Can Cook Make Better Food Choices, Glenda Gourley
Making Mealtime Fun, Nicole Guierin, RD 
My Top Ten Tips for Raising Lifelong Healthy Eaters, EA Stewart, RD
My No Junk Food Journey – Want to Come Along?, Kristine Lockwood
My Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters: Eat Like the French, Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
Playing with Dough and the Edible Gift of Thyme, Robin Plotkin, RD, LD
Picky Eaters Will Eat Vegetables, Theresa Grisanti, MA
Putting the Ease in Healthy Family Eating, Connie Evers, MS, RD, LD
Raising a Healthy Eater, Danielle Omar, MS, RD
Raising Healthy Eaters Blog Carnival & Chat Roundup, Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
Soccer Mom Soapbox, Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD 
Teenagers Can Be Trying But Don’t Give Up, Diane Welland MS, RD
What My Kids Taught Me About Eating Mindfully, Michelle May, MD

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Children of the Corn

Dad made a total of two dishes while we were growing up. One of those dishes was scrambled eggs & salami and the other was popcorn.

When we'd hear him shifting the pots and pans around in the bottom of the cabinet to find the heavy bottomed stock pot and lid, we knew we were in for a treat. Out came the oil and the kernels along with said pot and lid. The sound of bottom of the pot being vigorously shaken back and forth atop the burners of our electric stove top was deafening. He'd scoop the hot popcorn into brown paper lunch bags and write our names on them to ensure we ate out of only our own bag. The horror! We'd then jump into the family station wagon with blankets and sleeping bags in tow for our evening at the drive-in movie theater.  I can remember two things clearly. 1.  the feeling of the stained oil as it seeped through the bag after holding it for hours and 2. twisting the top of the bag to close it so I could take the rest home with me for the next day (invariably, it staled quickly and was thrown sooner rather than later).

Not my popper of the 80's, but an acceptable example
Flash forward to high school graduation. One of my most coveted gifts was my air popped popcorn maker. That one appliance was my best friend throughout college and after my move to Dallas. I used it religiously-repeatedly offending guests with my "that tastes like Styrofoam" popcorn. Just kernels (I like a mix of white and yellow corn) and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. I loved it.  An evening wasn't complete until I had my bowl of popcorn along side my Diet Coke. It moved everywhere with me--and always had a secured space in my cabinet. Unwieldy at times due to the odd shape?  Yes, but it was worth every inch of space it took up on the shelf.

Not only does my love for popcorn come from the nostalgia that smelling it and eating it brings to me, but the health benefits are pretty amazing. We're talking 100% whole grain, fiber, low in calories, filling and it has large amounts of polyphenols, the compounds that have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Lastly, its very affordable. People who complain that eating healthy costs too much need to take a look at popcorn before complaining again! 

Now, it's time to introduce the young son to popcorn. I have been hunting high and low for my beloved popper to no avail. I have scoured this house. Nothing. Sure, it would be easy to point fingers at others who live in the house who don't care for my air popped popcorn as to its whereabouts, but that's not how I roll. (or is it?) My fear is that I'll never see the popper again. It must have made its way to the recycling bin or the trash or was conveniently left in the last house before moving to this one. Regardless, it's time for a new air popped popcorn popper. I'll be searching online and in stores today. Until I find one, I'm going to pay homage to Dad and do a little popping on the stove top tonight.

Here's a great little recipe and video from the blog for Stove Top Popcorn.

Photo source:

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