School just started, however your student may be getting sick of seeing the standard PB&J in her lunchbox (or you’re sick of making it!) I know this happens in our family – Eben will want the same thing for lunch for a few weeks and then all of a sudden as I am packing lunch – he chimes in that he wants something different! If you are struggling for new lunch ideas, it’s time for a box-lunch upgrade! Read on for three new lunchbox standards that your child will be asking for again and again.
#1 Wraps and Burritos
Wraps are a great way to get a few servings of healthy vegetables into your kid’s day. I like to make extra chicken breast at dinner the night before and combine it with cucumbers, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots—you name it!—into a hearty wrap the next day. Make sure to include a healthy fat like avocado and a protein like garbanzo beans or feta cheese so that your student gets a balanced meal. Burritos are one of my all time favorite lunch foods and I haven’t met a kid yet who didn’t like them, too! Create a healthy version by combining black beans and brown rice and a sprinkling of cheese. Send some avocado slices, lettuce, or tomatoes in a separate container and the meal is complete.
#2 Homemade Soup
Hearty, homemade soups and chillis are a great fall and winter lunch to send to school with your kid. The next time you make a big pot for the family, portion some out into jars or Pyrex containers and freeze or store the portions in the fridge. On lunch morning, simply heat up the soup and pack it in a thermos. Add a slice of seedy, whole grain bread and the meal is a winner!
#3 The Re-done Lunchable
Instead of serving your kids the highly-packaged, preservative-laden lunchables that come from the grocery store, create your own using healthy ingredients. Put together whole grain crackers and organic cheese with fruit and nuts or hummus with carrots, celery, pita bread, yogurt (right now – the Stonyfield Petite Creme’s are Eben’s fave!) and almonds for a more filling, much more nutritious alternative.
What are your favorite organic lunches to send to school with your little ones? What’s the new PB&J in your household?
Hello friends! I feel like it’s time for a fun summer giveaway! What could be more perfect for July than a grilling giveaway sponsored by Applegate! It’s a fun giveaway too – one that will be perfect for a fun summer day with your family. The cleaner-weiner giveaway kit will help you kick those dirty dogs to the curb and includes:
Applegate Natural Beef Hot Dogs (now made with 100% grass-fed beef)
Sir Kensington’s Ketchup and Mustard
Vermont Bread Company Natural Buns (these buns are super sweet and yummy!)
Applegate Cooler Bag
Applegate “You Grill, Girl” Apron
Applegate Grilling Mitt
Applegate Bandanas & hair accessory tutorial
Applegate Hot Dog Boats
Want to grill girl? Leave a comment to enter. For extra entries follow Sweet Greens and Applegate via social media and leave a separate comment for each!
In Florida, it’s always warm enough to grill! We recently received a set of Fire & Flavor’s gluten free, certified Non-GMO rubs and seasonings to review. Fire & Flavor, based in Athens, GA, helped to popularize cedar plank grilling, which as become a favored technique for grilling fish. A WBE certified woman owned business, Fire & Flavor was founded by Gena Knox. Knox’s Southern background and love of family and friends fueled her passion for cooking. Today, the company shares all kinds of ways to make food more delicious, nutritious, and easier to cook.
Those of you who are experienced grillers know that a good seasoning or rub will compliment the natural flavor of a food without overpowering it—which is exactly what Fire & Flavor’s rubs do! Fire & Flavor uses all natural ingredients to make flavor-filled rubs that make any cook feel like a gourmet chef, including the Classic Rub, Everyday Rub, Turkey Rub, and Coffee Rub—yum! While grillers will embrace the dynamic uses of these seasonings, anyone can use them. Fire & Flavor’s website offers ideas for how to use the rubs and the Everyday Rub, for example, tastes great on seafood, chicken, and even sweet potatoes. As an added eco-bonus, rubs come in a recyclable shaker-top jar and the company uses BPA-free packaging. The company also sells brines, cedar planks, and cookbooks.
We reviewed the seasons & rubs including the coffee,classic, everyday rub, and the turkey rub. The Coffee Rub, which combines fresh-roasted coffee with a hint of ancho chile pepper and brown sugar. We tried it on grass-fed steak. The Classic Rub is great for tenderizing lean pork chops, as well as chicken, without overpowering natural flavors – we used it on organic chicken. The Everyday Rub is made from a mild blend of assorted chilies, paprika, brown sugar, onion, and garlic. We used this rub on fresh fish!
Whether you’re an avid griller or beginning cook, Fire & Flavor’s rubs add gourmet home-cooking flavor to any meal.
Full Disclosure: I received samples of this product and was compensated for this sponsored post – however, all opinions are my own.
If you are like our family, you look for the healthiest products when grocery shopping! I like my family to eat a very healthy and balanced diet, and I admit we still have our snacks from time to time! When picking out snacks for road trips or impromptu trip to the beach, we try to be more conscientious in picking ones that are free from GMO’s, artificial colors, preservatives, refined sugars, MSG and hydogenated oils. And with the holidays right around the corner, we usually have some snacks on hand for friends and family who stop by. So when Snikiddy asked if we would like to try some of their snacks, we jumped on the chance. Snikiddy currently offers three product lines: Baked Fries, Cheese Puffs, and Eat Your Vegetables. We really enjoyed these healthier versions of some of our favorite snacks and think you will too! Read on to learn more about them:
1. Baked Fries
These are perfect for all you potato chip addicts out there, especially if you desire a healthier option. Baked Fries come in Cheddar Cheese, Sea Salt, Barbeque, Original Seasoning, Bold Buffalo, and Hot & Spicy, each of which boasts a profile with 50% less fat than regular potato chips, no gluten, no GMO’s, no MSG, and no cholesterol. To top it off, they’re kosher, as well as vegetarian, with one vegan friendly option. I am not a chip fan – but Eben and his friends enjoyed this one!
2. Cheese Puffs
The two flavors of Cheese Puffs are Grilled Cheese and Mac ’n Cheese. They are gluten free and non-GMO, contain no trans fats or MSG, and they’re low in saturated fat too. MSG is called an excitotoxin because it can overexcite you body’s cells to the point of serious damage. It’s also been shown to destroy neurons in an area of the brain that leads to obesity. Snikiddy seems to understand these dangers, and excludes MSG from its ingredients list entirely. We all enjoyed these ones – they reminded me of the cheese puffs that my grandma always had on hand – but without all of the junk.
3. Eat Your Vegetables
These are veggie chips, each a combination of different vegetables: carrot, kale, konjac, spinach, broccoli, tomato, beet, and shitake mushroom. Each bag is low in sodium, weighing in between 140mg and 150mg per serving. Eat Your Vegetables come in five flavors: Salt & Lime, Sea Salt, Sour Cream & Onion, Jalapeno Ranch, and Italian Herb & Olive Oil. These were the mister’s favorite – he loves tortilla chips.
If you are looking for some great snacks that are healthier too – give Snikiddy Snacks a try!
Full Disclosure: We received samples of Snikiddy snacks – and would have shared them with you regardless because they are good-for-you yummy!
(Note: Day 1 is with green cabbage, and Day 3 is with Red. Take a look at how the cabbage “breaks down” – it’s the same amount in each container!)
Homemade sauerkraut is incredibly easy to make, is inexpensive compared to buying it in a store, and is great for you! All cruciferous vegetables (radishes, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, etc.) naturally contain the beneficial bacteria lactobacillus, which is also found in yogurt and other fermented and cultured foods. Sauerkraut is then made by a process appropriately called lacto-fermentation, where the cabbage is submerged in a salt water solution, called brine. Then, as the sauerkraut sits, the bacteria begins to convert sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid, which is a natural preservative to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Over the course of a few days, the cabbage becomes less crunchy, and the probiotics start to flourish and multiply, thus creating an amazingly tasty fermented probiotic you can eat whenever your heart desires! Here’s my recipe:
1 small head of red or green cabbage, about 8 cups
1.5 Tablespoons of sea salt (Make sure to get sea salt and not iodized salt!)
Between 2-3 cups of chemical free water (spring/distilled water should be ok) If you only have tap water, let it sit out in an open container for 6 hours, and the chlorine and other chemicals will escape. Then you can use it without any trouble!
Large knife, long enough to cut through the entire head of cabbage
Several smaller mason jars, or another similar glass container with a wide mouth
Cheesecloth(s) or microfiber washcloth(s) that air can easily pass through, but bugs can’t
Rubberband(s) or elastic(s) large enough to fit around the wide mouthed container(s)
Cup, plate, or other object that fits inside the wide mouth container to use as a press (optional, but makes life easier)
1. Clean your cutting board, knife, and containers thoroughly, then wash your hands. It is very important to make sure that the lactobacillus bacteria have as clean of an environment as possible in which to grow. If there is a bit of bacteria on your hands when you prepare the sauerkraut, it is possible that the batch will be bad, or may even grow mold. Yuck! The salt does help prevent this, but why not give the cabbage a little boost?
2. Chop up the cabbage into pieces about as large as the nail on your pinky finger. If they’re a bit larger, that’s ok, it just helps get all of the pieces into your containers more easily. I recommend cutting the head of cabbage into four, starting with your first cut directly through the center of the stalk. Then cut those pieces in half, and then slice in small slivers until you get the size you need. This can get messy!
3. Place the cut up cabbage in a large bowl or pot, preferably not plastic. Add enough water to cover about half of the cabbage, then add the salt. Massage the cabbage with clean hands for 5-10 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the texture of the cabbage starts to change. This is to start the fermenting process, and to dissolve the salt, so it can start it’s job of preventing the bad bacteria from flourishing.
4. Place water and cabbage into the containers, and position your press so that it pushes down the sauerkraut, and the water completely covers it. This can be a little tricky, depending on what you’re using, and may take a bit of maneuvering at first. It is very important that the water be covering the cabbage during the entire process, or the cabbage starts to rot, and you will see a moldy film appear! If you choose to not use the press, proceed with the directions, but check the containers every few hours for the first day or so and make sure that no cabbage is poking out of the water.
5. Cover with the breathable fabric, and place the elastic around the mouth of the container. Set in a room temperature spot (65-75 degrees F) for three days, and check the taste. This is when the cabbage is considered sauerkraut, and this is when you can start to jar it and put it in the fridge. If it’s not sour enough to your liking, let it sit for up to 3 weeks, and taste test along the way.
When it comes to sauerkraut, I am super impatient and eat it on day three. Maybe I’ll get my assembly line going so I can try some that has fermented longer!
Overall, my batches of sauerkraut probably cost around $1 per jar. Compare that to the pasteurized jars in the grocery stores, that’s a 75% discount, not to mention the amazing probiotic benefits! Compare it to the completely raw stuff you’ll find at your local health food store, it’s a steal!
If you’re still not set on making sauerkraut, or just don’t like the taste, I understand. We just started making water kefir, another type of probiotic drink, and I’ll show you how to make kefir soda once I have mastered it myself!