Tag Archives: food

Dinner Is Served – Vol. 6

With back to school season upon us, those complex, time-consuming meals are left back in the days of summer.

Summertime is a great time to experiment with recipes because you often find the kids preoccupied, and time is in your favor. Finally, those recipes that have been pinned to your Pinterest board for the past year get some action!

But what happens when the kids go back to school, your calendar sees little free time, and dinner should have been on the table 30 minutes ago?

Insert this great recipe for four-ingredient pesto chicken!

Four-Ingredient Pesto Chicken

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 3 chicken breasts

Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts, organic recommended
1 -  6 oz. jar basil pesto
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
3 slices mozzarella cheese

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Place chicken breasts in a baking dish.
Use a spoon to cover chicken with pesto.
Top each chicken breast with one slice of mozzarella cheese and two slices of tomato.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Broil the chicken the final two  minutes so that the cheese is bubbly and golden.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Upcoming Event: The Creative Kitchen Kids Food Festival

Will you be strolling the streets of NYC this weekend looking for something to do? Head on over to Westfield World Trade Center on August 26th-27th, for a weekend full of flavor and fun with The Creative Kitchen!

The Creative Kitchen Kids Food Festival is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices to help create wholesome lifelong eating habits for both kids and parents. The weekend-long event offers a host of family-friendly activities including food demonstrations, live entertainment, food sampling, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt, giveaways, and more! The event is free and open to the public for General Admission.

And for those enthusiastic eaters and little epicures alike, you can attend hands-on cooking classes at the James Beard Foundation Future Pavilion, where renowned chefs pass on their recipes, skills, and love for all things culinary to a new generation of learners!

Visit the website, on the Kids Food Festival Facebook page, and on Twitter at @KidsFoodFestFun to stay up-to-date on all things about the event.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Training Thursday Vol. 3 – Snack Time

Welcome to volume three of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we release a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.

This week we are featuring a training video on snack time!

1. First and foremost, be cognizant of ANY and ALL food allergies. Always read ingredient labels and if you are still not certain, snap a photo of it with your phone and send to the parent to ask. Always ask if you are not 100% certain. If you see or sense an off reaction to a food, contact the parent immediately.

2. Solids typically start when the child is six months, usually in a pureed state (before six months babies digestive systems are not developed to digest solid foods). Some families make their own baby food in a food processor and some will buy baby food.

3. Once the baby is beyond pureed foods and ready for big boy/girl food, EVERYTHING needs to be chopped up in small pieces, so it’s easy to munch with their gums (as some babies don’t get teeth till 12-18 months).

4. Warning foods: grapes, blueberries, hotdogs, oranges – be wary of the casing – peel it off or chop up as much as possible.

5. Babies and children should sit in their highchair, booster, or chair at the table to keep messes in the kitchen. It’s a way for them to practice good eating habits at a table with the family.

6. For babies and toddlers use a bib, or for younger children, a placemat to keep their clothes and surrounding area as neat as possible.

7. Depending on the pediatrician, babies start drinking water around six months old. Follow the parents instruction on how much water the child should have throughout the day.

When heating foods, always test the food before you give it to a child to make sure the temperature is not too hot.

Every family has a different way of doing things. Always ask the family for full instruction on how they would like you to prepare foods.

If the child is not taking the food for some reason text the family and let them know. Always keep full records of how much the baby eats when in your care.

These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social workers.

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Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.

Training Thursday Vol. 1 – Bottle Prep

Welcome to the start of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we’ll be releasing a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.

This week we are featuring a training video about bottle prep!

Always follow the parent’s instruction on what type of milk they would like you to prep for the bottle. The three different types of milk include:

1. Breast milk only: The mother will either freeze or refrigerate her milk and have it clearly labeled. Make sure it is not old or sitting out for more than an hour.

2. Formula only: The video linked above walks through the instruction on powder formula, but there is also full strength liquid formula, which is fully prepared.

3. Breast milk and formula: Some moms will mix the two, and some will feed the baby a formula bottle, followed by a bottle with only breast milk. The reason for this is because some moms don’t produce enough milk, some are weening, etc.

When heating the bottle you can us a bottle warmer, heat the milk on the stove/microwave or, let it sit in a warm bowl for 5-10 minutes. Test the bottle’s temperature on the outside of your hand before giving it to a baby.

You also want to make sure the bottle is clean and that there is nothing in the bottle from the dishwasher. When assembling the bottle, make sure you secure the nipple tightly and that there is no room for leaks.

Every family has a different way of doing things, so be sure to ask the family for full instructions on how they would like you to prepare the bottle.

If the baby is not taking the bottle for some reason, text the family and let them know. It’s always a good idea to keep full records of how much the baby eats when in your care.

These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social workers.

Bottle prep

Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.

Dinner Is Served – Vol. 5

When it’s time for dinner, we often turn to the same short-list of recipes. It usually includes something that is fast to make, has minimal ingredients, and added bonus if the recipe is memorized.

We want to help shake up your recipe box by getting some new and fresh meals onto your family’s plate. A great way to do this is by trying out the new dish below. It’s yummy, and will make you feel like Spring is right around the corner!

Mediterranean Hummus Pizza

Ingredients
1 pizza dough
1/2 cup hummus
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 purple onion
1/4 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fresh lemon juice

Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4

View the full recipe on Yummly, here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

Meet Veestro – Healthy Eating Made Easy

Are you looking to eat healthier in 2017? Well, you are in luck, because we are introducing one of our new favorite food delivery services – Veestro.

One of our Bell Family sitters, Rebecca Wong, recently took a job with Veestro as their Marketing Manager. Below, she tells us how Veestro works, how it’s different from like-brands, and why it’s great for both sitters and families everywhere!

Q: What is Veestro and how does it work?

Veestro is a gourmet food company that delivers plant-based, chef-prepared meals directly to our customer’s doors in all 50 states. No need to stand in a store line. All meals are ordered online. There are a variety of meals for everyone, ranging from Thai noodles to quesadillas to cheesecake. Everything is made fresh then delivered frozen for extra convenience. Veestro isn’t just for vegans and vegetarians. It’s for anyone who loves food and likes to eat healthy. Veestro is gaining momentum in the media, with recent features in InStyle, GLAMOUR, Men’s Fitness, and PopSugar, as well as TV features on ABC, FOX, The Doctors, and NBC’s Harry with Harry Connick Jr.

Q: With you being a sitter yourself, why would you recommend Veestro to our other sitters? What sets it apart from like-brands?

As a sitter, Veestro makes it convenient to eat on the run, and even bring meals to appointments. You just heat and eat. Each meal is perfectly portioned and cost an average of $10. There are plenty of meal programs that make clean eating simple, and there are tons of gluten-free options. All ingredients are organic, dairy-free, cholesterol-free, preservative-free, and non-GMO. If you handle kids with allergies, this is your safest bet food-wise.

Q: Why is Veestro a great idea for families?

Veestro is perfect for families because it cuts out the prep work, and fulfills all the nutritional needs of both growing kids and adults. There are endless benefits to eating more plants, and this is a brilliant way to get kids to enjoy veggies. They especially love the pizzas and “chicken” nuggets. There are several meals that come family-sized to share, and the more you buy, the lower the costs. A family can order 12 meals for just $99, with free shipping.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

First Foods – Peas, Carrots and Stain Stick – Oh My!

So your child is ready to start solids? Great!  Pull up your rugs and stock your cabinets with baby Oxyclean – life is about to get very colorful!

Introducing solid foods is an exciting (and potentially exhausting) milestone. I’ve gone down this road twice and had two very different experiences. I’ll try to be brief because you’re likely reading this post while trying to pee and keep your child from pulling all of the toilet paper off the roll at the same time.

With my first child, I had no clue what I was doing. I felt that my pediatrician wasn’t really providing me with the kind of nutritional support I was looking for. Her recommendation was rice cereal first, then fruits and veggies, etc. Rice cereal didn’t make sense to me because it’s not particularly nutritious and it’s hard for adult bellies to digest – things that make you go hmm… So, because I didn’t have enough on my plate already (pun intended), I decided to do a little digging.  I asked around, read a few books, consulted a holistic pediatrician and reached out to my friends abroad. Turns out, other cultures are feeding their children what they eat (in a mushier form) and are a lot less scientific (read: neurotic) about the feeding process altogether. I decided to give my son veggies and fruit first. So for 3-4 hours a week, I holed up in my kitchen and I did the Betty Homemaker, made from scratch purées thing. While a valiant effort on my part, I couldn’t keep up with his appetite and I was tired of the massive clean up.  Make food, clean up food, diaper change, stain remover, rinse, wash, repeat.  I also thought that the point was that he actually got the majority of the food I was serving in his mouth – as opposed to all over my (occasionally) washed hair and on the walls, so I made sure I was leading the charge by feeding him and making helicopter noises to get him to open his mouth. It worked – well enough, I suppose. I tried baby lead weaning – his determination to choke himself and my fear of said choking, ended that exploration rather quickly. The downside of purées (other than the labor intensive part) is that at some point you’ll have to go back to square 1 when they graduate to food that needs to be chewed!  Ugh, are we there yet?!  Some of you may not have entered this stage while others are thinking . . . been there, done that, got the strawberry stained t-shirt to prove it. Bear with me.

Fast forward two years and another child later – we were at the golden gates of feeding and I didn’t have the time or energy to go down the purée path again. I felt guilty that I’d done it for my son and didn’t want to “deprive” my daughter of the healthy food I’d provided him. I put on my strongest poker face and gave her whole foods and trusted (read: prayed to God) she wouldn’t choke herself.   She would take larger bites than made me comfortable, but I gave her the space to explore it and sure enough she would spit out pieces that were too big to swallow. I reminded myself to keep my face neutral – if she was coughing or gagging, she wasn’t choking (I strongly suggest taking an infant/child CPR class – for safety and confidence). I had to watch her carefully, but I gave her what we were eating and I tried to give it to her in a way that she could feed herself. And here is the kicker – she did! She even figured out how to use a fork and spoon by herself and she’s only 18 months. My 3.5 year old is still struggling with this skill.

I’d love to tell you there is a one-size fits all method of feeding kids but as with everything in child rearing – that’s not the case (because that would be TOO easy!). My advice is, try to be relaxed when you start this process. Of course, consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns. Know that right now, your child is getting nourishment from breast milk or formula so take the stress off yourself to get them to consume food for that purpose early on.  Your role is to provide them with what you deem as healthy food exposure – their role is to decide whether or not to eat it. Exposing our babies to foods is less about filling their bellies up so they can sleep through the night (although I hear this is a nice side effect for some, it wasn’t the case for my kids) and more about letting them explore flavors, textures and figure out “how” to eat and what is safe to swallow.

So what should you feed them you ask? From a nutrition standpoint – try to feed your kids as many whole unprocessed foods as you can. Organic is best, but not always available or affordable so check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, which can help you make the best decisions for your family. Life is busy – there is never enough time so don’t beat yourself up if you give your kids some processed stuff, but be cautious about the sugar and sodium content – you’d be surprised what can be in baby foods. With the advice of our holistic pediatrician, we started with orange vegetables (roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin), green vegetables (peas, broccoli, string beans), fruits (avocado, strawberries, bananas, apples, pears), meats and fish (rotisserie chicken is a great one or even the meat and veggies from chicken soup) and grains (quinoa is a fantastic source of nutrition and really easy for kids to eat). Advice regarding nuts has changed over the last year. New research indicates early exposure to trace amounts of nuts helps decrease allergies. Be sure to check with your pediatrician on the most accurate data and don’t be afraid to do research of your own – it can take a while for new studies to make it to your Dr.’s desk. Most of all, listen to your gut – mother’s intuition is a real thing. Be patient with yourself and your child – this is new for both of you.  If something is not working, change it up. I knew the way I approached eating with my son wasn’t successful so I did things differently with my daughter. She eats just about everything from fish to quinoa and she makes a massive mess in the process, but she has a healthy appetite for new foods and is an independent eater. If it means I need an extra paper towel to mop it up after, well, that’s a small price to pay.

Looking for a little more guidance on feeding your family? Contact me for a free consultation at thrivehivewellness@gmail.com.

Happy Exploring!
Jen Khalaf
Holistic Health Coach, Thrive Hive Wellness
Follow me on Facebook: Thrive Hive Wellness

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Dinner Is Served – Vol. 3

Greetings, all!

We are happy to bring you the third installment of our monthly blog special where BFC’s own, Courtney Bell Garvey, gives us a delicious new recipe for you to try.

Grandma Knows Best

I’d like to dedicate this post to my grandma who passed away recently. She was the inspiration behind my love of food and cooking, and would make meals that would bring the family together. They were meals that were always hearty, flavorful, and caused your taste buds to dance. She had such an ease to her cooking and would keep hungry mouths coming back for more. Besides the delicious array of pies and casseroles, there was one dish that ranks at the top of the charts; Grandma’s Chicken Paprikash.

I’d like to share this recipe with you straight out of the Hungarian cooking book that my grandma passed down to me. Enjoy!

Grandma’s Chicken Paprikash

1 onion chopped
4 Tbsp shortening
1 Tbsp paprika
¼ Tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp salt
4 – 5 lbs chicken disjointed
1 ½ cups water
½ pt sour cream

Brown onion in shortening; add seasonings and chicken; brown 10 minutes. Add water; cover and let simmer slowly until tender. Remove chicken; add sour cream to drippings in pan and mix well. Add dumplings; arrange chicken on top. Heat through and serve. For more gravy add ½ pint sweet cream to sour cream. Add flour to thicken.

DUMPLINGS

3 eggs beaten
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp salt
½ cup water

Mix all ingredients together and beat with a spoon. Drop batter by teaspoonful into boiling water. Cook about 10 minutes; drain, rinse with cold water. Drain well and add to paprikash. Chicken paprikash may be served with fried noodles instead of dumplings.

Written by BFC’s own, Courtney Bell Garvey!

Dinner Is Served – Vol. 2

Greetings, all!

We are happy to bring you the second installment of our monthly blog special, where BFC’s own, Courtney Bell Garvey, gives us a delicious new recipe for you to try. Enjoy!

Top of the mornin’ to ye - At least that’s what the Irish say. I know because my husband is from the West Coast of that beautiful, little country. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and my little sister’s birthday this year, I’m throwing a festive dinner party! On the menu we have:

Appetizer: Guinness cheddar cheese dip with pretzel bites  - after all, what is St. Patty’s without Guinness?

Main Dish: Corned beef

Side Dish: Colcannon (which is mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage, bacon, and scallions) and honey roasted carrots. The carrots have a little twist with the honey incorporated, but my husband loves roasted carrots and parsnips.

Dessert: To end this delicious meal, what else would we have but birthday cake, all washed down with some more Guinness and Magners – hard cider.

Check please! I hope luck is on your side for this fun-loving day. Slainte (Cheers)!

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Written by BFC’s own, Courtney Bell Garvey!

Dinner Is Served – Vol. 1

Greetings, all!

We are happy to bring you a new monthly blog post, where one of BFC’s own, Courtney Bell Garvey, gives a delicious new recipe for you to try. Enjoy!

Hi again – You might remember me from my blog as a first time twin-mom; but now I’m back to talk about food! I decided to throw in my hat as a working professional to be a stay at home mommy and am now focusing on my two greatest loves; family and food. In particular, easy, healthy meals for us busy mamas. I try to plan dishes that are filling and large so there are leftovers. Recently, I cooked up a twist on meatloaf; Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper Meatloaf. It was so easy and delicious. I paired it with a green salad which was great and added a ton of nutrients and nice color to the plate. Please see the recipe below.

Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper Meat Loaf

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup flatleaf parsley, chopped
7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cups mixed greens

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 400° F.
2. Combine the turkey, onion, bread crumbs, egg, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons of the mustard, the parsley, red peppers, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Shape the meat into an 8 inch loaf and place in a baking dish.
3. Bake until no trace of pink remains (internal temperature should be 165° F), about 45 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes before slicing.
4. Whisk together the remaining mustard, the vinegar, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.
5. Divide the greens among individual plates and drizzle the vinaigrette over the top. Serve with the sliced meat loaf.

Happy eating!
Courtney

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Written by one of BFC’s own, Courtney Bell Garvey!