Tag Archives: food

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!

BFL – Happy Family Product Review

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Happy Family was generous enough to send some of their new product to a few of our BFC mamas.  Their kiddos ate it all up and here is what they have to say…

Avery and Sydney

I was so excited when I received the Happy Family products in the mail.  We were just starting to introduce our 6 month old Sydney to solid foods (pureed), so the timing was perfect.  She loved the Happy Baby Stage 1 food!  What I loved about the Happy Baby products is I found them to be much thicker than the brands I had been using.  Often times the Stage 1 food is so runny, but Happy Family was different.  Also, the pouches made it much easier to feed her and WAY less messy!  Sydney and I actually enjoyed the product so much I went out and bought the Stage 2 Happy Family pouches and Syd loves them!  The simple combos they provide make it easy to ensure she is getting the fruits and veggies at the same time.  When Avery was a toddler, I was always going back and forth between the veggie jar and fruit jar, but this is SO much simpler!  And the organic fruits and veggies seem to be easier for her tummy to digest, which is a huge win!  Although they cost slightly more than what I was using before, the advantages are well worth it.  And for brands that offer similar products (organic solids in pouch packaging), the cost is the same. What busy working mom doesn’t want healthier, simpler, and cleaner options for their babies??

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Sydney also tried out the happy baby teethers.  While she enjoyed playing with them, she didn’t seem to enjoy eating them all that much.  J  I found that while she would attempt to eat them, the baby teethers would end up stuck to her clothes and face or on the floor, not dissolved in her mouth.

And finally, we tried out the Happy Tot Best Friends cookies.  Avery loved them…both the taste and shape!  And as a mom, how reassuring that they are made with organic whole grains.

Henry 

My two year old sampled the Happy Family “Super Nutrition Shake” in vanilla and chocolate, the “Happy Creamies,” and “Fiber Protein” pouches. Overall he had a good response to the products. He absolutely loved the strawberry, raspberry, and carrot “creamies” and wanted to eat the entire packet at once! It made me feel good that they were healthy and that he was getting some veggies, which I struggle getting him to eat.

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He doesn’t really like the pouches in general and won’t even try them. I put some in a bowl and left it there until he got interested enough to try it with a spoon. He really liked both flavors, but the pumpkin, peach, and cinnamon was his preferred choice and he was soon reaching for the pouch to finish it off!

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The shakes were a tougher sell. First, anything that has a straw becomes a toy. Half the shake ended up on his tray. Also, he doesn’t really like sugary milk drinks. He’s always wanted plain, skim milk. I couldn’t even get him to drink whole milk as a baby. Overall, I like that product, but I don’t think Henry liked the flavors. I will definitely be purchasing the pouches and “creamies” again!

Lulu & Cole

We have been using – and loving – Happy Baby snacks since my son started eating solid foods 4 years ago. Puff and yogurt melts were staples in our house, and family favorites, so I was psyched to try out their new products. The samples we were sent were geared toward toddlers – perfect for my 5 year old and 3 year old, who have graduated from baby food! We were happy to taste test Best Friends Toddler Cookies in both Honey Buckwheat and Chocolate Pumpkin flavors, and both were very tasty, although my 2 year old preferred the chocolate ones. I was a bit wary because they are Gluten Free, and I have found, personally, that I don’t care for most Gluten Free snacks – but I will happily share these. I love the resealable bag, and – since they are peanut and tree nut free, they’d be a great snack for nursery school! We also received a bunch of different pouches to try.

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I LOVE pouches with my kids because they make a GREAT quick and healthy breakfast as we inevitably sleep late and are trying to fly out the door – we are not morning people. I find the pouches to be a much better option than throwing a bagel at my kids, and appreciate that there are many options with fiber, protein, and/or vegetables mixed in.  Neither of my kids loved the Pear, Kiwi, and Kale flavor, but Lulu scarfed down her Pumpkin, Apple, Peach, & Cinnamon and requested more!