Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Toddler Rainbow Lunch

This Week's Photo


* Fresh Organic Strawberries
* Steamed Carrot Coins
* Steamed Cauliflower
* Kidney Beans
* Cheddar Bunnies

Preparation Notes

Toddlers require far less food at one sitting than we do, so pack accordingly--and be sure to pack the colors of the rainbow. Include lots of bite-sized finger foods, and steam vegetables for easy chewing.

Cut fresh strawberries.

Peel carrots and cut into thin "coins." (Make sure they're mushy.)

Steam the cauliflower.

Add a small "toddler size" handful of cheddar bunnies.

Spoon some beans into one of the medium containers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can the school lunch be healthy? The Renegade Lunch Lady Ann Cooper says yes

By Laura Reiley, Times Food Critic
St Petersburg Times, Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In 2008, the National School Lunch Program served more than 30.5 million children low-cost or free lunches each day. But according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, about 42 percent of schools don't offer fresh fruits or vegetables, and only 7 percent meet all nutritional standards.

Chef Ann Cooper, the self-described Renegade Lunch Lady, aims to change all that. Hardly the hairnetted drone filling your five-compartment plastic tray, Cooper has spent the past 10 years railing against district spending policies, commodity-based food service organizations and political platforms with no mention of school food or child health. Overhauling districts' lunch programs in New York, Berkeley, Calif. (with the help of Chez Panisse's Alice Waters) and now in Boulder, Colo., she has taken her message national.

[Read the rest of the story at]

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Survey Shows Shoppers Eating More Meals at Home, Cooking Meals to Save Money

AUSTIN, TX. (September 2, 2009) – Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ: WFMI), the leading natural and organic foods supermarket, today announced results from its annual Food Shopping Trends Tracker survey conducted by Harris Interactive®, which found that two out of three (68 percent) U.S. adults have changed their cooking and eating habits because of the current state of the economy, with about half (51 percent) eating dinner at home more often and more than a third (37 percent) budgeting food shopping trips more strictly.

At the same time, the survey found that the majority (76 percent) say they do not want to compromise on the quality of the food they buy, regardless of current food prices. While three in four (75 percent) also continue to purchase natural and/or organic foods in the same quantities as they always have, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers surveyed say they would like to find ways to be able to buy these foods within their budget.

“We recognize that shoppers should be able to cut costs, not corners when buying natural and organic foods,” says A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods Market. “This research is in sync with what we are seeing right now with our customers as they are taking advantage of our in-store value programs and specials, and they are turning to us for meal planning and ideas more than ever before, especially via our website.”

Of the adults who said their grocery shopping habits have been affected by current food prices, half (54 percent), are using more coupons are more likely to comparison shop (50 percent), and are more likely to buy private label/grocery store brands (45 percent). Gallo notes that Whole Foods Market’s “The Whole Deal” program helps customers stretch their food dollar with special deals, product coupons and shopping tips, and that the recipe section is the most popular category on

Interestingly, four in five adults (80 percent) think the price of groceries, in general, has increased since this time last year, according to the survey. However, according to the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index release for July 2009, the food at home index has declined for the seventh time in the past eight months for a total decrease of 2.6 percent from its peak in November 2008.

Learn to Cook. Learn to Save. Eat Healthy.

The survey found that most adults (79 percent) cook at home. More than half (54 percent) saying they do so to save money, while 44 percent of respondents say they simply enjoy eating their favorite foods in the comfort of their home and 41 percent say they cook at home to ensure they are eating healthfully.

Among parents who provide breakfast, packed school lunches and/or after-school snacks for their children, nearly half (45 percent) say they would like to find ways to provide these types of healthy foods within their budget, and some (20 percent) insist on providing these healthy food items, with little attention to price.

“Helping families eat healthy and on a budget is a priority for Whole Foods Market,” says Gallo. For example, Whole Foods Market recently launched a new partnership with Chef Ann Cooper, the nation’s “renegade lunch lady” to help busy families build better lunchboxes and to help schools bring about real change in how children eat. Also, Whole Foods Market is embarking on a new Healthy Eating Initiative for customers and the company’s Team Members. The program, which will kick off in early 2010, aims to help everyone make informed diet and lifestyle choices that promote good health. [Read the rest of the article at]

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Schools promote waste-free lunches

By Karen Ann Cullotta
Special to Tribune Newspapers
September 27, 2009

In the lunchroom at Stowe Elementary School in Duluth, Minn., forlorn piles of half-eaten sandwiches and bruised bananas are transformed from trash to treasure.

Instead of tossing their uneaten school lunch scraps in the garbage bin, Stowe students donate their leftover fruits and vegetables to the school's worm compost. Items that aren't as compost-friendly, such as breads and potatoes, are donated to area farmers, who feed the free and tasty slop to their pigs.

"Knowing it won't all be going into a landfill feels good," said 10-year-old Bradley MacDougall, a fifth-grader at Stowe. "Most of the kids at our school are pretty good about it."

[Read the rest pf the article at,0,2812304.story.]

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Let Your Kitchen Be the Heart of Your Home with Mariel's Kitchen

"Actress and model Hemingway shares her secrets for cooking nutritious and appetizing food in this lavishly photographed book. Hemingway proves that healthy food can be enticing, and her dishes will appeal to even the least health-conscious among us." -- Publishers Weekly

Let Your Kitchen Be the Heart of Your Home!

Do you wish you had time in your life for nutritious and delicious home-cooked meals? Would you like to find a quick and easy way to make fresh, organic food a part of your life? If so, your journey towards better health begins here. Mariel's Kitchen: Simple Ingredients for a Delicious and Satisfying Life will empower you with simple tips and recipes you can begin making, today.

Mariel Hemingway is an actress, model, yoga instructor, mother of two teenage girls, and one of the leading voices for holistic and balanced living. She knows how challenging it is to cook when we feel deprived of the time to plan, shop and prep. She has asked the question "How do we make real food a part of real, everyday life?" and she has designed an answer.

In Mariel's Kitchen, you will have a wonderfully handy reference guide which includes:

* A repertoire of doable, seasonal, nutritious recipes that are tasty enough to repeat.
* Pantry essentials: an easy-to-build support team of staple goods.
* Seasoning chart: an easy-to-use seasoning guide for various meats and vegetables.
* In-season produce charts for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
* Additional indispensable resources for purifying the heartbeat of your kitchen.

If you are challenged to balance your desire for satisfying, healthy meals with your time-demanding life, Mariel's Kitchen is a necessity for YOUR kitchen.

* Hardcover
* 288 pages
* Published: May 5, 2009
* Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 1.1 inches

Available on our Web site at

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beyond plastic bags part I: Pack a budget friendly, fun-to-eat school lunch

By Melissa Newby, Frugal Family Examiner

If you pack your child's lunch every day of school, you could use over 200 plastic bags over the course of a school year. Using reusable packaging to pack school lunches is not only good for the environment, it's good for your wallet. While purchasing these items means you might have to spend money to save money, the long term benefits are worth the initial expense.

Reusable containers also encourage purchasing foods in bulk, sending homemade food, and including lots of finger foods, which all help you provide your child a nutritious meal while not spending a fortune.

Laptop Lunches offers an entire lunch box system that lets you customize and vary your lunches, all while using reusable containers. You start with an insulated exterior case and then fit smaller Bento Boxes into that case. Vary the Bento Boxes based on what you're sending for lunch that day. All products are BPA, lead, and phthalate free and completely washable and reusable. Use the Laptop Lunch Users Guide for inspiration to provide, "nutritious lunch ideas with ingredients that can be purchased locally at natural foods stores, farmers’ markets or through CSAs", says Amy Hemmert from Laptop Lunches.

[Read the rest of the article at]

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Food, Food, Glorious, Food!

When I was 11, and living in Hawaii, we had a Japanese woman, by the name of Toki Yamaguchi, who came on Wednesdays to clean and do the washing and ironing for my mother. When Toki took her lunch break she would sit down at our 1954 chrome and swirly gray Formica kitchen table with her Bento Box and chopsticks. I was fascinated.

I peeked over her shoulder while she poked around in her mysterious meal. Soon she was bringing extras and offering me tastes from her exotic looking lacquer and mother-of-pearl lunch box on the days she knew I would not be in school. I got to try rice balls with ume (pickled plum) tucked inside, various kinds of sushi, steamed fish, pickled vegetables, toasted seaweed, sashimi, teriyaki beef and chicken, Udon noodles and so many other assorted goodies that I've been hooked on Japanese food ever since.

Imagine my surprise last week when surfing the internet, I ran across an article in the NY Times on Bento Boxes! What a huge craze they have become. Admittedly, this interest has been mostly spawned by mothers trying to pack healthy and affordable lunches for their kids so they don't have to participate in the school lunch programs. . .where catsup is considered a vegetable. . . but the whole concept of multiple small portions of many different colorful fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds and proteins makes sense for everyone who is looking to eat a healthy diet.

Read the entire post at:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Program promotes litter-less, healthy lunches

EDUCATION: Laptop Lunch Kits

Sarah Blackwell, a citizen of Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation and owner of Bugaboo Baby & You, is offering a school fundraising program that promotes healthy eating and provides children with a way to save the environment.

Schools can use environmentally friendly products that promote health and wellness, while also earning money that can be used within the classroom."

Blackwell explained how schools can use this program to send a strong message to the public. Promote the school as one that makes a strong statement . . . We believe in healthy children and a healthy earth."

The green fundraiser" program's main product is the Laptop Lunch Kit. The kit itself is a BPA-free, phalate free bento style lunchbox that fits into an insulated bag. This is a compact way in which to pack a healthy and perfectly proportional lunch. There are several colours to choose from.

My laptop lunch kit is pink. I think it is good to use at school because of all the containers that fit in like a puzzle. I have never had anything spill like other lunch bags. I do not have any garbage at school," said seven-year-old Nipissing First Nation citizen Danika Bellissimo.

The use of the kits reduces lunchtime waste. The pamphlet for the program states that, a school-aged child will generate approximately 67 pounds of waste."

[Read the rest of the article at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pasta and Salad

This Week's Photo


* Fettuccine with Fresh Parsley and Kalamata Olives
* Arugula Salad
* Nonfat Cottage Cheese
* Fresh Organic Strawberries

Preparation Notes

This fettuccine dish is simple to make, tastes great, and keeps well overnight. Prepare it for dinner in the evening, and then pack it for lunch the following day. Add a nice, crispy green salad and two side dishes, and you've got a delicious mid-day meal.

Boil the fettuccine per the instructions on the package. In a large bowl, prepare a sauce by combining extra virgin olive oil, fresh minced garlic, fresh chopped scallions, fresh chopped parsley, salt, and ground pepper. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss gently. Add some kalamata olives and feta cheese, and toss again.

Prepare an arugula salad by combining fresh arugula, dried cranberries, and sliced red onions. (Pack some Dijon vinaigrette dressing in the dip container on the side.)

Add a scoop of nonfat cottage cheese.

Add a handful of fresh organic strawberries.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Zucchini Saute

This Week's Photo


* Wild Rice
* Zucchini Saute
* Sliced Cucumbers
* Cherry Tomatoes
* Blackberries

Preparation Notes

This garden delight is one of our summer favorites. It's best prepared when fresh zucchini, garlic, basil, and tomatoes are still in summer abundance. Be sure to try it before fall arrives in earnest.

Cook the wild rice per the instructions on the package.

Prepare the zucchini saute. Recipe available HERE.

Slice the cucumbers.

Add a handful of cherry tomatoes and blackberries.