Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crisp and Cool Bento Salad

This Week's Bento Lunch

Now that the weather is heating up, salads are a lunch time must. This week, we added pumpkin seeds and sprouts to some arugula from the garden. Crisp, cool, and seasonally fresh, this salad is sure become a staple around here this summer.

Click here to view this week's full menu.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Enjoy Great Food While Greening Your Travels

Italy-Homemade Pizza - After
purchasing ingredients at Campo
de’ Fiori market in Rome, we made our own pizza.
Photo by: Greenloons
Savoring local flavors helps communities, families and the environment.

Eco-tourism travel is about preserving ecosystems, educating visitors about conservation, empowering localities, operating sustainable tourist attractions – and, most of all, having fun and unique family experiences!  Of course, eating is a big part of traveling and aside from the fact that families can truly immerse themselves in the travel experience when sampling local foods and delicacies, the practice of eating locally teaches the value of food to both young and wise, and helps the environment.

The environmental benefits of eating locally include: less need for preservatives, better health since smaller farms are less likely to use pesticides and more likely to grow a variety of foods, and helping local economies since farmers receive the full retail value of the item rather applying it toward the expenses of transportation, processing, packaging, and refrigeration.

To find sustainable food restaurants in the United States and Canada, two great resources are Eat Well Guide and Local Harvest, which provides a comprehensive U.S. directory of farmers markets, farm stands and other sources of locally grown food.

London-Gastropub - Farm-fresh appetizer
 at London’s only certified organic restaurant,
the family-friendly Duke of Cambridge.
Photo by: Greenloons
When traveling overseas, a great resource to use is World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), which lists organic farms as well as organic farm volunteering opportunities around the world.  While ‘farmers markets’ may be a relatively new concept for Americans, almost every foreign city large or small has established local markets that sell fresh meats, fish, cheeses, breads, pastries, vegetables and fruits.  Traversing through one of these markets with children will not only reveal the different colors, shapes, textures and smells of local food, but will serve as a quick language, math and social studies lesson too.

Alternatively, if you are overseas and a family member suffers from allergies, Select Wisely portable translation cards, which can also be downloaded to a smartphone, cover all manner of food allergies and medical conditions including cards for nut and shellfish allergies, restaurant chefs, gluten-free diets, as well as smoke-free and low-salt requests.

Zurek Soup-Poland - The Polish specialty
of Zurek Soup, served in Krakow,
 is not only nutritious and filling,
 but “delicious” according to
my 7 year-old.
Photo by: Greenloons
Next time you are traveling to a new country, try to find a sustainable food restaurant or organic farm market or festival, and start savoring the local flavors.

About the author:
Irene Lane is the founder and president of Greenloons, which connects families to meaningful and unique nature-based travel experiences all over the world.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's a Pizza Pie

This Week's Bento Lunch

The first thing we said after opening this week's bento lunch was, "It's a pizza pie!" That's right... it's not just a slice of pizza; it's a pizza pie and it's delicious! Paired with peas and sweet kiwi, this lunch is the perfect summertime treat. 

Click here to view this week's full menu.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Taste of the Mediterranean

This Week's Bento Lunch

The Mediterranean diet has been touted as one of the healthiest in the world and, by the looks of this week's bento lunch, it's clear to see why. Rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and full of flavor, this week's bento lunch is one of our new favorites! 

Click here to view this week's full menu.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

20% Off Lunch Carriers

Keep it cool at camp this summer!

3-DAY SUMMER KICK-OFF SALE! Receive 20% off select carriers with
coupon code: camp20

Flower Carrier

Stripe Tote

Dual Tote

Plum Blossom
Dual Tote

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fiesta to Go

This Week's Bento Lunch

No time to stop by your favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch? No worries. Just take it to go! That's what we did this week and we will admit to enjoying every last bite! 

Click here to view this week's full menu.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Homemade Strawberry Creamsicles

You know it is summer when after being outside all day, your kids take a playing break to sit and enjoy a popsicle!  It’s too bad most of the popsicles you can buy in the store are loaded with sugars, artificial flavors and modified chemicals.  The secret all the popsicle makers don’t want you to know is that making your own popsicles is so easy and fast that you won’t ever want to buy popsicles again!
These literally took me less than 10 minutes to whip up.  My strawberry creamsicles only have 2 ingredients!
 First we start out with beautiful red strawberries.  The great thing about this recipe is that you can use strawberries that might be on their way out.  If they are too mushy to eat, use them to make these popsicles!
Rinse well, and cut the greens off.
Blend.  I didn’t add water or juice, or anything.  I love my Blendtec for that reason.  It really does blend anything.  If your blender isn’t quite as powerful, you could add a little water/juice if you want.  I have seen some recipes that just mash their strawberries, but my girls are weary of ‘chunks’ and so I wanted these popsicles to be smooth.
The second ingredient:  Greek Yogurt.  I used a honey flavored yogurt, but you can use any flavor you want.  The strawberries blend into a beautiful puree which you can add right to your popsicle molds.  I borrowed my neighbors ‘Zoku’ which was amazing!  You place the base of it in your freezer before hand, and then it only takes 5-7 minutes to  make a popsicle!  I also have the regular molds and used those as well. 

Spoon some of the puree into the bottom of the mold, and then alternate with yogurt and puree until the mold is full.
Put the handle in and freeze!  These took around 2 hours to be solid enough to eat.
Voila!  You could blend the yogurt with the strawberries, but I liked the swirled look.  My 3 year old said it was the best popsicle she had ever eaten.  Really.  Word for word.  I was curious and a bit nervous to see how my girls would react because they aren’t super sweet.  I was pleasantly surprised that they licked them down to the stick!
I felt good knowing they were getting a fruit serving as well as protein, fiber and calcium!  Store bought popsicles are basically sugar and water and won’t keep you full for 5 minutes.  These creamsicles however definitely have substance and are actually a balanced snack.
I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!  If you are looking for more healthy snack ideas for your kids, visit our meal planning site!