Archives for July 2013

Mint and Melon Agua Fresca

I am learning a lot of things from the Brady Bunch re-enactment happening at my house this summer, but one thing I now know for certain is that blending drinks is surely easier than blending families. Both, however, make a hot summer day a lot more interesting.

The challenge for me this summer has been learning how to be a parent to kids that already have parents. It is as tricky as it sounds.

Parenting my own three girls along with my husband’s three kids is an intricate dance that requires a lot of fancy footwork to figure out when to compromise, when to give in, and when to hold true to what I think is best as a parent.

My new kids like sugar cereals and potato chips and boxed macaroni & cheese, but I like to shop at the farmer’s market. I now have two video game loving boys, though I haven’t owned a television (on purpose) for more than six years. Even my idea of a good time requires negotiation: Libraries vs. Movie Theaters.

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Lacto-Fermented Pickles Header

Make Old-Fashioned Brine Fermented Pickles Like Your Great Grandmother

I’m standing at the kitchen counter of the cabin my husband built for us when we moved off-grid. It’s over 90 degrees, it’s approaching the lunch hour, and my three children, aged 1 – 6, are getting hungry.

A set of red headed pigtails is at my side while I chop the mid-summer vegetables that need preserving – summer squash, cucumber, and a few green tomatoes that came off the vines too early. They’re all going into a gallon jar of pickles that will contain no vinegar, will never be heated or boiled, and will not see a lick of refrigeration.

These are old-fashioned brined lacto-fermented pickles. It’s a mouthful, in more ways than one, but these are the pickles our great grandmothers made. They keep for months, if prepared properly, I really appreciate the health benefits we enjoy from them, and though I’ve made them for years, I appreciate them even more now that we’re taking a crack at this sustainable off-grid homesteading life.

Oh and they are dead easy to make.

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Serving healthy food to your child and still struggling? Here’s why. (giveaway)

Editor’s note: Please welcome Maryann from Raise Healthy Eaters blog as my guest poster today.

Jane served her child (Lila) homemade baby food and let her eat off of her plate. By the time Lila was two, she ate practically everything. But as she approached three, it seemed like a switch turned off and she became more selective and started whining constantly for sweets. Jane didn’t want to bribe her daughter with dessert but it seemed the only way she could get her to eat vegetables and protein. She felt horrible.

The reason health-conscious parents like Jane struggle is because feeding kids healthy food is only part of what it takes to be successful with feeding. When parents run into feeding challenges it’s not their fault, it’s just they haven’t learned to expect them at each stage of development. For example, Jane had a ton of information on feeding babies but when her daughter became a toddler everything changed and she simply wasn’t prepared.

To help prepare parents we wrote the bible on child nutrition:Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School. Our Fearless Feeding strategy helps make feeding kids a source of joy, not fear. This strategy consists of the following three components: what to feed, how to feed and why children act the way they do around food. Let’s take a look.

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Simple Lemon and Arugula Pasta

Editor’s note: I’m very happy to welcome Courtney from Cook like a Champion blog as the newest contributor to the site!

If there’s ever a time when I don’t feel like cooking, it’s in the middle of summer. I don’t know if it’s the long days (more time to play) or the fact that it’s too hot to stand over the stove, but I always struggle with what to cook in July.

There’s an abundance of produce at my farmer’s market, but it’s all so perfect I almost hate to even cook it. July is the month to appreciate quick meals with fresh ingredients.

There are plenty of nights I’d be fine having a salad or even cheese and crackers for dinner, but I obviously can’t go the entire month without cooking dinner. That’s where recipes like this one come in. The only thing that has to be cooked is the pasta.

The residual heat from the hot pasta cooks everything else, creating a simple and delicious meal that can be enjoyed on the hottest of days. Even better, this pasta tastes just as fantastic at room temperature, which means it would be great for a picnic or potluck.

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Whipped Raspberry Honey Butter and we are off!

Tomorrow we leave for what is sure to be an adventure – a ten-day road trip around Nova Scotia and PEI, hitting as many ocean views, beaches, and lighthouses as we can.

You can follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the up-to-the-minute reports, a peek at our current views, and, of course, snapshots of what we’re eating. And I’ll be bringing a full report to the blog when I return home, complete with recommendations and our best tips for seeing the Maritimes with small children.

We’re ready for a change of scenery and are eager to smell the sea. It will be my first visit to Canada’s East Coast. About time, don’t you think?

I’ve been unable to resist the call of the impeccable fresh produce at the markets these days, which is why I was left with a basket of raspberries to use up right before our trip. I could have frozen them, but instead whipped up a batch of raspberry honey butter and froze it in two jars.

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