A Millie Favorite

A Millie Favorite

Sunday, August 28, 2011

There is no room for the word "shame" when we are helping others.

The other night I was out with a friend of mine having some dinner. I was so excited to talk about all that I have learned in the past few weeks in culinary school and started to talk about how my chef instructor is really big in the "farm-to-table" movement. This led to a conversation about how I have always loved to go to the farmer's market, pick out my produce and make baby food and eventually toddler and children's meals with seasonal and nutritional foods for my child.

My friend then told me a story about two of her mom friends and a tiff that they got into over organics, farmer's markets and cost. One mom being strict about co-op eggs and how her child would never have anything but local eggs and produce. And then the other mother, who did not have the same financial resources as the other went into how she would love to do that, but simply could not afford to do so. Then the other mother somewhat shamed her for feeding her child what she could afford, which was not as healthy or free of chemicals.

The entire reason why I started this little blog, was to help people have the tools to eat locally without breaking their grocery budget. Why all the shame? To eat like this is not an easy thing to make happen if you do not have the tools or resources.

I have written a couple of times about how to stretch you produce, what you can do with the stuff that is going bad on your counter and mostly how to budget and meal plan. These are just a couple of ways to stretch your dollar, while eating what is grown in your environment and taking care of your family through food.

There is absolutely no reason to shame another parent into eating better or put them down because they are doing the best that they can with what they have. Some of us are so lucky that we have access to good produce and some of us were raised in a house where pizza and fast foods were common place. The only way that we can all have good quality groceries available to us, is through solid and trusting education and then of course through demand.

This process will take a while, but for the first time ever I truly believe that we are on a path to eating better and holding the food industry accountable for their action of the past fifty years. Yet, one thing I just can not stress enough, is that we are all in it together and there is absolutely no room for shaming other parents or children.

Here is a suggestion if you meet someone who you think could eat better on a budget. Invite them to the farm stands and markets for an experience. Share with them your budgeting techniques and make a meal plan for the week. How you can use produce in all of your meals, not just dinners.

They will see how easy and budget-friendly it can all be. And of course bring the kids!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Making a meal to comfort your sick child

Amelia started at a new learning center this past week. I could not be happier about the environment and look forward to her growth there.

However, with a new setting, new children and a new germ pool, comes well a potential for a little cold or croup. Poor little dear got both this week and she became very clingy and anxious to feel better. When you child is not feeling well, you heart aches to make him or her feel better. There is something in their precious little faces that just says, "mommy please take this feeling away" and it can tear us parents apart.

Certain foods can really repair your spirits when you are not feeling well. A lot of our memories are formed around these foods restoring our health as children. I suppose that is why they are called "comfort" foods. I know for me, when I was a child, my mother made the best herbal tea and toast combination. I am not sure what she did to that slice of bread, but whenever I am feeling ill, that is what I make for myself.

For my own daughter, the thing she loves the most when she is not feeling so well is lime Popsicles. It soothes her throat and the tart lime helps put much needed vitamin-c into her little system. Making lime Popsicles are actually a bit more complicated than just lime juice and sugar. There has to be a perfect balance between the tart and the sweet to sooth the delicate palate of a toddler or child. Here is my recipe for lime Popsicles.

Sore throat limecicles:
  • 2 cups of fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of simple syrup
  • lemon zest
  • Popsicle mold
  • splash of orange juice for flavor and a kick of vitamin-c
Store in freezer until ready to serve. Let your little one enjoy this when they have a soar throat or cold.

When your child has an upset stomach or a case of bathroom issues. Soothing their tummy and replacing their electrolytes is vital for hydration.

There are many restoratives for this, home cures, marketed cures etc... I have found that a combination of bananas, apples and rice water is brilliant for this type of illness. It soothes their delicate little tummies and gives them the vitamins and nutrients they need to get better fast. Plus, it is really yummy. Serve with some toast or crackers and they will be feeling better fast.

Banana, apple and rice water smoothie:
  • 1/4 cup of plain white rice
  • One banana
  • One apple
  • pinch of ginger (very small pinch)
  • All natural apple juice
In a small sauce pan, bring water to a slow simmer and then add the rice. Let simmer for about five minutes and then drain the rice water into a cup or container. Leave rice if you wish for a dish to be served later or discard.

Peel the apple and banana and then to a medium dice. 1/2" x 1/2' x 1/2" cubes or close to that. Place in blender with strained rice water, pinch of ginger and some apple juice.

Serve in a special cup with a straw. This is also good for any morning sickness associated with pregnancy.

I truly hope that your little ones stay healthy this fall and everyone grows and learns as the new school season begins.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm back!

I have not posted in a couple of weeks. Not necessarily due to lack of interest, after all this is a true passion of mine. No, the reason for my absence is that I have been preparing for and now attending culinary school. Yes, I am here as a scrubby freshman trying to refine my skills.

My experience here has lead me to think about how I could incorporate it into my own child's life. Well, the truth is, this is NOT a place for a toddler or small child. There are sharp knifes, hot ovens and well a lot of frustrated people. This definitely presents a challenge.

Then I discovered that a lot of culinary institutions do have programs for children, on week nights and Saturdays. Just like I do a small cooking class for toddlers and kids, these professional and amazing chef's will spend a couple of hours with your children in a very safe and controlled environment. What a great way to have your children exposed to the classic training of a culinary institution without the worry of a dangerous kitchen.

I hope that my time here will enable me to become a true culinarian and pursue my goals to teach children the amazing world of food.