Tag Archives: food

World Food Day

14 Oct

World Food Day is Sunday, October 16.  According to the organization Save the Children, there is still so much work to be done in the global fight to reduce hunger.  Millions of children don’t get the nutrition they need, and food aid deliveries are actually at their lowest since 1961.

How informed are you?  Take the nutrition quiz to find out.  Click the link below:


52 FEATS – NUMBER 37 (Not Eating Fast Food)

19 Sep

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.


I did great on not eating fast food, but I was a total, 100% bust on doing yoga this week.

I started out the week with a sick kid and a husband out of town.  The kid ended up getting better, then got sick again.  Then the other kid got sick, too.  And that taught me an important lesson: You can’t control life, especially when you have kids.  You’ve gotta learn to roll with the punches.

But I was glad for the fast food ban, because it really made think twice before I ate.  I learned that while I did crave the foods themselves, I was also craving the convenience they offered.  But it wasn’t that difficult to make myself something at home instead, and I saved money and calories to boot.  Win-win.


Pretty self-explanatory:  Fast food is gross, I eat it too much, and it sets a bad example for my kids.  But I will miss it – it’s going to be a long week.

Since I’m combining that with a second try on my yoga-intensive week (see Feat Number 36 here), I fully expect to lose 10 pounds in the next seven days or life just isn’t fair!

Party Prep: Why this is going to be the best birthday ever!

13 Sep

My son turns 6 next week and I’ve planned three days of festivities to celebrate the milestone.  Per his request, we’re having a “home party” on Saturday for his best pals.  Sunday, we’ll have dinner and cake (plus presents, of course) at my parents’ house—a.k.a. Grandma and Granddaddy’s.  Monday, Chip’s dad, babysitter and I will bring cupcakes to his classroom.  And we’ll take him to dinner at the restaurant of his choosing.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the years pondering what makes a great party.  I’ve thrown fab fetes as well as gatherings that have fallen flat—and I usually post-mortem both to figure out why.  Here are a few of my personal thoughts and conclusions.  If you have a minute, please share yours!

  • Unexpected foods: I incorporate two or more unexpected menu items simply because one of my favorite things to do as a partygoer is to sample unusual foods.  I tried tapenade for the first time at a party several years ago and thought it was superb!  This year, I’ve taken that notion a step further by building Chip’s birthday party around the idea that his friends probably never eat sugary cereals.  So what are we serving?  Captain Crunch, Apple Jacks, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, etc. (along with healthier fare like fresh fruit and mini-quiches).  I know the kids will love the cereal sampling stations—but I also expect more than a few of their parents to indulge, too.
  • Unscheduled time: I once went to a kid’s party where every second was orchestrated.  The mom literally had a flow chart designating the attendees’ every move and seemed downright stressed when the kids fell behind!  I don’t think that works for children younger than age 10 (if, frankly, it works at all).  To that end, this Saturday we’ll have one activity for the kids plus the food.  After that, it’s just a big playdate where the kids can run around and do what they want.
  • Environmental studies: We spent the last few months cooped up because of the punishing heat so we’re partying on the patio come Saturday.  I think children and their folks enjoy outside time, particularly when the weather cooperates.  As my husband and I spruced up our backyard this spring and our hot-pink crepe myrtle is in full bloom, I’m looking forward to having a chance to enjoy the outdoors, too!
  • Gifts: I go back and forth on whether kids like seeing the birthday boy/girl open presents or not.  I often think it’s a waste of good party time for all concerned.  Every year I play this one by ear but invariably Chip tears into his booty while surrounded by his besties.  I’ve decided that’s fine as long as the kids know they don’t have to sit at his feet, oohing and aahing over his gifts.  If they want to watch, great.  If not, great, too.  The only thing I really care about is that I know who gave him what so I can properly thank each person.  I always appreciate the mom who volunteers to log the loot—a true gift to me!

52 FEATS – NUMBER 34 (Keeping a Food Diary/Counting Calories)

22 Aug

Well, last week was a total bust.  Turns out that pedometers from the dollar store are really crappy.  I’m shocked!  I clipped that thing on, but I was either constantly (accidentally) hitting the reset button or it just wasn’t counting any steps.  And then the clip broke off.  So now it’s my daughter’s new toy – she calls it  her “counter.”  At least someone is able to use it.

But whatever – gotta move on.

I don’t want to do this next one, but I really need to.  I’m a 37-year-old woman, but I still have the mentality of my younger, skinny self.  You know the one, the teenager with the uber-metabolism who can eat whatever she wants without any consequences.  But I’m not her anymore, and unfortunately, it’s catching up with me.  Boo!

I know I’ve got to get myself back to the gym, but more than anything else I really need to cut down on how much I eat.  From what I’ve read, one of the best ways to do that is to keep a food diary.  I’ve got a cool app for my iPhone called “Lose It” that I can use to track everything I eat, and it automatically counts the calories.  I can also enter any exercise I do, so I can keep track of how many calories I’ve eaten in a day vs. how many I’ve burned.

I’m not doing a crash diet here, I just want to be more mindful of everything I shove into my face.  And if it helps me button my pants, so much the better!

Back to School: Keep those healthy lunches safe!

16 Aug

Last year, my daughter purchased lunch five days a week while my son ate lunch at school on Mondays and Wednesdays then brought from home on Fridays. Brown bagging it typically meant a Lunchable (his preference) or a peanut-butter sandwich with a box of raisins and three (yes, three) baby carrots.

My son informed me that as a Kindergartner, he will TAKE his lunch instead of buy from the cafeteria. Fine by me. Packed lunches might enable me to sneak a few new foods into his limited culinary repertoire. Instead of those three carrots, I might pack grape tomatoes or celery sticks. I’ve stocked up on other types of dried fruit, including mango and cherries.

One thing I don’t want to experiment with is safety. I barely survived a nasty bout with salmonella in Bangkok, winding up at the “VD and Diarrhea” clinic for medicine (which was as nightmarish as it sounds).

Here’s a sampling of lunch packing tips I found from the USDA.  For more, visit www.fsis.usda.gov.

Keeping “Bag” Lunches Safe

Keep Everything Clean
Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before you prepare or eat food.  Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.  A solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water may be used to sanitize surfaces and utensils.  Keep family pets away from kitchen counters.

Don’t Cross-Contaminate
Harmful bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and countertops.  Always use a clean cutting board.  When using a cutting board for food that will not be cooked, such as bread, lettuce, and tomatoes, be sure to wash the board after using it to cut raw meat and poultry.  Consider using one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for meat and poultry.

Packing Lunches
It’s fine to prepare the food the night before and store the packed lunch in the refrigerator.  Freezing sandwiches helps them stay cold.  However, for best quality, don’t freeze sandwiches containing mayonnaise, lettuce, or tomatoes.  Add these later.

Insulated, soft-sided lunch boxes or bags are best for keeping food cold, but metal or plastic lunch boxes and paper bags can also be used.  If using paper lunch bags, create layers by double bagging to help insulate the food.  An ice source should be packed with perishable food in any type of lunch bag or box.

Keeping Cold Lunches Cold
Prepare cooked food, such as turkey, ham, chicken, and vegetable or pasta salads, ahead of time to allow for thorough chilling in the refrigerator.  Divide large amounts of food into shallow containers for fast chilling and easier use.  Keep cooked food refrigerated until time to leave home.

To keep lunches cold away from home, include a small frozen gel pack or frozen juice box.

Some food is safe without a cold source.  Items that don’t require refrigeration include whole fruits and vegetables, hard cheese, canned meat and fish, chips, breads, crackers, peanut butter, jelly, mustard, and pickles.

52 FEATS – NUMBER 24 (Eating Healthy)

19 Jun

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

UPDATE – DAY 7 (Sunday):

This past week was one of the worst EVER for me.  No, it wasn’t because eating healthy made me totally miserable – it was because of medication I was taking for a blocked eustachian tube, which was not only painful but causing debilitating dizzy episodes.  The doctor said it was likely due to allergies (which is a new issue for me), and put me on steroids and told me to start taking Claritin-D.

A few days in, I thought I was losing my mind.  I couldn’t sleep; I was weak and so jittery I felt like ripping my hair out, and yet all I wanted to do was lay down and close my eyes.  I stopped the steroids, and for a day I started to feel better, but then I felt worse again.  Then I stopped taking the Claritin-D, too, because I just couldn’t handle feeling so crummy.

That was a couple days ago, and I’m happy to say that I finally feel like a normal person again.  My ear feels better – I guess I got enough meds in me to clear it up somewhat – but I don’t know what I’m going to do about the allergy issue long-term.  The doc wanted me on allergy meds every day but there’s no way I’m doing that.

AND – all of this coincided with my husband being out of town, so, like I said, worst week ever.  Because I felt so horrible, I didn’t do as well as I would have liked with this week’s Feat.  I started out strong but got off track a few times (Thursday night, I ate dinner at a buffet restaurant that shall remain nameless – eek).

Here’s what I was able to do:

  • I ate lots more raw fruits & veggies. When I made myself a sandwich, I sliced up an apple to go with it instead of chips.
  • I cut way back on caffeine and drank a lot more water (thanks, Lisa!).  I also drank milk occasionally.
  • I got out the juicer (dusted it off, as Lori said!) and made a rainbow juice with my kids –  strawberries, oranges, carrots, pineapple, spinach, blueberries, and grapes.  Oddly enough, my picky-eater son liked it more than my eats-anything daughter.  She would rather eat all of the ingredients in their natural state, which of course, is a good thing!
  • I made several smoothies, including an amazing mango & nectarine concoction.  I used plain greek yogurt in my smoothies for a protein boost, and only a little honey occasionally if I wanted any extra sweetness.
  • I took a multi-vitamin every day.
  • We always buy whole grain bread anyway, so that was already done.

Last night I found out that a very good friend of mine was diagnosed with early diabetes.  She’s going to have to eat better and exercise more if she wants to keep that at bay.  My mom has the same thing, and her mother was diabetic.  I could easily slip down that path if I’m not careful.  I’m 37; I can’t eat whatever I want with no consequences.  This week was not just an experiment, it was the beginning of a healthy way of life!

Continue reading

Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games

3 Jun

The 25th Annual Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games will be held this weekend, June 3-5, at UTA’s Maverick Stadium.

Come and enjoy music, Scottish athletic competitions, fireworks, kids’ games and activities, dancing, art, and plenty of Scottish food!  Hours are 5 pm to midnight Friday, 9 am to midnight on Saturday, and 9 am to 6 pm on Sunday.  Click here for more information.

CityArts Fair Park Festival

24 May

From www.cityartsfestival.com:

Friday, May 27 through Sunday, May 29, 2011
Free & open to the public

Showcasing spectacular cultural, performing, visual and culinary arts, CityArts Festival presented by Big City Crushed Concrete will fill historic Fair Park with three days of art-loving, museum-visiting, chef-cooking, craft-making, film-watching, music-playing, fireworks-flying, water-dancing, full-blown family fun, Friday, May 27 – Sunday, May 29.

Free and open to the public, the event will boast a worldly array of festivities for families and art aficionados to enjoy Memorial Day weekend against the backdrop of Fair Park, a national landmark featuring the world’s largest collection of art deco exhibit buildings, art and sculpture.

New this year – ARTFEST will return to its traditional outdoor setting over Memorial Day weekend, a Friday night flick al fresco debuts as the perfect date night destination and rooftop fireworks will rock the town Saturday night!

Thanks to Atmos Energy, Fair Park’s eight museums will offer free admission during the weekend (hours vary) including the African American Museum, Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park, The Women’s Museum, Dallas Historical Society/Hall of State, Texas Museum of Automotive History, Texas Discovery Gardens, Museum of Nature & Science and Museum of the American Railroad.

Other highlights at CityArts Festival will include musical, dance and other performing arts acts on the main stage sponsored by MetroPCS; a children’s area sponsored by Prudential featuring more than 20 prominent arts organizations and nonprofits offering arts and crafts, interactive activities and family-fun entertainment; multi‐disciplinary demos and workshops; and a culinary area complete with demos and samplings by local chefs, plus beer, wine and liquor tastings.

And if that were not enough, you can watch Bellagio-style “dancing water” shows at the Esplanade Fountain, synchronized to music at the top of every hour from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday; and 12 noon – 5 p.m. Sunday.

Taste Addison

17 May

Taste Addison 2011
May 20 – 22, 2011

Taste Addison offers a tasty weekend blend of food, music and family fun.  This three-day festival features over 60 Addison restaurants serving generous samplings of their menus at reduced prices, national musical entertainment, celebrity chef demonstrations and wine tasting seminars, carnival rides, midway games, award-winning children’s entertainment, and more.

Fri., May 20 – 6 pm to midnight
Sat., May 21 – Noon to midnight
Sun., May 22 – Noon to 5 pm

For more information, click here.

Farmers Markets

11 May

Farmers markets are a great place to get fresh, locally grown produce.  Plus, they’re fun for the whole family!  You can try out new fruits and vegetables, or sample handmade products like jellies, cheeses, and breads.

Here’s a list of websites for some local farmers markets.  This is a great time of year to go check out everything spring has to offer.  If you know of any others, please let me know and we’ll add them here!

www.cowtownfarmersmarket.com – Fort Worth

www.gptx.org/farmersmarket – Grand Prairie

www.downtownarlingtonfarmersmarket.com – Arlington

www.dallasfarmersmarket.org – Dallas

www.kellerfarmersmarket.com – Keller

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