Family Mealtime Themes

Want to mix things up with family mealtime? Today’s topic is probably my all time favorite part of family mealtime month. Today we get to talk about family mealtime themes!

overhead view of two authentic street tacos

Remember family mealtime doesn’t just have to be dinner, so here are some themes you can do for breakfast, lunch AND dinner!

Now for the challenge: For your chance to win a prize, choose a theme (or make up your own) and comment below with a picture of the themed meal that you do.  Note: You must be under 18 to win!

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Eggplant & ChickPea Stew

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying family mealtime month! Igot a little bit behind this week, but don’t worry…We have some fun things this week! To start it off, I have a recipe today that will knock your socks off! It’s called Toasted Eggplant and Chickpea Stew!

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid I knew nothing about eggplants. How do you cook them? Are they easy to prepare? Are they sweet? Are they bitter? Are they crunchy? Are they creamy?  Eggplants were just a big purple mystery! So if you have never tried one before, here is your chance! Get ready to master that mystery vegetable!

 

You will need: 2 eggplants, olive oil, salt & pepper, medium onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, diced tomatoes, chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans), vegetable broth, and cilantro.

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First preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Wash and cut off the green stem. First cut the eggplant lengthwise.

And then into strips

And then into cubes

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Place eggplant on a baking sheet with oil, salt and pepper, and roast about 15 minutes (until soft)

Heat up a large pot. Add in ½ Tb olive oil, 1 diced onion, 3 minced cloves garlic, 1 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, and ½ tsp cinnamon. Cook until onions are soft (about 5 minutes)

Add eggplant, tomatoes, chickpeas, and broth. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes

Bon Appetite!

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Quick Tip: To add some color and flavor, top with chopped cilantro and serve over rice or couscous

 

Happy Creating!

Family Mealtime= Better Grades?!

Didn’t realize that having a meal with your family would improve your grades in school did you?! Well it will!

The more meals you have with your family, the more your brain develops communication and critical thinking skills. Talking with your family with healthy food in front of you can also can boost your mood which helps your brain think more clearly!

Family Mealtime for the win! 

Mealtime= Funtime!

Happy Thursday! Today I have some fun games you can play with your family during a family meal!

So I challenge you to put down those phones for the next week and try out some of these games. You might be surprised of how fun family meals can really be!

Comment below if you have other games that you like to play with your family during mealtime.  Let us create family mealtime and make it a fun time!

Applesauce Bread

This week we discussed apples and the many varieties. Today we get to try a little treat called Applesauce Bread.

You will need to start out with applesauce, sugar, vegetable oil, milk, 2 eggs, all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt

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In a large bowl, combine applesauce, sugar, oil, eggs, and milk. Beat well.

Add in flours, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Stir until smooth.

Optional: Fold in 1 apple diced, or nuts for extra texture and flavor

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until a butterknife comes out clean when you put in the middle.

Quick Tip: Put aluminum foil over the pan during the first 30 minutes, and remove for the last 30 minutes. This will help the bread cook evenly. 

Happy Creating!

Apple-y Ever After

Hello, hello! It’s a brand new week with a new set of family mealtime fun! Comment below and tell me how many meals you have done so far this month with your family! Also how many bingo squares have you done??

While you are celebrating all of this family mealtime fun, lets highlight our next ingredient: Apples!

Apples are one of the most commonly eaten fruit in America, and for a good reason! Apples are packed with vitamins and nutrients that keep us healthy while tasting delicious!

Did you know? Apples are part of the rose plant family along with peaches, plums, and cherries! 

 

Health Benefit

They say ‘one apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and this is because of all the healthy benefits that apples provide. Apples are:

  • Packed with 9 different types of vitamins (Vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, Folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K)- this wide variety will help your body digest food, keep your eyes strong and healthy, strengthen your immune system, and boost your metabolism.
  • Filled with 7 different types of minerals (Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, and Zinc)- minerals can help build strong bones, keep your electrolytes balanced, and strengthen your immune system.
  • Fiber rich- another great source of soluble fiber to help with digestion. An apple can help stop diarrhea and help your body absorb more nutrients.
Creative Creations

Apples are very versatile. They go great in sweet dishes, savory dishes, baked goods, stir fry, and more! Ask mom and dad to pick up some apples from the store and make some creative creations!

  • Apple chips- dehydrate apple slices in the oven or a dehydrator!
  • Smoothies
  • Homemade apple sauce
  • Breads
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Burger topping
  • Chicken, apple, onion, bell pepper kabobs
  • salads
  • food art
  • baked apple dessert- cut apples in half and add a little bit of brown sugar and pecans and then bake until cooked through
  • chicken stir fry
  • fruit salads
  • sliced to dip
Varieties to Try

There are about 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States alone.  Of those 2,500, about 100 varieties are grown commercially and sold. How many varieties have you tried?

Here are some varieties you can try to look for at different markets and grocery stores:

  • Red Delicious
  • McIntosh
  • Golden Delicious
  • Gala
  • Granny Smith
  • Fuji
  • Braeburn
  • Pink Lady
  • Honeycrisp (my personal favorite)
  • Empire
Recipes
Applesauce Bread

 

EXTRA EXTRA!

Ready for this week’s family mealtime meme? Caption this meme!

 

 

The Many Faces of Family Mealtime

How are the mealtime pledges coming along? (check out the post from September 1st for more details) If you haven’t started, we are still early in the month so do not fret!

Family Mealtime doesn’t just have to be a fancy dinner at the table

  • They can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner
  • They can be inside, or outside
  • They can be formal or laid back
  • They can be themed
  • They can be fancy or simple

The options are endless! Try this family Mealtime Bingo to get the ideas flowing!

 

Family Mealtime Bingo Challenge (Printable)

There are many faces of family mealtime. Is your family creative? Silly? Healthy?

Take a picture of your family having a meal. Then add the picture and write one word to describe your family meals in the comments below.

 

Happy Creating!

 

Talk the Talk

As you are waiting for that delicious sorbet to freeze, print up these conversation starters and put in a jar.

Conversation Starter Printable

Sometimes we get so hypnotized by our phones, that we forget to have a regular conversation with the family.

It may not seem like a big deal, but conversing with your family during meals can help your brain develop, it can boost your mood, and it can help you practice communication skills that you will need to be successful as an adult.

So exercise your brains and try these different conversation starters! Comment below and tell us what topic you use this week!

 

 

 

Have fun creating memories!

Scrumptious Strawberry Sorbet

As promised, we have a delicious recipe that will be a fun dessert for one of your family meals this week! Everyone will be amazed by your culinary skills after trying this!

The great thing about this recipe is that there are only 4 ingredients: frozen strawberries, sugar, buttermilk, and lemon juice!

First add the strawberries and sugar to a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped

Second, mix the buttermilk and lemon juice together

Add the buttermilk to the strawberries. Blend until smooth and creamy (you can add more buttermilk if it isn’t creamy enough.

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Store in the freezer for at least 4-5 hours and then serve. If there are any leftovers, simply put back in the freezer. Bon Appetite!

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Doesn’t that look so delicious? Talk to your parents about picking up a few ingredients and then get everyone together to share your masterpiece!

Quick Tip: You can substitute the frozen strawberries for any of your favorite frozen fruits.

Happy Creating!

 

Buttermilk Basics

Happy Labor Day Everyone! Today we are highlighting a unique ingredient called buttermilk.

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Traditional Buttermilk vs. Cultured Buttermilk

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Buttermilk used to always be made right at home. When cows are milked, there is a cream that rises to the top of the pail while the milk portion stays at the bottom. Dairy Farmers will skim that cream off the top, cool the milk for drinking, and then let the cream sit for a while until all liquid drains from the cream. That cream is then churned into butter and the liquid that is remaining is called buttermilk! This is the traditional way of making buttermilk. Homemade traditional buttermilk can grow harmful bacteria if it is not made correctly so be careful choosing this type.

 

 

Farmer Seperating Milk

Nowadays, if you get buttermilk from the grocery store, it is typically made from healthy bacteria cultures put into regular milk (similar to how yogurt is made) to turn some of the milk sugar, or lactose, into lactic acid. This is sometimes called cultured buttermilk so you are not confused with the traditional buttermilk.  Store bought buttermilk and buttermilk powder is usually safer than the traditional buttermilk as long as you keep them stored in the fridge.

 

 

 

In both types of buttermilk, healthy bacteria mix with the lactose and make the milk tangy, thick, and rich. Some people enjoy drinking buttermilk alone, but if you don’t, that’s ok! The tartness can be a great addition to many recipes, especially in baked goods.

Did you know?

If you are out of buttermilk, you can make a substitution by putting 1 Tb of lemon juice or vinegar in 1 cup of milk and let it sit for 10 minutes while it thickens.

Health Benefits
  • Probiotics- remember when we talked about the probiotics in yogurt, and other products (like Kefir)? Buttermilk is another healthy bacteria cultured product that can keep the bacteria in your belly healthy and digest foods better
  • Great source of calcium- which can strengthen bones
  • High in Protein- when the liquid is drained to create buttermilk, the protein goes with it, so a glass of buttermilk has the same amount of protein as a glass of regular milk!
  • Rehydration- Electrolytes are often added to buttermilk, so adding buttermilk to recipes during the summer can rehydrate you after sweating
Creative Creations
  • Homemade dressings
  • Buttermilk biscuits and other baked goods (waffles, pancakes, cake, muffins, etc.)
  • Homemade ice cream
  • Sauces for grilled chicken
  • Add to mashed potatoes or potato salad
  • Add to casseroles
 Varieties to Try
  • Bulgarian Buttermilk
  • Low Fat Buttermilk
  • Buttermilk powder (easiest option)

Quick Tip: Refrigerate buttermilk powder after opening to keep it from clumping together and going rancid.

Recipes
Scrumptious Strawberry Sorbet
Extra! Extra!

Monday Memes

Family Mealtime Month always has extra perks! How many meals did you pledge?

Each week we will have a new meme, but we need great captions so comment away! Who can make the best caption for this week’s meme?

Happy Creating!