Recycling is Good, Valentines Treats Revisited

As most of you know I usually try to talk about recipes with some nutritional value. I recently have been talking about healthy school lunches. Well, Valentines Day is upon us and I look the other way for one afternoon. I originally posted this during summer as an activity to keep Kidlet busy, but I have been swamped and thought I'd recycle it for Valentines Day. So remember it is recycled but still fun and easy and not terribly horrible for you, if you eat just one!

Last week I was out shopping and needed a bag of marshmallows. (yes we do make our own marshmallows but not all the time) I immediately grabbed a bag because of the great shape of the puffs inside. The marshmallows were longer and thinner than the ordinary ones from the store. I was pretty excited and was probably muttering to myself about how cool they were. Of course I brought them home with me, I prominently displayed them in a jar to admire them and show off their great lines. The next day Kidlet had a play date and they were looking like they needed something to do so, we came up with these pretty gems.
Here is what we did:
Each child got a paper plate and a few marshmallows. We stuck a lollipop stick in each marshmallow, then gently melted some chocolate (chocolate is delicate and will burn in the microwave if not watched carefully)
We dipped each marshmallow stick in the melted chocolate halfway, and then dragged a fork down the sides to create the grooves.
Place them in the freezer for 5 minutes only to set the chocolate. We slipped our sticks into the ends of frozen waffle boxes. (The gap on the sides where the flaps are glued together.) they stood up just right.
Sprinkle with sour candy powder, this was an attempt to use up something we had laying around the house.
A more healthy choice would be crushed nuts, pistachios, almonds or peanuts.

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Finally Taking Control

Processed and sugary snacks at school, this topic has bothered me for a long time. A few years ago I met Ann Cooper our local shining star, whose life’s work is to transform how we feed our children in school each day, from highly processed to highly nourishing food. She is so inspiring and hard working and she cares about our kids. Now the government is taking and interest, well let's hope it works. The truth about what our kids are eating in and out of school has had been plaguing me. I believe everything in moderation, we make cake, we eat candy but starting school each day with a healthy nutritious breakfast is key. Most schools have taken away high sugar breakfast foods, but still have highly processed snack foods available. Anne has been working her hardest to change what our kids are putting in their bodies because she knows that kids need healthy food to think and concentrate. If she can feed a district of 10,000 with a tiny kitchen and one stove then it can be done. When all that is required in a school kitchen to make lunch is a box cutter and microwave, something is wrong. Don't even get me started on the physical aspect of what the junk the kids are eating is doing to them. A candy bar and a soda for lunch will not give you nourishment or brainpower.

The reason I bring this up is because yesterday in the New York Times there was an article called, A Federal Effort to Push Junk Food Out of Schools
"The Obama administration will begin a drive this week to expel Pepsi, French fries and Snickers bars from the nation’s schools in hopes of reducing the number of children who get fat during their school years." Finally it is being paid attention to like smoking or drinking....it is dangerous and America is killing itself one bite at a time. The sad truth is that most parents are not leading by example. We can't expect our kids make the right choices if we are not. If you want your child to sit still, to pay attention to be focused try starting with their diet. Our kids are the future and we need to teach them to respect themselves and take care of themselves. The fact that they can buy crap in school is just sending the wrong message. Thank you Mrs. Obama, I appreciate your focus and I hope people will start to listen.

Here are some healthy lunch ideas:
Soup in a thermos is a great healthy warm lunch. Send some whole grain bread and a soup. Add fruit for that sweet ending or child wants more food buy or make organic healthy muffins.

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Can Food Save Your Life?

101 Optimal Life Foods

Dave Grotto thinks so, in his new book 101 Optimal Life Foods he discusses the benefits of eating healthy to stay alert and keep your insides and outside shiny and new.
"For the millions of Americans tired of hearing about 'what not to eat,' this book is a refreshing and enlightening guide to improving your health by adding delicious foods to your diet. Dave's simple explanations for why these foods are potential 'life savers' makes the book enjoyable to read, and the recipes bring the science to life on your plate."—Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Nutrition Director, Prevention Magazine
Dave asked me to submit two recipes to his book and I gladly accepted. One of them is a Cocoa Encrusted Salmon with Blueberries. It was fun trying to pack as many antioxidants into the recipe as I could. Check out the book for more great suggestions. He also has included menus for great skin and alleviating the mid day nap attack.

Here are a few great ideas from this book, who knew?
• Chocolate, tea, and dried plums reduce the signs of aging skin.
• Combining walnuts and cherries can lead to the best sleep of your life.
• Artichoke leaves bring relief from common stomach ailments.
• Oysters can alleviate the effects of crippling migraines.
• Wasabi helps treat bad breath.

So check my recipes and try some out, maybe your kids will like them too.

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