Tammy's blog

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Freezing bananas for smoothies

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Banana almond smoothie

Ripe bananas are easy to freeze for later! You can use frozen (thawed) bananas for baking, but my favorite use for frozen bananas is smoothies.

Tip: For easier smoothies, freeze ripe bananas in ice-cube-sized chunks on a cookie sheet. After the chunks are frozen, store in a ziplock freezer bag and use as needed for smoothies.

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link in a comment here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please! We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Muffin tips (Western Warmth)
2. Peeling tomatoes (The Local Cook)
3. Ricotta cheese (Black Fox Homestead)
4. Freezer inventory (Recipes Happen)

Royal Berkey Water Filter Giveaway: Winner Announcement!

Royal Berkey Water Filter

The winner of the Royal Berkey Water Filter giveaway is:

Melissa, who says:

My favorite thing that More Than Alive carries is the Berkey Filter. We have a small one, but we could definitely use an upgrade for our family of five.

Congrats to Melissa! I've emailed you to get your mailing address so you can receive your Royal Berkey water filter!

And, a big THANK YOU to More Than Alive for providing the Royal Berkey for this giveaway!

The 10% discount at More Than Alive is still good through today, August 31, 2012. Use this code to receive 10% off any order from More Than Alive: TL7A6

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Dishwasher air-dry dishes tips

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

I like to use my dishwasher's "air dry" setting rather than the heated drying option. Especially in the warmer months, when our windows are open a lot and the house is already plenty warm, there's no need to produce more heat (and use extra electricity) just to dry dishes!

Dishes drying in a dishwasher

Two tips for air drying dishes in the dishwasher:

1. Run the dishwasher at the end of the day, so the dishes have lots of time to dry. I'm able to cram a whole day's dishes into the dishwasher (minus pans and other large items which I wash by hand) and run it once a day, in the evening. This gives the dishes all night to get really dry.

2. When the dishwasher's wash cycle is complete (no need to wait through the "dry" cycle), open the dishwasher. Pull out the racks and pick up the plastic items, or anything with ridges that collect pools of water, and shake off the excess water. Then set those things back on the rack to finish drying.

Doing this speeds up the drying process and eliminates the problem of waking up the next morning with lots of half-wet dishes still in the dishwasher! :)


Figuring out how to efficiently load a dishwasher 

Poll: How often do you run your dishwasher?

Help! How do I use a dishwasher?

2 tricks for washing small stuff in the dishwasher

11 Unusual Things You Can Wash in a Dishwasher

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link in a comment here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please! We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. How to make crispy carrot or sweet potato fries (Feel Good About Dinner)
2. Using space wisely (Recipes Happen)
3. Naturally nice-smelling kitchen (Recipes Happen)
4. Peeling tomatoes (Living So Abundantly)
5. Toddlers in the kitchen (Sunny Side Homestead)
6. Meatloaf tip (Trial and Error Home Ec)

Royal Berkey Water Filter Giveaway! (This week only!)

Our Royal Berkey

We love our Berkey water filter. One of my friends said we treat it like a member of the family. I guess Berkey is the guy we forgot to introduce... but you can't spend much time in our kitchen before you'll meet him! ;)

If you've been reading my blog for very long, you already know I can't stop talking about the Berkey! This week, I've got something more than talk: a Berkey discount code and a giveaway!

More Than Alive is generously giving a Royal Berkey Water Filter ($283 value) to one winner of this giveaway! I'm honored that they would offer this for readers of my website, and I'm thrilled that one of you will be blessed with a Berkey water filter for free! (See the end of this post for giveaway details.)

Our Royal Berkey is still going strong, with the original black filters that came with it when we purchased it 4 years ago. (I did recently buy a new set of black filter elements but haven't needed to replace the original ones yet.) The filters that come with the Berkey will filter 6,000 gallons of water -- bringing the cost per gallon to under 2 cents!

Sometimes the city water here (Seattle area) smells pretty good, but other times I am reminded again of how thankful I am for the Berkey. Along with removing all the yuckies we can't see or taste (plus colors we can see!), it totally takes away the chlorine smell from our water.

Seriously, one day Joshua picked up a jug of water on the counter and said:

"Did you put bleach in this jug of water?"

"No, I just ran that from the tap and was going to fill the Berkey. Why?"

"Because it smells like bleach water."

He was right. The tap water smelled like I had poured some bleach into the jug. I dumped the water (thinking it couldn't possibly have been supposed to smell like that!) and ran some more water and smelled it. It smelled just as bad.

Royal Berkey

Thankfully, our Berkey works great and I don't have to drink water that stinks! Or drag jugs of water to and from the store. Or pay for it. (We recouped our Berkey water filter cost within a year of purchasing it!)

I'm pretty crazy about our Berkey water filter. And no wonder -- when I tracked my water consumption recently it was 12-18 cups per day!

Stuff from More Than Alive

More Than Alive is the Christian-owned company where we purchased our Royal Berkey (using a 10% discount code). Now, the Berkey is my favorite product they carry -- but they have some other great healthy stuff I love like herbal tea blends, SuperMom vitamins, and coffee. Hey, coffee is "healthy stuff", right? ;)

The Giveaway (open Monday - Thursday, August 27-30, 2012):

I'm going to give you multiple entries for this giveaway, okay? Here's what counts:

Go to More Than Alive, then leave a comment here telling me your favorite product they carry. (Be sure to include a way for me to contact you if you win!)

"Like" More Than Alive on Facebook (comment here telling me you did this*)

"Like" Tammy's Recipes on Facebook (comment here telling me you did this*)

Share a link to this giveaway on Facebook (sharing details on my Facebook page -- comment here telling me you did this*)

*Update 8/28 -- Your comments here are your entries; "Facebook Likes" aren't entries, per Facebook guidelines -- if that makes sense. ;)

Winner will be chosen using random.org and announced on Friday, August 31, 2012.

Update: This giveaway is now closed. See winner announcement here!

The Discount:

More Than Alive sells quality bulk herbs, bulk foods, and more -- including our favorite household necessity, the Berkey Water Filter. If you've been waiting to order a Berkey water filter, this discount will give you $28+ off your order!

Use this discount code to receive 10% off your order from More Than Alive Monday-Thursday of this week, August 27-31, 2012.

Discount code: TL7A6

Full disclosure, as usual: I have always maintained that any product review I write will be completely honest. I would never recommend that anyone purchase anything that I wouldn't spend my own hard-earned money on. After we purchased our Berkey, we loved it so much we wanted to review and recommend it to others. More Than Alive asked us to be part of their affiliate program, and we earn a commission on purchases made through the links in this post. Thanks for your support! :)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Dinner Made Diet-Friendly

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

I am not "on a diet", but sometimes it feels that way. Losing weight has meant eating fewer calories... to the tune of about -500 a day. Those have to come from somewhere, and since I'm still eating chocolate, I've had to be creative. ;)

When I'm trying to lose weight and I don't want to be hungry all the time, I need to eat differently from "normal". When I'm the only one in my family who wants to eat "different", this can be challenging.

Tip: I've been making our "normal" meals, but not "put together". By serving build-your-own meals, I can build mine a little healthier or lower-calorie than everyone else's.

A recent dinner: grilled chicken, sauteed veggies, and fresh peaches

My favorite build-your-own dinners:

Tacos, taco salad, or nachos
Burgers (see my "burger salad" here)
Chili (served with toppings like cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and greek yogurt)
Any three-things-for-dinner meal

Tips for building a healthier (or lower calorie) meal:

Tuna Salad
Tuna Salad

1. Make a sandwich into a salad.

For example, tuna salad spread onto a bed of lettuce and sprinkled with chopped onions, pickles, and celery = tuna salad minus the "sandwich". Grilled chicken served over a vegetable salad instead of bread, a hamburger served over it's usual "toppings", or even lunch meat and cheese diced and served with lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers will be fewer calories and extra veggies for you!

I find that having fresh diced tomatoes or avocados is often "juicy" enough that salad dressing or mayonnaise isn't missed. (I know avocados aren't low-calorie, but they're healthier than mayo!)

2. Use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. I love this tip! Plain Greek yogurt is tart and thick and creamy enough that I don't miss my real sour cream... much. :)

3. Skip the bread, or make an open-faced sandwich. You might be eating with a fork while everyone else at the table is holding a sandwich, but... :)

4. Don't be afraid of "plain". Grilled meats, fresh veggies, fresh fruit -- it doesn't have to be fancy! I almost always serve fairly plain and simple fruits and vegetables with our meals. It's easy and usually healthier that way, too.

Bonus baby picture for the week (because I've been too busy picking berries and playing in the sunshine to worry about blogging!):


To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link in a comment here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please! We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Dishwasher rinse aid (Whole New Mom)
2. Pantry mixes and spices (Simply Made Home)
3. Cleaning Misto oil sprayer (Finding Joy in my Kitchen)
4. Chocolate chips substitute (Living So Abundantly)
5. Quick stir fry tip (Sunny Side Homestead)
6. Birthday cake tip (Simply Rebekah)
7. Freezing cherries (A Proverbs 31 Wife)
8. Apron from tea towel (Black Fox Homestead)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Tips for making fried eggs in a stainless steel skillet

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

I've been using stainless steel cookware for years, and I love it. We bought our cookware 4 years ago and it gets tons of use and performs wonderfully for everything I've tried.

Before "the nice stuff", I had some older stainless steel cookware from a garage sale and a few Teflon pieces from another set we had purchased. The Teflon was flaking but...

One of my fears about getting rid of every last piece of Teflon cookware in my kitchen was... making eggs.

Omelet, made on stainless steel

I grew up scrubbing eggs off of a stainless steel skillet after breakfast on the weekends. The "egg skillet" was the worst dish to wash, and getting married and (subsequently) having Teflon for cooking eggs was my dream-come-true as a dishwasher.

When I originally posted my tips for cooking with stainless steel cookware, I hadn't figured out how to make eggs without a big stuck-on mess.

Scrambled eggs in stainless steel cookware

Thanks to my fabulous readers, I learned the secret to making scrambled eggs on stainless steel without them sticking! Seriously, it still makes me smile when I pull off scrambled eggs (or an omelet!) and they're not burnt or stuck and the skillet is super easy to wash afterward.

However, it wasn't until last week that I mastered fried eggs in stainless steel. Those pesky little guys always stuck and often broke and were just generally a pain to try to make. I basically never made fried eggs for this reason.

Last week, Joshua mentioned that he was getting tired of hard boiled eggs. (I serve him 1 hard boiled egg every morning with his oatmeal for breakfast.) Neither of us really love hard boiled eggs, but they are easy and... easy. Joshua said he'd like to try a fried egg instead.

I remembered that my sister Bonnie had posted tips for making fried eggs. With just a few tweaks to my previous method, I turned out some perfect fried eggs... and I spent 0 minutes scrubbing my skillet afterward.

How to make perfect fried eggs in a stainless steel skillet:

1. Preheat empty skillet over medium-low heat.

2. Lightly spray skillet with oil. (I use a Misto.)

3. Crack egg(s) into skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Reduce heat to low; cover skillet with lid. Cook for several minutes, checking for desired doneness.

Flipping the egg(s) is optional. When cooked at the lower temperature, very little egg should stick to the skillet.

After removing egg(s) from skillet, run a little water into the skillet (enough to cover the bottom) to soak. Within minutes or hours (or however long it takes you to get to your dishes... hopefully not days!) anything stuck on the skillet will be completely loose and can be wiped away... no scrubbing!! Yay!

Related: My best omelet tips

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link in a comment here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please! We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Spreadable butter tip (The Earthling's Handbook)
2. How to dehydrate tomatoes (The Local Cook)
3. Roast cooking tips (Simply Made Home)
4. Peeling and cutting peaches (Simply Rebekah)
5. Eating healthfully at work (Recipes Happen)
6. Using bulgur wheat to stretch ground beef (Feel Good About Dinner)
7. Tips for buying organic produce (Modern Alternative Mama)
8. Frosting a cake (Living So Abundantly)
9. Flipping pancakes easily (Sunny Side Homestead)
10. 7 unexpected uses for ice cube trays (Plus Other Good Stuff)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Fried egg rolls (wrapping, sealing, cooking, and freezing tips)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Last year, Joshua got a deep fryer (similar to this Waring Pro model) at Costco. We haven't used it much, but that was his plan: don't increase fried food consumption, just make it a lot easier to make perfect fried food when we do.

And I must admit, the fryer does make it super easy to fry! One of the things we've made with the fryer is egg rolls. Not having to constantly babysit the temperature of the oil was so convenient. Our egg rolls turned out great!

We even put some of the egg rolls in our freezer meal stash for after Channah's birth. (I'll give the reheating details at the bottom of this post.)

Egg roll filling

I don't use much of a recipe for making egg rolls. Gather some ingredients like:

Sticky rice (or your favorite rice), cooked with salt
Grilled chicken, chopped
Finely chopped/shredded cabbage (green or purple)
Chopped onions
Shredded carrot
Chopped broccoli
Minced garlic
Chopped bell peppers (any color)
Thinly sliced celery
Bean sprouts
Bok choy, chopped
Salt, to taste

Unless you want a huge batch of egg rolls, use small portions of all these vegetables. ;)

Saute the vegetables until crisp-tender in a heavy skillet (I use cast iron). Toss in the chicken and rice and stir in some salt to taste.

Tip: If you are making a big batch, you can saute each vegetable separately. This is handy because you can get each item to the perfect crisp-tenderness. (I learned this trick from my mom's Beef Chop Suey recipe.) It does take a bit of time to do them separately, though. You can toss the final mixture in a big mixing bowl.

Egg roll filling tips

When it all tastes really yummy, you're ready to fill the egg roll wrappers.

Tip: Buy big wrappers. Whether it's burritos or egg rolls or anything else, I find that the bigger wraps hold more filling -- and the filling is usually the healthy part. :)

Tips for filling egg roll wraps:

Keep wraps covered with a towel, except for the one you're filling, so they don't dry out.

Have a small bowl of water nearby while wrapping.

Egg roll filling tips

Place filling in the middle of the wrap, as shown. Tip: I use a measuring cup so I can easily see how much filling fits in each egg roll, and then measure accordingly for subsequent rolls.

Egg roll filling tips

Pull bottom corner of wrap up, over filling, and then pull down (towards you) to squeeze the filling into a tube shape.

Egg roll filling tips

Fold side corners to the middle.

Egg roll filling tips

This is where that bowl of water comes in: With wet fingertips, dampen that final corner/flap of egg roll wrapper before folding it down and around. This will seal everything inside.

Egg roll filling tips

Here is what the finished rolls will look like! But don't leave them out too long before frying, because they'll dry out.

Egg roll filling tips

To prevent them from drying out, place them in a dish with a towel covering them while you work on the frying part. :)

To Fry:

Fry egg rolls in 350-degree oil for about 2-4 minutes. They should be lightly browned. Since the filling ingredients are all fully cooked, you don't need to worry about the egg rolls being "raw" inside.

Drain on paper towels. Serve hot and enjoy! Joshua especially likes these served with red pepper jelly.

To Freeze:

Fry until very light brown (about 1/2 to 2/3 the normal frying time). Drain and cool on paper towels. Wrap individually in waxed paper and then place in a Ziplock freezer bag. Store in freezer for up to 6 months.

To reheat from freezer:

Unwrap frozen egg rolls and place on a baking sheet. Bake (from frozen) uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until hot inside and crispy on the outside.

More great ideas: Check out Heather's blog for some filling recipes and dipping sauces for egg roll wrappers, plus instructions for baking instead of frying (probably way healthier!).

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link in a comment here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please! We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Pouring liquids without spilliing (Natures Nurture)
2. Reusing oil after frying (Recipes Happen)
3. Cleaning cooking utensils (Living So Abundantly)
4. Prepping vegetables (Sunny Side Homestead)
5. Tips for packing food for camping trips (Feel Good About Dinner)
6. Batch cooking made easy (Frugal in Florida)
7. Picking a canteloupe (Premeditated Leftovers)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Summer produce tips (Eat Well, Spend Less)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Last night, I forgot I had 5 kids ages 8 and under, and I made a to-do list for today:

Cook beans
Give girls baths
Wash sheets
Clean rug (that Moshe squirted soap onto... 2 weeks ago...) and hang to dry
Do school (3 kids)
Send card to my brother
Weed flower beds
Walk to the library
Make dinner
Order photo prints
Write Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Sounds reasonable, right? I wasn't including breakfast or lunch, 12 diaper changes, lots of baby-holding and nursing, and a general lethargy induced by a very messy house. :O

Only half of my list got done today, and it wasn't even the fun stuff. :P I guess that's a good thing though -- it means the fun stuff (like walking to the library!) is left for tomorrow. :D

Last week I shared 10 Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies. That night, I served grilled burgers for dinner. The only side dish was a bowl of fresh cherries. I'm sounding more and more like superwoman, aren't I? ;)

So, I'm not sharing any revolutionary kitchen tips this week. Instead, let me point you to some great tips from the Eat Well, Spend Less team:

Tips for using your CSA share (or any good produce sales!) from Life As Mom

Jessica has appealing and practical tips as usual!

Ways to use zucchini from Life...Your Way

I love zucchini and pretty much ALL of those zucchini dishes look amazing to me!

Fermenting your own vegetables from Kitchen Stewardship

Katie gives step-by-step photos and instructions for making kimchi (and more).

Garden-fresh pepper salsa from Kingdom First Mom

Salsa is a great way to use fresh fruits or veggies!

Sweet Cherry Plum Jam from Simple Bites

Anything Aimee cooks is something I'd love to be eating. :)

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link in a comment here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please! We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Freezing and storing berries (Whole New Mom)
2. Tip for vintage recipes (Trial and Error Home Ec)
3. Resources for what's in season (The Local Cook)
4. Peeling fresh tomatoes (Mamal Diane)
5. 5 Ways to Make Healthy Choices Less Painful (Feel Good About Dinner)
6. Freezing mushrooms (Recipes Happen)
7. Extra use from the coffee grinder (Simply Made Home)
8. Real food snack tips (Simply Made Home)
9. Composting ideas (Living So Abundantly)
10. Spices (Sunny Side Homestead)
11. Potatoes in the crock pot (Wholesome Homemaker)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Instant oatmeal in the microwave

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

You know how you feel when you discover that you've been doing something the hard way? This is one of those times for me.

Homemade instant oatmeal

When I heard about making homemade instant oatmeal packets by pulsing rolled oats in a food processor, I thought it was a great idea. And for a stretch, while the kids were eating cold cereal I was making myself a bowl of homemade instant oatmeal every morning in the microwave. (You know, the "I just had a baby so everyone makes their own breakfast" stage...) :)

Then one day recently Joshua told me he had read an article about oatmeal on a news site. The article suggested just using quick oats in the microwave. They cook almost as quickly as the "instant" ones.

But of course! Quick oats cook in 1 minute, right? So I tried it. My cereal bowl with 1/2 cup of quick oats, a sprinkle of salt, and some water cooks in about 2 1/2 minutes on HIGH in the microwave. Why did I not just do this in the first place?!

Along with the quick cooking time, I like the texture of the quick oats better than instant.

So, sorry if this is the dumbest kitchen tip ever, but I wish I had realized this back when we first got a microwave and used it for oatmeal. Does being a microwave newbie give me a pass? ;)

My morning oatmeal
My morning oatmeal with add-ins.
If you're on My Fitness Pal you can see my daily food logs. I've lost a bunch of baby weight in the past 4 months, with about 15 pounds left to go! :)

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link in a comment here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please! We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Tips for making butter (Black Fox Homestead)
2. Tips for grilled hamburgers (Western Warmth)
3. What to do with too much zucchini (The Local Cook)
4. Cooking/soaking beans tips (Simply Made Home)
5. Easy healthy food substitutes (Simply Made Home)
6. Flattening cookies (Living So Abundantly)
7. Frozen veggies tip (Sunny Side Homestead)
8. Low-calorie beverage tips (Recipes Happen)
9. Tip for crispy hash browns (Premeditated Leftovers)

10 Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies (Eat Well, Spend Less)

Fresh veggies

Vegetables! We all know they're good for the body, and summer is the perfect time to make sure we're eating plenty of vegetables. Here are my tips and tricks for making sure my family gets their fill of veggies!

Veggie sticks and homemade hummus (from the freezer)

1. Prep ahead. This one is key: Make sure your fridge is stocked with ready-to-eat veggies. Whether this means cutting carrot sticks by the bag-full or buying baby carrots, do what it takes. Celery, carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, and sugar snap peas are some of our favorite fresh vegetables. Have your favorites ready so when you're hungry, you grab them.

Tip: My boys (8 and 6) love to help me peel carrots or make veggie sticks! And kids love eating food that they're helped grow or prepare, so that's an added motivation to get them in the kitchen and involved.

Plan Ahead for Healthy Snacks

5 Ways to Make Food Prep More Fun

Salads for the week: Making time for healthy eating

11 Tips for Kids in the Kitchen Without Losing Your Sanity

Guacamole ingredients
Ingredients for Creamy Guacamole

2. Give fewer options at meal times or snack times, and include veggies. If you serve a dinner of three different foods, you'll end up eating more of each item than if you serve five foods. Unless you're serving several vegetable dishes, limit the choices for everyday dinners and snacks and your children will surprise you by eating more -- because they're still hungry! :)

Tip: Only buy/offer healthy snacks and if they're hungry, that's what they'll eat.

Dill dip
Veggie sticks with Dill Dip

3. Have a 1-bite rule. If certain family members don't like vegetables, require at least 1 bite of the vegetable being served, especially if you're offering dessert. Our children don't get dessert unless they have eaten each of the "regular" foods.

Tip: For foods they like, such as carrot or celery sticks, we often use their age as a requirement for what they should eat. E.g. the 8-year-old needs to eat 8 pieces, the 4-year-old only 4. If they're not hungry enough to eat that, then they don't get dessert (if we're having dessert). Left to their own ways, they would surely be "too full" for the veggies and hungry for treats or snacks later! ;)

4. Serve main dish salads.

Tip: My family likes it when I make main dish salads but don't combine everything. Joshua then makes his own salad, adding some extra meat or protein. The kids often have their "salads" as piles of separate ingredients on their plates and prefer to eat it that way rather than mixed together. I make my salad more along the lines of the original recipe. In the end, we're all satisfied and had fun eating dinner together. :)

5. Make soup; sneak them in. I'm not about being sneaky in the kitchen (Joshua's nose and eyes are much too keen for that!) but I've found that it's easy for us to eat bowl after bowl of vegetable soup or another healthy soup filled with veggies.

Other recipes can handle having a few extra veggies thrown in as well, especially if it's something in season and you're bursting at the seams with extras! :)

6. Serve and eat the veggies first at meal times. We like to serve small portions of the main dish with a hearty helping of vegetables, and the plate needs to be completely cleared before second-helpings of the main dish are given. This should be done age-appropriately, of course; our children almost always clean their plates and have seconds of whatever they liked best.

7. Serve veggies at every meal and every dinner. Having pizza? Serve veggies or a salad on the side. Don't let one-dish meals with a few veggies buried beneath cheese sauce or gravy be the only vegetable you serve at dinner!

Tip: Cook some frozen veggies, make a salad, or pull out your already-prepped raw veggies for a fast, healthy side dish. You'll eat less pizza that way, too. ;)

Chicken Squash Bake recipe
Chicken Squash Bake: one of our seasonal favorites that's on our menu this week!

8. Eat what's in season for the best quality. Vegetables are best when they're at their freshest, so eat what's in season (often also on sale!) or ready in your garden. This helps get some natural variety in your vegetable intake, as well.

Tip: Buy frozen veggies and mix for variety; buy frozen stir-fry veggies for a pre-done mixture that's a cinch to cook and serve.

Stir-fry veggies
Costco's Stir-Fry Vegetable Blend: Preheat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat; add oil and frozen veggies. Sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds. Stir frequently and saute until crisp-tender. Serve with grilled or baked fish, chicken, or meat of your choice!

9. Get creative with how you're serving your veggies. Don't just boil or steam them. Boil, steam, grill outside, saute on the stove top, or roast in the oven for more variety and flavor!

Tabbouleh, one of my top favorite summer salads

10. Find veggie alternatives for a less-healthful ingredient. Instead of serving tacos in flour tortillas, serve them in iceberg lettuce leaves or artisan lettuce "cups". Instead of stuffing tuna salad into a pita, serve it over a green salad. Load up that omelet with diced tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers and cut back the cheese.

Tip: If your family's not on board with lettuce cup taco tortillas, remember: you can serve everything separately and they can pick and choose. Maybe they'll want to try one after they see you enjoying yours! :)

Eat Well, Spend Less series

This post is part of the Eat Well, Spend Less series! I'll be back with more from this series in a couple days! :)


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