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Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category

Let’s have more meals at the family table!

Family dinners at the table…THIS has been on my mind for a past couple weeks. I do it in my household, almost every day.  I do have younger children.  I understand that it does get tougher as children grow older and have activities after school, but it is SO important.  I guess I never thought that there was any other way to have your dinner. Since I was a child, even in a divorced household, we always had every meal we ate in our home at our kitchen table.  Since my addiction of reality tv, I now see that rarely do families sit down together and also, a very alarming thing to me is that tons of families aren’t even feeding their children vegetables, that just blows me away!

Now, I’m not saying i’m perfect and I’m not expecting families who never eat together to start eating at the table 5 days a week, but you sure as hell can set a goal and go from there! Try two nights a week and build from that. Even if you are crunched for time and have to order a pizza, bring it to the table, it still counts!  Here are some benefits from having family meals together (courtesy of WebMD):

 

  • Everyone eats healthier meals.
  • Kids are less likely to become overweight or obese.
  • Kids more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
  • They’re less likely to drink alcohol.
  • They won’t likely try marijuana.
  • They’re less likely to use illicit drugs.
  • School grades will be better.
  • You and your kids will talk more.
  • You’ll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
  • Kids will feel like you’re proud of them.
  • There will be less stress and tension at home.

And here’s another tidbit, it doesn’t take super mom or super dad to do this. There are so many ways to whip up a healthy meal in a jiffy. I am a stay at home mom and also going back in school myself, so my schedule is super crazy and I still manage to get it done.  Another fun thing we do every night at the table is a game called “Roses and Thorns” it’s a great conversation starter and a fantastic way to find out something about your child’s day that you may have normally never found out about. The game is simple, go around the table and each person states their “rose” or, best part of the day, and then they state their “thorn” which is the worst part of their day. Everyone plays…mom and dad, or grandma, or aunt and uncle…everyone at the table participates.

Here is  a simple, healthy family meal that is easy to make. Combining lean red meat, brocolli, and tomatoes is a great way to get key absorption of iron and vitamin C.

Erin’s Goulash

2 lbs lean ground meat (you can use chicken, beef, pork, turkey) sometimes I  do 1lb ground beef, 1lb sweet italian sausage

1 large chopped sweet onion

2 cups uncooked  elbow macaroni

1- 29 oz can tomato sauce

2 cans diced tomatoes

3 cloves garlic minced

2-3 cups of water

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Lawry’s seasoning salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Cook ground meat, garlic and onion in large stock pot or dutch oven, drain grease. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, water, and bay leaves to pot. Bring to a boil, then add uncooked elbow mac. Turn heat down to medium, cover with lid and simmer 20 minutes. Next turn heat to low or off and goulash will thicken.

Serve with fresh steamed brocolli and your kids will have maximum absorption of vitamin c and iron from combining the red meat and veggies!

If anyone has any questions about nutrition and sneaky ways to get healthy foods into your childrens’ diet, feel free to email me at foodtrampdiaries@live.com

Sunday Gravy

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So, maybe I watch a little too much “Sopranos” & “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” cause I am ALWAYS craving Italian food lately. Clicking on a blog the other day I saw a recipe for ‘Sunday Gravy with braised meats.’ Well, reading gravy/braised/meats totally sold me. The first recipe called for fennel powder (which I knew I would never find) and white wine. I only had merlot on hand, then it made me wonder if this recipe could vary and boy it sure did!  After looking at about seven different blogs I took bit and pieces from each and compiled a recipe that turned out delicious! Bon apetit!

Sunday Gravy

Ingredients

1 pkg sweet or hot italian sausage
1 rack of baby back ribs
2- 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
5- fresh basil leaves chopped
Handful fresh chopped Italian flat parsely
4 large cloves of garlic put thru a press or finely diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup red wine
1 sweet onion diced
1 tsp beef bullion (or one cube)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds crushed up
Salt & pepper

This gravy needs to simmer for at least three hours so be sure to use a dutch oven or a thick bottomed pot.

Strip the membrane off the back of your baby back ribs. If you don’t strip the membrane they will not be as tender.

Season your ribs as you’d like, I used Lawry’s seasoned salt & pepper.

Cut ribs in two rib pieces, meanwhile heat dutch oven to med-high with olive oil to cover bottom.

Sear off the sausage & ribs, in batches if necesaary. Remove meat & turn heat down a bit.

Now, add onion and garlic and sweat down for a few minutes. Turn heat to medium-low, add tomato paste, and allow to cook a few minutes longer while scraping off bottom of pan to get the meaty bits loose.

Add boillon base and red wine. If you have white wine use white, either is fine. Bring to simmer.

Add rest of ingredients except meat. Bring to low simmer, then add meat. Keep on low simmer for 3 to 5 hours.

Serve with pasta, green salad, and crusty Italian bread. Hope you love it as much as my family did! 🙂

Late Nite Snack

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Here it is…after a few Miller Lites, a cereal dinner was not gonna hold me.

What is your go to late nite snack?

On the plate

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Here is the sweet n tangy chicken I made last night.

What’s For Dinner?

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I’m now at a point in mommyhood where my two oldest go to two different schools and my daughter is in all day school. With sports/activities starting next week I’m going to be using my crock pot A LOT. I’ll share my favorite crock pot recipes along the way. I’m also meeting with a publisher to get a cookbook started…all about fast & easy recipes for families on the go. Just because the day is jam packed doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthy fast food.

Today I am making sweet n tangy chicken, compliments of Allrecipes.com. I usually end up making a few revisions to every recipe I cook, so it is not exact.  Enjoy!

Please leave a comment below, what are you making for dinner tonight?

Sweet n Tangy Chicken

4-6- boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1- bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
1- can crushed pineapple
1- sweet onion sliced
1- red pepper sliced

Place chicken breasts at bottom of crock pot. Pour sliced onions over top. Pour pineapple and BBQ sauce in. Use spoon to lightly mix together.   Cook on low for 6 hours and during the last hour add your peppers. I add them last or else they will be too mushy.  If this cooks longer than 6 hours the sauce will burn onto your crock pot, but it is okay, just tougher clean up. Serve over white rice and enjoy. 🙂