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Watermelon in February?

“Why can’t we get the watermelon?” my kids plead with me as we cruise the aisles in the grocery store.  Not in season, I reply, not to be persuaded.  The irony is I don’t think twice as I reach for the asparagus, setting it down gently in our cart next to the carton of strawberries and on-the-vine tomatoes.  Yeah, not in season indeed.

I grew up in a family that was conscious of growing seasons.  My mom would never buy strawberries out of season, primarily from a cost perspective:  out of season items cost more.  (They also don’t taste as good, and if you don’t agree just taste succulent summer corn on the cob or red, ripe strawberries freshly picked and so sweet they just melt in your mouth).  My mom knew what was in season and what wasn’t and shopped accordingly.

However, I also don’t think we had as many options back then.  Nowadays, in our 24-7 society, you …

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Chef Chloe – My Vegan Savior and New Best Friend

Chef Chloe's Winning Recipe - Raspberry Tiramisu Cupcakes

With headlines like these all around, it is hard not to get discouraged:

“Milk does a body good – especially for athletes!

Being forced to eat a vegan diet was certainly not something I had ever anticipated.  As I mentioned earlier this year, my favorite food group (after Fruit) was Dairy.  Milk, ice cream, cheese, butter, yogurt – YUM!  As the months have passed, I have slowly become friends with soy milk in my coffee and almond milk on my cereal.  I can actually now enjoy a bowl of coconut milk ice cream (chocolate peanut butter being my all time favorite – and very good too – as long as you erase the memory of Haagen Dazs from your mind).  And thank goodness for Earth Balance sticks, which I use as a sub in all recipes calling for butter.

So imagine my complete shock and delight when I ran across …

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Knowledge is Power – Get Tested

So many comments have come in about my previous blog article: Is There Life Without Ice Cream that I felt it only fair to follow up.  The main theme was, “How could you receive this news and not have had ANY idea about it beforehand?

That of course is where it gets tricky.  Not just for me, but for ALL of us.  What do we know, what do we admit to, and what do we avoid or pretend doesn’t exist, like an ostrich with its head in the sand?  How in touch are we with our bodies? Are we treating our bodies right?  Finally, are we truly living our optimal lives?

We should be feeling great, not just getting by.  Is merely getting by how we think we should live OUR life here on Earth?  Is living a healthy lifestyle so overwhelming or scary for us that we are willing to accept living at only a fraction of …

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Is There Life Without Ice Cream?

My doctor should have prefaced it with, “Are you sitting down?  You might want to be when you hear your blood test results.” Instead she just kind of breezed through them as if they weren’t so life altering and earth shattering.  In fact, it’s almost been 24 hours, and this Zen Mama Wannabe still can’t quite get my head around it all.

Me – Miss Lover of Cheese, Ice Cream, Milk, Chocolate (did I mention cheese and ice cream?), Miss Vegetarian who eats only fish and dairy products (no meat, chicken, pork), Miss Tries-To-Get-Her-Protein-Through-Soy told that I have a high sensitivity to all things good dairy and need to avoid them at all costs?!   No more eating/drinking milk of any kind, or cheese made from cow’s milk (american, blue, cottage, etc), or yogurt, frozen yogurt, or…gulp…ice cream?  Does such a world exist?

If that wasn’t enough (and I thought it was plenty!) I am apparently highly sensitive/allergic to “…

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Do You Know What You’re Eating for Lunch?

It was a beautiful summer day; we were out and about, and on a whim headed to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch.  By the time we reached the hostess podium, I already knew what I was having:  their Grilled Shrimp & Bacon Club sandwich, minus the Bacon, minus the extra slice of bread.  A good buddy of mine calls me Sally – and I always retort in my best Meg Ryan voice: Well, I just like things the way I like them. (A true Zen Mama Wannabe motto if there ever was one!)

Yep, I had it all planned; my mouth was watering at the thought of those yummy shrimp as we glanced at the extra menu placed on the table when they seated us.  Nutritional information – as required now by law.  Gulp – at a place like the Cheesecake Factory where portions are oversized as it is; did I dare peek inside?

My hesitation zipped past disbelief …

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What’s For Dinner??

DinnerPlateAbout a year ago I made a threat promise to my children.  I said it out loud.  Many times.  In 2009, when my daughter turned 5 and my son turned 8, that was it…we would all be eating the SAME thing for dinner.  Every night.  No more “kids meals.”  No more different menus for children and grown-ups.  Ah yes, what do they say about good intentions?  It’s only been a week and already what I want to eat most are my words!

This all ties into the big aha moment I had – that started me us on this journey.  Why did I think it was necessary for my kids to LIKE what was being served for dinner??  They were as shocked to hear my discovery as I was to make it.  But once I did, it was like DUH!!  Talk about a moment of parental clarity.

In my defense (of which there is none really) it …

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Ending Dinner on a Sweet Note

Do your kids have dessert every night?  Is it a regular part of your mealtime – or only done as a special treat?  What is your feeling on this?  Is it better when it is thought of as “no big deal” instead of a hugely sought after treat that only occurs on special occasions?  And how is this shaping our children’s eating habits – now and in the future?

Cherry-Pie-Slice
I grew up in a household that had dessert every night.  My mom is of the generation that regularly baked homemade pies, cakes, etc. and served them after supper each night.  That lessened to a great degree after I was born, but we still had ice cream or pudding or SOMETHING to cleanse our palate. 

My mom is all about moderation.  She would have a sliver of pie or a small (tiny by today’s standards) bowl of ice cream.  Just enough to end the meal on a sweet note.  She is …

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The Hidden Surprise in Your Hot Cocoa

Brrr – Baby, it’s cold outside!  There was frost on the ground and fog in the air this morning.  Currently the temperature outside is a chilly 41 degrees and dropping.  A nice warm drink sounds heavenly right now.  Maybe something festive like a Peppermint Mocha Twist or an Eggnog Latte?  But wait a second – this little afternoon pick-me-up is anything but little (calorie wise).  Add a tiny treat to go along with your drink and you are now looking at waistband sabotage of the deadliest kind.

Normally if I go into a Starbucks (or other coffee establishments) I order a non-fat latte.  An 8-oz one is 100 calories; the kind I usually get – a "grande"  – is only a little more (130).  That is where you (or perhaps I should just speak for myself) need to stop.  Call it a day – go home and away from other temptations. 

PeppTwist
But last week I fell for …

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6 Food Mistakes Parents Make

Two weeks ago an article on the New York Times website caught my eye, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since. 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make” lists common sense food errors parents make when trying to get kids to eat healthy.  Are these really “mistakes” we make with our kids?  Are you guilty of any (or most – like me)?  With a laissez-faire attitude, do kids eventually branch out and become less fussy?  Or, do healthy habits need to be diligently developed?

It is not just Ms. Parker-Pope’s article that talks about involving kids in the actual cooking process.  Experts agree that children who participate in the preparing of the meals are for the most part more interested in eating those meals.  Keeping kids out of the kitchen is not something I try to arrange.  Yet most nights I find myself cooking alone.  Oh, I have helpers when I make homemade pizza (thanks …

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Lunch time Blues

My son has a lunch date today – with his former 1st Grade teacher.  He has been looking forward to it all week.  I have been dreading it (as only a mother of an active member of the Picky Eaters of America club would do).

He missed the pizza party last week, for the students that completed those thick packets she handled out at the end of last year.  My son had an incentive to work hard during the summer, doing so many workbook pages per day, so that he could join her for this pizza party once the new school year started.  Then, wouldn’t you know it, the party was scheduled for last Friday – when we were to be out of town. Sweet teacher that she is, she told him they could have lunch together THIS week – just the two of them (!!!) and she would bring the dessert.  My son is thrilled; I been worrying about …

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