Summer on the Run

Too many reasons to list why I’ve been remiss in writing.  Been very busy is first and foremost and will have to do for now.  But, I’m still cooking up food, occasionally having a tough time with my youngest two and sometimes I get stuck in a rut of the same food all the time.  But with summer comes so many possibilities.

Summer can actually be a tough time to eat well but it shouldn’t be.   Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant and they should be incorporated into all meals.  What I’ve been noticing is that unless I cook at home, it’s hard for my kids to get many of those fruits and vegetables in places we might be on a given day.  The lake that I grew up on is where my boys take swimming lessons.  The kids love the concession stand there.  But it gives me added stress because they serve fried food like “curly fries” (curled, spiced French fries) and chicken tenders (yes, they’re real breast meat, but they’re still fried), hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.  They do sell salads but when given those sorts of choices, my boys always want the fried food, burgers and dogs. They also sell ice cream and other “frozen confectionaries” like SpongeBob popsicles and PopShots (quick frozen dots of artificially colored and flavored juice).  And besides the poor nutritional value in these foods, there’s the cost.  It gets expensive if you eat this food daily or even semi-weekly.  So, of course, I have to set limits before we go.   Like, “today you can have _____ but no _____.”  Or, “I’ve made us lunch, we’re not getting anything but an ice cream after, and only the real ice cream, not the colored stuff.”  Or even, “I don’t have money today to buy anything.”  They hate that last one.

Here are a couple of ideas I’ve found success with while at home.  One of my all time favorites are the magic beans. beans purple pot corn rainbow chard


While out, I try to order sides of vegetables or salads.  If we’re at friends who are only cooking up hot dogs and burgers with maybe chips, then I try to fill them up on more veggies while at home.  Healthy sides and snacks like the roasted seaweed snacks and cut up fruits and vegetables help fill the nutrition gap. 

And as my last link suggests: it doesn’t need to be gourmet to be healthy. 

Magic Beans

In our bountiful CSA bin this week was a bag of purple string beans. 

I think they’re “burgundy” beans but not positive.  If you’re ever looking for a fun vegetable to cook with kids, look no further.  Really, these are truly magical.  They are a rich purple outside and grassy green interior but when they cook they turn all green (almost olive colored).  It’s a great thing for the kids to watch as they change colors and it just might be the thing to get the pickier eaters to actually eat some!  It only takes 3 minutes to cook in already boiling water. Drain and put in ice bath when done.  Can reheat with butter, salt and pepper to taste when rest of dinner is ready.

 We actually got our eldest to eat string beans when he was a toddler (after refusing several times) by creating the “Green Bean Dance”. It is a family tradition now and has gotten a bit out of hand.  What started as bopping in seats while munching on the beans together in unison is now full on break dancing.  The funny thing is… it worked.  My toddler was resistant to eating the beans and it became fun.  Kind of like slurping up spaghetti is fun.  Now, they all the love the taste of beans and we don’t need the dance, just occasionally have one for old time’s sake.


Looking at this photo from 2 days ago reminds me that I finally got to the pile of dirt in the corner… today.

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