Thursday, February 28, 2008

February 29th Menu - It's a Leap Year!

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 29: Breakfast - ten grain hot cereal, prunes; Lunch - egg salad (Grazing Fields eggs), 100% whole grain toast, sweet potatoes, carrots; Snacks - banana, graham crackers

Childcare Center Menu, February 29: Breakfast - cream of wheat; Lunch - egg salad; Snacks - carrots, cookies...The cook is on vacation for a month. Could this really be all that is on the menu tomorrow? I hope not.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Studies Have Shown...

As a dietitian, it is really hard for me to admit this. But I am having a very difficult time keeping my cool when Caroline doesn't want to eat. Caroline is now 19 months (tomorrow!) and even though I have been warned many times that she might develop picky eating habits soon, I never believed it. What? My daughter? A picky eater? No, it won't happen to me. It can't happen to me. I introduced spinach and carrots to Caroline when she was still floating around in my uterus. And studies have shown...It's not that she doesn't like the food (though admittedly sometimes she isn't crazy about it). It's just that she would rather pull her socks off, put her tiny size 4 feet on the dinner table, and count to 9 (one, two, two, four, one, nine) on her fingers. And when I offer her quiche (which I thought was one of her favorite foods), she screams, NO! My sister Sophie said that as long as Caroline gets enough food throughout the day, refusing to eat at some meals is not that big of a deal...and that I should be happy that Caroline is becoming a little independent person. I know she is right and in fact, studies have shown...Somehow, all those studies I've read seem to have little meaning after I've taken off my "dietitian" hat and put on my "real mom with real challenges" hat.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 28: Breakfast - blueberry muffin, pearsauce; Lunch - BBQ chicken (Creswick Farms), mashed potatoes, lettuce, blueberries (frozen, Walton Orchards); Snacks - hummus, whole grain Melba toast, broccoli

Childcare Center Menu, February 28: applesauce, blueberry muffin; Lunch - BBQ chicken, lettuce, honeydew, mashed potatoes; Snacks - graham crackers

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Creswick Farms!

After taking a bit of a hiatus for a couple of months, Andrea Creswick's name popped up in my Gmail inbox on Sunday. Andrea and Nathan Creswick own and operate Creswick Farms out in Ravenna. Andrea is one of the most cheerful, positive people that I have ever met. I love getting her monthly newsy emails about what's happening on their farm and how their one year old baby (...toddler) is doing. We have been buying our meat from Andrea and Nathan since we moved to Lansing back in 2004. They raise cows, pigs, lambs and laying hens on pasture. And, unlike the meat that comes from animals raised in a CAFO (confined animal feeding operation...or crowded animal feeding operation), the meat from Creswick Farms comes from animals that have never been treated with hormones or antibiotics. From an ethical and public health standpoint, the pasture and hormone/antibiotic issues are important to me. The delicious taste and juiciness of the meat is a bonus! You can't buy Creswick Farms meat at the grocery store. But you can once a month behind the Cracker Barrel in Okemos. Yes, in a parking lot! Once a month, Andrea and Nathan drive from Ravenna to Okemos with their big freezer truck filled with homemade sausages, Canadian bacon, eggs, chicken, lamb, pork, beef, and a couple of times a year, turkey. Their next trip is on March 8. Orders need to be placed via email ( or phone (616-837-9226) by March 2!

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 27: Breakfast - ten grain hot cereal, prunes, Satsuma orange; Lunch - spinach and mushroom quiche, Pink Lady apple, carrots; Snacks - Queen's Lace peaches (frozen last summer), cottage cheese

Childcare Center Menu, February 27: Breakfast - bananas, oatmeal, raisins; Lunch - quiche, spinach, apples, carrots; Snacks - watermelon, flour tortillas with cream cheese

February 26th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 26: Breakfast - whole wheat blueberry muffin, Queen's Lace peaches (frozen from last summer); Lunch - cowboy beans (Michigan pinto beans simmered with onions and Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes), Mexican rice with peas, fresh mozzarella cheese, corn (frozen last summer, Titus Farms); Snacks - Satsuma orange, whole wheat saltine crackers, hummus

Childcare Center Menu, February 26: Breakfast - blueberry muffin, pineapple; Lunch - ground turkey, beans, Mexican rice, cantaloupe; Snacks - watermelon, pita bread, hummus

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Enough Already!

These days, I hate living in Michigan. Although the temperature finally warmed up to 30F today, it has been hovering around 0F for what seems like months. We still have snow on the ground and weather forecasters predict another 2-4 inches tomorrow. Enough already! To make matters worse (yes, I am whining), I am sick and tired of the expensive, poor quality food that I end up buying week after week. It's that time of year when supply is low, prices are high, and quality is...well, crappy. This weekend, I passed up the organic, Michigan apples from Almar Orchards. Last week, I bought two bags and both had apples with large bruises and rotten spots. So on Saturday, I opted for Satsuma oranges and Pink Lady apples, both organic and grown domestically but in states that are a thousand plus miles away. It is a hard time of year to support Michigan farmers. I'll dig deep into my freezer this week and try to incorporate locally grown beans into Caroline's lunch.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 25: Breakfast - O's, Satsuma orange; Lunch - marinated and baked tofu, Jasmine rice, sweet potatoes (frozen, Stahlbush Island Farms), peas (frozen, Cascadian Farms); Snacks - whole milk plain yogurt, blueberries (frozen, Walton Orchards), whole wheat graham crackers

Childcare Center Menu, February 25: Breakfast - Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Life, orange juice; Lunch - tacos, refried beans, taco lettuce, bananas; Snacks - blueberry yogurt, vanilla wafers

Friday, February 22, 2008

February 22nd Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 22: Breakfast - ten grain hot cereal, prunes, grapefruit; Lunch - cheese pizza on whole wheat English muffin, carrots, peas (frozen, Cascadian Farms); Snacks - mini blueberry muffins

Childcare Center Menu, February 22: Breakfast - raisins, fruit cocktail, oatmeal; Lunch - cheese pizza, cantaloupe, carrots sticks; Snacks - monkey bread, cucumber slices

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shepard's Pie!

Geoff is in the kitchen making shepard's pie for Caroline's lunch tomorrow. It's our own version of the classic recipe from the Joy of Cooking - a think layer of mashed potatoes over a ground chicken (instead of ground lamb) and vegetables. I love lamb but we don't have any on hand. And since we have several leg quarters of chicken in our deep freezer...We bought the chicken a couple of months ago from Nathan and Andrea, owners of Creswick Farms in Ravenna, Michigan. Once a month, fans of Creswick Farms gather in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel in Okemos and wait patiently for Nathan and Andrea to drive up in their white truck loaded with lamb, pork, beef, chicken, eggs, and sausage. The animals are all raised on pasture and it is delicious. They take a couple of months off in the winter and their last delivery was back in November (or was it December...). Instead of going through Creswick Farms withdrawl like we did last year, we were sure to stock up on our favorite cuts and have plenty of meat to last us until the next delivery in early March!

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 21: Breakfast - 100% whole grain toast, apple butter, peaches (canned); Lunch - shepard's pie, grapefruit, mixed vegetables (frozen, Cascadian Farms); Snacks - Gold Rush apple (Almar Orchards), whole grain Melba toast

Childcare Center Menu, February 21: Breakfast - wheat bagels, strawberry jam, peaches; Lunch - shepard's pie with turkey, potatoes and beans, oranges, wheat bread; Snacks - pears, wheat crackers

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

February 20th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 20: Breakfast - ten grain hot cereal, prunes, banana; Lunch - spinach lasagna, mixed vegetables (frozen, Cascadian Farms); Snacks - blueberries (frozen, Walton Orchards), whole milk plain yogurt

Childcare Center Menu, February 20: Breakfast - cream of wheat, bananas, raisins; Lunch - chicken enchiladas, California vegetables, mangoes; Snacks - pumpkin pie, watermelon

Monday, February 18, 2008

Recalled Beef - 143 million pounds

On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recalled 143 million pounds of beef from the California slaughterhouse, Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. This was the largest beef recall in history. The slaughterhouse provides meat to school lunch programs and since the recall dates back to February 1, most of the meat has probably already been eaten. According to the AP story, the meat came from animals that were non-ambulatory or "downer" cows which are normally kept out of the food supply because they are more likely to be sick and therefore pose a higher risk of contaminating our food supply with bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. An undercover Humane Society video shows that the animals were shoved with forklifts, kicked, shocked, and had water forced down their throats. What is most disturbing is that I am not so sure that this was a one-time occurrence. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that such abuse is a normal part of slaughterhouse life. This is one of the reasons why I avoid meat that has been raised and processed conventionally. I just never know. And when I do, I feel sick and sad.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 19: Breakfast - 100% whole grain toast, apple butter, pearsauce; Lunch - mac n' cheese, mixed vegetables (frozen, Cascadian Farms), grapefruit; Snacks - sweet potatoes

Childcare Center Menu, February 19: Breakfast - applesauce, wheat bagels, cream cheese; Lunch - tuna and noodles, mixed vegetables, kiwi; Snacks - baked potatoes with cheese

February 18th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 18: Breakfast - O's, pearsauce; Lunch - marinated and baked tofu, brown rice, sweet potatoes, banana, mixed vegetables (frozen, Cascadian Farms); Snacks - fresh mozzarella cheese, whole wheat graham crackers

Childcare Center Menu, February 18: Breakfast - grape juice, Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Golden Grahams; Lunch - turkey hot dogs, carrots, bananas; Snacks - watermelon, graham crackers

Thursday, February 14, 2008

February 15th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 15: Breakfast - O's, pearsauce; Lunch - tomato and meat sauce, whole wheat English muffin, cauliflower; Snacks - blueberries (frozen, Walton Orchards), whole wheat graham crackers

Childcare Center Menu, February 15: Breakfast - fruit cocktail, wheat croissants; Lunch - turkey sloppy joes, wheat buns, watermelon, California vegetables; Snacks - cucumbers, flour tortillas

Stahlbush Island Farms!

Stahlbush Island Farms is my new favorite frozen food brand. I love the packaging - craft paper colored bags with a purple and green logo and an artistic drawing of what's inside. But more than the packaging, I love that I have an alternative to Cascadian Farms. Stahlbush Island Farms is located in Oregon (yes, it's far away) and is a family-owned farm and food processing operation that is committed to sustainable agriculture. Plus, Tracy, who works at Stahlbush posted on Caroline's Lunchbox on January 27 and of course, that won me over! I just wish that I could find more of their frozen foods in our area. Our local food co-op only carries cauliflower, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, and spinach. In today's lunch? Stahlbush Island Farms sweet potatoes.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 14: Breakfast - ten grain hot cereal, prunes; Lunch - salmon salad, 100% whole grain bread, sweet potatoes (frozen, Stahlbush Island Farms); Snacks - whole milk plain yogurt, peaches (canned)

Childcare Center Menu, February 14: Breakfast - apple sauce, cream of wheat; Lunch - turkey sandwiches with wheat bread, cucumbers, honeydew, potato soup; Snacks - lemon pudding, wheat crackers

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

February 13th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 13: Breakfast - ten grain hot cereal, prune, peaches (canned); Lunch - mac n' cheese, mixed vegetables (frozen, Cascadian Farms); Snacks - Gold Rush apple (Almar Orchards), sunflower butter

Childcare Center Menu, February 13: Breakfast - oatmeal, raisins, bananas; Lunch - mac n' cheese, California vegetables, cantaloupe; Snacks - apples, soynut butter

Monday, February 11, 2008

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Apples

I was so excited this weekend to find Michigan apples at our local food co-op! The apples are organic and from Almar Orchards in Flushing, Michigan. We visited Almar Orchards in the fall with our friends Kate and Ross and their son Emerson who is 2 weeks older than Caroline. We had a great time visiting the farm animals, riding around the orchards in the horse-drawn carriage (even though it was raining), and tasting apples and apple doughnuts! I bought two different varieties of apples this weekend, both in 5lb bags - Gold Rush and MacIntosh. Caroline took a MacIntosh apple for lunch today. Tonight I am going to experiment with the apples in my slow cooker and if all goes well, Caroline will have slow cooker cinnamon apples for her lunch tomorrow.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 12: Breakfast - slow cooker apples, ten grain hot cereal; Lunch - lentil croquettes, carrots, 100% whole grain bread; Snacks - Melba toast, Colby cheese, blueberries (frozen, Walton Orchards)

Childcare Center Menu, February 12: Breakfast - pineapple, wheat croissants; Lunch - chicken nuggets, carrots, grapes, wheat bread; Snacks - saltines, cheese slices

Sunday, February 10, 2008

No, no, no!

It's been a weekend of "No, no, no." What I thought was just an "I hate vegetables" phase turns out to be an "I don't want to eat anything" phase. Now I understand why books like, The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious are on the NY Times bestseller list. All weekend, Caroline has been the pickiest of eaters. She refuses to eat almost anything...though she happily ate the Butternut squash cake that I made today for a neighborhood party. If it weren't for her 1:00 am wake-up calls, I probably wouldn't be feeling as anxious as I do. But for several nights now, Caroline wakes up in the middle of the night hungry and crying. We give her a bottle of milk and usually end up having to sleep with her on the couch. Anyone who has slept on a (small) couch with an 18-month old knows that no one really ends up getting any sleep. I'm tired! And Caroline needs some food. So, tomorrow, I am going to pack what she has happily ate in the past. And hope that she eats it.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 11: Breakfast - O's, pearsauce; Lunch - marinated and baked tofu, brown rice, Butternut squash; Snacks - MacIntosh apple (Almar Orchards), whole milk plain yogurt

Childcare Center Menu, February 11: Breakfast - orange juice, Cheerios, LIfe, Rice Krispies; Lunch - veggie tacos, refried beans, lettuce, cheese, bananas; Snacks - apples, strawberry yogurt

Thursday, February 7, 2008

February 8th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 8: Breakfast - ten grain hot cereal, D'Anjou pear; Lunch - red lentil soup, egg salad, 100% whole grain bread, carrots; Snacks - blueberry muffin

Childcare Center Menu, February 8: Breakfast - oatmeal, raisins, orange slice; Lunch - lentil soup with celery and carrots, turkey sandwiches on wheat bread, pear; Snacks - chocolate cookies, cucumber slices

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

No Vegetables, Please!

Caroline seems to be going through a bit of picky eating phase. Or, maybe it's more like an "I hate all vegetables" phase. At least I hope it's just a phase. She used to love eating foods like spinach, carrots, and broccoli but these days, she won't even touch them. When I ask her if she would like to eat her broccoli, she looks at me and says, "No, No." Like, "Are you talking to me? Oh. No, I don't want to eat my broccoli. You can have it." Think nonchalant. Instead of feeling frustrated, I try to take my own advice and not make a big deal out of it. And I try to remind myself that children need repeated exposure (up to 20 times) to new foods before they are willing to try them. But the truth is, I feel anxious when Caroline doesn't eat her vegetables. I can't help it. But I refuse to follow in the footsteps of cookbook authors who try to trick their children into eating vegetables. So, what to do?

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 7: Breakfast - blueberry muffin, whole milk plain yogurt; Lunch - black bean croquettes, brown rice, fresh mozzarella cheese, broccoli, Minneloa tangerine; Snacks - D'Anjou pear, graham crackers

Childcare Center Menu, February 7: Breakfast - blueberry muffin, pineapple; Lunch - chicken soft tacos, cheese, lettuce, orange; Snacks - graham crackers, grapes

February 6th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 6: Breakfast - ten grain hot cereal, prune; Lunch - grilled cheese on 100% whole grain bread, Julie's tomato soup, D'Anjou pear, carrots (Giving Tree Farm); Snacks - hard boiled egg, apple

Childcare Center Menu, February 6: Breakfast - cream of wheat, banana, raisins; Lunch - grilled cheese on wheat bread, tomato soup, pears, carrots; Snacks - apple slices, soynut butter

Monday, February 4, 2008

February 5th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, February 5th: Breakfast - pearsauce, banana oat muffin; Lunch - brown rice with lentils and dried apricots, peas and carrots (frozen, Cascadian Farms); Snacks - mixed vegetables (frozen, Cascadian Farms), yogurt dip, 100% whole grain toast

Childcare Center Menu, February 5th: Breakfast - applesauce, French toast sticks; Lunch - spanish rice with ground turkey, stewed tomatoes and onion, peas, carrots, kiwi; Snacks - veggies, sour cream dip

Tomato Sauce Confession

Geoff made a confession this weekend. He doesn't like Barbara Kingsolver's Family Secret Tomato Sauce (see January 30 post) that we canned last summer. He rarely tells me that he doesn't like something that I've made so this must be serious. Well, it turns out that he doesn't think that the ingredients that I was so intrigued with - nutmeg and cinnamon - belong in tomato sauce. Caroline seems mixed on this one. I have 5 more quarts of the sauce so I hope that she will help me eat it. I have about a half cup left from last week so I will pack it in her lunch tomorrow. At the very least, I know that she will eat the pasta. But for the record, I love this sauce.

Carolline's Lunchbox Menu, February 4: Breakfast - O's, pearsauce; Lunch - whole wheat mostaciolli noodles, Family Secret Tomato Sauce, mixed vegetables (frozen, Cascadian Farms), fresh mozzarella cheese; Snacks - Butternut squash

Childcare Center Menu, February 4: Breakfast - white grape juice, Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Golden Grahams; Lunch - mostaciolli noodles, spaghetti sauce, salad, bananas; Snacks - bread sticks, carrots
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