It’s the last week of summer. I’m just glad it cooled off here in San Diego. There’s a very small but distinct feeling of fall in the air. Fall is my favorite season, hands down.
We recently bought a condo and are first time homeowners. We’ll be spending the next couple of months on renovations but are looking to get settled before the holidays. I’m hoping this will expand my cooking as we will have more freezer space and a bigger refrigerator!
This week I’m trying a few new meals. I’ll be making a slow cooker Cheese Tortellini sans the sausage — an All Recipes dish. I stumbled upon this 17-bean and barley bag at Trader Joes and there’s a soup recipe on the package. I’m going to adapt the recipe for the Slow Cooker. I’m also going to try homemade mac and cheese for the first time.
I’ll post the recipes that turn out. For more ideas for your menu plan see Org Junkie.
What’s Cooking This Week
Monday: Chicken Fajitas with tortillas and guacamole
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Cheesy Italian Tortellini, bread and green salad
Wednesday: 17-Bean & Barley soup, bread and carrots
Thursday: Leftovers/potluck (maybe soup with grilled cheese)
Friday: Salmon Topped with Veggies with mac and cheese
Challenges — Back to School (or Life)
With summer ending that means it’s back-to-school for some of you. Those with younger children will get settled back into a normal routine. Either way it’s a change.
The Lunchbox Love Series over at Foodie-isms is starting this week so I’ll be sure to send you the link for that. I’ve been making lunches for my daughter for about a month now (twice a week). It’s challenging but kind of fun in a weird way.
the biggest challenge is that my daughter hasn’t been eating her sandwiches. She used to eat peanut butter and jelly but no longer seems interested. She prefers grilled sandwiches or bread that is toasted. Here’s a before and after picture of one of her lunches.
I encourage her to try it all but don’t make a big deal when she brings back her lunch. I don’t mind it so much because with these new bento-style lunch boxes she gets a large variety. I’ll be reviewing a few of these lunch boxes…they are so cool.
I think the fun part about making lunches is the presentation. I know when she opens it up she is reminded of home (and me!). I like to throw surprise items in there and I’m even thinking of cutting her sandwiches and cheese up into fun shapes. When she’s old enough maybe I’ll even send her little love notes.
What I didn’t expect was that her lunch time would also include influence from other kids. One night at dinner she ordered us to eat our “healthy foods first”. I asked her where she heard that and she said “a boy at school.” I told her that we never make her eat certain foods before others and to tell the boy that the next time he says it.
This got me thinking about how kids influence each other when it comes to eating. Research actually supports the notion that kids are more likely to eat what their friends are eating. I wrote a guest post on this subject for Meal Planning Magic: How to handle negative (food) peer pressure for kids at school.
Has this been an issue for any of you?
News — Diet soda bad for pregnancy and calories on menus
Some noteworthy news include a study published in the September issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing that pregnant women who drink at least one diet soda a day are 38 percent more likely to have a preterm baby (<37 weeks). Women who drank as much as four diet sodas daily were 78 percent more likely to have a premature baby.
Needless to say diet soda is not recommended during pregnancy (unless maybe you’re 40 weeks and counting).
Also in the news was the FDA draft guidelines for restaurant businesses (with 20 or more locations) to print the calorie information of their items. Upon request, consumers can get additional nutrition information including fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugars.
The only items excluded from the calorie counts are those that will be on the menu for 60 days or less such as daily specials. After the comment period the FDA will finalize the guidelines.
I’m not sure how I feel about this one. I don’t know if I want to see the calorie count on items when I’m relaxed at a restaurant. I do think people who eat out more frequently may benefit from understanding how many calories are in different items. But low calorie doesn’t always equal well balanced.
If you eat out quite a bit check out Healthy Dining Finder. They work with restaurants to get healthier items on the menus (not just low calorie).
Well that’s about it for now. Have a great week!