I wanted to share this article I wrote and styled for Edible Magazine. My husband is the photographer and my daughter was the taster. I use the whey from the cheese making as my liquid in the biscuits, it creates less waste and adds flavor.
Here is a photo from the Spring Issue by Matthew Carden
Processed and sugary snacks at school, this topic has bothered me for a long time. A few years ago I met Ann Cooper our local shining star, whose life’s work is to transform how we feed our children in school each day, from highly processed to highly nourishing food. She is so inspiring and hard working and she cares about our kids. Now the government is taking and interest, well let’s hope it works. The truth about what our kids are eating in and out of school has had been plaguing me. I believe everything in moderation, we make cake, we eat candy but starting school each day with a healthy nutritious breakfast is key. Most schools have taken away high sugar breakfast foods, but still have highly processed snack foods available. Anne has been working her hardest to change what our kids are putting in their bodies because she knows that kids need healthy food to think and concentrate. If she can feed a district of 10,000 with a tiny kitchen and one stove then it can be done. When all that is required in a school kitchen to make lunch is a box cutter and microwave, something is wrong. Don’t even get me started on the physical aspect of what the junk the kids are eating is doing to them. A candy bar and a soda for lunch will not give you nourishment or brainpower.
“The Obama administration will begin a drive this week to expel Pepsi, French fries and Snickers bars from the nation’s schools in hopes of reducing the number of children who get fat during their school years.” Finally it is being paid attention to like smoking or drinking….it is dangerous and America is killing itself one bite at a time. The sad truth is that most parents are not leading by example. We can’t expect our kids make the right choices if we are not. If you want your child to sit still, to pay attention to be focused try starting with their diet. Our kids are the future and we need to teach them to respect themselves and take care of themselves. The fact that they can buy crap in school is just sending the wrong message. Thank you Mrs. Obama, I appreciate your focus and I hope people will start to listen.
Here are some healthy lunch ideas:
Soup in a thermos is a great healthy warm lunch. Send some whole grain bread and a soup. Add fruit for that sweet ending or child wants more food buy or make organic healthy muffins.
I love peanut butter, maybe it’s that nostalgic icon the pb&j that brings back the memories. Although I was never a fan of the jelly part, I just preferred the sticky nutty spread all alone. A tasting comparison is a great way to get your kids eating foods they may not think about. Any ingredient can work, whole wheat pasta, jelly, juice, cheese, tortilla chips, anything you can think of. Give each of them a plate with samples of one type of food item, have them taste it, smell it, and look at the color. Discuss or write down the findings and decide by voting which food they like the best.
This particular Peanut Butter tasting was all grown ups from the SFPFS. Our panel ranged from master taster to recipe developers to home cooks. We each had a plate with 11 samples of “oil on the top, natural peanut butter.” I can’t say we were very scientific about the tasting, just that we tasted, and then yelled out our opinion across the room. It was a lot of fun, and I’d do it again, even with jelly!
Here’s our sticky conclusion:
8 votes – Trader Joes Organic $2.99
7 votes– Santa Cruz Dark Roast 3.99
6 votes – O Organics (Safeway) 2.50
5 votes – Laura Scudders 3.89
4 votes– Santa Cruz Light Roast 3.99
2 votes– Trader Joes regular 1.79
0 votes – MaraNatha Organic 3.15
0 votes – Adams 3.89
0 votes – 365 (whole foods) 1.69
The no-stir Skippy and MaraNatha products received no votes.
The overall winner was Trader Joe’s Organic at $2.99. The group agreed it had a focused peanut taste with mild salt and a bit of sweetness.
The second choice was Santa Cruz Dark Roast at $3.99, it was the most expensive. We all agreed that the deep peanut color and roasty flavor set it at second place.
The third choice was O Organics 2.50 (Safeway brand) it was considered to have mild flavor and a smooth texture a typical peanut butter.
Sunflower Butter is a great alternative for peanut butter.
There is also a new almond product called Barney Butter go to What’s Cooking to read about it.
With school in full swing, I thought this was a good time to share this short post.
I am getting serious on you but don’t worry regularly scheduled programming will return as soon as possible.
A while back I had the pleasure of listening to a fantastic author and researcher named Kathy Hirish-Pasek. She spoke about her book Einstein Never Used Flash Cards. Not only was she funny and energetic but a wealth of information on the subject of how our children learn. It was as if she was speaking directly to me, I breathed a sigh of relief for my school days past and my daughters future.
School for me was an endless struggle of failing miserably and succeeding superbly. Trying to fit inside a box of purple and white dittos, smelling the wet ink feeling the frustration before I even tried. Sitting in endless math classes feeling lost and knowing summer school was in my future.
I hid in the art room, throughout my years in middle and high school I retreated to the art room where the familiar smells of tempera and clay welcomed me. I was good at art I thrived there, I received praise there I was smart there I succeeded there.
My daughter at the wise age of five loves to play, make up stories and be in her fantasy land as much as possible. I do not feel the need to drill her on flash cards or force her to stifle her creativity. I was worried about her academic prowess. She is learning through her play they kids are designed for that, have you ever seen a four year old able to sit still for more that 10 minutes? Drilling her with flashcards may put my worries at ease but it is about her not me right? Hirish-Pasek says, ” putting children in a rigid structure as young as two or three can create anxiety, hostility and fear.” They need us their parents not tutors, she also states that, “children as young as nine are experiencing anxiety attacks,” that is an outrageous statistic. We want our kids to be creative thinkers not robots, the system is an endless snarl of red tape and test scores, not designed for individuals but fore the group.
What does this have to do with food and your child you ask? Well, Hirish-Pasek is passionate about learning through play, touching, exploring, imagining and more and so am I.
Let them play and teach them while they are comfortable and relaxed. If your child needs to brush up on letters, serve alphabet soup. If they are having trouble counting, count and stack carrots, teach it out of context and see what happens. Our kids don’t have to struggle just find out how they learn best and follow their lead.