Getting Kids to Try New Foods with a “Polite Bite” + a Giveaway for Lainy’s Polite Bite

Getting young children to try new foods—even something as unfamiliar as fresh parsley—just got a whole lot easier thanks to Lainy’s Polite Bite, a new book written by registered dietitian, Emma Fogt.

Lainy's Polite Bite via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #PickyEaters #vegetables

 I work with a program called, Kids Cooking Green in Lexington, MA, and this week, I stopped by one of their preschool programs to read Lainy’s Polite Bite. The book chronicles the adventures of Lainy, a sluggish ladybug who drinks Bug Juice morning, noon, and night until her friend, Benny Bumblebee encourages her to take a “polite bite” of some new and nutritious foods: apples, oranges, and edamame.

Lainy's Polite Bite via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #PickyEaters #vegetables

The result of all those bites: Lainy gains energy, colorful spots, and can finally fly … and she realizes that she possesses the courage to go out of her Bug Juice comfort zone by trying new things.

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Recipe Inspiration from Yotam Ottolenghi and an Ottolenghi-Themed Dinner Party {Podcast #259}

Are you the kind of home cook who makes meals on the fly, or do you look for inspiration from cookbooks, food bloggers, and celebrity chefs. On this week’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, Liz reveals her favorite chef and cookbook author, Yotam Ottolenghi. With four cookbooks under his apron strings—Plenty, Plenty More, Ottolenghi, and Jerusalem—and restaurants in London, she can’t get enough of his flavor-filled recipes.

Cookbooks by Yotam Ottolenghi via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Liz is obsessed with Ottolenghi whose cookbooks and recipes feature Middle Eastern flavors with a western twist.

 LISTEN TO COOKING WITH THE MOMS HERE! And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our show on iTunes.

Cauliflower Cake by #Ottolenghi via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

His Cauliflower Cake from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi is to die for …

Honey-roasted rainbow carrots via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #ottolenghi

And the honey roasted rainbow carrots Liz adapted from the same book are equally scrumptious. Ottolenghi takes vegetables from so-so to sensational.

Cookbooks by Yotam Ottolenghi via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Liz’s friend Suzanne is even more infatuated with Ottolenghi (is that possible?), and she joins us on the show this week to dish about her favorite recipes as well as the Gourmet Group dinner party she and Liz hosted featuring Ottolenghi recipes like Salmon Steaks in Chraimeh Sauce and Couscous with Dried Apricots and Butternut Squash.

Yotam Ottolenghi Dinner Party - how to host via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

For the dinner party, Liz and Suzanne looked through Ottolenghi’s four cookbooks and chose seasonal recipes to assign to themselves and their friends.

Ottolenghi-Inspired Dinner Party Menu:

Butternut Squash & Tahini Spread
Figs with Basil, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette from Plenty
Couscous with Dried Apricots and Butternut Squash from Ottolenghi
Salmon Steaks in Chraimeh Sauce from Jerusalem
Beef and Lamb Meatballs Baked in Tahini from Ottolenghi
Toffee Brownies from Ottolenghi (that’s Nairi and Suzanne at Liz’s house baking the brownies)

Liz hosted the dinner and there were a total of five couples, Everyone showed up with a dish and then shared their experience with the recipe. Favorite recipes from the night were the salmon, couscous, fig salad, and brownies.

Be sure to listen to this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast for more delicious details on Ottolenghi’s recipes.

How to Make Homemade Tamales

Tamales. I had enjoyed them in Mexican restaurants but never considered making homemade tamales for myself… until my friend, Catherine, invited me over for a tamale-making gathering at her house.

Homemade Tamales with Guacamole

Tamales are packets of corn dough with a savory or sweet filling. They are usually wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and steamed.  Tamale making is often a community event, and we enjoyed our creations with a bowl of vegetarian posole soup and a side of guacamole. Comfort food at its best!

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Honey-Roasted Rainbow Carrots + Why I’m Obsessed with Yotam Ottolenghi

These colorful, flavorful, gluten-free Honey-Roasted Rainbow Carrots turn plain ol’ baby carrots from so-so to sensational. Your kids will eat them happily! 

Honey-Roasted Rainbow Carrots via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

If your family is bored with raw carrots and dip or steamed carrots with a drizzle of melted butter, shake things up by tossing baby carrots—use the new rainbow variety if you can find them—with honey, extra virgin olive oil, coriander, cumin, and kosher salt and then pop ’em in the oven to roast.

I dished all about this recipe on our Cooking with the Moms radio podcast.

 LISTEN TO COOKING WITH THE MOMS HERE! And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our show on iTunes.

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Food & Nutrition Adventures in Atlanta at FNCE 2014

Liz and I both attended the annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Atlanta earlier this month, and we dish about our experiences on this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast.

Liz shared the highlights of her trip in an earlier blog post, and now it’s my turn. For me it’s all about the people. Don’t get me wrong, I love to go to educational sessions and learn new things, but it’s connecting with my RDN friends – both new and old – that really inspires me.

Janice in Atlanta at FNCE with Flat Matthew

My good friend and colleague, Joan Salge Blake, was on my plane from Boston so we shared a cab to downtown Atlanta. She brought along her nephew’s Flat Matthew and we had fun taking pictures of him with different people -including the Delta pilot and flight attendants, and me!

Southern Dining at Pittypat's Porch

My first night in town I followed my cab driver’s advice and ate shrimp and grits at the iconic Pittypat’s Porch with my friend Susan. Collard greens, beans, and cornbread rounded out our meal. Sometimes a girl just needs some southern cooking!

Janice and Susan selfie

The Academy is getting hip to the social media scene and had several areas for members to take selfies. Here I am with my best attempt at taking a selfie with Susan.

Constance Brown-Riggs, RD singing National Anthem

Before every FNCE opening session our amazing  colleague, Constance Brown Riggs, sings the National Anthem in front of the thousands of attendees. It always send chills up my spine to hear her beautiful voice.

Food products from FNCE 2014

Here are some of the foods that I saw and sampled on the Expo floor: breads made with ancient grains and nuts, pumpkin yogurt (YUM!), pre-washed kale and collard greens, and dried fruits. I’m sure this is the type of food you get at all conferences, right?

KIND bar samples

My daughter, Leah, had just one request for me on this trip: “Bring me back some KIND bars!” KIND was featuring their new Strong & Kind savory bars with flavors like Honey Mustard, Roasted Jalapeno, and Thai Sweet Chili. Leah tried them and decided she prefers the sweeter, original flavors.

Kate Geagan with Eat Well Embrace Life hummus

I ran into my good friend, Kate Geagan at the Eat Well Embrace Life hummus booth. The beet hummus was my favorite!

Biltmore Hotel Atlanta- Food & Culinary Professionals reception at FNCE 2014

I am past chair of the Food & Culinary Professionals subgroup of the Academy, and attending our networking reception at the Biltmore Hotel was a highlight of the conference. Just look at the beautiful room and the amazing food we ate. The champagne was fun to drink too!

Food & Culinary Reception with Kim Beavers, Deanna Segrave-Daly and Amy Myrdal-Miller at FNCE 2014

I couldn’t resist one more photo of the FCP reception. Here I am with RD pal Kim Beavers, and fellow past chairs, Deanna Segrave-Daly and Amy Myrdal-Miller.

It’s hard to keep up with all the great receptions during FNCE. Here I am sipping on a pomegranate champagne cocktail at the Wonderful reception with friends Maye Musk and Susan Latham.

Skyview Atlanta with Jackie Newgent, Katie Cavuto, and Susan Latham

I went up in the very cool Skyview Atlanta ferris wheel in downtown Atlanta with my friends Jackie Newgent, Katie Cavuto, and Susan. Thanks, Wonderful brands!

NCBA Beef Lunch and Cranberry Dinner at FNCE

I was lucky enough to be invited to some awesome sponsored events. At a beef-sponsored luncheon, learned how to cut ribeye steaks and then ate them for lunch. The first course was elegant Pickled Summerland Farm Beets.

The dessert in the photo is of an upside down cranberry semolina cake with raspberry sauce and cranberry-black pepper ice cream that I devoured at an Ocean Spray dinner. Wow, wish I could eat like this every night!

Swag from FNCE

It’s always fun to unpack your bag when you get home from FNCE and look at all the swag and share it with your family. I love my job!

In case you think that all I did was hang out with friends and eat good food I will tell you that I did attend a number of sessions and some of the buzz words I took back from the conference are fermentation (we need to eat more fermented foods) and microbiome. Did you know you have 10 times more bacteria than cells in your body? We need to make sure the good bacteria outnumber the bad. Fascinating stuff. If you want to learn more you’ll need to listen to our podcast!

Food & Nutrition Trends and Adventures at FNCE 2014 {Podcast #255}

It’s been one week since my return from the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta, and I’m still trying to dig my way out from under a GIANT pile of unread emails. (Some things never change!)

My conference began with a food photography workshop for dietitians that I helped teach. You can hear all about it on Cooking with the Moms podcast and read about it in my two-part blog series:  Smart Phone Food Photography and Smart Phone Food Photo Editing.

LISTEN TO COOKING WITH THE MOMS HERE! And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our show on iTunes.

#FNCE with dietitian friends

Once the workshop was behind me, it was time to network, learn, and play. One of the best things about FNCE is connecting with old and new RD friends. Here I am in front of a “selfie” wall with Carolyn O’Neil, author of The Slim Down South Cookbook (and my former co-worker at CNN where we covered food & nutrition news “back in the day”) and Janet Helm, a pioneer in nutrition communications and the blogger behind, Nutrition Unplugged.

The Nutrition Twins at FNCE

Oh, and here I am with The Nutrition Twins who were helping to spread the word (excuse the pun) about I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, which has 70% less saturated fat than butter and also contains good-for-you ALA omega-3 fats.

Liz wearing a fat vest from Nasco at FNCE

You get to do silly things at FNCE like walk around in this 20-pound body fat vest from Nasco. The vest is used as a teaching tool, and based on the pain in my shoulders, it offers educators a way to reinforce the negative effects of weight gain.

There were hundreds of scientific sessions to choose from at the conference—everything from the gut microbiome and its relationship to human health to yoga and its connection to overall health—and on the exhibit room floor, there was ample opportunity to preview hot food trends … everything from protein (the new nutrition darling), to gluten free to healthier nibbles for kids to beans, beans, and more beans!

Almonds at FNCE

Back in the 80s and 90s when I first started going to FNCE, fat free, low fat, and cholesterol free were all the rage. Now at the show, foods rich in good-for-you fats like avocados, almonds, and seafood have taken center stage. (Thank goodness.)

More protein in breakfast cereals at FNCE

This year, I also noticed a lot of products touting protein like this Better Granola from Barbara’s with 9 grams of protein per serving. I just looked at some other granola cereals in my pantry and they have less than half that amount.

Beans are a trend at FNCE

Beans and legumes were all over the expo floor. I loved the Eat Well Embrace Life lineup of hummus flavors, especially their beet hummus made with white beans, beets, and tahini.

Cook Simple dinner starter kits at FNCE

And inside this meal starter kit from Cook Simple (think “healthier hamburger helper”) you’ll find wholesome ingredients like red beans, black beans and quinoa. Add lean ground beef or turkey, and you’ve got dinner.

Peanut dinner with Hugh Acheson at FNCE

Speaking of legumes, the National Peanut Board hosted a dinner with dietitian dynamo, Toby Amidor and celebrity chef, Hugh Acheson. I loved his Boiled Peanut Hummus, Peanut Soup with Pickled Green Tomato and Feta, and Pan Roasted Wild Salmon with Peanuts. (I was invited to the dinner, which I did not pay for, though the opinions in this post are my own.)

Hugh Acheson culinary tatoo at FNCE

Chef Acheson sports a culinary tattoo as well as a deep love of southern food and sustainability. He sources many of his ingredients locally including the peanuts featured on the menu.

At the dinner, we learned about the Peanut Board’s new resource website, PeanutAllergyFacts.org, so you may want to check that out.

Healthy veggie snacks from Bolthouse Farms

Back at the convention center, other interesting trends included healthier “kid” foods like these Veggie Snackers from Bolthouse Farms.

Siggi's squeeze yogurts at FNCE

… and siggi’s squeezable yogurt tubes with 5 ingredients or less and 6 grams of sugar or less. (I first tried Siggi’s yogurt in Iceland two summers ago, and it’s definitely now a favorite at my house.)

Joy Bauer with Nourish Snacks

Even Joy Bauer was there with her new mail-order line of Nourish Snacks. My favorite is the King Corn, and I may be wrong here, but I do believe that Joy’s line of better-for-you snacks will soon be available at some retail stores across the country. Stay tuned for that.

Luvo foods at FNCE

Another player in the home-delivery food space is Luvo. Their flatbreads are made with whole grains, and I loved the Chicken Chili Verde that they sampled at their booth.

Liz Weiss and Carolyn O'Neil at CNN Center

Since FNCE took place at Atlanta’s World Congress Center, I had an opportunity to stop by the CNN Center where I used to work with mentor and friend, Carolyn O’Neil, the first registered dietitian to cover food and nutrition on television!

 FNCE food and nutrition trends 2014

I always leave FNCE exhausted but inspired. My goals—other than the obvious one of tackling my ever-growing email pile—is to continue working hard to educate families about eating right. So stay tuned for more wholesome, flavorful recipes and advice from The Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen!!

Tips for Editing Beautiful Food Photos on Your Smart Phone (Part 2)

I have a lot of apps on my iPhone 5s, but the one I turn to the most is Snapseed, a fun photo editing app that I use to improve my food photos. This app crops, straightens, brightens, saturates, adjusts the white balance, and a whole lot more. It turns my food photos from drab to delicious in minutes. (Snapseed is available for Android and iPhone.)

Garden Turkey Meatballs image taken with Camera+ but not yet edited

I took this image of our Garden Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti with my smart phone. It’s OK …

Garden Turkey Meatballs image edited using Snapseed

But with a few Snapseed edits, it pops.

For the past four years at FNCE, the annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I’ve worked with Regan Jones, RDN and Janet Helm, MS, RDN on teaching fellow registered dietitians how to improve their food photography. In Part 1 of my post-FNCE Smart Phone Food Photography series, I shared tips from the workshop for taking better smart phone photos by focusing on lighting, props, and composition.

Snapseed App for editing images

 

In this post, I’ll tell you how I edit my food photos on my phone using Snapseed.

Trail mix image taken in poor lighting. Not edited.

Calling this trail mix photo “drab” would be an understatement!

It’s downright “dreadful.”

This image, taken at the convention center during our workshop, is horrible. I think we can all agree on that. The artificial lighting in the room posed an enormous challenge.

Trail mix image / before & after using Snapseed app

But thanks to Snapseed, I improved the image dramatically.

Let me tell you how …

Trail mix

Once you download Snapseed, it’s time to get creative.

– To edit an image, hit the + sign in the upper left corner of the app, and then select the image you want to edit from your Photo Library.

– Once your image is loaded, you can do a number of cool things. Along the bottom of the app, you’ll notice about a dozen little boxes that you can scroll through.

– For this image, I started by straightening and cropping. From there, I tapped on the Tune Image option. To see the options within the Tune Image box, place your finger over your image and move it up and down; six options will appear: Brightness, Ambiance, Contrast, Saturation, Shadows, and Warmth.

– Let’s start with Warmth. Once you select it, you can then move your finger to the right or the left. Moving to the left reduces warmth while moving to the right warms it up. Since my image was already way too warm (AKA golden), I toned down the warmth considerably. Moving too far to the left, however, can make your image bluish. The key here is to get your whites as white as possible. Next, I typically boost the Brightness (in this case, a lot), and then I often increase the Saturation a bit.

– Another feature I always use is Details, which allows you to boost Structure and Sharpness. This will crisp up your image.

– Select Adjust is something else I use to edit a select area on an image. I won’t get into it here, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out once you start playing with the app!

Hornstra Dairy Farm photo using Snapseed app HDR Scape feature

I love this photo, recently taken by your’s truly at Hornstra Dairy Farm. I was able to achieve this very cool “look” by using the HDR Scape option. I also cropped the original image quite a bit and used Brightness and Saturation. HDR is a nice option for scenic shots.

Hornstra Farm

This is what the farm looked like before I edited. It’s a pretty dramatic improvement, don’t you think?

Snapseed also has filter options, but I prefer using Instagram for that.

This may all seem overwhelming, but I promise that once you get the hang of Snapseed, you’ll only spend about a minute editing each image!

Before I sign off, let me show you one more “before” and “after” editing example:

Quinoa with Almonds & Apricots #glutenfree

 Here’s a photo of our Quinoa with Almonds and Apricots. I took the shot using Camera+ and then put Snapseed to work cropping, brightening, and adding saturation.

And here’s what it looked like when I was done!

Quinoa with Almonds & Apricots #glutenfree

What are your favorite smart phone photography and editing apps? I’d love to hear about your favorites.

Tips for Taking Beautiful Food Photos with Your Smart Phone (Part 1)

As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), I’ve always believed that if you want consumers to eat a healthy diet, you have to give them easy and affordable recipes that work, taste great, and look amazing and appetizing.

A healthy version of Beefaroni taken with an iPhone 5s Smart Phone

This is a gorgeous image of our Homemade Healthy Beefaroni made with lean ground beef, mushrooms and red bell pepper, and whole wheat pasta … and served with fresh asparagus and basil. Don’t you want to take a bite? I took this photo with my iPhone 5s and edited using Snapseed. {Keep reading for my top food photography secrets.}

But before I learned how to use my smart phone to take appetizing food photos, here’s what that same recipe looked like:

Homemade Beefaroni / bad food photo example

“No, Mom. You can’t make me eat that!”

With more attention paid to food styling, a better lighting situation, and a few smart phone photography / editing apps, the differences between my “before” and “after” images is quite dramatic. Best of all … IT’S EASY TO ACHIEVE.

 

#FNCE meeting in Atlanta

Earlier this week, I traveled to Atlanta, GA for the annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo—AKA FNCE—featured an array of lectures and workshops including From Drab to Delicious: Food Photography and Styling Tips for Dietitians, which I taught with Regan Jones, RDN and Janet Helm, MS, RDN.

#FNCE workshop: From Drab to Delicious, Food Photography and Styling Tips for Dietitians

My portion of the workshop focused on smart phone food photography. What follows are some of the tips and tricks I shared with the group:

Elements of Appetizing Smart Phone Food Photography:

– Use natural light

– Style recipes using interesting backgrounds and props

– Shoot from Above

– Use the Camera+ app to take your food photos (if you have an iPhone)

– Use the Snapseed app to edit your images

– Add fun graphics (if you so desire) with PicMonkey.com

USE NATURAL LIGHT

Smart phone food photography / Use Natural Light

Things to remember: Avoid the camera flash; shoot in daylight; position the food near a window but avoid harsh light and opt for diffuse, soft light instead; and reflect light back onto the subject using something like a white tri-fold, project board (I purchased mine at Staples for a few dollars.)

FOCUS ON INTERESTING BACKGROUNDS & PROPS

Things to remember: Use surfaces with texture such as an old piece of barn board, a rustic table, or an interesting background board. (For tips on making your own, check out our DIY photography background board post.); use props that pop; layer plates, bowls, and linens; use relevant garnishes; and when choosing props, use those that reflect the personality of your recipes and your readers. At Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen, we aim for playful, colorful, and family friendly.

Black Bean Soup photo using smart phone

For this smart phone photo, Janice and I used one of our DIY photography background boards, a yellow plate topped with a white bowl, an inexpensive fabric swatch from Joanne Fabrics, a lime wedge and baked corn chips, and colorful soup toppers: cilantro, shredded cheese, and sour cream. You can find this recipe for Last-Minute Black Bean Soup on our MEAL MAKEOVERS smart phone recipe app.

SHOOT FROM ABOVE 

Roasted Pickled Beets photo using smart phone

Things to remember: Smart phones don’t have the same depth of field as a DSLR camera, so your best shot is from above. Shooting from the side rarely looks as good because everything will be in focus (i.e. you can’t fuzz out the background). Don’t these roasted, pickled beets look deee-lish?!

USE CAMERA+ IF YOU OWN AN iPHONE

Camera+ iPhone app for great food photography

If you don’t have an iPhone, you can skip this part of my post. Camera+ is for iPhone only, and I use it instead of my phone’s built-in camera. It allows for touch focus and touch exposure, so you can bring more or less light into the shot depending on the amount of light you’re working with. In other words, if it’s a cloudy day outside and you’re in a low-light situation, the touch exposure feature will help you pull more light into the shot. Once you shoot your image, you can save it to your camera roll. FYI: I do NOT edit on Camera+.

POST PRODUCTION

The real magic begins when you edit. In my next post, I’ll tell you all about Snapseed, my favorite smart phone editing app. (Snapseed is available for Android and iPhone.)

grain salad photo taken in bad lighting conditions with smart phone

During the workshop, participants were assigned to one of six food stations and asked to style a scene. Here, you see a grain and veggie salad served up in various bowls. The artificial lighting in the convention center room was dreadful, but that didn’t stop me from ultimately getting a great shot. I took this image with my Camera+ app (this was the best I could do given the situation), and then I edited on my phone using the Snapseed app.

Here’s the “after” image!!

grain salad photo fixed and edited using Snapseed app for smart phones

In Part 2 of my Smart Phone photography post, I’ll tell you how I cropped, white balanced, brightened, and sharpened this image. The improvement was amazing and appetizing, and this image would certainly look more appealing in a blog post or shared on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook :)

As food professionals, we need to put our best feet forward, and smart photos can help all of us achieve that goal.

Janet Helm, Regan Jones, Liz Weiss at #FNCE meeting

Just had to give a shout out to my co-presenters: Janet Helm, RDN, winner of this year’s AND Media Excellence Award, and Regan Jones, RDN, co-founder (with Janet) of Healthy Aperture and The Recipe Redux. These women inspire!

Morning Oats with Concord Grapes, Walnuts, and Dried Cranberries + Grape Nutrition

Add flavor, color, and good nutrition to your family’s morning bowl of oatmeal by topping with dried cranberries, walnuts, and Concord grapes … which I’m about to tell you all about!

Morning Oats with Concord Grapes, Walnuts, and Dried Cranberries via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

If you struggle to get your kids to eat their fruits and vegetables, just visit a farmers’ market or local farm, or plant a backyard garden. It’s amazing what you might find or grow and how produce plucked straight from the garden can entice even the pickiest of eaters to try something new. My boys outgrew picky eating a long time ago, but I’m still on the constant lookout for interesting new fruits and veggies to keep their taste buds inspired.

Concord grapes growing at Meadow Mist Farm, Lexington MA via @MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

 Enter the CONCORD GRAPE.

Concord grapes growing at Meadow Mist Farm, Lexington MA via @MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Down the road and through the woods from my home in Lexington, a suburb of Boston, is Meadow Mist Farm, a gem of an organic farm that’s harvesting these gorgeous, sweet, Concord grapes RIGHT NOW.

Welch's dietitian picks Concord grapes at Meadow Mist Farm via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

I took a field trip to Meadow Mist last week with my friend Casey Lewis, the registered dietitian for Welch’s, which is located a few miles further down the road in Concord. Their juices and jellies are made with this same type of grape, grown on family-owned farms across the country, so I knew Casey would be interested in trying a bunch … or two … or three of this local variety.

Welch's dietitian picks Concord grapes at Meadow Mist Farm via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Janice and I carpooled with Casey to the recent Blog Brûlée retreat in VT  where Welch’s was one of the sponsors, and on the ride home, I took Casey on a detour to the farm. She wears many hats at Welch’s, working hard to spread the word about the power of purple foods.

Enter COOL INFOGRAPHIC.

Welch's - Think Purple for Heart Health infographic

Concord grapes are technically berries, and they’re rich in a natural plant compound called polyphenols. Eating foods rich in polyphenols keeps us healthy, especially our hearts … and of course, berries taste great, so adding more of them to the diet each day is an easy sell. (Needless to say, my family has consumed A LOT of polyphenols over the past few weeks.)

Now, back to the farm

Meadow Mist Farm in Lexington, MA via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

This is Lauren Yaffee, farmer extraordinaire at Meadow Mist. Here she is snipping grapes for us.

Meadow Mist Farm - Lexington, MA via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

And here’s Simon (on the right) and a friend visiting the farm a few days later. It took no arm twisting at all to get them to pick (more than) a few grapes to sample.

Concord Grapes for a healthy snack via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

So how can parents add grapes to their family’s diet in a way that keeps things interesting? Try some of my healthy snack and breakfast ideas:

SNACK ON GRAPES out of hand: Fresh fruit is one of nature’s most nutritious fast foods, and grapes are as portable as they get.

FREEZE THEM for later: Wash the fruit; remove from the stems; pat dry with a paper towel; place in a single layer on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet; pop in the freezer and freeze; transfer Individually-frozen grapes to re-sealable bags and place back in the freezer. Nibble on frozen grapes any time or use them later in pancakes or muffins.

Yogurt, granola, Concord grape parfait via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

 Add to a parfait layered with yogurt and granola …

French toast topped with Concord grapes and raspberries via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Use as a topping for French toast …

Morning Oats with Concord Grapes, Walnuts, and Dried Cranberries

Add to oatmeal. For this “recipe,” I cooked up a half cup of quick-cooking oats in the microwave and then topped it with Concord grapes, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and a drizzle of Vermont maple syrup.

Janice and Casey - Concord grape plants via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Meadow Mist Farm is only about a mile from my house, so whenever Concord grapes are in season, I’ll stop by. As for Janice, she’s also a big fan of the grape. Last year, after attending an event at Welch’s HQ in Concord, MA, she left with a few grape plants of her own. She planted them in her backyard, and they’re growing like crazy. (I gifted my plant to Janice knowing full well I’d kill it if left to my own devices.) Stay tuned for the Bissex harvest!

To hear more about Concord grapes as well as our recent adventures at Blog Brûlée in Smugglers’ Notch, VT, tune into this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, episode #253.

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