mysuperfoods

Super Starts Here.

Managing the Chaos…

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If your house is anything like mine, you are in a constant state of trying to stay ahead of the chaos.

I made each of my girls these little chore cards. Each kid got a different set, as they are certainly not all ready for the same things yet.  I used luggage tags (the kind that self-laminate business cards) and an old folder I cut up to mount the printed lists on.  Hole punch the top and tie together!

There are 5 cards in my school-aged children’s stack:

*Before School
*Chores
*Packing for overnights (trips to Granny’s)
*After School
*Before Bed

It seems oversimplified to add “Wash Hands” to the After School card, and yet has made a big difference on whether or not they actually remember to do this before having a snack!

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NBC Connecticut!

Yesterday was a fun day!

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What’s for dinner?

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So, even though at my house in North Carolina, we aren’t getting the amazing amount of snow that is falling in the Northeast tonight, it inspired a dinner of warm foods (and also perfect for a Meatless Monday):

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Artichoke and Potato soup
– this stuff is incredible.  A deluge of veggies, but smooth and delicious.  I let my kids eat this with toasted french garlic bread (or pita chips) instead of spoons! Also yummy with croutons in it.   I opted to leave the cream out, but I’m sure that would be great, too.

 

 

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Roasted Cauliflower – I stole this recipe from a friend (thanks, Suzanne!).  I think she might have invented it, but it is similar to the one found here.  I left out the Parmesan cheese, and no one complained.  They might have added it at the table 😉

 

 

 

cc-armendariz_roasted-sweet-potatoes-with-honey-cinnamon-recipe-02_s4x3Aunt Pam’s yummy sweet potato casserole thing: I picked this because I accidentally ordered enough sweet potatoes from the grocery store to last us a month.  Diced sweet potatoes, diced apples, a few cranberries (fresh or dried), a bit of butter, brown sugar (optional) and cinnamon.  Bake at 375 until the sweet potatoes are done.

 

 

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Meatless Monday Recipe: Cheese Tortellini with Butternut Hash

If you caught this blog last Sunday, you know that I’m a big fan of The Pollan Family Table Cookbook, which is why it should come as a surprise that I’m sharing yet another one of their recipes.  Since I’ve started cutting down on our meat consumption over the last year, I usually gravitate to the meatless recipes in a new cookbook first, and branch out from there.  I wasn’t initially drawn to the recipe below but ohmygosh, it’s now on my go-to list.  Easy, delicious and …did I mention delicious?

Brutal honesty: my husband made this one.  He is not the chef of the house (if we’re all being honest) but he does pitch in and likes to take up a challenge now and then.  He jumped in on this one and was not only pleased with what an amazing job he did, but how much he loved the outcome.  Win win.

We made some revisions from the original recipe (no hazelnuts for us) but overall, kept up with the theme and couldn’t be happier.

Cheese Tortellini with Butternut Hash

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

2 C peeled and diced butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ cubes

1 T extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 pound cheese tortellini (I bought frozen, organic 365 brand from Whole Foods)

6 T unsalted butter

1 glove garlic, minced

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 C Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the squash, oil, and dash of salt and pepper.  Spread the squash on the baking sheet and roast until golden brown (25 mins), flipping over halfway through.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Bring large pot of water to boil.  Add 1T of salt and tortellini.  Cook until al dente, 1 minute less than the directions on the package.  Drain in colander.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat, stirring until butter turns brown (3-4 minutes).  Add garlic and cook until butter bubbles and garlic browns.  Turn off the heat and cool for 1 minute.  Add the vinegar, 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper.

Add the tortellini and butternut squash to the butter sauce and toss to coat.  Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (we also added avocado).  Serve hot.

cheese tortellini

One of our daughters dove in immediately and the other was a bit unsure at first about this dish.  But after trying the first bite, she was hooked.  Plates were empty.  Next time, I might make a double batch for leftovers.

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Business Update: All Signs Point to Awesome

I seem to post business updates less and less but nevertheless, I realize how much you guys like them when I do.  So here is the January 2015 official update.  Five awesome things we have going on from the MSF headquarters:

1. Last week, we launched MySuperCookies in the Northern California region of Costco.  Sales are off to a tremendous start and Silvia and I spent the weekend in San Francisco meeting demo folks, local customers and getting to know the bay area as only a taxi driver might.  We are officially in love.

 

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2. Late last year we partnered up with Food Lifeline, a Seattle based nonprofit food distribution center that provides nutritious food to hungry, low-income people. As a part of the Feeding America network, Food Lifeline is able to support the 755,000 people in Western Washington state that visit their food banks every year.  We are thrilled to donate funds and work with this dedicated team as an extension to our partnership with Alaska Airlines.

3. Our SuperFamily grew by one when Jessica “Jess of All Trades” Kane joined us this year.  Jess is a recent grad from Towson University and was an immediate, enthusiastic spark to our team.  Her can-do attitude and commitment to our company purpose makes her a perfect fit.

4. Our Community SuperMama team is growing!  To help support the launch of 3 separate tests in Target stores across the country, we have begun working with 4 Community SuperMamas to help spread the work about our purpose (to empower parents and grow healthy superkids) and increase brand awareness across the country.  We hope to grow this network of smart, passionate, health-minded moms throughout the year.  Stay tuned to our blog and social media for more opportunities!

5. We are already working on the next SUPER addition to our product portfolio.  Let the recipe development commence.  (And don’t forget the taste testing!!)

Thanks for joining us on this exciting ride.

 

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Meatless Monday Recipe: Harvest Vegetable Bake

I honestly can’t express to you my love for the newest edition to my cookbook library, “The Pollan Family Table.” It comes from the family that gave us acclaimed author and food revolutionist, Michael Pollan who abides by the simple advice, “eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”  As someone who doesn’t jump on a fad diet easily, this is advice I can get on board with.

I generally love trying new recipes and love flipping through cookbooks, so when I decide to buy a new one I often devour it within the first few days of purchase, flipping through and adding post-it notes to all the recipes I “must try” in the coming weeks.  The Pollan Family Table is no different.

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In keeping with Mr Pollan’s advice, today I’m sharing Harvest Vegetable Bake, a yummy, meatless casserole, perfect for a cold, winter night.

Harvest Vegetable Bake

(1) 12-14 oz pack of extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

(1) T unsalted butter

3T extra virgin olive oil

1/2 C finely chopped shallots

4 cloves garlic (2 minced, 2 sliced)

1T dry sherry

1/2 C dry white wine

1C low-sodium vegetable broth

1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

Kosher salt and black pepper

1C sliced mushrooms

1C peeled and sliced carrots (I also added a parsnip)

2C sliced zucchini

2 1/2 C broccoli florets

2C packed stemmed and roughly chopped swiss chard (I used spinach)

2/3 C shredded cheddar cheese

3/4 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese

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Preheat to 375 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Arrange tofu in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes.  Flip once halfway through.  Remove and set aside.  Increase oven temp. to 400 degrees F.

While that bakes, place a small saucepan over medium heat and melt butter.  Add 1T of the oil, the shallot and the minced garlic.  Stir until they are translucent and become brown.  Add the sherry and white wine.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in vegetable broth, soy sauce, dash of salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.  Set aside.

While sauce simmers, pour remaining 2T of oil into a large skillet over medium heat.  Add sliced garlic, mushrooms and carrots.  Saute for 2 minutes.  Raise heat to medium-high and add zucchini and broccoli.  Saute for 6 minutes.  Add Swiss chard (or spinach) and stir everything together for 2 minutes.

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Transfer vegetables to a large casserole dish.  Add the tofu, pour the sauce on top and mix together.  Sprinkle cheeses on top.  Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes.

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This is great on it’s own and would also do well over brown rice, quinoa or farro with a delicious winter fruit salad (blood oranges, grapefruit and pears) on the side.

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5 Easy Steps for Family Meal Planning

If you’ve been following us for awhile, you know that we’ve offered up some family meal planning advice in the past.  There are several blog posts in the feed, but two that I think hit on the hardest areas to manage.  “Will they eat it?” and “How Can I Stay Ahead of the Tidal Wave?”

The first is addressed in a collection of some great tips, centered around the 30 meals (but honestly, start with 3, or 5, or 8 meals) that you know your family loves when it hits the table.   Another was about how to implement weekly strategies for getting and staying organized to avoid last minute panic at 5:30pm.  Both have some real ideas that the members of our team use regularly…or semi-regularly.  We recently even talked about some very quick meal ideas to help you with that last minute panic.  That seems to be a reoccurring theme, doesn’t it?

So, what is the big deal about dinner?  Is it the hungry children?  The hungry mama? The pressure that we aren’t doing it well enough?  The pressure to meet a standard of nutrition that we are afraid we fail at daily?  The stress of hearing “I’m not eating that” when it hits the table?  Maybe all of the above.

My sister offered some great advice to me when I was freaking out, caring for two newborn twins 5 years ago.  “If it’s stressing you out, make it less complicated.  If you’re not happy, no one is happy.”  Great advice in caring for newborns, making dinner 5+ nights a week or planning a birthday party.

Here are my 5 tips for simplifying family meal planning:

1. Get out in front of it.  Pick a day that you can dedicate to the grocery store.  Sure, you might be back there again (and again?) during the week, but figure out the best day that you can go regularly.  This will help eliminate the “we don’t have any food” on Wednesday crisis and stress of last minute scrambling.

2. Plan your meals.  My friends and neighbors who have been in my kitchen make fun of me for my weekly chalkboard meal plan.  “Do you seriously make this?”  The answer is usually yes.  At least 80% of what is on the chalkboard gets made.  A day or two before I hit the grocery store, I flip through my cookbooks and find the meals that I want to make for the upcoming week.  This might sound like a lot of work, but I’m never at a loss for something to make.  I wake up and the thought process is done for me.  If I decide that day that I don’t have time to make whatever is on the board, I skip it (remember: make it less complicated).  But at least I have all the ingredients I need if I decide to go for it.

3. Ask friends for recipes. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Anyone with kids knows what it feels like to make a meal and hear,”what is that SMELL???” five minutes before dinner is served.  Ask around for recipes that work in other households.  Chances are, they might work in yours too.

4. Find a couple cookbooks that you like.  Go on amazon and spend a few minutes reading reviews of popular cookbooks.  Do the reviews and sample recipes look appealing?  If you have resources that you like, you will be more likely to cook from them.  I recently got rid of some cookbooks that did nothing by sit on my shelf.  I never used them but felt bad letting them go.  I have no idea why.  But now I have a collection of recipes that I know I like.  Check out our pinterest board for some ideas.

5. Use your freezer.  On any given day, I have several glass jars filled with soup and bags of muffins in my freezer.  These are quick, go-tos for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I’ve turned to frozen lasagna, homemade chicken nuggets, soups and other store-bought goodies (frozen tortellini, vegetables, pizza) for nights that I’m unprepared as well as nights that I am prepared.  What a great feeling to know that the work is already done.  Reheat and enjoy.

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Help! Stuck in a Dinner RUT! What are YOUR go-to meals?

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I don’t know about you, but at my house, we are stuck in a dinner rut.  Things are busy busy as we’ve gone back to school, and dinner is an afterthought – usually being thrown together at 5:30 each night!  So here are my go-to meals, which we all love.  (At the same time, I would love YOUR go-to meals to mix it up a little!)

1. Chicken burritos: In a glass pan, put chicken breasts and cover with a can of crushed tomatoes and taco seasoning (I use cumin and chili powder).  Bake @350 until done.  Shred chicken a bit with a fork.  We put ours in whole wheat burritos with a little shredded cheese and plain Greek yogurt.  I make enough for leftovers when I, inevitably, don’t have a dinner plan for tomorrow!

2. Mommy’s pasta: At least, that’s what my girls call it 🙂  I use orzo pasta because it feels fancy.  I add 1/4 stick of butter, a bit of olive oil, kosher salt and peas.

3. My crazy avocado sandwich thingPicMonkey Collage

4. Breakfast for dinner.  Scrambled eggs, fruit, whole wheat toast.  This is a favorite of my 10 year old, because it’s something she can cook for us!

5. Baked potatoes (or baked sweet potatoes) and a BIG salad. Romaine, spinach, carrots, celery, cucumber, tomato, black beans, etc.  I really want one of these salad choppers to speed this process up!

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Rainbow Jar – Science Project for Kids of Any Age

A few days ago I had a long, lazy morning with my daughters and decided to pull together a fun science project called RAINBOW JAR that I knew they would like and I was pretty excited to see for myself.  I originally found it on a site called Playdough to Plato, an adorable site dedicated to kids, learning and fun.

Rainbow Jar is pretty simple, very hands on for my (2) 5-year-olds and can be altered in several ways to accommodate for whatever ingredients you have in the house.  I personally looked at the list of needs a day ahead of time to make sure I had what I needed.  Thank goodness I did, because I needed to run to the store.  Here’s what I got:

  • A tall, see-through container – I used an old juice bottle that I saved for art projects – thankfully I had two
  • Honey
  • Light corn syrup
  • Dish soap – I bought blue, but there are many available colors on grocery shelves
  • Olive oil
  • Food coloring

The original Playdough to Plato post adds a couple additional ingredients, but I found these 4 to be the perfect amount to keep my girls entertained and focused on the project from beginning to end.

Step 1: Pour honey in the middle of the bottle or jar opening.  Be careful not to touch the sides.  You will be adding each liquid on top of each other and if they touch the sides it will be harder to see the separation.  It’s up to you how much you want to pour.  I tried to make sure I had enough to split among the two bottles and also account for how many layers we would have before reaching the top of the bottle.  But it’s flexible.  Have fun!

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Step 2: Add 5 drops of food coloring (we chose purple, since our dish soap was blue) to the corn syrup and mix thoroughly.  Pour colored corn syrup into the middle of the bottle or jar opening.

Step 3: Pour dish soap into the middle of the bottle or jar opening.  By now, the kiddos should understand why it’s important to stay in the middle.  Though, they may also be tempted to pour it on the sides, just to “make sure” you’re telling the truth.  Or that could just be my house…

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Step 4: Pour olive oil into the middle of the bottle or jar opening.  Fill toward the top and put the cap back on.  Remind your little ones not to shake or tip the bottle on the side.

Step 5: Walk the bottle or jar over to a window (hopefully it’s daytime!) and look at the layers of color against the light.  Amazing!

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PS – this project is a great opportunity to talk to kids about molecules and density.  I briefly explained that heavier liquids (more molecules) are the ones that stay at the bottom of the bottle while the lighter liquids (less molecules) are the ones that float on top.  This idea also came from the original post and was adorable.  While my daughters listened, it didn’t exactly register, so I moved on quickly from the “lesson” and dove straight into the pouring and hands on activity.  Overall, a HUGE success.  Especially when my daughter Claire decided that “science is really fun!” when it was all over.

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What’s for Dinner?

What’s for Dinner?

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Dinner at my house tonight – quick and easy!

romaine-lettuce Using a large Romaine lettuce leaf as a wrap, add:

Grilled-Chicken3Grilled (although, since it’s freezing outside, it will likely be baked) Chicken

imagesSliced Tomato
avocadoSliced Avocado
spinachFresh Spinach Leaves
timthumband top with either balsamic vinegar/olive oil or

hummusyour favorite hummus!

Easy enough to make in minutes, and everyone can build their own.

What’s for dinner at your house tonight?

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