Blog Posts by Cheryl Tallman,

  • Healthy Orange Foods Your Family Will Love

    Brightly colored orange foods are good for your eyes, skin, immune system and heart. Orange foods contain high amounts of Carotenoids; these compounds help provide Vitamin A, or retinol, to the body. Vitamin A helps us see at night, keeps our immune system strong and keep our skin cells healthy. Orange foods are also loaded with Vitamin C. The color orange can also improve your mood and reenergize you. Be sure to brighten up your meals by eating at least one orange food a day.

    Healthy orange fruit & vegetable choices include:

    1. Pumpkins: Don't wait until Thanksgiving to include this excellent food in your family's meals. Add vitamin and antioxidant packed pumpkin puree to pancakes, burritos, and bread or muffin recipes. Pumpkin also makes great soup.
    2. Peaches & Nectarines: Now is the time to eat fresh peaches and nectarines. In addition to Vitamins A and C and carotenoids, peaches and nectarines are a good source of dietary fiber. Slice a peach in half and
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  • Make a Classic French Nicoise Salad

    Julia Child made the Nicoise Salad famous on her TV cooking show, "The French Chef." This salad has wonderful refreshing flavors and is a perfect summertime one-dish meal! Nicoise Salad


    1 head of Boston lettuce
    2 cups cooked French-style green beans
    2 cups of cooked Potatoes, diced
    1 medium Tomato, diced
    2 Hard-cooked Eggs, quartered
    1 cup of drained and flaked Canned Tuna
    Fresh Chives, chopped (optional garnish)
    Classic French Vinaigrette (recipe below)


    Wash and dry the lettuce, tear into small pieces and put in a salad bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the French Vinaigrette over the top and toss gently. This salad looks best when plated individually for each person.

    To plate the salad: Place ½ -1 cup of salad greens on a dinner plate. Arrange the green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, tuna and eggs on the plate. Spoon the French Vinaigrette over the top and sprinkle with fresh chopped chives. Serve with French Bread.

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  • Guide to Herbs in French Cooking

    Herbs play a big role in French cooking. They offer flavor and aroma to food that can help develop both senses of taste and smell for your kids. Choose fresh or dried herbs depending on what is available in your area. If you would like to try growing your own, herbs grow well in indoor containers or outdoor gardens.

    Commonly used herbs in French cooking include:

    • Fennel - Fennel's refreshing licorice flavor enhances poultry and vegetable dishes. Fennel is also a great source of Vitamin C. Use dry fennel seeds in soups or stews or roast the bulbs and serve it as a vegetable.
    • Lavender - This herb is commonly found in perfume or aromatherapy, but some varieties are edible. Use fresh or dried lavender flowers in baked goods and as a seasoning for vegetables.
    • Marjoram - Marjoram tastes a bit like oregano with a delicate citrus twist. It is a great all-around herb and can be used to season meats, eggs and vegetables.
    • Mint - Fresh mint's refreshing
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  • Meatless Monday Mexican Fiesta

    Corn, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables are staples in the native Mexican diet. In fact, hundreds of years ago meat was quite scarce. It was the Spanish conquistadores who introduced cattle, goats, sheep, chickens and pigs to the Mexican landscape. The introduction of these animals also led to the introduction of cheese-making too.

    Today, Mexican food is considered one of the most varied in the world and there are many cooking styles for preparing Mexican foods. Cookbooks are filled with recipes for soups, stews, casseroles, and beautiful fresh salads. Grilling and BBQ also make regular appearances in these cookbooks.

    While corn and beans remain the staples, fresh peppers and spices are used liberally to give the cuisine vibrant flavors. In the United States, the spiciness of Mexican food varies depending where you live. In the South and West, a spicier Tex-Mex style is popular. Moving further to the North and East, the spices tend to migrate to the milder side.


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  • Chile Pepper Guide

    Whether you enjoy spicy or mild flavors, there is a chile pepper for you. The spiciness of peppers is rated using the Scoville Scale. This scale measures the amount of capsaicin in the pepper. Along with packing heat and spice, capsaicin has antioxidants that can help a variety of health concerns. Here's a guide to the most common peppers found in Mexican cooking:

    Sweet Bell Pepper: This is a very mild, sweet pepper available in a variety of colors - red, orange, yellow and

    purple. Green bell peppers are an immature variety and are bitter compared to the other colors. Bell peppers are great for kabobs, stir-fries, salads and stuffed with rice and vegetables. Scoville Rating = 0.

    Anaheim Chile Pepper: Commonly referred to as a "Green Chile" or "Chile Verde" Approximately 5 inches long and ripen from greenish-yellow, to orange-yellow to red. Anaheim peppers are popular in salsas and are available canned in the Mexican Food section at the market. Scoville Rating - 500 -

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  • Family Meal: Bento Box Dinner

    A bento is a divided box that originated in Japan. Bento boxes are made from a wide variety of materials, including lacquer, bamboo, plastic and stainless steel. A traditional bento meal includes carbohydrates (rice or noodles), protein (fish, chicken, meat, or tofu), vegetables and fruit. Foods are arranged in the box to display a colorful, healthy meal with a wonderful variety of flavors and tastes.

    We've developed a family-friendly Bento Box dinner to prepare and enjoy. The recipes are infused with the Japanese ingredients that you can find in the Asian Foods section of your grocery store.

    Bento Box Dinner

    Steamed Edamame


    If you can boil water, you can make edamame. While traditionally served in the pods, the pods are not edible. To eat simply squeeze the pod with your thumb and forefinger and the edamame beans pop right out.

    • Frozen edamame (about 10 pods per person)
    • Water
    • Pinch of kosher or sea salt

    Directions: Bring about 3-4 quarts of water to a boil and place the

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  • Italian Ideas

    Italy has 20 regions, each with its own specialty dishes and cooking styles. A common factor across every region is the use of fresh products. From the far north regions to the southern shores, fresh food is the key to great tasting dishes. Italian recipes are handed down from grandmothers to the next generations. Many recipes are surprisingly simple, so you do not need to be a culinary expert to cook up great Italian dishes at home.

    Traditionally, the preparation of Italian food is as much of a part of the feast as the actual meal. Kids can join in on the cooking fun by washing produce, measuring ingredients, stirring and more. Children who get involved in preparing their food are more likely to eat it.

    The basic ingredients to keep on hand for preparing healthy Italian dishes are:

    Olive oil

    Olives and capers

    Whole Grains

    Tomatoes (fresh and canned)


    Parmesan cheese or other hard cheese

    Mozzarella cheese

    Common Herbs and Spices in

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  • Heart Healthy for Valentine's Day

    It's been proven that exercise and eating right are two steps that can reduce your risk of heart-related illness and disease.

    Here are 3 Simple Heart Healthy Eating Habits:

    1. Limit high fat foods such as red meats, cheeses, fried foods and baked goods.
    2. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Raw, baked or steamed are best.
    3. Avoid salt (aka sodium in processed foods) by eating less canned, prepared and fast foods. Stay away from salty snacks too.

    When it comes to lowering your risk of heart-related illness and disease some foods do it better than others. These SUPER foods are often called "heart healthy" foods because they contain high amounts of the special nutrients that have been proven to be beneficial to the heart, including:

    • Antioxidants which are nutrients that help to fight off cancers
    • Fiber which can lower cholesterol and reduce buildup of plaque in arteries
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids which reduce risks of irregular heartbeats that cause heart attacks

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  • Thai for Your Baby

    The Tiniest Gourmet: Introducing Thai Food with Purees and Mashed Combinations

    A simple way to begin introducing Thai flavor to your baby is by adding coconut milk in homemade baby food. As with any new food, follow the "one at time" rule - and introduce just one new food over a 2-3 day period. This will help you identify a culprit food in the event of an allergic reaction.

    Thai Coconut Red Curry Sauce Cubes Red Curry- Thai for your baby


    1 can (13 oz.) coconut milk 1 tsp. Thai red curry paste 3 Tbsp. fish sauce 3 Tbsp. brown sugar ½ cup chicken stock

    Over medium heat, whisk all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a light simmer and remove from heat. Pour sauce into a 2-cup measuring cup and let cool for 10 minutes. Pour the red curry sauce into your So Easy Baby Food Trays, cover and freeze until ready to use.


    Remove a sauce cube from the freezer, defrost and add it to pureed or mashed rice (or rice noodles), meats, vegetables and fruits. When

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  • Baby’s First Holiday Dinner

    Sharing the fabulous flavors of the Holidays with your new baby is an experience that you'll cherish. Socializing is part of the fun too, so reserve a seat (high chair) at or near the dining room table for baby to join in the celebration.

    Even though your baby may not be eating all types of table food yet, there are plenty of foods choices that can make a festive and delicious Holiday dinner. For Baby's holiday dinner, stick with foods that you have already introduced. Introducing new foods could cause tummy aches or an allergic reaction - neither of which you want to deal with during this fun time.

    Here are a few ideas to serve up a Holiday Dinner for your baby:

    Baby's Age: about 6 months:

    Common first food purees that have a Holiday Flavor

    • • Sweet Potatoes
    • • Squash (this includes pumpkin)
    • • Green Peas
    • • Apples
    • • Pears

    Recipe: Apple or Pumpkin Cutie Pie

    For the "crust": combine a crushed graham cracker with oatmeal cereal and breast

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