Chinese lychee 036

I bought a 2-lb bag of these Chinese lychee off a fruit vendor on the street. When I’d asked him what they were, he responded that they were lychee nuts. I told him that they look nothing like the lychee that I’ve eaten before, but he said “Chinese lychee!” New York charm at its finest.

After eating a bunch of these, I finally decided to Google them, and they’re tough to find, even online. It’s clear why they’re less popular – they’re not nearly as sweet and juicy as their red counterparts. But the kids enjoyed peeling them and ate a few, so all in all, a reasonable success. But if I’m buying lychee again, it won’t be these ones.

ME: What are these called?

LAUREN: Lychee nuts!

ME: What do they look like?

LAUREN: They kind of look like a tiny basketball.

ME: Sam, what do you think?

SAM: It looks like a stretchy thing.

LAUREN: A stretchy ball?

LAUREN: Oh, my God, is there a nut in it?

ME: Yes, but you’re not allergic.

LAUREN: Can I lick it?


LAUREN: Ew, I don’t like it.

EMMA: I like it!

ME: They’re kind of similar to the guineps.

LAUREN: Yeah, they are.

LAUREN: This tastes like an olive a little.

SAM: Actually when I lick it….

EMMA: (Crying)

ME: What happened? Did you bite it?

EMMA: (crying) Yeaaaaah.

ME: Did you hurt your tooth?

EMMA: (crying) Yeaaaaah.

continue reading


#getfreshMaybe you had an inkling from my recent summer salad post that a subtle shift had taken place in our home. Or you saw the new page on the blog called “Instagrammies” (Instagram + Recipes) – quick fix meals prepared in minutes, using the fresh fruit & veg that I find stashed away in the fridge or ripening on my countertops. Maybe you thought out loud “what’s going on with her?, she normally talks about nachos.” But it’s true, a subtle shift has taken place. Lately I’ve been obsessing about healthy foods. Fresh foods. Foods that don’t need cheese or baking or heavy coaxing. Foods that are perfect in their simplicity.

Summer is that time of year where I crave vegetables and lighter food like it’s going out of style. I can’t pass by my favorite grocery store in NYC, Forager’s Market, without running in to pick up some heirloom tomatoes, fresh ears of corn, and organic lettuce. Along with The Challenge, taking the kids grocery shopping for fresh produce has been a great way to get them on board with healthy eating. When they see me ogling zucchini and fondling peaches, they naturally wonder what the fuss is all about. 

And yes, I meant to say that: fondling peaches. Preferably gently. Keep your minds clean people. Never squeeze a peach to see if it’s ripe, you don’t want to bruise it, especially the delicate local fruit that wasn’t hybridized for shipping durability. Seriously, don’t do it. The farmers would be upset and we don’t want to anger them because they wield pitchforks, rusted shovels and things of that nature.

Late summer into early fall is the best time of year to visit farmer’s markets and pick up seasonal produce at your grocery store. I can’t tear myself away from these places without filling up my cart or bags with way more fruit and vegetables than I can handle.

Which is why it’s so great to meet people like Melissa Lanz, founder of The Fresh 20, a program that helps people ditch the frozen food and get fresh. Like me, Melissa is on a mission to get people to eat more healthy foods, and get kids on board with healthy eating habits early. She created a smart program for keeping families on track and eating well.  Simple-to-use and affordable, her program creates weekly shopping lists and recipes, keeping grocery bills low, and food wastage even lower. It’s pretty awesome, that’s all I can say – I only wish I’d found it sooner.

Melissa’s program has been featured in The New York Times, InStyle, and Inc. Magazine to name a few, and she’s starting a new back-to-school campaign to find out how kids get fresh. As part of her campaign, she’s running a contest: “How do you #getfresh”, asking for parents to submit pictures that show how their kids are getting involved in eating fresh foods. There are some pretty serious prizes too, so check out her Facebook contest here.

So fondle those peaches, pinch those plums, smack those shallots, do whatever you need to do, but take advantage of the season’s bounty while it lasts. And of course, let us know what you’re doing to #getfresh.