Black radish

After the success of last week’s watermelon radish, we decided to give another radish variety a try. Enter black radish. But we learned an important lesson this week: not all radishes are created equal. Some, like the watermelon radish, are pleasantly spicy. Others pack  serious heat. Fortunately Sam didn’t suffer permanent damage, but from his reaction you’d have thought he’d scorched his tongue. I think I’ve tested about all the radishes my kids can handle. No need to try any more, we’ve been there, done that, time to move onto non-radish food.

ME: OK, you guys are going to be really excited about this next one…

SAM: Green beans?

ME: What do you think this is?

LAUREN: A radish?

ME: Yeah, how did you know it’s a radish?

LAUREN: Looks like it.

ME: Oh my gosh, I don’t think it looks anything like a radish. How did you know?

LAUREN: Well it had that same shape and the same thing on the top, so I just guessed it was a radish.

SAM: It’s a bum bum.

ME: Stop.

ME: What color is it going to look like on the inside?

SAM: Bum bumish.

ME: OK, thank you.

LAUREN: Uh, pinkish? Red? Green? Pink or green I guess.

SAM: Booty color.

ME: Oh, my gosh!

LAUREN: White?

ME: Yep. Hard to believe, right? Smell it.

LAUREN: That smells a little bit like cucumbers.

SAM: It smells like a bum bum.

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Alfalfa Sprouts

Since last week’s bean sprouts were such a big hit, I thought we’d try another sprout-related veggie. Enter radish and clover alfalfa sprouts. Aside from the disagreement about whether we were dealing with Brussels sprouts or alfalfa sprouts, I’d say that we had a productive conversation. And we even got a long-term taker, Emma loved them.

ME: What are these?

LAUREN: Brussels sprouts.

ME: Actually they’re not.

LAUREN: Actually they are.

ME: Actually they’re not.

LAUREN: Uh, they are.

EMMA: Can I get a cool one?

ME: These are alfalfa sprouts.

LAUREN: Yeah, they’re Brussels sprouts.

ME: Um actually they’re not.

LAUREN: Oh yeah they are.

ME: They’re the little sprouts that make radishes and clovers. What do they look like and feel like and all of that?

EMMA: Mmmmm I love them.

ME: You love that?

SAM: Brussels sprouts.

LAUREN: That’s actually spicy.

ME: They taste like Brussels sprouts? What do they look like in your hand?

SAM: Brussels sprouts.

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I’m shocked that bean sprouts went over so well this week. I bought them on impulse when a trip to Whole Foods yielded nothing out of the ordinary for our 52-week challenge. Hard to believe, but we’re 40 weeks into our challenge. Meaning 40 new fruits and vegetables under our belts, making it slim pickings when I head to the grocery store. But bean sprouts were new, and as much as their bland color and flavor doesn’t appeal to me, the kids shared a different opinion. They were hands down the most well-received vegetable in our challenge to date.

ME: What are these?

LAUREN: Onions?

EMMA: A kind of turkey.

ME: Yeah it kind of does look like the turkey gobbler.

ME: What does it smell like?

LAUREN: Emma ate all of hers.

EMMA: More.

LAUREN: More for me too.

ME: Slow down guys, you’re not supposed to eat it yet.

ME: It kind of smells like water to me. What about you Lauren?

LAUREN: I didn’t smell it yet. Wait, what are these mommy? I want more.

ME: Wow, you guys are fighting over them. You can each have your own bowls, I have a huge bag of them.

ME: These are called bean sprouts.

LAUREN: Oooh, I love bean sprouts!

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breadcrumbs 063

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about smart kitchen tips, including this little reference to saving your leftover bread and turning it into bread crumbs. A mere blog post won’t do justice to the genius of this technique, but I’m going to try.

The process is easy. Just take your old, leftover, stale bread – baguettes, bakery loaves, whatever you’d like, and give them a whirl in the food processor. I don’t even take my crusts off, as many directions for making bread crumbs suggest. Just rip your bread into chunks, and pulse them a few times until they resemble coarse crumbs….And there they can sit, bagged in a Ziploc, ready and waiting in your fridge until you’re ready to make them the star of your show.

You’re making the same kind of bread crumbs that you’d find in a box at your local grocery store, but a fresher, better-tasting version.

Not a fan of the bread crumbs from grocery stores to begin with?

Neither am I. On the odd occasion I’ll use Panko, but I won’t touch the other kind. You know the kind that I’m talking about – the ones that you’ll find on grocery store shelves stored in cylindrical cardboard containers –  plain or Italian. They’re usually sitting there next to the shelf-stable grated parmesan with the green lid. I’m being as complimentary as possible here, but those bread crumbs taste like oregano-infused sawdust left in open-air containers in someone’s garage.

Breadcrumb collage

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#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.