Let’s Count Our Blessings on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day Greetings

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we approach another Thanksgiving Day, let us give thanks. We are blessed with a great nation, even with its many faults and failings. As a country and as a people, we are better off in the things that matter.

We have peace in our land. We have warm homes and food on our tables. Granted, there are many who do not have these necessities and comforts. But we are a compassionate people, and as a whole, give a great deal of money and goods to needy causes. When there are tornadoes and hurricans, efforts are made to help out our neighbors. It is said that Americans give more money to charity than the rest of the world combined.

Children and families can practice care and concern for others in their own corner of the world. This could be something as simple as a smile or kind word. Even small ways of being helpful to others can make a difference in someone’s life.

We are thankful for our family and friends, each with with its own special joys, satisfactions, and challenges. We’re thankful for the opportunity of being together, especially at holidays.

The men and women serving our country deserve a multitude of thanks for helping protect us and defend our freedom. We remember military families who are missing loved ones from their tables this Thanksgiving.

I want to offer an expression of gratitude to you for being here with me on this journey, and for all the ways you continue to contribute to the world with the gifts and blessings that are you.

Let us give thanks for all our many blessings from Thy bounty and ask God to continue to bless America.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lee Jackson

 

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Apple Festival Time

Harvest festivals are in full swing. Love this time of year!

I just came back from visiting Door County in Wisconsin where I bought some McIntosh apples. These apples are well-known in the northern part of the US and Canada.

The McIntosh is a very old apple variety, making its debut in Ontario, Canada in 1870. It went on to much fame, with the Empire and Cortland being two of its well-known offspring varieties.

It’s named after a farmer by the name of John McIntosh. The original tree was near the McIntosh home and was badly scorched when the house burned down in 1894. The tree continued to limp along, bearing fruit until 1908. A stone memorial now marks its site.

This dark red apple has an aromatic smell and has a somewhat spicy interior. It’s a good variety to use for applesauce but tends to lose its shape when baked in a pie. Makes great cider.

For ways on using McIntosh apples, as well as other varieties, check out my two apple cookbooks here.

Enjoy apples!

Lee Jackson

Author, From the Apple Orchard and
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards

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Author Meets World of Apples

I’ve had lots of nice comments on the recent story in the St. Joseph News-Press by Sylvia Anderson about my apple

Various apples

cookbooks and my work with apples. You can see the story here.

Lee Jackson

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Do You Know What’s in Your Food?

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM

The GMO situation is heating up but not enough consumers are paying attention. See article on what one mom is doing to help bring about safe food:
http://www.naturalnews.com/036427_GMO_boycott_activists.html

Be sure to bookmark this list of companies with safe seeds:
http://www.hawkeshealth.net/community/showthread.php?t=9375&highlight=heirloom+seeds
It is a Safe Seed Resource List for GM-free seeds.

To your good health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson

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Reflecting on Flavors of Early America this 4th of July

Leafing through Fannie Farmers 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book casts a light on earlier foods and methods of preparing it.

English: Flag of the United States of America....

If you found the following terms in an Early American cookbook, or receipt book, what would it mean? Answers at the bottom.

Match the definitions to the following terms:

A. spider

B. slump

C. hoecake

D. mush

E. love apple

F. trifle

G. chow-chow

H. dropped egg

I. eggs ala goldenrod

J. Kornlet

K. tripe

L. Indian Pudding

M. gruels

N. junkets

You would also find helpful directions on such jobs as

“How to build a fire” and “How to bone a bird” and many others necessary in an early kitchen.

Definitions

1. tomato

2. pickled vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, caulifour, celery, onion heated in a brine for pickling

3. fry pan

4. unleavened Johnny cake made of cornmeal, originally baked on the blade of a hoe over an open fire.

5. dessert dish made from thick or often thick custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or getatin, and whipped cream arranged in layers.

6. poached

7. stomach part of animal such as oxen or cow prepared as food

8. sweet dumpling mixture dropped onto a boiling sugar and fruit mixture

9. canned green corn pulp. Today’s substitution would be sweet baby corn.

10. custard made basically of sugar and milk.

11. hard boiled eggs in a white sauce served over toast.

12. starch, such as flour or cereal, mixed with liquid

13. corn meal left-over from breakfast and fried.

14. baked mixture of milk, meal, molasses, and seasonings

Are you having any of these foods this 4th of July?

May God bless America on this holiday and every day.

Lee Jackson

Books for kids, families, and parenting professional

http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

A)3; B)8; C)4; D)13; E)1; F)5; G)2; H)6; I)11; J)9; K)7; L)14; M)12; N)10

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12 Food-Related Kids Projects

Recipes

Here are 12 fun, food-related projects you and your children can work on this summer. This will help them further explore their interest in food and cooking. Who knows, your children’s skills and enthusiasm for working with food may be taken to another level.

Children can:

  • begin a food journal by listing favorite foods. Include best food and holiday memories.
  • plan certain meals or menus for a week, then note results in journal.
  • collect favorite recipes and create own cookbook.
  • take a field trip to the farmers market with family.
  • grow radishes, green onions, and/or lettuce.
  • learn new cooking skill, such as how to cream, whip, or knead.
  • find recipes to try from different cookbooks.
  • make a list of proper table etiquette and include in journal.
  • clip coupons from newspapers and magazines.
  • sketch out the grocery store’s layout to help know where items are located.
  • when shopping, compare organic food prices to other food prices. Discuss advantages and disadvantages.
  • try some dishes with a regional or international flavor.

Here I have included a seafood recipe taken from the cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Food Activities by Amy Houts. Her cookbook shows how different cultures in America came to co-exist, yet continue to celebrate their uniqueness through food. This recipe comes from the section on “Cooking in New England“, which describes the region and includes recipes from the  breads, soups and salads (like Manhattan Clam Chowder), main dishes/meats, vegetables and side dishes (such as Boston Baked Beans), and dessert categories.

Shake and Bake Scallops

1 egg
1 pound fresh scallops or 1 pound package frozen scallops, thawed
2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan. Children can beat egg in a medium-sized bowl. Add scallops and stir until coated with egg. Measure bread crumbs and pour into a gallon-size zip-top plastic bag. Using a slotted spoon, scoop scallops into bag with crumbs. Pour into prepared pan in one layer. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Variation

Peel and chop 1 small onion. Seed, rinse, and chop 1 small green pepper. Rinse and chop 1 rub celery. Saute onion, pepper, and celery in a skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes. After drizzling breaded scallops with butter, top with vegetables. Bake as directed above. Serves 4.

One way to keep children active and interested this summer is through food focused activities. Let this be the start of an engaging summer.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, CFCS

http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

Books for kids, families, and parenting professionals

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Successful People Read

Best Viewed Large

It’s inspiring to hear how books still change lives. Here are uplifting stories from student’s viewpoints http://bit.ly/L0aydU Reading does make a difference in people’s lives.

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3 Best Ways to Get Kids Cooking

Do your children like to help in the kitchen? Have you asked them and encouraged them?

Most children love to “help” in the kitchen. This help may not always be appreciated but their enthusiasm should be encouraged. Being excited about working in the kitchen is a good trait for any child.

Here are three excellent ways to get kids cooking:

1. The #1 way to get kids cooking is to encourage and involve them in the work of the kitchen.  Give them simple chores to do, depending on the age of the child. Setting the table, mixing ingredients, and washing food, such as lettuce in a colander are jobs even preschoolers can do. It may take a little more time and patience sharing your kitchen with young ones, but the smiles on their faces will more than compensate for a little flour on the floor or other spills.

2. Give children choices. The #2 way of getting kids in the kitchen is to give them choices in what they can do. For example, “Do you want to grease the pan or measure the sugar?  Or you can ask “Would you like to put the napkins on the table or the silverware?” Eventually you may get them interested in doing both chores. Just make it sound interesting! Let them know this is a special job just for them. You may say: “You’re the only one in this family who knows where the knives, forks, and spoons go.”

3. Prepare simple foods with them and let them sample when it’s ready. Children feel good about the food they prepare and want to taste it. This is a good time to give them a little more information about the food. You can tell them where it is grown and some of the processes it went through to get to the stage it is now. Let them feel the food and talk about the color and the shape. What else do they know that is that color or that shape? How does it smell?  Is it hot or is it cold? When they taste it, is it salty? Is it sweet? Have them describe how it looks and tastes.

By following these suggestions you will have excited and willing help in the kitchen  –  perhaps even promising young chefs. Many great cooks attribute their skill and interest in cooking to their earlier years when they were encouraged to help their parents or other adults prepare food.

For help in selecting recipes to prepare with children, check out the children’s cookbook, Cooking Around the Country With Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities by Amy Houts. This cookbook helps parents and children work together in celebrating America’s cultural diversity through foods from different regions of the country and shows where food is grown or harvested.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
Nutrition Advocate
http://www.healthykidseatingtips.com

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Copyright (C) 2012 www.cookingandkids.com Lee Jackson, CFCS  All rights reserved.

Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?

Did the Easter bunny come loaded with candy to your house? Or did he have some non-sugar related treats instead, such as

A milk chocolate Easter Bunny.

A milk chocolate Easter Bunny. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

new socks, new shirts, or fruits and nuts?

If your bunny was like most bunnies I know, he packed a high sugar load. As parents, how to handle the high influx of sugars into young bodies? As well as, how to get back into a schedule of healthy eating?

Studies have shown that high sugar intake not only can add pounds but plays a role in a wide range of health problems such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. Long-term sugar addiction can also produce a weakened immune system, chronic fatigue, hormonal problems, and gastrointestinal issues as well as anxiety and depression.

There is conflicting evidence over sugar-producing mood altering swings in children. But many parents have seen the changes in their child from a sweet, fun-loving child to one of a hostile, out-of-control “brat”. Too much sugar causes different reactions in different people.

Some view the never-ending “need” many have for sugar as a powerful addiction not unlike that of alcohol. With sugar addiction, individuals are no longer able to use their body’s natural abilities to control their food intake. Reportedly, some parts of the world still keep sugar under lock and key believing it to be a narcotic.

Just as with any other addiction, sugar craving needs to be controlled. This includes cutting out artificially sweetened foods as well as natural sugar foods. Getting the sugar habit under control is especially important for children for health reasons as well as weight control.

How can parents help their sugar-craving kids?

  • Help make Easter candy less readily available. Perhaps making a game out of choosing one piece and then hiding the rest. Often “out of sight, out of mind” helps. Stock cabinets and refrigerator with fruits and vegetables that are within easy reach.
  • Start your kids off with a good breakfast. This could consist of a vegetable omelet or oatmeal with chopped almonds or quinoa flakes and fresh fruit. It could also include last night’s meal of chicken or roast beef with veggie sticks.
  • If you are the chief meal planner and preparer, eliminate sugars and any sugar derivatives (honey, molasses, corn syrup, high fructose syrup and the like) from the menu. Plan  meals in advance, shop intentionally, based on what you need, and prepare the meals at a set time.
  • Pack the meals with plant-based foods from the vegetable group, the fruit group, and high-quality protein sources from animal or plant protein sources such as seafood, poultry and lean meats.
  • Set a good example by not eating foods with sugar. This means eliminating any “diet” soft drinks and other processed, sugary foods as well.
  • Take your kids shopping and ask them to help you make dinner or prepare their school lunch. Praise them for their good choices.
  • Have pitchers of water handy so your kids can drink this anytime. Kids should drink water rather than any soda or other sweetened drink.
  • One of the biggest helps is to teach kids the value of staying active and exercising. When they are playing baseball, hiking or biking they are not as apt to want a piece of candy. Then, have some healthy snacks when they are through, such as nuts or peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread, rice cakes and peanut butter, carrot sticks, apples, bananas, grapes, etc.
  • Your child may be tempted to eat sweets, just as you, perhaps, are tempted. Try to get past the temptation by focusing on another activity. Perhaps on some hobby you have, or a pleasant experience you had.
  • Some like to use visualization when this happens. They imagine and visualize how much healthier they will be without the sugar, or they will see a firm, slender body if they don’t indulge.

Getting past the sugar craving is not easy. Having candy and other sweets out of sight is the first step. Stocking up on healthy foods is the second. What your children eat or don’t eat relates to how they think, act, and feel so it is in everyone’s best interests to help them eat healthy.

To your success,

Lee Jackson
http://healthykidseatingtips.com

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What Parents Feed Kids at Home Makes a HUGE Difference

The school lunch cooks will have a really hard time getting kids to eat healthy if all they get at home are chicken nuggets and fast food. Many of the lunch room crowd work really hard in getting food that is required on plates, looking appetizing, and tasting good. Yet, if they don’t get the support from home, it’s an uphill battle for them.

Many parents, too, are so used to eating out and having the usual fast food fare that eating otherwise is just too much trouble. Yes, it does take time to plan, shop, and cook, but it is worth it. Someone has to step up and do it if kids are going to be accepting of healthier foods.

Then too, more schools (elementary and secondary) need to focus on classes that include nutrition and healthy eating. Too many classes that taught these subjects have been eliminated. And what could be more important than learning about food and how important it is for healthy living?

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
child nutrition advocate
www.HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

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