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ice cream is not for breakfast

feeding your kids without losing your mind

Just one more ice cube, please


Of late I’d been noticing my almost 3-year-old son had been eating a lot of ice. He points his index finger high in the air and says, “Just one more ice cube, please.” It melts my mommy soul and I almost always open the freezer and give him one. Once he’s done chewing the hard ice, he comes back with an Oliver Twist look, asking for more.

Then a few days ago, a visiting friend told me that his love for ice may be a symptom of a problem — pica, an appetite for non-nutritive foods. It turned out that chewing ice could be a sign of iron deficiency. He also drinks large amounts of water, and that set my brain thinking of other problems like childhood diabetes where kids are thirsty all the time.

In a panic I rushed him to the doctor. It turned out he was fine — he just loves ice and water, the doctor said. What a relief!

Posted by Hema Easley on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 at 11:06 am
Category: Uncategorized

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The cookie monster


Joseph may have trouble enunciating words in his ever-expanding vocabulary, but one comes across loud and clear — cookie.

Almost immediately after waking in the morning, he tries to drag me down to the kitchen pantry chanting, “cookie, cookie.” After we walk in the door in the evening, he makes a beeline for the pantry. If I don’t move, he’ll grab my hand and place it on the doorknob as if to prod me along.

If the desired treat is not forthcoming, the 2-year-old temper ignites complete with scrunched up face, red, tear-streaked cheeks, and stomping feet. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve stopped keeping cookies in the house. I’ve been trying to redirect that hunger to more appropriate snacks like fruit, graham crackers or pretzels, but I’m really wondering how long it will be before I can say the word and not have to spell it out!

Photo by Seth Harrison/The Journal News

Chocolate chip cookies made by Missy Chase Lapine of Irvington with whole grain flour, white beans, wheat germ, and half the sugar found in most cookie recipes. Lapine is the author of “The Sneaky Chef,” a cookbook about sneaking healthy ingredients into kids’ foods.

Posted by Tracey Princiotta on Monday, August 17th, 2009 at 2:22 pm
Category: Uncategorized



Origami and dosas


My children are having a fabulous summer so far-—with two doting grandparents who have taken over the reins at home.

Granny (Patti) is a former art teacher, and spends countless hours creating and teaching Origami designs to the kids-—they are now expert makers of star box, parrot, elf, ladybug and numerous other designs.

The kids have also taken to eating proper South Indian fare for lunch—complete with rice, rasam, kuttu,  poriyal etc.  Besides keeping the kids well-fed, my mother-in-law  also has been treating us to many yummy “tiffin” items—some of which I take to my office for lunch!

Today is one such day:-)

Sadly, our feasting days will soon be over—my in-laws are leaving for India in two weeks, and I am dreading the cereal shelf and the cafeteria lunch:-(

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 12:57 pm
Category: Uncategorized


Summer harvest


Our first harvest of the season included eggplant, arugula, basil and cilantro.

The kids joined me in putting together an arugula salad, and we decided to add red grapes and pine nuts for color and crunch. For the dressing, we whisked together olive oil, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, paprika and a pinch of sugar. Delish!

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Sunday, July 19th, 2009 at 9:00 pm
Category: arugula, blog carnival, Bloggers Unite, Bloggers Unite for Human Rights, Blogroll, grapes, salad, school-age kids, vegetable, vegetable garden, vegetables, vegetarian
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Farm-to-table (The 2009 version)


Don’t want to jinx it, but I can hardly resist the first glimmer of hope in my organic vegetable garden.  This is our second year, and buoyed by our beginner’s luck last year (click here for the earlier post), we went all out  this time—with a raised bed and fence.

And the results, so far, are encouraging.

Check out the green tomatoes and the skinny eggplant!

Oh, and we already harvested some arugula last week! I’ll post pictures of the salad soon.

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 4:01 pm
Category: eggplant, organic, organic food, organic produce, tomatoes, vegetable, vegetable garden, vegetables

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Ah, water!


I have long lamented my youngest son’s limited palate. After months of rejecting anything that wasn’t pureed or cracker crisp, he’s now taken to wolfing down salami and chicken nuggets. It’s not something that makes me particularly happy. After all salami is full of nitrites and chicken nuggets are just processed chicken.

I have to take heart in one of his great passions, though — water. He loves to sip water all day, either from his sippy cup or his bottle at night. If he runs out, he politely says, “I’d like a drink of water, please.” If I ask him to try some apple or orange juice, he refuses, “I don’t want to try that,” he says. As much as I’d like him to become more versatile, I’ll have to give him points for clarity and good manners, don’t you think!

I think the love of water comes from my husband. I’ve heard him wax eloquent about the quality of water in his native Lake Tahoe. And he swears by the water we draw from our well In Orange county, and drinks it in copious quantities. Maybe I have something to learn. Maybe should follow their lead.

Posted by Hema Easley on Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 4:37 pm
Category: bottles, chicken, chicken nugget, water



Breakfast of champions


Over on the Momslikeme Web site…moms are talking about the worst breakfast they’ve ever fed their kids. Answers range from pretzels , ice-cream to chocolate poptarts.

Check it out here. The main page of momslikeme is here.

As for me, I’ve noticed that my two-year-old isn’t a breakfast person until about two hours after she’s been up. Routine is milk first thing in the morning, followed up by a rejection of the Cheerios, the bread and/or bananas. I’ve even tried giving her chocolate-chip muffins, pancakes and other doughy, sugary treats. Not interested.

She comes around though later in the morning for her daily YoBaby yogurt fix.

Posted by Marcela Rojas on Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 4:00 pm
Category: Uncategorized


Chicken of the sea


My daughter does not eat as healthy as I do. She’s 2 and whenever you ask her what she wants to eat, she says chicken and pasta or rice. Chips is another frequent response.

The other day when I was eating salmon and quinoa, I put a forkful to her mouth and told her it was chicken and rice. She fell for it and proceeded to finish off my plate. I felt victorious but a little guilty that I fooled her into thinking it was something that it wasn’t. I must admit though on another day when my sister was eating a tuna steak, I told her to tell my daughter it was chicken. She ate that too.

Any thoughts on my strategy?

Posted by Marcela Rojas on Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 2:35 pm
Category: Uncategorized


Oh no, not alfalfa…


I’ve been making a point of putting more sprouts in my diet. They’re great in salads and with sandwiches. But this just in, beware of the alfalfa sprout!!!

There appears to be a salmonella outbreak in the alfalfa kingdom. Read more about it here.

Posted by Marcela Rojas on Monday, April 27th, 2009 at 11:01 am
Category: Uncategorized


A Movable Feast


It would be no exaggeration to say that all the major Hindu festivals of Kerala are more about feasting than anything else.

So it was fairly easy for my parents to make sure that my sister and I, second generation Malayalis (as people from Kerala are known) growing up in Mumbai, had an appreciation for Keralean culture.

My mom loves to cook, and the  three major holidays (Vishu, Onam and Tiruvadira) inevitably turn into cook-a-thons for her.

It would be no exaggeration to say that I would rather enjoy the fruits of the cook-a-thon than conduct one myself.

So in anticipation of the upcoming holiday of Vishu ( which was on April 14), we took our kids to an Indian restaurant in New Jersey last Sunday and  treated them to what I should have cooked at home.

My excuse:  Vishu was falling on a weekday and between waking up at 7:30 a.m, sending kids off to school and reporting to work at 9:30, I just don’t seem to have any time.

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Thursday, April 16th, 2009 at 2:24 pm
Category: Uncategorized



About this blog
You make it, they eat it, right?

As most parents soon discover, feeding a family is rarely that easy, whether its nursing a fussy newborn or trying to get a hot meal into a squirming toddler (or attempting both at the same time.) And that's not even the days when work runs late, the main course burns, or your adventurous little sushi eater announces from now on she will only eat food that is pink.

As parents ourselves, we've been there, done that, even learned a few tricks along the way. And we're pretty sure so have you. Maybe together we can make eating together as a family -- gulp! -- fun again.

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!


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About the authors
Hema Easley Hema Easley has been a reporter for The Journal News since July 2002, first covering municipal government and then nonprofit agencies, women's issues and the South Asian and Muslim community in the Lower Hudson Valley. In her previous job, Hema was a correspondent for the Associated Press in South Asia. She lives with her husband and two sons in Orange County.
KatieKatie Ryan O'Connor, a Journal News editor and 35-year-old mother of three, never quite appreciated the work that went into feeding kids until she had to do it herself as a mother. If she had a food-and-kids philosophy it would be something like this: try your best to offer as much healthy food as possible, but sometimes fruits just have to be counted as vegetables and there are far worse things than chicken and spaghetti. Again.
TraceyTracey Princiotta, a 37-year-old mother of one, loves to cook, bake and eat, and is relieved that her son appears to be equally willing to chow down -- even if it's baby food and formula right now. Despite her husband's intense aversion to vegetables, she has high hopes of nurturing a true chowhound who will try everything at least once. And if all else fails, she's not above sneaking veggies into other foods.
Marcela Rojas Marcela Rojas has been a municipal reporter with The Journal News since January 2003. She is a native of Putnam County and grew up eating Peruvian food. She didn't realize until she was 13 that rice did not come with everyone's meal. After several years of living in Los Angeles -- where she grew a fondness for Thai food -- she returned to Putnam County where she now lives with her husband and daughter. Zyla (rhymes with Lilah) just turned 1 in March and, so far (her mother is pleased to note), loves to eat everything.
Swapna Venugopal Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, a Journal News reporter, started her career as a journalist in 1999 after graduating with a master's degree from New York University. Before joining the paper in 2006, Swapna worked as a municipal reporter for the Home News Tribune in New Jersey, and took a baby sabbatical to care for her two children, now ages 7 and 5. She has currently outsourced feeding her children and husband to her mother, who is visiting from India. Her friend and colleague Katie O'Connor, informs Swapna that she wouldn't mind being fed Indian food by her mother, too.
Randi Weiner Randi Weiner has been a reporter with The Journal News since 1989, having covered police, government and schools in Westchester and in Rockland. An Ohio native and 1976 graduate of Bowling Green State University, she worked for daily newspapers in Ohio and Michigan before moving east. She has tended bar and danced in a beledi troup and sat on the boards of two community theaters. She plays mandolin with the Shamrogues, Connecticuts largest Irish band. Randi lives in Connecticut with her husband and has three children.

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