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Archive for the 'tomato' Category

Feast your eyes!


Thanksgiving is just a week away, and I’m looking for inspiration to carve out a menu.

Loyal readers of my posts (yeah, the two of you) know that I run a vegetarian household, and will not be stuffing a turkey.

We’ve invited a couple over (who are also vegetarian and therefore will not be bummed by the missing traditional centerpiece) for Thanksgiving dinner.

Every year, I find myself cooking up new plans for a tasty centerpiece dish. We’ve tried Tofurkey (Tofu Turkey) before and found it not to be very appetizing. So this year, I’ve settled on Basil Pesto Lasagna.

Here’s what I’m planning (both appetizers and desserts will be store bought):

(And because this is a blog about kid nutrition, let me quickly add that my kids love every item on this menu!)

•Spincah puffs

•A thick harvest soup (made with onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, corn, pumpkin and V-8 juice).
•Basil pesto lasagna.
•Spicy roasted red potatoes with garlic.
•Roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese.
•Mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives.
•Basmati rice pulav with carrots, beans and corn, topped with cashews and raisins.
•A spicy coconut milk stew with potatoes, carrots and tomatoes.
•Raita–a bowl of yogurt into which I add diced cucumber and freshly chopped cilantro.

• Pumpkin pie
•Cranberry tart

Suggestions for future centerpiece dishes, anyone?

Photo Credit: Seth Harrison, The Journal News

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 12:11 pm |

Food shopping with kids


Yesterday when I picked my 2-year-old from day care, I decided to swing by my local ShopRite. It’s not that it’s the first time that mom and son have gone food shopping, but it was certainly was one of my best shopping experiences.

In the past when Aristu would ride on the shopping cart my focus would be on stopping him from sucking on the handlebar. Yesterday he seemed so excited by all the colorful offering in the produce section that the handlebar got neither his attention nor his drool.

Instead he stretched longingly toward the tomatoes and plaintively cried, “mom, apple.” Later when we passed through the fruit section he asked for the golden “anana.” The brie and the goat cheese really got him really excited — cheese, yummy — and he even acknowleged the broccoli by saying “boccoli” when we passed my (almost) favorite vegetable. The dairy section perked him up after the dull meat and chicken aisle, and he rocked himself in the seat intoning “mulk, egg.”

I ended up buying many of the items he called out, so impressed I was by his ability to identify the foods. Now all I need is for him to eat them and I’ll be a happy mom.

Posted by Hema Easley on Friday, August 22nd, 2008 at 8:00 am |
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A few months ago, we embarked on our most ambitious summer project yet.

An organic vegetable garden in our backyard! We planted tomatoes, zucchini, green chilies, basil, cilantro, peppermint, cucumbers and bell peppers.

To our delight, most (R.I.P cucumbers) of the vegetables survived our less-than-perfect tending. And we had our first harvest last week!bell-pepper.JPG

The kids enjoyed getting their hands dirty and watching the veggies “being born.” But the best part, they say, was popping the cherry tomatoes into their mouths, soon after harvesting them.

The project allowed the kids to make the farm-to-table connection, and they’ve grown a special fondness for yellow bell peppers. Bonus!vegbasket1.JPG

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Thursday, August 14th, 2008 at 12:32 pm |


Attack of the Killer Tomatoes


C’mon, someone other than the New York Post had to use that title.

Here’s the latest from the salmonella outbreak in tomatoes.

Basically, don’t eat red plum, red Roma, or round red tomatoes. Doesn’t matter where they’re from or anything like that. If you want to avoid any problem whatsoever, don’t eat ’em.

But if you simply must eat them raw, the FDA says if the tomtatoes were grown and harvested in these areas, you’re OK:
Florida (Charlotte, Citrus, DeSoto, Gadsden, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Jackson, Jefferson,  Leon, Madison, Manatee, Pasco, Polk, Sarasota, Suwannee, Sarasota and Sumter counties, IF the shipments have “a certificate issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.”)
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
South Carolina
West Virginia
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico

And there’s a reminder that raw tomatoes are used in fresh salsa, guacamole and pico de gallo.

But most restaurants of all types have already eliminated all tomatoes, raw or otherwise, from their menus. Even so, cherry and grape tomatoes appear to be OK and any tomatoes with the vine still attached seem to be OK. Why that is, I’m not sure.

There have been 228 reported cases of salmonellosis nationwide since mid-April. And it’s an “uncommon form” of salmonella.

I’m pretty big on tomatoes, but at this point, I’d much rather just avoid the fruit (yeah, it’s a fruit) entirely.

How have we reached this point that fresh fruit/vegetables seem to constantly be the source of salmonella or other deathly poisons? Aren’t fresh fruits and veggies supposed to be good for us?

Posted by Amy Vernon on Monday, June 16th, 2008 at 7:30 am |


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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