Family Dinner

The Scramblog

  Jan 23, 2015   Family Dinner

A Scrambler in Scotland! Tortillas are Out, Door-to-Door Fish Deliveries are In

Dear Aviva,Because you’re in the kitchen with me almost every day, I feel like we’re friends who have never met; I’m willing to bet many Six O’Clock Scramble subscribers feel the same way! In the name of friendship and gratitude for the service you provide, I’d like to share an update and two “Scramble” stories with you.This past summer, my family and I moved from the US to Aberdeen, Scotland, for a 3-5 year period. Our regular menus have changed: We’ve gone from sub-tropical Houston, with its abundance of fresh fruit and weather conducive to salads and light meals to Scotland, where root vegetables are mainstays, soup is welcomed year-round and fresh fish and lamb are part of “eating local”. We can find tortillas, but not in the abundance we had them in Texas; we have excellent smoked salmon, but the good bagels will have to wait until we visit my parents in NJ. I’ve certainly added new recipes to my repertoire and can now switch easily...

Free Bonus Gifts to Help You Reach Your 2015 Goals and Eat Healthy Dinners

How are you feeling post-holiday season? Since January comes after a season of a bit too much merriment and indulgence, this is an ideal time to focus on getting our life and priorities back on track.The Scramble is offering a New Year special to help you and your entire family eat healthier, while saving time and money.With every free trial or renewal membership, you get 3 bonus gifts:Save Time: eCookbook with 10 complete Family Dinners you can make in 15 minutes or less! Save Money: eCookbook with a week of Healthy Dinners you can make for under $50Lose Weight: Tips to Trim Down Quickly while feeding your familyClick here to start your free trial and get your gifts. Would you do me a favor and share news about our New Year special offer on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest? We make it super easy on our new sharing page.
  Nov 24, 2014   Family Dinner

How To Make Family Dinners Healthier (Hint: It’s Not About the Food!)

While Thanksgiving falls only once a year, we Scramblers are dedicated to making family dinners happen most nights in our homes.We’ve heard the statistics and we know intuitively the importance that family dinners have for our kids’ healthy development.  It’s often the one time each day that we can stop running around, disconnect from technology and actually connect with each other over nourishing food.A recent study finds that it’s not just the act of having family dinners that keeps our kids healthier and prevents obesity, but the emotional tenor of those meals, which is just as important for their health.  The more positive the dynamic, especially around food, the better the results for our children’s physical and emotional health and healthy eating habits.The new study in the journal Pediatrics is a reminder to all of us Scramblers to keep our interactions at the dinner table positive and encouraging, rather than harping on our kids to finish their food...

Competing Thanksgiving Traditions: How Do You Make it Work?

Thanksgiving. It’s a timeless American tradition and one many of us look forward to for weeks, even months.  But be honest, could any meal encompass higher expectations and more pressure?  For sure, the rewards are great. We gather with our families and/or friends. We enjoy Thanksgiving traditions and delicious feast together that is a celebration of fall’s bounty.  Perhaps we watch football on the couch or digest while we hit the sales and get a jump on our holiday shopping.But when families merge, whose traditions do we follow? Whose beloved recipes do we use? Which side of the family do we celebrate with? How do we accommodate everyone’s dietary preferences? Will the turkey be overcooked again this year? And who has to sit in traffic to get to whose house?We celebrate Thanksgiving with Andrew’s family each year, while we enjoy Passover (a traditional Jewish feast) with my family in California each spring. To escape some of the pressures I mentioned above,...
  Nov 14, 2014   Family Dinner, Recipes 2

Roasted Indian Cauliflower Tossed with Chickpeas and Cashews

Scramble CFO (and my dear friend) Robin Thieme stopped by on a Saturday to drop off a book and was surprised to find that I was cooking a hot lunch for just Andrew and me. I confessed that I was just trying to use up some produce before it went bad.  Robin joined us for lunch and we all agreed this Indian cauliflower recipe is a winner.  Recipe tester Amy Stanley said “Good Stuff! Can’t wait to have it again.” Serve it with Indian naan.

Roasted Indian Cauliflower Tossed with Chickpeas and Cashews

Prep + Cook Time: 30 minutes1 head cauliflower, cut into medium florets 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp. curry powder 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. chili powder 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional) 1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste 15 oz. canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed, or use 1 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas 1/4 cup cashews 1/4 cup raisins, or more to taste (up to 1/2 cup), or use currants 1/4 cup mango chutney, for servingPreheat the oven...
  Nov 3, 2014   Family Dinner 9

Anonymous Ode to the (Parents of a) Picky Eater

Note from Aviva: After a recent lively Facebook discussion about kids’ restaurant menus and picky eaters and my being quoted in the Washington Post on this subject, a longtime Scrambler expressed privately to me how frustrated she was because she feels that parents of less picky eaters sometimes take a tone of self-congratulation or blame toward parents of picky eaters.  I asked her if she would share her thoughts and perspective with other Scramblers to heighten our sensitivity, so she composed this fabulous ode.  I hope we can all take time to consider her experience and try to be more sensitive to parents who are blessed with less adventurous eaters.  Ode to the (Parents of a) Picky EaterMy 11-year-old was playing Vivaldi on the violin by age 10.  My 13-year-old places well above 99th percentile on math standardized tests and is a skilled equestrian. Both are well adjusted and have lots of friends. If you’re wondering how we did it, I can say that we don’t have...

Tips for Reeeeallly Slow Cooking

A few years ago, I finally purchased a slow cooker.  I’m not sure what I was waiting for, but it’s been an incredibly convenient addition to my kitchen.  Because I work from home I can often start my slow cooker at lunchtime or before carpools so the food is ready at dinnertime.However, many full-time working Scramblers have told me that they are out of the house for 10 hours or more, and many slow cooking recipes don’t have cooking ranges that long.  They’ve wondered how the meal would turn out if left in the slow cooker longer than our recipes suggest.  So, I turned to my ever-faithful Scramble Facebook community for advice and posted this question:  “What do you do if the recipe says to cook on low for 5 - 7 hours but you will be out of the house for 8 - 10 hours? Do you use a timer to start it or stop it or is there another solution?”This is just a small sampling of the slow cooking tips solutions they shared:Shari Brooks: I still go ahead with the...

Win a Copy! The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure (and Spicy Slow-Cooked Indian Dal Recipe)

Jennifer Tyler Lee is an entrepreneur I admire.  Like many entrepreneurs, she devised a product to solve a problem she had, which was how to get her kids to be open to trying more new foods.  She created Crunch-a-Color, an award-winning healthy eating game.  Now she’s taken it another step by writing a new book for families with ideas and recipes to encourage them to try a new food each week.

Jennifer asked me to take my own food challenge with my family and share it with the news about her new book (Stay tuned—we’re also giving away 3 copies of Jennifer’s new book so you can create your own cooking adventure with your family.)

Our children, Solomon and Celia, are 17 and 15.  Aside from the fact that my daughter is a vegetarian and my son is allergic to shellfish, these formerly picky eaters are now truly adventurous, willing to sample any new food or cuisine with a relatively open mind.  They have their favorites—Celia’s still happiest when I make pasta and...

  Oct 13, 2014   Family Dinner

Q & Aviva: How Often Can I “Cop Out” on Dinners?

Dear Aviva, I subscribe to your service because I agree with your mission and I am dedicated to serving my family home-cooked, healthy meals. I allow myself one or two "cop out" dinners per week, but I try to make sure the others are cooked by my husband or me and are nutritious. Lately, however, I am starting to worry that I am being overly neurotic about this. Case in point: tonight was back to school night so my kids (3 & 7) had frozen pizza with the sitter. Now we have been invited to a group playdate/dinner in 2 days with people I really like, where the plan is to have the kids eat pizza. I asked if we could avoid pizza and even offered to bring food, but I am unclear from the host's response if this is welcome. My husband says to let it go and let the kids eat pizza again, but I am fretting and still trying to figure out a way to incorporate a healthy meal. What do you think?
Amy, Maplewood, NJ

Dear Amy, I commend you for being so dedicated to your family's health and...

Healthy Halloween Recipes: Witches’ Fingers and Terror-ific Tomato Soup

While this might seem rather gruesome, you can serve this with a free conscience as no witches were harmed in the making of this recipe.  In fact, it's completely vegetarian -- and a hearty healthy Halloween dinner to serve before trick-or-treating.  This smooth and creamy soup, from Six O'Clock Scramble editor Kathryn Spindel, tastes like a fresher version of the classic Campbell’s tomato soup I loved as a child.  Serve this or other healthy Halloween recipes with Witch Finger breadsticks (see recipe below).

Creamy Tomato Soup with Basil

Prep + Cook Time: 25 minutes

2 Tbsp. butter 1/4 yellow or white onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup) 2 Tbsp. flour 4 cups low fat milk 1 bay leaf 2 tsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt (optional) 1/2 tsp. baking soda 28 oz. crushed tomatoes, with their liquid 1 - 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely choppedIn a stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions and stir occasionally until the onions are softened but not browned, about 3...