Parenting

The Scramblog

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Pomegranates and Peanuts

This month’s challenge from The Recipe Redux was to share a fun spin on soup. For a while, I thought about offering up a curried soup or a whimsical soup bowl or bread bowl, but then I realized that this was a great opportunity to share one of the suggestions I make in workshops all the time: pureed vegetable soups with fun toppings are a winning option for parents of picky eaters. When my younger son was in the depths of his super picky phase, I had all but given up hope that there would ever be a time when he ate vegetables other than the occasional raw carrot. Then, one day, I made a pureed vegetable soup and served it with saltines. I showed him how you can crush the crackers into the soup and then scoop them out. And, like magic, he was hooked! I think he ate two bowls of soup that night as I sat (in shock) watching him shovel (and he was pretending to be a backhoe at the time) the soup and saltines into his mouth. From there we were off and running, topping soups with...

How to Involve Your Kids in Holiday Cooking

Thanksgiving is just the beginning. Between now and New Year’s Day, there are so many celebrations. Parties, family gatherings, and special traditions are all included in this busy time of year. For a lot of us, this means tons of cooking, which can be wonderful, but also exhausting. So why not enlist some help? Big cooking projects that are tied to special occasions are fantastic opportunities to get even reluctant cooks into the kitchen. Here are some ways to include kids of all ages:How to Involve Your Kids in Holiday CookingPreschoolers:Not only do they want to help, but they love to have ownership over a task. Here are some activities that you can give them to do that will actually save you time because they don’t require close supervision.
  • Pulling fresh herbs off their stems
  • Tearing greens for a salad
  • Combining dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  • Washing produce
Younger School Aged Kids:These kiddos are more coordinated than they used to be...

The Power of Sharing a Meal

The Power of Sharing a MealOver the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to share a meal with someone. I serve on the Board of Trustees for my sons’ school and we have recently been involved in a search for our next head of school (our beloved current head is retiring). This has meant a lot of dinners away from my family. It has also meant a lot of meals shared with others. As I have been sitting down to these meals away from home, both with people I know quite well and with others I barely know at all, it has been wonderful to see how the food on the table brings us together—it lightens the mood, it shifts the dynamic, and it strengthens the bonds that we are building. The food also becomes a topic of conversation and leads to discovering shared experiences and interests. It is essential to the community building that we are doing. At one of these dinners, a friend humorously recounted his childhood when he was the slowest eater in his...

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

This month’s Recipe Redux challenge was to develop a pumpkin recipe. At first glance, this was a pretty straightforward and seasonally appropriate challenge, but I knew I needed to get it right from the get-go since testing and retesting a pumpkin recipe was going to be a bit of a challenge if the biggest eater of my test batches (my husband) wasn’t excited about the food (he’s not a pumpkin fan). I also knew that I wanted a new breakfast recipe for the make-ahead breakfast feature of our meal planning service, so I started playing around with ideas: pumpkin muffins (The Scramble already has a recipe for them), pumpkin oatmeal (has been a bust in our house when I’ve tried it before), pumpkin with eggs (I couldn’t wrap my head around that one), so I landed on whole wheat pancakes. But how would I make them light and fluffy? After all, the last thing you want is a hockey puck for a pancake, so I started researching different options and finally put together a version...

Worry Less About the Halloween Sugar with these Dinner Recipes

When my kids were first old enough to understand and appreciate Halloween, I was stressed—how was I going to be able to control the sugar intake? How was I going to navigate the meltdowns and fights over how many pieces of candy they could have? Could I cut trick or treating short to try and limit how much sugar came into the house? In short, I wanted to control the situation. My feelings about Halloween have evolved a lot since those early days. Over the years, I have decided that instead of focusing on the “bad” sugar, I would turn my attention to maximizing the nourishing and delicious meals that we can enjoy throughout the day so that when the candy gorging starts, I can relax knowing that their bodies already have been taken care of. If this approach relieves some of the Halloween-related stress for you, here are some fun ways to celebrate the holiday while filling those bellies with substantial food that will keep them going.Worry Less About the Halloween...

Getting Kids to Cook (and Classes to Get Them Started)!

As I have written about before, food and family dinners were essential parts of my childhood. Ironically, however, despite my mom’s best attempts, cooking was not. The poor woman tried everything to entice me to cook and I did dabble a bit, but mostly I just wasn’t interested. And yet she persisted. If I wanted cookies, I had to make them myself (the first attempt was incredibly memorable, but that’s a story for another post). If I wanted boxed macaroni and cheese when my parents went out for dinner (since they definitely weren’t going to eat it), I had to make it myself. And then, when my brother and I were in high school, we were each responsible for one dinner a week. I dragged my heels but she stuck with it, making sure I had the basic skills necessary to cook for myself when the time came. Years later, when I first started my career as a health coach, I quickly noticed a pattern: clients who came to me reluctant to cook often spoke of never having anyone...
  Aug 30, 2018  Family Dinner, News, Parenting

No Shame in Your Food Game

Over the past month or so, I have seen a number of articles about different ways in which mothers feel judged or even attacked by the culture at large. Two that particularly stuck out to me were the opinion piece in The New York Times called Motherhood in the Age of Fear and a series that photographer Abbie Fox put together calling out “mommy shamers.” The first told the story of a mom who was charged with child abuse for leaving her kid in the car for 5 minutes on a cool March day. It then discussed the ways in which parents, but especially moms, are judged for not meeting certain social norms. “We’re contemptuous of ‘lazy’ poor mothers. We’re contemptuous of ‘distracted’ working mothers. We’re contemptuous of ‘selfish’ rich mothers.” The second showed images that Ms. Fox took in response to all the different ways that parents/moms are judged from having medicated births to drinking caffeine while pregnant to breast or bottle feeding to how much...