The Scramblog

Making Healthy Family Dinners Happen with Less Time, Money and Stress.

Hitting the Road? Pack Travel Food!

When I was six-years-old, we took our first trip to Europe. I was so excited. Excited about the trip, excited about the airplane—I was even excited about the prospect of getting to eat dinner on a plane—it felt like such a special thing. I also remember that dinner and how deeply disappointing it was, even for a six-year-old. I remember the highlight being a spongy, slightly stale piece of chocolate cake. Yuck. Now when we travel with the kids, and even when we travel on our own, I tend to go a little overboard on the snacks and mini-meals. I am a tad paranoid about being stranded without food, whether it be stuck in traffic or stranded in an airport with a delay. It has gotten to the point where when I offer the boys a snack while we are traveling, they will keep repeating, “what else do you have? What else do you have? What else do you have?” Because they know that there is almost an endless supply of goodies. I pack lots of snacks and avoid the food at rest...

Fettuccine with Shredded Zucchini, Carrots, and Garlic

Scramble editor Kathryn Spindel said she was paralyzed in the grocery store one afternoon because she had just learned she was having some of her husband’s colleagues for dinner a few hours later. She ran into her friend Elisabeth Moss who calmed Kathryn’s nerves by telling her how to make this easy recipe. It is ingenious because you basically double the volume of the pasta by adding all the shredded vegetables which makes it a much healthier dish. The zucchini and carrots give it a sweetness which is counterbalanced with the salty nuttiness of Parmesan cheese. For a sharper contrast, use feta cheese instead, and if the kids balk, you can always top theirs with tomato sauce. Scramble recipe tester Bobbi Woods said, “My 10-year-old daughter Brenna does not like zucchini or squash so when she asked what we were having, I called it Veggie Pesto. She never questioned what the veggies were and she really liked it!!!” What Jessica make it on Facebook Live.Fettuccine...

How to Navigate the Summertime Treats

I think it is pretty safe to say that we have all been there: you pack a carefully thought out meal to bring to the pool, beach, picnic, or other fun summertime outing—salads or sandwiches, veggies and dip, cut up fruit, ice-cold water—you are feeling virtuous and well-prepared. When suddenly the ice cream truck’s song floats across the wind, or the snack counter opens its window ready to dole out chips, candy, and ice cream bars, or the family next to you orders a pizza to be delivered on site and then the whining, pleading, and negotiating begins. Incredibly frustrating, right?How to Navigate the Summertime TreatsHere are some approaches you can take that might help you navigate this inevitable summer struggle:Talk it through ahead of time. Whether you have a family meeting at the beginning of summer to come up with an approach that will have everyone’s buy-in, or just discuss it on the way to your outing, talking in advance about a plan for how to handle...

Freakin’ Amazing Freekah Salad

Have you heard of freekeh? It’s a traditionally Middle Eastern grain that has a nutty, smoky flavor and has more fiber and protein than many other whole grains. It is fantastic in this salad, which is inspired by a recipe from New York Times food writer Martha Rose Shulman. This version is vegan but would also be amazing with shrimp, chicken, or feta cheese (although cut back on the added salt if you use feta, which has a salty flavor). Watch Jessica make it on Facebook Live. Freakin' Amazing Freekah SaladMarinate Time: 30 Minutes, Prep + Cook Time: 30 Minutes, Makes 6 Servings 1 cup freekeh, or use bulgur wheat, farro or other whole grain (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed) 3/4 tsp. salt 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley and fresh mint, chopped (throw in some fresh oregano if you have some)4 - 6 stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 cup)6 - 8 scallions, dark and light green parts, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)15 oz. canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained...
  May 28, 2018  Family Dinner, News, Uncategorized

Lessons Learned from Two Days of Living in the Woods

A few weeks ago, I went on an immersive colonial camping trip with my 4th grade son’s class. “What does that even mean?” You wonder. Well, for two days and one night (it was supposed to be three days and two nights, but we’ll get to that later), we were out in the woods, dressed in colonial-era style clothing, sleeping in canvas tents with no screens or bottoms to them, using a hole dug in the ground as a bathroom, and cooking our meals over a campfire using the implements the colonists would have used back in the 1700’s.Lessons Learned from Two Days of Living in the WoodsThe trip was challenging, fascinating, and fun. For me, of course, the aspect that I found most interesting and engaging was the cooking. Preparing meals for a group of 32 children and adults out in nature, improvising when things did not go according to plan, and including the kids in all aspects of the cooking (except the fire) was super hard and incredibly rewarding and made me think a lot...

Rhubarb-Yogurt Muffins

Rhubarb is only around for a short time during the spring, so I try to take advantage of it in any way I can. These muffins are one of my favorites because they are delicious, super simple to make, and very freezer-friendly so I can enjoy them even when rhubarb season is over (if any last that long, that is).Rhubarb-Yogurt MuffinsPrep Time: 10 Minutes, Cook Time: 20 Minutes, Makes 12 servings 1 cup all-purpose flour (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed) 1 cup whole wheat flour (I like the white whole wheat from King Arthur Flour) (use wheat/gluten-free all-purpose flour, if needed) 1/2 cup sugar 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 2 eggs, lightly beaten1 cup low fat plain yogurt (or use any variety) 1/4 cup butter, melted1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 - 2 stalks rhubarb, chopped into ¼-inch pieces, about 1 cup
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners or spray it with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix the...
  May 14, 2018  News, Uncategorized

Building in Balance: Tricks to Being More Efficient, Happy, and Present

Our family has felt a tad overextended recently. It is all due to good things and in many ways we have felt very blessed, but it has also been exhausting. In the midst of all the juggling and rushing and cramming in too much, I realized that my boys were getting increasingly cranky and whiny and that I, in turn, was getting grumpier with them. There were moments when I thought to myself, “why are they being so difficult?! Don’t they understand that I have work to do?!” And then I (finally) realized that their whining and bickering was because they wanted and needed attention from me. They were begging for it. I decided that I needed to make a change so that I could honor their needs, and also my own. I made a commitment that when they were at school, I would focus on work. No personal phone calls, emails, Facebook, laundry, cleaning, errands, etc. And when they were home, I would focus on being more present for them and also do some of the home-related chores that...

How My Vanity Got Me Drinking More Water and 4 Tricks That Helped the Habit Stick

How My Vanity Got Me Drinking More WaterI have never much liked water. It tastes bland and uninspiring to me, so staying well hydrated has often been a challenge. There are so many reasons why drinking enough water is important—from decreased cravings and mindless snacking to better health and better skin. But none of these was really enough of a motivator for me… until recently. This is embarrassing to admit, but the thing that really motivated me was a sign of aging that suddenly sprung up on my face. Yup, my vanity got the better of me when I realized that when I drank enough water each day, the lines on my face disappeared (or at least dissipated), but when I slacked off, those little lines started showing up again.4 Tricks That Helped the Habit StickSo, I’m working on drinking more and there are a few things that have helped a lot. I thought that I would share them with you in case this is a challenge for you too: 1) Flavoring the water with some fruit,...

Brazilian-Style Power Bowls

We eat bean and rice bowls almost once a week. This is, in part, because my husband is Brazilian and these are some of his favorite foods, but it’s also because of the flexibility it allows for everyone to make their bowl their own. (Check out my blog post about each family member “building” their own meal.) One of my sons loads up on the collards, while the other reaches for the sweet potatoes. I love mine with just a little rice, some beans, a ton of both vegetables, and then topped with a little crumbled feta (the contrast between the sweet of the sweet potatoes and the salty of the feta gets me every time). Watch Jessica make these power bowls on Facebook Live.Brazilian-Style Power BowlsPrep + Cook: 30 minutes, Makes 6 servings 1 1/2 cups white or quick-cooking brown rice 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about ¾ lb.)2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 3/4 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. black pepper 30 oz....

Celebrating and Supporting Mom All Year Round: What Mother’s Day Should Really Be About

Celebrating and Supporting Mom All Year Round: What Mother’s Day Should Really Be AboutGrowing up, there was nothing sentimental about Mother’s and Father’s Day in my house—they were just “Hallmark” holidays that were full of meaningless gestures. One year, I was away for Mother’s Day Weekend with a friend and her family and my friend’s mother sweetly suggested that I call my mother to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. Feeling embarrassed, I called my mom to relay the message only to receive a loud snort from the other end of the line. It was that bad. So when I became a mom myself, I didn’t really know how to feel about or what to expect with Mother’s Day, but it was important to my husband that we celebrate and, as they got older, to my sons as well, but it still irks me a bit and I am left with questions like:

Shouldn’t we be focused on showing the people we love that we appreciate them every day, rather than once a year?

What message do we send...