The Scramblog

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

  Feb 15, 2018  News, Uncategorized

How a Stomach Flu Proved that Cooking with my Kids was Worth the Hassle

How a Stomach Flu Proved that Cooking with my Kids was Worth the HassleThis past weekend, I was in New York City with my mom for the memorial service for a dear family friend. In the midst of the different events of the weekend I got a text message from my husband telling me that he thought that he had come down with the stomach flu that both our boys had struggled with in epic ways the week before. A year or two ago, this would have been cause for panic. I would have been kicking into high gear to call upon family and friends to whisk the kids away, bring meals, or otherwise help out my husband while I was out of town, but instead I expressed compassion for my husband, told him to get in bed, and reassured him that the boys could cook for themselves. When I hung up the phone my mom exclaimed how cool it was that I was able to be so confident that my 7 and 9-year-old sons would be able to cook their own dinner, should that be necessary… and I had to agree with her! It also...

Pad Thai (Sweet and Savory Thai Noodles)

Who needs take out when you can make your own Thai food at home?! This simple take on a Thai favorite will please the whole family with its sweet and savory flavors! Watch Jessica make it on Facebook Live!Pad Thai (Sweet and Savory Thai Noodles)Prep + Cook Time: 30 Minutes, 6 Servings 8 oz. dried wide rice noodles or wide egg noodles 12 oz. extra-firm tofu or peeled and deveined shrimp 1 tsp. minced garlic, (about 2 cloves)1/4 cup Thai fish sauce (sold with Asian foods) or reduced-sodium soy sauce (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed), (use the soy sauce for a lower sodium option)3 Tbsp. brown sugar 1 1/2 Tbsp. ketchup 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar 2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil 2 cups snow or sugar snap peas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, or use frozen peas4 eggs, lightly beaten3 scallions, dark and light green parts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces1/2 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts, roughly chopped1/3 cup fresh cilantro,...
  Feb 9, 2018  Time Saving Kitchen Tips

5 Tricks to Lower Your Grocery Bills

5 Tricks to Lower Your Grocery BillsHow much do you normally spend when you go to the grocery store? $100? $200? $300? More? And how many times a week to you go to the grocery store? When I was a cooking coach I regularly had clients who, when they started working with me, were spending more than $300 week on groceries AND eating out numerous times each week. That adds up to a lot of cash! Why do we spend so much at the grocery store? For some, it is impulse purchases—that box of cookies to keep your kid quiet, that $5 chocolate bar that looks too good to pass up, the chips because you’re starving and can’t resist, the bunch of kale because you’ll cook it this time for sure, or the pre-made food because after making it through the grocery store you deserve the treat of not having to make dinner. For others, it is duplicate buying because you can’t remember if you actually have Parmesan cheese at home. No matter what the reason, here are some ways to help you to...

Cuban Black Beans and Rice with Sweet Corn

These Cuban Black Beans and Rice with Sweet Corn is a fun spin on the classic. You can serve it on its own, with tortilla chips, or rolled into a tortillas a wrap. Top it with grated cheese or sliced avocado, or let everyone personalize their own! Watch Jessica make it live on Facebook!Cuban Black Beans with Rice and Sweet Corn3/4 cup quick-cooking brown rice, to yield 2 cups cooked rice15 oz. reduced-sodium canned black beans, drained and rinsed, or use 1 1/4 cups home-cooked beans1 tsp. ground cumin 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 1 1/4 cups corn kernels, fresh, frozen, or canned 16 oz. salsa (look for brands with no sugar added) 1/2lime, juice only, about 1 Tbsp.4whole wheat, flour, or corn tortillas(optional)1 cup shredded Monterey Jack, Mexican Blend, or Cheddar cheese(optional)
Cook the rice according to the package directions. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the beans, cumin, garlic powder, corn, salsa, and lime juice. Add...

The Importance of Autonomy: Helping “Picky” Eaters to Try New Things

This past week, two things happened that really brought home the importance of giving our kids autonomy with their food, especially for picky eaters.

A teenager who was open to change

The first was a one-on-one cooking lesson that I had with a 15-year-old boy. This is a kid who has a pretty limited palate and has shown very little interest in food. When his mother gave him the option of having a cooking lesson, however, he jumped at the opportunity. When I arrived, he was eagerly waiting at the door and then started right into learning how to chop vegetables, make a sauce, and put together a healthy dinner. He was focused, cheerful, and engaged. It was such a wonderful experience!

Looking back, there were a couple of reasons that I think the session was such a success. One was that just by offering the possibility of the cooking class, he was given a chance to learn a new skill that would help him to become more independent. Another was that he got to choose the...

Canadian Maple Chicken

Scramble member Caryn Roll of Quebec City, Canada, shared her simple maple chicken recipe that’s infused with spices. By cooking it on the stovetop before baking it, the outside of the chicken takes on a lovely texture and rich color. Scramble recipe tester Melinda Kelley said, “This was a hit - even my daughter, who never asks for seconds of anything except mac & cheese, pizza, or other ‘kid’ foods, had a second serving.” Check out Jessica making it on Facebook Live!Canadian Maple Chicken2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup 1 Tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed) 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon 1/2 tsp. dried thyme 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp. salt 1/3 cup flour (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed) 4boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, mustard, ¾ cup of water,...

5 Simple Steps to Ease the Burden of Cooking

It’s true. Cooking can feel like a burden sometimes. It’s yet another thing that has to get done in the day, another obligation, another chore. And yet, we also all know that eating home-cooked meals is better for our health, our wallet, and our emotional well-being. So how do we reconcile these two competing realities? How do we find a way to make cooking feel like less of a chore and more enjoyable? There are things we can do to change the environment while we are cooking such as cooking with someone else, playing fun music, or having a glass of wine. But there are also some simple steps you can take to make the actual cooking easier. Things that will save you time, which will, in turn, make the whole process feel less burdensome.5 Simple Steps to Ease the Burden of Cooking1) Start with a clean kitchenHave you ever been making a meal and suddenly you run out of counter space? Do you find yourself piling things on top of each other or precariously balancing a...

Grilled Cheese Melts with Brie and Baby Spinach

This is a gourmet twist on grilled cheese. You can opt for mustard or apricot jam, depending on your preference for savory or sweet, or use both if you can’t decide. If your kids aren’t very adventurous eaters, make traditional grilled cheese sandwiches for them with Cheddar or Muenster cheese (they might even like Brie), and serve the spinach on the side. What Jessica make them on Facebook Live!Grilled Cheese Melts with Brie and Baby SpinachCook + Prep Time: 15 Minutes, Makes 4 Servings 2 - 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine 1 tsp. minced garlic, (about 2 cloves)6 - 9 oz. baby spinach 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard or apricot jam (use wheat/gluten-free mustard, if needed) 8 medium-thick slices firm whole grain or sourdough bread (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed) 8 oz. Brie cheese, cut into thin slices
In a large skillet, melt 1 Tbsp. of the butter or margarine over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook it for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and stir it until it...

Instant Pot Conversions Are Here!

Instant Pot Conversion Are Here! We are so excited to announce the addition of Instant Pot conversions to our recipes. We have started our collection with 10 recipe conversions and will continue to add more over the coming months. For those of you who are new to the Instant Pot, our resident slow cooker and now Instant Pot master Marla Kostis thought it would be helpful to share these tips: 1. The Instant Pot should always be used with the Inner Pot in place. Thus when adding liquid or other ingredients, it is the inner pot to which these ingredients are being added. (I’ve seen a few incidents in some of the FB groups where people didn’t realize this and poured the liquid directly into the heating element). When I remove my Inner Pot, I throw a dish towel over my pot as a reminder not to put anything into it. 2. You’ll notice I’ve used the words “as/if desired” when referring to using the trivet and/or basket. The...

How to Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables

Today's post is a guest post from the amazing Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN who's site JessicaLevinson.com is full of great ideas for feeding your family, as well as recipes that are to die for! She is here to share her tips for how to get your kids to eat more vegetables-- and who doesn't need help with that?!

Eat your veggies!

Do you hear yourself saying this to your kids at least once a day?

As a mom of school-age children, I know it’s not so easy to get those servings of produce into the kids’ diets. Granted, fruit is easier than veggies since it’s naturally sweet, but if the options on the table are crackers and crudité or cookies and fruit, the majority of kids (certainly mine) will go for the crackers and cookies if given free reign.

It wasn’t always that way – when my twin girls were two and three they ate pretty much anything I put in front of them, but times have changed. Peer influence and more exposure to food outside of the home have led to...