Back to School and a Lunch Confession

I sent the kiddos off to school yesterday morning. How is it that the summer flies by more quickly every year? There were first day jitters but the day went very smoothly for the most part. But.. here's a lunch confession for you: 

My daughter called me in the middle of the day (this has never happened before - and I didn't recognize the phone number and almost didn't answer) because she didn't like the sandwich that I packed for her and requested a hot lunch. Ugh. She had planned her first day of school lunch over a week ago and requested a cream cheese and jam sandwich, apple slices, celery and seaweed. Apparently I used the wrong jam and it messed up everything. 

My littlest can't eat berries so I've completely gotten rid of berry jam in our house to avoid any issues. I now only buy the Santa Cruz mango fruit spread or the apricot fruit spread. I like them because the first ingredient listed is fruit (mango and apricot, respectively). Recently though, some ginger spread caught my eye at the grocery store and after reading the ingredients (ginger and sugar), I bought it. Here's the truth though – I couldn't remember which of my kids liked it and so I figured they all did. Not so. It's not a huge deal; My daughter didn't like her sandwich and she was enormously hungry at the end of the day. I had to throw out the uneaten sandwich, which is a shame, but worse things have happened. Note to self: no ginger jam for the oldest. 

Cherry yogurt, frozen peas, grapes, dried mango, Somersault Snacks Pacific Sea Salt cookies

Cherry yogurt, frozen peas, grapes, dried mango, Somersault Snacks Pacific Sea Salt cookies

In other news, my son devoured every last crumb of his lunch yesterday. He's crazy about frozen peas so I add them to his lunchbox right before he leaves for school so that they stay as cold as possible. Anyway, today is a new day with a new lunch for both kiddos. 

Happy back-to-schooling to all of you! 

Cold and Flu Season are No Match for This Soup

I wholeheartedly believe in the connection between what we eat and how we feel. If someone has a cold coming on, I make chicken soup. Got a cough? Have a pear. Have a sore throat? Slice up some fresh ginger and add to hot water. So when cold and flu season is upon us - even before anyone gets sick, I always make loads of carrot soups. Carrots are high in beta carotene which is thought to help build a strong immune system. My son hates raw carrots but loves this soup. My daughter loves carrots in all forms so this is always a welcome item to the dinner table for her. Added bonus: carrot soups freeze beautifully. 

carrot sweet potato ginger soup.JPG

Yesterday I made a batch of carrot ginger soup and added sweet potato - a super food that is also high in beta carotene. Look here for a great list of super foods that fight colds. The news stories about this year's flu season are a little overwhelming. Nothing is fool proof, of course, and even people who eat the healthiest of diets get sick every now and then. Hopefully this easy-to-make soup and the other healthy stuff that comes out of our kitchen will provide us with some extra protection.

Carrot Soup with Ginger and Sweet Potato

1 lb carrots - peeled and cut into chunks
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 bunch of fresh dill
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
Juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)

Add carrots, sweet potato, ginger, onion and dill to a soup pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and puree with a stick blender.

** For added richness, you can use chicken broth instead of water or you can add a can of great northern beans to add protein and thickness.