healthy eating

Easy Dinner Recipe: Strata


If there's one thing all 5 of us always agree on, it's eggs. Strata is basically a frittata with bread and I love it because I can make it ahead of time and just reheat for dinner and I can also pop it into the lunchboxes! Score! 

I've made strata with spinach and with broccoli. I've made it with cheddar cheese and goat cheese. I've made it with olives and chick peas. But the version I keep coming back to has just tomatoes, basil and cheese. It's like having an egg and tomato sandwich with cheese, only better. Way better. Here's another thing I love about strata: it's a great way to use up bread that's getting stale. (here's another use for that)


Here's what you'll need: 
10 large eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of crusty bread, cut into one inch cubes
1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Optional: 1/2 cup shredded cheese or goat cheese

Strata slice

Here's what to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and salt
3. Add the bread and combine so that the bread is totally soaked in. You can pop this in the refrigerator for 2+ hours or proceed from here. 
4. Add the tomatoes, basil (and cheese, if using) to the bowl. Combine thoroughly. 
5. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet (I prefer cast iron) over medium heat. Swirl the oil to coat the bottom and the sides. 
6. Pour the mixture into the skillet, and make sure everything is evenly spread. 
7. Bake until the eggs are completely set and the edges are golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. 
8. Let the Strata cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes.
9. Use a spatula to flip it out of the pan onto a board and serve. 

Kids and Salad

I've seen and heard of kids eating all kinds of salads. I see it with some of my friends' kids, and on Pinterest that kids eat all kinds of raw veggies and salads for both lunch and dinner. It hasn't been our experience here. While my kids do eat vegetables, they're usually cooked in some way (with the exception of carrots and celery). 

arugula salad with endive and parmesan

So last week when my older daughter (9 years old) had a sleepover with my niece, I was shocked to get a text that she had devoured the salad my sister made for dinner that night. "Must have that recipe," I texted back. And boom! Just like that, a new chapter has begun chez moi. I went out the next day and bought the ingredients: arugula, endive, parmesan and lemon and served it at a dinner party where it was gobbled up by four out of the five kids, and by all of the adults. The salad itself is nothing earth shattering. We're not recreating the wheel here. But it is enormously comforting to see that if you keep offering new foods, that one day kids will be comfortable enough to give it a go. 

My daughter even requested it for lunch today. A first! She says she loves the spicy arugula and the mild endive mixed together. And she's a huge parmesan cheese fan. Plus, most things taste amazing with olive oil and lemon. 

lunch with salad!

Do your kids eat salad? If so, what kind? 

Arugula Salad with Endive and Parmesan

8 oz baby arugula 
1 endive, sliced
4 oz Parmesan, sliced with a cheese plain
Juice of one lemon
Olive oil to taste

Toss all salad ingredients together. Drizzle olive oil and squeeze lemon juice on top. Combine everything and eat immediately. 

How We Eat on Vacation

We just returned from a Disney Cruise. Wow, I felt incredibly fortunate to get out of the bitter cold, which I'm pretty sure was turning my skin a disgusting shade of hollow grey. The kids were beyond excited to see what Disney had in store for them. Even my 8 year old. These days, when I think about Disney, just the princesses come to mind. But that couldn't have been farther from the truth. There were live shows, dance parties, cooking classes and many more activities that were interesting, relevant and fun for people of all ages (from morning till midnight!). 

But I digress. We tend to eat very healthfully at home. There's a saying in my house that there are four big things that help a person stay healthy and strong: sleep, water, good food and exercise. To that end, I'm not the mom that lets my kids stay up very late, I'm always armed with water or seltzer, I encourage my kids to do something active as an extracurricular activity and we regularly eat simply prepared, good food. On vacation, living up to that is much, much harder. 


Here are three things we do about eating on vacation: 

1. Ease up on restrictions.  When confronting the breakfast buffet - with chocolate glazed donuts, giant cookies masquerading as scones and vibrantly colored sugared cereals - I took it in stride and let them eat what they wanted. It was hard, but I felt encouraged to see my kids eating fruit with all of their meals and tried to focus on that. My 8 year old has a salty tooth. Her lunches were accompanied by fries almost every day. Her younger brother and sister, always eager to do whatever she does, followed suit. This would never happen at home, but what happens on vacation stays on vacation. 

2. Set limits on quantities. Much as I tried, I couldn't let it all go. While I saw that it would be too much of an uphill battle to prevent them from trying and eating foods that we normally wouldn't eat on vacation, I did set limits on the quantities. For example, there was unlimited access to the ice cream machine at all hours of the day, but my kids were told they couldn't have it more than once per day. 

3. Pack good snacks. I brought snacks from home for our flight to and from Miami. In addition to fresh fruit (bananas and oranges, which are perfect little travelers), I packed Somersault Snacks, 18 Rabbits JR organic granola bars, Peeled Snacks dried mango and dried apple, packaged applesauce, and Super Seed crackers. Sure, it took up room in our carry on bag, but it was well worth it. 

The kids have definitely asked for more sweets than usual in the last two days since we've been home, but I feel confident that we'll be back into our usual routine in no time. 

Do you have a vacation food strategy?