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The Best Buttered Popcorn

2 Mar

popcornIt recently came to my attention that people still eat microwave popcorn! Why?! Besides being not delicious, the makers of microwave popcorn are guilty of taking a simple, healthful, easy-to-make snack (popcorn) and unnecessarily assaulting it with salt, food coloring, and chemicals, all in the name of convenience. Don’t be fooled. It’s so easy and delicious to make yourself! Continue reading

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Healthy Tip: Veg-ify Your Chili

2 Feb

Veg-ify Your ChiliWhen cooking for kids (or adults) I’m all for sneaking in a little extra nutrition here and there, but I’m not one of those “hide the vegetables,” spinach-in-the-brownies kind of people. (Not that I’m judging those who are–whatever works, folks!) Instead I prefer the “hiding in plain sight” approach, which (I believe) teaches my kids to recognize and like the veggies they eat. Here’s an easy way to add extra vegetables–and therefore more nutrients and fiber–to any chili recipe. Continue reading

Making Tofu Delicious (by Frying It!)

14 Jul

Tofu is such a simple ingredient, but it’s a hard one for people to make deliciously at home. I know I’ve had my fair share of bland, mushy hunks of tofu in stir fries and sandwiches–especially during my hippie college days. Here’s the easiest way to make it crave-worthy delicious: fry it! I know frying is still pretty much thought of as evil and unhealthy, but I think we all know about good vs. bad fats these days, and also that it’s not necessarily fat that’s making our society fat. If you eat fried foods in moderation and stick to heart-healthy oils (and I seriously doubt you’d fry up tofu in some lard, anyway) I think you’ll find that tofu really is a great non-meat protein. Continue reading

How to Choose a Cantaloupe

12 Jun

Whole Foods set up their melon display just perfectly for me to give you a little lesson in cantaloupe selection. Choosing melons is always tough–and you’ll never truly know what you got until you’ve sliced it open–but this little tip I learned back in culinary school totally works for cantaloupes. And no, it doesn’t include thumping it… Continue reading

Picky, Picky

21 Apr

I was recently interviewed for this piece about picky eating on the Huffington Post. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m Regan.) I’m lucky in that my kids aren’t all that picky. I mean, they’re still little kids–they don’t always eat whatever I put in front of them, and they often drive me nuts at dinnertime, but I’m proud to say that I very, very rarely make something extra for them to eat. (My husband and I always say that we don’t win every battle, but we’re winning the war!)

There’s a lot of information and tips on the Web about how to get your kids to eat better. For us, it’s just cooking from scratch, serving a reasonable variety of foods, eating at the table (even snacks), and not making a big deal about the kids’ refusal to eat something (but they do need to try it!). I, in turn, try to make the food taste good, and sometimes that includes the use of a little (gasp!) butter, white flour, or sugar. In my opinion, if your kids are gobbling down bowls of kale chowder, who really cares if there’s a tiny bit of heavy cream or bacon in there? Not me! It’s better than a diet of vanilla milk and Goldfish! (Yes, I know a family whose kids ate that way!).

We’re also lucky that I enjoy cooking and have a decent amount of time to prepare and plan meals, but I can tell you that even when I was working full time at Martha Stewart and commuting over an hour each way to New York City, I still made homemade meals and baby food about every day. How, you ask? Well, a little planning helps (though as my husband will assure you, I am NOT a great planner or scheduler!) But if you take a few minutes at the end of each day to think about dinner the next—maybe even marinate a piece of meat for tomorrow–you’ll be in a good place when you get home. Another big help–learn to cook some dishes from memory! Following recipes–all that measuring and timing–can make cooking tedious. When you’re making savory dinner foods, once you know the basic method and ratios, you won’t need to follow a recipe. (But stick to recipes for desserts, always!).

How about you? Are you winning the dinner wars?