A little food, interesting conversations, and meaningful connections — that’s what the family table is all about! So today, I’m sharing a book that I love and some really good food. I only wish that we were all sharing it around an enormous table filled with friendly conversation and lots of laughs. I hope you enjoy and as always look forward to hearing from you.
Are you the parent of a tween or teen? Do you worry about your child’s weight? Does your child worry about their weight? Have you ever heard your child say “Ugh! I’m so fat!”? Did it leave you speechless and panicked? Are you worried that your child has an eating disorder or is over-weight? Are you at a loss when it comes to talking to your child about health, weight, and the importance of being active? Well, then I suggest you grab a cup of tea, get comfy, and have a listen to this wonderful conversation I had with Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, a researcher and professor at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of “I’m, Like, SO Fat”: Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight-Obsessed World.
Over the summer I read an article in the NY Times which hi-lighted the importance of avoiding commentary on your child’s weight. Dr. Neumark-Sztainer was featured in the article, and it reminded that I had read her book a while back. I decided to reach out to her to see if she would be willing to chat with me. Of course, I was thrilled when she said yes, and excited to share our conversation with you. We discuss how to talk to your teen, how to create a health-promoting environment at home, how to approach teens that want to be vegan, the importance of family meals (of course!), and much more.
I hope you enjoy our conversation, and as always, I welcome your comments, feedback, and suggestions.
This recipe is my alternative to Chinese takeout. It has all the flavor and fun of your favorite take-out without the added grease, not to mention that it has loads of extra veggies. If you want to skip straight to the recipe, I have it below. Otherwise, checkout the video above to get my step-by-step cooking demo.
As I mention in the video, this is what I like to call a “Friday night” sort of meal, meaning that there are a few extra steps, and it may not be the best recipe to test out for a quick weeknight meal. It’s certainly not complicated, but I would give yourself a little extra time. This dinner with a movie rental or board games is pretty much the perfect recipe for a fun family night in.
large bunch of broccoli, cut into medium sized florets
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 teaspoons high heat cooking oil
2 to 3 scallions, sliced
To press the tofu, wrap the tofu in a paper towel and/or kitchen towel. Place a cutting board and a couple of cans of beans (or other heavy object) on top of the cutting board. Allow to sit for about an hour.
While the tofu is being pressed, prep your remaining ingredients.
To make the marinade, combine the broth, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Once the tofu has been pressed, slice into even cubes and place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Lay the sliced tofu out into a single layer and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes until the tofu is beginning to brown, without being crisp.
Place the baked tofu in a glass dish and pour the marinade over the tofu. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in medium sized pot filled with boiling water, blanch the broccoli florets for 2-3 minutes. They should be bright green, crunchy, and NOT cooked through. Set aside.
Remove the tofu from the marinade. Stir in the cornstarch into the marinade and set aside.
Warm your wok over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the bottom of the wok and spread around.
Add to tofu and cook until lightly browned (about 5 minutes).
Remove the tofu from the wok and add 1 additional teaspoon of oil.
Add the sliced onions and cook until soft and beginning to caramelize. Next, add the minced ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant (just about a minute), being careful not to burn the ginger and garlic.
Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until soft and browned. (Note: you may need to add a tablespoon or so of broth if your veggies start to burn or stick to the bottom since the recipe calls very little oil)
Add the blanched broccoli and tofu.
Give a quick stir to the sauce to make sure the corn starch is well incorporated and pour over the stir fry.
Mix to combine and cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly.
Serve over steamed rice and garnish with sliced scallions.
I’ve been working on my first detailed nutrition video for the last few weeks. I was forced to take a bit of detour. If you are a believer that the universe works in mysterious ways, you will definitely want to check out the upcoming video. . . It’s a little story about vitamin B12 and how I had to take my own best advice!
I’d love to here about how your family celebrates the end of a busy week. Stay tuned for my B12 story and of course, send me your questions, concerns, and comments.
I’ve gotten a lot questions around this topic over the years. The short answer is an absolute YES! In this video I tackle the one main obstacle that most people come across in answering the question of whether a plant-based/vegan diet is safe for kids. This video will give you a nice overview of the topic, but in upcoming videos, I hope to answer questions on specific nutrients, common parent concerns, as well as to share useful tips and tools to help guide you.
The standard American diet, in my opinion, is NOT an optimal way of eating. Getting more plant-based foods into our diets is not only safe and doable, but also health promoting.
I’d love it if you would share your questions and comments with me below. What issues around food and nutrition do you struggle with in your family?
p.s. here’s the link to the position statement on vegetarian and vegan diets mentioned in the video:)
If you are anything like me, by the end of the week, you are running out of ideas, inspiration, and maybe even food! The concept of a rice bowl is hardly new one. But, I will tell you that it is such a brilliant way to put together dinner, that it has become a staple in our household. In the video above I review the basic anatomy of a rice bowl and below are 5 great reasons that you should make them a part of your regular rotation:
It appeals to even the pickiest of eaters. Everyone makes their own bowl, so they decide how much of each thing goes in their bowl.
The possibilities are truly endless. You can stick to your tried and true favorite items or you can let a particular cuisine (Italian, Indian, Thai, etc.) guide you to a special adventure.
You can make things ahead of time. This is a great plan ahead meal. Cook rice, beans, and even veggies ahead of time, and simple warm and add condiments or fresh herbs when you are ready to eat.
Makes great use of odd and ends. If you have a few carrots, some zucchini, half a cabbage, really whatever remnants lay in your refrigerator or pantry, the rice bowl is a great way to put all of those stragglers to good use.
Leftovers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, leftovers are the BEST! Depending on how much you make, you can get a whole other dinner out of these rice bowls, or they make a terrific lunch. I purposefully cook extra beans and grains so that I have plenty of lunch time options ready throughout the week.
I hope you will give these rice bowls a try. I am still experimenting with the production parts of these videos and am hoping to do more cooking videos in the future. As always, I welcome your questions, feedback, and suggestions for upcoming topics.