What’s for Dinner?: Week of October 12, 2015

What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more? Check out our WFD archives.

This week we hear from Megumi, who lives in Japan with her husband and 2-year old.

Megumi’s Family Food Philosophy: 

We are a Japanese family (husband and wife and a 2 year old girl) living in Muroto, Kochi Prefecture, on Shikoku Island, which is the fourth largest island in Japan, located in the southwest of the main island. Muroto is a rural town of about 15,000 people, looking on to the Pacific Ocean. Growing vegetables is part of everyone’s daily life here, so we have access to good local produce that is organic or nearly organic. (We don’t grow our own food yet.) It is our fifth year living here, and I am a stay at home mom.

We try to eat local and seasonal food, and we try to eat a lot of vegetables. Most of the vegetables I use are locally grown. Coming from Tokyo, where that was not quite possible, I find it a luxury. You will see that I incorporate some kind of meat in every dinner, but I try not to use too much, just enough. Eating seasonal food means I deal with the same few kinds of ingredients for a while, which can get kind of tiresome and boring, but it is one way of acquiring a sense of season, which I really like. (Talking about what’s in season is one way to communicate with the local elderly as well.) Our daughter is quite a picky eater, so it is a challenge getting her to eat everything. For the moment she just eats what she can (of course I try to make something that she likes as much as possible), and I try to adjust by giving her bananas for dessert or something like that.

What inspired this week’s menu?

This week was all about that whole cabbage we had, and eating the few vegetables we could find since it seems we are in between seasons. Because we had a series of nice, sunny days, I was busy fighting the grass in the garden, making me hungry and be impatient for cooking, thus the easy stir-fries.

So what’s for dinner?

Monday:  Spring rolls (inside: chopped pork, potato, onion, carrot stir-fry), sliced cabbage salad, steamed sweet potato, miso soup with tofu, white rice

Tuesday:  Stir-fried meat and vegetables, cabbage salad, baked bell peppers and bitter gourd, steamed sweet potato, wonton soup, white rice

Wednesday:  Sweet and sour pork with carrot, bitter gourd, edamame (boiled soy beans), cheese omelette (for the child), miso soup with eggplant, white rice

Thursday:  Grilled chicken wings, carrot and apple salad, mashed sweet potato, vegetable soup (bacon, cabbage, carrot, onion), white rice

Friday:  Pasta with homemade meat sauce (minced pork, tomatoes, garlic, onion), simple salad, clam chowder

What’s for Dinner: Week of October 5, 2015

What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more? Check out our WFD archives.

This week we hear from Nubia, a Colombian mom living in France with her husband and infant.

Nubia’s Family Food Philosophy: 

I want to start describing my family, I am from Colombia and my husband from Germany, and we have a little baby Isabella who is four months old. As you can imagine we have a lot differences in our eating habits, but of course if we are from two totally different cultures, my husband likes to eat pasta, cheese, pizza, burger, potatoes, candies, chocolates, and sausage with beer, as a good German; he loves animal proteins as well. In my case I like to eat fresh with mostly whole fruits and lots of veggies, in Colombia we don’t have seasons so I am used to eat all kind of fruits and veggies and fresh fruits juice all the year. At the beginning it was a big change of habits for both of us, a little bit more for him that for me.
But day by day, we found our own way and today we really enjoyed our dinner together with our daughter (of course she through my milk). Now my husband is responsible for the shopping, because he has the car, I just have to prepare a list with all the products that I want:  lots of veggies, fruits, salad, cereals and some animal proteins, and my husband still buying beer, candies, chocolates, but really rarely he eats fast food. Everything that we do now is food supplement, for example vegetables salad with one animal protein (meat or cheese or fish) and once a week he takes a beer, on the weekends as dessert, ice cream or chocolate. But every morning fresh orange juice plus fruits.
What inspired this week’s menu?
It has been a hectic summer plus we have recently had a heat wave, something that I am not used to, which meant that I do not feel like spending a lot time in the kitchen, however it is me who every night cooks, (ok, sometimes my husband as well) but I try not to be more that 45min in the kitchen.
 In general I try to ensure the weekly meals include the following:– 1 green salad
– 1 animal protein (fish, meat, chicken, cheese)
– 1 vegetables
– 1 sometimes rice, pasta or potatoesSo what’s for dinner?

Monday: after the weekend where we eat lots of bad things, I will prepare a big green salad, baby tomatoes, lettuce, feta cheese, olives, eggs with olive oil and bread.

Tuesday: rice (Colombia style with vegetables and chicken) plus small green salad, lettuce, and baby tomatoes

Wednesday:  Baked salmon with vegetables (eggplant, carrot, mushrooms, tomatoes, pumpkin and small pieces of potatoes)
Thursday:  chicken in tomatoe sauce  (Colombia style again) plus green salad with Mexican tortillas
Friday: Pasta with parmesan cheese, and pesto (original recipe from my mom) plus green salad and beer for my husband

Saturday and Sunday, 
a big German brunch because my husband is responsible for the kitchen.

Group Nutrition Class in Lyon!

Winter. Is. Coming. 

With the cold weather approaching, the tendency to stay in and enjoy the comforts of home increases. Being less active doesn’t mean that our health and wellness goals go out the door; in fact, fall is a great time to work on our nutrition and make better decisions with what we’re putting into our bodies!

To help you with this, my colleague Rebecca Lynn and I are co-leading a 6-week nutrition workshop series from 8 November – 13 December.

Join us for six in-depth sessions covering the following topics:

  • Redefining our understanding of health and wellness  
  • Eating for energy – The truth about carbohydrates and do you really need to avoid gluten?
  • Sugar blues – Is sugar addictive? How can we use the glycemic index to make better food choices?
  • Not all fats are created equal – Is saturated fat bad? The different fats explained and guidelines as to how much we should be eating.
  • Cravings and emotional eating – How to deconstruct our cravings and implement strategies to counteract them
  • Nutrition is only half the battle – How our lifestyle affects how we feel and our overall health
  • Included in the rate are: 
       – One 90-minute introductory session and 5 one-hour sessions
       – Food and lifestyle recommendations to implement between sessions
       – Handouts and easy-to-follow recipes
       – Access to our private Facebook group to support you over the 6 weeks
       – Special giveaways and healthy home-baked goodies 

    Cost: 120 euros per person, or 100 euros if you pay in full  before October 24

    When: Each Sunday from 8 November through to 13 December from 10am – 11am (please note that the first session is from 9:30am-11am)

    Where: Rue des Augustins, 69001 (near Place des Terreaux)

    To keep the workshops personable, places are extremely limited (8 people). 
    Contact me at hadleyholistics@gmail.com to secure your spot!

    Hadley and Rebecca, both trained at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, are passionate about holistic health and nutrition. Hadley is the founder of HadleyHolistics and has over eight years of experience working with clients to improve their health and well-being. Rebecca is a certified CrossFit level 1 trainer who works with both groups and individuals on improving their health and fitness. 

    What’s for Dinner?: Week of September 28, 2015

    What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more? Check out our WFD archives.

    This week we hear from Jarman, a graphic designer who lives in Virginia with her husband and two sons.  

    Jarman’s Family Food Philosophy: 

    Our food philosophy can be summed up in one word: balance. We try to balance having two parents working outside the home, eating minimally processed and organic foods, buying local/seasonal produce, being intentional rather than convenient, knowing when to just do what works, and also trying not to break the bank. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Actually, with a little planning, it isn’t so bad and most of the time I feel really great about the balance in our lives.

    I have two children under 5 (4 and 9 months) and am fortunate that they are not too picky. My older son loves going to the farmer’s market and often times I will shake up our meal plan to accommodate something he is interested in trying. Seeing all of the colorful fruits and vegetables, and especially sampling them, really gets him excited about helping me cook and eating what we make together.

    Lately, in addition to regular meal planning, I have been experimenting with food prep strategies and also prepping frozen to slow-cooker “convenience meals” to try and set us up for success. However, we do still order out sometimes from one of a few favorite local places when we are having an off day.

    What inspired this week’s menu?

    My four year old is in Pre-K now, and my 9 month old just started crawling so things have been extra exciting (read: BUSY) around our house. This week has been especially frenzied with new activities starting and trying to make time together as a family at the same time.

    So what’s for dinner?

    Monday: (we were at the beach this evening and cooking with friends!)
    Black bean enchiladas, seared scallops, guacamole, pico de gallo (similar recipe)

    Tuesday: Organic rotisserie chicken, sweet potato oven fries, steamed vegetables

    Wednesday:  Coconut chicken curry with vegetables and basmati rice (adapted from this).

    Thursday: Pizza! Crudite!

    Friday:  Grilled flank steak, fresh veggie kebabs, kale salad

    What’s for Dinner?: Week of September 21, 2015

    What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more?  Check out our WFD archives.

    This week we hear from Emma, an attorney living in San Francisco with her husband, Jason, and their toddler. Despite a busy workweek, they manage to eat healthfully and my hope is that I’ll soon be invited over for taco night!

    Emma’s Family Food Philosophy:  We try to keep our meals as healthy as possible.  Jason tries to stick with a plant-based diet, whereas I like a lot of protein.  Hunter’s preference is always a carbohydrate with cheese (i.e., pizza, pasta, grilled cheese, baked potato with shredded cheese on top, quesadillas) but he does like most veggies and we really don’t try to hide them.  Broccoli = Trees! Tomatoes he calls potatoes.  He also loves pretty much all fruit, which is helpful! We try to stick to organic produce and meats whenever possible.  Often we do our grocery shopping via Instacart (basically a personal grocery shopper who gets your list and goes to Whole Foods (or a number of different stores) to buy everything for about $4 delivery fee.  It’s an amazing way to save time and stress while still getting what you need!)  Because Jason and I both work, we are often exhausted at the end of the day, which means keeping dinners simple.  We always make enough so what we have for dinner will be Hunter’s lunch the next day.

    What inspired this week’s menu? 

    This week’s menu was inspired by a tired mamma who has 15 hours of work to do a day and husband on business in Hong Kong from last Friday through this Friday!

    So what’s for dinner?

    Monday: Homemade turkey meatballs (organic, free range lean turkey breast) with sautéed carrots and organic brown rice

    Tuesday: Organic chicken breast, chopped and sautéed with onions, chicken broth, a little parmesan, Italian seasoning and salt, with a ton of spinach mixed in right before serving over brown rice with a side of steamed organic green beans

    Wednesday: Gnocchi (from Trader Joe’s) with broccoli and a homemade cheese sauce

    Thursday:  Taco night! Lean organic ground beef with a Whole Foods taco seasoning packet mixed in; homemade guacamole, freshly made pico de gallo (my own interpretation, basically organic cherry tomatoes chopped up with cilantro and onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar and cilantro) and shredded organic cheddar cheese

    Friday:  Pizza night – we order in from a local pizza place, usually a margherita pie and a sausage, black olives and spinach pie, because we are beat at the end of a long week and Hunter LOVES pizza!

    What’s for Dinner?: Week of September 14, 2015

    What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more? Check out our WFD archives.

    This week we hear from Cheryl, who lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Marc, and 20-month son, Dylan.  (She’s also 20 weeks pregnant!)  She says: I am a quintessential yuppie.  I work as an energy lawyer at a law firm and live right downtown.  We walk and take the metro everywhere.  In my semblance of spare time, I keep a blog following Dylan’s exploits: www.themightymightyaarons.com.

    Cheryl’s Family Food Philosophy:
    We have quite a few dietary restrictions in our family, and this dictates what’s on the menu and (generally) makes the three of us pretty healthy.  I am kosher – meaning no pork products, no shellfish and no eating meat / dairy products in the same meal.  I also choose not to eat red meat.  Dylan’s diet is the same as mine.  My husband has high cholesterol, so he follows a low cholesterol diet that is coincidentally very close to my diet (we will be revisiting what he eats since recent studies show dietary cholesterol is not tied to blood cholesterol).  We also try to eat organic, in-season and not processed where possible.

    On top of all this, we have very little time to cook and frequently end up having 3 separate meals for the 3 of us… not exactly role models in that department!  We are working on it.  Marc relies on a paleo-friendly meal delivery service, I frequently eat eggs with veggies and cheese, a salad or an Amy’s frozen dinner, and then Dylan gets the home-cooked (or sometimes microwaved) meal.  We are lucky in that Dylan loves fish and vegetables, and hasn’t developed a sweet tooth just yet.  We are unlucky in that he recently became obsessed with Legos and doesn’t want to make time for eating.
    What inspired this week’s menu?
    I hesitate to call it a “menu.”  My main focus with dinner is ensuring that Dylan gets enough protein, because many of his other meals are vegetarian.  I also try to vary what he eats, particularly including vegetables, so that we’re not constantly relying on his favorites (which happen to be broccoli and avocado).  I tried Blue Apron for the first time this week – it took up far more time than I realized. Won’t be doing that again!
    So what’s for dinner?
    Dylan’s dinner menu:

    Monday:  Hummus, Asian-style broccoli, chick peas, cheddar cheese cubes, organic jarred applesauce (this was one of those days where we were pulling out absolutely anything Dylan would eat)

    Tuesday:  Blue Apron stir-fried salmon, green bean salad and roasted potatoes

    Wednesday:  Homemade turkey meat sauce with whole grain pasta, stir-fried broccoli

    Thursday:  leftover Blue Apron

    Friday:  Applegate Farms chicken nuggets, oven-baked sweet potatoes, chickpeas, couscous

    What’s for Dinner: Week of September 7, 2015

    What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more?  Check out our WFD archives.

    …and we’re back from vacation!  This week we hear from Mark, who lives in Boston with his wife, Kate, and their toddler.  I’m delighted to finally showcase a dad who does the bulk of the cooking–and, from the looks of it, makes delicious meals!

    Mark’s Family Food Philosophy:

    I grew up cooking dinner for myself from the age of 14 as both parents worked nights. I try to follow three rules: (1) I don’t use recipes except to get a general sense of ingredients/portions and cooking times but I vary from there. It’s key to understand what’s needed to make a dish versus what’s added for flavor.  (2) I like a meal that can be prepped and cooked in under 45 minutes. (3) I avoid or substitute away from exotic ingredients. If I don’t have it and use it often, I’m avoiding it or using something else.

    I also like to remind people that many of the worlds best cooks are men and I, like them, love to cook :-)

    Our weekly menu consists of 2-3 recurring staple meals, 1-2 inventive meals, and 1-2 nights out or delivery. The goal is to have a reasonably healthy meal and ready in under 45 minutes.  Kate likes a lot of color on her plate and I keep that in mind when selecting accompaniments to the main dish.  Our son’s meals always include elements from our meals.

    What inspired this week’s menu?
    Our appetites seem to be less in the summer months, so a few of these involved only a single dish, rather than the average 2-4.

    So what’s for dinner?

    Sunday: Turkey burgers with fried egg and cheese accompanied by garden salad and sweet potato tater tots
    Monday: Pistachio crusted pork chops, corn on the cob, and alfredo pasta (from box)
    Tuesday: Seared tuna over large salad
    Wednesday:  Baked chicken breast topped with homemade mushroom gravy, roasted potatoes, and asparagus
    Thursday:  Cod baked in garlic butter, white rice, green beans, and salad
    Friday: Quesadillas with chicken, peppers, and cheese with takeout queso from our local Mexican spot

    What’s for Dinner? Week of August 3, 2015

    What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more?  Check out our WFD archives.

    This week we hear from Aysin, a Turkish woman who spent 15 years in the US and now lives in Paris with her Belgian boyfriend and 2.5 year old.  She’s all about whole foods and healthy living — check out her blog here.

    Aysin’s Family Food Philosophy: 

    Seeking deliciousness coupled with nutrient density is our number one priority even if
    it’s not every single piece of morsel that goes into our mouths! As a working mom, it can sometimes get challenging to juggle the constant demands of a full-time job, a full-time (and full-on!) toddler, plus another on the way, to put nutritious meals on the table every day of the week… which means I’m constantly trying to find ways to make things as “no-brainer” as possible.

    What inspired this week’s menu? 

    It has been a hectic summer plus we’ve recently had a heat wave, which meant that I did not feel like spending entire weekends in the kitchen — something I have no trouble doing at any other time of year. I particularly cherish my slow cooker and try to do bulk cooking whenever I have the chance but the recent hectic period has meant that we will be relying more on our simple go-to meals these days than leftovers from the fridge or freezer.

    So what’s for dinner?

    Monday: we always try to have frozen fish from Picard  [a high-end frozen food chain] on hand since they make a great quick dinner – baked mackerel with tahini-lemon sauce and Turkish pilav (another of our staples) accompanied by a salad

    Tuesday: another freezer staple is organic chicken liver – liver is a powerhouse of nutrients and chicken liver is especially mild in taste (plus it’s high in folate and iron, just what a pregnant body needs!) so we make chicken liver with onions and cumin again with a side of pilav and salad

    Wednesday: our emergency meal par excellence, buckwheat pancakes with eggs and cheese plus chorizo or whatever sautéd veggies we have on hand (this time beet greens or mushrooms) – I buy the “galettes” ready-made at Naturalia [a health food store] since they have only three ingredients, buckwheat flour, salt and water, the way it should be according to the original Breton recipe. Otherwise they are also fairly easy to make ahead; here’s a good recipe that has a few more ingredients.

    Thursday: This black rice and lentil salad from my blog, especially easy if the ingredients are prepared ahead of time

    Friday: we love this smoked herring and potato salad recipe and make it at least once a week. Again, even better if I have boiled the potatoes ahead of time

    What’s for Dinner: Week of July 27, 2015

    What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more? Check out our WFD archives.

    This week we hear from Kristine, a French woman who has traveled the world and now lives in Paris with her husband, Eric, and daughter.  Like the other French families we’ve heard from, they tend not to meal plan and instead focus on what looks good at the market each week. I particularly appreciate that they prepare multi-course meals AND tend to incorporate dark chocolate into most of them. 

    What’s your Family Food Philosophy?

    We absolutely love food and have a very simple approach to it. If we like it, we’ll eat it!…and from veggies to tripes and pig’s feet, there is not much we won’t eat. I’ve never thought about food in terms of “food philosophy” but if I were to try, I’d say :

    a) We eat whatever makes us happy

    b) We keep it simple, fresh, as much as possible local and seasonal…and we don’t waste anything

    c) Cherish your family’s secrets recipes (I’m currently working on putting together a family cookbook and there’s a lot of family dishes I love from my mom’s foie gras, to my grandfather’s “snow soup”, to my grandmother’s lamb with tapenade, or my uncle’s duck confit. It’s things I like to get back to. Also my grandfather still makes his own olive oil and shares it with the family…whenever I get a bottle I cherish it like gold. )

    I am extremely lucky that Eric loves to cook and is fabulous at it (he also truly pulls in his 50% share of the parenting and house work). He does most of the cooking (I do the dishes ;)) and actually, he should be the one writing this article ;) He loves to cook savory dishes, I love to cook deserts (usually on weekends because I have more time) so we’re complimentary. We both work long hours but Eric starts extremely early which enables him to pick up our daughter from daycare at 6:30pm and start cooking when he gets home. I take care of her in the mornings, get to work around 9am and I usually come home around 7:30/8pm at night. Getting back by that time is not negotiable for me, so that I can spend time with my daughter and put her to bed, even if that means I need to work from home later at night if I’m in a busy work period. So Monday to Friday, when I get home, diner is usually ready. We usually eat around 8:30pm / 9pm in the summer.

    What inspired this week’s menu?

    We never plan menus in advance. I don’t want to be that organized about my life. The only exceptions are when we invite friends over, then we like to have something in mind in advance.

    Every meal is inspired by whatever is in the fridge from what we got at the Sunday market. Everybody eats the same stuff, toddler included.

    Basically what happens is we go to our farmer’s market every week and buy a whole bunch of vegetables, fruits, and cheese as well as a few pieces of meat from the butcher that we cook for lunch on week-ends. We cook meat mostly on weekends because during the week all three of us are lucky to eat at great cafeterias (at work and at daycare) that will always serve meats/fish along with starch, veggies, and deserts. Then, since we’re huge consumers of carbs we’ll buy pasta, rice, polenta, etc, from the store.

    So what’s for dinner?

    Entrée: soft boiled egg with bread with lemon-spiced salt & pepper
    Plat : rice salad with tomatoes and homemade vinegrette
    Fromage : fresh goat cheese with bread (baguette)
    Dessert : peaches, yogourt and some dark chocolate

    Plat : vegetarian chili
    Dessert : Kiwi and strawberries salad served with mint from our balcony and honey from the bees we have in my offices’ garden

    Entrée : endive salad with fourme d’ambert cheese
    Plat : pasta with eggplant and peppers
    Dessert : strawberries with homemade sugar-coated cilantro from our balcony

    Entrée : Tomatoes and fennel salad with some pieces of stale bread from the previous days, soaked in lemon and olive oil
    Plat: pasta with Kalamata olives and zucchini
    Dessert : dark chocolate and kiwis

    Apéro : Gin & Tonic
    Entrée : Gazpacho
    Plat : pasta with roasted garlic and Portuguese cow cheese
    Dessert : yogurt with raspberry jam and dark chocolate (can you tell I’m in love with dark chocolate yet?)

    (we had yummy steaks at lunch)
    Apéro : Red wine (for me) and a blond beer (for him)
    Entrée : tomato salad with pumpkin seeds, cucumbers, calliflower and chia seeds (Eric runs a lot and discovered those in a book about the Tarahumara Indians who are expert runners) serves with my grandfather’s go-to dressing (red wine vinegar in which you soak finely chopped onions, olive oil, salt & pepper)
    Plat : fusilli pasta with pesto and fresh goat cheese
    Dessert : dark chocolate with apple & mango “compote”

    (we cooked really good sausages for lunch)

    Apéro : pretzels with gin & tonic
    Entrée : tomatoes, celery, fresh basil and cilantro from our balcony, local fresh goat cheese, and my grandfather’s dressing served with walnut and grain bread with sardine “rillettes” (bought) with wakame seaweeds.
    Plat : pan-fried zucchinis with eggplants, yellow, orange and red peppers
    Dessert: dark chocolate, nectarines and figs