Giving Tuesday

#GivingTuesday 

The holidays have become an endless marketing ploy to increase sales: Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and now Giving Tuesday. While we all have our own ideas on what works or does not work for us, today is the day to give back and what a better way than with a gift option as well.

Our Giving Tuesday option is a seasonal cookbook that also includes an ornament to hang on the tree to remember you helped sponsor a child with the life skill of cooking in our Kitchen Kids program.

The time has come and also your chance to be a part of it. This first book (in a series of more to come) will feature our favorite Winter recipes. From stuffed chicken with an artichoke cream sauce to homemade vanilla extract to an adult beverage we dubbed “The Cappy” to our basic marinara. We are confident this cookbook will become your kitchen staple.

If you place your order by Friday December 6, we guarantee a delivery by December 20, just in time for the holidays with FREE shipping. The cost? Just $17.95. As a bonus, If you would like to help us build our Kitchen Kids scholarship fund, for just $40.00 you will receive the Winter cookbook and an ornament to hang on your tree. Our gift for sponsoring a child.

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Top 5 – Thanksgiving

As cliche as it can be, this week’s Top 5 is all about being thankful

 

5. Food – the food on your table, the excess of food on your table and the fact that according to our friends at The Food Think Tank: ”Some five million tons of food—enough to fill the John Hancock Building more than 14 times—will be wasted between Thanksgiving and the end of 2013.” Create a plan to use leftovers or find friends, family, or organizations willing to accept donations.

4. Family – the fun ones, the sophisticated ones and even the annoying ones. When times get rough nobody sticks around like family. You may be feuding, but tomorrow is never promised, so let’s put aside all differences enjoy the company.

3. Laughter – If you are hosting, stress can easily take over the day (or days leading up to), but remember to sit down with a glass of wine once in a while and laugh. Laugh that aunt sally tucked her dress into her underwear after coming out of the bathroom or laugh at yourself for misreading the recipe and using 3 TBSP instead of 3 tsp.

2. Freedom – your ancestors, neighbors and you fight for freedoms every day. Freedom can be political, military, or a plethora of ideals, but simply put freedom is a choice and you are at this table, on this day, at this time, so look around at the choices you are surrounded by and take it in.

1. Love – since the beginning of recorded time food, family and love are all intertwined. Enjoy the love you receive and make a commitment to giving more in the years to come.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Top 5 – Recipes

This week is a shameless plug, but we are so excited we cannot control it. Order by December 6 to receive by December 20 in time for the perfect holiday gift. Just $17.95 (free shipping) or for $40.00 you will receive a cookbook and to sponsor a chip in our Kitchen Kids, from scratch cooking classes. We will include an ornament to hang on the tree as a thank you!

Our Top 5 recipes in the Winter Cookbook: 

5. Tomato Soup (also the cover)

4. Homemade Vanilla

3. Cabbage Rolls

2. Italian Artisan Bread

1.  Stuffed Chicken with Artichoke Sauce

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Top 5 – Conversations

Sometimes, the effort of making it through the day with work, playing taxi to children, paying bills, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. is hard enough. You have to make conversations at dinner and keep a good flow? Really?! I’m not a fan of playing games, but rather utilizing the time you have together to create memories and learn more about each other.

Here are 5 conversation topics for dinner:

5. Stay away from the yes/no/maybe, one word answers. It’s a trap that leads to more work than return, especially if you have teenagers who are great at making grunting noises and handing out dirty looks. Instead try the lottery conversation. If you won the lottery what are 5 things you would buy yourself and 5 things you would buy other people.

4. Leaving the electronics away from the table can be tough for some people, while others look forward to it. Next time this comes up, discuss the pros and cons of electronics in our lives.

3. Discuss the idea of a hobby you miss doing. Family dinner can be that moment of the day in the midst of chaos, so use that time to rekindle an old hobby flame like reading, quilting, fishing, or whatever tickles your fancy.

2. Discuss politics and religion with teenagers, and social topics like bullying with younger ones. Use this time wisely to have some serious and deep conversations.

1. My last resort is “what’s missing”. It’s interpretive that could be from dinner, from life, from school, from the room, from your closet and the lists goes on and on. What did you notice was missing today?

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100 Cars for Good

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Top 5 – School Parties

My friend Bri, (from Red, Round or Green) brought up a fantastic point last week. Halloween is well Halloween. Kids dress up, beg for candy (or other treats). Typically they end up with tons. It’s fun, lighthearted and a little sinful, but overall a very well liked day. So why do we pre-game the kids at school?

 

 

Here are this week’s top 5 alternatives to a school Halloween party.

5. Move the party to the evening so families can participate, plan and help. It doesn’t need to be all on the shoulders of the teachers, allow them to do their jobs and instill a sense of community. Trick or treating is a great way to spend quality time with your children whether it’s at an event or in your neighborhood.

4. Celebrate Fall age appropriate activities like carving pumpkins (clearly not for the kindergartners), form a scarecrow, make cider, jump in a pile of leaves. Get the kids outside and active to wear them down and handle some of this excitement for the evening activities. Oh and hey, these all sound pretty healthy as well and they may never figure it out.

3. Teach a cooking class for the afternoon. Okay, it’s a bit of a shameless plug, but if the kids are too excited to concentrate then teach them some life skills. The Fall is FULL of amazing harvest items like squash, apples, pears, etc to play around with.

2. Spend the afternoon working/planning a community project. All Saints Day, World Kindness Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and many more ridiculous days are celebrated in November.

1. Have school. Especially since this is one of those holidays that could fall on any day of the week. The kids can be all jittery and anxious, but take a step back and look from the outside in. Most schools run on a quarter system with first quarter ending around this time. Let’s focus on their education and how to maintain or improve that. I may sound like the old grump (referenced in my last post). Sometimes we have to admit the alternative can be so obvious we miss it.

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Top 5 – October 30, 2013

Photo courtesy of Time at the Table

Photo courtesy of Time at the Table

Our Top 5 list for Halloween

5. Halloween is not the problem when it comes to kids, sugar and obesity. Andi Bellatti nailed it this week for me. I personally choose non-candy items to hand out but am not appalled at the people who do. Halloween is more controlled, smaller in amounts and dammit it’s fun to dress up and get something a little naughty for you in return once a year. Did you know Lucky Charms cereal has 28 grams of sugar in 2 Cups vs a snickers has 26.2 grams. One is labeled a candy bar and the other breakfast, but we don’t think twice about that.

4. Alternatives can be just as fun as candy. In our house we started a tradition 3 years ago of carving clementines to look like mini jack-o-lanterns. Completely inspired by our friends at Little Ladies Who Lunch! They were such a hit with the kids, we now have requests. Also of a cute inspired note, our friend handed her son a clementine and he just kept looking at it and turning it around. When asked what he was doing he replied, “I’m looking for the face!”

3. Don’t give candy the power. If we are going to rely on food to alter our mood or set the precedence for the day, let’s make it saffron chicken or lobster or whatever your taste buds call for. You are worth more than a cheap trick candy gives.

2. Be conscious but don’t lose sleep over it. Keep in mind allergies such as peanuts, but a simple note on the door stating you are handing out something allergy based is as far as you need to go.

1. Have fun! Remember what it’s like to be a kid on Halloween and don’t be the grumpy parent consistently correcting your child wishing you were at a bar or anywhere else that serves adult beverages. This is an opportunity for quality time with your child!

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Top 5

Top 5 Ways to Make Family Dinner Less Stressful

5. Realize that family time is what you are seeking.  Do not stress over the meal, just feed your family what you are comfortable with.

4. Deconstruct your adult meal for the young ones so they can try new things and you don’t have to make multiple meals. – (taken from Dinner: A Love Story)

3. Dust off the slow cooker and toss in some veggies, a meat and something saucy. It really can be that simple.

2. Start slow. Look at your calendars and agree on just one day. Don’t be the person who signs up for the gym, buys new clothes and overdoes it the first couple days only to quit. You are building a tradition, not a fast food family.

1. Keep the table clean. In our house, it seems to be a catch all for keys, books, mail, etc. You would never hang a coat on your tv, because for it to be useful you have to be able to see it.

 

For more information on Time at the Table or how to bring it to your community visit

www.timeatthetable.org 

 

Please consider a donation to help us continue our mission to bring cooking classes to kids all across the country.

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Summer Garden Dinner June 20

Tickets online now at www.mitchellcure.org

Purchase at County Fair, Coborns and Get Fresh starting June 3.

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A Real Treat

 

This past week was substantial for many reasons. I landed in NYC Tuesday to prepare for the very first annual Family Dinner Conference on the campus of NYU presented by Time at the Table. We were able to bring some highly influential people into one room to open a dialogue about family dinner. The audience was intimate, but sprinkled with Dietitians, Authors, Film Producers, Psychologists, Professors, Organizers, Bloggers, Activists, Entrepreneurs, Parents and even a VP of a dominate fresh food company. I was blown away by the enthusiasm that overflowed as speaker after speaker told their story. I never had to tell folks to mingle or networks, but what do you expect when you get a room full of family dinner enthusiasts together?

I left with simple ideas on recipes, techniques on dealing with impatient family members and how to involve them in the dinner process. I learned that a successful meal can be summed up in one action word…”laughter.” I even learned that I inspire just as much as I receive. I left meeting people that have influenced me and my decisions in this field of work, and to spend quality time sharing conversations just encouraged my inner voice even more.

From the after conference walk in the rain, the random pics being emailed to significant others or the 2 hour dinner conversation that may not have appeared to be family style, but quickly became a free for all as we took in the moment, sharing sips of drinks and forks of food. We all sat down to celebrate in our own way what we learned that day.

Then it hit me. Right before I left, a friend had said to me they were going to treat themselves to fast food because they had done so well with their diet. It’s innocent, we all need those comfort food days and no matter what people say they eat some form of fast food one way or another. So what’s my point?

When did we decide as a society that fast food was a treat? When did it even become an option? Why do we work hard to fill ourselves with things we know is unhealthy? Why does a treat need to be unhealthy? Why can’t a treat be a $25 entrée or $50 or $10? Who cares of the price, let’s just begin to invest in ourselves. We complain about fresh food prices while checking our iphones and watching cable tv, but really what’s more important and a better choice for you and your family?

I challenge everyone to sign the pledge from The Six O’Clock Scramble and let’s make family dinner that moment of peace where we come together. Let’s invest in our family’s health and decide that what we put into our bodies is what we will get out of them. Lastly, let’s treat ourselves with a $50 dinner and not a $5 pizza, because we are worth it!

We hope to see you next year!

 

Thank you to Jenny, Aviva, Eila, Pam & the Kids Cook Monday group, Family Circle Magazine, NYU, Blog for Family Dinner, Grace, Kathleen, Brianne, Dole, Bettina and the many bloggers, activists and parents who made the first conference a day to remember!

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