Monday, January 19, 2009

family meals

In the Sunday Life section of the paper there is an article written by Doreen Nagle. She writes about different parenting issues and offers solutions or ideas. This past Sunday the headline was "Family meals lead to healthier, happier kids" In this article she mentions several studies that we have used in various Sneak Peeks and Lunch & Learns. These studies conclude that teens who eat with their family on a regular basis have a lower than average chance of smoking, drinking, and substance abuse compared to those teens who do not. Children who eat regular meals with their family have better relationships with their parents and have a higher level of language development. They also have a lower risk of eating disorders, obesity, and depression.
The article goes on to give suggestions on how to make mealtime fun and how to make the most of this time together. She had several pointers that I plan on using too.
I'm sure you can access this on the journal & courier website. (Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009)
The bottom line is that eating family meals together around the dinner table is vital in how our children grow and develop.
As our economy makes everything more expensive, our habits tend to change. Last week on the news they talked how cobblers are busier than ever, clothing/resale is seeing a surge, and things that are considered a luxury are being cut. Instead of going out to eat, more people opt for the lesser expense of fast food. This is not what I'm saying, this is what THEY said, at noon, 5:30, 6:30 and 11. Really, fast food is less expensive?? Well, yes. Compared to a sit down restaurant. But.... how about staying home and eating?
It is cheaper. And healthier. And better for you all around.
So eat at home 3 times a week and see what a difference it makes. And let us help. Every month we provide many wonderful healthy meals. You can assemble them for your family in less than 2 hours and be ready for the month. Let us help you with the planning, prep, stress, and clean-up. Give us a call and let us make your life easier and healthier!!
Tomorrow - more dinner pics

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tuesday evening we had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful family. Joe & Cindy Haan, their children, and a large extended family. In fact, we liked them so much we decided to adopt them as our own. Let me explain.
Cindy has Pulmonary Hypertension and Limited Scleroderma (or CREST) syndrome. PH is a very rare disorder where the vessels in the lungs are restricted, causing the heart to work overtime pushing blood through the lungs. This causes the right side of her heart to be enlarged from working so hard. Simple things can totally wear her out.
Limited Scleroderma affects the skin. It slowly hardens your skin. Cindy has a lot of trouble with her hands and fingers. She is also having a lot of trouble with her esophagus. She's had multiple surgeries, and will have more.
One of these on its own is enough to slow down or even stop many people. Cindy has both. Neither one of these has a known cure, and Cindy takes @ 20 meds every day. She has 3 wonderful children, ages 5, 7 & 9. This does not give her the luxury to slow down. Clothes get dirty, homework needs to be done, and they need to eat. This is where her family and friends come in.
Tuesday almost 20 of her nearest and dearest came together and made meals for them. Not just a few to get them thru the week, but a LOT. A FREEZER FULL!! These meals will allow Cindy to stop worrying about feeding her family and concentrate on spending quality time with them.
The sight of so many coming together to help someone they care for brought tears to my eyes. And it reinforced the whole reason why I love what I do. THIS is why we are here. To help families. To get to know our community. To make a difference. And Tuesday we did. How cool is that?
So we adopted her. And her family. Anytime someone comes in to make meals for the Haans, we will take 10% off those meals. And anytime someone wants to donate a meal or contribute to their meal fund, we will take 10% off.
To learn more about Cindy's condition is a good start.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ok, part of my New Years Resolution was posting more pictures of the "finished product" so to speak. So far this month we have had the Baked Fish & Chips, Fireside Pork Roast, and the Tuscan Chicken. I remembered to take pics of the pork and the chicken. And now for my humble opinion.....
We all (my family of 4) have really enjoyed all 3 meals so far this month. My kids were VERY excited to learn that Dream Dinners has fries. Fries are a major food group in our house. The fish has a wonderful crunch to it, and the tartar sauce - yummy! It has capers in it, which gave the sauce an additional hit of vinegar.
The Pork Roast was very tender and moist. I really enjoyed the marinade with it. I would recommend to everyone that you keep the rest of the marinade and heat it up in a saucepan to serve on the side. My kids both thought it was a little (emphasis on little) spicy, but the spice was in the sauce, not the pork itself.
We had the Tuscan Chicken tonight, and as you can see by the photo, it was a full meal. We opted for the whole wheat pasta. Yes, we have whole wheat this month - yeah!! It cooked up in @ 25 min. and made the whole house smell wonderful. I must confess, I am not the most picky of eaters. However, my 7 year old IS. And even he admitted, somewhat grudgingly, that it was very good. I think the pasta helped him overlook the presence of artichoke hearts. I don't mind, I took the artichoke hearts.
Sooo, that's my 2 cents worth.
Every meal so far I plan to make again if possible. They were all very different from each other, that is nice.
Now, we always enjoy hearing your feedback. Whether you really enjoyed a meal and wish you had made more, or were disappointed in one and need a do-over. You can let us know in comments, by e-mail ( or in person when you come in for your next session.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Community Food Drive

We have extended our Food Drive benefiting Faith Community Food Pantry. Please bring in your food donation to your next scheduled session. There are so many around us in need that we like to make sure ALL families were able to have a good meal together. Some ideas for donations are as follows:
Spaghetti Sauce~ Spaghetti Noodles~ Peanut Butter~ Jelly~ Cereal~ Pop Tarts~ Boxed Mashed Potatoes~ Cream of Mushroom Soup~ Cream of Chicken Soup~ Canned Chicken~ Canned Tuna~ Pancake Mix~ Syrup
Please visit their website,, to view the complete list. We thank you for your involvement in helping further our mission!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year!
Yes, I know I'm a few days late, but I still want to extend our best wishes to everyone.
It's a New Year and we are full of energy and enthusiasm. As always, new resolutions come to mind. Ours are very simple - to help more families eat healthy meals around the dinner table while saving money and time. I think this covers the majority of resolutions made. Did you know that almost 85% give up on their resolutions within 2 months? I think usually we set the bar too high. Change doesn't happen overnight. We need to give ourselves a little grace and patience while we learn new habits and unlearn the old.
With a New Year comes a new menu full of heart healthy dinners and sides to fill out your meal. As we expand our Chef Touched Menu we are looking at adding maybe a bread or two, and another vegetable. Many of our meals this month already have the potato or rice. So just add a veggie or salad and you're done! I look forward to having more soup as well. We have our wonderful Yellow Split Pea soup again! Add some Sour Dough Bread Bowls for a complete meal. It will be available starting Tuesday, Jan. 6 - while supplies last. And we are also offering a Super Bowl Party Pack. 6-servings each of the Canadian Bacon French Bread, Teriyaki Meatballs, and Almond Chicken. Add some chips, veggies & dip, and you have a party! The Party Pack is available for $65.00 and we encourage you to pre-order.
Our allergy info will be posted in a few days, and I have a new camera thanks to my wonderful Father-in-Law. Thanks Fred!! So one of my New Years Resolutions is to take pics of the various meals and post them for all to see, as well as more pictures in general.
We look forward to seeing you this month!!
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