May 2012

12 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Veggies -pt. 2

In yesterday’s post we started looking at ways to get kids (and maybe even husbands) to eat more veggies.
Here’s a few more ideas:

yuca chips

not your everyday tater

7. Think outside the bag.

There are a lot of veggies that can be sliced and baked or dehydrated to make chips.
Shown above are Yuca Chips, you can also make chips from zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes and even kale.
There are two links below; you can also try different things or I’m sure find more recipes online.

8. Make it available.

If your kids have access to healthy choices rather than junk food, that’s what they will eat.
We used to keep a jar of cauliflower florets in Italian Dressing in the fridge for our kids to snack on.
Other times they would find containers of sliced celery, carrots, and fresh green beans in there.
They had fun ‘helping themselves’ and I knew they were eating something good.
It was rare for us to have anything unhealthy in the house, but when we did it was put away for special occasions only.

9. Go Veggie.

spring rolls

playing with food

Take one night each week and make it an all-veggie meal.
The picture above is of uncooked spring rolls- STW and I had fun choosing our fillings and dipping sauces to make our own combos.
Talk about nutritious!
You can also make a veggie pizza, vegetable lasagna, vegetable stew… you get the idea.

10. Let them help cook.

This is probably the best way to get a child to eat veggies, while at the same time teaching them life skills.
I remember my son standing on a step stool at the stove- the oven mitts he was wearing went all the way to his armpits.
He was making, with help, scrambled eggs and veggies- a simple recipe to us, a great sense of accomplishment to him.
Wouldn’t they be proud to serve their own Personal Crustless Quiches some night for dinner!

personal crustless quiche

fun fun fun!

11. Let them grow it.

Anyone is more likely to eat veggies they grew themselves.
My FB friend Antoinette told me her daughter started eating eggplant, kale and turnips after helping in the garden.
Alright, so her daughter is 36- better late than never.

12. Teach them where their food REALLY comes from.

Food doesn’t come from a Fast-Food Drive-Through Window.
Not REAL food.
Food comes from a garden or a farm- show them that.
Food comes from the heart and the hand- not wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam- show them that too.

We’ve become disassociated from our food in this country, and that’s sad.
There is no other basic human need that involves all of our senses and is something that is a shared experience- it should be celebrated, not just shoved in our mouths.

Make the time to take the time to make a meal together at least once a week, and make what we do eat that much more special.

Okay, I’ll get down off my soap box now.
Here are a few links with recipes or other good info:

A Child’s Veggie Garden
No Cook Spring Rolls
Yuca Chips
Easy Veggie Chips and Dips
Spinach Pizza
Veggie Lasagna
Personal Crustless Veggie Quiches


Categories: Kids & Gardening, You are What You Eat


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12 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies -pt. 1

Kids and veggies, they just don’t go together.
Or do they?

Back in the day when Mandolin and I were facing undesirables on our plates, the method of choice was to make kids sit at the table until they finished their veggies.
It just made me want broccoli even less.

As adults, we’ve discovered ways to get kids not only to want to eat their veggies, but to like them too.

1. Switch your thinking first.

Instead of wondering what to have with the ham, think about it the other way around.
“What’s for dinner Mom?”
“Well, we’re having Green Bean Casserole, what should we have with it?”
“Let’s make a really big salad. Would you like to put some cheese chunks and ham strips in it?”

When you think of the veggie first, it changes the way your kids think too.

kids eating veggies

which would you prefer?

2. Give them the good stuff.

If my first taste of asparagus had been from a can, I may never have tasted it again.
Whenever possible, try to use fresh veggies- they just taste better.
Frozen next, canned last.
Of course, if you grow your own- that’s the best by far.

3. Make choosing veggies a game.

Whether you’re at the market or in the garden, letting kids choose the veggies will increase the chances they will eat it, so Play!
“Let’s pick two green veggies, two yellow ones, and one red or orange.”
Even the littlest ones can get involved in a game like that.
For older kids “Find two veggies that start with the letter ‘S’” can be fun to do.
And the kids are going to want to eat what they ‘found’.

kids like to be in charge

4. Make a menu.

Adding a visual element will help improve your chances of getting those veggies in your kids.
I found cute clip-art on Microsoft Word. Even little kids can point to the pic they want, and you can place it on the menu day.
Getting Dad involved helps too- and the kids will probably want to copy his choice next week.

When kids feel like they are part of the decision making, then they are more likely to participants as well- isn’t that true for adults too?

kids eating veggies

pretty enough to eat

5. Sweeten the deal.

Steamed Carrots – Honey Glazed Carrots – Baby Carrots with Avocado-Lemon Pesto

Which would you choose?
Personally, the only way I’ll eat broccoli is with cheese sauce.
Sometimes you just need to bring it up a notch.

6. Search the Internet

This may sound simplistic, but there is a ton of info out there not only on this subject specifically-
but what I think is even better, info on eating vegetarian.
Now I’m not suggesting you get meat out of your diet (I’d like to suggest it, but I’m not) but who can come up with more great ways to eat veggies than vegetarians?

Find their sites, try their recipes.
You may just eat a few new veggies yourself.
And that’s okay too. :-)

Here’s Part 2.

Categories: Kids & Gardening



Confession #59~ I Killed Them, I Killed Them All

It isn’t that I don’t know how to start seeds-
it’s more like I’m just not very good at it.

celery seedlings

last year's celery seedlings

And unlike last year, my seed starting set-up was moved to a spot with even less light.
And less heat.

cole crop seedlings

last year's coles

So now that I’ve given you my excuses Dear Journal, let me just add that all of my seeds sprouted.
And started to do well.

starting seeds indoors

hope under a plant light

And I won’t lie and say I just came home from work one day and found them all dead.
Nope- I killed them. I killed them all.

I over-watered some, and forgot to water others;
and with just enough effort (or lack there of) wiped them all out.

starting seeds indoors

I thought I saw celery in my future

But as good luck would have it, I got a call from my (non-vegetable growing) Father, who happens to be a pro at starting seeds.
“I decided to make a DVD on starting vegetable seeds.” he said, “And now I have 100′s of plants. Do you want any?”

purple and green cabbage seedlings

mmm...cabbage, well- it would have been

“Do I!” I answered…
and thought to myself “an maybe a copy of that DVD wouldn’t hurt either.”

Categories: Addiction, All About Seeds, Jonesen'



Squash & Melons- So Happy Together

Recently a number of people have stated they were told not to plant these delights together, and have asked me if this were true.

Let’s clear up any confusion:

squash summer yellow

this can cross...

Squash, which includes both summer (zucchini and yellow types) and winter (vining types) are from the botanical genus Cucurbita.
Melons, which also includes cucumbers, are part of the genus Cucumis.
This similarity in names may be what spurred the confusion.

Most likely gardeners are concerned about the plants cross pollinating.
Let me assure you that squash and melons cannot cross; you will never see a canatalop-ini.

squash winter- spaghetti

with this, but not....

In order for plants to cross-pollinate, they must be from the same species.
Cucumis melo includes cantaloupe and honeydew- they can cross-pollinate; but they cannot cross with Cucumis sativus AKA cucumbers.

Likewise, with Cucurbita pepo such as spaghetti squash and pumpkins, cross pollination can take place between them; but not with either of them and a blue hubbard squash because that is classified as Cucurbita maxima.

cantaloupe baby

with that.

Remember too that even if two plants do cross pollinate, it only affects the seeds.
Unless you are looking at saving seeds (or eating them, as is the case with peppers) it doesn’t matter.

You can easily find the botanical names of your veggies online- Wikipedia has a great deal of info.
A good seed catalog should also list the botanical classifications of their seeds as well.

Other than that, don’t stress it- go ahead and plant your cantaloupe and your pumpkins together.
As for watermelon- Citrullus lanatus – put them anywhere you want.

More on the subject:
Cross-pollination in squash, inc. a list by species
Cross-pollination Pt. 1, How
Cross-pollination Pt. 2, Why

Don’t just take my word for it.

Categories: FAQs, Gardening, How to Grow



How to Grow – Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard is a healthy, attractive and easy to grow crop for both young and old.
The seeds are larger than those of most veggies we grow for greens, making them easier to handle.

chard seeds

easy to handle seeds

Chard can be planted mid-spring, as it handle some cold weather.
For a continuous harvest, make successive sowings.
It also will not bolt in the summer heat, so you’ll be finding yourself eating it long after the lettuce and spinach have gone to seed.

colorful chard seeds

As pretty as a flower...

Because it is an easy veggie to grow (push the seed in the soil, water, walk away), and the multicolored stalks are so exciting to see- it is a perfect plant to use when gardening with kids.

swiss chard seeds

... or simple and unassuming.

And the best part?

Swiss Chard is extremely healthy.
It is a relative of beets, and although getting anyone (including my husband and adult son) to eat beets may prove impossible, getting someone to eat chard is much easier!
You can enjoy the leaves and stalks raw when they are small, just cut and more leaves will grow.
As they get bigger they can get a bit bitter, cooking gets rid of that taste.

how to grow swiss chard in the home garden

Don't tell them it is healthy.

My daughters tell me they like the Chard we grow better than spinach- that works for me.
Just use it the same way you would use spinach.

Botanical name: Beta vulgaris
Yield: An abundance of greens and stalks per seed. Chard is a ‘cut and come again’ crop, don’t pull the plant until it is done producing, just cut what you need.
Days to maturity: 50 days
Spacing: 3″
Storage: Fresh pickings don’t store long. Chard can be frozen or pressure canned.

Some recipes to try:

Beets And Chard
Curried Greens with Cauliflower
Quinoa and Greens

Nutrition info from Wikipedia.

Categories: Assorted Greens



Growing Healthier Kids

Today is a busy day…
It is:

you can grow that day

1. Garden Bloggers You Can Grow That Day (the 4th. of each month)
2. Backyard Edibles Day (May 4th.)
3. First Friday- which means a Giveaway!

So I mentally rolled all these together into a ball, threw it up in the air and caught it.
What did I get?

You Can Grow That- Healthier Kids!

Okay…so I had some added inspiration:

growing a baby

my first grandbaby

Since you are reading this blog ::waves:: that means you are already gardening or at least thinking about it.

And if you have kids in your life-

your own
nieces and nephews
neighbors’ kids
you’re a teacher (thank you!)
at your place of worship
in your community-

However they are there, you can help make them grow healthier… something that they will then pass on.

gardening with kids

growing food is fun!

If you are thinking to yourself “I’m already working with kids and gardening.”
Congrats- that’s great!!!
Please share any tips or advice you have in the comments section below.

gardening with kids

water + soil + sun + seed + child

If you are wondering how you can get involved, or more involved- that’s where this blog comes in.
Every Friday in March we’ll be looking at ways to help us grow healthier kids- not just gardening, but with an emphasis on good nutrition and ways to make it fun.

And that brings me to today’s giveaway.
Sought after Yoga Instructor Melissa Russo decided to make a series of videos on Yoga for Kids called Yoga Journeys.
Pretty amazing, right? -wait, there’s more.

gardening with kids

what will we discover here?

Each video also has a Nutrition or Life Connection component- be it in the kitchen, in the garden, or in the community.
Her videos have so far aired on PBS in the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Pa. area and in Binghamton N.Y.; and hopefully will soon find their way to a TV near you.

I was lucky to be in an episode with some wonderful kids; we talked and learned about gardening and seeds.
Mandolin is in it too- ‘noodling’ a jingle he wrote.

If you would like a chance to win a copy to share with the kids in your life, just leave a comment below.
If this is your first time, it will take a bit to get it approved- then it will show.

I would love to hear your thoughts on kids and nutrition- but that won’t help you win. :-)
I always do a random drawing from all entries the following Monday.

In the mean time, here are a few links to help you get started gardening with kids, and to inspire you to think about food in a different way.
(In other words- Do Your Homework!)

Connecting with Food- Why a Good Story Makes Food More Sustainable
Children Blossom While Learning to Garden in San Antonio

About Yoga Journeys Here you can learn more about the series, and purchase DVD’s to help support this non-profit volunteer effort.
Not only are they wonderful to share with your own kids, they would make a great addition to any school’s Health and Wellness program.


Find more You Can Grow That! links each month here
April’s You Can Grow That!

Categories: Kids & Gardening, You Can Grow That!



How to Make Seed Tapes

There’s this odd tendency for seeds to just accumulate in my house.
Really, I don’t know how it happens.

So when faced with 16 packets of carrot seeds, it was time to do something about it.

seed hoarding


Seed tapes.
Easy to do, can be frozen and kept until planting time.

how to make seed tapes

easy enough for kids to do

To make a seed tape, you will need seeds (no problem there!), non-toxic glue, and some form of biodegradable fabric or paper- the faster is gives, the faster your seeds will sprout; so I use bathroom tissue.

Place a spot of glue the distance you want to space your seeds.
Remember, if you are going by what the seed packet says, look for the ‘thin’ to distance if there is one.
For example, carrot seed packets advise to “Thin to 2-3 inches apart” so that’s how far apart to put the glue.

homemade seed tapes

just fold over

Fold in half and you are done.
You can keep these in the freezer until planting time.

how to make seed tapes

ta da!

Plant the tape at the same depth you would have planted the seed.
In this case, not too deep. Cover with soil and water.

how to use seed tapes

planting is easy

Of course if you water if frequently, it will sprout sooner, and any residual paper will decompose.
Plant your tapes the same distance apart you would have planted the seeds.
Since I plant in raised beds, this is the same distance as is suggested between seeds.

You can store unused tapes in the freezer- I know I can stagger my carrot plantings throughout the season, so now I have some tapes ready to go.

how to use seed tapes

planting is easy

This works wonderfully for any small seeds…and I have tons of them.
Do you ‘accumulate’ seeds as well?

I’ve heard that moderation in all things is the best way.

seed limit sign

consider this limit ex'seed'ed

If only I could practice that.

Categories: Addiction, Garden Projects



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