Tag Archives: food & wellness

Edible Flowers

Edible Flowers
Hi all! How was the weekend? My little sister had her baby on Saturday…the most beautiful, dark haired, 6 lb 6oz of sweet precious baby-ness…my new niece, Avery! While I am sad to be so far away, I’m thankful for technology because it makes me feel like I’ve barely missed out. Except that I want to scoop her into my arms and cuddle her all day long. I’ll get to do just that in a little over a month when we officially head back to the states. Speaking of which, I can hardly believe our season abroad is coming to a close. I’m getting into ‘go’ mode with all the things I need to accomplish for our move back home: plane tickets, packing, shopping for a car, scheduling the movers to get our things to Houston (we already found a home that I’m really excited about!), switching from international cell phone plans, etc. etc. I feel like I have one foot in and one foot out, which is always a bit unsettling and makes it harder to enjoy the days we have left. So in an effort to fully appreciate this final month in Tel Aviv, you may hear from me less. We’ll never get this time again as a family, and I want to fully embrace it, spending less time behind the computer. I’ll continue our Colors of the Market series and there may always be a fun post if I have something I just can’t wait to share with you…like edible flowers, of course! I couldn’t let spring pass us by without this post. I’ve never thought to include flowers in a recipe but I’m determined try them out. And maybe even plant a few once we get into our new home. It’d be a great project to do with little ones over Easter break! Here are a few resources to get started if you’re interested in growing, cooking or eating edible flowers: 
Edible Flowers
Your Guide to Edible Flowers (the chart above + descriptions of each)
Edible Flowers: Grow it! Eat it!
Flowers Your Kids Can Pick and Eat
Edible Beauties
And the credits + recipes for the images at the top: 
popsicles / salad / cake / cookies

Have you ever cooked with or eaten edible flowers? Let us know your favorites that we should try! Enjoy the day. xo

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Hello, Tomato

tomato blog03
I haven’t always been a huge fan of tomatoes. Don’t get me wrong. My dad’s spaghetti is one of my favorite meals of all time, and it’s usually the first thing I cook when I’m feeling homesick. In the past, however, I always picked the tomato slice off my hamburger or asked the waitress to ‘hold the tomatoes’ on my salad. I didn’t mind eating them cooked, but raw was another story. It wasn’t until I started growing them in our garden that I made myself eat them raw – I couldn’t pass on the fruit of my own labor! Over time, I really did start to love them. And they are a good food to love. There are so many varieties of tomatoes to try, and they offer incredible heath benefits whether eating them raw or cooked. Let’s take a look closer at this lovely red fruit (yes, it is a fruit!) Hello, tomato…
tomato blog04

NUTRITION OVERVIEW: 
Tomatoes are a super-food. They are a natural source for essential vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting antioxidants whether consumed raw or cooked. Eaten raw, they are a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, & Vitamin K as well as potassium, which is good for your heart! Their high levels of Vitamin C help your body absorb iron, an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen throughout your body. This makes them a great addition to any diet, especially pregnant women, who need even more iron. When tomatoes are cooked, they are a great source of lycopene, the antioxidant that gives the tomato its rich, red color. Studies have found that lycopene helps to prevent certain types of cancer and heart disease. Detailed nutritional data can be found here

AT THE MARKET: 
Tomatoes comes in dozens of varieties and colors, although red is the most common. Don’t be afraid to try a new type! Look for bright colored, unbruised fruits that are firm but slightly give when you feel it. They should have a light, sweet fragrance to them. 

IN YOUR KITCHEN: 
Tomatoes are best stored on the counter and out of direct sunlight. If they aren’t fully ripened, put them in a brown paper bag with a banana to help speed up their maturation. Unless they are about to spoil, don’t refrigerate your tomatoes. If you have to refrigerate then bring them to room temperature before using to retain their taste.

PRESERVING: 
The easiest way to preserve tomatoes is to freeze them. To do so, simply place into plastic bags without any excess air, seal and freeze. You don’t have to peel beforehand because the peels will slip off easily once thawed. Also, if you want to try your hand at canning, this looks like a good visual tutorial to walk you through that process.

tomato blog02

INTRODUCING TO BABIES:
It is recommended to wait until baby is around 10-12 months before introducing tomatoes, and even then to make sure they are cooked (not raw). They have a high acidity that may cause tummy upset or a red rash around the mouth. We actually experienced this when serving a simple spaghetti sauce to Remy when he was around the recommended age. The rash lasted a few days, and I waited to serve them again for a couple of months. It wasn’t a problem when re-introuced. As always, talk with your pediatrician about what is best for your baby. 

INVOLVING YOUR LITTLE SOUS-CHEF:
*Tomatoes are a GREAT vegetable to grow at home! Even if you don’t have a full garden, you can buy a few single planters and let your little one help you start small tomato plants. They will love being a part of the process – watering, watching them grow bigger and helping you harvest once the fruits start to grow! Check your local farmers market in the spring when small plants will probably be available for purchase. 
*Do you have a picky eater? On your next library visit look for the book “I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato” and perhaps your picky eater will be inspired try something new, like tomatoes!
*Set aside a pizza-making night on the weekends: let everyone help make their own pizzas by spreading on the sauce, placing toppings on top and sprinkling the cheese. Pizza can be an fun and healthy meal if you choose quality ingredients. 

RECIPES + IDEAS:
I’m trying to get into the habit of adding tomatoes to our diets every day. Because there are benefits to eating them both raw and cooked, there are serval ways to include them with at least one meal a day (breakfast included). One thing to keep in mind is that lycopene, the antioxidant mentioned above, is fat soluble. This means that its more easily absorbed when used with healthy fats, like olive oil or real butter. You can throw a few chopped cherry tomatoes into your morning eggs cooked in butter, add tomatoes to your salad (with an olive oil vinaigrette) or add a home-cooked spaghetti to the menu one night each week. Here are some other kid-friendly ideas I found that looked delicious…
Tomato Sourdough Soup
The Easiest Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (for family pizza night!)
Lentils & Goat Cheese Salad with Roasted Beets & Tomatoes
Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad
Classic Tomato Spaghetti
Shakshuka (a traditional Israeli dish typically served for brunch; it is delicious)
Creme Fraiche Galette with Heirloom Tomatoes

I’ve also been pinning other recipes and ideas if you want to join me over thereDo you have anything interesting to share about the tomato? What is your favorite way to enjoy this healthy yet delicious fruit?

*A note on introducing solids to babies: Did you know The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines in regards to infant feeding and switching to solids? In the past, it was advised not to introduce certain foods out of fear they may cause allergic reactions; however, they didn’t find enough evidence to prove that when you offer a new food makes any difference as to whether or not the baby will have an allergy to that specific food. The AAP recommends  “exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby’s life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complimentary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.”

**Any information or opinions provided in this post are based on my own research and is not meant to be used as medical advise or in lieu of treatment from a doctor. Please consult your primary physician and/or pediatrician for what is best for you and your baby. 

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The Red Ripe Strawberry

strawberry blog06
One of my favorite books as a child was “The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear.” The beautiful strawberry on the cover always left me wanting a bowl full of berries while we listened to the story. I have yet to introduce that book to Remy but its on the top of my list for when we return to the states (we’ve reached our limit for how many books will fit in our suitcase). It’ll come at a good time because we’ve been enjoying strawberries almost everyday. He loves helping me wash them and peel off the green stems. They are a sweet yet healthy treat for littles ones and adults alike. And that makes them a perfect choice for one of our red foods in “The Colors of the Market” series. So let’s dig in and talk about the red, ripe strawberry…
The Red Ripe Strawberry on Maison Everett Blog

NUTRITION OVERVIEW:
Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants (disease-fighting compounds). They are also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber and folate. Folate is a B vitamin naturally occurring in certain foods that’s essential for women of childbearing years (it is possible to get folate from a well balanced diet, not just a vitamin…but I’ll share more on that later). Detailed nutritional information can be found here

HOW TO BUY: 
The only bad news about this berry is that it is on the “Dirty Dozen” list. Strawberries are a lot like a sponge, which means they can soak in pesticides and chemicals used to make them grow, particularly from large scale commercial companies. The good news is that they should have a growing season where you live! Find out from your local market when they are in season (typically spring/early summer) and buy directly from a farmer or consider buying organic. If you are feeling adventurous, you can always grow them on your own! Here are 10 tips to help you get started.

HOW TO STORE: 
Did you know that strawberries do not ripen after picking? Be sure to pick a bunch that are deep red and have little green/white areas on them. The best way to store them is in a single layer on a paper towel (to soak in any moisture) in the refrigerator. And don’t wash until ready to use! 

HOW TO FREEZE: 
If you have strawberries that are on the brink of going bad, don’t fret! They freeze well and once  frozen, they are a great addition to recipes. To freeze, simply wash, hull, and place the berries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for at least 2 hours and then transfer to an air-tight bag. They will keep for a few months but they’ll begin to lost their good flavor the longer they sit. If you’re wondering exactly how to hull a strawberry, this is a great photo tutorial.

Strawberries

INTRODUCING TO BABIES:
Strawberries can be introduced to babies after 6 months of age. When you first introduce them, do so without any other foods in case the baby has an allergy to the fruit. You can puree/mash with a fork and give a small amount. Once baby is eating finger foods you can wash, cut into small pieces, mash slightly and let them enjoy. Strawberries are a great food option but just like with our own diets, be sure to keep it well-rounded. And as always, solid foods should never serve as a substitute to breast milk or formula, which should be the main source of nutrition for babies until at least a year old. 

GETTING LITTLE ONES INVOLVED: 
Enjoy a snack date! Let them help wash and de-stem the berries. Talk to them about the colors, texture, and sizes. Then grab a copy of “The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear” and read it aloud while sharing a bowl full of sweet red strawberries.
Create strawberry hand prints for daddy or grandma to let them know you love them berry much;)
Find out if there is a strawberry patch near you and take them berry picking. I did this with Remy when he was around 20 months, and we had a great time. I picked, he (mostly) ate, and we both came home with red-stained clothes…a successful adventure!

RECIPES + IDEAS:
The best thing about strawberries is that they can be enjoyed with minimal effort. We eat them as a side to our breakfast or lunch, on top of pancakes, as a post-nap snack, or even as desert after dinner. You don’t have to do much to enjoy their benefits, which makes them a great food option to keep in the fridge or freezer! But if you find yourself with an inkling to whip up something, here are few kid-friendly recipes that look delightful… 
Strawberry Popsicles
Strawberry Lavender Jam (or rather, heaven in a jar)
Homemade Strawberry Fruit Roll-ups
Strawberry Cream Scones
Strawberry Vinaigrette
Strawberry Cake (birthday soon anyone?!)

I’ve also been pinning other recipes and ideas if you want to join me over there! Do you have anything interesting to share about the strawberry? What is your favorite way to enjoy this beautiful, juicy fruit?

*A note on introducing solids to babies: Did you know The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines in regards to infant feeding and switching to solids? In the past, it was advised not to introduce certain foods out of fear they may cause allergic reactions; however, they didn’t find enough evidence to prove that when you offer a new food makes any difference as to whether or not the baby will have an allergy to that specific food. The AAP recommends  “exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby’s life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complimentary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.”

**Any information or opinions provided in this post are based on my own research and is not meant to be used as medical advise or in lieu of treatment from a doctor. Please consult your primary physician and/or pediatrician for what is best for you and your baby. 

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Red, Our First Color of the Market

"The Colors of the Market" by Maison Everett Blog
Our first color in “The Colors of the Market” series is red! Red foods are loaded with nutrients, ranging from high levels of Vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber and even folate, an essential vitamin for pregnancy.  The many options made it hard to narrow down which foods to use for the project but I finally decided on a mix that both you and your littles can enjoy in a variety of ways be it raw, cooked or dried.  "The Colors of the Market" by Maison Everett Blog"The Colors of the Market" by Maison Everett BlogThroughout the month of February, I’ll share tidbits on each of these red foods, including recommendations on when to introduce to little ones, recipes, how to store properly, and more. I will start today with a recipe that I created in an effort not to waste any of the food after the photo shoot. This combines several of our red foods. It is a quick and beautiful salad that you can make for lunch or a light dinner. Most importantly, it is husband and toddler approved. I hope you enjoy!redrecipe blog01

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The Colors of the Market

"The Colors of the Market" by Maison Everett Blog
Happy Friday, everyone! Who has plans for the weekend? My sister and her husband are in town from Brooklyn, and we’ll be busy showing them all the things that Tel Aviv has to offer. I also wanted to share my new project with all of you! I mentioned last week that I’ve been working on something that aims to educate children about food and inspire families to cook again. I wanted to find a creative way to combine that passion with my lettering and photography, when the idea finally came to me! Without further delay, I introduce to you: “The Colors of the Market” – a fun, insightful way to encourage myself and others to introduce more color into our kitchens on a daily basis. Here’s how it works: throughout this year, I will present a new color that we see at the market, and then I will select various fruits, veggies, proteins and grains which highlight that color. I’ll share nutritional facts, recipes, snack ideas, recommendations on when to introduce to little ones, and more. This project aims to be simple and beautiful, while allowing both us and our little ones to learn new things in the kitchen along the way.  colorsofthemarket03
Most importantly, I want this to be fun! I know it can be overwhelming to change up grocery routines – especially if you’re attempting to feed several little mouths and are already short on time. That is one reason I’ve decided to make this a year long project. We all know that change doesn’t happen overnight. If we take a gradual approach, highlighting one color over a period of time, we may be more likely to find ourselves adding new foods to our weekly grocery list. And to try new things that may otherwise be overlooked! For example, when I was photographing these images, both Remy and I tried persimmon for the first time. I also cooked with eggplant (a gorgeous one might I add) for the first time in almost 5 years! Both were absolutely delicious. If I hadn’t pushed myself to begin this project, I probably would continue to overlook those items I’m more hesitant to try. The Colors of the Market on Maison Everett Blog
By the end of the year, my hope is to have a catalog of beautiful nutrient-dense, real food imagery to use as a resource to teach our children about colors and eating. We teach them their colors anyway, so why not combine the two! I honestly believe there is so much to be gained from bringing more color into our kitchens. “The Colors of the Market” is my small attempt at inspiring all of us to care for ourselves and those that we love. To eat food that nourishes in simplistic, uncomplicated ways. And to enjoy the process along the way. I hope you’ll join along with me in making this a year of more color! xo…*holly The Colors of the Market on Maison Everett Blog

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