Homemade Salad & Dressing

Melissa, September 3, 2013

Salad & Dressing. Sounds normal right? But you have yet to experience my boyfriend’s (Daryl Onton) homemade dressing. I never thought a salad could taste so good. Salad: Spinach Blue Cheese Crumbles Mushrooms Acocado *I like to keep my salads simple. You can add whatever makes your heart pitter patter. Dressing: 2 Tbsp Sour Cream 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar 2 Tbsp Honey 1/2 Tsp Basil 1/2 Tsp Tarragon 1/2 Tsp Marjoram Dash of Himalayan Salt  Shake well in a blender bottle. If you don’t have one available you can use a jar or a hand mixer.  If your herbs are dried I’d smash them between your hands to turn them more into a powder but that’s a personal preference. Also, the 3 herbs mellow out the dressing so if you’d prefer a more tart dressing you can leave the herbs out or use less. Pour dressing over salad, close your eyes & savor. Love in a Wean Green Container.   A Word From Laura: I’m excited to be joining the LitterLESS Lunch Team & sharing the YuMMY FuN you can have packing your creative lunch in your Wean Green containers. I love being a part of something that promotes HaPpY + Healthy eating and LitterLESS Lunches! Happy + Healthy Food = a Happy + Healthy YOU.

Homemade Popcorn

Melissa, August 29, 2013

We love to substitute popcorn instead of packing chips for lunches. And not the gross buttery stuff in the microwave bag. This is so easy and not sure why I wasn’t popping Popcorn like this earlier. You can find out more here.  I like to use organic white popcorn kernels (I only use 1/4 cup at a time). I have found them at my local grocery store in the bulk bins.    A Quick Note From Jen: I am so excited to be part of this team! I can’t wait to create and share healthy lunches that I make for my family. I also hope to inspire others to do the same for their family. We use Wean Green for not only lunches, but for easy to grab snacks, dips, baby food, and storage. I will be the first to admit I am not the healthiest eater (trying to change that), but I don’t want that to be the case for my children. I want them to crave the healthy stuff and make it easy for them to grab something nutritious from the fridge or pantry.

School Lunches

Melissa, August 28, 2013

If you have a school-aged child, you are probably excited that September means that school is back in! But not so excited about the daily chore of packing school lunches. Packing a nutritious lunch and snacks (that will actually get eaten!) can be challenging. As nutrition will affect your child’s energy level, behaviour and ability to concentrate throughout the day, try to avoid high sugar and nutrient-poor foods. A balanced meal includes at least three of the four food groups. And think outside the sandwich! “Bento Box” lunch kits, like Wean Green’s new lunch box are popular. Here are some options to fill your cubes, from each food group: Vegetables & Fruits:  Berries, dried fruit or fruit leathers, bell pepper strips, zucchini or cucumber slices, baby carrots, snap peas, grape tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower ‘trees’. Grain Products:  whole grain buns, pitas, wraps or bread for sandwiches, pita triangles for dipping, whole grain muffins, dried cereal, crackers, pasta salad. Meat & Alternatives: hummus or refried beans (used as a tortilla spread or pita/veggie dip), boiled eggs, deli meat (nitrate-free, lower salt is best), baked beans, edamame, soy dogs, tuna or salmon salad. Milk & Alternative: cheese cubes or strings, milk, yogurt, pudding, cottage cheese.    

Wean Idea – Vitamin Holder

Melissa, August 23, 2013

No more need for the plastic vitamin holders!  You can use our glass Wean Cubes as an alternative.  You can also color code with the different colored lids or write right on the glass!  The marker will rub right off when you are done since the glass is non-pourus!

On-The-Go Breakfasts and Snacks

Melissa, August 21, 2013

Mornings can sometimes be hectic and chaotic! Finding time to prepare and eat a healthy breakfast can be difficult. Solution? Make on the go breakfasts and snacks for yourself and your children! Here are some ideas to pack up in your Wean Greens when you or your children are on the go: – Fresh Fruits and Veggies: Send your child off for the day with a rainbow of colours! For fruits go for fresh and in season such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapefruit and orange segments, kiwis, peaches and nectarines. For veggies slice up a mix of celery, carrots, peppers, cauliflower and cucumber! You can also pack up some healthy veggie dip by using hemp seeds or soaked cashews as your base, a little bit of lemon juice, water and then pick your flavours – basil to make a pesto, nutritional yeast for a cheesy dip, red pepper, dill, garlic, you name it! – Green Detox Smoothies and Juices: Getting yourself and your children to get more greens in through a smoothie or juice is a great idea! Make sure to include cleansing greens such as spinach, kale, sprouts (dandelion, sunflower, broccoli, etc), blue-green algae, spirulina and chlorella. For smoothies add banana and for juices add apple or pear to sweeten the mixture. – Healthy Granolas and Trail Mixes: Pack up a blend of oat or buckwheat groats and add in super foods such as walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, goji berries, raisins, dried apricots, cacao nibs, unsweetened shredded coconut – whatever your favourites are, anything goes! If making a granola mix together pure maple syrup or raw coconut nectar (or your sweetener of choice), sea salt, vanilla, water and chia seeds and pour over your blend. Try this homemade granola recipe! – Chia Porridges or Breakfast Parfaits: Chia porridge is a super easy, highenergy breakfast. Simply combine a couple tablespoons of chia seeds with 1 cup of almond milk (or milk of choice / water), add 1 teaspoon of your sweetener of choice and any other additional flavours you would like (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc). For a delicious, fun and healthy breakfast parfait try blending coconut butter or meat (if available) with coconut water, vanilla and your sweetener of your choice to make a coconut yogurt! You can even add a spoonful of probiotic powder to the mixture! Layer your chia porridge or breakfast parfaits with berries, granola or trail mix. Plan your breakfasts and snacks a day ahead, pack them in your Wean Green containers, pop them in the fridge and the next morning you will be all set! Marni Wasserman is Culinary Nutritionist & Health Strategist at Toronto’s First Plant Based Food Studio. www.marniwasserman.com

Pasta, Apple Strawberry Sauce, Carrots, Granola Bar

Melissa, August 15, 2013

Cooked Pasta Wean Green Applesauce Organic Carrot Sticks The Pioneer Woman Granola Bars

Packing a trash free lunch is as easy as A-B-C!

Melissa, August 14, 2013

Our Wean Green containers make it easy to pack a trash-free school lunch. In our last blog post, you saw the Back 2 School Guide, which also laid out some recipes that go great in reusable containers. Now that you have the know-how to pack trash free, spread the word! Encourage others parents, co-workers, etc. to also pack trash-free. One easy to implement idea is to encourage those around you to make at least one lunch a week trash-free. Grades of Green, an environmental education non-profit with the mission to inspire and empower kids and the broader school community to care for the environment, has made a flyer that outlines its “Trash Free Tuesdays” activity. This activity shows that even if packing trash-free lunches happens just one day a week, it helps limit the amount of trash that ends up going to a landfill after school lunches. It also shows that trash-free lunches can save families money. Trash Free Tuesdays can be taken on by an individual or implemented on a school-wide scale. For more information onTrash Free Tuesdays, check out Grades of Green’s website Check out Grades of Green’s Trash Free Tuesday Flyer!  

Homemade Frozen Yogurt

Melissa, August 7, 2013

Earlier this month, on a warm-ish day, my son was bugging me for a DQ Blizzard. Instead I promised him home-made ice cream when we got home. If you have a VitaMix or super blender, this recipe is so easy to make, and fairly healthy too. And delicious!! 1 cup Plain Yogurt 3 cups Frozen Berries of Choice 1/3 cup Sugar, to taste (or use a flavoured yogurt) 1) Blend all ingredients in your Vitamix or super-blender! Blend together and eat!!   Learn more about Jennifer and First Step Nutrition

Wean Green’s Back 2 School Guide!

Melissa, August 2, 2013

Back 2 School means bagged lunches for most children. It is astonishing how much trash is created from just 1 child every year! Our Back 2 School guide gives you some awesome recipes for filling your Wean Green containers and shares some of our little facts about school waste. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lessons Learned From Digging in the Soil

Melissa, July 31, 2013

Children are curious; ever meet a little one who didn’t have a question to ask? Children learn by doing, it is through the experience of doing something, as well as making mistakes, that they learn. And children love, and I mean love to play in the dirt. So, in my world, curiosity, learning by doing and playing in the dirt means gardening is not only the perfect classroom, it is a natural learning environment where the plants, dirt and bugs become the teachers, with a little assistance from mom and dad. So just what can your children learn from gardening? Here are a few things digging in the dirt can teach your children: Responsibility Tending to a garden, caring for and growing plants teaches your children to be responsible for another living thing. Discovery Gardening is a wonderful science experiment.  How long does it take for a tomato seed to go from seed to tomato? How much water is too much, or too little and why do they even need water? What do worms do? How do I make compost? Why do plants have roots? Problem solving There are so many little issues which come up when gardening, what bugs are eating my plants, and why? How can I stop them? Why is one tomato plant doing better than the other?  How do I get rid of all of these weeds? Planning You can’t just decide to get up one day and plant a garden, it takes some thought and planning. How much sun does the spot where I want to plant get? What will grow well in this spot? How is the soil? Your children will have to do some pre planning before even digging into the dirt. Patience Awe, yes growing anything from seed takes patience…it is not an overnight success. From seed to plate, food takes months to grow. Your children have to learn to enjoy the process of gardening, have some patience and then harvest their success. Fostering a love of nature Gardening provides an opportunity for children to learn about nature and gain a love for Mother Nature and all she has to offer. Creating a connection to food I am a big believer that our children need to have an awareness of where our food comes from and how it is grown. Knowing this creates an appreciation for the food on the table every day, as well as enticing children to try the foods they have been growing in their garden. If you have a picky eater, I can almost guarantee your picky eater will try anything they have had a hand in growing. Self confidence The look of pride on the face of a child as they pick the food they have been growing all summer is priceless.  The way they smile as they taste the food they have grown and the way they wait in anticipation as mom and dad give it a try is awesome! Harvest time is a chance to […]

Coconut Palm Sugar, Xylitol & Date Syrup Reviews

Melissa, July 24, 2013

Coconut Palm Sugar Coconut products have been hugely popular lately, from coconut water to oil to milk. Coconut palm sugar is a natural sweetener alternative. It is made from the nectar from the tree flowers. The Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations believes palm sweeteners are the most sustainable sweetener on the planet. It can be substituted 1:1 for sugar in recipes, as it is of similar sweetness to sugar. It is dark in colour and has a rich flavour, so may be a better substitute for brown sugar. Coconut Palm sugar was given recently popularity due to a feature on the Dr OZ show, as can be seen here Dr Oz claims Coconut Palm sugar can stabilize your blood sugar and contains iron and vitamins. The blood sugar claims are an exaggeration. His chart may be accurate if you ate 100% pure coconut palm sugar vs 100% pure sugar all day. However, we eat these foods mixed in, and with other foods that effect blood sugars in different ways. For example, mixed with a latte, regular sugar absorption is slowed by the protein and fat from the milk. Glycemic load is more applicable and important to our daily lives than the individual glycemic index of a single ingredient. Dr Oz also claims coconut palm sugar is high in potassium, iron and vitamins. The Nutrition facts table states a serving contains % Daily Value of vitamin C is 2% and iron is 1%. So while it may be slightly more nutritious that regular sugar, unless you eat mass quantities, it doesn’t contain enough of these vitamins or minerals to consider it decent source of anything, other than calories (18 cals per tsp). Not that I’m saying it’s an unhealthy substitute to sugar, but it does not meet such lofty claims. Xylitol Xylitol is a sugar alcohol sweetener that is extracted from hardwood trees, and fibers of some fruits and vegetables. It can also equally be substituted for sugar, as the sweetness level is similar. However, it contains less calories (10 calories per tsp, where as sugar has 15 cals per tsp). Xylitol has no aftertaste, and has a low glycemic index of 13, so it does not have a large effect on increasing blood sugars. Another benefit of xylitol is that is tooth-friendly and may help prevent cavities, as opposed to cause them! You can find xylitol sweetened toothpastes and mouthwashes, which are a great alternative to fluoride, especially for young children. There are also interesting claims that xylitol may be helpful with infections, yeast and building bone. Xylitol is not new, and was developed in Europe over 100 years ago. Studies show it is safe, with the only negative side effect being gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea at very large doses. All sugar alcohols can have this effect, as they are not fully broken down in our intestines. However, used in moderation, this is not a problem. Date Sugar I originally heard of date sugar on this video, claiming date sugar and molasses are the […]

Stuffed Mexican Avocados

Melissa, July 17, 2013

I love summertime for many different reasons but a major one being all the fresh produce that is in season. I just came back from an amazing trip with my husband! We started in Seattle and ventured along the beautiful Oregon Coast and finished in Portland. We visited the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle as well as Portland’s Saturday Market. I find visiting the market so grounding, as it connects us with the farmers who are so passionate and dedicated to providing us with fresh natural foods. This month’s recipe is inspired by fresh summertime flavors! It is packed full of lean protein, healthy essential fatty acids, vitamin C, fibre, and much more. The honey lime dressing is super refreshing with a nice hint of natural sweetness. Play around with this recipe…try adding black beans, jalapeños, olives, etc. This would also be great over some tortilla chips, wrapped in a tortilla or served over leafy greens. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Stuffed Mexican Avocados  -1 ripe avocado -1/4 red pepper, chopped -1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen -2-3 chives or scallions, chopped -2 TBSPs fresh parley or cilantro, chopped -1/4 cup crumbled feta -1 large chicken breast -1/2 TBSP oil, to cook – Adobo seasoning or sea salt and pepper, to taste Dressing -1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil -1/4 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed -1 TBSP honey -1 clove garlic, minced -Sea salt and pepper, to taste Directions Drizzle oil in pan and heat over medium heat. Cut chicken into small pieces and add to pan. Add Adobo seasoning or sea salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat once cooked. Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Scoop avocado out of skins and cut into small pieces. Place avocado in medium sized bowl. Cut red pepper, chives/scallions and herbs and add to bowl. Mix in corn and feta. Stir until well combined. Make dressing and drizzle over chicken and avocado mixture until well dressed. Scoop mixture into avocado skins for a fun presentation or serve as is. Note: I only used about half the dressing. I saved the rest in a jar and kept it refrigerated to use on salads throughout the week.

Yummy Popsicles

Melissa, July 10, 2013

Well the hot days of summer are here! There is no better way to deal with the heat than an ice cold popsicle – cool and yummy all at the same time.  And making your own is so easy! Strawberry Banana Popsicles 4 large strawberries 1 medium banana 6oz nettle tea, steeped for 5 to 10 minutes 1tbsp lecithin (helps make it creamy)   Put all of the above in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into molds and freeze.  A few hours later and they are ready for you, oops I mean your toddler to enjoy J   You may be wondering why I used nettle tea.  Well of course it was to increase the nutrients in these oh so yummy popsicles.  Why use water when I can punch up the nutrition with nettle tea.  Nettles are nutrient gang busters providing us with chlorophyll, vitamins A, C, D and K and minerals calcium, iron and potassium.  Need I say more? Enjoy!

Why make your own babyfood?

Melissa, July 3, 2013

There are many benefits to making your own baby food: To start teaching your baby that homemade foods are enjoyable, and the easiest choice. To save money. If a jar of baby food is $1.50, and you go through even 1 per day from ages 6 months – 12 months, that’s $270. Allow your baby to eat a greater variety of food. Do you see baby avocado or baby buffalo on the shelf? Thought not! Avoid additives and preservatives. Some of the store-bought babyfood no longer contains these (Baby Gourmet is my favorite), but you still have to read the labels. I recently accidentally purchased 6mo+ “Organic Blueberry Dessert” thinking it was prunes. It contained many ingredients that I would not want a 6 month old to eat, including added sugars & dairy! Help make the change from pureed to mashed foods easier. Even higher “stages” of baby food are quite mushy and pureed. It is far easier to add texture to your own babyfood. Simply blend less and add less fluid. Soon you won’t need the blender at all, and can just use a fork (ie. to mash beans, canned salmon etc). You can mix homemade baby food with breast milk or formula, instead of water. This adds extra nutrition as well as giving baby a taste they are familiar with.   Learn more about Jennifer and First Step Nutrition 

Lentil Stew, Granola Bars, Strawberries, Chips & Salsa

Melissa, June 26, 2013

Weelicious Crock Pot Lentil Veggie Stew The Pioneer Woman Granola Bars Organic Strawberries Que Pasa Organic Corn Tortilla Chips with Weelicious Kiddie Salsa

Kale Salad, Cheese & Crackers, Pudding, Pomegranates

Melissa, June 20, 2013

 Martha Stewart’s Lemony Kale Salad Cheddar Cheese with Mary’s Organic Crackers Taste Of Home Homemade Chocolate Pudding Pomegranate Seeds  

Babyled Weaning – Should you do it, and how?!

Melissa, June 19, 2013

‘Weaning’ is the process of introducing solid foods to your baby. ‘Babyled Weaning’ is when you skip the pureeds and go straight to “real,” or finger foods. Baby feeds him or herself. My second child wasn’t very interested in pureeds, so we mostly followed Babyled Weaning with her. Although I don’t really like to label it – I was busy and it was much easier to offer whole foods, and she preferred to eat them! I don’t like the term “Babyled” weaning – as I think ALL methods of introducing solids can be babyled. Even if you are feeding your baby pureed food from a spoon, you can (and should!) still follow their lead. Watching for their signs of hunger and fullness, and letting them guide the amount they want to eat. I do love the concept of introducing finger foods as soon as your baby is ready. If that’s 6 months – fine! I’d rather see a baby eating finger foods, than a toddler that still refuses to eat texture and exists on all pureeds! However, I do still think there is benefit in offering pureeds before finger foods. A lot of parents are worried about choking, and of course there is a bigger risk with solids vs. pureeds. It gives the baby more of a chance to learn how to chew and swallow, progressing more gently through adding in texture. Also, it is much easier to ensure your baby is getting good sources of iron when you can offer them pureed meats (and/or fortified infant cereals). There are a few tips to deal with these issues, if you exclusively follow baby-led weaning. Also know, that you don’t have to follow either method of introducing solids 100% – you can offer the pureed meats for iron, along with some fruits, veggies and grains as finger foods! • Choking: Don’t offer round items that baby may choke on: raw hard pieces of vegetables and fruit (can be grated) whole grapes or cherries, popcorn, whole nuts and seeds, wieners. But know that gagging is not the same thing as choking –it’s a normal part of learning how to eat. Obviously, stay with your baby while they eat, so you can monitor them. Because if they are choking, they will not be making any noise! And take an infant CPR class; it is a good skill to have. Also, don’t put solid foods into your baby’s mouth – this can be dangerous • Iron: Beans and legumes make great finger food. Chopped eggs and pieces of fish. Slow cooked ribs or meat that are very tender or ground meat like cut-up meatballs offer great sources of iron. Or let baby chew on a tender pork rib! • Allergies: As you most often feed baby what you are eating, they may be getting mixed meals right away. If your baby has a high risk of allergies, be cautious to still introduce one food every 3 days. • Amount: Offer small amounts. Baby leads […]

Kale Chips, Fruit Salad, Celery

Melissa, June 12, 2013

Today I Ate A Rainbow Kale Chips The Pioneer Woman Fruit Salad  Organic Celery with Not Enough Cinnamon’s Homemade Peanut Butter Raw Organic Almonds  

Crackers, Sausage, Carrots, Apples & PB

Melissa, June 6, 2013

Weelicious Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers (replace store bought fish crackers and choose your favorite cut outs!) Spolumbo’s Apple Chicken Sausage with easy homemade plum sauce Organic Carrot Sticks Organic Apple Slices with Not Enough Cinnamon’s Homemade Peanut Butter

Applesauce Cook Off CONTEST

Melissa, June 5, 2013

This fun contest lets all of us show off our applesauce recipes!  Think you’ve got the best recipe? When:  Submit it to info@weangreen.com  by June 14th to put it to the test.  The Wean Green Team will be making all of the recipes and tasting them to vote on the best recipe.  We will be allowing others to test and vote online as well! The Prize: The best applesauce recipe will win a “Saucy Starter Set” consisting of a variety of our smaller sizes.  Think of all the applesauce you could store! Email in your favorite recipe today!

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