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herbs growing in a planter box

Patio Herbs

I live in a small house with just a little bit of outdoor space. In the summer, I try to maximize that space by filling it with pots of flowers, vegetables and herbs. Fresh herbs are something I do not buy at the grocery store very often because they are expensive and often spoil before I can get the package used. So, I see fresh herbs as a seasonal treat I can enjoy from late spring through early fall when I’m growing them. I use dried herbs the rest of the year. Today I would like to share how I use the herbs I grow. Most years I grow basil, parsley, thyme and rosemary. I also grow cherry tomatoes in a big flower pot.

Spend Smart. Eat Smart. – With Friends!

Today we begin a series we are calling Spend Smart. Eat Smart. with friends. We are each excited to interview someone close to us about the ideas we tend to feature here. Stay tuned for an interview blog each month through September. I get to go first!

child eating a sandwich

Free Meals for the Summer! Where do I Sign Up?

Hasn’t it been nice sending your children to school all year knowing they have access to free, nutritious meals every day? Think of all the time and money you’ve saved without having to grocery shop, meal prep, or clean up those meals. Well, that doesn’t have to change just because school is ending. Did you know that summer meal sites offer free meals for all children and teens age 18 and under? No application or registration is required, just stop by and enjoy! Participating at a summer meal site with your family not only saves you time and money, it also helps support your school and community.

NEWnutrition-facts-and-ingredients

Do it Yourself Meal Kits for Kids

Better Nutrition, Lower Cost, and Less Waste

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Label Claims: What they Mean

Various labels and health claims cover food packaging these days. Some labels and health claims are regulated by the FDA, while others are simply advertising. Deciphering labels can be confusing and the laws and regulations behind them are even more confusing. After completing a course in Food Law this summer I thought I would try to simplify and clear up some confusion about “organic” versus “natural” labeled products.

plant-grow-share

Plant. Grow. Share.

Is your garden overflowing with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash or zucchini and you are not quite sure what to do with the extra harvest? Consider donating your fresh garden produce to your local food pantry.

kids-in-kitchen

It’s Worth a Little Mess

My 3 ½ year old son Parker loves to help me in the kitchen. When he realizes I’m cooking, he quickly goes and gets his stool so he can stand and help me. Even though cooking takes longer, and we make more messes, I enjoy spending time with him in the kitchen. He is a picky eater, so when he helps me prepare different foods, he is more likely to try them.

school-lunch

It’s Not Just School Lunch. It’s Bigger Than That.

This year my daughter started kindergarten. And honestly one of my biggest concerns was if she was going to be hungry throughout the day. Going from daycare and preschool to kindergarten is a huge adjustment for various reasons. I was particularly concerned about the change in foods available to her and how much time she would have to eat. The thought of her having fifteen minutes to eat lunch and no snacks was a little scary!

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Let’s Party!

Let’s party! What’s the first thing that comes to your mind?

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Homemade Baby Food Using Fall Produce – Yum!

I enjoyed making baby food for both of my children, and I made most of it in the fall – a great time of year to make homemade baby food. Here are some reasons to give homemade baby food a try (especially in the fall):

fridge

Get your Kitchen Organized for the Holidays

I am positive that one of the reasons for food waste is crowded, unorganized refrigerators. Just purchased food, as well as leftovers, get lost behind and under other items and spoil before they get used. Crowded, messy refrigerators can be discouraging and make us want to throw in the dish towel and head for the first drive-thru we can find.

salad-bowl

Homemade Salad Dressing … Easy as 1, 2, 3

Homemade salad dressing adds wonderful flavor to salads of all kinds – lettuce, fruit, and pasta salads. You can even add dressing to roasted veggies to add extra flavor. The thing I like best about homemade salad dressing is that it can be made quickly and easily by keeping some basic ingredients in your pantry – vinegar and oil plus whatever add-ins taste great to you, such as herbs, spices, mustard, fruit juice, sugar, salt, pepper.