Archive for August, 2012

For Fall, A Return to Routine

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D. shares tips to establish healthy habits at the start of the school year.

Forget January: September is New Year’s for moms.

The start of a new school year signals a return to business as usual at home. Long days of lounging by the pool are behind us, and it’s time for more activity, and more nutritious meals and snacks.

Fall offers families a chance to turn over a new leaf, and as the season changes, most moms vow to help themselves and their family to live better. Sustaining resolutions made at any time of year is challenging, however, there are a few out-of-the-box strategies that can help keep healthy routines on-track and interesting for parents and children.

Think different

Your child doesn’t like cereal for breakfast and won’t touch sandwiches at lunch? No worries. As long as it’s healthy, any food can be enjoyed at any meal.

We’ve all heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal. Eating in the morning energizes the body and brain after a long period without food. A slice of thin-crust pizza topped with mushrooms, peppers, and onion paired with orange juice, or turkey and cheese on whole grain bread and carrot sticks or fruit are just as good for you as more traditional choices, such as cereal, milk and fruit.

A healthy lunch sustains children through the second half of the school day. Children who don’t favor sandwiches can tote hummus or another bean dip, along with celery, cherry tomatoes, and sliced white button mushrooms for dipping, and pair that with string cheese, a whole wheat roll, and fruit.  For another balanced meal option, thread chunks of leftover cooked chicken, cubed cheese, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms on skewers, and pack with half a whole grain bagel or whole wheat roll, and milk.

Dinner can be hectic once after-school activities resume. When you’re in a rush, make breakfast for dinner instead of ordering take-out, which is often more expensive and less nutritious than homemade fare. My family loves omelets with leftover vegetables, such as broccoli, red bell peppers, sautéed mushrooms and onions, along with whole grain toast, fruit, and low-fat milk.

Children and adults snack more than ever, and that means snacks should be nutritious foods, not treats, like sweetened beverages, snack chips, and cookies. Stock the kitchen with healthy choices, such as low-fat yogurt and fruit to make smoothies, peanut butter and sunflower seed butter, whole grain crackers, nuts, and raisins.

Treat yourself

Forget about giving up your favorite foods and asking your kids to do the same. Allow yourself a small treat every day, such as a piece of chocolate, a few chips, or a frozen dessert. Most people, even those trying to lose weight, can spare about 100 calories a day for treats.

Change up your workout

Once children return to school, it’s typically easier for them to get the 60 minutes of daily physical activity health experts suggest. It may not be so easy for mom to include the minimum of 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.  Exercise doesn’t have to be elaborate to be effective. If you can’t work out for at least 30 minutes in a row, find other ways to include exercise, such as three 10-minute walks during the day. Any physical activity counts toward wellness. Play tag or catch with your kids, and go for walks or bike rides as a family.

What tips do you have for starting out the new school year on a healthy track?



A Perfect Weekend Brunch

There are two ingredients for success when it comes to creating a relaxing and charming weekend brunch: delightful company and delicious food. Whether you’re a host-extraordinaire or you’ve never hosted weekend brunch, take the time to prep recipes and drinks beforehand so you can spend time socializing with guests.

I like cooking with mushrooms because I can sauté and freeze them days before the brunch then easily use them the morning of the get-together. Mushrooms are also versatile, so they make a great option to toss into a classic dish like a quiche or omelet, or a more gourmet dish that takes homemade brunch to a new level.

Reinvent typical pancakes with this recipe for Sweet Potato Pancakes with Balsamic Maple Mushrooms. It provides just the right combination of savory and sweet, and is the perfect dish to transition your plate from summer to fall.


When hungry guests arrive, have an appetizer ready to serve before the main event. A top-notch brunch appetizer option is Sage and Mushroom Filled Croissants. Simply prep ingredients the night before so you can throw them in the oven the morning of the brunch and make your meal seem effortless.

And brunch with friends is always better with a few fun drinks. Thankfully, Pinterest is a great source to find creative beverage ideas like a do-it-yourself Mimosa bar.

What are some of your favorite brunch recipes?

Shiitake, Fresh Corn and Chive Clafoutis

Stacie Billis from One Hungry Mama transforms a traditional dessert into a savory dinnertime dish that will quickly become a family favorite.

Move over breakfast-for-dinner, dessert-for-dinner is the new meal in town!

Well, sort of. This meal isn’t dessert, rather a savory variation of one of my favorite desserts.

Clafoutis is a super simple, versatile French dessert usually made with fruit – cherries are traditional – baked in a custard-like batter that almost turns into a very thick crepe. The best part of clafoutis is that barely any prep yields a delicious, satisfying treat.

I wanted to make it work for dinner too, so I considered ingredients that would fit a savory clafoutis. Meat didn’t seem appropriate, but I wanted something hearty. After all, this was intended to be a summer dinner that, like savory crepes or pancakes, could serve as a meal. So I decided mushrooms were the answer. Aren’t they always?

Mushrooms alone struck me as boring, at least at this point in the summer when markets are brimming with glorious produce, so I paired fresh shiitakes with corn cut straight off of the cob. I threw in chives for good measure and sprinkled the whole thing with grated Parmesan. Every single one of these decisions was good—so very good—because, as it turns out, this savory mushroom clafoutis is a new favorite go-to dinner.

It’s everything I hoped it would be: easy, fresh, laid-back and, of course, totally delicious. I can’t forget versatile, too. I’m already thinking about pairing baby bellas with thin slices of squash in a savory clafoutis for fall.

Shiitake, Fresh Corn and Chive Clafoutis

Recipe by Stacie Billis of One Hungry Mama


  • Unsalted butter, for greasing baking dish
  • 3 eggs
  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 3.5-ounces of shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
  • ½ cup fresh corn kernels, cut off of the cob
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chive
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 10″ flame-proof, ceramic baking dish and lightly dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside.

2. Combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, and nutmeg in a blender or food processor and combine until smooth. Pour a thin layer of batter into the prepared dish and set it on a burner over low heat. Heat until batter sets evenly across the bottom.

3. Remove the dish from heat. Sprinkle mushrooms, corn and chives over the set batter. Pour remaining batter over the veggies, and then sprinkle the top of the batter with Parmesan. Bake for about 35 minutes until clafoutis sets. It’s done when it’s puffed and golden brown. (You can check by sticking a knife or toothpick into the center—it should come out clean.) Allow the clafoutis to cool before slicing into wedges.


Celebrating Breakfast with Mushrooms

It’s that time of year again! The kids are heading back-to-school, the casual days of summer are coming to a close and the daily calendar’s starting to get full of places to be and things to do. When the daily routine starts to get hectic, quick breakfasts become essential to get your family fueled and out the door. During the week, it’s a challenge to whip up a breakfast that isn’t pre-made. However, with a few staple ingredients, and plenty of mushrooms on hand, a healthy and delicious breakfast can be prepared in no time at all.

The Mushroom Channel is celebrating “Breakfast of Champions” through the month of August. Whether it’s planning for the workday routine or weekend brunch, breakfast is important and The Mushroom Channel is here to also make it enjoyable.


Easy Monday Breakfast
Did you ever think that a healthy and delicious egg scramble could be made in less than ten minutes? A scrumptious Mushroom Egg Scramble in a Mug takes just minutes to prepare and cook in the microwave. As an extra bonus, it’s easy enough for kids to do help prepare and eat out of their favorite mug.

Weekend Brunch
When company comes over for the weekend and you’re scrambling for ideas, impress guests with Swedish Pancakes with Mushrooms. It provides a savory twist on a classic dish. You can even add additional veggie favorites for an extra dose of nutrients!

The Leftover Breakfast
Don’t let your leftover veggies from dinner go to waste. Scramble an egg, toss in your leftover mushroom vegetable mixture and wrap it up in a burrito for a healthy on-the-go meal. To get started, check out this Mushroom Breakfast Burrito recipe.

For more delicious breakfast ideas, visit our full breakfast database  and our breakfast board on Pinterest.