I think we can all agree that I am not a domestic goddess.

I would like to be a woman who can clean and cook and make holiday decorations out of a used milk carton and a couple of pipe cleaners, but the reality is that my talents lie in other arenas (I’m not sure exactly which arenas those are, but I must have some talents…right?). It surprised me, therefore, that I enjoy packing a lunch for the Muffin Man every day.

I know, it’s shocking, especially since the last thing I “cooked” was a vodka martini with extra olives.

I admit that the idea of packing a lunch initially stressed me out. Before school even started my anxiety about having to prepare a delicious lunch that my kid would actually eat led me down a Pinterest black hole in which I found myself pinning images of flower-shaped lunch meats and bananas sculpted to look like characters from Frozen.

If you are creative enough to sculpt Disney characters out of produce, I salute you, but for those of us living in the real world – the ones who have all of five minutes to throw something together during the morning rush – I prefer a more practical approach to packing lunches.

1. Leftovers are your lunch time friend.

Whatever my kid doesn’t eat for dinner is destined for his lunch the following day. Obviously, this rule doesn’t hold if he didn’t like what we had for dinner and he refused to eat it, but we do our best to prepare something he will eat at every meal.

2. I’m not above subterfuge.

Getting Noah to eat protein, especially meat, is a major challenge. He used to eat everything, but his current preferred diet includes cheese and bread and bread and cheese. Since I know he’ll always eat a grilled cheese, I sneak in some shredded chicken and he’s none the wiser.

3. Play favorites.

If your kids will eat it, put it in their lunch. I don’t particularly like to eat the same thing every day, but Noah would be happy to eat bagels with cream cheese for every meal. I’ve found that when I include at least one thing Noah really loves, he’s more willing to try something new.

4. Wow Butter wins.

Noah’s preschool is peanut-free, but most of the schools here in the city of concrete and broken dreams are completely nut free. Wow Butter is made from toasted soy, so it’s school approved. It also happens to be totally delicious. It’s a fantastic way to get your kid to eat protein without endangering the lives of the kids with nut allergies.

5. Don’t despair.

Honestly, not every lunch is a win. Sometimes, Noah is just too excited to play with his friends to sit down and focus on eating. I’ve found that if I offer him the rest of his lunch to eat in the car on the way home, he often finishes whatever is left. If all else fails, remind yourself that it’s not how much your kid eats in a day, but how much he consumes in a week; then pour yourself a glass of wine and toast your lunchtime efforts.

Here’s what Noah ate for lunch last week:

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Lunch#1
Blanched green beans (leftover from dinner), Trader Joe’s organic hummus, Food Should Taste Good rice crackers, Lucky Cow teriyaki jerky, goat cheese, apple and almond butter crescents.
Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Lunch#2
Grilled cheese with shredded chicken (leftover from dinner), organic edamame, baby sweet red peppers, grapes and yellow plums.
Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Lunch#3
Sesame bagel with cream cheese and lox, Weelicious sweet potato muffin (adapted to be gluten free), Trader Joe’s organic hummus, red bell pepper, cantaloupe balls & yellow plum.
Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Lunch#4
Weelicious turkey & cucumber roll-ups, corn on the cob (leftover from dinner), Food Should Taste Good rice crackers, trail mix, watermelon balls & Asian pear.
Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Lunch#5
Apple and Wow Butter “sandwiches”, Trader Joe’s gluten free pretzels, edamame, Pad Thai noodles (leftover from dinner), sweet baby peppers.

I’d show you a picture of what I ate for lunch yesterday, but the crusts of bread and half-chewed meatball I snagged from Rose’s highchair weren’t all that photogenic.

This post was originally featured on Anna Lane’s blog, Misadventures in Motherhood. Featured image via.

Just because summer is long gone doesn’t mean you have to drink like it is! Enjoy this delicious and spicy margarita recipe even on the most blustery of winter days! Bring a little bit of the beach into your home, cozy up, and enjoy!

Recipe/Instructions:

Lime
Chile Powder
Jalapeños

Muddle!

Add ice

Add spicy lime margarita mix

Stir

Garnish

Enjoy!

Do you have a Thanksgiving recipe that is sacrosanct, one that your family will not let you waver from, or — perish the thought — omit from the menu? In my family it’s a festive jello mold that is the heralded star of the show.

“Jello mold?” You ask with a raised eyebrow. That ghastly relic of which surely no one on the Food Network would dare speak? A hideous affront to gourmands of all persuasions? The slut of 50’s cuisine, if you will — indiscriminate, always available, and dolled up with mini marshmallows, canned peaches or Maraschino cherries, whispering, “Take me, I’m easy.”

But wait. Our Thanksgiving favorite deserves some respect. Made with cherry jello and studded with fresh cranberries, chopped walnuts and celery, it can be made way in advance and forgotten about until the turkey is being carved. With just the right balance of sweet, tart, and crunchy, it is a perfect accompaniment to the meal. I usually double the recipe to serve 12-14.

I don’t know what age I was when my mother first made this dish. But I can totally imagine my gastronomical rapture upon tasting the first forkful. Henceforth known as Leenzil’s Thanksgiving Salad, it has been on my family’s table ever since.

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Weird Thanksgiving Staple
My mother submitted Leenzil’s Thanksgiving Salad to our synagogue’s cookbook under my name years ago. This is a photo of that page.

Oh, and the Leenzil part? That was my dad’s nickname for me.

Happy Thanksgiving, and bon appetit!

This post was originally featured on Helene’s blog, Books Is Wonderful. Featured image via

Making lunches is a lot of work.

Well, making lunches, breakfast, and dinner is a lot of work.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snack, afternoon snack – so much time preparing food. And then there’s the clean up. My knees are developing arthritis from the amount of time I’m spending at the kitchen counter. I might invest in orthotic indoor shoes.

Let’s not even start in about the grocery budget.

So where does every parent go when they are looking for meal ideas for their family? Pinterest, of course. But what I found there was not time-saving lunch ideas. Nooooo. Instead I discovered a cornucopia of pins dedicated to sandwiches cut into fun shapes, fruit kabobs, and smiley faced vegetables. Um, I was looking to do less preparation. Who are these people?

As a public service, I decided to share my own great tips for Easy Lunches On A Budget. Here’s my first installment.

Easy Mac and Cheese Your Kids Will Love

1. Get two boxes– you don’t want to run short. Your kids are counting on you.

2. Prepare as directed. But why not go with 5% cream? It adds just that hint of decadence your family craves.

3. Serve. But not in those plastic bowls from IKEA. The real dishes, mom. Because nothing says “you’re worth it” like breakable dishware

4. Here’s a secret I debated about posting. But it’s too good not to share. Fresh-ground paper for a gourmet twist.

This post was originally featured on Jan Moyer’s blog, Tough Bananas. Featured photo via.

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If there’s one food flavor that has the ability to make me feel cozy and comfy, it’s pumpkin. Pumpkin, combined with the warmth of pumpkin pie spice flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves, helps me embrace sweater weather with open arms. Although we all have well-loved favorites like pumpkin-spiced lattes and pumpkin pie it’s easy to expand our pumpkin recipe repertoire and explore new ways to use this delicious fall vegetable. (Or is it a fruit? Doesn’t matter. It’s awesome.)

Real foodies like you and me know that pumpkin packs a lot more than just great flavor. Pumpkin is a true super food and is a great addition to a healthy diet. Pumpkin is filled with vitamin A, vitamin C, carotenoids, tryptophan, potassium, and more. The only problem with pumpkin doesn’t lie with pumpkin exactly, but instead with the ingredients often mixed with pumpkin to create some of our favorite fall foods.

That’s why I wanted to gather a list of the best real food pumpkin recipes the internet has to offer. I asked my real food blogger friends to share their real food pumpkin recipes in this yummy roundup. You’ll find everything from breakfast to dessert here and it’s all real food. That means it’s either paleo-, primal- or traditional foods/Weston A. Price-friendly. The vegetarian and vegan recipes are noted, as well.

Enjoy this delicious roundup of the best real food pumpkin recipes! Don’t miss the great pumpkin tutorials at the end with instructions on making your own fresh, pureed pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and more!

Real Food Pumpkin Breakfast Recipes

Chocolate Stuffed Pumpkin Pancakes (primal, traditional)

Grain-Free Pumpkin Muffins (primal, traditional, paleo)

Grain-Free Pumpkin Muffins with Coconut Flour (paleo, primal, traditional)

Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Spread

Pumpkin Pie Refrigerator Oatmeal (traditional, vegan option)

Low Carb Pumpkin Bagels (paleo, primal, traditional, vegetarian)

Pumpkin Pancakes with Ginger Honey Butter (traditional,vegetarian)

Pumpkin Biscuits (paleo option, primal, traditional, vegetarian)

Real Food Pumpkin Dinner Recipes

Pumpkin Seafood Chowder (primal, traditional)

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Chili (traditional)

Pumpkin Curry with Coconut Rice (traditional)

Pumpkin Risotto (traditional)

Real Food Pumpkin Dessert Recipes

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars (primal, traditional, vegetarian)

Raw Pumpkin Dessert Recipes (raw, paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (traditional, vegetarian)

Grain-Free Pumpkin Bread with Caramel Glaze (paleo option, primal, traditional, vegetarian)

Pumpkin Pudding (paleo, primal, traditional)

Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (traditional)

Pumpkin Fudge (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Banana Pumpkin Ice Cream  (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Paleo Pumpkin Pie  (paleo, primal, traditional)

Pumpkin Pie Chia Seed Pudding  (traditional, primal, vegetarian)

Pumpkin Pie Snowball Cookies (paleo, primal, traditional)

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake  (primal, traditional, vegetarian)

Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Baked Pumpkin Donuts (traditional, vegan)

Pumpkin Brownies and Almond Milk Gingerbread Latte  (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Pumpkin Pie Pudding Shooters  (paleo, primal, traditional)

Real Food Pumpkin Drink Recipes

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte  (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Spiced Pumpkin Chai Tea  (primal, traditional, vegan option)

Pumpkin Chai Smoothie  (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie  (primal, traditional)

Holiday Pumpkin Smoothie  (primal, traditional)

Spiced Pumpkin Smoothie  (primal, traditional, vegetarian)

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie with Surprise Ingredient  (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan option)

Pumpkin Pie Water Kefir (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Pumpkin Smoothie  (primal, traditional, vegetarian)

Real Food Pumpkin Snack Recipes

Cajun BBQ Pumpkin Seeds   (paleo, primal, traditional)

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Crackers  (paleo, primal (use gluten-free option), traditional, vegan)

Pumpkin Pie Leather  (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dessert Nachos  (paleo, primal, traditional)

Maple Spice Pumpkin Butter  (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Pumpkin Cream Cookies (primal, traditional, vegetarian)

Coconut Love Pumpkin Pie Bars  (paleo, primal, traditional, vegan)

Pumpkin Bread  (traditional, vegan)

Real Food Pumpkin Tutorials

How to Roast, Puree and Freeze Pumpkin

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Immune Boosting Pumpkin Spice Mix with Star Anise

Check out the rest of our #MakeStuff posts curated by our guest editor Sarah Michelle Gellar throughout October. Also, be sure to check out Foodstirs, Sarah’s subscription box focused on healthy and creative baking kits!

This post was originally featured on Allison Goines’ blog Our Small Hours.  Photo via.

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Try this recipe out any night of the week.

Ingredients

12 oz angel hair (capellini) or spaghetti pasta
1 can quartered artichoke heart, canned
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp butter
1/4 cup shallots, minced
3 tbsp capers, rinsed
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, optional (adds spice)
Heaping 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
5 tbsp lemon juice, or more to taste
3 tbsp chopped parsley, divided

Method

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside and toss with some Extra virgin olive oil
2. In a large cast iron skillet, saute 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat with the artichokes until slightly browned.
3. Heat 6 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the shallots, capers, lemon zest, optional crushed red pepper and salt. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until shallots are translucent.
6. Add the lemon juice and cook until a sauce becomes thickened.
7. Add pasta and toss together. Add more lemon juice if desired.

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