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Eat Well

Libby’s Partners With Local Habitat For Humanity Chapters to Make Family Mealtime A Reality

Getting families back to the dinner table and eating together has always been important to us at Libby’s and that’s why we’re partnering with local Habitat for Humanity chapters in cities across America to give less fortunate families the resources they need to enjoy a meal together.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, nearly 95 million Americans live in overcrowded or severely inadequate housing conditions. That’s nearly one-third of the U.S. population and Habitat for Humanity works hard to address that problem. Throughout 2011, Libby’s wants to help make new houses into real homes for families.

The partnership kicks off this month in Kansas City where Libby’s Fruits & Vegetables is providing 12 new Habitat for Humanity Kansas City home owners with everything they need to make family mealtime a reality – a dining set complete with place settings, as well as a stocked pantry. The program will kick off with a build day to benefit seven of the homes that will receive the donation.

Libby’s is also partnering with Kansas City Hen House markets to help provide meals to all Habitat for Humanity Kansas City families. Local residents can help their community by visiting one of 11 Hen House locations to donate nonperishable foods. All donations will benefit Habitat for Humanity Kansas City families through the organization’s food pantry. So if you live in Kansas City, stop by a Hen House store and donate today. If you don’t and still want to help, spread the word, and be a part of Libby’s giving.

A special thank you to our partners in Kansas City:

Multitask Your Cooking: Get Wise With Your Kitchen Time

These days, it seems like we are juggling work, family, chores and errands 24/7. For this East Coast gal, during the summer, I don’t want to spend any more time indoors in the kitchen than I have to. So, here are my tips to deliver healthy and tasty meals to the table faster and easier. (I definitely need to practice what I preach more often – i.e. planning!)

Plan Ahead
Consider the biggest time saver of all: creating a monthly menu plan. It seems daunting but by dedicating a few hours, you can save yourself an entire month of wondering, “What’s for dinner?”
Simplify by:

    1. Using an online menu template.
    2. Relying on recipe favorites and repeating some throughout the month. Check out this month’s Chicken Fiesta Rice + more CANvenient recipes here.
    3. Making batch dishes on weekends and freezing extras.
    4. Scheduling a few nights for leftovers, “breakfast for dinner” or ordering take-out.

Smart Staples – By keeping some basic food items at hand, you can whip up a last minute meal for those days you don’t have time to plan ahead. My typical freezer and pantry stockers are ground meat and chicken, frozen shrimp, broth, pasta, rice, canned vegetables & fruit, peanut butter, canned tuna, canned tomatoes, olive oil and cereals.

Cooking Techniques that Simplify – My favorite hot weather tool, the grill, is also a fantastic multi-tasker. We often cook an entire meal outside while keeping the kitchen cool and clean (I’ll post more on grilling next month!) I use my microwave daily for speed – for defrosting or steaming foods. Also “no cook” meals such as cereal, salads and sandwiches are always easy yet nutritious time-saving options. We probably do cereal night almost every week!

Slow Cooker to the Rescue – Nowadays, there’s a gadget for every possible kitchen task, but the trusted Crock Pot® or slow cooker is a true time saver. Besides cooking a variety of meals ahead of time, you can use to reheat leftovers, cook oatmeal or even bake bread.

Here’s to summer and less stress in the kitchen!

Getting Comfortable With Going Meatless

Hi all – I’m Deanna – a mom to a 3 ½ year old and a dietitian who loves to cook and truly believes healthy can equal delicious. Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing ideas on how to get your family to eat a bit wiser and tastier with simple tips that can add up to positive habits.

Have you heard about Meatless Mondays? Started during the first World War as a way to ration meat, this revived movement is inspiring us go vegetarian one day a week to improve our own health and the health of the Earth.

The new Dietary Guidelines recommend we eat more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts – foods that provide fiber, antioxidants and healthier fats. These nutrients are linked to lowered risks for heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and even obesity. And when it comes to the environment, eating less meat can save resources like fuel, water and soil.

There are varying degrees of meatless eating – in other words, it’s not an all-or-nothing diet. You can be healthy choosing a “flexitarian” route – going meatless for a few meals a week and making smart choices when it comes to animal products such as lean cuts of beef/chicken, eating more fish/seafood and low-fat dairy foods.

So, where to start? Try using familiar, comfort foods as a base for your meatless dishes like:

Peanut butter (One serving has 30-plus nutrients and more protein than any other nut.)

  • Mix with vanilla yogurt then serve with fresh veggies and fruit slices for a side dish (my daughter’s favorite snack)
  • Use as base for sesame noodles with green beans (mix with low sodium soy sauce and sesame oil)

Eggs (The average large egg is now 14% lower in cholesterol and 64% higher in vitamin D)

  • Toss sautéed onions, mushrooms and spinach into an omelet or a frittata
  • Make homemade fried rice with scrambled eggs and canned mixed vegetables

Cheese (Choose lower fat options like Cabot’s 50% reduced fat cheddar)

  • Melt cheese into macaroni mixed with pureed butternut squash
  • Mash pinto beans and spread onto corn tortillas. Top with zucchini, pepper strips and cheese. Microwave to melt, then wrap.