The holiday are a busy time for most of us, and getting everyone around the table can be a bit difficult! …
It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent or student, heading back to school can disrupt your sleep schedule and make you feel tired and cranky. The best defense is an earlier bed time, but for most of us shifting our schedule is easier said than done. One of the easiest ways to hasten your slumber is to eat something that will keep you from being hungry and help you relax.
There are a few different myths regarding sleep that generally don’t work, like watching television, taking a hot bath or watching TV. Drinking a glass of wine can dehydrate you and wake you up, and watching TV can stimulate your brain and make sleep even more elusive. For children, video games and TV can present real problems for them as they try to sleep, and a hot bath too close to bedtime can raise their temperature just enough to make it harder to sleep. Giving kids a healthy snack while they wind down with a book or quiet activity can help create a routine that will make sleep easier as the school year progresses.
The good news is that a carbohydrate-rich snack can really help. It can raise your serotonin levels and make you feel drowsy – making sleep easier. Choosing something healthy, like whole wheat toast with peanut butter or air-popped popcorn can be a delicious and easy way to head off to sleep satisfied. Snacking before bed, if done correctly and with moderation, doesn’t necessarily pack on extra pounds. It can actually help your metabolism, regulate your blood sugar, and help your energy levels when you’re awake. Here are some delicious options for sleep-inducing snacks.
If you’re not a snacker, having a balanced meal with complex carbohydrates 2-3 hours before bed can also help. Here are some great recipes for satisfying pastas that are also high in protein and a healthy option.
- Angel Hair and Honey Butternut Squash
- Chipotle, Pumpkin and Chicken Lasagna
- Quick Chicken & Veggie Skillet
Getting back on schedule and getting enough sleep can be surprisingly simple. Once you get back on track you’ll have more energy, and you’ll find it easier to stay on schedule as the year progresses! So get started tonight, and you’ll find that soon everyone in your home is better rested and ready to learn.
August 29th is More Herbs, Less Salt Day! Eating less salt is a good idea for everyone regardless of age or overall health. Most Americans eat more processed foods than they should, which is the #1 culprit of adding unnecessary salt to our diet but reducing salt is easier when you add more flavor with fresh herbs!
If you DON’T have an herb garden, the good news is most grocery stores stock fresh herbs in the produce section. This time of year is perfect for fresh basil, parsley, and cilantro, but you can also find fresh rosemary, sage, dill, and others to add flavor to every meal! Here are some of the best ways to use some common herbs:
Parsley – This mellow herb gives a bright, grassy flavor that lets other flavors shine through. It mixes well with garlic and basil and is great to add as a finish to soups, pasta, and fish.
Sage – This strong, woody herb is delicious with mellow or sweet veggies like carrots and squash and is fantastic with poultry. It adds a classic flavor to soups and stews as well as stuffing and potato dishes.
Rosemary – This fragrant, spiny-leafed herb is most commonly used in Mediterranean cooking and is delicious with lamb and chicken. Infuse in your favorite olive oil and use as a dip for fresh, crusty bread, or roast cubed potatoes in olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper for a tasty, classic potato dish.
Cilantro – Love Mexican food? Chances are you’ve eaten a lot of this herb. It’s great in fresh salsa, chopped and sprinkled in tacos and in quesadillas.
Basil – A classic Italian herb, basil comes in a few varieties such as Thai basil, lemon basil and regular. It’s delicious chopped and added to salads, marinara sauces or on pizza, and it is the main component in pesto.
Dill – This mellow herb isn’t just for pickles! Fresh dill is delicious with fish and in potato and mixed green salad. Stir into vegetable soups or homemade dip. While it’s not strong, it has a distinct, almost sweet flavor that complements proteins and vegetables alike. Here’s a great recipe for a Mediterranean Pasta Salad for something different that is also a bit healthier for a summer night or a Labor Day gathering.
Herbs add flavor to dishes that will satisfy without salt, and they have health benefits, too. Find out what the healthiest spices are here. Our recipe for Veggie Lover’s Lasagna is just packed with fresh basil, oregano, and parsley, and loaded with tasty fresh vegetables to give you a lot of flavor without too much salt. This tasty Spicy and Cool Pasta Salad will have you enjoying fresh cilantro and chives with the added punch of mango salsa!
Today, put down the salt shaker and try adding some fresh, healthy herbs to your meals! You’ll find you won’t miss the salt and enjoy the flavor more!
The chickpea, or garbanzo, or ceci (if your Italian), is a delicious little legume that can be prepared hundreds of ways. It doesn’t matter what your favorite ethnic cuisine is, chances are you can work chickpeas into your favorite recipes for a little extra flavor, protein and fiber. Over the last decade, we’ve see it increase in popularity with restaurant and home chefs alike, mainly in the form of a delectable dip, hummus, that has gained popularity due to its flavor and flexibility. But the humble little chickpea is capable of so much more! They’re great in salads, curries, simmered in soups or made into falafel, a savory fritter with spices. …
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Dreamfields’ delicious salute to summer, we’re working with leading food bloggers to create exciting pasta recipes to enjoy on warm weather days…and help raise much needed support for local food banks. Learn more about Pastapalooza V.
Our second challenge, The Guys’ Market Basket Challenge, featured all-guy cast of bloggers whipping up their “manly” recipes for us to enjoy. Ingredients in their baskets included: beer, smoked or grilled meats, hot peppers, lemon and a vegetable. They could also add up to two ingredients of their choice to round out their dish. Dreamfields pasta, salt, pepper, oil and water are “free ingredients.”
Grilling vegetables is easy and delicious! Just follow these simple tips:
- Cut the veggies to a uniform size for even cooking.
- Toss in a small amount of olive or vegetable oil to help retain moisture and resist sticking.
- Season with your favorite herbs and spices or simply season with salt and pepper.
- A grill basket keeps smaller veggies from falling through the grates.
- Skewer veggies of the same size for uniform cooking. Soak wooden skewers to prevent burning.
- Heavy duty foil makes a great DIY grill basket. Simply create a lip by folding the edges up! This is also a great way to make individual servings.
- Most vegetables will take about 7 to 12 minutes total time to cook. Sear on high heat and turn to crisp both sides, and move to a cooler part of the grill to finish.
- Denser veggies, like potatoes, take longer.
- Thin asparagus spears will be ready as quick as 6 minutes.
Grilling doesn’t have to revolve around hamburgers, hot dogs, and steak. Have fun grilling this summer with these delicious pasta recipes. …
School’s out for the summer, but for many moms it just means more lunches to make for camp. Depending on the camp, they may require all recyclable, disposable packaging, all reusable or somewhere in between. Here are some quick tips to make packing easier, but still nutritious! …
We see it all the time at parties and cook-outs – guys at the grill with the burgers and dogs or steak and chicken – but how about taking your grilling skills to the next level? Grilling vegetables allows sugar to caramelize and really takes their flavor to a new level. Grilled vegetables are delicious on their own or mixed with your favorite cut of Dreamfields pasta! …
School’s out for the summer, but for many moms it just means more lunches to make for camp. Without the ability to tap in to the school’s cafeteria, moms may have to get a bit creative in the summer. Here are some great tips to make lunch a little bit healthier. Plus, you may find some of the tips are great year round! Whether the camp is just for a week or all summer long, getting lunches together can be quick, easy and kid-pleasing.
What to pack!?
A mom knows best what her kids like, but sometimes its fun to mix things up! Use this opportunity to introduce some healthier, non-prepackaged options that they aren’t served at school or that you haven’t packed in a school lunch. Here’s a list of interesting options that may spark their interest in healthier foods – without sacrificing fun and flavor! …