Sunday, October 14, 2012

Family Mealtime

The Blue Placemat Table Talk:

Children of families who regularly eat dinner together are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.  As a family, you can share healthy eating ideas and parents can act as role models at the table.

If you're used to sitting in front of the television either together or separately, unaccustomed to eating meals as a family, etc., then start slow.  Start by setting 1 day aside each week and make that day family dinner night.  If someone in the family works late or can't make it to family dinner, make breakfast your family mealtime.  Turn off the TV and focus on each other and your food.  Increase your nights until your family regularly eats dinner together.  

Not sure how to strike a conversation?  Afraid you'll sit together in silence?
Some helpful conversation starters:
  • What did you learn in school/work today?
  • How was work (clients, employees, etc.)?
  • What did you have for lunch today?
  • The weather is supposed to be ______ this weekend, what are our plans?
  • Today, I learned...
  • Today, I really enjoyed...
  • What was the funniest part of your day?
  • If you knew you were going to be stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you bring?
  • What is your most embarrassing moment?
  • Do you learn more when you win or when you lose?
  • Does our family seem too busy?  Should we change anything?
  • My dream job/career is...
  • What is your most valued possession and why?
  • Something I wish we could do more of is...

Happy dining!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Hi!  Welcome back and thanks for joining me.  It's a cozy autumn day today with a light sprinkle outside and the deep orange and yellow leaves glowing against the dreary, cloudy sky.

So, let's make tonight's dinner a warm and cozy one that's quick, easy, and super nutritious!

Introducing:  Sweet Potato Quesadillas

1 medium sweet potato (cooked) or 1 15-oz can sweet potato (drained)
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 whole wheat tortillas, medium-sized
2 tablespoons tomato salsa
2 tablespoons green, red, or hot pepper (chopped)
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
Non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil


1. If using canned sweet potatoes, be sure to drain and rinse the potatoes in order to remove the sugar from the heavy syrup that it's packed in.

2. In a medium sized bowl or on a cutting board, mash the sweet potato with a fork.

3. In a bowl, mix the sweet potato and black beans.  (Remember: if using canned black beans, be sure to rinse the beans the same way as the canned sweet potatoes.)

4. Add salsa and peppers and mix.  Meanwhile, coat a medium sized pan or skillet with cooking spray or lightly rub with oil and place over medium heat.

5. Spread sweet potato filling on one tortilla.  Add shredded cheese on top.

6. Cover the quesadilla with the other tortilla and slip the quesadilla onto the pre-heated pan or skillet.

7. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom tortilla begins to crisp.  With a wide spatula, turn the quesadilla over and cook for 2-3 minutes more until crisp.

8. Remove the quesadilla from the pan to a cutting board and slice into quarters.

Enjoy for a snack, lunch, dinner, or party platter.  If you have excess filling leftover, use as a dip for tortilla chips and sliced vegetables.

The best part about this recipe is its nutrition and inexpensive cost!  In just half of a quesadilla, you'll get 220% of your Percent Daily Value of Vitamin A which helps to keep your eyes and skin healthy as well as provide antioxidant properties.  (There's that %DV again!)  With its high fiber and protein content you'll stay fuller for longer too.

Cost per serving: $0.90

Yum!  I hope you enjoy!
-The Blue Placemat