Articles


It’s the least you can do for the moms in your life

By Chris Xaver

If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy! Well that’s the way it should be, at least on Mother’s Day. Twenty-four hours, or 1,440 minutes. That’s not too much to ask from a family, is it? For all that mothers do?

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Why you should cook with carrotts sweeter cousin

Story and recipes by Chris Xaver

Photos by Michael Davis

Parsnips are so sweet, in Roman times they were used as currency. And in Europe they were used as a sweetener before sugar cane came along and took their crown.

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A Crunchy Ingredient Makes this Parfait Perfect

By Chris Xaver

Round and ripe, blueberries are a ubiquitous treat in July.

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Give the gift of winter comfort

By Chris Xaver

Nothing is more wonderful in the midst of winter than a pot of soup simmering on the stove.

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Protein-filled foods help keep kids’ moods mellow

By Chris Xaver

The first time I heard someone say they were “hangry” I was listening to NBC’s The Today Show, and Tamron Hall said she regularly gets hangry. I sat there thinking: You’re not alone!

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Help kids appreciate unadorned foods

By Chris Xaver

How do those little loves of ours go from being such good eaters to picky picky picky?

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Use a summer favorite in this ice cream

By Chris Xaver

Summertime, summertime! Oh, what a glorious summer we’re going to celebrate after this past winter.

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Even pancakes can be a healthy breakfast

By Chris Xaver

Despite what we’ve been led to believe for way too long, eggs, in my opinion, are Mother Nature’s most perfect food.

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Quinoa can substitute for rice in this healthier stir-fry

By Chris Xaver

Busy, busy, busy. It’s the mantra of families with children, trying to get from place to place, on time and with everything and everyone.

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Here’s a Toll House cookie variation that’ll win you over

By Chris Xaver

My love affair with cookies began decades ago. Didn’t yours? There’s nothing like a warm cookie from the oven to say “I love you.” And making them with kids is more than making a treat: It’s about making memories.

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Say ‘Si!’ to a Tex Mex casserole

By Chris Xaver

The best part of slow cooking is the smell. You place all the ingredients in the crock, set the temperature and start basking in the wonderful aromas

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Cookies evoke candy cane colors

By Chris Xaver

There’s nothing more wonderful than a holiday cookie!

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You can’t beat beets for healthful snacking.

By Chris Xaver

And so begins the season of overindulging. Yet how do we not fall in love with all of the season’s bounty? The food is incredible! Heck, isn’t that why we celebrate Thanksgiving—to express gratitude for the harvest?

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A chicken-wing makeover removes fat but retains heat

By Chris Xaver

Anyone who has seen a teenage boy eat knows they are voracious. Inactive teen boys from ages 14 to 18 need 2,000 to 2,400 calories a day; active ones require 2,400 to 3,200 calories, and teen athletes can burn through up to 5,000 calories a day!

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Things to avoid, things to embrace

By Chris Xaver

So let’s start at the beginning. You’re not “eating for two.” I know. You want that to be the case. But the truth is, just eating your normal amount will suffice for both you and the baby. What’s important is to make sure you avoid some of the unhealthy substances I wasn’t smart enough to stay away from when I was pregnant in 1987, such as nitrates.

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Grilling packs of food yields delicious results

By Chris Xaver

Whether your family likes camping or just cooking out in the backyard, chances are this summer you’ll be firing up the grill or campfire and making a meal. For me, these are the times that memories are made of.

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Your own spices make it healthy

By Chris Xaver

When the temps rise, the last thing I want to do is heat up the kitchen. In fact, hot food doesn’t appeal to me at all. But a cool, crisp salad does. And my little ones like salad, too, especially when it’s topped with taco fixings. But while most of the items in a taco salad can be “healthy,” the hidden sodium in most packets of taco seasoning makes this potential health food disastrous. Depending upon the brand, sodium in packets of taco seasoning range from 240 to 830 milligrams of sodium per serving. A serving is two teaspoons, which flavors two tacos.

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Kids will love these bean-filled treats, if you don’t tell

By Chris Xaver

Food is medicine. And—depending on what you’re trying to heal/cure/deal with—food can (either help or hurt.)

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By Chris Xaver

Irish stew is perfect for this time of year

What’s your go-to March food? Is it green eggs and ham? Corned beef and cabbage? Lucky Charms? After all, that little leprechaun tells us they’re “magically delicious”!

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Indulge in chocolate cake 
in honor of Valentine’s Day

By Chris Xaver, Ph.D.

 

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Looks like spaghetti, acts like a vegetable

By Chris Xavier, Ph.D

 

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Soon they’ll be feeding you

By Chris Xaver

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Squash and apples make an enticing entree

By Chris Xaver

I love fall. I mean love it. It’s the time I fire up the oven and dig into both harvest and comfort foods. And this main dish takes two of my favorite fall foods—apples and squash—and combines them into a brand-new taste sensation.

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A bread change can expand school-lunch options

By Chris Xaver

We’re at the start of the school year, when the kids are eager to go back, armed with their No. 2 pencils and new backpacks. And we’re packing school lunches, which, after the first week or so can become quite a chore.

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With time at a premium, the salad bar is your friend

By Chris Xaver

We’ve all been there. Tired. Heck, not tired, exhausted. Babies demand so much from us. Rushed and ragged, we tend to let ourselves go while we take care of our little ones.

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A mix of meats makes everyone happy

By Chris Xaver

I took a very unscientific poll of the kids in my world to find out what foods they love on the grill. And guess what? Everyone liked something different. Allie, 13, prefers chicken. Charlotte, who’s 9, loves steak. Bryce, age 7, is a hamburger guy, and Ryan is 6 and loves hot dogs. So my recommendation for your summertime barbecue is a mixed grill! Make everyone happy.

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Sometimes vegetables just need a new look

By Chris Xaver

I love early summer! Warm days and cool nights. It’s either because we live in Central New York or because I’m part feline, but I love to linger a little longer when the sun is shining, extending the days into evening on the deck. And one of the best parts of summer in our region is our fresh produce. But like many of you, often the last thing I want to do is cook when the weather is warm.

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Sweeteners can be found in surprising foods, in surprising quantities

By Chris Xaver

What we don’t know can hurt us. We know soda is “bad” for us and our kids. But what about those foods touted as “healthy”? So many parents think giving their kids yogurt and juice is giving them “healthy” food.

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Start with cooked chicken, and the possibilities unfold

I am sharing with you my absolute bestest time-saving idea in the kitchen. Cook once and eat multiple times. It’s the way I get in and out of the kitchen on those busy days.

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Find fun exercise, eat bean soup, be heart-healthy

By Chris Xaver

So, how’s that New Year’s resolution going? Losing weight? Less stress in your life? Are you dieting? If so, what kind of diet are you on?

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The nut spread can help you get healthy this year

By Chris Xaver

Have you made a New Year’s resolution yet? Forty percent of Americans do. But most of them don’t keep their resolutions.

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Make treats filled with fond feelings—not sugar

By Chris Xaver

A whiff of cookies baking in the oven takes me back in time. Pure joy. Typically, it was Christmas and I was visiting my grandmother. While she wasn’t a very good cook, she sure knew how to bake! Cookies were a specialty and we kids did more than enough “taste testing.”

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Have a little fun with your hors d’oeuvres

By Chris Xaver

I’d like to know when I went from sitting at the kids’ table to running the whole Thanksgiving show. I have the fondest memories of Thanksgiving, and all of them come complete with an aroma! Cinnamon and pumpkin are pervasive in my memories—as I’m guessing they might be in yours. I also remember hanging out in the kitchen helping to prepare the big meal.

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Bake a healthier apple treat that takes less than an hour

By Chris Xaver

One of my favorite memories from the childhood of my son (who’s now 24) was wandering the apple orchards of LaFayette with our apple pickers in hand. We’d reach as high as we could to pick the most perfect fruit. My son “made” us go to the orchards every week during harvest time. We would wander, pick and plan. Each time we came home, we’d make something different with our prize.

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Homemade ‘pizza’ is easy, and healthful

By Chris Xaver

Wow. School lunches are no longer simple. When I was a kid, school lunches in the cafeteria consisted of a scoop of something we couldn’t quite define: canned vegetables and fruit, a piece of bread and some sort of main dish, often macaroni and cheese or goulash. (I seem to remember a lot of goulash in my youth. Does anyone eat goulash anymore?) Today we hear about pink slime and fatty processed foods. And the first lady is tackling childhood obesity, starting with our kids’ school lunches.

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Preparing your baby’s first solid foods yourself offers benefits

By Chris Xaver

One of my favorite moments was when my dear friend, Karen, was preparing to have twins. I knew when she arrived home, she’d soon be overwhelmed with feeding, changing diapers, and simply trying to catch a few minutes of sleep. Who on earth would have time to cook? And once the twins were done breastfeeding, she would then spend a lot of her time making their meals. So, a freezer was a gift I knew would keep on giving.

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Wraps make perfect picnic food

By Chris Xaver

Nothing says summer like a pic-a-nic, Boo Boo! July is the perfect time to pack a meal and enjoy the outdoors with your children. While my little ones love peanut butter and jelly, we also like something a little bit more sophisticated.

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Skinned chicken drumsticks give you more flavor for your money

Finger licking good. There’s no doubt I loved fried chicken when I was a kid, because I could grab a leg and eat it with my fingers. Comes with a built-in handle, can’t get much easier for a kid to eat. But now that I no longer sit at the kids’ table, I still favor drumsticks—more for their economy than their ergonomics. In my neighborhood, I can typically find either fresh or frozen chicken legs for about .89 cents a pound. That compares with $1.35 for thighs, and $1.96 for chicken breasts.

 

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Whip up some mac and cheese for the gluten-intolerant

By Chris Xaver

Gluten free. It’s everywhere. Even foods that would never have had gluten in them are proclaiming themselves “gluten-free.” But for the folks who have a real gluten issue, this new “fad” doesn’t help their cause. However, all the new products in the stores have. Gluten is generally found in products containing wheat, barley and rye. And it’s something I’ve been dealing with in my household for a time now.

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Prepare St. Patrick’s-themed foods to get kids cooking

By Chris Xaver

Everyone’s Irish in March. There are many fun ways to make a St. Patrick’s Day-themed recipe with your child. And who says it has to be on the 17th? What I hate about a holiday is that it’s over in 24 hours. With so many ideas, you can make something every week this month.

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The perfect Winter Break activity puts dinner on the table

By Chris Xaver

I was the fat kid in school. Managing my weight is something I’ve worked on my entire life. I am the queen of doctoring traditional recipes to manage carbs, fats, sugars, etc. Better doesn’t mean bad. At least, not if you do it right. And this recipe is a great example of how I do it. Simple substitutions: Instead of white flour, I use half all purpose and half whole wheat. Instead of pork sausage, I use turkey sausage. These are small changes that add up to a big difference. And I promise, if you don’t kiss and tell, no one, not even the kids, will know the difference.

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