Our family was slow to set resolutions this year (I blame newborn sleep deprivation and moving all at once) but once we finally did, we decided that 2017 would be the year that we would cook better to feel better in our home. I have been committed to cooking with more purpose and passion this year. Mindful cooking and a recommitment to sitting down and breaking bread as a family each day has been my mantra. I know food plays a pivotal role in how we feel and I'm anxious and excited to see how our family will benefit from a few simple changes that I know will make a big difference.
For the month of February we decided to tackle a family breakfast project. We set a goal to sit down and have breakfast as a family each morning. We had become very lazy when it came to a breakfast routine – ok, let’s be honest, there was no routine. So we decided to kick off the family breakfast project and It shouldn’t be surprising that this had a huge impact on our family! Some mornings we were more successful than others, but we sincerely made an effort. Most mornings didn’t include elaborate displays of smoothie bowls or challah french toast, but the goal was simply to break bread together as a family before we all went our separate directions. Things like scrambled eggs with toast and fruit were a lot more common, and yes, cold cereal even made an appearance here and there. But what this exercise taught me was that what we were eating was actually far less important that what we were doing.
In March, I wanted to focus on trying to give our meals a nutritional boost. Being thoughtful about ingredients and mixing up our recipe routine a bit. It’s easy to fall into a routine – especially when you’re trying to feed picky toddlers. Tofu is one of those ingredients that I consider a versatile, yet better-for-you product that can really act as a blank canvas for flavor. Ollie isn’t a bit fan of meat, so I’m constantly looking for ways to sneak more protein in his diet. Tofu seemed like a good choice because it plays well with marinades and sauces taking on the flavor of whatever you pair it with and it was easy to incorporate into a lot of our existing favorite recipes – even things like mac & cheese and pizza! Inspired by one of New York's most iconic foods that we love (and miss!) I made a roasted garlic creamy tofu sauce for a white pizza that we’re still talking about. I was able to play around with tofu in both sweet and savory dishes easily incorporating it into a fruity breakfast smoothies or even strawberry ice cream that Ollie and I made together. I actually had more fun incorporating tofu into unsuspecting dishes than the expected varieties like stir fry and curry. (which are also great ways to use this ingredient) I shared some of my favorite tofu recipes (inspired by 10 different states) with @housefoodsamerica – all of the recipes can be found on their Facebook page. Thanks to the versatility of tofu, I was able to easily incorporate this ingredient into classic dishes from around the country. Definitely check them out!
We’re excited to keep up our breakfast routine and continue the effort to put good things in our bodies. I was sincerely shocked at how easily I was able to significantly increase the amount of protein in our family diet (for Ollie in particular) by focusing on an easy-to-find versatile ingredient that has felt a bit intimidating to work with in the past. This next month I’m planning to be a bit more open to having Ollie join me on my grocery shopping jaunts. I’m usually a late night grocery shopper after he’s in bed so I don’t have to fight the battle, but I like the idea of giving him some control and letting him pick out a few new fruits or vegetables in the produce section to bring home and try. You know, make him think that it’s HIS idea! Can’t wait to see what we come home with!
* I was thrilled to be able to work with House Foods America on this post. In honor of National Soyfoods Month they recently launched a campaign celebrating tofu with one recipe inspired from each of the 50 states. You can see the 10 recipes I developed here.