Month: April 2014

Mrs. Z’s Quick Kitchen Tip: The “Dirty Dozen”

Here is a quick kitchen tip from Mrs. Z. Sometimes buying all organic can be expensive.  I know I don’t buy all organic produce. Here is a handy chart of the “Dirty Dozen”.


Some charts vary in which are the worst and the best. However, the fruits and vegetables are the same on all lists. The “Clean 15” are fruits and vegetables with the lowest of pesticides. If you can’t buy all organic, these are the ones you can buy non organic. It still makes me sad that these are described as having low pesticides, which means pretty much everything we eat has chemicals in them. I guess it’s better than getting a large dose :(.

I hope this was helpful! Cheers to the weekend everyone!

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Please stop using plastic bags!!


Plastic grocery bags. They have been a staple in grocery stores for decades. Unfortunately, it is killing our environment. ABC 7, the local ABC news in New York, did a story about plastic bags the other day.  New Yorkers use about five billion plastic bags a year. In one year! That blows my mind! And that is just this city. Now think of all of the cities across the United States.  And all of the cities around the world. We are killing our environment one bag at a time.


In the same news story, a city councilman was interviewed. He is sponsoring a bill that, if passed, will charge consumers 10 cents when using plastic bags when they checkout at the store. I know this is probably going to come under a lot of fire. However, I do agree with it. If you don’t like being charged 10 cents, then buy 4 or 5 of the reusable bags. They only cost around a dollar at the grocery store. I know the local dollar store near me sells 2 bags for a dollar. I have so many of these bags. I keep 4 of them in my car and when I go to the store, I just take them out. Don’t get me wrong, I have been guilty of forgetting the bags in the car. At that point, I begrudgingly use the plastic bags. I know if they started charging for them, I would make a more conscientious effort to remember.

New York City is currently adjusting to a new mayor after 12 years. Yes, 12 very long years. The teacher side of me did not like our previous mayor. He was not very pro unions and, for some reason or another, looked down on teachers. I do want to admit something, though.  The environmentally conscious side of me thought he was taking this city in a great direction. He improved our recycling efforts, more green buildings that were solar powered were built, farmer’s markets were expanded throughout the five boroughs, etc. I enjoyed all of those efforts from our previous administration. Hopefully these changes will stay and the current administration will create newer ones.

One of those issues I hope our new mayor addresses are the plastic bags. I am hoping to raise awareness by this post. Remember to always bring your reusable bags with you on all of your shopping outings. And remember to be proud when you use them. I went to the supermarket the other day and there was an employee bagging at the end of the counter. I told him I have my own bags and that I would pack my items. Of course, I said it with a smile and very politely. He responded with “Oh, you are one of those people?”. I did not know who those people he was referring to were, so I showed my pearly whites again and said “Yes, I guess I am”. I then went on to packing my own groceries. The cashier also gave me eight cents off of my order. The store I shop at reimburses you two cents for each bag you use. I guess it’s better than being charged ten cents!


Here is some information on how plastic bags are hurting marine life. Poor babies!

What are your thoughts? Does anyone have any earth friendly tips for us? I would love to hear from you :)

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The Never Ending Challenge: Toddler Eating


Eating with a toddler seems like an enigma sometimes. One day this little tyke will eat just about anything. The next day, they don’t want anything to do with the same food you put in front of them 24 hours earlier. This little human is so picky. However, can you blame them? They are growing at such a fast pace at this point in their life. Their world is constantly changing. To us parents, though, it can be a journey. Sometimes, a very tedious journey.

When my son went for his 9 month check up, the pediatrician that I normally see was on vacation so we saw a different doctor in the practice. She went through the normal routine of asking questions. One of these questions was about his eating habits. I hadn’t really given my son any whole foods at this point except bananas, avocados, and other mushy foods. When the doctor had heard this she said that I should start giving him the foods that my husband and I ate all the time (except for the normal food restrictions of a child this age). She said I could supplement with pureed foods, however, I needed to start introducing regular food cut up really small so that I wouldn’t have a picky eater. As soon as I left the office, I went right into giving him our food for all meals. It took a good 2 months for him to get the hang of meat and just about any type of food that wasn’t pureed. It was definitely an uphill battle. On the upside, my son is a pretty good eater. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where he wants nothing to do with food. Or the only thing he wants is pasta or bread. But the good days outweigh the bad, so I’m pretty content. ( And what did my son want above all else for lunch today? Kalamata olives! Oh yes, he is definitely my son!)

Foods from different food groups

I do like to try to give my son foods from all food groups every day. It is definitely a challenge but it makes me feel better knowing he is getting the nutrients he needs. I find this site to be very helpful. It breaks the recipes up into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks and making your own “fast food”.

I also use a recipe book from the Cooking Light writers. It has over 700 recipes that take either 15, 20, or 30 minutes. I beg to differ on the time it takes to make certain recipes. However, there are so many great ideas! My sister got this cookbook for me 3 or 4 years ago and I have used it nonstop since. Thanks!! She is also the one who gave me the idea for this post as well. You’re the best ;).


One of my all time favorites from this cookbook is the Quick Vegetarian Paella. It calls for artichoke hearts and olives. If your kiddies don’t like these you can also substitute a favorite vegetable. Or you can add in a meat to bulk it up a little bit. Just a warning: It does take a while to get all of the ingredients prepared. This may not be an ideal recipe to use on a night where you are short on time.

pancakes meatballs_balls

I also like to cook ahead so that I have food already prepared in the freezer for those “oh man, time has flown by” moments. Once every two or three months months I make two dozen beef, two dozen chicken, and two dozen turkey meatballs. I usually chop up some type of vegetable and include that in the meatball mixture before I bake them. I then freeze them. I also make about two dozen pancakes. I always try to keep the freezer stocked with different frozen vegetables. Fairway sells a large bag of organic vegetables for a pretty decent price.


I hope some of these ideas were helpful. Remember: eating is  tricky business when it comes to children. Let eating take its course. Just keep exposing them to different foods and textures.  Your child will get there. (It’s funny. Tonight when I was serving dinner, my son didn’t want any of it. Go figure!)

If you have a recipe that is super kid friendly and your child/children love it, please share with us! Or any tricks of the trade when it comes to getting your kids to eat.

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