Mealtime Mama: Salad days


Ozark Natural Foods has a great recipe section on its website, written by staff members and owners. We were surfing the site today and found these delicious-sounding recipes that are perfect for summertime.

Click here to visit the recipes page and here to find out more about becoming an owner at ONF.

Bombay Curried Chicken Salad

vegenaise3/4 teaspoon Salt Sea
2/3 tablespoon Curry Powder
3/4 cup Vegenaise
2/3 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup Walnut Pieces
1/4 piece of Celery
0.2 pound Yellow Onion
1 & 1/2 pound Chicken Breast

Directions: Cook chicken. Once cooled, dice. Dice veggies. Mix together. In a separeate bowl, mix veganaise, curry,
and salt. Mix veggies and chicken with veganaise mixture. Let sit overnight before serving.

Greek Orzo Salad

1/2 pound Rosa Marina Orzo Pasta dry
1/4 cup Sunflower Oil
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 ounce Lemon Juice
.03 cup Minced Garlic
1/4 pound Pail Feta Cheese cubed
28oz Red Fire Roasted Peppers (drained and chopped)
1/4 Minced Parsley
1/3 Chopped Green Onion
2kilo Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives


Ozark-Logo1-300x214If you want fresh, prepared food to for a party or summertime picnic, Ozark Natural Food’s deli and produce areas have been fully a remodeled. The deli is now called À La Carte, and the produce department has a new cooler that includes cut fruits and vegetables. Click here for more info on the remodel or about becoming a member at Ozark Natural Foods.

Mealtime Mama: Kid-friendly Vietnamese pho


Guest post by Peter Horton, blogger at One World Plate

It’s hard sometimes, feeding kids real food that’s actually good for them, that they actually want to eat.  Being a dad food blogger, I’ve come up with a few solutions.

Today I’m going to show you a recipe for Vietnamese pho (that’s pronounced like ‘fuh’ not ‘foe’) that you can add to your culinary toolkit.  My kids adore it, even though it’s good for them and incredibly tasty.  My kids even beg me to make pho sometimes. 

Basically, pho is a soup, a salad and a noodle dish (what kid doesn’t like noodles, right?) all wrapped up in one.  The appeal for kids is huge, because they get to customize the flavors and textures in any way they want.  When they feel in control of their own food, and get to participate in their own eating process, they’re much more engaged and generally eat better.

There’s really no right or wrong way to go about doing this, ultimately.There are some semi exotic spices used in the broth, but if you don’t have them, that’s ok, just use something else to flavor the broth (at some Asian groceries they actually sell pho broth kits).  The real key is to have a flavorful broth, noodles, and a wide variety of veggies/herbs and/or meat to add to your soup. 

KidFriendlyPho1 resized

The technique:

The foundation of any good pho soup is a flavorful broth.To make this, I always start with a large knob of fresh ginger and half an onion, which I toast up in my toaster oven.I add several cloves of garlic at this point.

Next, gather whatever spices you’re using.  Typically I use a cinnamon stick, some black cardamom (this is kind of hard to find; substitute regular cardamom if you can’t find it), cloves, nutmeg, allspice, black pepper and star anise.

The smaller spices I put in a spice pouch I make out of a coffee filter and a few staples.

The larger spices (the star anise, cinnamon stick and black cardamom) can go directly in the stock pot at this point, and begin frying in a little oil on a medium high heat.  I usually add soup bones and mushrooms at this point (although you can omit this step if needed, but it does give a richer flavor to the broth) and begin to brown them, along with the garlic, onion and ginger.

Kidfriendlypho collage

After everything is aromatic and browned, I add my beef broth, fish sauce mixture and spice pouch.

Simmer it for 20 minutes to an hour, until it’s quite hot.

My daughter loves these little meatballs I make for the pho.  I use normal breakfast sausage and add lemongrass, ground coriander, garlic powder and mustard powder.

Roll them into balls and then parboil them in a separate smaller pot (this makes them much less greasy than they would be otherwise).

Set them aside and then toast them in a toaster oven or bake them in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  They’ll end up looking something like this:

KidFriendlyPho10 resized

Next I prepare a garnish plate with all the veg and herbs (radish slices, cabbage, carrots, lime wedges, cilantro, basil, sliced sugar snap peas, red bell peppers).  Pretty much anything will work.  The trick is to have enough variety that your kids will have a lot to choose from.

KidFriendlyPho11 resized

Finally, I cook pho noodles (I usually get these at an Asian grocery) in a large pot of water.  Really, you could use any kind of noodle your kids will eat.  We’ve used various types of ramen noodles before, too. 

The final step is optional.  I usually buy a small steak and freeze it for about 30 minutes, then slice it super thin, and boil the slices until they’re just done. 

Then assemble the noodles into a bowl, add your hot broth and whatever meat you want to add, and serve it to your kids (or yourself).

You might have to throw in an ice cube or two to get the broth down to a safe temperature for your kids.In addition to the veg garnishes I usually add a small bowl of crushed peanuts, some sriracha (this is what makes it kid friendly; the hot sauce is optional), some hoisin sauce (a kind of Chinese soy based bbq sauce) and soy sauce.

When the kids add a little bit of this, a little bit of that and take a bite, you get satisfied kids like this:

kidfriendly collage kids

And that’s really it.  Here’s what a bowl of pho fully loaded for a grownup looks like:

KidFriendlyPho14 resized

The ingredients:

  • One knob of ginger, split and toasted
  • One half onion, toasted
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • A few soup bones
  • 2 or 3 mushrooms sliced
  • 3 32 ounce boxes of beef broth
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 tsp honey (for the fish sauce mixture)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (for the fish sauce mixture)
  • Juice of one lime (fish sauce mixture)
  • Spice pouch (1 tsp each of pepper, allspice, cloves and a quarter of a nutmeg nut, and 1 tsp each of ground cardamom and fennel)
  • A few star anise
  • One cinnamon stick
  • 3 or 4 black cardamom pods (it’s not quite the same but you could use regular cardamom; black cardamom has a smokier flavor that’s quite unique and slightly different from regular cardamom)
  • One large package of pho noodles, or several packets of ramen noodles

For the meatballs: One package of breakfast sausage, 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp of mustard powder

Thinly sliced steak, boiled (optional)

Veg garnish plate:  basil, cilantro, red bell peppers, cabbage, lime wedges, radish slices, carrots, sliced sugar snap peas, and sliced jalapeno (very optional, I omitted it last time)

Hoisin sauce, sriracha (or sambal oelek hot pepper paste if you’re really brave), soy sauce and more fish sauce for condiments

I hope you like this.  I know it sounds a little complicated and maybe even daunting, but once you get the hang of it it’s actually pretty easy.  If you end up making this for your kids (and yourself) let me know how it works out for you.  I’d love to hear from you.

Finally, I want to thank nwamotherlode for giving me the chance to share this with you. (Note from the mamas: You’re welcome, Peter! Thank YOU for the guest post!)

kidfriendlyphoPeterFace resizedMORE ABOUT PETER: In my other life I’m a bookseller. I’m also a husband, a dad, a writer, a musician and a moderately proficient mostly self-taught home cook. There is nothing quite like discovering that you can cook an amazing meal for yourself or for someone you love. It’s magic made real, in a way. One of the reasons I fell in love with my wife is that we’re both very adventurous eaters, very willing to try foods from anywhere and everywhere. So we’re always cooking or trying to figure out how to cook foods from all over the world. A few months ago I realized “I’m always cooking this cool stuff, why aren’t I taking pictures of it and writing about it?” So that’s what I’m doing over at, trying to share what I’ve learned or taught myself through trial and error. Every culture in the world has a unique cuisine.  I believe that if you want to understand someone from somewhere else, a good place to start is to try some of their food.


Mealtime Mama: Boil extra Easter eggs and make this!


Christy Walker, who blogs locally at Violets Before Roses, loves to collect cookbooks.

She recently shared this “deviled eggs” recipe with us and she said they are absolutely delicious. She plans to make them for her family’s Easter brunch. The original source is Susan Bigelow of Westover Jr. H.S., Morgantown, West Virginia.

Ms. Bigelow was a Home Economics teacher and her recipe was printed in a cookbook from 1988.

Gourmet Stuffed Eggs

Great-Day-Hard-Boiled-Eggs6 hard-boiled eggs

½ tsp. prepared mustard

2 tbsp. shredded Cheddar cheese

1 tbsp. melted butter

2 tsp. lemon juice

3 tbsp. crumbled crisp-fried bacon

1 tsp. chopped olives

½ tsp. salt

Pepper to taste

Paprika to taste

12 strips pimento

eggs02Directions: Cut eggs into halves lengthwise. Remove yolks, reserving whites. Combine yolks with next 8 ingredients in bowl, mix well. Fill reserved egg whites with yolk mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Garnish egg halves with pimento.

Yield: 6 servings

What’s your favorite Easter recipe? Leave a comment and share with the rest of the class, says Ms. Bigelow!

Ozark-Logo1-300x214If you want some delicious food to take to Easter brunch, Ozark Natural Food’s deli and produce areas have been fully a remodeled. The deli is now called À La Carte, and the produce department has a new cooler that includes cut fruits and vegetables. Click here for more info on the remodel or about becoming a member at Ozark Natural Foods.


Mealtime Mama: A punch recipe fit for a prom


All this NWA Mom Prom talk has made us thirsty for some party punch.

(If you missed that conversation, click here to read about the Mom Prom that Motherlode is throwing on May 4 and how you can buy tickets!)

When I (Shannon) start thinking about punch, I can’t help but think of my Aunt Joyce’s recipe. She always stirs up her delicious punch for all the baby showers, wedding showers and special events on my mom’s side of the family.

I’m not sure which recipe we’ll choose for the Mom Prom, but you can bet we’ll have a punch bowl filled with delicious punch at the event!

In the meantime, you might want to whip up a pitcher full of this:

Aunt Joyce’s Favorite Punch

  • punch bowlFruit Juicy Red Hawaiian Punch
  • 1 can pineapple juice
  • 2-liter bottle Ginger Ale
  • Coconut flakes (to taste, optional)
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 1 container pineapple or orange sherbet

Directions: Mix ingredients together, then use an ice cream scooper to place scoops of sherbet on top. You can also add slices of orange or lime to make it extra pretty.

To prom! To punch! Cheers!

Ozark-Logo1-300x214If you want some delicious food to take to your next party or to go with your punch, Ozark Natural Food’s deli and produce areas have been fully a remodeled. The deli is now called À La Carte, and the produce department has a new cooler that includes cut fruits and vegetables. Click here for more info on the remodel or about becoming a member at Ozark Natural Foods.


Mealtime Mama: Great tips, routines and recipes for your picky eater

Guest post by Kristina Starnes, speech language pathologist specializing in pediatric feeding

Dinner time can be anything but enjoyable at times. Not only for those families faced with the challenge of having a very selective eater, but for a lot of families in general.

We start our days often in a rush, getting child A to school on time while child B is crying for basic needs in life like food, diaper change, etc. Once the day has begun we get into our groove and may be trying to accomplish a lot of needed tasks in the day before picking up the kids from school and tackling homework and any extracurricular activities that have been tossed into the week.

Sitting down together at the table for dinner as a family does not always happen as we would like and often a mealtime battle will begin at the table with the “I don’t want to eat this…I’m NOT eating this”…so on and so forth. Many of us have been there!

Before sitting down to write I had several former feeding therapy kiddos in mind.

meat and veggies 3meat 2

I thought of the families who had spent a lot of time and energy trying to make mealtime happy for their child. A child who already struggles with trying new or different foods does not have the same mealtime experience or experience in general about food as most of us do. I suggest taking the time to fall into a relaxed, somewhat predictable routine if you have found this a challenge.

Establishing a Mealtime Routine:

I’ll use the name Ethan as an example. A routine could begin with Ethan watching a favorite show or movie while the meal is being prepared. Keep in mind that it takes multiple exposures to a new food before acceptance. Start by adapting foods that your child already knows and accepts.  Small changes and familiar textures and flavors will allow for greater success! It is also helpful to start talking about what you are having for dinner at the start of the day “Its chicken night Ethan”— talk about it again on the drive home from daycare.

Little jobs in the kitchen…can be as simple as Ethan picking the plates or pushing some buttons on the microwave. How about having him sprinkle some cheese on the quesadilla, shake some salt or seasoning on one of the dishes. This will help him feel like a pretty big helper and hopefully be the start of a more relaxed mealtime for the whole family.

At our home we sometimes turn on the music at dinner or have a candle. The point being to create the routine so he knows what will happen next: First this, then that, then time to eat. You want this to be as free of stress as possible and start turning the process into one you all look forward to. I know it feels like so much of a hassle at first but this will get easier.

You will probably find your own routine and way to de-stress everyone. I do think it’s important for us as parents to keep the stress out of our lives so the kids don’t pick up on it. For some this may be a walk around the neighborhood (depending on how hungry everyone is and the amount of time you have), for others it may be sipping a glass of wine while preparing the meal or turning on some favorite music.

I’ve included some recipes below that are power packed with veggies along with a fun little dessert or snack that you can easily make in less than 5 minutes!

Samurai meatballs

This is a milk and egg free recipe that is fairly simple and fun to eat! If not avoiding eggs you can replace the egg-free mayo with regular and the panko breadcrumbs with regular.

1/2 package frozen chopped spinach, cooked on stovetop or steamed then pureed
1/2 package lean ground turkey (approximately 3/4 pound)
1 tablespoon egg free mayo
1/3 cup whole wheat panko crumbs
sea salt, garlic powder and onion powder to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When mixed together, roll into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet ( I also used mini muffin pan) Bake for 30 minutes.

Note from Kristina: My daughter enjoyed eating these on a wooden skewer and dipping them into her favorite dipping sauce which was presented in a Smile across the plate (see photo above). I would make one change and that would be to make smaller meatballs because they were a little too big for that perfect bite-size! Hope you enjoy!
***Disclaimer: Be careful with pointy Skewers! I’ve already gotten ‘scolded’ by Nana who suggests “transferring them to a plate and eating with a fork”

Veggie surprise mashed potatoes

potatoes 001What You’ll Need:
½- ¾ cup sliced zucchini
1 cup cauliflower
1 cup potato flakes
Dash of sea salt and garlic salt
1 tablespoon light butter
¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1. Steam the zucchini and cauliflower. (I used a microwave steamer bag)
2. In a separate bowl mix the potato flakes with ~ ¼ cup skim milk and ¼ cup water and add the butter and cheese, place in microwave for 3-4 minutes
3. Puree the steamed veggies (I am loving my Magic Bullet …makes a super smooth mixture) and add to the potato mixture. Voila! Yum yum.

It’s always a good sign when the 3 year old asks for More! Matching taste and texture to the ‘preferred’ food (mashed potatoes) is the secret to success.

Yogurt dippin’ dots

This one is fun and easy!  Take a container of any favorite yogurt and empty into a ziplock bag.  Cut a small opening in one corner of the bag and squeeze little dots onto a baking sheet.  Freeze.  Scrape off your dots into a bowl, grab a spoon and enjoy!  I’ve also used a decorator frosting tip which made a pretty design. Enjoy!

dippindotsdippindot alone

picky totsKristina Starnes lives in Fayetteville with her husband, Chris, and their 2 girls.  She is a Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in pediatric feeding disturbances.  Kristina loves to teach children and babies of all ages about food and overcoming obstacles to make mealtimes happy and healthy. She enjoys creating recipes and adapting them according to a child’s specific oral motor and sensory needs.  To read more about pediatric feeding disturbances and ways you can help your child as well as when to refer to a feeding specialist check out Kristina’s blog at and her Facebook page here.