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101 days ago, I decided to begin a food blog. I’m Stephanie,  a psychologist born and raised in the Hudson Valley. I use my knowledge of nutrition, healthy eating, and creativity to make dinner healthier, faster, and more adventurous. As a busy mom of two, I’m constantly trying to stay creative in the kitchen, and thought it would be fun to photograph and write about everything that graces our dinner table.

I love to cook; in fact, I grew up cooking.  From a young age I was my mom’s sous chef, found at her elbow chopping or mixing on any occasion that involved food (and come on, what occasion didn’t?).  Once on my own, I began to find my own cooking voice, experimenting throughout college and grad school.  At the same time, I got a doctorate in psychology, specializing in healthy eating and nutrition.

My life in the kitchen…now

Fast forward to the present, which finds me cooking for my two young daughters and a pre-diabetic husband.  My objective now is to use both my professional knowledge and my love of cooking to create meals that are appealing, affordable, and easy to prepare; focusing on whole foods, whole grains, and foods that are naturally low in fat and sugar.  Although I design family-friendly meals, I also expose my kids to everything I like, rather than letting them exist on a diet of “kid food.”  I don’t have the luxury of spending hours in the kitchen, so I am always looking for shortcuts (such as cooking in bulk, crockpotting) that will maximize my time but not sacrifice our dinners.  Frequently, I invite my girls to join me as I cook; at times this shapes the recipes I chose, other times it just means I have to sweep a little extra flour off the floor.  I hope this helps instill a love of cooking and builds some fun memories, if nothing else.  Finally, we look for variety, so you’ll almost always see me trying something new.

What’s cooking? Last night’s dinner…

Whole grain penne with alfredo sauce, diced chicken, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes.  This meal is one of my family’s favorites, and on this occasion, we were serving it to company.  While the pasta (1 lb.) is cooking, sauté two large chicken breasts, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and coarsely chop when fully cooked.  Just before draining pasta, stir four cups of raw baby spinach leaves into boiling water, and quickly blanch for one to two minutes.  Drain pasta and spinach, and return to pot.  Add chicken, diced sun-dried tomatoes, and your favorite Alfredo sauce.  Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and voila, dinner.  This meal will go nicely with a salad, and we later had sliced cantaloupe.  It served four adults and two children, with a little leftover for tomorrow’s lunch.

To find out what’s for dinner at our house, please join me here or become a fan on Facebook . Happy eating!

Yesterday while scrolling through our RSS feeds I saw an article headline that caught my eye: “Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children.” I literally gasped aloud after reading that line. I know that’s how they get your attention, through shock and awe, but I after reading through the article I do believe it is an important topic to look in to. The article states that  “New research suggests that exposure to high levels of organophosphate pesticides, commonly found on berries, celery and other produce, could raise the odds for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. At this point, though, there is no evidence that pesticide exposure can actually cause ADHD, stated the authors of a paper appearing in the June issue of Pediatrics.”

Now, there is no concrete evidence that these pesticides are causing ADHD, but this may be a good time to look at the food we are putting in our bodies and serving to our families. Taking a trip to your local farmers market even just once a month could start a healthy trend in your household and it is a fun weekend trip as well. If you are unsure of where the closest market to you is, we have made a comprehensive farmers market guide that is broken up by county. Happy shopping!

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