Homemade Pumpkin Soup for a Fall Dinner

October 24, 2016

pumpkin soupMy daughter wanted to make something for dinner with pumpkin in it, it being that time of year and all, and I suggested pumpkin soup. She countered with the idea of serving the soup in little scooped out pumpkins instead of bowls, and we both decided it was a great idea!

The soup turned out better than I imagined, and using the pumpkins as bowls is fun and easy, if a bit labor intensive. This soup is really simple, so make sure you use high-quality ingredients so that all the flavors come through. We found wonderful little locally grown organic sugar pie pumpkins from Full Belly Farm on sale at our local market, and we used yellow potatoes that we dug up ourselves at the Great Peter Pumpkin Patch a couple weeks ago.

Three Deliciously Spooky Halloween Treats

October 20, 2016

Mummy hot dogsIn October, my kids and I love to make fun Halloween-themed treats for parties, snacks and school lunches. Not only are most of these healthy, but they’re fun to make and eat, too.

These recipes also make a great playgroup or play date activity or girl scout or cub scout project. Feel free to vary the recipes as you see fit.

Hot Dog Mummies


Healthy Slow-Cooker White Bean Soup with Ham

October 17, 2016

Slow cooker ham and bean soupThis healthy and tasty white bean soup with ham is a hit with everyone in our family. It's also a breeze to make; one of those slow-cooker recipes that's truly easy.

Put everything in the slow cooker in the morning, set it on "low" and walk away. Then come back later to dish up a delicious hearty soup at dinnertime, one that's perfect for these chilly winter evenings. It freezes well, too.

This version includes smoked ham, which you could easily leave out for a vegeterian or vegan version.


  • 1 pound dry white beans like Great Northern, Navy, or Cannellini
  • 1 large onion, chopped

Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

October 11, 2016

I'm a big fan of cooking with pumpkin, which is one of the reasons I love the fall. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars, pumpkin ravioli—they're all delicious. My kids' favorite are these pumpkin oatmeal cookies, which are chewy and, I like to think, actually good for you. These cookies are a great treat for the lunchbox too.

I mix in in dark chocolate chunks (chocolate chips work equally well), walnuts, and dried cranberries to make them more interesting. They're also fantastic with toasted pumpkin seeds instead of the walnuts. In fact, feel free to use whatever you like to mix in: white chocolate chips, raisins, dried cherries, and pecans are all good.Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Easy Asian Dumpling Soup

October 9, 2016

Easy Asian Dumpling SoupThis hearty soup hits the spot on a fall night and couldn't be easier to make. The kids love dumplings in all their forms, too, so this soup is a hit in our house.

Use quality frozen potstickers or wontons; the vegetables you use can vary depending on what you have on hand and what you and your family like. We used chicken gyoza from Trader Joe's, but you can use vegetable ones and veggie broth for a vegetarian/vegan version of this recipe.


  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen potstickers or wontons
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped bok choy, napa cabbage, or spinach
  • 1 cup shredded carrots

Pumpkin Muffins: A Tasty Fall Treat

October 2, 2016

Pumpkin Muffins Having a mini muffin pan has changed my life. No really, it has—not in a big way, but it's inspired us to experiment with different muffin recipes. A healthy muffin makes a great breakfast treat, lunch box snack, playgroup munchie, or Halloween party goodie. One of our favorite muffins to make in the fall (and year-round, even), are pumpkin muffins. They're delicious, healthy (pumpkins have lots of fiber, beta carotene, and protein), and easy to make. Sometimes we just grab a box of Trader Joe's pumpkin bread mix, but more often than not, we make them from scratch. They make the house smell great when they're baking, too.

Homemade Hummus is Easy to Make, Delicious, and Healthy

September 18, 2016

hummus and pita wedgesOnce something found mainly in health food stores and Middle Eastern restaurants, hummus is now a mainstream snacktime staple available in every local supermarket. I've found most of the grocery store versions of this garlicky, lemony garbanzo bean purée to be uninspired and not all that authentic, but fortunately it's really easy to make your own hummus at home, and we make sure to have the ingredients on hand for whenever a hummus craving hits!

My kids love hummus (my daughter's been a certified hummus fanatic since she was a toddler), which is fantastic, since it's both tasty and healthy. I like to serve it with homemade whole wheat pita chips, but it's also great with carrot sticks and other dippable veggies. I even pack it into my kids' school lunches. This recipe involves no cooking, and the kids can help out with it, too.

Easy Lasagna Roll Ups

September 12, 2016

lasagna roll upsI don't know anybody who doesn't like lasagna, and this rolled version is simple to make and delicious. With all the same ingredients as traditional Italian-American lasagna, I find it easier to assemble and serve. The kids like to help assemble the rolls, too.


  • 1 recipe or 24–26-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese

Back-to-School Recipes from Hip Chick Farms

September 11, 2016

Hip Chick Farms mini meatball subs Coming up with new healthy and kid-friendly lunch and after-school snack ideas can be something of a challenge, but local business Hip Chick Farms makes it a little easier! Hip Chick Farms, a parent-run company based in Sebastopol, has made a mission out of creating a healthier, more sustainable version of that children's menu staple, the chicken finger.

Available at numerous grocery stores in Marin and the Bay Area, including Whole Foods, Mollie Stone's, Woodlands Market, Mill Valley Market, and others, their products are made with Mary's air-chilled chicken, and organic and gluten-free versions are available, too. They also make chicken meatballs and sweet-and-spicy chicken wings. They're all delicious, too! (We've tried them all.)

We asked Hip Chick Farms' Chef Jen a few questions about the business, and she even provided us with a couple of tasty recipes that utilize their products, both of which are perfect for a quick and easy lunch or after school snack.

What was your inspiration for starting Hip Chick Farms?

I began my career working with Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley. It was there that I became passionate about creating food that incorporates only the freshest, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients. It was actually my work in Ann and Gordon Getty’s kitchen as their personal chef that motivated me to share my recipes with the world. Part of my job included cooking meals for all the children attending the school in the Gettys' home. My cooking became a pretty big hit with all of the kids – particularly my chicken fingers. This became the inspiration for our Hip Chick Farms’ line of artisan, transparently sourced frozen poultry products; convenient for busy families. Our chicken products contain no artificial ingredients; it’s like I’m in your kitchen, making it for you fresh.

What makes your product different from the others available out there?

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