Kale and Fennel Caesar

Recipe courtesy of Candice Kumai


4 cups Italian kale
1 fennel bulb, trimmed
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 (3.5-4 ounce) can sardines packed in olive oil, oil reserved

Caesar Dressing:
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp roasted garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp reserved sardine oil from can
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt



To make the salad:

Thinly slice the kale into ribbons. Cut the fennel bulb in half, then thinly slice it into half-moons, preferably on a mandoline.

To make the dressing:

In a large salad bowl, combine the egg yolk, balsamic vinegar, roasted garlic, and lemon juice. Whisk well. Stream in the olive oil and reserved sardine oil, slowly whisking to emulsify the egg and oil. Add pepper and sea salt as needed.

To serve:

Add the kale and fennel to the salad bowl and toss well to coat with Caesar dressing. Add the sunflower seeds, plate up, and top with the sardines

Mom Is Dishing Out a Copy of The Plant Powered Diet!

Thanks to Sharon Palmer, Mom Dishes It Out will be giving away The Plant Powered Diet to one lucky follower!

In The Plant Based Diet, author Sharon Palmer, RD emphasizes the importance of leading a heart healthy lifestyle. This book is filled with great how-to’s, information charts on grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as recommendations for how to best incorporate them into each meal. Along with recipes and advice for navigating the supermarket, kitchen and restaurant, this is a great read for anyone looking for incorporate more plants into their life! Want to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Plant Powered Diet?

Enter by one of the following ways:

Let us know what you like about the book and you could be one of the lucky winners!
Winners will be announced on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 6:00 PM EST.

Learn to Cook Healthy in Two Minutes

Need help in the kitchen? Let me teach you to cook healthy in two minutes!

Simple and delicious foods has always been my motto. However, between shuffling the kids to school, work, or just a hectic schedule, I know at first hand that time can be a factor in deciding what meal you’re going to prepare and how you’re going to prepare it.  Two weeks ago, eHow and I partnered up to film several of my favorite dishes. The best part? All of the dishes are quick and easy to prepare. With nutrition and tastebuds in mind, here’s a roundup of healthy meals that you can easily make at home for yourself or the entire family!

Check out eHow for the entire Healthy Meals Series, or view each cooking tutorial right here:


 Heart-Healthy Mexican Recipes

Heart-Healthy Beef Recipes


Healthy Meals That Contain Lipids & Proteins

 Healthy, Pan-Seared Cod


Turkey Meatballs With Parsley, Onions, Parmesan Cheese & Spaghetti Sauce

Recipe for Pie With Raspberries, Blueberries, & Blackberries



MDIO Answers Questions About Feeding Her Boys

Last week, Mom Dishes It Out appeared on the set of Veria TV‘s “What Would Julieanna Do?” In an interview conducted over do-it-yourself granola bars, chia seed pudding and plant potting, MDIO Answers Questions About Feeding Her Boys.

 1. As a Mom, what is the hardest part of getting your kids to eat healthy?

Not being the nutrition gatekeeper of our children’s food is a challenge all moms face. Camp, school and the playground expose my boys to chewing gum, drinking sports drinks and eating low nutrition foods such as crackers and candy during snack time.

As any mom may know, feeding our children can be trying. I created Mom Dishes It Out, a blog for moms to learn from my personal experience in feeding my boys and a place where they can share their experiences and ask questions.

2. How do you explain eating healthy in a context that they understand?
There are everyday foods that we eat to grow, run and think. We need to eat these foods every day. Then there are “sometimes food”—food that we can eat some of the time.  Since the foods are low in nutrition and aren’t the best for growing, they are not considered everyday food.

3. Do you have any tricks to get your kids to eat healthy?
One sure way is to stock the house with only healthy food. I allow all foods but I don’t necessarily have them in the house on a regular basis.

4 Tricks To Getting Kids To Eat Healthy
1. Stock the house with healthy everyday foods
2. Limit boxed or in the pantry packaged food items to three or less
3. Allow all foods but focus on the need for everyday foods
4. Don’t make a big deal about healthy food – offer and expose but don’t overemphasize


4. What two kid-friendly recipes did you bring to share today?
Good-For-You Granola Bars – It can be quite challenging to find a granola bar that is nutrient dense, low in added sugar and will not melt in the heat.

My youngest son is a vegetarian so getting omega-3 fatty acids and even omega-6 fatty acids are a challenge. Adding chia seeds to any recipe is a sure way to get vegetarians eating omega-6’s. I give Liam an omega-3 fatty acid liquid supplement to get the beneficial fatty acids only found in fish.

5.  How often do you cook with your kids?
I try to cook with my kids as often as possible and in every little way. Perhaps they do something simple like adding wheat germ to their yogurt, cracking the eggs into their pancake mixture or adding berries into their smoothies.

6. What sorts of foods do your kids crave?
My oldest son loves pancakes with chocolate chips and macaroni and cheese (the chips are dark chocolate and the pancakes are whole wheat or kamut; the pasta is usually whole wheat), while my youngest son favors yogurt, hummus and pretzels (made from spelt or whole wheat).

7. What are your go-to snacks for your kids?
I always offer a carbohydrate with a fat or a carbohydrate with a protein. Then I’ll offer homemade smoothies with fresh and frozen fruits and chia seeds, fruit slices or fruit squeezers with Greek yogurt or cheese

8. Do you guys ever have a cheat day, or treats for special occasions?
I have told my boys time and time again, food is not a treat. A helicopter ride around the city is a treat or a day of bowling is a treat. Food is food. We enjoy ice cream with gummy bears, drink Gatorade and eat cookies some of the time, but not all of the time. Since it is critical that we meet all of our nutrition needs, it is important for parents not to put certain foods on a pedestal, because this will become the food your child will then want.


Should You Buy That Organic Turkey?

Organic Food: To Buy or Not To Buy

On the quest to nourish our kids, the word “organic” has become a primary focus for many of us moms. Yet, despite all of the regulatory hype you read about in the papers and online, organic standards are far from universal. In fact, they can be downright confusing unless you aced high school biology or are familiar with foreign regulation policy, ultimately raising the question: When we dish out extra dough to buy organic, are we getting what we paid for? I hope to answer some of these questions for you here.

According to the USDA, there are six countries and 40-plus programs that meet the national standards of certification based on a list of regulated chemicals and ingredients that can be used on crops. And as long as the food in question is given the green light by the National Organics Standards Board, then you should generally feel confident in the integrity of the product despite its place of origin.

Imported products that are pre-certified as organic prior to entering the country, however, are another story. In this case, food exporters have the option of working with the USDA and their homeland government to certify products as organic, and quality control can become a problem.

In the absence of proper standards, we become susceptible to “organic fraud,” and it can affect shoppers from Wal-Mart to Trader Joes and Whole Foods, all of who carry imported snacks and canned foods. Despite USDA-approved foreign organic inspectors, pesticide testing isn’t required on many of these products—in ’06, less than two percent were examined.

European standards are somewhat similar to those established in the United States, prohibiting the use of many of the same chemicals and antibiotics come harvest. Not all nations are as strict as those in Europe though, including Brazil, Sierra Leone and China. In China, for example, organic products sell for nearly five times the price of non-organic food, increasing manufacturer’s incentives to commit organic-fraud.

So, as a mom, how can you be sure that the can of soup or that box of cereal really is 100 percent organic?

Some specialty food stores, like Trader Joes and Whole Foods, are taking measures to visit their vendors in foreign nations to ensure they meet proper standards. Both markets also voluntarily label the country-of-origin on their packaging so that the consumer can be sure of where their food is coming from. Stores such as Wal-Mart are yet to go to these lengths.

Shopping at smaller, specialty stores, and looking for the US stamp of approval, are good places to start. Scrutinize the organic certifications just as you would any nutrition label, accounting for organic indications as you would calories and sugar. And remember, it’s not the end of the world if something turns out to be non-organic. Because, between our kids, our jobs, and whatever slim social life we have, we can’t always be super-mom. But we can certainly try and hope that buying organic will promote sustainable farming and the message that moms want chemical free food for our kids.