Cali'flour Foods recently had the pleasure of spending the day with the fabulous women of Mom's In Cars, DeAnna Stagliano & Christine Lakin. MIC is a digital series about two moms just trying to find a little peace and quiet in the sanctity of their car. It's real, it's relatable and it's downright hilarious. Our Founder Amy Lacey got to jump in the backseat, where she talked all things cauliflower, including why she created the company and mealtime favorites from her new cookbook Cali'flour Kitchen.
After an amazing lunch of pizza (cauliflower crust of course), lasagna and birthday cake (The Cauliflower Queen turned 49!), the three got to sit down and chat about mom life; the joys, the struggles and the challenge of promoting healthy eating and overall well-being with kids. They discussed what works best for their families, which includes husband-led grocery hauls, leftovers and the occasional bribe. Here's what the ladies had to say:
How do you promote a healthy lifestyle to your children?
Christine: I'm basically the head chef of the house so I make most of the grocery lists and decide that quintessential question, "what's for dinner?" It can be a daunting task but thankfully my husband is always up for a grocery run and helps quite a bit in the kitchen as well which makes cooking most nights of the week an attainable goal. I find making meals from scratch promote the healthiest choices as we use what's in season and plan ahead so we don't succumb to that HANGRY point where fast food or snacks are the solution. I also try to keep healthy snacks in sight and accessible for both myself and my family— we always have a fruit bowl out and trail mix, sometimes pretzels.
DeAnna: We are a very active family! Not only are we always on the go, but we are always outside playing in our backyard, the pool or our local parks! I also try to feed the kids healthy snacks. I have really good eaters so I really try to encourage my kids to snack on fruit or veggies. Since they are such good eaters, I'm totally ok with them having Goldfish or sweets as well!
Do you meal prep each week? Or take it day by day?
Christine: I plan out 3-4 meals a week, and try to utilize what nights leftovers will be eaten or how to repurpose ingredients. My mother-in-law used to call me "the cobbler" for all the ways I'd cobble together a meal! What can I say? I hate wasting food! For instance, if I make baked chicken parm one night, then maybe the rest of the cutlets become parm sliders for lunch. I'm also a big fan of root vegetables and squash. They keep for several days to a week and my go to is to roast a bunch of vegetables, make a pot of quinoa or farro (my favorite these days) and throw it all together with some raw carrot or radish and avocado and a yummy sauce like a tahini dressing, or even a curry. Vegetarian cooking is actually pretty easy and delicious.
DeAnna: I take meals day by day. I actually do love to cook so, if I wake up and am feeling like Spaghetti Bolognese, then we're having it! I let my kids choose sometimes too....as long as it's not Mc Donald's!
Are your kids picky eaters? If so, how do you navigate that?
Christine: Dude, picky is an understatement. Cooking for a three-year-old can feel like you're trying to please the Judges on Chopped. I know a lot of it's a texture thing- she's not a big meat eater either. So I hide a lot of veggies in pasta. My go-to is pureed butternut squash in Mac and cheese. Cauliflower can also be snuck into Alfredo. Banana/egg pancakes are definitely a dinner time food too and smoothies are a lifesaver. You can literally hide anything in a smoothie. Thank goodness for Cali'flour crust because everyone in my house is always up for pizza!
DeAnna: My kids are great eaters! Addison is not a huge meat eater and that's fine with me because she will eat broccoli and carrots all day! Both of my kids will almost always try something once...as long as it doesn't have Brussels Sprouts in it!
How do you make mealtime more fun?
Christine: I make a point to sit at the kitchen table, turn off devices and tv, put some music on and talk to my kids while we eat. Yes, of course, there are bribes some nights to get that last bite of strawberry in (I'm not superhuman!). I also allow coloring at the table sometimes or even a small puzzle. Toddlers have the attention span of a gnat so anything I can do to keep her sitting longer is key!
DeAnna: We almost always have our meals together at the table as a family. So, it's a special treat for our kids when we surprise them with a "movie night" with dinner in front of the tv.
What are your go-to tips and tricks? We'd love to know! Watch the full episode and hear more from Christine and DeAnna over on Instagram at @momsincars.