Learning to read in a digital world

With my feet planted firmly in Generation Y, I’m your typical Millenial.

I took Fruit Roll-Ups to school with my lunch, played pogs with my friends at recess, and listened to Michael Jackson on the radio during his Lisa Marie Presley days.

I also grew up with technology–I played Duck Hunt on our Nintendo console and played Kirby’s Dream Land on the Game Boy in the car in elementary school. In seventh grade, I’d come home from school and immediately log on to AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) to chat with my friends. By the time I was in college, I was regularly doing research and assignments online. Nowadays, I check my e-mail on my smartphone as soon as I wake up in the morning. I find out about breaking news by checking what’s trending on Facebook.

The incorporation of technology into my daily life was gradual, but it was novel, and thus welcomed. Learning and exploring new technologies was exciting.

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Aiden’s Top 3 Halloween Treats

To be honest, if my son wasn’t allergic to wheat, dairy, and egg, I’d probably be loading up the shopping cart this weekend with the usual unhealthy Halloween goodies. His allergies have forced me to look for other healthier options, and I’m very thankful for that. I’ll admit that in the past, I’ve read the ingredients on the side of a box and caught my eyes glazing over. You know the kind–a paragraph-long and full of words you can’t pronounce. Words that disguise what the products actually are: full of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), chemicals, preservatives, and artificial colors. Luckily, there are many healthier options out there both for children with food allergies and those wanting to avoid the scarier ingredients.

Aiden's Top 3 Halloween Treats
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Homemade Take-out Beef and Broccoli

I peeked in the fridge the other day and realized there were a couple of broccoli heads I had bought on sale–last week sometime. Sigh. I swear, I was going to make some yummy olive oil drizzled, garlicky baked broccoli or chop it up and dip it in hummus as a snack. (I seem to have the best ideas when I’m impulse-buying my way through Whole Foods, but not when I’m staring like a zombie into the fridge at night.)

Rather than suffer the guilt of throwing more uneaten produce in the trash, I decided I’d try a new recipe. This is a simple slow cooker recipe for homemade take-out that keep you from unknowingly eating additives like monosodium glutamate that restaurants will sneak in to make food taste good and keep you addicted. Yeah…I only have room for one addiction, and that’s coffee.

This Beef and Broccoli recipe is perfect for throwing in the slow cooker on weekday mornings, and coming home to a warm, home-cooked meal. *Be sure to check my tips at the end of the post for making this dinner ahead of time.

This Beef and Broccoli recipe is perfect for throwing in the slow cooker on weekday mornings, and coming home to a warm, home-cooked meal. *Be sure to check my tips at the end of the post for making this dinner ahead of time.

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Quick coffee makeover

If you’re one of the 83 percent of Americans who drink coffee, you might want to take a closer look at what you’re drinking in the morning. Or throughout the day in many cases. (I’m guilty myself!)

In honor of International Coffee Day, I thought I’d share some quick and easy switches that can make your cup of Joe better for you and your health. Especially if you’re going to be drinking it anyway, you caffeine addict, you.

What’s in your morning cup of Joe?

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Southwest Quinoa ¡Olé!

Even with fall quickly approaching, I’m not concerned. Temperatures in the San Francisco Bay Area are still hitting the 80s (don’t hate!), so I’m carrying on as if summer was in full swing. One of my new favorite recipes–and one I’ve made nearly every week this summer–is Southwest Quinoa. It’s got a bunch of yummy “Southwest” ingredients that give the overall dish both interest and loads of flavor. It’s also a great make-ahead lunch idea, since it can be eaten straight out of the fridge. No microwaving necessary!

Southwest Quinoa recipe. Great for taking to school or work! #cleaneating

Quinoa is an amazing food–and believe it or not, it’s a vegetable, not a grain! It’s also protein-rich and fiber-filled, so it makes you feel full, but not I-ate-a-burger-for-lunch full.

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Summer supper under 10 bucks!

After a few weeks of chillier summer weather for California, we were back up to the low 80s today. Which unfortunately made my plan for cabbage soup tonight a no-go. Well, as luck would have it, I picked up a bunch of tomatoes this past week at the local farmer’s market.

One of my favorite go-to recipes this summer has been a modification of Martha Stewart’s Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce. (Surprise, I found it on Pinterest!) I love that it’s super light and refreshing, really quick to make, and approved by my Italian husband–which means it must be good! Here’s my version of it, which offers a just-as-yummy modification for our son’s allergies and for our personal taste. Enjoy!

The only modifications I made to make this allergy-free were substituting a quinoa and corn blend spaghetti for wheat spaghetti, and nutritional yeast for Parmesan cheese. I also added red onions, just because. Dinner total: under 10 bucks!

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Why I’ve gone mad

To the average outsider, I’ve gone crazy.

I’ve thrown out most of the food items in our pantry, [properly] disposed of all household chemicals, and *gasp* chucked a large portion of the makeup I had been hoarding in the bathroom. I obsess over food labels and ingredient lists, and watch food documentaries like they’re going out of style. News over bee deaths and GMOs in our food make me shake my fist in the air in dismay.

So what has possessed me? Let’s go back a few years.

Aiden

Our new family in 2009.

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