meaningful meals

14
Aug

Refresh Your Views on Frozen

Photo: FruitsandVeggies.org

“We’ve seen when ‘frozen’ actually warms the heart.”

Can you imagine life without a refrigerator or freezer? From the store or when planning ahead for dinner time, frozen food or meals are a staple item in most homes. We’ve seen this translate to a Food Tidings schedule, as well — groups will get together and make “freezer meals” to stock up for a family welcoming a new baby, Organizers will request extra portions of soup or a meal so the Recipient battling cancer can freeze the food for a future use or a Participant who lives in another state will have a meal shipped, grateful they can contribute to supporting their relative recovering from surgery. We have seen when ‘frozen’ actually warms the heart.

It’s been proven time and time again, that frozen meals can be a great fit for Food Tidings’ Participants and Recipients, alike. They are convenient to purchase when you are busy or live far away and easy and handy for the Recipient to enjoy at their convenience. That’s why we offer “shipped” or flash frozen meal options in the Food Tidings Shoppe; making it possible to provide a consistent, nationwide meal option to support families, in addition to the home-kitchen or local restaurant.

We take quality very seriously, so we make sure our vendors provide chef-prepared frozen options that make a you proud and represent you well. Trust us, these are not your Daddy’s frozen TV dinners who got a bad rap because they were processed, additive laden, and free of flavor – unless you count the taste of the aluminum tray, that is. Today’s frozen meals are a far cry from the foil-encased atrocities of yesteryear. They have come a long way, baby – thank goodness! In fact, we vet vendors to ensure they are providing the highest quality ingredients, keeping meals preservative and chemical free, flash freezing freshness in and using the most careful packaging and shipping for pre-made healthy meals; not to mention excellent customer service. 

The Food Tidings Shoppe has individual or multi-meal options, to fit every need.
Shown: MagicKitchen.com’s Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo, Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken and Artichoke with Spinach.

Additionally, we do most of the thinking for you! We select a variety of meals that meet various diet requirements, as well as covering plenty of the good ‘ol comfort food options. Our vendors, such as MagicKitchen.com, work with us to customize meal packages that fit our customer base; targeting favorites and nutrients that hit the mark for new Moms, surgery recovery, special diets, soups for those battling cancer or looking for lighter fare, etc. In-house chefs whip up these favorite dishes in small batches and immediately flash freeze them for delivery to a Recipient’s doorstep. Think of them as your personal chef and courier service, with a much lower price tag than if you hired them each yourself!

Photo: © BRAVISSIMOS / GETTY IMAGES Source: FoodandWine.com

We’re big freezer believers and fans. Here’s five reasons frozen foods are often better than fresh:

Freeze the flavor

Flash-freezing produce and meals ensure the Recipient gets perfectly vine-ripened flavor whenever they’re ready to heat and eat. Typically, “fresh” produce is harvested early, before peak ripeness and then must ripen in a truck on the way to a grocery store.

Nutrients on ice

Key vitamins, nutrients and other good stuff is locked in when foods are frozen fresh. After just five days in the fridge, “fresh” produce counterparts loose vitamin A, vitamin C and folate.

Easy freezy

Once frozen, produce and meals are no longer in a race against the freshness clock. Mealtime simply becomes more convenient. Frozen meals are easy to store – easy to make on the Recipient’s own schedule.

Frozen in time

Frozen food stays better for way longer. Ice is nature’s pause button and is perfect for the unpredictable, busy lifestyles of the real world.

Price drop – Savings 

Because it’s easier to prepare and store, frozen foods end up saving money with much less waste. Less food going bad, more time to enjoy mealtime – it’s a win on all fronts. 


Rest assured, science is on the side of frozen and you can be, too. We’ve tried our vendors’ frozen meals and we haven’t tasted a meal we didn’t like. We trust your Recipient will feel the same!

MagicKitchen.com’s Soup Bundle is a perfect gift for Fall & Winter or for a family needing a lighter fare for dinner.

Frozen or Hot is always better than Not.

Warm someone’s heart, today!

Sources: 

5 Reasons Why Flash Frozen Food is Better

Could Frozen Vegetables Be More Nutritious Than Fresh? 

5 Reasons Frozen Food is Better than Fresh, Veestro.com

24
Apr

How to Ask for Help without Making the Internet Mad

People dream of having a post go viral. However, this is a nightmare you want to avoid.

An expectant Philadelphia couple recently went viral for an eyebrow-raising request. In a post on another site like FoodTidings.com, the husband explained that he and his wife were expecting their first child — and, as social media users were fast to point out, expecting a lot from their neighbors, too. In his note, he asked for volunteers to help support them — via 30+ specific meals, emotional support and house chores. This was met with a cynical eye, to say the least.

In fact, their post was viciously ridiculed online. Given the backlash that was unleashed via national news outlets, I’m guessing that many new soon-to-be parents or people dealing with an illness might be hesitant to ask for help.

However, let me assure you – it’s OK to ask your friends, family members, neighbors and even co-workers for support. You just have to do it graciously.

Photo Credit: joemartinez.com

We were meant to do life together. When somebody is sick or has a baby, we want to rally around them. Although, asking complete strangers for food, then being very specific with what you want, feels demanding; especially in our tone-deaf, electronic world.

Whether you are about to have a baby, have a surgery scheduled or are dealing with a chronic illness, here are basic tips in asking for help – whether it’s online or in person:

“You just have to do it graciously.”

Leading with humility, grace and love smooths the path for support.

Let someone be your advocate

It can seem aggressive to personally post links all over message boards and social media sites. Rather, have a friend, family member, co-worker or church volunteer be the “Organizer”. Let somebody be your advocate and rally people on your behalf. Let them share, “Hey, our friend is going to be recovering over the next couple of weeks, let’s help.”

While it’s ideal for someone else to organize support on your behalf, the reality is when it comes to getting the word out, you or someone in your immediate family are often in the best position to reach your community. Generally, no one else will conveniently have access to all your contacts. You can very tastefully give support info by sharing something like, “Thank you to all who have offered to help our family, we are so grateful. My good friend asked me to share this with you…” (then, include the FoodTidings link or other info you are sharing). This is totally acceptable, and appreciated by those that know you.

Offer suggestions, don’t dictate

Supporters appreciate direction. Adding notes about dietary or medical restrictions are necessary (no one wants to make a condition worse!) and mentioning favorite foods or restaurants is super helpful. Asking strangers to make specific recipes is less reasonable; especially if there’s not a medical need.

To be clear, trying to eat “clean” or “Keto” is most often a choice, not a mandatory need. Chances are that you’ll cheat on any diet, at some point. Someone offering to make a meal for you is a great day not to be legalistic and to just enjoy the gift. You can hop right back on your “cleaner” wagon as soon as you are able.

Also, recognize that people want to help, but they do have their own lives going on; they may live far away, not be the best cook or just have a really busy week. Being willing to accept assistance in various forms; such as homemade meals, delivered meals, groceries, money gifts, chores, a visit or just a prayer. Gently outlining a few clear options for them is always nice, but allow people to figure out the best way they can support and contribute, guilt free. If you really can’t or don’t want to use a gift – feel free to (discreetly) give it away to someone that can use it. Let’s consider it regifting at its best – a win-win-win, with no hurt feelings.

Be grateful

Everyone wants to see the ‘star of the show’, and give their good wishes. If possible, make an effort to be on hand to accept the gifts your neighbors worked hard to deliver. However, most people will understand if recovering from surgery is expected to be particularly hard or that trying to catch naps to heal will have random timing. Coolers are on the porch can be used, but be sure that participants understand why that is necessary. Taping a “Hello” or “Sorry we missed you” note to the inside of the lid can be a surprise that will make them smile and let them know you wish you could have greeted them in person.

Always follow up with a thank you. The beauty of an online schedule is that it keeps a list of participants for you, so you don’t have to try to remember the details yourself. An email or handwritten note to acknowledge gifts is always welcomed and appreciated. 

In fact, in my book, a thank you is a requirement. I used to tell my kids, “If you’re not willing to write a thank you, then you shouldn’t take the gift.” If circumstances prevent you from doing a thank you yourself, be sure to ask someone to help with that, as well. A grateful heart goes a long way and I have no doubt that someone would love to be the hand that pays it forward for you.

Offer a hand

Do you know a family that is having a new baby, facing surgery, fighting cancer or dealing with a chronic illness? Save them from having to ask for help, see what support they could use and offer to be their advocate or organizer. Often, giving of yourself is so much sweeter than receiving.


Be An Advocate

Rally support for someone you know


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Crystal Van Dyke

FoodTidings Contributor

I loved FoodTidings.com at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to join the Food Tidings team in 2011 as Partners, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration/Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, while the three at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us.  Matt 5:16

21
Mar

Melt the Meal Idea Block

Sometimes I get “meal-idea-block”, unable to think of a “good” meal idea when I am asked to help a family with a dinner. Oh, the pressure. As though the meal needs to be amazing or they may think I’m a lousy cook! Sound familiar? Trust me, the struggle is real. So, let’s melt that “block”, together.

Here are a few ideas to keep up your sleeve (or anywhere handy that you’ll remember) for the next time you get asked to help with a Food Tidings schedule or a meal for a family.

I can assure you, these meal ideas are easy and travel well: 

  1. Breakfast for dinner: Scrambled eggs, or a quick egg casserole with onions, peppers, ham, and cheese; baked at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Add some pancakes or cinnamon rolls (from the tube at your local store), with fruit on the side.
  2. Taco night: Brown up some ground beef (seasoned to taste), and package up shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, jar of salsa and some tortillas and/or chips on the side. Feeling fancy? Throw in some guacamole!
  3. Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner: Roast a chicken with potatoes and broccoli, seasoned with butter and salt. A one-pan dinner! Or, in a hurry? Pick up a pre-cooked Rotisserie Chicken from Costco or local store, add your roasted veggies on the side.
  4. Casserole a la Easy: Make a chicken and rice casserole with mixed veggies: Add chicken (pre-cooked), rice, mixed veggies (frozen, works great!), can of cream of chicken soup, sour cream and top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Add fruit on the side, and you gift “fresh-comfort” all in one.

While these recipes or ideas may not win fancy awards, but they are meals that most families can and will eat. When a family is in need, that’s the most appreciated thing about getting a meal; they can enjoy it without having to think about it. Also, these meals require no special ingredients and can be made in double batches so you can feed your family that night, too!

Tiding Tip

Once you’ve signed up to make a Food Tiding dinner, plan to make it in a double batch so you can feed your family that night, too.

Again, these are just a few general ideas to keep in mind. Go with it as they are, or use them as general themes to start the ideas flowing. If you’d like more specific recipe details, you can always use your favorite recipe(s) or find something on Pinterest or online.

In the end, I hope you’ve gained a few simple, quick, go-to dinner ideas to relieve the pressure the next time you are asked to serve another with a Food Tidings. Never be “meal-idea-blocked”, again. Be confident and, most importantly, know that anything will be appreciated!

Create A Schedule

Put these easy meal ideas to work for someone you care about!

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Leanne Schinella

Food Tidings Blog Contributor

After being the recipient and participant in many meal schedules, my husband and I co-founded Food Tidings in 2007. We have 8 children, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 9 chickens, 1 hedgehog and 2 bunnies (yes, we are THAT fun) 🙂 When I’m not on wife or mom duty, I love photography and capturing family moments, for other families and my own, to treasure.

8
Feb

Instant Pot Roast: Mississippi style

I wanted to share a recipe for a quick, easy, and delicious meal that my family and I have really been enjoying lately. It gets two thumbs up from all four of our kids; and let me tell you, that can be challenging. It’s “Mississippi Pot Roast”, a recipe adapted from simplyhappyfoodie.com. Made in the Instant Pot, it literally fell apart when I opened the lid (which is a good thing for roasts, in my book!), and it took quite a bit of willpower to wait to eat it until dinner time! The amazing smell seemed to lure each of the kids to the kitchen, and I had to tell them we’re “closed” until dinner so it wasn’t gone before then. HA!

This would definitely be an awesome meal to bring to a friend or family member who is going through a transitional time in their life: had a baby, sick, going through treatment for cancer, recovering from surgery, just moved, has a chronic illness, a caregiver for a family member who is sick, or those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. We suggest taking it in some kind of container that you don’t mind getting back or something that is disposable.

Tiding Tip:

Taking a meal to someone is one of the best ways to communicate that you care!

Photo Credit: Simply Happy Foodie

INSTANT POT MISSISSIPPI ROAST

Ingredients:

  • 5 pound beef chuck roast cut in 2 to 3 pieces to fit inside Instant Pot
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup pepperoncini juice
  • 8-10 pepperoncinis, whole
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or something of the like
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter

Directions:

  1. Turn the pressure cooker on, press “Sauté”, and wait 2 minutes for the pot to heat up. Add the avocado oil and beef and cook until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes per side, flipping once. (Note: You may need to cook the beef in batches so the pot isn’t overcrowded.)
  2. Take beef out and place on plate, insert Instant Pot trivet. Pour in beef broth and pepperoncini juice. Then place beef back into Instant Pot, add salt, pepper and ranch seasoning packet. Cut the butter into chunks and place the butter on top of the seared beef. Then, place the pepperoncinis on top, as well.
  3. Turn the pot on Manual, High Pressure for 90 minutes and then let the pressure naturally release release. Once it’s released fully, open the lid and enjoy the amazing smell that comes from the pot, but don’t put your face too close or you’ll get a steam facial you didn’t bargain for. 🙂 The meat should shred quite nicely. ENJOY!

Tiding Tip:

Stock up on disposable containers from the Dollar Store or when they are on sale; then you’ll have containers on hand when it’s time to take a meal to someone you love and care about.

Photo Credit: Simply Happy Foodie

Be An Inspiration

We know it’s easy to get into a dinner making slump or get stuck on what to take as a Food Tidings meal. It’s always helpful to have ideas coming from friends. 🙂 We’d love to hear what your favorites have been lately – please share on our FaceBook page with #FoodTidings!

Know a Family Who Could Use a Food Tidings Schedule?

Start the celebration or encouragement, now!

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Lisa Shepherd

Food Tidings Blog Contributor

Hello to our amazing Food Tidings community! My husband and I co-founded Food Tidings in 2007. It’s been amazing to watch it grow the way it has, and be such a wonderful tool for SO many people all over the world!

27
Jan

Themes Make Meal Planning Easy

Anyone else think that sometimes the hardest part about dinner is planning what to make? Whether it’s for your family or a Food Tiding you’re dropping off for a neighbor, it can feel overwhelming.  Dinner themes may be the ticket. Pick a theme for each night of the week and relieve some of the pressure by narrowing it down. Even if the meal is for another family, they’ll love that you’ve “included” them with your family theme and appreciate the food and gesture. So go for it, two meals for the planning of one.

An added bonus…our kids are creatures of habit, so they love the predicability and I love that they don’t ask me, “What’s for dinner” a million times. Win-win.

Here are some ideas to start your brainstorming, have fun with it. Let us know what your favorites are on Facebook with #FoodTidings!

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(via https://momtomomnutrition.com/food-and-recipes/themed-dinner-ideas/)

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