Food as Medicine

Garlic Bread (8).JPG

Travis was very frustrated by a late winter cold, and wanted to know how best to feel better. It was a great way to talk about certain foods and their medicinal qualities!

First, I asked him how he was feeling – finally better! But he thought back to how he had felt in the past, and about a time he’d had a tummy bug – no fun.

Garlic Medicine (1)

I asked him what foods he’d craved at the time, and he recalled wanting watermelon. I then gave him a little background on how past civilizations have used food as medicine, including Ancient Greece, China, and India. I thought all this info might be too dry, but he loved reading the numbers of how long ago these civilizations existed. 2000 years ago? 4000 years ago? Whoa.

Garlic Medicine (2)

Now it was time to see if there was any truth to the claims that some foods are medicinal. We picked garlic for our research. Could it really help? Online sources seemed to back up the claim.

We tested it out with a garlic tonic: Mince 2 tablespoons garlic. Combine the garlic in a mug with hot water, a little lemon juice, and agave syrup to taste.

Garlic Medicine (5)

Then we set out to cure his cold with a garlic bread recipe (our bonus recipe in this month’s Raddish Kids).


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 loaf French bread baguette
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Parmesan sprinkles
  1. Smash two garlic cloves; remove the papery skins and mince.Garlic Bread (3)
  2. Transfer the garlic to a bowl, along with the butter and olive oil. Microwave for about 45 seconds, or until the butter is melted.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the baguette into thick slices and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.Garlic Bread (4)
  4. Brush evenly with the butter mixture. Sprinkle evenly with the parsley, salt, and Parmesan.Garlic Bread (5)Note: this gets a bit messy! Next time I’d line the baking sheet with foil.Garlic Bread (6)
  5. Bake at 425 degrees F for 6 minutes.

Did we feel better after eating the garlic bread slices? Hard to say they actually made his sniffles less, but his face sure had a big smile!

Garlic Bread (7)

Finally, we have relatives who have also felt unwell most of the winter, and decided to send along a care package of flu fighter cookies. Even better, if you have a nearby friend or neighbor who has been unwell, perhaps you can visit them with a cold-busting superfood.

Garlic Medicine (6)

What do your kids crave when they’re sick? Please share in the comments!

Garlic Medicine (3)

Garlicky Green Beans

Garlicky Green Bean (9)

Travis opened up his new Raddish Kids box tonight. This month’s theme? Family date night! The kit was intended to overlap with Valentine’s Day, and quite cleverly; these days, Valentine’s is more about the kids than just the grown-ups! But we received our box too late for the holiday, so were happy to settle in for a family cooking night here later in the month.

As with all Raddish recipes, I loved that even my pre-reader could help gather the ingredients, based on the bold, bright pictures.

Garlicky Green Bean (1)

First, we prepared the topping (a gremolata, I recognized, although that wasn’t specified). Travis got to help with big boy steps! Together,  we chopped a bunch of parsley. Two tablespoons went into a bowl.

Garlicky Green Bean (2)

Next he grated the zest from one lemon; that joined the parsley in the bowl.

Garlicky Green Bean (3)

I smashed three garlic cloves for him, and he carefully peeled back the white paper.

Garlicky Green Bean (4)

Then we got to use this month’s keepsake: a garlic minced. I’d never seen one quite like this before that rocks back and forth,  and to be honest, I found that it didn’t mince a clove as well as a knife. But for kids, it’s great, since no knife is required. The recipe card also featured a run-down of all the ways to mince garlic.

Garlicky Green Bean (5)

As he worked, we read the facts about garlic and its history of medicinal use on the recipe card. “Is lemon good for me?” he asked after. “Is parsley going to keep me strong?” I love that he already has an understanding of the connection between what we eat and our health.

Next up, we heated 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add 3 tablespoons panko and the minced garlic; cook for 4 minutes, until lightly browned.

Garlicky Green Bean (6)

Add the garlic mixture to the parsley mixture, along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons vegan Parmesan sprinkles.

Garlicky Green Bean (8)

Next up we trimmed 1 pound green beans, using scissors to snip off the pointy ends.

Garlicky Green Bean (7)

(Note: For all of these advanced kitchen skills, Travis loved helping for a moment or two, and then preferred to watch me finish. I recommend the same if you also have a young chef, but big kids can take on more ownership of the recipe).

We cooked the green beans in a pot of boiling, salted water for 7 minutes, which was the recipe card’s suggestion for medium tenderness. Drain the green beans in a colander, then transfer to a bowl; drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and sprinkle with the gremolata.

Garlicky Green Bean (11)

Proud chef! This is actually his happy face saying “Garlic!” though it looks like a grimace. He devoured every last green bean, and the grown-ups, too!

Garlicky Green Bean (10)