Hilltown Families


Apple Chutney When our vegetable garden begins slowing down, we begin apple season. We harvest our own apples, visit friends who have apple trees, and gather apples from wild trees and abandoned orchards. It’s apple time early in the morning before work, late at night when we return home, and on our day off. We dry dehydrators full of apples and line our shelves with many glass jars full of delicious apple… Read More

Greenfield Energy ParkPlacemaking is a practice and a philosophy. It is an approach to both the creation and use of public spaces, aiming to promote the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Events which support placemaking, such as parades, festivals, outdoor film screenings, and lawn concerts, draw people together and strengthen a connection to neighbors via community spaces.

Spending time together regularly helps kids feel connected to their families. This feeling of connectedness is a “super-protective factor” that helps kids avoid risky behaviors and promotes their healthy development. Family Day helps remind busy families of the invaluable role that parental involvement plays in young people’s lives.

Do you struggle with what to feed your kids after school, especially as dinner time draws near? This month in “The Dinner Table: Ideas and Inspirations for Family Meals,” John shares a few rules his family follows regarding snacks before dinner. Share your own ideas too!

As a community, when it comes to family dinner time, we can share ideas, food and time together to support sharing our meals together. This month in “The Dinner Table: Ideas and Inspirations for Family Mealtimes,” John shares six ways we can support family dinner time as community members…

“For the New Year I made a resolution – a family dinner resolution – to actually get home for family dinner,” writes, John Sarrouf this month in “The Diner Table.” This post is a report on what is working, and what is not…

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013, is Giving Tuesday. After years of hearing about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, some folks created a day for giving back rather than consuming – and thus Giving Tuesday – the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving… and what better place to talk about giving back with your family than at the dinner table? Read John’s post this month in “The Dinner Table: Ideas and Inspiration for Family Mealtime” for resources to help your family discuss giving together and get inspired! Share your own ideas too… we want to hear them!

This month in “The Dinner Table: Ideas and Inspiration for Family Mealtime,” Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, John Sarrouf advocates for the return of the toast, a ceremonial way of leaving the day behind and marking the beginning our meal together, of celebrating, and of connecting…

This month in “The Dinner Table: Ideas and Inspirations for Family Mealtimes,” Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, John Sarrouf takes a look at how the dinner table is a child’s first classroom for diversity…

What’s in your pantry? Having a pantry that supports both a busy family lifestyle and quick health meals can also support time well spent with your family a meal times. This month in “The Dinner Table,” Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, John Sarrouf, shares his go-to list for a supportive pantry and ideas for meals for dinner and healthy snacks to tide the kids over while they wait…

This month in “The Dinner Table: Ideas and Inspirations for Family Mealtimes,” Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, John Sarrouf introduces the idea of “walking desserts.” Find out about this sweet idea and how it can extend your family mealtime together…

Roasted Beet Salad Wow, what a wacky growing season this has been! The extremes we’ve been experiencing are challenging. From drought to flooding, cold to heat and heat to cold, the conditions this season have been erratic and stressful to the plants. Our local farmers need our support to weather difficult growing seasons. Look for locally grown produce at locally owned markets and frequent many of the area farmers’ markets. Despite the… Read More

Is your desire to create the perfect family dinner creating challenges and tension? Don’t aim for the perfect dinner, but rather the “Good Enough” dinner. The goal is to connect, enjoy one each others company and to make memories. In his debut monthly column, Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, John Sarrouf writes about letting go of the idea of a perfect family dinner in “The Dinner Table: Ideas and Inspiration for Family Mealtimes…”

Family Dinners: Joy or Indigestion? The extensive research on the benefits of family dinners has seemed to define eating together as the make it or break it sign to raising healthy, well-adjusted children. I do agree that family meals have potential to be an opportunity to catch up on the day’s events and bond in the midst of our busy world. For years though, I have been challenged in my experience with… Read More

Mushroom Barley Soup I wake up in the morning thinking of the billowing steam from maple sap boiling. I love going to sugar houses to see the dramatic plumes of steam rising, to smell the sweet maple aroma, to taste the first of the season’s delicate, delicious syrup…to experience the promise of spring again. My seasonal rhythms are tied to sugarin’; it marks the final gasps of winter and the arrival of… Read More

Southern Biscuits Enjoyed with Local Western MA Ingredients Biscuits Here’s something you can make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack…how versatile is that!  Biscuits are great any time of day.  They taste best slathered with butter, and even better with local honey or your favorite fruity jam.  When I first met Amy, my choice of bread to go with any meal was a crusty Italian/French-type bread or a dense, whole grain… Read More

Indian Potato Fritters Potatoes Bonda Amy and I were in local food heaven! We were visiting her folks on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It is incredulous to everyone that I chose to go to every farmers’ market within two hours, rather than go for another walk on the gorgeous, tropical-blue-water-white-sand-almost-empty-of-people beach. We did all spend a lot of time together in the woods and salt marshes, watching birds and enjoying the… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS When your kids were babies, how did you include them at the dinner table? Jennifer Shiao Page writes, “Well, when she was a wee one, we always ate when she was asleep. Once she could sit up, we put her in the high chair and she sat at the table with us. We always gave her appropriately-sized bits of whatever we were eating, for her to eat on her… Read More

Sweet Potato Slices

Here’s a recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato Lasagna! A great comfort food for cold winters in western Massachusetts.

View post to subscribe to site newsletter.

Chew On This This past Thanksgiving, the cheese bit back. In our home, Thanksgiving has been a holiday that focuses on the three Fs: family, football — and food. Because of that, it is the second of the five late fall/early winter obstacles our family must hurdle while raising a child with type one diabetes. The first is Halloween, which probably goes without saying (Just how many carbs ARE in a fun-size… Read More

Quick and Cozy Spicy Chickpeas and Simple Couscous The diminishing afternoon/evening light seems to get my stomach rumbling for dinner much earlier than our usual late night dinner hour. When I tune into my natural rhythms, my body yearns for meals earlier and sleep much earlier than I am accustomed to. I look forward to tuning in more deeply this winter, listening to and responding to the inner callings that are in… Read More

The summer months in Western MA are an excellent time to check out live music the whole family can enjoy together.  There are several of free lawn concerts that happen in the late afternoon and early evening during these warmer months where families can have evening picnic dinner together on the green while taking in live music.  Bring your own chairs, blankets, beverages and bubbles too, for a fun time during the… Read More

Local Food Heaven I was like a kid in a candy store, or, as my Uncle Mike used to say, “like a mosquito in a nudist colony”! I spent Saturday at Sarasota Farmers Market, buying bags (my own cloth bags of course!) of just-picked produce from local organic farmers located in Southwest Florida. I came home with sacks of oranges (several varieties), grapefruit, limes, and lemons. I got just-picked strawberries (not as… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS How often is your family able to share a meal (any meal) together? What are some of the challenges your family faces finding the time to dine together? Meagheanne Donahue writes: “My son & I eat breakfast and dinner together during the school week, every meal together on the weekends, and Sunday is our family brunch with his grandparents, aunt, uncles & cousins. Granted, he’s only 8 and it’s… Read More

Soups to Warm Your Tummy on a Cold February Day CBS SOUP Winter is finally upon us (where is the snow?!?), and it’s time for some hearty, warming, comforting foods. I enjoy cooking soups when it’s cold outside because they often take quite a while to cook (helping to heat our house!). I often bake bread to accompany the soup (helping to heat our house!) and they usually don’t require a lot… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS No one in my family eats the same thing come dinner time! Any advice? Anita Morehouse writes, “LOL! We can’t even agree on a time to eat, never mind what to eat!” Michael Muller writes, “Pizza?” Brooksley Williams writes, “If my kids (ages 5 and 3) balk at what I’m serving for dinner, I express my confidence and excitement at how hungry they will be for breakfast. Eventually, they… Read More

Celebrate Family Day on September 29th Did you know that the more often children and teens eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to drink and use illegal drugs? They are also more likely to do better at school. Dinnertime is a great time to connect with your kids. Celebrate Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children on Tuesday September 29th, 2009 with a meal… Read More