Trying New Foods With Kids At The Table

I made a frittata for the first time this week. I put in the last of the broccoli, the leftover potatoes, a tomato and generously sprinkled the top with cheese. I was sure to include lots of broccoli because my children love broccoli and I was hoping that their love would make them at least try a few bites. It was beautiful.

20130815-141609.jpg

My ploy only sort of worked though.They did take bites, but neither of them decided they liked what I’d made… despite the fact that they both eat scrambled eggs and like all those veggies. I suspect that the problem was with the newness and not the flavor. They never like new stuff.

I knew they wouldn’t eat much, if any, before I even started cooking and I almost threw in the towel and cooked something I knew that they’d eat instead. Who wants a struggle at the end of the day? But I stood my ground, because I think it’s important for them to try new things. I want kids who’ll be a bit adventurous with their food and they won’t learn how rewarding that can be if I cook the same five dishes day after day.

So, frittata it was–whether they liked it or not. And they didn’t. But maybe they will next time. Or the time after that. We’ll keep trying.

Did I mention that I didn’t even put mushrooms and onions in it? My one concession to their pickiness was that I only included veggies I already know they liked. They wouldn’t have taken one bite if there were mushrooms and onions, so I sautéed them separately. Just for me. Yum!

20130815-141627.jpg

Heart of the Earth

IMG_2547

 

Looks a little gruesome, huh? These are fresh beets from grandma’s garden. She brought them up last week with a wonderful selection of other garden veggies and our new kitchen equipment.

IMG_2550

 

Peel them, chop them, toss them with a little olive oil and salt. Roast until tender.

IMG_2552

 

Couldn’t be easier. Mmmm…

New Additions to Our Family …Kitchen

Christmas and my birthday–which is two days after Christmas–came early this year thanks to my Mike’s amazing mom. She hit up a store closing sale in July and snagged us a couple of really great items at a crazy discount. She’s the best!

Meet our new mixer:

IMG_2534

Isn’t she a shiny, shiny beauty? We’d been holding out for a nice KitchenAid mixer, but I think we can compromise!

The other addition was my birthday present. It came in one of my all-time favorite colors and we’ll have it forever and ever and ever.

IMG_2533

 

These are two extravagances that we never would have gotten without incredible sale prices and and a generous mother. I am beyond grateful and I can’t wait to use our new tools! Thank you, Pat!!!

New Veggies August Challenge: Jicama

As part of a wellness challenge at work, I’m trying one new-to-me veggie or veggie variety each week in August (except for that partial week at the very beginning of the month.) This past week I snatched a jicama root on a frantic trip to the grocery store with both of my kids in tow.

Image

I’m sure I’ve had jicama before–as part of a salad, or maybe roasted with some other root vegetables as a side to a restaurant dinner. But I can’t remember a specific instance and I have no memory of what it might have tasted like. I’ve certainly never bought it or prepared it, so I think it qualifies as a new veggie–even if I have probably had it at some point.

A quick Internet search revealed that it’s a Mexican root vegetable that is commonly eaten raw, roasted, or as part of stir fry. I decided to start at base and try it raw.

Image

I cut it into sticks and started munching. It’s starchy, crunchy, bland and has a high water content. It seems like it’s basically a giant water chestnut. It’s quite filling, but is also low in calories. I imagine that the subtle flavor and crunch would make it an excellent vehicle for dips.

The jicama I bought was big enough to almost fill a gallon-sized zip top bag and will likely keep me in healthy snacks for a week. I might try roasting some later, but for now I’m really enjoying the sticks.

This new veggie seems to be right up my alley… now if I could just get my kids to taste it…

Wellness at Work

20130806-201826.jpg

At the end of May I got a job at Montana State University that included benefits. The Montana University System (MUS) provides benefits to a great many people across the state and, of course, they have an interest in keeping those people as healthy and productive as possible. One of the things (among many) that I’ve discovered the MUS Wellness program does is host monthly challenges–one centered on fitness and one centered on food.

At the end of June I hit a point where I decided to do something about my slowly increasing weight. I was precariously close to being unhealthy and I was certainly uncomfortable. I joined the campus gym, set a weight-loss goal and started watching what I ate very, very closely with the help of my smartphone. A couple of days into July I got an e-mail message advertising the wellness challenges for the month. The July food challenge was to eat two servings of fruit and record it for 26 days of the month. I though, “Hey, this sounds easy and delicious!”

It was.

Did you know a whole cup of blackberries has just a few more calories than 12 small jellybeans? Yeah. And guess which snack is more filling? Uh huh, the blackberries. The challenge made me reach for fruit first to fill my quota for the day and ignore the junk because I actually felt decently full.

By the beginning of August I’d lost 14 pounds and I’m sure the MUS Wellness challenge helped. Plus, I was entered into a drawing because I completed the challenge and I WON.

Bring on the challenges, MUS Wellness!

This month the challenge is to eat one new vegetable each week. I’ve tried a lot of veggies in my life, so this one might be a little tricky. They did say you could try a new variety of a vegetable you’re familiar with–I might have to do that. To the farmer’s market!

I love a good, fun challenge, don’t you? I know you probably can’t get entered in any drawings for completing this challenge, but do you wanna do it anyway? I’d love to compare new veggie notes with my friends!

Image

Eating Carefully, Eating Less for Breakfast

20130803-101714.jpg

I’m working on a goal here which includes very mindful eating. Healthy, filling, and low calorie breakfasts are important to me right now and eggs seem to fill that bill pretty well. However, I don’t like eggs much–unless they have a bunch of veggies in them and the green Tabasco on top.

This is what I made today and it was heaven. One egg scrambled with some chard I got from the university’s Towne’s Harvest Farm stand, green onions and tomatoes. Two corn tortillas to hold it and a generous sprinkling of green Tabasco.

Fast, delicious, substantial, nutritious and only about 200 calories. This is a winner.

Never Say Diet

I hate the word “diet.” It brings along so many negative things with it for me. For instance:

“I can’t eat THAT–I’m on a diet.”

There’s this idea that dieting means deprivation. I don’t like depriving myself. I’d like to think that I’m resetting my ability to consume in moderation. Nothing is off-limits for me, but you can bet I’m going to be thinking about my choices.

“Oh, God, I neeeed to go on a diet.”

Somehow dieting has become something that’s pretty near an unattainable goal to be started tomorrow. I want to commit to something. I want to do it. I already started and it’s ongoing. Again, I’d rather think of it as a reset.

Women diet.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like dieting is for women and it’s specifically done for appearances. Appearance is important to me, I won’t lie, but it’s also about comfort and health. And we’ll get to pay less for health insurance if I can get my BMI down by the time our company has health testing in September.

Diets center on specific foods.

Grapefruit. Cabbage soup. No carbs. No fats. No egg yolks. Shakes in cans. Green tea.

Nope. I’m not eating all something and none of something else. I know that there are certain “bad” foods that I’ve eaten in excess and certain “good” foods I’ve ignored. I’m not going to flat-out eliminate anything and I’m not going to make rules about what I can and can’t eat. I’m reducing my caloric intake in order to use stored energy. I’m eating more vegetables. Snacks are more likely to be picked than baked. I’m being thoughtful about what I put in my mouth.

I’ll never say “diet,” but I am being super careful about what I eat for a while.

Whatever works, eh?