Thursday, July 28, 2011

Expanding our food choices

Trying Edamane
We have two distinctive camps in this house in regards to food, the try it once Thing and the no way you can't make me Thing. Thing One will try anything once and the stranger the better, she has tried live squid and claims she liked it. The issue with this is once she tries it she will never try it again if she doesn't like it that first time.  This is tough because there are lots of ways to prepare things and maybe one way won't work but another will. The good side of the try it once is she has ended up liking some things I never would have expected and at least she is putting herself out there and trying it once. Over in the, no way you can't make me camp, Thing Two is firmly a believer in; if it smells funny, looks funny, I'm cranky, you are trying to slip something by me, or someone else says anything about it being healthy it is not going to get past my little lips.  I have presented it 20 times, tried it 8 different ways; pleaded, prodded and threatened to sing, but to no avail, this kid will not try it. On top of that if he eats something begrudgingly and then finds out he likes it prepared in a different way by someone else (daycare's green beans, for example) he will never again eat it at home. ARRGGGH

This general craziness to get vegetables into the Things diet more prompted me to do something I never thought I would do. We started pureeing veg and slipping it into sauces. Yep, I became that mom.  I could not have another dinner with complaints and ewws and resorted to letting them live on broccoli and carrots and slipping the rest in.  This was not ideal in my mind, but something surprising has occurred.  A few months break from the constant  'try it' push has actually created a little flexibility in the Things; and a desperation for other veg has created more persistence in me.  Onions, peppers and celery have always been much complained about in this house. For some reason they are the root of the evil vegetable insurgence that is being fought in this house. 

I use these three vegetables in almost everything and had finally hit the point where the Things could starve, once a week I was eating something I wanted to eat. This was not to say I wouldn't make a meal that they liked already, it just means I would be adding a few extras.  I started with a great cookbook, No Whine with Dinner by Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex. Through this cookbook the Things and I have found some recipes we can both agree one. A favorite of the Things is Hot Diggity Dog Cornbread Casserole, page 129. I make this recipe gluten free and leave out the corn, what I do add is shredded carrots and the broccoli shred from the store, along with onion, pepper and celery.  i also substitute the chicken sausage for the hot dogs. This makes the recipe a little chunkier as there is more veg and I add extra cheese to offset that.  What is used for garnish varies, hubs likes ketchup and mustard, Thing One likes sour cream, I like sour cream and salsa, and Thing Two likes it plain.  I really like this recipe because it is so flexible and somehow the vegetable part gets accepted with no complaints. 

In an extreme hurry one night with next to nothing in the fridge I made a really ugly version of a scramble that has become a vegetable infused meal of at least acceptable proportions.  I take onions, peppers, celery, and anything else that I can find and dice finely and get it going with a bit of olive oil in a skillet.  I then add in salt, pepper, dill, and usually oregano and let the onions get translucent.  Then I throw in whatever precooked meat I can find; this is usually turkey sandwich meat or ham diced.  After the meat gets a little warmed up I add in a mixed bag of whole eggs and fake eggs to make 5 eggs total. I let the eggs start to set up on the bottom scramble it all up and add a handful of cheese.  That with sour cream and salsa to garnish and a fruit drink(ton of fruit, applesauce, apple juice, Greek yogurt) and dinner is served

I know the food fights aren't over by a long shot, but somehow two times a month I dont' have to hear complaints or eww noises from the peanut gallery and it makes me happy. I am going to take on school lunch next.  I am thinking of having a school lunch sample pot luck to get some ideas and learn what other are up to.

What are you doing to get your eaters more adventurous? How are you expanding their palate and their veggie happiness?

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