Finding balance with food, movement, and community for my (dairy-free) family.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quinoa Pomegranate Salad

This week, I bought my very first pomegranate to make this gorgeous salad:

The texture and flavors were lovely and I was delighted with the pomegranates--they are on my shopping list for next week.   The green of the celery and the bright purple-red of the pomegranate make it visually appealing and perfect as a side dish for this Christmas season.

The recipe for this salad came from one of my favorite bloggers, Amanda Rose, at Traditional Foods:  Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate.

Hurray for fabulous, satisfying nutrient-dense food!   

Friday, December 9, 2011

Apple and Cranberry Dutch Baby Pancake

A key to my personal success with intuitive eating has been to be certain that I'm eating fabulous food.  Fortunately, real food is fabulous.  Food that tastes great and matches my mood and cravings is for more satisfying.  Food is supposed to be pleasurable and when I eat boring food I tend to eat more than necessary trying to make up for the pleasure I'm missing.

Around Thanksgiving I snagged a lot of fresh cranberries a the store with no plan for how to use them.  This morning I added them to my dutch apple baby pancake with delicious (though tart) results.

Apple and Cranberry Dutch Baby Pancake

2 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 apples, diced (granny smith or other cooking apples)
2 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk or milk substitute (I use 1 part coconut milk to 3 parts water)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tablespoons unrefined sugar, white sugar, or maple syrup (bump this up to 1/4 cup if you want to balance the tartness more)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Over medium heat, heat the coconut oil in a cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof pan).  Add chopped apples and cranberries and saute for 6-8 minutes until apples are tender.  Remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients (I find using my mixer reduces the tendency for lumps to form).  Pour egg mixture over the apples (in the cast iron skillet), and place skillet in the preheated oven.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown and puffed-up. 

This recipe is based on a recipe from the Nourished Kitchen. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Salsa and Guacamole

Until a few years ago, I don't think I'd given salsa or guacamole much thought.  If we ate them, they came in a jar from the store and I really didn't think much about their ingredient list.

Then, in the hunt for a semi-elegant snack to serve for my book club, I found recipes for homemade, fresh salsa and guacamole and a love affair was born.  To justify my addiction, I would like to point out that both are composed entirely of fruits and veggies.  The only downside is the tendency to consume them with an excess of corn chips.

These recipes are very flexible.  My husband usually makes them and never measures anything.  We have discovered that guacamole fills in nicely in dishes where one expects a cheese topping:  tacos, burritos, Spanish rice, and some casseroles.

The best part:  both Big Brother and Sis love these and cheerfully eat them.  If only avocados had not suddenly jumped to an absurd price, we'd be making these every week.

Fresh Tomato Salsa
2 medium ripe tomatoes or 4 canned whole tomatoes, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped fine
½ white or red onion, diced fine
6 cilantro sprigs (stem and leaves), chopped
Juice of ½ lime

Combine all ingredients, stirring gently.  Add salt and lime juice to taste.  Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

  • Add 1 jalapeno or Serrano chile, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • Fold in ½ avocado, diced.

2 ripe avocados
1 T fresh lime juice
2 T finely chopped onion
2 T chopped cilantro
Add salt and lime juice to taste.

Directions:  Cut the avocados in half; remove skin and pits.  Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and use an immersion blender to combine.  (The original recipe recommended using a mortar and pestle for this process, but we don’t have one of those hanging around our kitchen.)  The lime and salt balance one another out—too much salt? Increase the lime.  Too limey?  Add more salt.  I like limey guacamole. 

Variation:  Add a jalapeno or Serrano pepper, seeded and finely diced. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zucchini Patty Cakes

I made up this recipe on the fly this morning.  It came out differently than I expected, but was very tasty!

Zucchini Patty Cakes
1 cup zucchini (grated, water squeezed out)
1 egg
1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil *
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Scoop onto a pre-heated cast iron griddle over medium-low heat (I used about 1/4 cup per patty, making 4 patties).  Cook until golden brown on the bottom, flip and cook the other side until golden brown.

These were eggier than I'd expected (perhaps too much coconut oil?), but very yummy.  Big brother and little brother both ate some and Big Brother said he liked it.  Sis wouldn't even try.  She did lick one bite just to humor me, however.

Edited to add:  These have become a frequently made dish around here.  I've dropped the coconut oil from the recipe as it really wasn't adding anything.  Big Brother actually requests these now and all three kids will eat them fairly cheerfully.  Minus the coconut oil and with the natural moisture of the zucchini squeezed out, they look far more appetizing than the above picture would suggest.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Four Reasons Banning Syrup was Worth the Tears

We had fallen into a rut of eating French toast, syrup, or pancakes every morning for breakfast topped with syrup.  A few months ago, after piloting a recipe for blueberry sauce, I decided to ban conventional syrup.

Big Brother greeted this decision with wailing, gnashing of teeth, and--in a last ditch bargaining effort--a jam and blueberry sauce strike.   I stood firm and I'm glad I did because the ripple effects from this decision have improved his diet in more ways than I ever anticipated.

1.  No sugar-shock to start the day.  This benefit was the obvious one.  I used syrup sparingly before and we are still using jam or blueberry sauce so there is some sweetness, but we're still starting our day with a lot less sugar.

2.  Increased willingness to try new breakfasts.  We were really in a rut with breakfasts and any deviation large or small was greeted with protest in preference for the standby favorite.  By banning syrup, the standby favorite no longer really exists, so everyone is a bit more game to try something new.  Now that we have a bigger rotation of breakfast foods, when I throw in an entirely new recipe, it's greeted with less suspicion.

3.  Increased appetite for lunch and dinner.  In the past, my kids ate a disproportionate amount of their daily calories at breakfast.  I wouldn't mind this if we were having broccoli for breakfast, but when their breakfast foods came drizzled in syrup, it simply wasn't the most nutrient-dense food.  Eating less at breakfast leaves them hungrier for lunch and dinner--both meals at which they are more accustomed to being served vegetables.  The hungrier they are at lunch and dinner the more nutrient-dense food they consume.

4.  Greater acceptance of fruit as a sweet treat.  I did not anticipate this result at all, but it has delighted me.  I gave up sweets for Lent this year and when the 40 days was over, I found that my palate had changed.  Fruit and dried fruit that just seem okay suddenly became delicious.  When I resumed eating more refined sweets, I found them less appealing--they now seemed too sweet to my palate.  Eliminating syrup seems to have had a similar effect on the kids.  We don't have a lot of refined sweets around the house in general, but we did have syrup daily. Since it has been gone the kids are more interested in snacking on fresh or frozen fruit and less likely to request sweet baked goods.

It thrills my mama-soul when Big Brother comes home from preschool and requests frozen blueberries.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp: So Delicious, So Wholesome

Would it be bad modeling if I just ate strawberry rhubarb crisp for dinner tonight?  

A friend kindly shared some strawberry starts with me two years ago, and this year, for the first time, my hardy little plants have simultaneously produced enough strawberries to make my favorite dessert.  

I know part of the allure of this dessert is the anticipation of waiting for spring when good strawberries and fresh rhubarb are available.  If I could have it every week it probably wouldn't delight me so much, but as it stands--I'm delighted!  Bonus:  the kids like this crisp as well.

This crisp's topping is whole grain with nuts which makes it feel substantial.  It is only lightly sweetened so the fruit gets to be the star of the show.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Fruit Filling:
1 pint strawberries (washed, stem removed, sliced)
1 stalk rhubarb (diced)
1 Tablespoon tapioca
1 Tablespoon orange juice
2-4 Tablespoons unrefined cane sugar (or brown sugar)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil a pie pan or 8x8 baking dish.

Topping:  Combine the oats, flour, and salt and mix well.  Add the melted coconut oil and maples syrup, mixing well.  Add the chopped walnuts and then set aside.

Fruit Filling:  In a separate bowl, toss together the strawberries and rhubarb with the tapioca, orange juice, and sugar.  The better the quality and ripeness of the fruit, the less sugar the crisp requires.  (Made with conventionally grown store-bought strawberries, ¼ cup sugar is nice; made with freshly picked home-grown strawberries 2-3 tablespoons is plenty.)

Spread the fruit filling on the bottom of the greased pie pan.  Top with the oatmeal topping mixture, spreading it evenly over the fruit.  Cover (I use aluminum foil) and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the cover and bake 10 minutes more to brown the topping.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blueberry Muffins (Soaked and Dairy-Free)

As much as I want my kids to be eating more vegetables, my push for more veggie consumption has made me realize that I really enjoy eating grains.  But, I know grains are not the most nutrient-dense food, so if we're going to eat them I want them to be the very best grains they can be:  whole grains, preferably soaked or sprouted.  (Soaking whole grains for 12ish hours with an acidic liquid in a warm place increases available nutrients and improves digestion.  See Amanda Rose's phytic acid web site for more information.)

I found this great basic recipe for Basic Soaked Muffins at  I replaced the milk with coconut milk beverage; it already calls for coconut oil which is my preferred non-dairy fat.  We added a whole cup of blueberries (of which big brother has become a big fan).

They are fabulous muffins--moist and lightly sweet.  They were a big hit all around and made for a nicely balanced breakfast served with scrambled eggs.  Hmm . . . after scouring my picture files, it appears I neglected to snap a photo of this blueberry yumminess.

Stay-tuned for a delicious spicy pumpkin variation on this muffin recipe!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Non-Dairy Mock-Mac & Cheese

We've been trying all sorts of experimental fruit and veggie concoctions for breakfast lately, but, sadly, I've been too swamped to blog.   Having this blog here helps push me to stay focused on our food reforms, but I'm lousy at finding time to actually get here and write out what we're doing!  

Anyhow, by request, a non-dairy recipe that has no veggies in it whatsoever, but is nice comfort-food when transitioning to a non-dairy diet.    My husband was quite disappointed with this the first time we made it because he was hoping for a super-gooey-cheesy replica of the homemade macaroni and cheese dish we made in a former life, and this didn't live up to what he had in mind.  However, it's now one of his favorite comfort meals.  

It's not going to fool a child accustomed to a Kraft Mac&Cheese.  I prefer to think of it as pasta and sauce so as not to put too high an expectation on it's cheesy qualities.  

Traditional Macaroni and Cheez
From the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak

2 ½ cups dry elbow macaroni
2 T olive oil
1/3 C flour
½ tsp dry mustard
Pinch of cayenne
1 ¾ cups plain nondairy milk (we like coconut milk beverage or hemp milk best for this), heated
½ C nutritional yeast flakes*
salt and pepper
½ cup packed whole-grain bread crumbs
Optional:  diced ham

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  • Grease an 8 inch square baking dish. 
  • Cook noodles according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat oil.  
  • When oil is hot, stir in flour, mustard and cayenne.  
  • Gradually add heated milk while stirring.
  • Cook 2-4 more minutes until the sauce is the consistency of thick cream.
  • Remove pan from heat and add nutritional yeast flakes, mixing well.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  • Stir in macaroni and the optional diced ham.
  • Pour into greased baking dish.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs (if using). 
  • Bake 25-30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes prior to serving.  

*Nutritional yeast flakes are available at health food stores.  They have a cheddar-ish flavor (at least to some on who hasn't had cheddar cheese for a few years).  They are a mustard yellow color.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why Eat Cereal When You Can Have Crust-Free Dairy-Free Mini-Quiche?

After making green eggs, I had half a bag of baby spinach to use up, so I decided to try a suggestion from my friend Laura (whose children, incidentally, are the best veggie-eaters I've ever met) and experiment with crust-free quiche as a breakfast food in which to smuggle some vegetables.

Papa Bear saw me prepping ingredients last night and I told him what I was planning.  His response:  "You know, normal people let their kids eat cereal for breakfast."

Quiche in my well-loved over-sized muffin pan.
My kids are dairy-intolerant, so I browsed a number of quiche recipes and noticed some common proportions of ingredients and devised my own little recipe.  May I just say:  yum!  I really enjoyed these.

Kid Reviews
Baby Brother (age 1) gobbled it up.

Sis (nearly age 3)  helped me make these, which I always hope will make her more interested in eating new food, but doesn't actually seem to.  She took one bite, said she liked it, and then ate her toast and wouldn't take a second bite of the quiche.

Big Brother (age 5) ate one bite and said he did not like it.  I was actually really thrilled that he was willing to take a single bite.  I suggested he wait until it cooled off a bit and then try again--which, to my surprise, he did. He still didn't like it.  I suggested we add a little salt and pepper and try one more bite--he agreed, still didn't like it.  Although he only had three bits, his uncharacteristic cheerful cooperation in sampling multiple bites makes me think that with some adjusting this dish has a chance of succeeding with him.

Next Time . . .
I need to include meat as my kids love sausage and ham and the inclusion of either would motivate them to try it. I think I need to start with fewer veggies to ease them into the idea.  If I can get them to accept the mini-quiches, then I can gradually increase and vary the veggie content.  I think I'll try very small pieces of broccoli next time as we've had success with Big Brother eating broccoli at dinner time if it's very tender.

So here's the recipe as I made it this morning:

Dairy-Free Spinach and Tomato Crust-Free Mini-Quiche
5 ounces baby spinach
1 teaspoon of coconut oil (or other healthy fat)
3 eggs
1 cup hemp milk (or other milk substitute)
2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes *
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt (I will increase this next time)
1/4 of a tomato, diced

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease muffin pan.

2.  Wash and dry the spinach.  I chopped mine up just to be sure there would be no large unwieldy bites for the kids to reject.

3.  Melt coconut oil in skillet and then add spinach, cooking on high heat for 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted and bright green.

4. Divide cooked spinach and place into each muffin (hmm . . . what word goes here? "cup" perhaps?  I'm going with "cup").  I used a larger than standard size muffin pan, so only made 4 mini-quiche.  In a standard size muffin pan, this would probably yield 6 mini-quiche.

5.  Whisk together eggs, hemp milk, nutritional yeast flakes, mustard and salt.

6.  Pour egg mixture on top of the spinach in each muffin cup.

7.  Sprinkle diced tomato on top of each quiche.

8.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let rest 5-15 minutes before removing and serving.

*Nutritional yeast flakes are available at health food stores.  They have a cheddar-ish sort of flavor to them (at least they seem to if you are some one who hasn't actually eaten cheddar cheese in years).  We use them to make a mock-macaroni and cheese dish, so I thought they'd be a nice inclusion here since most quiche recipes call for cheese.  If you can tolerate dairy, I'd skip this and just sprinkle in cheese.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thank You Dr. Seuss for Making Green Eggs Cool

Bless Dr. Suess for laying the groundwork to introduce green eggs as a breakfast food.  After Dr. Seuss week at preschool, Big Brother wanted me to make him some green eggs and ham.  I have no way to make ham green--but eggs I can do.

I used the recipe from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and with one pound of baby spinach to five-ish eggs, it made dark green swamp eggs--which, shockingly, Big Brother actually ate.  He didn't eat a lot, but some, and he requested that I make them again.

I found the spinach flavor a bit overwhelming and so have added some additional seasoning--either Greek seasoning or seasoning salt--and cut back on the spinach.  Both kids will actually eat these when hungry:  oh, the power of Dr. Seuess!

It's not the most visually appealing meal and it there's no deception because the puree is definitely not hidden. Here's the recipe for my version:

Green Eggs
2 teaspoons coconut oil or other healthy fat
5 oz baby spinach, washed and drained
3 tablespoons coconut milk beverage (or other milk alternative)
5 eggs
salt to taste

Seasoning salt (beware MSG in some of these)
Greek Seasoning

1.  Melt one teaspoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add spinach and turn heat up to high.  Cook, stirring frequently until the spinach has wilted.  Add the milk and cook 1-2 more minutes as the milk evaporates.

2.  Puree spinach in a blender--I use my immersion blender for this.

3.  Whisk together the eggs, spinach puree, salt and seasoning salt or Greek seasoning if desired

3.  Melt another teaspoon of oil in the skillet over medium heat.  Add the egg and puree mixture and drop the heat to low.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Looking for a green egg option that is a little less swamp-like?  Check out these delicious Guacamole Eggs.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Licking Asparagus

Sadly, the title of this post is, in fact, "licking" not "liking" asparagus.

In Feeding the Whole Family (one of my favorite cook books), the author, Cynthia Lair, suggests keeping a variety of blanched veggies in the refrigerator for quick snacks.  Since texture seems to be an issue here with raw vegetables, I thought blanching might help.

Sis helped me blanch asparagus and together we made a (non-dairy) coconut peanut sauce for dipping.  Sis sampled the sauce repeatedly as we were cooking, so I was feeling pretty optimistic as we sat down at the table with our snack.

She grabbed an asparagus, dipped it in . . .

 . . . and licked the sauce off like it was a drippy Popsicle--without consuming any actual asparagus.  Bummer.

She asked me for a drink from my water bottle.  I prefer not to share my water bottle and generally try to avoid bribing, but told her she could have a drink after she'd swallowed a bite of asparagus.

She immediately and without complaint, cringe, or grimace, dipped one in the sauce, chewed it, swallowed it, and snagged my water bottle.  Hmmm . . . so the texture isn't inherently offensive, it's just not desirable enough for her to eat without incentive.

The sauce is delicious, though a bit on the hot side depending on the quantity of hot pepper sauce added.   Sis would gladly have made a meal of the sauce using the asparagus as a green spoon.

Although it wasn't a hit, I'm planning to start setting out veggies with a little serving of dip as an appetizer for the kids to munch on before dinner.  If they are truly hungry before dinner (as they often maintain they are) this will give them a wholesome option which either won't fill them up OR will fill them up with veggies which is, after all, the goal.

Blanching Vegetables*
These directions are given for blanching broccoli, but also suggested for cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, and green beans

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Cut vegetables into uniform snack-size pieces.  Drop vegetables in the boiling water and cook until bright green and tender (less than one minute).      Drain and place in ice water (sink full or large bowl) until they are cool.

Toss with a splash of lemon juice if desired.

Coconut Peanut Sauce*
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons tamari or shoyu (I used soy sauce)
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar (I used just rice vinegar)
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1-2 teaspoons hot pepper oil
1/2 cup coconut milk

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Whisk until mixture is smooth.  Cook over medium to low heat stirring gently until it thickens.

*From Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Improving Syrup

I was too disheartened to try to smuggle vegetables into breakfast again today (regrouping to make a better plan before I try again), so today we improved our syrup by replacing it with a blueberry sauce.    For French toast toppings, my picky eaters usually chose between homemade syrup (sugar, water, and mapeline flavoring) or coconut oil with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Real maple syrup would, of course, be a better option, but it's just so expensive.  I know if I let them use that, I'd be horrified by left over syrup puddles and would find myself licking the plates clean to avoid waste--which would be good for neither my dignity nor my pant size.

I confess, despite success with berries in the past, I tend to avoid using them because of the inevitable laundry issues they create.  Fear of stains has kept me from making this recipe sooner.

Blueberry Syrup Sauce*
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder (or corn starch or kudzu)
1 cup apple or berry fruit juice
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2-3 Tablespoons real maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a small sauce pan, combine the arrowroot powder and fruit juice (we used apple juice).  Add blueberries and maple syrup.  Stirring constantly over medium heat, get the sauce simmering.  Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes, until mixture is clear and purple.  After removing from heat, add lemon juice and serve.

Edited to add:  I've found that this gels when refrigerated and, although it can be reheated, I prefer it made fresh.  I now make a half batch to reduce our left overs.  

Big Brother helped me make it.  While it simmered, both kids nibbled on frozen blueberries (yeah!).

When I ladled it onto their French toast, Big Brother objected to the whole berries that remained in tact.  I assured him that was the best part.

Nevertheless, as he ate, he carefully picked the berries off and left them on his plate.  Despite that, both seemed to enjoy the sauce although it was much more fruity and less sweet than their normal French toast topping.

Brother's rejected berries

Overall it was a success.  Lots of purple lips . . .

but no stained clothing.

 It's not a huge improvement over syrup, but it's a baby step.

 *Recipe from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair.

Homemade Leave-In Conditioner

Sis de-tangling herself.
With the goal of reducing chemical exposure, I've been looking for natural substitutes for our hair care products.  I found this recipe to replace the Paul Mitchell detangler I use for Sis's hair.

Homemade Leave-In Conditioner and De-tangler
2 oz aloe vera juice
2-3 drops Rosemary essential oil

Combine the aloe vera juice and essential oil in a small spray bottle.  (In the travel/sample-size aisle in the beauty product section at Walmart they sell 2 ounce spray bottles that work perfectly for this.)  Shake vigorously and then spray, shaking frequently and vigorously throughout use to disperse the essential oil.

When Sis' hair is wet, I spray on quite a lot and comb it through. When her hair is dry, I spray just a bit on to dampen it and de-tangle.

I'm quite pleased with how this works to de-tangle and to reduce static.  There are just two little drawbacks:

  • It needs to be refrigerated because there are no preservatives in the aloe vera juice
  • Sis thinks it stinks!  
However, a couple of days ago I was at our local baby shop and noticed they had a de-tangler made by a local home-based natural body-care company with very similar ingredients (for $15.00 eek!).  That product listed a combination of orange, lavender, and rosemary essential oils as ingredients, so I'm going to try that mix on our next batch and see if it pleases Sis' nose a bit more.

Vegetables for Breakfast

My kids tend to be hungriest at breakfast.  I'm not sure if this is because typical breakfast foods tend to be most appealing to their grain-preference (waffles, pancakes, French toast, etc) or if it's because they often ate very little at dinner the night before because that's the meal that tends to be vegetable and meat heavy.  

If my picky kids are hungrier at breakfast, surely they'll be more adventurous in trying new foods, right?  

The Food
So for today's baby step I made scrambled eggs with veggies to go along side their usual French toast.  In my double-boiler I steamed a stir-fry medley of frozen veggies (asparagus, red pepper, onion, summer squash, cauliflower, and broccoli) until VERY tender.  

I diced them to make them less obtrusive.  Then added them to the scrambled eggs along with a little salt, pepper and Greek seasoning.  

Introduction Strategy
French toast with apricot jam
Knowing these would meet with objection and rejection, I reduced the serving size of their French toast and added a tiny serving of the eggs and veggies to their plate.  My hope was that they'd finish the French toast and I'd then kindly and in a matter-of-fact tone insist that they eat the tiny serving of eggs and veggies before having more French toast.  

Apparently I didn't reduce the French toast serving size enough as they rejected the eggs and veggies, ate the French toast, and asked to be excused without pressing for more.  

Hmmm, guess I'll have to slice the bread thinner next time I try this strategy.

Monday, April 18, 2011

State of the Plate: April 2011

My children are attempting to live on bread alone.  It's making me crazy.

Here's where we're at . . .

Sis (nearly 3) and Big Brother (5) are both intolerant of dairy products, so our whole family eats dairy-free.

Grains:  They prefer to eat grain-based foods.  Many of the bread products they eat contain a high percentage of whole grain--but not always.  I have a whole grain sour dough starter, but have not been using it a lot.

Protein:  They do okay with ground meats (sausage and hamburger) and processed meats (ham), chicken is hit and miss.  They struggle with any meat that requires more chewing.  Both like scrambled eggs if they're in the right mood and will eat boiled egg whites, but not the yolk.  Both tend to spit out nuts--as if they require too much chewing.

Fruit:  Hit and miss.  There's not much that they eat regularly.  When Big Brother asks for food, if I offer fruit as an option he says to me, "Mom, I want FOOD, not fruit."  Sis eats Craisins.  Both enjoy berries, but I struggle with effectively incorporating these into daily eating.

Vegetables:  Big Brother is increasingly willing to eat well-cooked vegetables that are incorporated into dinners (in stew, casseroles, etc).  Sis actually seems to do a bit better with raw vegetables--she likes salsa.  I can't even label their vegetable eating as "hit and miss"; it's really just "miss."

It's not that what they ARE eating is bad; it's more that I worry about what they are NOT eating.  Whole categories--important categories--are missing.  I know it's my fault.  I'm the one who buys, prepares, and serves the food.   When I've tried to make changes before, I tend to get discouraged because there is inevitable waste as they reject new foods.  (If only I had chickens or pigs to whom I could feed scraps. )

My Goal
I'd like to introduce baby-step changes to increase their vegetable and fruit consumption, while reducing their reliance on grains.  I'd like the grains they do eat to be whole grain and soaked or made using a sour dough process when possible.

I'd particularly like them to accept snacks that are not grain-based.

We'll see how it goes.  I'd love any suggestions anyone might have to share.