two-toned zucchini salad

IMG_4556This zucchini salad satisfies the “potato-salad-craving” as one of my dear friends put it, only with no mayonnaise and no potato. Perfect for a BBQ side dish or as a sandwich filling.

Two-Toned Zucchini Salad:

2 yellow zucchinis thinly sliced

2 green zucchinis thinly sliced

2 sweet onions thinly sliced

1 cloves minced garlic

3-5 hard-boiled eggs

1 tablespoon dried dill

1 tablespoon mustard

sea salt

freshly cracked pepper

IMG_4555

In a large pan, sauté the sweet onion in olive oil on low for at least 10 minutes (should be a caramelized-brown color). It’s usually 20 minutes for me because I’ve forgotten about it.

Add the minced garlic and dill. Stir

Add the sliced zucchini and stir periodically until zucchini is wilted and slightly transparent

Turn up the heat and stir a few more minutes if there is a lot of liquid

Plop (that’s actually the sound it makes) into a large serving bowl

Peel and roughly chop the eggs, add to the zucchini-onion salad

Add mustard, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Eat some. Adjust seasonings if necessary

Note: you can use only green zucchinis and regular onions, if that’s all you have

Advertisements

eat your veggies

Love my Veggies 2It’s the old Hide-The-Vegetables-In-The-Meal trick. You add blended cauliflower to cheese sauce, or beets in your chocolate brownies. But hiding vegetables can have unfavorable consequences. While your child is getting nutrients, they won’t know a vegetable when they see one and will likely continue avoiding them. For really young kiddies it’s best to serve produce in it’s true form, meaning raw, diced tomatoes or roasted cauliflower pieces. Anything that actually looks like what it is.

For older kids that run away like maniacs with their hair caught on fire when you even mention the word “Vegetable”, let alone serve it at the table, a bit of hiding in combination with slow introduction may be necessary. What this means is that while you can continue mixing in baby food carrot puree into your pasta sauce, you also want to serve a dinner that your child has accepted in the past with the addition of a visible vegetable and encourage the “try everything rule”. Try everything means just one bite. If they don’t want anymore then remain neutral and just say something like “maybe you’ll want more next time”.

Another option is to add discernible vegetables to a dish that is already on the approved list. Like make the usual pizza, but add a few pieces of steamed broccoli under the shredded cheese. If your little one starts to pick it off, remind them of the “try one bite” rule, and if they want to pick off the rest then fine, “maybe next time you’ll appreciate this big-girl pizza topping”. When kids realize that vegetables are cool and that big people eat them, they might feel more inclined to try them.

By the way, if you run away screaming when you see Swiss chard, chances are little Johnny will not go near it with a ten foot pole.

Other tips:

– Serve veggies first. If kids aren’t snacking around the clock, then they should be quite hungry by dinner time and are less likely to be finicky. Put a platter of fresh cut-up vegetables on the table while you finish the last few touches on the rest of the meal.

– Children like whole foods. They’re more fun to eat. Like a whole bell pepper, a whole mini cucumber or a whole tomato. Just wash and give it to them whole (I don’t need to warn you people about choking hazards, do I?)

– When cooking veggies, steaming or roasting will retain nutrients better than boiling.

– Include children in the veggie-choosing process. Kids like being in charge so take them shopping and let them choose which vegetables will be eaten for dinner.

– Grow your own vegetable garden and let the kids pick and eat what they want (check out what we’ve got in our garden).

monster radishes

IMG_4343Our little garden is coming along nicely. We’ve made great progress since planting (read an unexpected surprise). I was under the impression that radishes were petite, elegant vegetables. Not in our backyard. The radishes here are monster-vegetables that have thorns and huge scary-looking leaves that are taller than the kids. They’ve taken over the garden and it looks like some kind of unkempt mini forest in there. The poor beets and cauliflower, I don’t know how they’ll survive. But these unsightly radishes seem to be edible. At least, nothing has happened to us. Yet.

It seems our adventures in gardening will never end. That’s the beauty of planting your own food. It’s unpredictable and there’s no way to know which veggies will grow, which will die, or which will become beastly things.

where do fish come from?

Fish

 

 

 

How often do you serve a whole fish for dinner? I’m talking the head, eyeballs and tail?

I was at a big lunch this weekend and they had huge salmon that people were carving. Some poor kids looked like they were watching a horror movie. Which got me thinking, shouldn’t kids know where fish come from? They’re not caught as perfectly shaped, breaded sticks.

But it seems that nature is no match for science. We have the technology to extract vitamins and antioxidants, so we don’t have to waste time eating the real foods. Just take some pills. I am not discrediting vitamins- many people need them. But not all. And not all kids, especially if they’re eating properly.

Author Michael Pollan, who wrote the Omnivore’s Dilemma, said it perfectly: “The food industry has gazed upon nature and found it wanting- and has gotten to work improving it…I realized that the straightforward question ‘What should I eat?’ could no longer be answered without first addressing two other even more straightforward questions: ‘What am I eating? And where in the world did it come from?'” The fact that we can’t easily answer these questions is indicative that we are getting farther from the source.

Maybe instead of spending time researching which DHA pills have the highest concentration of DHA and least fishy taste, research how to cook poached salmon in dill sauce.

black bean, mango and corn salad

Somehow my husband convinced me to buy a case of mangoes. He’s been eating them everyday, and there are lots left. Like a ridiculous amount of mangoes. I’m worried he’ll turn orange. So I’m going to use them up sneakily.

IMG_2795

Black Bean, Mango and Corn Salad

 

1 mango, peeled and cubed

1 cucumber, diced

1/2 red onion, finely diced

2 red peppers, diced

1 orange pepper, diced

1/3 cup diced jicama

1.5 cups of cooked black beans (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)

1 cup corn

1 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup chopped mint (optional)

IMG_2780

Dressing:

Juice and zest from 1 lime

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Place salad ingredients into a large, colorful bowl. Whisk dressing in a small bowl and pour over salad. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to work their magic.

Make double the dressing and mix everything with a few cups of brown rice for a quick, healthy dinner.

eggs in hell

It’s been one of those weeks. And it’s only Wednesday. Children are oblivious to the tribulations of adults and when they want dinner they want it now. Well, here you go kids.

eggs in hell

Eggs in Hell

I’ve slightly adapted the original recipe by M.F.K. Fisher. It is scrumptious over quinoa. Not to mention fool-proof, as I’ve several times forgotten about the pan entirely and the eggs were still delicious because the eggs and thin layer of sauce got crispy on the bottom.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic minced

1 onion minced

2 cups of Italian-style tomato sauce

1 teaspoon each of chopped basil and parsley

Fresh cracked pepper

8 eggs

 

Heat oil in a saucepan that has a tight cover

Add the garlic and onion and cook until golden

Add the tomato sauce and herbs

Cook about 10 minutes, stirring often

Into this sauce break the eggs. Spoon the sauce over them, cover and cook until the eggs are done, about fifteen minutes.

When done put the eggs on slices of dry toast and cover with sauce or spoon over cooked quinoa.

Optional: sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

 

the geese have attitude

geeseAt last! My favorite farm has opened for the season. After shopping for an assortment of goodies ranging from parsnips to a case of mangoes we decided to visit the animals. Or, my son decided and I went along. The black and white spotted pig was amusing, eating his squashed lettuce with such fervor I had to wonder when the poor thing had eaten last. Then I looked at his belly dragging in the mud and decided that perhaps he’s just enthusiastic about everything, including eating.

We then came across a band of three innocent-looking geese and I thought “great photo opp!” I’m clicking away, inching closer, when the head of the posse starts to hiss. Not wanting to cause a disturbance I took a step back and continued photographing.

Then came the ambush. They charged. At me. And my 3-year-old. Hissing and flapping, the hooligans just kept at it and I began to panic. Inwardly, of course. I didn’t want my son to get concerned that we were under attack or anything. He was quite distraught at this point so I backed up quickly, giving lots of space between us and the ruffians. Surely this would be enough to put the geese at ease? Not quite. Let’s just say that the heroic farmer who heard a frantic lady screaming “HELP! HELLO??” saved the day. With a broom.

As my blood pressure normalized itself, we walked back to the car. We were almost there and I looked up and saw a sign. Beware. The geese have attitude.

sign