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Archive for the 'chicken' Category

Ah, water!


I have long lamented my youngest son’s limited palate. After months of rejecting anything that wasn’t pureed or cracker crisp, he’s now taken to wolfing down salami and chicken nuggets. It’s not something that makes me particularly happy. After all salami is full of nitrites and chicken nuggets are just processed chicken.

I have to take heart in one of his great passions, though — water. He loves to sip water all day, either from his sippy cup or his bottle at night. If he runs out, he politely says, “I’d like a drink of water, please.” If I ask him to try some apple or orange juice, he refuses, “I don’t want to try that,” he says. As much as I’d like him to become more versatile, I’ll have to give him points for clarity and good manners, don’t you think!

I think the love of water comes from my husband. I’ve heard him wax eloquent about the quality of water in his native Lake Tahoe. And he swears by the water we draw from our well In Orange county, and drinks it in copious quantities. Maybe I have something to learn. Maybe should follow their lead.

Posted by Hema Easley on Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 4:37 pm |

The Power of Giving In


For weeks I’ve been trying to wean my little son off these scrumptious bagel crisps we buy at BJs. Because they’re made of bleached flour and are high in fat, I try and discourage him from eating them, even while I steal a couple myself every now and then.

He doesn’t give in easily, though. He’ll walk into the kitchen with his arms raised, crying “Mom, cracker … cracker.” At one point a couple of months ago, I decided to put my foot down. For a while, let him cry big, fat tears. Then he seemed to forget about them.

He remembered the bagel crisps “crackers” a couple of days ago during a very difficult dinner. He didn’t want anything I offered him — chicken, broccoli, a piece of ham, celery, strawberries, cheese, couscous. You name it he didn’t want it. He just wanted the crackers, and he screamed for them.
After a few strained minutes (during which my husband muttered about how difficult  it had become for us to eat a normal family meal), I decided to give in, or rather, to use the crackers as a negotiating tool. So while he nibbled on his cracker, I fed him chicken, broccoli, couscous and strawberries. I was surprised by how much he ate. And he ate only a couple of the bagel crisps.

All of which led me to think think that it isn’t such a bad idea to give in once in a while. In the larger scheme of things, what is some bleached flour and a little fat fat if the trade-off is a decent meal for your child. And your sanity, what!

Posted by Hema Easley on Friday, October 10th, 2008 at 8:00 am |

Curry in a hurry, my kind


I reserve pizza dinners for those nights when I come back from work too late or too tired to cook. There was such a night earlier this week, and we had company as well — two of my older son’s friends from down the street. Their entire dinner conversation consisted of deriding their school lunch and waxing eloquent about the lunch offered by the neighboring school district. They have real pizza, they said, not the cheap cheese on cardboard excuse that we have. And their burger patties aren’t slimy, like ours. Their lunches are REAL fast food, they said with envy.

All that fast food talk got my competitive spirits up.  I can rustle up a darn good meal, and my son knows he disses my cooking at his own peril. But of late he’s been coming to the table and saying, “Indian food, again!” I guess he wants the regular American fare that is standard in his friends’ home.  But I’ve got some news for him: Our home is an Indian home (well, mostly) and Indian food is what he gets.

Last night I cooked a chicken curry, which is milder and less complicated than the one I usually make. And he loved it. I thought I would share it with our readers so that when your kid complains about the food you put on the table, you could offer this up. Most of the ingredients are easily available in the grocery store or in your kitchen cupboard.

2 1/2 pounds skinless chicken

1  big red onion sliced

4 tomatoes sliced

2 teaspoons ginger paste

2 teaspoons garlic paste

4 green cardamoms, 1 piece of cinnamon broken into two, a couple of bay leaves,  1/2 teaspoon pepper corns and 6 cloves

3 tablespoons oil

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
2 green chilli pepper (optional)

1/4 cup of plain yogurt

salt to taste

A handful of coarsely chopped cilantro
Heat oil in a deep pan. Add the cardamom, cloves, peppercorn, bay leaves and cinnamon, and let it sizzle for 30 seconds. Throw in the onions and saute till it softens and begins to change color. Add the tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, ginger and garlic  paste and cook till the tomatoes soften, and then add the chicken and stir well and cook for about 10 minutes. When the chicken is partially cooked, add the yogurt and mix well, making sure no lumps remain. Cover and simmer till the chicken is done and there is a thick sauce. Throw in the cilantro and the green chilli pepper, if using, and mix well. Serve with warm rice.


Posted by Hema Easley on Friday, September 5th, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Food shopping with kids


Yesterday when I picked my 2-year-old from day care, I decided to swing by my local ShopRite. It’s not that it’s the first time that mom and son have gone food shopping, but it was certainly was one of my best shopping experiences.

In the past when Aristu would ride on the shopping cart my focus would be on stopping him from sucking on the handlebar. Yesterday he seemed so excited by all the colorful offering in the produce section that the handlebar got neither his attention nor his drool.

Instead he stretched longingly toward the tomatoes and plaintively cried, “mom, apple.” Later when we passed through the fruit section he asked for the golden “anana.” The brie and the goat cheese really got him really excited — cheese, yummy — and he even acknowleged the broccoli by saying “boccoli” when we passed my (almost) favorite vegetable. The dairy section perked him up after the dull meat and chicken aisle, and he rocked himself in the seat intoning “mulk, egg.”

I ended up buying many of the items he called out, so impressed I was by his ability to identify the foods. Now all I need is for him to eat them and I’ll be a happy mom.

Posted by Hema Easley on Friday, August 22nd, 2008 at 8:00 am |
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On an eating adventure


I’ve lamented before on this blog about how my youngest is such a picky eater. For as far back as I can remember he has refused all kinds of goodies that other kids his age would eat. If it wasn’t crunchy or it wasn’t mushy, Aristu would refuse to eat it with an emphatic “no”. <P> Now, I’m happy to report, he seems to have turned a corner. <P> The other day, he tentatively approached a plate a herbed goat cheese and reached out for it. I, of course, was thrilled and put a small piece in his mouth. He chewed  slowly and his face broke out in a smile. “Cheese,” he said.  “Yummy.”  <P>  Since then he has been willing to try whatever I’ve offered. This past weekend, he ate small pieces of ham, pastrami and salami. He chewed on radish, ate buttered toast and stuffed his face with strawberries and pitted cherries till he looked a bloody mess. He even ate half a one-egg omelette, to my utter delight. <P> I don’t know what has caused the change. Maybe he finally figured out what he was missing. Maybe is just growing up (he is now 21 months old). All I can say is that he now has very happy parents who can’t wait to introduce the world of flavors to him.

Posted by Hema Easley on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
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Naturally unnatural — or should that be unnaturally natural?


Like any mom, I want to feed my children the best I can.

Sometimes those efforts go awry, such as — not that this has EVER happened to me! — when your four-year-old sees one of those little bags of Fritos and begs for it and, well, you’re on a two-hour drive home and it’ll really make him happy.

But so long as those moments are not the norm, I figure it’s all good.

That’s not to say I only buy organic, despite the fact that in a perfect world, I would. But I have bought “all natural” chicken before when the price differential hasn’t been onerous, so this post on Drinking from the Carton caught my eye.

Marianne had been perusing the blog at Nutrition Data and came upon this little tidbit:

raw-chickens.jpgYou might be surprised, as I was, to learn that chickens labeled “all-natural” can legally be pumped full of things like salt, seaweed extracts, broth and other things … none of which are naturally occuring in chickens! Even more shocking, birds fed certain antibiotics can still be labeled “Raised without Antibiotics.”

Suffice it to say that both Marianne and I also were surprised.

Fortunately, Marianne did some research, heading over to the Truthful Labeling Coalition, which backs up those allegations.

I further snooped around on the USDA site — and I’ll tell you, it wasn’t easy to find the information! — and found that meat or poultry labeled as “natural” can be “minimally processed.” Read more of this entry »

Posted by Amy Vernon on Thursday, May 1st, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Herb curious


Last night we ate pollo saltado, which translated to English means jumping chicken. It’s a Peruvian dish that in this variation included slices of chicken, tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers and parsley topped off with French fries.

I made Zyla a little plate and she loved it, especially the french fries. I already have to bribe her, allowing one small bite of a fry for every bite of chicken. Oh the fun we are in for!!!

Anyway, the dish had a lot of parsley in it and after Zyla, 13 months,tjndc5-5b20amzshcg1hbozfk3i_thumbnail.jpg managed to get some in her mouth, not to mention her cheeks and neck, I started thinking about the benefits of this herb.

Parsley apparently is an anti-oxidant, increases saline secretion and improves digestive activity. Sounds all good, but last night Zyla refused to go to sleep, pitching a major crying fit which subsided after we took her out of bed and allowed her to play for another 20 minutes. Maybe she wasn’t tired just then, I thought.

After she did go to sleep, she woke up about two hours later, again hysterical, lasting maybe 5 minutes. It was curious to us because ever since Zyla was 3 months old, she has slept through the night, rarely ever waking before the sun.

I wondered today if it had anything to do with the parsley she ate. I don’t know why I’m eyeballing the parsley as the culprit and not the onions or sweet peppers. Maybe it had nothing to do with food. She wasn’t gassy or any other issues you get from indigestion.

Herbs can be powerful, so I guess that may be why I’m fixating on it. Anyone have any thoughts on feeding baby herbs?

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Posted by Marcela Rojas on Thursday, May 1st, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
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About this blog
You make it, they eat it, right?

As most parents soon discover, feeding a family is rarely that easy, whether its nursing a fussy newborn or trying to get a hot meal into a squirming toddler (or attempting both at the same time.) And that's not even the days when work runs late, the main course burns, or your adventurous little sushi eater announces from now on she will only eat food that is pink.

As parents ourselves, we've been there, done that, even learned a few tricks along the way. And we're pretty sure so have you. Maybe together we can make eating together as a family -- gulp! -- fun again.

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!


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About the authors
Hema Easley Hema Easley has been a reporter for The Journal News since July 2002, first covering municipal government and then nonprofit agencies, women's issues and the South Asian and Muslim community in the Lower Hudson Valley. In her previous job, Hema was a correspondent for the Associated Press in South Asia. She lives with her husband and two sons in Orange County.
KatieKatie Ryan O'Connor, a Journal News editor and 35-year-old mother of three, never quite appreciated the work that went into feeding kids until she had to do it herself as a mother. If she had a food-and-kids philosophy it would be something like this: try your best to offer as much healthy food as possible, but sometimes fruits just have to be counted as vegetables and there are far worse things than chicken and spaghetti. Again.
TraceyTracey Princiotta, a 37-year-old mother of one, loves to cook, bake and eat, and is relieved that her son appears to be equally willing to chow down -- even if it's baby food and formula right now. Despite her husband's intense aversion to vegetables, she has high hopes of nurturing a true chowhound who will try everything at least once. And if all else fails, she's not above sneaking veggies into other foods.
Marcela Rojas Marcela Rojas has been a municipal reporter with The Journal News since January 2003. She is a native of Putnam County and grew up eating Peruvian food. She didn't realize until she was 13 that rice did not come with everyone's meal. After several years of living in Los Angeles -- where she grew a fondness for Thai food -- she returned to Putnam County where she now lives with her husband and daughter. Zyla (rhymes with Lilah) just turned 1 in March and, so far (her mother is pleased to note), loves to eat everything.
Swapna Venugopal Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, a Journal News reporter, started her career as a journalist in 1999 after graduating with a master's degree from New York University. Before joining the paper in 2006, Swapna worked as a municipal reporter for the Home News Tribune in New Jersey, and took a baby sabbatical to care for her two children, now ages 7 and 5. She has currently outsourced feeding her children and husband to her mother, who is visiting from India. Her friend and colleague Katie O'Connor, informs Swapna that she wouldn't mind being fed Indian food by her mother, too.
Randi Weiner Randi Weiner has been a reporter with The Journal News since 1989, having covered police, government and schools in Westchester and in Rockland. An Ohio native and 1976 graduate of Bowling Green State University, she worked for daily newspapers in Ohio and Michigan before moving east. She has tended bar and danced in a beledi troup and sat on the boards of two community theaters. She plays mandolin with the Shamrogues, Connecticuts largest Irish band. Randi lives in Connecticut with her husband and has three children.

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