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Archive for the 'vegetables' Category

Chicken noodle soup…the other vegetable?


So as I posted the other day, Zyla has become particular with her choice of foods, as in starches—yum; vegetables—yuck. Shtjndc5-5b3fmach5hk1bqnnq6jt_layout.jpge gobbled down an entire grilled cheese sandwich but would have nothing to do with the delicious sautéed carrots and squash beside it. She’s caught on to my hiding the veggies inside trick.

But yesterday, while at a diner, I ordered her a chicken noodle soup, complete with carrots and celery, and to my surprise—and joy—she ate it all and even wanted more.

I guess she doesn’t mind vegetables. It’s just now about how you dress it up.

Photo courtesy of TJN.

Posted by Marcela Rojas on Monday, April 21st, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
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Soy … oh boy!!!


Several years ago, when I was living in California, I was a vegetarian. I ate tons of vegetables, rice and pasta. I was probably 30 pounds heavier too. My reason for turning to starch and greens was mostly because I didn’t like the way I felt after I ate beef.tjndc5-5b1cgcnvrpw10ddslnpe_original-2-2.jpg

Living in California, amongst the granola and shots of wheat grass , also played in part in my decision making. My diet began to change when I put fish back in my diet. Chicken followed and now I’ll occasionally eat a hamburger or steak. But one thing that I grew fond of during those years was tofu and stuff like soy-based hot dogs and cheese and soy milk. I’m sure I’ve elicited several ewws, but I like the taste and it’s also low-cal.

Which leads me to the point of this post.

I had these soy patties that I gave to Zyla, my one-year-old, the other day and she loved them.

Of course, she loves chicken and pork chops too. But when you surf the Internet about giving soy products to babies, there are several warnings that it can cause reproductive or developmental harm. While there is conflicting research about the health risks of soy, I’m left wondering if I should just leave it out of her diet.

But my gut feeling is that how could tofu be unhealthy?

1998 soybean photo by Larry McCormack, via Gannett News Service

Posted by Marcela Rojas on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
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Independence found in a spoon


It happened. My darling, little butterball, who until a few days ago ate whatever was put in front of her, has suddenly decided to shake her head and purse her lips in protestation. It started the other day when Zyla, who recently turned one, refused a spoonful of homemade mashed sweet potatoes—the orange spuds she had no problem finishing off from the baby jar—and then this morning with her oatmeal mixed with bananas.537142_11607001-2.jpg

She wouldn’t even try the sweet potatoes, difficult for me since I’m of the mind that you should try something at least once before rejecting it. I find her newfound resolve amusing, but know it won’t be long before frustration sets in. I was inventive though last night when she wanted the penne but not the zucchini and sweet peppers mixed in with it. I wound up hiding the veggies, stuffing them inside the pasta. She fell for it. Score one for sneaky mom, I thought.

As I reflected on that small victory, I realized that there will be countless times I will be called upon to be creative in my daughter’s life. It’s bittersweet for me to witness her budding independence. But I guess that’s motherhood and as she grows, I grow too.

Posted by Marcela Rojas on Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
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Enemy vegetable


It seems a long time ago, but when my oldest son was going through his “I hate vegetables” phase, my husband decided to allow him one enemy vegetable. It’s good to give in once in a while, he said.

That is, until Billi decided he would change his enemy vegetable every day, depending on what was on the menu.broccoli.jpg

His aversion to vegetables changed when we started going to a Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood. The menu included a broccoli appetizer that had sauteed garlic sprinkled over it. Boy! Did he inhale that plate! Soon it was a staple when we ate at the resturant, along with Peking Duck.

Billi’s appetite for vegetables changed after that. His favorites are now spinach sauteed with garlic and dried red chilli peppers, grilled zucchini, and green peas with cilantro and ginger, all of which I happily cook at home.

That makes me wonder if our kids don’t like vegetables because we present them in such an uninteresting way. My theory is that in the West vegetables are an afterthought; something we throw in after we’ve decided what the main menu is. We eat it because its good for us. As adults we understand that, but do kids?

In many eastern cultures, vegetables are a big part of the diet. In India, where I come from, many people are vegetarians and therefore work to make vegetables interesting. We should, too. Maybe kids will then eat vegetables.

Wishful thinking, you say? Give it a try.

Photo by Carucha L. Meuse / The Journal News / LoHud.com

Posted by Hema Easley on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
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Casa de old school


I’m all for doing things differently from how we were raised, revisiting how it used to be when kids walked to school in their barefeet through blizzards, uphill both ways.

Especially if I think my way is safer, better or just plain works for my family. Progress is good. Knowledge is power. Remember how we used to ride in the “way back” of a wood-paneled station wagon, unbuckled, face pressed against the back window?

But I’ve recently learned that old school is still sometimes the best school. Some readers will recall my vegetable-hating oldest, now 6. I’d hide bits of shredded carrots and zucchini in super sweet cinnamon muffins. I’d try every trick in the book for the teensiest taste. Some tips worked, others didn’t.

What do you do? Magazines and books are full of suggestions. Kids can be full of opposition. So I figured I’d just keep trying and wait for him to come to his senses. One day he’d wake up and discover the sweet comfort of roasted root vegetables on a cold winter night, the earthy goodness of asparagus in spring. Just you wait. And at least the younger two love their veggies.

But pre-K became K and K became first grade. It became increasingly clear that he was settling comfortably into his near vegetable-free existence. He was going to be like a college acquaintance who spent our semester abroad in London eating at the McDonald’s on Kensington High Street.

So the proverbial parental foot came crashing down. (And I’m in no way taking the credit here. My husband is the one who really took the big leap forward on this, though I certainly agreed it was time to do something.)

Vegetables would be eaten. No arguments, no pleading, no nothing. It was 1950 all over again. And as every parent knows, once you start, you can’t waver. Kids can smell a weakening resolve a mile away. They must believe you will keep them there all night until they finish. In his corner he gets to use a “strategy,” an amazing bit of parenting pixie dust my husband devised.

He’ll say, what’s your strategy? And they’ll work it out together. It might involve ketchup or eating the veggies together with something else on his plate. All fine by us. If it makes it into the stomach, it’s all good in the ‘hood.

The result? I won’t lie about the tears in the beginning. Change is hard for any kid, especially when we let them coast along thinking they’ve somehow landed on culinary Easy Street where the sidewalks are paved with chicken nuggets. But here’s a list of what is in his regular vegetable rotation now: corn, French cut green beans, peas, carrots, broccoli. He professes to hate them all, but that’s the least of my worries. He’s actually eating them.

My only regret? That we didn’t do it sooner.

(Photo credit: Mark Vergari / The Journal News)

Posted by Katie Ryan O'Connor on Monday, March 31st, 2008 at 1:16 pm |

Ratatouille is not just a movie


In the interest of saving money, I usually buy my produce at the “not our best but still fine” kiosk that lurks back by the fish department in my local supermarket.tjndc5-5b5ed3f1hc1xj04kezi_original-2-2.jpg

I picked up a package of two small eggplant last week just on spec, then began looking through my cookbooks for recipes.

I found one for ratatouille and figured I’d give it a try and see if my vegetable-impaired youngest would eat it. I had no concerns about the oldest, who has broadened her tastes so much that she puts pesto in the tuna salad. Who’d have thought?

The dish completed, I put in on the table along with the pork loin, potatoes and salad that I planned for the meal. Would she eat it?

Well, she took a small piece. And I believe she dipped a fork in it and licked the fork. I didn’t see it, mind, but I have my illusions. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Randi Weiner on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 at 10:58 am |
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