Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jedi mind tricks

I have been, apparently, experimenting with food too much for even my kids. What is weird with my kids? Well, nothing really, but they like broccoli. They also despise ranch dressing and other kid-food staples, like white bread, or pickles. Today Honor asked me to make her lunch for tomorrow, although they generally like the hot lunch from school. She said, "Mom, you know that yellowish spread you can put in sandwiches?" Took me a bit of questioning to find out she meant peanut butter... "Yes, that, and the chocolate spread?" Ok, I had a theme now... I knew she meant nutella. She wanted a peanut butter and nutella sandwich "NO other ingredients, like the purple stuff, not that!"... I was surprised. Must be peer pressure. She's always refused sandwiches! Especially anything to do with that 'yellowish' stuff. She actually wanted something vaguely resembling kid food for lunch... we shall have to see if she eats it...

Fortunately, we have raised the kids to try new foods and they are pretty good about doing so. They have no choice really. I can't stand to follow recipes - as in, "follow the rules", how restrictive? - and so I am always playing with new ideas. They are gracious about it - sometimes even flattering and appreciative. I think I am pushing their limits these past couple of weeks though. What with onion-y cheese bread, meaty mushrooms, and math lasagna, well, they are hanging in there, but I better serve up some corn dogs and mac and cheese from a box, some of the kid foods that they do like, in order to appease them... and soon...

I had some nice fresh spinach leaves. I know of only three ways to get spinach into my kids. They like baked spinach ball hors d'oeuvres. I don't usually make them, but the kids grab them up whenever they can at parties. Also, I can mix spinach and feta cheese into meatloaf and they'll enjoy that too. The way we - "we", meaning my husband and I - like spinach, is in a ground beef mixture with apples and nuts. Ground beef, browned with a bit of onion and garlic in olive oil. Some herbs, like parsley, mint, basil. Tomatoes can be added to the pan. Throw in some dry cranberries, perhaps raisins, add some nuts... like cashews or pinenuts. A bit of wine to moisten the fruit. Last in is spinach leaves and diced apples. Serve over white rice with feta cheese. The kids will eat it... but not always as enthusiastically as other dishes.

We had that dish the other day. Kids were hungry and they ate it - but no rave reviews. I'll admit, it wasn't the best incarnation of this recipe. The tomatoes were not sweet and the mint was bland. The next day I served a roast with a pineapple-soy sauce seasoning. They were iffy about that too. I got some looks of disappointment, but they ate. I felt sorry for them and promised that the next night I would serve the leftover roast with a simple sloppy joe sauce to eat over rice or bread. Both kids immediately voted for rice... and then Brian looked at me, summoned the power of the Force, and stated in a deep and serious manner "And the vegetable WILL be corn."

Unfortunately, the next day, when I looked in the cupboard for plain ol' canned corn. There was none. Brian looked too. He said that beets would be ok... so I started chasing him around the kitchen pretending to punch him.

Yep.. definitely owe them mac and cheese, or hamburger helper.... but they didn't get it tonight. Tonight was leftovers, clean out the fridge night. For dessert there was zucchini bread... hmm? Maybe I'm going to need to order something like McD's delivery for proper atonement???

4 comments:

LiLu said...

You are amazing! We've been trying to cook a healthy dinner every night lately, and it's exhausting. I don't know how you do it.

Sidebar: We always wanted the bright orange Kraft Mac 'n Cheese, but my mother couldn't stand the stuff. So she'd make it with white cheddar, and then put in just enough of the "orange" to trick us into thinking it was the neon kind we wanted. Sneaky woman! I can't wait to do it to my kids someday... that orange stuff is GROSS!

Tina in CT said...

The ground meat dish sounds very good.

My granddaughters also love broccoli (me too) but they haven't figured out yet that their mother doesn't eat it.

Beets - I think I'd starve first.

Can't believe your kids will eat them. You are so lucky that your kids aren't fussy.

Connie said...

Lilu - Over time I've figured out what basic staples to keep stocked.. it helps to have the right 'tools' on hand. Also, I read cookbooks like novels - not for the recipes always, but to get ideas. And... I am not afraid to admit defeat and serve cereal for dinner ;-) btw, I add shredded cheddar to the box mac and cheese... makes it 'ok', but I really don't like the stuff. The things we do/eat for our kids.

Tina, my trouble is, usually, getting them to eat 'kid food'. They can be fussy! Go to a dinner where someone has gone out of their way to make chicken nuggets or something, especially for them, and they beg for the fried squid instead. Honor was once hospitalized and they wanted her to eat a popsicle or drink sweet fruit juice... to see if she was queasy... she refused both and demanded water. We had to sit there for hours before they gave up and just let us go. This taste for healthier food is very good, but it's often hard to explain. People look at us as if we must restrict their diets cruelly. No. We allow sweets, treats, and plenty of choices - really! But people just look at us, uh-huh, sure...

Nicole said...

LOL that's funny that he said beets! I only like pickled beets so I've never even bothered with them. My kids will eat fresh spinach in rollups. I put turkey, ham, cheese and spinach in a tortilla with a little mayo and salt and pepper. Roll it up and they love it.