18 June 2009

eating well (today at least)

So I realized, after posting this to another blog, that there really is a method to my madness when it comes to kids and cooking and eating and trying to change/improve/whatever you want to call it, the eating habits of me (first) and our family (foremost). It's part inspired by writers like Michael Pollan and writers/cookbook authors like Mark Bittman, partly by child development "experts" like Dr. Sears, kidfood writers/cookbook authors like Annabel Karmel, and more-than-partly just common sense. And it is very much still in the developmental stages in my household. Thus, the blog, so I can document this (and inject a little fun into my life).

I'll call it my six-step plan, because I'm dealing with half-pints here. Here it is:

step one: realize your own eating habits are abysmal and your kids learn to eat from you

step two: start cooking with lots and lots of veggies and every tim
e you want a snack, grab fruit (and offer it to your kids).

step three: plant a garden to get your kid interested in growing food

step four: take your kids to a farm, cheese factory, chocolate factory, whateve
r, to show them where their food comes from

step five: involve your kids in cooking, even if it means you're tearing your hair out as they spray pasta sauce all over the white walls of your kitchen

step six: offer that healthy, fresh, good-for-you food at every meal. Put it on their plate if they'll let you. Con them into taking at least one bit of it before you cave in and nuke the mac'n cheese, make a peanut butter sandwich, etc.

This last step requires, of course, a healthy amount of advanced planning, but I really don't subscribe to the idea that you need to pay someone else to come up with weekly meal plans, shopping lists, what have you. A little resourcefulness and a well-stocked pantry will go a long way to putting dinner (and lunch, and breakfast) on the table quickly, with minimal time and resources. Seriously. I am a convert. And time will tell if this new relationship I'm trying to spark with food will really pay off for me (and my partner and kids, too).

OK, enough said. Here's a look at what I spent my morning (yesterday) doing.

Apple and Prune Puree
1 apple, cored, peele and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 prunes

Place apple and prunes in a saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook on medium high 5-10 minutes until fruit is cooked to desired softness. Transfer apples and prunes to a blender, add cooking water to desired consistency and blend to texture of your choice.

Cool and serve to baby, who will no doubt gobble it all up. Or store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one month.

Broccoli and Potato Mash
1 cup broccoli florets
2 small red potatoes, peeled and diced

Place broccoli and potatoes in a saucepan and add enough water to cover.
Bring to a simmer and cook on medium high 10-15 minutes until potatoes are soft but not mushy. Maxh to desired texture and consistency, adding cooking water if neccesary.

Cool and serve to baby, who will no doubt make gaggy faces and turn his head away the first time or two. Or store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one month.

Eggplant Caponata and Pasta Bake (adapted from Rachael Ray)
The recipe makes a double batch, so I froze half of the Caponata for another day. As usual, Jules got his serving of what we were eating, plus some plain pasta, a bunch of grapes and toast with sunflower seed butter (I love peanut butter, but that peanut allergy freak-out with babies has me feeding Jules sunflower seed butter until he stops kissing his brother on the mouth or Kasper turns 2, whichever happens first.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (omitted an account of small person)
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1 large sweet onion, peeled
2 ribs celery
1/2 cup large green olives, pitted
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
3 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 medium firm eggplant, diced
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
A handful of chopped fresh parsley

1/2 pound penne, cooked al dente
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano
1 cup shredded provolone (we used gouda because it was there)

Preheat a big, deep pot over medium heat. Add oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Place your cutting board near the stovetop and toss vegetables into pot as you chop them. Dice peppers, chop onion and celerly. Then coarsely chop olives, and sitr in along with capers and raisins. Dice and salt the eggplant and stir in. Increase the heat a bit, add diced and crushed tomatoes and stir caponata well to combine. Cover pot and cook, 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley and remove from heat.

Mix 1/2 caponata (freeze other 1/2 for another time) with cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the cheeses, pour into a 9x13 baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and place under the broiler until cheese starts to bubble. Garnish with more parsley and serve.


  1. I make Giada's Greek Caponata a lot - or some bastardized version - I think you'd like it: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/greek-caponata-recipe/index.html

  2. oh yeah, and Logan won't touch it :)


Blogger Templates by Blog Forum