It’s all about Texture

Standard

I have been asked the question many times:  what are the children eating and HOW on earth do you get them to eat all of those (varied) vegetables including those greens?!?

My answer:  I changed the texture of the veggies.

It takes a while to work out what everyone likes and how they like it.  My advice is don’t stop at carrot sticks.  Your child might hate them raw because they are too hard to chew (my daughters complaint). However, try making them into strings, grating them over cheese slices to make a cheese and carrot sandwich or diced up tiny in chicken noodle soup.  Let them tell you how they like their veggies therefore you will have to get creative on how you present them.

We too often assume that kids don’t like how veggies taste (I’ll come to that in a minute) but since they were babies, our little ones still rely on how things ‘feel’ in their mouths.

I know that raw fruits and veggies are the most nutritious way to have them.  However, we might to take a bit of time to get the kids used to how they taste and feel before going back to raw foods.

Confession time:  I don’t like kale.  It’s bitter, leaves an after taste in my mouth that is less than desirable and it is just not something that I like nor like to eat.

On the flip-side:  kale is the one of those wonder foods that no vitamin or any other food can complete with.  It has more iron than beef, more calcium than milk and 10% more vitamin C than spinach.

Hmmm…a pretty good food to eat (seeing that I don’t eat a whole lot of beef!)

Right.  How on earth was I going to make this bitter, leafy-green palatable?

I changed the texture and added a few flavours:)  Kale chips!  I also added it to a veggie soup and we love it!  It lost its bitterness but kept its texture in the soup.  Normally I would put spinach in this soup but the kale didn’t wilt and dissolve into oblivion like the spinach usually does.

So, it might take a while before I am brave enough to add it to our Green Drinks or eat it raw but we are well on our way to loving this nutrient-packed superfood!  Did I mention that it lowers the risk of heart disease and because it is a dark leafy-green, it reduces the risk of cancer as well.  How could we not eat it??

Advertisements

Better than Nutella!

Standard

I love Nutella.  I grew up on it eating it with peanut butter in a sandwich.  Yum.

I love chocolate.  I used to eat it everyday (I still could!).

My family loves Nutella and chocolate.  Ooohhh…I felt a challenge coming on.  How could we have chocolate and eat it too without all the sugar and added nasties?

The Chocolate Truffles are divine but they do take some time to prepare.  What do we do if we need an instant choco fix?

Here’s what we came up with the other day:

Ingredients

2 generous Tbsp of Almond Spread (100% almonds)
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp cocoa

Directions

Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and combine together.  You may want a bit more honey if you like it a bit sweeter.

Spread on some Corn Cruskits or toast and sprinkle with unsweetened coconut like my kids like to do!

A great afterschool snack paired with a Green Drink.  Get the kids to drink the green drink first so they can have their chocolate treat!

Kids…Drink yer Greens!

Standard

My kids (5 & 7) were naturally a bit hesitant when they were first approach by the “Green Drink” and were less than excited to drink it.  They didn’t actually like it, to be honest.  As their mother, I still made them drink it as the other choice of raw spinach was even less appealing to them but I told them exactly why it was good for them.  The more they understand about food, the more willing they are to try new things.

It took about 3 times before they didn’t complain about the drink anymore.  They now drink it after school as a part of their snack and it FILLS them up until dinner!  I was so surprised!!  Before they would constantly be in and out of the kitchen constantly eating or trying to eat and I was literally in the kitchen from 3:30pm until after dinner prepping food.  Drove me nuts!

Now I make them one drink, they have one of my muffins or a piece of fruit and that’s it.  They are good until dinner.

Some people think that switching to a veggie diet or something like that takes so much prep work and it’s just all too hard.  By giving the kids a 5-min green drink and a piece of fruit or a muffin, literally cleared me out of the kitchen until dinner prep.

Feeding the kids good, wholesome foods will fill their bellies giving us some more free time to do something else.  Yay!

Ingredients

1 cup coconut water (not sweetened)  with or without pulp , it all gets blended in the end.
1 apple, peeled and cut into chunks
1 banana, broken into chunks
1 good handful of spinach (or kale)

Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth.
Hint: If the kids aren’t that keen on it, try straining the drink with a fine mesh sieve; it helps smooth out the texture.  Remember the fibre and the good bits are in the stuff you are straining so if you can, get them to eventually drink that too.
Variations: Unlimited!  Try adding leftover berries, mangos or paw paw!

The Best Falafel

Standard

This dinner was just divine and the kids loved it!  I think they love anything in a wrap or pita pocket.  It’s great to watch them try to stuff their own.

Ingredients

olive oil
1/2 red capsicum (red pepper)
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 425g cans chick peas, drained (or soak 2 cups of dried chick peas over night in a bowl of water)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg
5 tablespoons flour
1 cup parsley, chopped
Pitas

Directions

In medium fry pan over medium heat, add about 1 Tbsp oil and gently fry onion and peppers 2 to 3 minutes then garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse together chick peas, cumin, and egg until very coarse.  Add the flour and parsley. Process or pulse until mixture starts pulling from the sides of the food processor and starts to form a ball.  You might have to add the smallest amount of water to get it to all mix together.  Add the onion mixture and pulse until combined.

To make it easy for the kids and to use less oil, make the falafel into smallish patties.  Small enough that you could fit two in a pita pocket.

Carefully oil your fry pan not using too much oil.  Just lightly greased is fine.  Cook the falafels until golden brown on both sides.  Ensure that they do not stick to the pan by moving them around and using a bit more oil if necessary.

Let them cool slightly on a paper towel to absorb the oil.

Top with the best tabbouleh or simply some sliced tomatoes, lettuce and hummus.

Tabbouleh

Standard

We love this salad (or accompaniment) with our falafel pita pockets.

Ingredients:

1 cup bulghur wheat, or cracked wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp  lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, minced
8 mint leaves, chopped finely
1 bunch parsley, chopped finely
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped

Directions

Place the bulghur in a large bowl and pour over the boiling water. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Add the green onion, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.

Smoked Paprika Fish

Standard

A great main dish with Cowboy Caviar and Tortilla Chips or fish tacos!                                   (   Photo to come soon…    )

Smoked Paprika Fish

300g firm fish (we use Barramundi)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tbsp smoked paprika

Cut the fish into large chunks, bite-size if you are serving kids.

Mix the coconut flour and smoked paprika together in a bowl or bag.  Toss the fish in the mixture and fry in a lightly sprayed pan with olive oil.

So easy and quick!

Cowboy Caviar

Standard

OH the joys this dish has brought my family and kids!  First, the kids are eating beans and veggies and they love it! Second, it’s such a quick, easy, put-it-together-last-minute kinda dish.  Have it as a main with corn chips (read the labels!) or as a side salad.

Don’t know where the term ‘Cowboy Caviar’ came from, but it’s so good!

Note:  because of time constraints of working, having kids and everything else…I do use canned black beans and canned corn.  The ‘better’ way of preparing this dish would be to soak the black beans over night and cook the corn….but really, I don’t have time for that at the moment! Sometimes you just need a quick (but healthy, tasty, delicious!!!!) dish to whip up!

Cowboy Caviar

1 can black beans
1 can sweet corn
1/2 red onion, diced really small
2 tomatoes, diced
1-2 avocados, chopped
 1-2 tbsp chopped coriander

Put all ingredients in a bowl and gently mix together.

Dressing:
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3-4 tbsp lime juice
 2 tbsp oil

Combine the dressing together and pour over the bean mixture. 

Serve at room temp with tortilla chips or as a side to smoked paprika chicken or fish (shown above). 

Yummo!