Food for Thought Friday

Something Soup at Textism :: It’s soup season. Here’s one way to do it.

Being :: In the Kitchen with My Girl by Stephanie at Rhythm of the Home :: “Over the years our kitchen has seen its share of spilled flour and fading patience. We’ve coaxed picky eaters and had dinners so wild they seemed more like a circus routine than anything else. Some of it has been handled with grace, some not. But somehow it’s all coming together for this girl.”

The beginning of weaning: guilt, pleasure, and information overload at Mamas in the Making :: Trust yourself, trust your baby, give it time. “We should not forget – food is about relationship as well. The relationship with our own body. While eating we try to constantly listen to myself. Am I enjoying this taste? Is it too cold or too hot? Am I still hungry? We as adults have almost forgotten to eat like that. Our children haven‘t. This is a huge gift we can give them – the ability to listen to their bodies when eating.”

Want kids to eat better? Stop calling them “picky eaters.” at Spoonfed :: “Language is important. Labels are dangerous. And when we label our kids, we diminish our expectations of them and make obstacles seem insurmountable.”

I Want to Marry Marinating at Dinner: A Love Story :: Two things I was rarely doing before reading it this book? Browning meat, and marinating. This post has five marinade suggestions and recipes to go with them. “There. Doesn’t it sorta seem like there’s a little sous chef at home thinking about dinner so you don’t have to? How good does that feel?”

The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater at Northwest Edible Life :: “I know you. We have a lot in common. You have been doing some reading and now you are pretty sure everything in the grocery store and your kitchen cupboards is going to kill you.” Snort.

Food for Thought Friday is a (more or less) weekly list of links – tasty morsels, if you will, for belly and brain.

Food for Thought Friday: on knives, fall cocktails, French kids, and pooping

 

Preschoolers with Knives: How young can a child be and still learn how to cook? at Slate :: “The great, tubercular Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky proposed the concept of ‘a zone of proximal development,’ for the work a child is not quite able to do on his own. With the guidance of someone more skilled, though, he soon can. With the exception of the oven, and a lot of the stove, much of cooking amounts to a zone of proximal development, even for a preschooler.” Great thoughts on taking kids seriously in the kitchen.

French Kids Don’t Get Fat: Why? at Karen le Billon :: Lots to think about here.

The Postpartum Diet at Simple Bites :: Encouraging and delicious guidance from Aimee on meeting three postpartum needs: physical energy and healing, milk production and quality, and bowel regularity. Several great recipes for new moms – or friends visiting new moms – to try.

In the Kitchen: Knife Skills for Kids at Creative Family Fun :: Our little guy is already pretty capable with a knife. “Only touch the handle, not the blade, Mama.” Just this week he cut all the mushrooms for our pizza. Don’t miss the guacamole recipe in this post!

A Single Mom Takes Off the Superwoman Cape at Simple Mom :: “I am going to cease the super human expectations, take a breath and focus on one thing I can do. Sometimes that one thing involves playing with legos or dump trucks with a beautiful little boy. But sometimes that means putting on a movie for him, so I can spend some time journaling and clearing my head.”

Happy Hour at Home: Apple Smash at Pink of Perfection :: Seasonal! Not kid-friendly!

Food for Thought Friday is a (more or less) weekly list of links – tasty morsels, if you will, for belly and brain.

Food for Thought Friday (is back!)

4 Quick Questions About Toddler Development with Dr. Alan Greene at Healthy Child Healthy World :: “I’ve heard it said that the ancient Greeks defined children as short humans who don’t like vegetables.” Ha! Just the levity I needed. Some great tips here about toddler development in general, and five motivators to encourage them to eat healthy food.

Beyond Cooking: 10 Experiences in the Kitchen for Children at 52 Brand New :: Lots of great ideas for building skills, confidence, and family connections in the kitchen. I think my favorite is the suggestion to extend books – to cook things from, or inspired by, the books you’re reading. But teaching kitchen techniques – that’s a good one too! Which leads me to…

How to crack an egg: what’s the worst that could happen? at NurtureStore :: Does your little one know how to crack an egg?

Dinner Happens. at Simple Mom :: Thoughts on dinner as the seasons change, with particularly lovely ideas for sharing your meals with friends and strangers.

Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter at Oh She Glows :: Easy! Healthy! Seasonal! I can’t wait to try this.

Food for Thought Friday is a (more or less) weekly list of links – tasty morsels, if you will, for belly and brain.

 

On seeing past the end of my dinner fork

Oh, friends. Can I tell you about this evening? Can I tell you about the amazing meal my husband made with a certain two-year old and his end-of-the-day sillies while I was getting some work done in a local cafe? Can I tell you about the killer Caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons he made from a local baker’s bread and our own lettuce and cherry tomatoes and eggs and garlic and chicken? Can I tell you about the cheesy grits full of delicious butter and cheese? Can I tell you about the two-year old who screamed, “I don’t like grits I DON’T LIKE GRITS IDON’TLIKEGRITSICAN’TEATTHEM!!!!!” for a very long time and then proceeded to eat a giant plate full of Caesar salad covered in garlicky anchovy dressing?

This business of toddlers and food is a tricky one. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out. Sometimes it is so stressful I completely lose sight of the Big Picture, the one where this too shall pass, the one where I remember how important these power struggles are as our little people become bigger people, the one where I know he and we will survive his toddlerhood just fine.

I think that in those times where I can barely see past the end of my dinner fork, it is important to remember it’s not always like this. In that spirit I am reposting something I wrote a couple weeks ago over at our farm blog. I think it fits perfectly here.

As we ate these outside at the picnic table last night, in a spell of blessed cool after a quick little thunderstorm, I realized it was the fifth time we’d eaten them in under two weeks. I think that means they’re a winner. I think that means y’all need the recipe.

There’s a very small amount of grating and chopping involved, but really these fritters could not be easier. You grate a summer squash or two – I’ve learned that yellow squash, zephyr, and pattypan work best for our family and for a certain particular two-year old right now, but zucchini fritters are particularly pretty. You squeeze the excess water out of the squash with a dishtowel or paper towels – this is the one picky step, but it only takes a minute, and having tried skipping this step, I think it’s worth doing. You chop an onion – mince it, if you’re living with the same two-year old. Then you mix it all up with some flour, some cornmeal, an egg, some cheese, some salt and pepper, and you shape them into patties, and then you pop them in the oven while you set the table.  Easy peasy!

A word on picky eaters: we have one. It’s been humbling. I thought because we have fields and countertops and a fridge and two freezers all full of delicious vegetables, that he’d take to them right away. And in his first six months of exploring solid foods, he did. But then he started having strong opinions, opinions like: white and brown foods like milk, yogurt, butter, bread, cheese, crackers, pasta, oatmeal, and eggs are really quite sufficient when it comes to one’s diet. And you know what? I want him to have opinions. I want him to be able to disagree with me. I want him to figure out what he loves and what he doesn’t love. I think he needs my guidance, but I also think he needs my patience and my trust … trust that he’ll survive toddlerhood just fine, trust that he is doing what most two-year olds since the dawn of two-year olds have done, trust that he is developing just as he should.

When I was pregnant I proclaimed I’d never “hide” vegetables in food, but I’m coming to realize it’s more complicated than that. In addition to all the independent toddler stuff going on, I think little people have a very acute sense of taste and texture. I think maybe we need to take it easy on them sometimes. And if that means choosing yellow squash over zucchini sometimes, or mincing the onions instead of chopping them – well, I can do that.

I’ll add that our son loves to help me make these. “Mama, I want to grate!” he says, and so he does, with some help. “Dad, I can break the egg,” he offers, and so he does, and pretty well at that! “Let me squoosh it up, Mama!” he demands, and so he does.

And so we make fritters. Sometimes he eats them. Sometimes he just licks the ketchup off his plate. “Like a dog!” he says.

You should make them too.

Baked Squash (or Zucchini) Fritters with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce
adapted just a bit from The Yellow House

Kid-friendly! Quick! And easy too to make gluten-free – the flour in this recipe just serves as a binder, so replace it with your favorite gluten-free flour and you should be good to go. One friend replaces the flour with masa harina – that sounds really good to us! Also, while parmesan is particularly tasty in these, feel free to use another kind of cheese. We used mozzarella the first time we made these because that’s what was in the fridge, and they were still very good.

These are great with ketchup (our son’s favorite), a fried egg (my favorite), tzatziki, or the quick garlicky yogurt sauce below.

2 cups grated summer squash or zucchini, pressed between layers of a clean dishtowel or paper towels to absorb some of the water
1 small onion, minced
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or other flour – see note above)
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, toss the squash and onion with the flour, cornmeal, and cheese. Add the beaten egg and some salt and pepper, and mix until everything comes together. Use your hands if you like; it’s fun! It should have the consistency of meatloaf.

Using your hands, gently form the mixture into small balls (about 3 tablespoons of mixture for each fritter). Place them on the baking sheet and use your hand to flatten them into small patties about a half-inch thick.

Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. (If making the yogurt sauce below, make it now – this will give the flavors time to meld a bit.) Then broil for 2-3 minutes longer. The fritters should be a lovely golden color. Good warm or at room temperature. Serve with ketchup, fried eggs, tzatziki, or the garlicky yogurt sauce below.

Makes 6-8 fritters.

Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

3/4 cup yogurt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste, and add more salt if you think it needs it. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes if possible to allow the flavors to meld.

Food for Thought Friday (welcome-to-2012 edition)

What’s been inspiring y’all recently?

Food for Thought Friday is a (more or less) weekly list of links – tasty morsels, if you will, for belly and brain.

Food for Thought Friday

Hi friends! Thanks for sticking with us here as we find our way. We’ve got some lovely posts coming up on holiday traditions and on eating adventures with both babies and toddlers. For now, enjoy this latest edition of Food for Thought Friday!

(I feel this every time I post a FFTF — but gosh, I think there are some really good ones in this week’s list.)

Food for Thought Friday is a (more or less) weekly list of links – tasty morsels, if you will, for belly and brain.


Buttery Spudlets!

Doesn’t that sound like something quaint to say when you’ve knocked over a bag of flour or grazed your knuckle because you were daydreaming about pie instead of paying attention to the cheese grater?

But for real: this is just some easy delicious food, and you should make some.

I suppose they look rather unassuming up there, piled on the plate next to a green salad. The list of ingredients is equally humble: potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, herbs-if-you-have-them-but-don’t-let-not-having-them-stop-you-from-making-these-for-dinner-tonight.

Don’t be fooled: underneath their plain Jane exterior, these potatoes are very exciting indeed. We’ve been making them for years, and we think the trick is in the dual cooking method: you start them in some sizzling butter on the stovetop and then slide them into the oven for a spell, where the skins get gorgeously browned and the insides go all light and fluffy and perfect. It’s really something.

Buttery Spudlets
adapted only slightly from The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon

A few quick notes … the original recipe calls for tiny new potatoes, and while the pictures in this post might look like new potatoes, in truth they are it’s-the-very-end-of-the-farm-season-and-this-is-what-we-could-scrape-up-from-the-bottom-of-the-potato-bin potatoes. But you can use plain old baking potatoes as well; just cut them into rough 1-inch chunks. This is what we usually do and I think we even prefer them that way! You can also substitute sweet potatoes for some of the regular potatoes – delicious. These potatoes seem to be the perfect side dish to just about everything. But they are also divine on their own with a fried egg on top and that is a perfectly respectable supper. We’re just sayin’.

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 lbs or so potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks (or small new potatoes)
1 teaspoon fresh herbs, chopped fine, if you have them (rosemary is really really good, and thyme is nice too)
salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Melt the butter in an oven-safe skillet (you’ll need a lid too in a sec) over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the skillet once or twice.

Cover the skillet and slide it into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Carefully remove the lid. Add the salt and pepper and herbs if you’re using them. Shake the skillet to mix everything up. Cook uncovered for 15 more minutes, giving the skillet a good shake every 5 minutes.

Eat up!

Food for Thought Friday (day-after-Thanksgiving edition)

(Thanksgiving Day, 9pm)

Whew! Just under the wire. Food for Thought Friday is a (more or less) weekly list of links – tasty morsels, if you will, for belly and brain.

 

 

Food for Thought Friday

Food for Thought Friday is a weekly list of links – tasty morsels, if you will, for belly and brain.

 

Food for Thought Friday

Yeah, yeah. Technically it’s Saturday already. But I’m still up and I’m excited to launch what I hope will become a regular feature around here. Food for Thought Friday will be a weekly list of links – tasty morsels, if you will, for belly and brain.