Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fostering a Love of Food

I think I've written about Food as Fuel here before. The concept that the quality of your fuel can help maintain the life of your machine, in this case the machine is your body. If not, I know I've had long conversations with some of you on the subject. Doing a basic Google search these days, you'll find multiple sources saying eating well is not only good for you, but it can help fight off cancer, maintain hormone levels, ensure longevity, and any other sort of positive attribute you can think of. In my opinion, all this awesome preventive medicine ingested by eating well starts with a healthy love of food. (I define food as "minimally processed edible matter that comes from plants and animals.") As a parent I strive to instill a love for healthy food in my kids.

 I recently read French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon (available here). I finished the book feeling reinforced in the methods and attitudes already in place regarding mealtime in our house. We eat 4 times a day, within a half hour start-time window depending on if we are/can wait for Pete to join us for dinner. Everyone has to take a bite of new foods, everyone has jobs to help prep and clean up, we eat at the table whenever possible, etc. This mindset had gotten slightly offtrack when we lost complete control of our schedules by adding preschool (and a new baby) to the mix. After reestablishing this mindset, we have decided to experiment with new foods. I checked out a couple children's books from our library


I Can Eat a Rainbow by Annabel Karmel

Which included several items we couldn't pronounce, had never seen at the grocery or had not presented to Emagene that she could remember.

Naturally, we made a list of these items and stuck it on the fridge. 
We hope to try all of these at least once when they come in season at our local farmers market. 

We also have this look and find farmers market book that helps us remember which items to lookout for according to season. I bought it through a booksale on but now I can't find the link to it anywhere. Its called: At the Farmers Market and doesn't list an author. The illustrator is Staffane McClary.

We started our food journey at the beginning of summer by purchasing some rhubarb and a kohlrabi. We smelled some endive and held a few chocolate peppers (not on the list, and were sadly done for the season). Taking a lesson from Karen's book, I had Emagene help me prep the new veggies. We each held, smelled, and tasted them raw and cooked. We looked for how they changed when heated. And everyone tried a bite! We sliced the kohlrabi, tossed it with oil and salt and then baked it it like potato chips (preferred over raw). We only got through half our cabbage cousin that night and made plans to cook up a batch of roasted roots before the weather turned into full-blown Texas summer sauna. Apparently the kohlrabi goes great with potatoes and beets. Good thing, because there were beets!
The rhubarb was baked in a strawberry rhubarb crumble that everyone (even Pete) ate seconds of. Sometimes I wonder if its harder to get him to try new foods or Emagene. They both put up a meager fight with wrinkled noses as they toy with the first bite on their forks. They eventually eat it. I on the other hand take a lot of deep breathes to avoid snapping at them to "just eat your food!"
I had a bit of rhubarb left over so I tried this rhubarb syrup recipe I found linked at The soda was excellent. I must try the gin version soon!

Next we reintroduced the girls to artichokes. Just plain, steamed artichokes, dipped in butter and scrapped across the teeth.
Followed by homemade lemonade.
Anyway, that is what we are doing over here. At this point we have tried purple cauliflower, grapefruit (the Texas pink was a huge hit!), guava (fresh and raw, no thanks - but seeded and blended in a smoothie, yes please!), figs (all we had were dried and they were not hit) and jicama.  I think endive and pomegranates are next. I'll keep you posted. We are having the hardest time finding starfruit out here. I used to eat it all the time in Oregon, and Emagene is really intrigued by a star-shaped food!

What new foods have you tried? 

Most of my recipes come from iPhone Google searches. When I find one I like, I email myself the link from my phone. If you ever want to know which ones I prefer, shoot me a note in the comments and I'll drop you the link.

This blog was drafted in June of 2014. Sadly, I became a bit behind in my editing when Aoife started walking. Now she is trying to run. *sigh* I may be able to knock out one decent post a week again soon. Here's to hoping!

Thanks for sticking around during my drier writing spells. I appreciate it.

Friday, August 15, 2014

More Birthday Goodness

We went into the city today to spend some time doing things Aoife loves. We ran through bead and fabric curtains, emptied bins of toys and refilled them, climbed things, chased birds and played in water. If you have not checked out the Dallas Museum of Art, especially the kids creative connection area, and you live in the area, it is a must! General admission is free and the place is amazing!  Pair up some art time with a splash pad, some sno-cones and good buddies* and you can't have a better day! Unless an awesome jazz band is playing in the museum cafe...

The only complaint was the amount of gentle bees trying to steal anything wet or sweet we were trying to eat. Not bad for a 6 hour getaway!

*Thank you so much to those who made the drive in awful Friday afternoon traffic to giggle with her and watch her explore her world. We are all extremely exhausted!


My littlest one woke up early yesterday morning, ready to tackle her day. In all fairness, she was awoken by the chickens alerting us to the presence of a hawk in the yard with one of the hens trapped in the garden unable to get away. Her being up led to an hour of just us, giggling and being outside together. it was good to be up a tiny bit early. She did take an early nap to balance out her day of chicken chasing, climbing everything, using tools but hating chopsticks, and playing in water. 
She then watched with intrigue as her sister whipped up a batch of cupcakes.
And then devoured one!

If this first year sets the stage for all the years to come, then this little girl is going to be loud, adventurous, determined, musical, loving, and a fabulous dancer.