Get outside, Family!

Get outside, Family!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kitchen music

Chef Zi, eight tall glasses and a pitcher of water made beautiful music together the other night while I finished dinner. He really got into it, tapping each with a spoon and adjusting water levels to get the right pitches so he could play a few of his piano tunes. Not exactly cooking together, but I love when the kids are right beside me while I'm measuring, stirring, chopping, etc.

Potato Bean Burritos

Things came together just right last night for a tasty dinner. First I scanned the fridge -- leftover mashed potatoes, jar of salsa, tortillas...hhhmmmmm. Felt a hankering for Tex-Mex. Considered our diet so far for the week -- a lot of meat, time for some extra veggies. Managed to get some things prepped early in the day. But the magic ingredient was Baby Chef being willing to be entertained in his high chair with a whole bunch of kitchen utensils while Chef Zi and I cooked.

Potato and White Bean Burritos (inspired by our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, but made up on the spot so not sure of amounts)

Ingredients: Leftover mashed potatoes, Can of Cannellini beans (we're Italian!), Chopped Sweet onion, Chopped Garlic cloves, Olive oil, Mild tomato salsa, Grated colby-jack, Wheat tortillas

Wash beans and mash with potato masher. Saute garlic and onion until soft. Add mashed potatos and beans. Add enough salsa for taste. Toast tortilla. Fill with potato-bean mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Fold up, and eat.

We served this with sides of corn, broccoli and cherry tomatoes.

Classic Chef Zi -- Pork Tenderloin

The weather has been cold and wet, which is a bummer except it means that, stuck inside, the Chef and I have had more time lately to cook together. We've been light on homework and running around, which also helps.

The-Grill-Is-Out-Of-Gas Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients: pork tenderloin, olive oil, garlic, paprika, rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper

Whisk together oil and seasonings in a bowl. Smear all over tenderloin using hands or brush. Put meat under broiler for something like 20 minutes (until done but not too done).

Lunch solution

This is so obvious -- let Chef Zi make his own lunches! He actually selected a fresh apple. And ate it. Doy!

Bad and good news for donut lovers

Post by Chef Zi

BAD NEWS: The Krispy Kreme in our town is closing! We are sad because Chef Zi has only been there 3 or 4 times. They make good donuts.

GOOD NEWS: There are other Krispy Kreme's. The whole business has not gone down.

Yogurt Parfaits reward piano practice

I'd like to thank the Chef for playing his piano piece very well 5 times yesterday so we could all have 5 toppings on our yogurt parfaits. That was the deal. Baby Chef and I helped by playing quietly while he practiced.

Recipe for Yogurt Parfaits -- "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" version
Ingredients: Strawberry yogurt, vanilla yogurt, chocolate syrup, red sugar sprinkles, crushed pretzels, marshmallow cream, cherry

Layer yogurt and toppings in a clear glass. Top with cherry. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lunch rejection

It’s possible that the Chef has undergone an alien brain transplant. That’s about the only explanation I have for why he is refusing to eat the healthy, high-quality, lovingly prepared dishes I send with him to school. He will on the other hand gobble up anything that is pre-packaged, artificially colored and processed into unnatural shapes.

This is a new development. He’s carried lunch to school and camp before and been happy with just about any of his regular favorites. Lately, the list of rejected foods has grown so that I stare at the fridge at night with his green John Deere lunch bag in my hand completely stumped. Foods he won’t eat at school: Pasta and olive oil sprinkled with pecorino romano cheese; homemade chicken soup; grapes; apple slices; sandwiches of any kind; hotdog; macaroni and cheese; leftover pizza; beef stew; yogurt in any form other than in plastic, suck-and-go tubes; blueberries; oranges (peeled or not); strawberries; banana; juice in a reusable bottle. These are all things he’ll eat at home, by the way. There are days everything comes back home except a Tootsie Roll and milk.

I admit in the beginning of the school year, I was pretty lame with lunch. I was giving him good food, and figured he’d eventually break down out of hunger. But then I helped out in the lunchroom and saw what other kids were eating: Jello cups, pudding cups, power bars, bags of snack chips, steaming bowls of soup and pasta from microwavable single-use bowls, fresh fruit in a bag that comes cut up and sprayed with something that keeps it from going brown, lots of things packaged with the images of popular kids TV characters.

Gosh, I hate prepackaged food. What a waste of plastic wrappers! But I also hate letting my son be hungry all afternoon.

So I’ve broken down. I am now shelving the “main course” concept and giving him a bunch of different snacks. I’m putting something like 5 different options in his bag, hoping he’ll eat ate least 3. I try to include organic treats, but those often are overlooked. At least when packaged/preserved food returns home, it can go right back in the bag for tomorrow.