Picky Eaters & Persimmons OR How to NOT Raise a Picky Eater

Picky eating @ Three Cornered HugAs a child, I was a horribly picky eater, and so thin…food struggles were pretty regular around my house. Fortunately, I was still exposed to a lot of different kinds of food, having so many multicultural friends and experiences, and as an adult I’m not so picky.

Still, I determined to try to change that for my son, and I am blessed to have a child that will try pretty much anything. While some of that has to be genetic (from Dad), I’d like to think some of my crazy methods worked:)

And so, without further ado, let’s get down to business!

1. From day one, let your child determine when they’re hungry and when they’re done eating. Now please understand I do think it’s wise to offer a child milk, and later, food at regular times. However, if they’re not hungry don’t force it. Note that I am not an advocate of allowing a child to skip meals only to eat junky snacks later. If my son didn’t have much breakfast when he was younger, for instance, I’d save his food for later or pack some healthy food if we were going out. Also, some parents try to push their kids to eat– but really, when’s the last time you heard of a normal child starving themselves to death?

2. Starting when your child is very young (if you still can), try to keep a lot of variety in your diet, and encourage your child to try it all with you. Don’t make a big deal about it, just serve it on their plates with everything else. Remember, sometimes it takes several exposures to a food before a child will try or like it.

3. Early on, institute a “try one bite rule”, and stick to it with a no nonsense attitude as if there was no other option. I do not condone trying to force a child to eat any more than that, however.

4. Make trying new foods like an adventure. Many times, we like to pick up something new and strange when we go to the grocery store. Here we have a neat store called Sprouts, where we can score good deals on a large variety of fruits and veggies. One day my mom was incredulous over the phone as I told her I was looking up how to serve persimmons. “You mean you bought them and you don’t even know what to do with them?” Yep, that’s just what we do. Buy first, then figure it out. I had never seen persimmons sold in the other 2 states we’ve lived in and we were curious. Delicious!!!

5. Try foods from other cultures. Okay, this one actually rides the coattails of the last one, but it was getting a little long. We’ve made excursions to Asian or Mexican grocery stores for years. You will see some wild things there (or they might seem wild to you if you are a US native), so for young kids it best to try to stick to certain kinds of foods to start. In fact, I guess I would mostly recommend sweets (even though I’m usually NOT really big on giving kids sweets) so your child gets a nice first impression. One such food is ice cream Mochi. Basically, these are little ice cream balls wrapped up in sweet rice flour dough. Yum! (there’s also a more traditional sort filled with bean curd, but try the ice cream first). Botan are little square candies made from sweet rice flour, and they’re so cool! You take off an outer wrapper and there’s another wrapper underneath made of rice that dissolves in your mouth. Kids think that’s pretty neat. Pocky are little cookie sticks dipped in chocolate or strawberry flavored goodness. If you want something less sweet, you might follow this recipe for Russian blini’s (like crepes), or you can pick up some Polish pierogi’s (dumplings filled with mashed potatoes, usually) at the regular grocery store in the freezer section.

Herb and Panko Crusted Baked Tomatoes

So, first of all- I love Panko bread crumbs.

Our relationship began with baked noodle recipe from a magazine (Taste of Home, maybe?). After using them once, I was totally hooked. These are not your normal bread crumbs. They’re all fluffy and they have a nice crunchiness that really sets them apart.

Now, let’s get to the point. I found a new Panko recipe that I love. I needed a nice little side dish to make for a small dinner party last night, so I used this recipe that I had pinned on Pinterest awhile ago. This dish not only easy (the number one thing I look for in a recipe)  but they look fancy. They’ll even make you look like you know your way around a kitchen–even if, like me, you’re completely lost.

You can find the recipe for these yummy Herb and Panko Crusted Baked Tomatoes from Spoon Fork Bacon simply by clicking it’s yummy name 🙂

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Cooking: Not My Hobby

Empty Plate

Remember the green bean and squash casserole from yesterday? Well, like most things in my life, there’s a great story that goes with it!

My husband delivered some of the said casserole to the neighbor who had given us the green beans, and she had a nice little anecdote for him. Apparently, when my son had gone to pick up the beans per her request a few days prior, she had asked him if his mother cooked. The answer: “Yeah, but it really isn’t her hobby”!!!!

Hmph! That’s a long way from the three year old who would invite everyone over for dinner. “Mommy is a good cook. She’ll make you eggs,” he’d promise.

Why do they have to grow up!?

But, he was right. After years of daily cooking, I’ve finally become proficient at it, but cooking is still not my thing. Which is how I know the recipe category on this blog will likely always be the most sparse.

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Recipe: What to do with all that summer squash

GreenBeans1It’s almost like reverse burglary. They bang on the door and push it into your arms. It may be left on your stoop or even in your car. Your neighbors, your friends, sometimes strangers- they practically beg you to take some! What is it? PRODUCE!

As a Yankee who relocated some years ago, one of the things I appreciate about living in the south is not only the abundance of fresh produce, but people’s willingness to share it.

No one could go hungry here!

Recently, we helped a friend when her corn came in. All afternoon long we were picking, shucking, de-silking, blanching, cutting it off the cob, and finally bagging to freeze it for the winter. As much as it sounds like work, when you’re with friends, it’s not at all so. Our reward was paid out in golden goodness which we greedily devoured that evening.

Then there were the bags of yellow summer squash which my dad brought to me. Because someone brought it to him. Loads of it. What was I to do with so much squash?

Summer SquashNext came some green beans from a neighbor. Now my fridge was really filling up! I had to figure out something to do with this produce before it went bad.

And so, a new recipe was born. Well, not exactly new. I adapted it a little from a recipe I love from Gooseberry Patch which I was not able to locate online. It uses canned green beans and corn (which needs no cooking beforehand) instead of fresh beans and squash. Although I don’t like this quite as much as the original, at least I was able to knock out some of that squash!

Ready?

Do this the night before or at least early enough for the veggies to cool before the next step.

Get a 9 X 13 pan (preferably glass) and measure enough raw green beans to just cover the bottom, and then throw in a few more. Put them in a large skillet. Put in a half cup of water or so, cover and start steaming. If at any time this gets dry, add a little more water.

Start chopping squash, and again, you’ll need cover the bottom of the baking dish. Then you’ll need at least a handful extra, because this stuff cooks down to nothing. Throw them into the skillet with the beans. Again, if it’s getting dry, add water. Simmer at medium heat until it all starts to get soft, about 15 minutes or so.

Drain any extra water. Spread along bottom of baking dish. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Now you will need:

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 cup sour cream (reduced fat is ok)
8 oz can sliced water chestnuts (drained well)
10 1/4 oz can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup (one stick) butter melted
1 sleeve round butter crackers (like Ritz) crushed

In a big bowl, mix cheese, onion, sour cream, water chestnuts and soup
together; spread over the vegetables. Combine butter and crackers; sprinkle on top.
Bake 400 for 35- 40 min or till golden brown.

AND HERE ARE THE RESULTS! Mmmmmm…….

Green Bean Casserole In the Oven-YUM!

And a close up of the buttery cracker crumbs…my favorite part….

Crumb Close Up!

Are you getting hungry yet? Go make some!

Green Bean Casserole