I would say I feed my kids moderately healthfully. We only buy organic milk and eggs. We have fruit instead of dessert after meals. We always have vegetables, which they typically eat, with lunch and dinner, and breakfasts are normally oatmeal or yogurt and fruit. They do eat chicken nuggets occasionally. The veggies are often frozen. I’ve been known to serve peanut butter sandwiches with a banana when I’m fried on the weekend. We could live on chips and queso. And I am not opposed to (all of us) eating cupcakes at birthdays and candy for holidays.
That said, I could do more. I’m pretty basic with the veggies and need to amp it up. So I joined a group in the neighborhood that receives deliveries every other week from a local organic farm. Milk, eggs, grass-fed meats if you want, and…….a box of vegetables. That’s right. A box. Really a big crate. Of veggies that I have no idea how to cook. Here was this week’s box:
There’s some stuff in there I can totally manage – carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. No problemo. But there were beets, radishes, turnips, kale and collard greens. I MAY have eaten a few of those in the past, but I have never prepared them.
So this was the meal selection over the weekend:
Cold veggie pizza on Friday night – this let me incorporate my radishes, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. I also added squirt tomatoes and yellow bell pepper that I already had stocked. I used Pillsbury pizza crust instead of the crescent rolls, and I didn’t put all that topping on the crust because it would have been too thick. I housed it in a separate bowl over the weekend that I used to dip raw veggies in. It was good and the kids all ate it. (Which is a feat because they’re not crazy about raw veggies.)
Kale leek soup on Saturday night – I had already been experimenting with less traditional veggies and had some leeks stocked in my fridge. I was most skeptical about the kale because I’ve heard it’s not tasty. I subbed out the potatoes for sweet potatoes in the soup because I had that in my farm basket. I also swapped chicken broth for the water and real milk for the non-dairy milk. It was pretty yummy. And little bit loved it so much that she drank the remaining broth from the bowl just like she does cereal. The boys didn’t love it, but they did try a few bites.
Last night, I took my best friend out for a birthday dinner (we had SO much fun and I had this delicious green curry), so Bray was in charge of dinner for the kids and I believe it involved a weenie roast. Fun!
Tonight he’s thawed shrimp he picked up last time he was at the farm in Louisiana. I have to incorporate beets (that just doesn’t sound appealing to me), collard greens, and turnips over the next two days as side dishes. These are my top contenders, but I would LOVE some ideas for these veggies because my guess is that I’ll get at least some of them again:
Roasted onions and buttered beets – This sounds doable and tasty, but I’m skeptical about it being kid friendly & can someone tell me what the heck EVOO is;
Rutabaga Hash – Now I know you’re saying where are the rutabagas in your crate, but I honestly can’t tell if these durn things are rutabagas or turnips. So I’m wondering if I can’t put a rutabaga treatment on a turnip if I can’t tell the difference when looking at them;
Roasted Beets with Feta – This looks easy enough, but it’s that red beety color that reminds me of the yucky canned beets from grandma’s house;
Root Vegetable Gratin – this looks yummy, though not low fat, and I’m seeing a lot of folks treat turnips and rutabagas just like you would potatoes which I can manage;
Collard Greens – Y’all, everything I see has these paired with ham hocks. I can’t do it. So I might try this, but I wish I could come up with something that made them LOOK a little more appetizing.
Finally, I have some kale leftover, so I’m going to try kale chips. Any other ideas, peeps? Something that isn’t super challenging (on a cooking time scale) and might appeal to my preschoolers. I figure I’ll broaden my own veggie horizons as I broaden my kids!
I don’t have any specific recipes but have noticed tons of recipes for ‘alternative’ veggies like you have over on Pinterest. You could do a search for recipes with the vegetable du jour and see what pops up. Some look great, others look… interesting. 🙂
Yes, all the ideas I’ve gotten thus far have been from Pinterest. My only problem w/them is that the recipes (often) take FOREVER to make. I’ve got to figure out some short cuts 🙂
Oh btw, EVOO is extra virgin olive oil. A term coined by Rachel Ray. Ah and now that I have looked at the recipe you posted, I see it’s on her site.
Roasted beets are one of my favorites!!!! The are absolutely fantastic. I just scrubbed the beets really well under running water, cube them into small chunks, toss them really well with a good quality olive oil, throw in a glass baking dish (like Pyrex), sprinkle with salt, and roast at 400F until fork tender. This may take 45min-hour depending on how small you cut the beets since they are rather firm and have to bake awhile.
Collards – I grew up on collards, but my favorite are spicy collards that you can sometimes find on Wholefoods’ buffet. To cook my own, I wash collards, rough chop into thick (~1 inch strips). I then saute onion or shallots depending on what i have in the bottom of my pantry in a little bit of olive oil in a large dutch oven (collards take up a bunch of room, but cook down to a much smaller volume). Once the onions are lightly sauteed, I add the collards along with some chicken stock or broth (with work, but always organic and low sodium). The collards do not have to be completely covered in liquid because they will cook down so maybe 2 cups of chicken stock is needed. You can add water if you realize that more liquid is needed after the collards cook down. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Let the collards cook down to where they are soft and tender, but not soggy. This may take 30 minutes on med heat (you want to put a lid on the pot so that they steam as well). I love tomatoes in my collards so after they are cooked, I add a small can of diced tomatoes without the juice. We love ours spicy so I had a bunch of cayenne flakes, but you can completely leave those out. I think the chicken stock and onion really help replace using a ham hock and make the collards much more healthy!
Turnips – turnips can be roasted right along with beets. In fact, one of my favorite fall/winter dishes is a blend of roasted turnips, beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and any winter squash. Nothing fancy, just diced up, sprinkled with salt, and roasted.
My grandmother used to slice turnips, boil them in salted water, then mash them like potatoes. These were really good as she would add salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of sugar or honey.
Oh my goodness, you are a WEALTH of information. I’m printing out your comment and taking it home to try the roasting tonight. Thanks for the insight.
We do a CSA and love it but also have had a rough time with Kale. However, last year we started doing Kale salads and I am totally hooked. I am sure there are fancy recipes online but a super easy one we do is:
1. Wash and dry the kale leaves
2. Massage olive oil into the leaves and gently tear them (I use 2-3 TBSP on one bunch)
3. Squeeze quarter to half of a lemon onto leaves
4. Add a tbsp or two of the finely grated parmesan and toss
leave for a few hours (I even do it in the AM before work) and enjoy. we use a wooden salad bowl as it is supposed to be better for the salad mojo says my more chef inclined husband. We also do one without the cheese and lemon and put in pomegranate seeds and walnuts. I also joke I’ll live forever eating that salad since it is a whole bunch of superfoods at once. The kids love the pomegranate seeds and generally will eat a few bites of the kale. Thanks for your blog. As a Christian mama of faith of two who also has a demanding job your blog has been a blessing to me.
Thank you Lisa! And thanks for the salad ideas – I really like salads and that is a totally new one for me!
Such great ideas in the comments! I LOVE kale and I actually eat it just about every day–in a green smoothie! I just wash it and tear it up, and add it to the blender with frozen fruit (I love to add frozen mango, pineapple, berries, anything really), and a banana with some water or almond milk, and blend it all up. It is so delicious! The fruit makes it sweet enough that maybe your kids would even like it. 🙂 And I love Lisa’s idea for the salad above. Sounds great!
Also, I really love your blog! I think you have a great writing style and I love the topics you write about. Thanks so much for sharing with us!
Thanks Mary! And I’m loving all these ideas – though a kale smoothie may be to progressive for me 🙂
Always love your blog, Gindi! And all the comments have such great ideas!
Thanks Patsy – I’m loving the ideas!
We love turnips!!! Definitely go with the simple roasting or mashed. You can mash with carrots, too. Turnips and carrots might be yummier than peas and carrots.
One of my faves is the massaged kale salad. This one is particularly easy and yummy. If you don’t have mangoes, mandarin oranges also work (a staple in all homes with little kids, right?). http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/massaged-kale-salad-recipe/index.html
Try not to overmake the kale chips. I find they get bitter if not eaten immediately. Not a problem with us, we devour them. We also have preferred them simply (evoo, a little mrs. Dash or bit of salt, maybe some sesame seeds) rather than fancier flavorings mixes you can find online. But that’s probably personal taste.
Good luck and happy eating!!
Great tips Claudia! And if we find an alternative to peas & carrots I’ll be delighted!