Tag Archives: healthy

Veggie Wars…

No matter how good of an eater Jojo is, I am constantly fighting to get him to eat more vegetables without having to hide them in pastas, muffins, pancakes etc. I’m sure all you cooking moms and dads out there feel my pain! Nothing is more frustrating than watching that piece of broccoli get flung across your clean kitchen …well… maybe lunging for the rest of the plate so that it doesn’t end up on the floor with the broccoli is. (Yes LH, it has happened to me too 🙂 !)

At times offering a vegetable to your toddler with dinner can feel like your setting yourself up for failure (believe me I know), but as I’ve learned through my little kitchen experiments,  it doesn’t always have to be. I was watching an episode of Dr Oz one afternoon, when he discussed encouraging young children to eat more vegetables. Now granted, nothing Dr Oz said was revolutionary advice, but somehow his magical Ozness made simple advice seem life-changing. In short, he suggested offering young children vegetables that taste good and said that preparing vegetables in a tasty way will encourage youngsters to enjoy them because they actually are delicious!  Simple idea right? But somehow for me this was an Ahh haaa moment. I realized that I needed to change my Veggie War “game plan” and get my cook on. Here are a few ideas for simple but tasty veggies that are Jojo approved.

Roasted Cauliflower – Yes that’s right … cauliflower. Jojo loves it. There is something popcorn-esque about this preparation and everyone in my family loves it. The best part is it is ridiculously easy!

Ingredients: Cauliflower, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil

  1. Cut the head of cauliflower in half and cut out the hard core.
  2. Break apart the small cauliflower trees into small tree pieces.
  3. Place cauliflower pieces on a cookie sheet.
  4. Toss with olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste (*Do not over salt)
  5. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is slightly golden brown on the tops of the trees.

This recipe is great for fresh broccoli as well. You may have to adjust the cook time depending on the size of the pieces. Jojo loves how sweet and caramelized the pieces get. The roasted flavor is a big hit!

Cinnamon Carrot Sticks– This veggie is even easier than roasting and very popular with lunch and dinner.

Ingredients: Baby carrots, cinnamon, honey

  1. Steam the desired amount of baby carrots on the stove or in the microwave. Then let carrots cool.
  2. Take cooled carrots and cut them in half long ways and then cut them in half long ways again.
  3. Sprinkle cut carrots with cinnamon and drizzle them with honey.
  4. Serve at room temperature or heat them in a skillet to caramelize them.

Told you it was easy! What’s even better is the reaction. It’s got the right amount of sweetness and spice to make it interesting and the stick shape makes it fun and very french fry like.

Enjoy the recipes. Let me know how they work out.

Sandwich “Sushi”?

O yes! Like many, I am a sushi-holic. It is my go-to take-out food and a “guilt-free” guilty pleasure. Is that possible? I love everything about it, the delicious taste created by the fresh ingredients (crispy cucumber, buttery avocado etc.), and of course how beautiful it is. Each tiny piece of sushi is like its own miniature piece of art, which for me, makes it that much more delicious. YUM! To my surprise there are many foodies and mommy chefs out there using sushi as inspiration for their toddler lunches. No, they are not suggesting we all run and take our toddlers out for a sushi lunch (I do NOT feed my Jojo any type of raw fish or raw protein), but what they are doing is taking inspiration from these scrumptious pieces of food art and creating yummy spins on the sandwich.

It makes sense, I mean I said it myself, part of what makes sushi so delicious is the way it looks and how it is presented. So if you take that simple principle and apply it to making a sushi sandwich, your toddler will find it just as fun and delicious as you do!

Inspired by a picture I saw on the cover of the new Weelicious Lunches book last week online, and stumped about how to get my lil Jojo to eat chicken in other forms besides the pot-pie and pasta methods (there is something about plain chicken that is simply unappealing to him), I thought why not make it into a fun sandwich sushi roll where the whole grain bread acts as the rice and the filling is whatever fresh produce and/ or protein that is on the menu for the day. What an easy idea! So I did, and yes I got a “ummmmmm” on the first bite which means this was a complete success. What’s even better is that I can make sandwich “sushi” for all different types of fresh vegetables, fruits and cooked proteins.

JoJo’s Carrot, Cucumber and Cooked Chicken Sandwich Sushi

 Ingredients:

1 slice multigrain bread (edges trimmed)

2 tbsp cream cheese

5 thin slices of cucumber

2 tbsp steamed shredded carrot

pieces of diced cooked chicken breast

Preparation:

Cut off the edges to your slice of bread and then take a rolling pin and roll the bread flat. Spread the cream cheese over the flattened piece of bread. Top with the thin slices of cucumber, carrots and chicken. Roll the bread up into a sushi roll shape. Squeeze cylinder to set ingredients.  Cut into small pieces with a sharp knife.

*Prepartion Tips: You will need to experiment with the placement of your ingredients to get a perfect roll. The thinner the slices, the easier it is to form the bread into a roll.

* Dairy Free: For all my dairy-free moms out there, I know it can be difficult to find recipes that fit your needs. A good substitute for cream cheese in this recipe is hummus (any variety just be sure to use a nut-free variety and watch the salt content- I recommend making your own).

Other Variations:

  • Sweet: Cream cheese and berries
  • Savory: Black bean hummus, avocado, steamed shredded carrots, diced chicken breast cooked with cumin, thinly sliced fresh tomato and shredded cheddar.

Make It Exciting: For my Jojo nothing amps up a meal more than adding a dipping sauce. Jazz up your rolls by creating your own spectacular sauce- yogurt, sour cream, and applesauce are all great accompaniments. Pick what best fits the flavor profile of your rolls.

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