Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eat Your Vegetables

Since early this summer, Hunter has become enamored with gardening, fruits and vegetables. 
Since Dave and I try to foster our littles' interests, we have tried a number of creative ideas the past few weeks to build on his new passion. 

*A trip with Daddy to the local florist where he discovered branches from a blueberry bush.
*Corn on the cob has become a regular side dish.
*Repeated trips to our town's high school garden that is kept by the science teacher and his class.
These trips are often followed by a visit to our grocery store or farmer's market where I let the kids pick out the vegetables they want to try.

(Colorful peppers and ranch dressing for dipping. I can't seem to shake my recent pregnancy edamame craving but the kids have followed suit which makes me smile. Although it could be the salt and lime juice I add?)

*Introducing them to new ways to eat their fruits and vegetables.
 (Heirloom salad with mozzarella cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.)

(Frozen grapes are perfect for the beach.)

(Edamame, ham, peaches, veggie packed ravioli, and hummus with peppers.)
*Camp tattoos 
(His teachers commented that they loved that he asked for a vegetable garden tattoo and were blown away by the artist's rendition of one.)
*Recreating a garden Hunter can call his own.
 (Hunter and his wand.)
 (He claimed to be casting magical powers on his garden to make his vegetables grow.)
(I think it worked.)
(The side garden seems to be doing well too.)
All of the exploration of vegetables and gardening has sparked more conversation of insects. This allowed us to resurrect our bug sensory box.
(Although he said he liked the way it felt in his hands....
he said he liked the way it felt better in his hair....
...and that lemonade was necessary for smart bug investigation.)
We recently tried a recipe for tomato pie from the kids' school cookbook. 
(Although his job was to line the plate with the tomato slices, I kept finding him doing this.)
My food styling and photography don't show it, but this was the best tomato pie I've ever eaten. The recipe is below and I highly recommend it!
Earlier this week we took some time to learn about star fruit on the Internet and then sliced one to eat ourselves.
We learned that they are best for eating when bright yellow with brown edges so we knew ours was perfect.
I think the kids were most excited about the shape it made when cut.
And speaking of growing vegetables....our little guy is sprouting up just perfect. 
 Parenting is tough work. 

I find that continually trying to provide your children with a nourished, well-balanced meal can be challenging given the amount of times I find myself on hands and knees wiping up thrown food accused of being yucky or scraping nearly full helpings of dinner into the trash due to its edibility by a parent questionable (is that spit or wet potatoes?). 

Although it's not easy to admit your delicious, four-course meal went over like a bag of bricks with your toddlers, I do believe its my job to continually offer what's best for their little bodies. 

I'm also often reminded of the importance of modeling good, healthy eating habits. If it weren't for my kids constantly stealing my food, they never would have developed their love of edamame. And, hey--if edamame is the only thing they walk away from their childhood eating then, I did pretty darn good. 
"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato."
-Lewis Gizzard
Delicious Tomato Pie
1 pie crust (we used frozen)
Dijon mustard
Diced frozen organic onions (about 2-3 medium sized onions worth)
Olive oil
3/4-1 bag of shredded organic sharp cheese and/or Mexican blend (I know, sounds strange but it was perfect!)
2-3 large tomatoes
Basil, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (or minced garlic)
black olives
Bake pie crust according to the directions. Slice tomatoes and arrange on plate. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 30 minutes. Saute' onions in olive oil. Baste cooked pie crust with Dijon mustard. Spread cooked onions to cover the crust. Cover the onions with cheese. Sprinkle basil generously over the cheese. Cover cheese with tomatoes. Mix 2-3 Tbsp olive oil, garlic, basil and spread over tomatoes. Decorate with black olives. Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Let sit for about 20 minutes before serving. 

P.S. With all this talk of vegetables I'm sure you're wondering if we still make time for our favorite cupcakes? Of course, because it's all about balance right?!

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