Monday, May 30, 2011

Eating Better #1

Pleasantly Plump. my twenties. Colorado. a Dorothy costume.
 I have heard them all. People can truly be cruel. If you are reading this and you used to be one of those people who made me feel so horrible about myself....screw you. Don't try to flatter me now by reading my blog. But I must admit, the memory of all the hurtful things said to me has fueled me to change my situation.

Since adolescence, I have yo-yo'd back and forth between a 14 and an 20, through the birth of three children and countless other life events. The real culprit was poor eating habits, not at all helped by low activity. I really love food, I am in school to become a chef so I love to cook...and eat. I also have three children, ages one, three and nine. These kids are hard to please all at once, so I was giving in to my busy schedule and letting them have McDonalds a couple times a week. Not a good idea. I realized this one day when my three year old turned down a PB+J and told me he wanted "Donald's fries" and proceeded to scream himself into a fit.

OK, something needed to change...I am a smart mom and a great cook, so I figured I could make them food that was better for them, feed their brains and that they would actually want to eat. I knew it was going to be a challenge to change their palettes but I figure I have nothing but time. Then I decided, why not keep a record of all the recipes I try to help other moms feed their kids healthier? I also decided to try to keep each meal under $4 per person....stay tuned for more recipes as I make them for my family.

Eating Better Recipe #1

Kid Friendly Salad Nicoise-
Green vegetables, a "fruit", hearty potatoes and plenty of protein make this a great dish for the whole family. It is traditionally served with the eggs cold, potatoes warm, and the rest at room temperature, giving it more layers of interest. I boiled my eggs and potatoes ahead of time and then right before serving, I cut my potatoes in half, tossed them in salt and pepper and good olive oil and grilled them cut side down until warm. I serve mine with home made garlic toast.

-boiled red skin potatoes (when i was ready to serve, I tossed them in S+P and EVOO, cut them in half and grilled them till warm,)
-cherry tomatoes
-hericot vert, steamed (pronounced hairy co-vair...its just long french green beans, I found mine @WM)
-hard boiled eggs
-albacore tuna (the classic recipe calls for a rare tuna steak...which my kids wouldn't like)
-black olives (kalamata is the norm, but again, not for the kiddos...I had mine on the side for the picture)
-lemon basil vinaigrette

Arrange all the ingredients on a family sized platter and either toss with the vinaigrette or serve the vinaigrette on the side.

Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette-
1- 1½ tsp. dijon mustard
the juice of 1-2 lemons (taste them before you use them, I have ruined many sauces with a bitter lemon)
¼-⅓ cup of good extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. of fresh basil chiffonade* or a good pesto
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
-----> Starting with the smaller amount listed, put all ingredients into a small recycled jar with a lid and shake away until emulsified.  Taste and adjust the amounts as needed to taste.
Store in fridge but use at room temperature.

* To chiffonade basil (or any fresh leafy herb) take your leaves and stack them one by one on top of each other like pages of a book. Then take the whole stack and roll it into a tube shape. Then cut lengthwise across the "tube" of basil. When you loosen your strands you will have something resembling confetti. DO NOT DO THIS STEP AHEAD (unless you are putting it right into a recipe) as you will bruise and damage your basil too far before its use.

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