Monday, April 12, 2010

Eggplant (Berry) Lasagna

So I always have a hard time with the idea of making a meal that I think probably won't get eaten. Seems like a lot of work to freeze a bunch of meals for myself for lunches or to be thrown in the garbage. Luckily we have house guests this week, what a perfect time to try a new recipe!

I followed the directions exactly. I used regular lasagna noodles as I couldn't find any noodles that were thinner at my local grocery store. I just have to say, YUMMY! I'm not a huge eggplant fan. I've had it a couple of times and it's ok, nothing too exciting but this was fantastic. The Bechamel sauce probably is what made the dish but I really think this was a really healthy dinner! Oh and for sauce I used Jarred Fire Roasted tomato sauce.

I loved it. Obviously! It was rich and creamy and other than some Parmesan it had no cheese in it. I didn't know a low cheese vegetarian lasagna could be so incredible.

Kevin ate it and also liked it! I am completely shocked. He did make a comment that he could do without the eggplant skin. Next time I think I will peel half of it, in spirals to cut down on the amount of skin. It is a very healthy part of the plant so I don't want to remove it completely.

The kids boycotted dinner entirely except for croutons. Again I'm just going to keep making healthy food. It is entirely up to them on whether or not to eat it but faced with increasingly healthy, and only healthy, choices I am sure they will adapt and one day take the plunge. It helps that Kevin is eating the meals and helping to set a good example.

Our two guests also loved the lasagna and had two servings each! I am about to test the leftovers on a coworker as well so I will add in her comments next time. She's 1/2 Italian so I am sure she will have something to say!

Oh and I forgot to mention about the zucchini muffins! Kai did not want to eat them, being that they had green stuff in them so I picked off any visible dark green bits and Kai still didn't want to try it. I convinced him to have a bite. He still told me he didn't want it but I was able to get him to eat half of the muffin. Now Kai makes his opinions very well known when he doesn't like something. You can NOT make him eat something he truly hates so it was very obvious that he did actually like the muffin but was turned off by the green specs and didn't want to change his opinion. However he did eat another muffin later that night when he refused to eat dinner so I know that we can say a win for mommy!

That being said, if you have picky suspicious eaters like I do.. I'd suggest pureeing the zucchini, which is what I will do next time. That way you have all the good for you nutrients but without the negative reaction to green specs :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010


YUM! I love muffins. I especially love healthy muffins. Although they do have a lot of fat and sugar in them, I still snuck in vegetables so I am happy.

We had a busy day today, Kai has preschool on Saturdays and we are hunting for a new (to me) vehicle and we have company coming to stay with us this weekend so it's been crazy trying to get everything done. They boys also had their first Hip Hop dance lessons today. How cute is 10 3-5 year olds trying to dance? loved it. But on our way home is a famers market so we decided to check it out.

Kai loves grocery shopping, he loves weighing different foods, smelling them, tapping them etc. As soon as we drove up he started demanding that we find a watermelon and grapes. I was hoping to find something super inspirational... like purple carrots or candy striped beets. something to tempt me to make a beautiful plate of.. well.. something. The market was ok, not much is in season so almost everything was imported (sometimes I fantasize about living on the 100 mile diet) or hot house grown.

I did find some pretty foods though. As you can see most of this is fruit. Even the eggplant is actually not a vegetable (it's a berry!). But as I have said before, fruits and vegetables are one food group and I'm not going to sweat the small stuff.

It really was a rainbow of food. I love fresh produce,especially the dark purples, and how it makes me feel healthy just to stand beside it! haha. But now that I have this wonderful abundance.. what to make. The first one is easy.

Zucchini muffins! I haven't made them in forever but have always loved them. I hope to have full reviews tomorrow but for now it is safe to say that Perrin is a fan (he actually made them.. with a little direction of course). They were absolutely fantastic! now that Perrin and I approve, can we get Kevin and Kai to try them? that will be the challenge. The only changes I made were I used 2% milk & pumpkin spice instead of sour milk and the other spices.


Kai is in full swing with the watermelon and happy as a clam.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mmmm carrots

So while cooking dinner last night I decided to make some carrot soup. I LOVE the Knorr soups but they seem to be getting more and more expensive and I can't really justify soup in a box. And really if I am trying to live cleaner then I should just make my own!

I found the recipe on kraftcanada as well - I promise to look at other sites soon. I pretty much followed the recipe but maybe didn't cut my carrots small enough so they took a bit longer to cook, burning off more of the liquid so I added a bit more broth and water. I also used jarred ginger since that is what I had.

The kids observed my cooking, asking what I was making and taking a peak into the pot now and then. And when it came to puree the soup they were all eyes. They absolutely love the food processor so I usually put them in charge of it whenever I bring it out.

I tasted the soup and loved it. Probably could have used more ginger but I have also heard that the ginger is stronger the second day so we'll see since it is my lunch today. My food processor doesn't blend completely smooth but I don't mind a tiny bit of texture. Overall I was very happy with the soup and can't wait till lunch time!

DH took a spoonful and immediately scrunched up his face in revulsion. Thankfully the kids weren't in the room when I did it. I believe the words Ew Yuck came out of his mouth, or something along those lines. he complained that I didn't sufficiently prepare him by having a pop or something for him to wash it down with. A couple of minutes later he came by and complained that he could still taste the celery and that his eyes were still watering (there is 1 stalk of celery in the whole batch of soup - about 8-10 cups after cooking).

Kai agreed with a little pushing to taste a sample from the spoon and was also completely disgusted and quickly told me how awful it was. This is not a surprise. Kai hasn't eaten a cooked vegetable since he was a baby starting out on solids. I can occasionally convince him to eat a raw carrot though.

Perrin didn't want to taste it so when he wasn't looking I put about a 64th of a teaspoon on my finger and rubbed it on his teeth haha. Mean I know but I couldn't resist. He started sputtering and choking and sat there for a good 5 minutes making gagging sounds and wiping his hands over his face and mouth trying to remove the last trace of any of the soup.

Give me strength. Maybe I should hunt for a recipe that I think they will eat and see how that goes. Either way I will keep going. At the very least I know I am eating healthy nutritious food. Maybe they will one day follow suit.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Really! it's not that bad!

or so I think!

I made dinner - rosemary pork chops with roasted potatoes and carrots. I modified by using boneless pork chops because that is what I had in my freezer and greek salad because I didn't feel like 2 root vegetables.

Here's the recipe for the pork & potatoes
400 calories, 17 grams of fat & 4 grams of fibre for the recipe. Keeping in mind though that we had salad instead of carrots. So it's not 100% accurate but a good indication in any case. Also I think you could cut the fat by making your own breading.. but this is a kraft recipe so they are going to use shake n bake. And you know what? It really does the trick in a pinch.

Me: I thought the pork chops were fantastic! the dijon mustard that you coat them with before the breading creates great flavour and they were very moist. The potatoes left something to be desired as I found them extremly bland. probably should have tossed them with some left over breading before baking to give them a little extra. the greek salad was my own and as far as I am concerned, lovely ;) it was just orange peppers, cucumber and tomato with Kraft light greek dressing. simple.

Kevin (Dear Husband): Pork chop was good (he ate half of his - which is a rave review coming from him). Didn't say much about the potatoes but he put ketchup on them which isn't a good sign. He opted for cucumber pieces with a little light italian dressing as he doesn't do the greek salad thing. Overall I would consider this a successful meal as far as he is concerned.

Kai (5yo): I am NOT eating THAT! and that about sums it up. actually here is a picture, he opted for half a banana and apple instead of the measly food on his plate. He did attempt a nibble at the potato but rejected it. Hey at least he put it in his mouth! And really half a banana and half an apple is pretty healthy, even if it is only 1 of 4 food groups. As far as I am concerned there were no chicken nuggets, french fries or cereal bars. I'll consider this a win for mommy.

Perrin (3yo): picked up the potato, put it down. picked up a piece of orange pepper and put it down. Ate one bite of banana and then demanded milk (which I refused). And that's it for him today.

I also made a carrot soup. I'll talk about that tomorrow :)

Welcome picky eaters (or those who cook for them)

Welcome to picky eater caterers anonymous! Just kidding :) kind of!

My husband and kids are all very picky. the list of what they won't try is significantly longer than what they will. Like many families out there, the chances that the entire family will sit down and eat the same thing is getting slimmer and slimmer every day and I am simply not willing to exist on nuggets and fries!

I am not unaware of my problem. Or that I am making it worse by acting as a short order cook or allowing my children to exist on nutrigrain bars. I don't often have the energy or patience to sit at the table until bedtime trying to make sure they eat something that hasn't been processed more than any food should be nor ensure that I can pronounce every ingredient on the box.

Yet I can't ignore the fact that both my husband and I could certainly stand to lose some weight and our family isn't all that active. I am lucky so far in that despite my children's picky eating they are still a healthy weight. But I wonder as my oldest nears the age to start school in September.. am I feeding him good quality food that with nourish his body and mind and get him through the day? I have a niece who is very ill due to her diet, I know the risks involved. So why am I doing nothing?

Well I'm not really doing nothing, but probably not doing as much as I should. I am sure all the mommies and daddies out there understand my plight! and there are so many schools of thought. Clear the plate always, let you children choose what to put on their plates, have them help make dinner in the hopes they will taste their own creations or keep cooking the foods they like in the hopes that they will one day not consider the dinner table a battle ground and will reach out on their own for that carrot stick. yeah right. I won't hold my breath!

But what I will do, and my reason for starting this blog, is that I will aim to make 4 healthy dinners a week. I am going to focus at least one of those meals on something that could also make a quick and easy healthy lunch as we are only 5 months away until the start of elementary school and there is no way I am sending my son with a cereal bar, cheese stick and yogurt every day for lunch.

You are not alone out there, watching the Biggest Loser and Jamie Olivers Food Revolution and wondering how badly you may be screwing this up. I will let you know which recipes I am trying and where you can find them and the nutritional information. I'll even aim to use web recipes (such as from so you don't have to run out and buy a book. And I will give you all four ratings from myself (not picky at all) to my Husband Kevin (picky but willing to put on a brave face to taste it) and both boys Kai (5 and not currently eating anything "different") and Perrin (3 but randomly willing to put a new food in his mouth).

Who knows, maybe we'll find discover together a set of recipies that picky eaters really will eat that are actually healthy for the whole family. Maybe we will lose a few pounds together or see our kids come out of their fast food state. Maybe we will have a sense of accomplishment that we really are trying to do right by ourselves and our children and we can finally let go of some of that parent guilt.