Children and Food Rituals-Days 6 & 7

Habits, traditions, rituals and even memories are often associated with food.  I’ve really been thinking about how much of what we eat is connected with what we do. We create rituals associated with food. Some good, some not so good.
I inadvertently developed a  bad food habit with my kids. We have bible study in town one night a week. It’s a late night and we get home after their normal bedtime.  On our way home it’s become our habit to drive through Taco Bell. Lil’ Z always orders two cheese roll ups and Big Z usually goes for a potato soft taco, and I always order the 7 layer burrito. We bring it home and watch a recorded episode of “Chopped”.
Well, I guess I didn’t think about it too much before starting this 10 Day Challenge. I justified that we ate healthy most of the other time and this was a treat. But this week I had to be creative when bible study night came around. I drove a different way home so we didn’t pass Taco Bell. I also made a big deal about making homemade ice cream and pointed to that as our special treat when we came home. The kids didn’t mention Taco Bell though I was sweating it.
I was glad to hear that I wasn’t the only parent that has set up some food rituals that I needed to skirt around this week. Simply Natural Mom wrote an article about her creativity in arranging dinner at ‘mom’s restaurant’.  Kids love it when we make special food for them and give it some thought. One goal I have after finishing the 10 Day Real Food Challenge is that  I hope from here on out to divert their attention from Taco Bell and make a healthier food habit.
It’s eye-opening to realize how much of our traditions and forms of entertainment are associated with food. I was working on this post when I noticed Gabe wrote about her family  tradition of rolling cabbage rolls for Easter. Food has a way of making memories.  I love when we visit my husband’s family in Portugal that an entire day can be spent leisurely eating one scrumptious dish after another. You only need to take small breaks to fill up your glass of port.
This week we had to distract the  kids from the free cookie at the grocery store bakery and lead them to the free balloon instead. I also had to give up my habit of a piece of dark chocolate after dinner. We have a ritual each evening of having a cup of tea together as a family. We usually have it with a cookie or sweet treat of some kind. So we’ve made adjustments there as well. I don’t think I realized how much sweets were a part of our routine. This is been a positive time for a change in that area.
So here’s what we’ve been eating lately:
Day 6
Breakfast-I made a giant omelet. Half of it was filled with cheese for the boys, and the girls had veggies including spinach, peppers, and onions.
Lunch- We were on the run. I packed a lunch of raw veggies (cucumbers, yellow peppers, carrots) with hard boiled egg with a side of Ranch Style dip*.  I made Moroccan Sweet Potato salad from the Simple Food cookbook.The kids also had string cheese.
Dinner-Vegetable fried rice with Miso soup. I started making it then I realized my soy sauce had sugar in it. Wha! I had spent so much time researching my soy sauce after switching from using Bragg’s liquid amino.  I was disappointed it had sugar, boo! So I had to get creative and season my rice a little differently than normal, but it turned out pretty good. I used Thyme, Cayenne, lots of black pepper and miso stock. The kids had shrimp with their rice.
Snacks- Funky Monkey fruit snacks, Breakfast cookies*
Day 7
Breakfast- We had to be out the door early this morning. Cereal ( shredded wheat) with honey, eggs, and bananas.
Lunch- Leftover Kidney Bean soup. Sprouted Corn tortilla quesadillas.
Dinner-Green Lentil Curry Coconut soup* with ‘Garden Fish’.  It was so delicious! I’ll share the Garden Fish recipe Monday. I also baked two loaves of Honey Whole Wheat bread* that we enjoyed with the soup.
Snacks- I made chocolate mousse ( cold cream from coconut milk whipped with vanilla, cocoa powder  and a little maple syrup) as a special dessert tonight with our evening tea.
* recipes can be found on  my Pinterest board for the 10 Day Real Food Challenge.

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Show Children Where Their Food is From -Days 4 & 5

Over the past few years, I have really enjoyed finding local sources for food. I’ve been thrilled with the quality of cheeses, baked goods and meats we’ve been able to find. While I’m a vegetarian, I do not mind feeding my family grass-fed, organic meats. We want our kids to grow up feeling connected to their food, so when they are older they’ll continue making wise food choices. By exposing them to small family farms and allowing them to have a role in growing their own food they’ll be able to make that connection. Farmers markets are a fantastic way to get kids connected with their foods. I’m so excited that New Harvest Farmer’s Market is opening next week. It’s fantastic to see the farmers each week and buy directly from them. If you are local to the Knoxville area you may be interested in contacting Green Chin Farms they do deliver weekly to South Knoxville. Call Morel at 865-933-0855.
I’ve written before about “our” cow, Crema.We participate in a cow’s milk and Goat cheese share at Green Chin Farms. She gave birth to a beautiful little calf on Monday. This morning one of the goats gave birth. So we were fortunate enough to go see the new babies on the farm. We were also able to see the new chicks and check out the organic vegetable garden. It was a great field trip. I think it’s very important for children to understand the difference between small family local farms and large factory farming institutions. As they get older, this helps them understand the reason for the supporting fast food places and eating ‘cheap’ food.

So are you curious what we ate for days 4 and 5 of the Real Food Challenge?
Day 4
Breakfast-Dippy eggs and toast. We also had a few breakfast casserole muffins left that we finished eating.

Lunch-I roasted a large pan of vegetables including beets, fennel, Brussel sprouts, onions, carrots and cauliflower. I drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper.  We ate the roasted veggies with the rest of the tomato caper salad.
Dinner- I made Eggplant Involtini * with a side dish of sauteed spinach with lemon. It was beyond delicious.  I’ve always enjoyed Eggplant Parmigiana when it’s fried crispy. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the eggplant in it’s more natural state. It was a rich and creamy dish. It was just me and the kids for dinner and we really enjoyed it. Even my three-year-old ate up two of the eggplant roll-ups.I will make this recipe again. I’m already looking forward to eating the two small rolls leftover.
Snacks-Lemon Ice cream, smoothie popsicles, dehydrated fruit.
Day 5
Breakfast- Whole Grain Pancakes. My mom shared with me a great recipe that includes whole wheat flour, rolled oats, flax seed and yogurt. I can post the recipe if anyone is interested. We topped the pancakes with bananas and maple syrup.
Lunch- Remember when I made rice and beans earlier in the week. I cooked a large batch of kidney beans, so I used the remainder of the beans to make Kidney Bean Soup.  We enjoyed the soup with some whole grain rye crackers that I was able to find at Big Lots. The soup is a recipe from my husband’s mother. I hope to post it soon. This is also what my husband took to work for his lunch.
Dinner-We had some leftovers built up so I decided to clean out the fridge. I dove into the Eggplant Involtini. The kids enjoyed some Broccoli Gribiche, roasted veggies and eggs.
Snacks- Smoothie Popsicles, Maple Pecan Breakfast cookies* (yum!) raw veggies and Ranch Style dip*
We’re half way through the challenge. I really hope we can continue to eat like this. I’m feeling good and the kids are enjoying it. My  husband jokingly said today, “I”m craving some high fructose corn syrup!” My daughter was quick to reply, “That’s silly, ’cause we don’t eat that anyway.”

What are we eating? Days 1-3

Our Dinner Last Night

Here we are already finished with the third day of our ten-day real food challenge. I must say I’m feeling very motivated with all of the positive feedback I’m receiving from everyone. So far the challenge is really helping me realize that our family was too dependent on organic junk food for snacks. Yes, those little packets of gummy fruits and fun shaped crackers were convenient, but at what cost? This challenge has really opened my eyes to the amounts of sugar my children were eating.
I went to my local food co-op Three Rivers Market to start my grocery shopping for the week. I picked up lots of bulk nuts and other goodies. Early Sunday we headed to Kroger to do the remainder of our grocery shopping. We have a new-ish Kroger on Broadway here in Knoxville that has a fantastic organic produce department. We spent about $100 at the co-op and about $120 for food at Kroger. I’m curious how this challenge will influence my budget this month. I’ll keep you updated.
Day 1
Breakfast- Creamed Kale and Eggs*. I loved it, my husband ate it but he is not crazy about greens, the kids ate it but didn’t clean their plates. I did overcook the eggs, so the yolk was not as runny like it should have been. I think I”ll try it again and try to cook it properly this time.
Lunch- Creamed Vegetable Soup* with Wasa crackers. Everyone LOVED this. I made an extra large batch of soup hoping we could have some for leftovers or lunch the next day. I’m happy to report that by the end of the night the entire pot of soup was gone.
Dinner- We made crab legs with butter for the kids. This was their treat from the grocery store trip today. A much better choice than the ‘free’ cookie the bakery offers though it was a little harder on the wallet. My husband and I ate more soup and my husband made me a grilled cheese on Honey Whole Wheat bread from the Old mill with Sauerkraut, cheddar cheese and apples. It was so delicious!
Snacks- The kids ate tons of watermelon (another grocery store treat, apple slices, baby tomatoes and carrot sticks with Ranch-style dip*. I also made dark chocolate whole wheat brownies* that evening. The kids each tried one and had a cup of tea before bed.
Day 2
Breakfast- I am still feeling highly motivated and inspired so I made my own version of Breakfast Casserole Bites. Some with grass fed hamburger and blue cheese for the meat eaters. For the vegetarians in the house, I made cheddar cheese, pepper, onion, and spinach casserole bites. Everyone loved it, kids gobbled it up. I used our own eggs and the Old Mill bakery Honey Whole Wheat ends to use in the bites. We had a few left over, that will come in handy for snacks or a breakfast on the run.
Lunch- I was running errands after breakfast and we were getting hungry. Fortunately, I packed some dehydrated fruit and Lara bars for the kids until we got back to make lunch. We went to my parents house to spend the afternoon. Mom and Dad are doing the challenge too so that made lunch easier. We made Caprese grilled cheese sandwiches* with ‘french fries’. For my husband’s lunch, he took a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We were able to find a nice strawberry jelly with no sugar. He had a lunch meeting with the Vice President of the company. It made for interesting conversation as to the reason why he wasn’t eating the catered lunch they brought in. He said, at least he made an impression. 😉
Dinner- I had soaked some kidney beans the night before. So I was able to come home and make some brown rice and beans for dinner. We ate it with sprouted corn tortillas. The kids loved this meal. My 3-year-old gobbled his down, it shocked me how much he ate. This is a staple meal around here, so I already knew everyone would enjoy it. I made a large batch of beans so I can use them later in the week for another meal.
Snacks- My mom made power balls* that the everyone loved. They helped me out with my chocolate cravings too. We finished the evening with a whole wheat brownie and a cup of tea.
Day 3
Breakfast- I soaked steel cut oats. I’m embarrassed to say I was multi-tasking and left the kitchen and my oats burned. I was still able to salvage enough for breakfast, phew! I topped the oats with maple syrup, cinnamon, whole yogurt and apples.
Lunch- My favorite lunch so far, it was so fantastic!I found it in the Super Natural Every Day cookbook. Broccoli Gribiche is a fantastic dish made of roasted potatoes and broccoli. You made a dressing over it made of olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers, mustard, and herbs. Then you dice a few hard boiled eggs and mix it all together. YUM! I think this is a dish that would be great to take on the run or to pack in a lunch. I served it with polenta ‘fries’ and red sauce. The kids also had the last piece of their crab legs and butter. I have lots of leftovers from this meal, we’ll see what is left at the end of the day. My husband took leftover rice and beans for his lunch today.
Dinner- It was just me and the kids for dinner so I went very simple. I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner either, but it still turned out fantastic. I made tomato and caper salad with roasted chickpeas and leftover Broccoli Gribiche.
Snacks- Mozzarella string cheese snacks and smoothies. The leftovers from the banana, berry and milk smoothies were put into popsicle holders to be snacks for later. I made lemon ice cream with sour cream, yogurt, milk, lemon juice and honey. That was our special treat for our long day.
I am very thrilled with the response from the community on taking on the Real Food Challenge. If you follow me on facebook you’ll be able to see all of the posts from local bloggers and those participating in the challenge.They are sharing some of their struggles, menus and what they are learning through the process. One of our local Farmer’s Markets is opening next week. That will be just the push I’ll need to keep going down this real foods path.
All recipes marked with an * can be found on my Pinterest board set up for the 10-day challenge.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday’s hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Real Food 101, Whole Food Wednesdays, and Simple Lives Thursday.