Self-fulfilling prophecies

I’ve noticed that Sweet Potato rarely eats meat. I try to give her a little piece every time we eat meat, but I can’t remember the last time I saw her eat chicken, beef or sausage. Last week we had talapia, and she was brave enough to try it, but promptly spit it out. (I told her “you just haven’t tried it enough times yet,” and felt good about remembering that line.) Now I’m beginning to wonder how much I’ve talked about her distaste for meat in front of her. And how much of this talk is she internalizing and then acting out? Is her little brain thinking “Mama says I don’t like meat, so I’m not going to eat that chicken.”?  Do we, as American parents, sabatoge our own efforts to get our children to eat good food by reminding them that they “don’t like” something?

Just in case, I’ve decided to stop talking about Sweet Potatoe’s dislikes in front of her. If I’m going to talk about her food preferences, it’s going to be to brag about what she does eat, and how she is adventurous and brave about new foods, even if that stretches the truth a bit.  If Sweet Potato is going to fulfill one of my prophecies, I want it to be a good one.

Now for some gratuitous photos.

Baker in Training

Chip off the Old Block


I love Brussels sprouts!!

What I ate at our meal. I had to take a picture because it was really pretty, and particularly healthy.


What Sweet Potato started with (except that she had already eaten her strawberries)

What Sweet Potato started with (except that she had already eaten her strawberries)


Isn't Mama proud?

At meal’s end. When comparing these photos, it becomes clear that healthy food brings joy.

This was the first time she had eaten her entire slice of quiche in several months.  I was elated! I also discovered that she’ll eat Brussels sprouts if they’re quartered, but not if they’re halved. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the difference.


Menu week 4

Monday- Beans and rice burritos

Tuesday- Leftover Chicken curry and rice

Wednesday- Ham, potatoes, green beans and applesauce at church

Thursday- Broiled salmon, corn pudding and peas

Friday- Leftover honey-sesame chicken with rice, peas and carrots

Weekend- Enchiladas (of some sort. It’s Cinco de Mayo, right?), eating out, and leftover beans and rice.

If anyone has a good enchilada or enchilada casserole recipe, I’m looking for options. I’d like something that I can make with beans and vegetables, possibly no meat. I have a feeling I’m going to be making up a recipe, but that is always so much easier if I have a few good recipes to get ideas from.

Happy cooking!

Menus week 3

Here it is!

Monday: Pizza- so we can earn extra points with Papa John’s and get a free pizza soon!

Tuesday (Sweet Potato’s first birthday!): Broiled salmon with broccoli, carrots and quinoa (left over pasta for Sweet Potato)

Wednesday: Pot roast at church

Thursday: Pasta with zucchini and meat sauce

Friday: Curry chicken with brown rice

Saturday: Birthday Party! Grilled chicken, asparagus, corn (on the cob I think), fruit salad, cupcakes and pots de creme (in case the babies don’t like cupcakes).  I plan to make chocolate cupcakes with raspberry cream cheese icing. I think they’ll be pretty!

Sunday: leftovers and fried rice.

Another delicious week!

Flexitarian meals

Last week a friend an I were on a long run, and got to talking about healthy eating.  It turns out that there’s a lot of evidence  that humans are healthiest when we eat little meat and mostly plants. As Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  My friend has been thinking more about how to cut meat down in the diet of her family, and this is something that I have been working on for the past year or two, so I thought I’d share some meal ideas.

A recent one for us is fried rice. I know, it sounds unhealthy, but it isn’t too bad.  First I scramble two or three omega-3 eggs with a little lite soy sauce.  Then I sautee some mushrooms, snow peas or whatever I feel like adding in while also nuking a bag of mixed veggies.  I often use the SteamFresh “Asian medly” because it has a little seasoning. I normally don’t like to buy frozen vegetables with a sauce, but I figure this sauce is going to flavor the whole dish, so why not?  When the veggies are all cooked, I throw them in the wok with about 2 cups cold left-over brown rice, heat the rice through, then sprinkle a little more soy sauce on top.  The whole meal takes less than 10 minutes to fix, it’s tasty, and as my husband says, “this will be good for lunches.” It’s also good with some edamame thrown in to up the protein content.

Fried Rice

This was made with a little left-over mixed veggies and quinoa, as well as more frozen mixed veggies and brown rice.

Other meatless meals we like are Crustless quiche (from Simply in Season– a wonderful cookbook), beans and rice burritos (without the tortilla is good too) and chili sans meat. I also like to cut down on the amount of meat I put in some dishes. I find that I can make a big pot of spaghetti with 1/2 pound of ground beef rather than a full pound, and I honestly don’t notice the difference. I like to make chicken curry using 1/2 pound of chicken and about 1 cup of chickpeas for the protein source. When I’m eating out, I really like red curry made with tofu, but I haven’t gotten my husband to be quite that adventurous yet.  Most of these meals are pretty heavy on the starches, so adding non-starchy vegetables in the mix, or just having a small serving of the main dish along with a salad would be a good way to increase your vegetable intake as well as decrease your calorie intake.  Basically, you want about half of your plate to be vegetables.

This plate could use more vegetables and less quinoa. The meat portion looks right, though.

What are your favorite meatless or low-meat meals?