Foodie Friday: Parsnip Fries

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In a recent post, I shared my neighbour’s recipe for thick cut French fries made on the stovetop.

Now that our little ones are older and like the crunchy and oily taste of real french fries, I started thinking of a new way to serve my own version of this tasty treat. Like many kids, Mister and Missy don’t like to eat their vegetables. Veggies have to be cleverly disguised or served with an interesting dip for them to munch on them.

So the perfect french fry for Mister and Missy would have to be crunchy (for them), not fried (for Mama), and count as a full serving of vegetables (for Mama). So far I have tried baking French fries using regular and sweet potatoes. Then one day I felt adventurous and decided to try it with an unusual vegetable.. the parsnip. Parsnip is a sweet root vegetable which cooks or bakes quickly and tastes delicious with herbs and salt.

I found an easy recipe for Oven Roasted Parsnips here, and it was a hit! Try it out! One word of caution, the recipe calls for heating the oven to 450F which I found is too hot. Try roasting it at 375F.

2cuteblog enjoys experimenting with new recipes and is always looking for ways to let her three year old twins enjoy eating new things. You can check her out on her personal blog or follow her on twitter @2cuteblog.

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Foodie Friday: Stovetop French Fries

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At our children’s day care, Friday is “French Fry Day”. I know this because that is how Mister answered my question about what day it was. And why not, who doesn’t like French fries?

As a mom, I’m not too crazy about the idea of feeding my kids salty French fries from the Drive-Thru. And although I don’t mind the occasional treat of French fries, I am always trying to make healthy food for the kids.

Our neighbour N showed me a great way to make homemade French fries for Mister and Missy when they were toddlers.. boil the potatoes on the stovetop! This is a great meal for little ones who wouldn’t know the difference between boiled, baked or fried! Not only is it healthy and quick to make, it’s easy to little mouths to chew.

Below is the uber-simple recipe for you to try. Enjoy and let me know how it turns out.

Oh and stay tuned for my next post on how to make veggie fries.


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Foodie Friday: A Healthy Debate

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DDSeinfeldDo you ever cook dishes in which you hide nutritious ingredients that your family would usually refuse? Many home cooks have been doing this for decades, but Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious shows how mainstream it’s become to sneak fruits and vegetables into our children’s food.

SaraBeth’s Perspective

My husband is a picky eater.  I resigned myself to the fact that I’d need to get him eating better before we had children so he could set an example.  I see “sneaking in” some standard vegetables to be a great way to make a comfort food favourite into something with a little more nutritional punch.

I bought the Deceptively Delicious book for my sister at Christmas a number of years ago for her eldest daughter who lived on a beige diet of bread, chicken fingers and milk.  I decided to adopt some of the ideas for us adults to get us into the habit of getting a little more nutrition without sacrificing the flavor.

After reading Deceptively Delicious myself I started using some of the fundamentals of the book to get us eating a little bit better.  I’d routinely add spinach to casseroles, stews, sauces, eggs, I’d add a cup or two of bananas or blueberries to my muffins or pancakes or I’d make soups that pack a lot of blended vegetables to get us eating a little more green.  I sometimes even try some desserts that focus on fruits more, but would make those anyway because they taste so good.

When the minions were born my husband and I had a big talk about integrating food in a way that would get them exposed to a variety of different dishes, spices and so on.  Luckily both of our kids are good eaters, my daughter has a bit more of an adventurous palette with a penchant for spicy hummus, dill pickles and curries.  My son is a bit more meat and potatoes guy but still regularly chooses sliced vegetables and fruits for his meals.

Sometimes we need a bit of help reaching our fruit and vegetable quota for the day, parents and children included.  I think that adding fruits and vegetables into certain dishes has become more of a healthy recipe revolution than a sneak attack.  Then again I haven’t resorted to dehydrated kale chips or mixing spinach into chocolate shakes just yet, but I know that my children and their tastes change every day, so never say never.

Sadia’s Perspective

It took becoming a parent for me to realize that I wasn’t the expert on child-rearing I had always fancied myself to be. One of my most humbling realizations is that my M is an enormously picky child when it comes to food. Despite her willingness to try all sorts of things when we was a young toddler, she is picky, picky, picky today. I walked my talk and exposed my daughters to all sorts of flavours and textures when they were younger. Still, M has turned out to be difficult to feed.

I worried about M’s nutrition. Every time she refused a meal, I pictured her sliding even farther away from the growth chart than she was already. I decided to jump on the hidden food bandwagon. I hid pureed beans in muffins to give her a protein kick. I made my own ketchup from tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and pureed whatever-vegetable-I-had-on-hand. I hid cauliflower in macaroni and cheese only to discover one day that M suddenly hated mac and cheese, with or without cauliflower.

It was during a regular review of my parenting priorities that I began to realize that hiding nutrients wasn’t for us. My first life priority is the girls’ immediate well-being, and hiding sneaky recipes accomplished that. My second priority is their long-term well-being. I realized that by hiding the good food I was providing my daughters, I was standing in the way of their learning how to make good food decisions. I decided that teaching J and M good decision-making was more important than their food intake on any given day. For a while, I tried sneaking vegetables into the girls’ meals and also offering them what I wished they would eat. Before long, I got rid of all my sneaky recipes, and I haven’t looked back.

On occasion, J or M will refuse to eat the meal I’ve prepared. Instead of getting all flustered, I have the ungrateful picky child prepare a meal for herself. Lunch and dinner at our house must include a grain, a protein and a fruit or vegetable. A tortilla, a fistful of cashews and some apple slices? Sure. Cheerios, deli meats and carrots? Why not? Cinnamon toast, refried beans and mandarin oranges? Whatever, honey. I’m not seeking elegance, just nutrition.

The takeaway

Sneaking ingredients that your family wouldn’t eat into food that your family will eat is a great tool, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re struggling to get your children to eat a balanced diet, it may be worth a shot. Check out some ideas.

What do you think about “sneaky” recipes?

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Foodie Friday: Including vegetables in a toddler diet

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As always, if you have a food related topic you’d like to see discussed here, or a great resource you’d like to share with other moms, post it in the comment section. We love to hear from you!

Here at Foodie Friday, we got the following question from a MOT reader:

“I would love to see recommendations on getting fruits and veggies into toddlers. My two-year-olds loved vegetables of all kinds until they learned to turntheir noses up at them at daycare. Peer pressure starts young! I make a variety of vegetable pancakes, vegetable breads, and veggie nuggets that are successful with one of my girls, but hit and miss with the other.”

Ah, peer pressure at age 2. Life can be tough sometimes, even in daycare! Although, I know that lots of kids get to be picky eaters around 18-24 months. There are several schools of thought on this issue. One school of thought, which you can see reflected in some recent publications, focuses on hiding fruits and veggies in other kinds of food.

Danny LOVES him some chocolate banana smoothie
Danny LOVES him some chocolate banana smoothie

Check out this book or this one for examples of ways to do this. Of course, it doesn’t hurt the popularity of these books that one of these authors is married to a celebrity.

I tend to be more of a fan of veggies that are recognizable (yes, spinach brownies, I’m talking to you!). That’s just my opinion, and I acknowledge that at 15 months my kids have not yet hit the super picky stage. A couple of ways we get veggies in to their diet is mixed in with pasta, with lots of melted cheese on top. Peas, broccoli or spinach are good for this. I often see that the veggies are not eaten as thoroughly as the cheese or pasta, but they do eat some of them.We eat a lot of frozen small mixed veggies that are a mix of lima beans, green beans, carrots & peas. They are easy to prep and the kids seem to be amused by the choices. Oddly, the favorites are lima beans.

We have been experimenting with smoothies lately. Banana, frozen strawberries, vanilla yogurt is great. Or, for a more watery smoothie, use milk. Inspired by my new favorite drink at Starbucks (yes, I may as well direct deposit my paycheck there), we made banana/chocolate smoothies with whole milk, a little sugar, ice and cocoa powder. Those were a HIT! (See photographic evidence.)

Fresh fruit always seems to go over well—fresh raspberries picked off the bush out front were hugely popular, until the raspberry season ended. Fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, melon….what’s not to like? We also do a lot bags of frozen blueberries, defrosting

Notice Danny in the background, still REALLY enjoying that smoothie.
Notice Danny in the background, still REALLY enjoying that smoothie.

the frozen blueberries one at a time. Chunks of veggies in tomato sauce offer tomatos and other veggies. Chili is also popular, and will give them both tomatoes and red pepper.  Maybe fried rice? Make it with some egg and add some veggies?

What do others do? If you have had great success getting fruits and veggies into your two year old, let us know your secrets!

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