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Happy New Year: Resolutions?

Posted by on Jan 1, 2013 in Blog Posts | 6 comments

Last night M wanted a “buffet” to celebrate the end of 2012. I asked what she meant, “You know, little bowls with the food in it.” Since we serve family-style, this is pretty much what we do every night, so I asked her to elaborate.

“You know, where you stand up and get lots of little things and then eat somewhere else.”

I suggested lots of little, easy things, but she begged for Turkey Curry. I decided to let her run the menu (I added the scallops) and here is what we came up with… Lettuce for the curry wraps, cherry tomatoes, boiled beets with EVOO and Balsamic Crema (a Christmas gift, basically reduced balsamic in a bottle, who knew?) shallots and cilantro for the curry, shrimp (on skewers no less) with cocktail sauce, pan-seared scallops (M did not like these) and little cupcakes from Whole Foods. I ran through the frozen food section looking for some kind of app I could throw in the oven, but none of it grabbed our attention. Anyway, we set it up on the counter and ate at a nicely decorated table. (And we’ll have turkey curry left-overs on the 2nd…)

And M helped a lot. Usually she helps for about five minutes and then is off to play. This time she put in serious effort for about 40 minutes… Having kids help plan a menu and have some control and ownership means they will be more likely to help, and get that pleasant exposure to the food, and maybe try it. (Especially for children with sensory issues or who have had traumatic experiences around foods, smelling, passing, and handling foods helps them get comfortable with them long before they may be willing to taste them, but it helps immensely. They may be more willing to help with food prep than participate in the more structured therapeutic play with food, like painting with foods etc.)  M was grossed out by the smell of the scallops, but she patted them dry and even laid them in the butter. She tried the teensiest bit before spitting it into the paper napkin with no fuss. (Feeding tip #2, always have a paper napkin on hand. Kids are more likely to put something in their mouths if they can spit it out.)

Happy New Year!

If you’re stuck with feeding, now may be a time to feel energized, learn more, perhaps work on getting everyone to the table for a meal, or planning to include one of your old favorites with dinner, even if your child won’t eat it right away! My resolutions:

  1. Get really good at cooking roasts (so far I tend to overcook them, and my $40 thermometer seems no better than the cheap ones. I am thinking it’s off by about 10 degrees as it still was at 150 when the pork was totally overcooked…)
  2. Find more oven sides and recipes so I can fully enjoy my new double-oven. Yay!
  3. Cook a tater-tot hot dish in honor of my new home-state of Minnesota.
  4. Try a few more new recipes. Don’t be afraid to cook something new, even if I think M won’t like it.
  5. Let M do more food prep (including cutting) and try not to freak out. (She burned her finger trying to flip pork chops with tongs. Live and learn, but it’s hard to let them learn that way…)
  6. Do better planning so I don’t throw out as much food. (Use those green beans before they get slimy!)

That’s about all I can come up with for now. Do you have any resolutions?

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  1. Dana

    My resolutions:
    1) Incorporate more bean/lentil dishes into our diet. I have a great pressure cooker that I’m finally comfortable using. . . I just need more great recipes and inspiration!
    2) Let my 4 year old do more food prep, since he loves to help. Like you, Katja, I find it hard to see him get hurt when he tries to do things, and it’s also hard to curb my impatience when he is much slower than I at peeling, scrubbing, mixing, etc.
    3) Involve my 7 year old in meal planning more often, in hopes of sparking his interest in helping with meal prep as well.

    If you find a great tater tot casserole, please share the recipe!

    I’ve heard you can calibrate your meat thermometer by plunging the probe into boiling water and checking the reading, then into an ice water slurry and checking that reading as well. Many thermometers have a little doo-dad that can be adjusted if they are inaccurate. Finally, are you always inserting the thermometer as much of the way into the roast as you can? I’ve had trouble sometimes getting inaccurately low temp readings when I have a smaller cut of meat or haven’t been careful to get most of the thermometer’s probe in.

    • katja

      Yes, I always think we need to do more lentils too!I’ll check the thermometer trick! It was hard trying to get all the little things ready and waiting for her to flip something, or stir it, and it flies everywhere. Hard for me not to sigh or get frustrated 🙂 especially when I’m hungry! Happy New Year!

  2. Christine Hanson

    I love your resolutions! Here are mine regarding food:

    1. Eat breakfast, even if it’s just grabbing a cereal bar and/or a piece of string cheese on the way out the door.
    2. Plan dinner in advance so I’m not tempted to say, “Let’s just eat out!” when I get home late. (This has been way too hard on my wallet lately.)
    3. Develop an arsenal of “dinner on the fly” recipes and ideas that are always ready to go on short notice. (Right now my main one is Rice & Bean bowls – rice, black beans, topped with taco toppings like salsa, cheese, sometimes sliced avocado or leftover meats.)
    4. Don’t overbuy fresh produce so I don’t end up throwing food away.
    5. Every day, drink 1 glass of red wine, 1 glass of orange juice, and eat 1 ounce of dark chocolate, plus take my vitamins. (I have blood pressure issues and doing this over the past month helped me avoid adding a new medication. Now I need to keep it up.)
    6. Make better use of my crockpot.

    • katja

      yes, I think breakfast helps a lot! Have you seen the milk boxes? Those might be a great addition to the cereal bar… Yes, planning dinner and dinner on the fly, I should add those too! Your go-to sounds yummy! Ours is Annie’s mac n cheese with peas and a fancy hot god/sausage, with some kind of fruit, but I need to get more imaginative! Yes to #4 as well. Just had to toss a cucumber yesterday… Interesting about the BP. Why the juice? What about it is helping the BP in general? Maybe even just sitting and relaxing and enjoying the wine and chocolate helps 🙂 I remember being impressed with deep breathing/biofeedback in terms of BP help as well. Good luck and keep us posted!

    • Zahra

      A good quick recipe is carnitas tacos (as long as you do the slow-cooked carnitas some weekend and freeze the meat). There’s a good recipe on Epicurious. You could also do some slow-cooked onions (slice some sweet onions, cooked with butter in slow-cooker, freeze in small portions) and use them for quick onion soup during winter. I think I found that one on Epicurious too.

      My own resolutions are more about getting fit and moving (I’ve been awfully sedentary while writing my master’s thesis), but I also want to move to leaner recipes and using less simple carbs in my diet. I must be careful about my weight as I could get type 2 Diabetes pretty easily if I crosst he obesity BMI threshold.

      • katja

        Cooking pork shoulder in the slow cooker for pulled pork and carnitas is one of the few things I like to make in the slow cooker! I also freeze it in pulled batches. Never thought of doing onions in the slow cooker, but I do have in mind to make up some mir poix (spelling) with carrots, celery and onions in a huge batch and freeze for quick soups…Thanks for the reminder. We ate a lot of pulled pork for awhile, so we got kind of sick of it, but I think we’d be ready for it again. Can also keep buns in the freezer so that helps.
        Good luck finding ways of moving that are fun and rewarding. The good news is that regardless of weight, when folks practice eating competence and move their bodies, they enjoy health benefits of better blood sugar, pressure and cholesterol. Whether you gain, lose or stay the same, healthy habits lead to better health. In spite of what we hear, there is no magic threshold in terms of BMI. I always find it fascinating that BMI of 29.9 is overweight, 30 is “obese” and a child in the US who is “overweight,” after traveling to the UK, can be in the “normal” range. It’s arbitrary… I had “obese” patients who were healthy, and thin vegetarians with diabetes, it’s just really complex stuff. I watched an “obese” family member with some pretty unhealthy lab work reverse it all with exercise (he was already a very competent eater with a great varied intake) just by adding exercise. He lost a few pounds, still in the “obese” range, but metabolically healthy.