Sunday, April 18, 2010

Other Adventures

We're slowly getting back into the groove of things on here.  This week Noelle picked out an interesting wrap that we will try.  My gut is that she isn't going to enjoy it because it has feta, hummus, and other vegetables.... but I wasn't going to say no.  Stay tuned for that update.

On other adventures, Livia had her bi-annual trek to a Mongolian barbecue for her birthday.  She tried eggplant for the first time and enjoyed it.  She tried shrimp again and didn't like the texture so much.  Other staples she delved into, of course, would be any of the following: lo mein, almond jello, asparagus, and other assorted vegetables.  Earlier in the spring, she tried dumplings and loved them.

One key to getting the girls to eat more for me is: chop sticks!  They will eat everything (and I mean everything) without fuss if I hand them a pair.  (Aside from the usual flavor issues) This site has training chop sticks and really affordable kids sticks in different varieties:
Mrs. Lin's Kitchen

For parents looking for a "reward" with your kids.  I have been using cooking time as a reward for Livia... I had been using it for potty training but that only worked for about a week.  Potty training is a whole other ball game.  But she does love cooking time and she has fun participating.  She is an expert lime zester right now.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Beastly Burgers

From the "Royal Recipe" collection we decided to try the following:

Change the Dress Color Biscuits:

Ingredients needed:refrigerated biscuits, creamy peanut butter, fresh apple chunks, blue/pink decorating sugar
Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  peanut butter, apple
Items new to Livia:  none, just the combination

Beastly Good Burgers:

Ingredients needed: ground beef, barbecue sauce, pineapple preserves, whole wheat dinner rolls, french-fried onions

Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  everything

Items new to Livia:  barbecue sauce, pineapple preserves, french-fried onions

Wishing Well Pasta:
Ingredients needed: multigrain rotini, cubed lean ham, snow peas, ranch dressing, grape tomatoes

Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  snow peas, ranch, and grape tomatoes
Items new to Livia:  snow peas

The Results

Beastly Good Burgers

Mom's reaction:  These will absolutely get cooked again.  Nice and easy and a little twist to regular burgers by adding the pineapple.

Noelle's reaction: I think she liked the multigrain bun the best, but she ate it.  She was very hesitant but ended up enjoying the entire thing.  Fingers crossed I can get her to try these later.

Livia's reaction:  She loved them.  She ended up having four of the mini-burgers.

Change the Dress Color Biscuits:

Mom's reaction:  I would make these again without the apple.  I am not a fan of cooked fruit and cooked apples are one of the worst to me.  I did try one due to the whole experiment, but I definitely liked this with the peanut butter only.

Noelle's reaction: She pretty much falls in line with me on these ones.  She liked the biscuit and the peanut butter but not the apple.  At least I'm not alone with the lack of fondness in cooked apples.... although Noelle probably isn't the most credible source.  :-)  She sure did have fun decorating these though so it was nice getting her involved.

Livia's reaction: Surprisingly Livia agreed with us.  The girl who likes everything did not like the cooked apple inside.

Wishing Well Pasta:

Mom's reaction:  The ranch dressing killed this for me.  I'm not a huge fan of ranch so another type of dressing would have been much better.  This just tasted like a lot of components in ranch.  Not very flavorful. 

Noelle's reaction: Ultimate fail.  She hated the whole thing.  She would have eaten the pasta without the dressing.

Livia's reaction: She ate this but hesitantly.  I think Livia is starting to develop the need for more seasoning and flavors as well.

Overall, I think the burgers will get made again and the biscuits (without apples).  This newer cookbook is lacking in flavor for me so far... but it's easy which is nice on some weeknights when trying to put things together.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Interesting Breakfast/Dessert Combination

(Yes, I am backdating posts.  I'm a bit behind as usual.)

From the "Royal Recipe" collection we decided to try the following:

Hail to the King Stacks:
Ingredients needed: frozen waffles, lemon or vanilla pudding, and fresh blueberries

Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  Blueberries and lemon pudding
Items new to Livia:  Lemon pudding

The Results

Just to give a little background, I made this as a "dessert" for one of our breakfast night meals.  After work, I am always looking for quick and easy things to make.  This definitely was quick and easy.  I wondered if it would be a way to possibly get Noelle to try and eat some blueberries.  

Noelle's reaction:  She liked the waffles and the pudding until it got a bit soggy from sitting too long.  She definitely does not like blueberries.  I think I'm going to hold off on trying to get her to eat fresh fruit for awhile.  

Livia's reaction:  She loved it but was more interested in picking out the blueberries than anything else.

PS:  Anybody who wants a copy of this Disney Princess cookbook.... let me know.  I PDF-ed all of the recipes.  I know that's sorta breaking a bunch of rules, but there was no other way for me to get a copy of these.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Miscellaneous New Things

Okay, so since attempt #2, things got a bit busy.  But that hasn't stopped us from trying new things. 

Livia has really taken an interest in cooking.  A few weekends ago she decided she wanted to help me make steak.  I let her pick what spices we used.  She was very stern that she wanted garlic, pepper and salt.  So that's what we used.  I let her put the spices on the meat and I cooked it up for her.  She also selected carrots and black beans/rice for our meal.  She's also decided she likes pickles, cucumbers without skins, and yellow bell peppers.

Noelle LOVED the steak.  She was lukewarm on the black beans/rice and was not a fan of the carrots at all.  But at least I got another protein in her diet.  So I'm succeeding in getting Noelle to like pork, chicken, turkey and steak over the course of January. Rice has been a nice addition.  So we're getting somewhere slowly.  She still is quite intimidated to try new foods and often 'yucks' things before even tasting it.  But we're getting somewhere.

Noelle picked a cookbook out at library at school so we're going to add it into our mix:  Disney Princess Royal Recipe Collection.  Of course, it's out of print and 30 bucks on ebay.... so I might just be making some photocopies of the recipes.  I hate having to do that, but the book is great.  If anybody knows where a cheap copy of it can be found, would love it. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Our Second Attempt: Fruit Fun

For attempt #2, they selected our dinner menu (mostly):

Louis's Alligator Cake (from Tiana's Cookbook, chosen by Livia)
Ingredients needed for the cake:  Bundt cake, white frosting, green food coloring, marshmallow, malt balls, gumdrops, M&Ms, white-yogurt covered pretzels
-I had to use Angel food cake and ditched the pretzels

Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  Angel food cake
Items new to Livia:  none

Swirling Mermaid Smooties (from Mermaid Cookbook, chosen by Livia)

 Ingredients needed:  vanilla yogurt, banana, milk, fresh cherries, orange juice

Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  cherries
Items new to Livia:  none (the combination is new though)

Fruit Salsa (from the Mermaid Cookbook, chosen by Noelle)
 Ingredients needed:  kiwi, Granny Smith apples, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, strawberry preserves, lime zest
-I added blackberries to the mix

Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  everything
Items new to Livia: kiwi, lime (she actually did start eating lime slices as I was working)

We needed a protein so I found a nice cranberry chicken recipe from All Recipes
Cranberry Chicken III (chosen by Amanda)
 Ingredients needed:  chicken, salt, pepper, jellied cranberries, corn syrup, lemon juice, melted butter, and dried rosemary
-I added parsley to the marinade

Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  everything
Items new to Livia: jellied cranberries


The results:

Swirling Mermaid Smoothie

Noelle's Reactions: Noelle loved it.  I think this was her favorite part of the meal.  If I puree all of her fruits and veggies into smoothies, I may have success.

Livia's Reactions:  Livia was fascinated with the "swirl" of the drinks and liked this equally as much.

Mom's Reactions:  I thought it tasted great and was easy to make.  You just make two separate smoothies and pour them at the same time into a glass.  I'm still not a huge fan of smoothies (I'd rather have my fruit in its natural form) but I'll make these every meal if it gets Noelle to have a full serving of fruits.

Overall success:  Win-win

Fruit Salsa

Noelle's Reactions: This was the major challenge of the meal.  Noelle has a real problem with eating fruits.  She will eat apple sauce but cannot eat apples.  The only fruit she ever would eat is banana.  She was unable to get past a blueberry.  Noelle definitely does not like the texture of fruit.  So this definitely leads me to believe that smoothies are the way to go with her most nights; however, I won't stop trying to get her to try new things when it comes to her fruits.

Livia's Reactions:  Livia had a great time helping me make this salad and she loved eating it even more.

Mom's Reactions: I will absolutely make this again.... at least for Livia and myself. Highly recommend this recipe.

Overall success:  No Win - Win

Cranberry Chicken III + Brown Rice

Noelle's Reactions: Noelle really liked the chicken.  She's never been a fan of most meats and she liked this.  Of course, about four pieces in she got incredibly stubborn and didn't want to finish her meal.  She also enjoyed the brown rice that went along with it.

Livia's Reactions:  DEVOURED this.  She had two small chicken breasts to herself and two helpings of rice.

Mom's Reactions:  LOVED this as well.  I think this meal is something that I will make again for a larger crowd.  The chicken has just the right amount of sweet and went well with the fruit salsa.  I highly recommend trying the recipe.  I baked the chicken after browning it (rather than grilling) with the marinade on. 

Overall success:  Win - Win all around

Louis's Alligator Cake

Noelle's Reactions: Loved it of course.  It's all candy and sweet.

Livia's Reactions:  Livia lived this but not as much as Noelle.  She did like the fact that her tongue turned green after eating the icing.

Mom's Reactions:  The cake was cute, but I'm not a craft dessert person.  Much like Week 1's dessert, I found this kind to be a pain to make.  The kids loved it, though, so it was worth it.  I'd make it again. 

Overall success:  Win - Win all around

And that was our second experiment.  It's been pretty fun.  If I can find just one new thing each week Noelle likes, I consider this mission a success.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Beginning of the Game

So we start the game.  I decided to make a point of trying to coax my oldest (and picky) daughter, Noelle, into trying (or re-trying) new foods with me and her younger sister, Livia,  (hopefully) every week.  Call is a new years resolution of sorts.  Santa gave them each a themed cook book we're going to use in the beginning as inspiration.  The two cookbooks we're going to be using initially are:

Tiana's Cookbook Recipes for Kids (from the Princess and the Frog of course)
Mermaid Cookbook (by Barbara Beery)

For this weekend, they selected our dinner menu:

Mama Odie's Muffuletta Sandwich (from Tiana's Cookbook, chosen by Noelle)
Ingredients needed for the Muffuletta Spread:  pimento-stuffed green olives, tomato, garlic, oregano, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper
Ingredients for the sandwich:  Italian bread, olive oil, sliced baked ham, salami, provolone cheese, and swiss cheese

Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  green olives, tomato, swiss cheese, balsamic vinegar
Items new to Livia:  green olives, swiss cheese

Swamp-Water Smoothie (from Tiana's Cookbook, chosen by Livia)

 Ingredients needed:  orange juice, nonfat yogurt, blueberries, frozen banana 

Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  orange juice, blueberries
Items new to Livia:  none (the combination is new though)

Sea Turtle Cookies (from the Mermaid Cookbook, chosen by Noelle)
 Ingredients needed:  pecans, caramels, milk chocolate chips, and candy decorations

Items new or re-introduced to Noelle:  pecans
Items new to Livia:  pecans (I think)


The results:

I made a point of having us all try each new item together with a count down.  This seemed to get Noelle more willing to try the new item (even if there was some fuss).  We also discussed the new ingredients in each item and why we shouldn't be afraid to try new things.

Swamp-Water Smoothy

Noelle's Reactions: Noelle was incredibly excited about this drink.  Usually she is intimidated by anything with fruit bits in it. 

Livia's Reactions:  Livia liked the drink until she just got tired-cranky for the night.  At that point she was looking for reasons to not eat anything. 

Mom's Reactions:  I thought it tasted great and was easy to make.  I'm thinking this might be a new method of getting Noelle to try new fruit flavors before I introduce her to actually eating them.  Normally she would scoff at the notion of eating an actual blueberry.  Maybe there is hope.  ;-)  I'm also not a fan of yogurt so this was something 'new' for me to try.  I'll be making these again with the kids.

Overall success:  Win-win

Mama Odie's Muffuletta Sandwich

Noelle's Reactions: This one was probably most difficult for Noelle.  She normally only eats a ham sandwich on wheat with NOTHING else.  So eating something on Italian bread with cheese and an olive spread.... I thought she'd freak.  She ate 80% of everything.  I could tell she enjoyed it even if she pretended she hated it.  Even if she won't be asking for olive spread anytime soon, she agreed to start eating swiss cheese on her sandwiches at school. 

Livia's Reactions:  Livia enjoyed this a lot!  Of course, much like the rest of dinner she was too cranky to finish it.  She gave no fusses or qualms though about trying it or any of the ingredients.  The only legit complaint she probably had was that the bread got a little soggy from the oil/vinegar.  But it also wasn't a surprise since she said it about 30 minutes after the meal was served.  Perfect time for all that yummy goodness to get soaked into the bread.

Mom's Reactions:  Very easy to make and more enjoyable than I thought.  I'm not a HUGE fan of green olives, but I refuse to say no to any of the things the kids pick because of my own apprehensions.  That would be a horrible example to set.  So I bit into the sandwich on the count of 3 with the kids and LOVED it.  I will definitely be eating these sandwiches all week at work.

Overall success:  Mostly Win-Win

Sea Turtle Cookies

Noelle's Reactions: She liked this but stopped eating with it due to the caramel being too tough for her to chew on.  It was too big for her.  (Although if she had been chewing on the other side it might have finally pulled that loose tooth out.)  The biggest win, though, was that she ate pecans with no questions asked. 

Livia's Reactions:  This was pretty much the same as Noelle.  She liked it but it was just too tough for her to eat. 

Mom's Reactions:  Tasty but a HUGE pain in the ass to make.  I probably won't make these again for simple aggravation factors.  Breaking the pecans into slivers sucked (if anybody knows a good trick, let me know).  Then once you arrange them the caramel square is too heavy so most of the pecans spread apart rather than sitting under the caramel for it to be the 'glue.'  The times aren't quite right either for getting things to set.  They have to chill much longer if you don't want the chocolate to be gooey still.  If I do make these again, I may half the caramel squares.

Overall success:  Kids ate pecans for the first time with no problems, but was too much of a PITA to make again.

And that was the experiment for week 1.  If anybody has any hints or tips related to this week's food experimenting, I'll be glad to listen.