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.

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