Monday, February 1, 2010

The Dinner Debate

Chris and I were laughing last night because Bradley ate the greatest dinner. He gobbled down an entire bowl of whole wheat pasta, chickpeas, and bananas in record time. I realized why he ate so well...he started crying at lunch and said he didn't want anything to eat. So, the key to eating a great dinner, don't serve lunch! haha!

In all seriousness we have had a lot more successes with eating lately. But, often times dinner can be a long and drawn out process. Bradley likes to talk during the meal, and will often chew food until it is mush. I have been working really hard to continue to introduce new food items once or twice a week. Some of his most recent favorites:

1. mandarin oranges
2. salmon
3. corn
4. tilapia
5. turkey subs
6. chickpeas (who knew?!)
7. bacon
8. pizza

We used to have a lot of food struggles in the past. This past year from age 2 to 3 Bradley has gotten to be a much better eater, and a little bit more adventuresome with his pallet. Trying new foods was a HUGE struggle and a daily battle in our house. Bradley would often walk up to his plate and peak to see what he was having. If there was one item on his plate that he knew he didn't like or didn't know what it was he would ask to go to time out without even sitting down. When this would happen I would always make him sit and encourage him to eat the other items he liked. Then we would make him try at least three bites of the 'new' item. This would often result in tears. It can be SO stressful, especially at the end of the day. He cried about corn and carrots and a lot of vegetables, and now he asks for them. It is such a relief to have more of a variety of choices for him.

Some of the tricks I have used is calling a new food by a name of something he already likes. For example, turkey was chicken for a while, and now it is officially turkey. Last night chickpeas were 'nuts' until he realized he liked them, and then I told him they were called chickpeas. For some reason that seems to help Bradley try the food without scaring him!

We also let him call people and tell them if he tried something new. Last week he ate a bunch of salmon and really enjoyed it. He wanted to call Gigi and Pop Pop and tell them about it. I still struggle with getting him to eat exactly what we are having, but it is getting better. If I make a dish with chicken, broccoli all mixed up he probably wouldn't try it. I will separate the items for his dinner dish, but always put a small bowl of what we are having to the side. Who knows, maybe one day he will give it a whirl?

Speaking of food, Chris and I watched this documentary this weekend:


It was VERY eye opening! I watched an Oprah show about the subject, and have heard a few people talking about the movie. After Bradley was born I read Skinny Bitch, and that was really interesting as well. The truth about our industrialized food system is SCARY!! Some of my goals after watching the documentary are to try new vegetarian dishes for dinner. I have already found a few that Chris and I both enjoy. I don't think that I could become a complete vegetarian, but I would like to reduce the number of meat dishes we eat on a weekly basis. (As a sidenote: I haven't been able to eat any meat since watching the documentary...)

I would also like to be more conscious about where our meat is coming from. We often buy a "grass fed organic" cow once a season from a local farmer. But, I haven't found any good places to get organic chicken locally. I try to buy most of our products organic when I can, but it can be tough. After watching the movie I discussed with Chris about shopping at Whole Foods once or twice a month just to see the difference in grocery costs. I currently shop at Harris Teeter, but try to buy organic there. I want to see what the price difference would be between the two stores.

I also want to get some good vegetarian cookbooks, any suggestions??

A few months ago I found this blog Simply Recipes, and I LOVED a bunch of the recipes listed. Here is a recipe for quesadilla pie that is EXCELLENT!! I just omit the chicken, and it is still very filling and yummy!

Quesadilla Pie Recipe


Brush butter on the bottom of the pan to keep the tortillas from sticking, and to the top of the last tortilla for flavor and to help it brown. Hint: do not skip the butter.

Basic ingredients:

4 large flour tortillas (9-10 inches diameter)
1/2 pound grated cheese, either mild or sharp cheddar, or Monterey Jack
Potential filling ingredients:

Beans, cooked (black beans, pinto beans)
Tomatoes, chopped
Summer squash, chopped
Onions (green onions, red onions, onion greens)
Mushrooms (if using a lot, sauté first, to remove moisture)
Cooked shredded chicken, pork, or beef
Chiles, either from cooked green chiles, chopped pickled jalapenos, or salsa
Cumin and/or chili powder for extra heat

Chopped avocado
Chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced iceberg lettuce dressed with vinegar and salt
Sour cream

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottoms and sides of a pie dish, approximately the same size as your tortillas (I used a 10-inch pyrex pie dish for 10-inch wide tortillas).

2 Place one tortilla on the bottom of the pie dish. Sprinkle some shredded cheese over the tortilla. At this point, you will begin to add your chosen filling ingredients, and layering the tortillas. Just make sure each layer has a generous sprinkling of cheese. In the pictured example, I used cheese, black beans, and onion greens on the first layer. Then I added another tortilla on top of that and put chopped zucchini, chopped tomato, chopped pickled jalapenos, and more shredded cheese. I also sprinkled a little cumin and chili powder on this layer. I added another tortilla and put more shredded cheese, more black beans, tomatoes and onions. Top off your layers with one last flour tortilla. Spread a little butter over the surface of this tortilla.

3 Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Put in oven for 30 minutes on 350°F. Then remove the foil and increase the heat to 400°F. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into quarters.

Serve with chopped avocados, shredded lettuce, cilantro, salsa, and/or sour cream.

Serves 4.


amy said...

Thanks for the recipe Clare! I have been a vegetarian since I was 5 so I will try it right away. :) I will send you a couple of my go-to recipes that Josh (who is practically a carnivore) enjoys too!

amanda said...

oh friend - we are sooo on the same page!! i just posted my letter to oprah!! darn her for making me think!

Heather @ boy, girl, and a pug said...

Can't wait to try the recipe. Thanks! And congrats on getting B to try new foods!

Christy said...

I am a vegetarian (sometimes vegan). I recommend Vegan with a Vengeance and Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Excellent cook books. Also, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar are great baking cookbooks.

There are lots of great things you can eat to supplement meat. We use lots of beans and lentils in our food. They also have textured vegetable protein that you can buy. I use it to replace meat in my chili, and you really can't tell the difference. You can add Flaxseed oil to almost anything and you can't taste it (it is high in Omega 3s). I use applesauce or soy yogurt to replace eggs in my baked goods (cookies, muffins, cupcakes, etc.).

I have been meat free for over 5 years. Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I eat healthier, my kids are thriving, and I am not supporting the factory farming industry. I don't talk about it a lot on my blog, but this is actually something I am very passionate about.

Lindsay said...

yay glad Bradley has been eating better for you! Love that quesadilla pie recipe! Yum

Jenny said...

the recipe looks delicious! i will have to give that one a try. i am glad to hear that I am not the only one out there trying to disguise food...but it sounds like Bradley is expanding his horizons with food...that is wonderful!

Jennifer said...

That looks yummy! Landree loves Tilipia. She scarfs it down-and for a while everything was chicken to us too :)

I'm interested in seeing the documantary too :) I love Publix. Do y'all have that in your area?

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The Hayden Family said...

Hi. I am new to your blog but would like to thank you for that post...from the queadilla pie recipe (yum yum yum to the yum yum) to food ideas for my two year old. THANK YOU. Please consider me a new yet loyal follower of your blog!

Anonymous said...

Clare- I've found that Whole Foods actually has great prices on organic free-range chicken and turkey. If you buy just turkey legs or thighs, they are only $1.99 a pound! And if you buy the whole organic free-range chickens (which are so simple to cook in a crock pot, and then you can turn around and make stock afterwards!) I think they are only about $2.69 a pound. Crazy deal when conventional boneless skinless breasts are twice that!

Also, if you go to the Whole Foods in Short Pump it's right next door to Trader Joe's which has amazing prices on organic fruits and veggies!

Miss you! Hopefully we can get the kids together for a playdate sometime soon!

Heather T.

Katie said...

I made the Quesadilla Pie last night and it was so easy and delish! Thanks for sharing and that blog will become a new reference for me when I'm looking for new recipes!
We are also going stir crazy over here and wondering when we will ever get out?!
Stay warm. :)

sanjeet said...

Can't wait to try the recipe.

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