Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Prayer for Vegetables

Our oldest child has a sincere dislike for most anything from the vegetable family. This does not cause much of a problem at either breakfast or lunch, where fruit tend to dominate, but for dinner - boy, oh, boy - does this ever cause distress.

If you were a fly on our wall at most dinner times, you would get an eye and ear full (that is, if flies have ears?). It seems every dinner is plagued with complaining from one side of the table and pleading and demanding from the other. I'll leave it to you to figure out which side I'm sitting on. But as it is, I refuse to let my child determine his own diet, so the veggies must be eaten.

Before you start leaving suggestions as to how to get him to eat veggies cheerfully, I'm fairly certain we've tried it all. Butter, cheese, ranch dressing, holding your nose, mixing with food, drinking copious amounts of water and even pureeing them to secretly add to the main dish have been attempted and failed on most accounts. When we think we've discovered a way that he will tolerate, more times that not, by the next serving he has changed his mind and once again fights having to ingest them. On more than one occasion, I've reminded him that I caught him eating dog food multiple times as a toddler and then I reassure him that my green beans with bacon are much tastier than that, but no luck. He still won't budge.

So I wasn't surprised when he reported to his grandmother that he often prays that he will like vegetables. We've had that discussion, too. Unfortunately it hasn't seemed to work yet, and he is only too aware of that fact.

So where does that leave me? I'm praying and pleading with God, too. Only not that he would just eat the stupid vegetables and make my life and our dinner time more peaceful (although I would take it!) but I'm begging God to answer his tiny prayer. I'm asking God to give him the ability to do what is right, that is in this situation, to eat his vegetables without complaint, and to make it so powerfully different that he sees it as a direct answer from God. I want him to grow up knowing a God who can and will help you do difficult things and I want him to run to God at every turn, especially when life gets difficult.

Is that too much to ask of my Heavenly Father? I don't think so. Please, God, make yourself real in my child's life, even if it means answering a silly request like being able to eat vegetables.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October Unprocessed On Hold

I'm afraid that this coming week marks a hiatus for our family from the October Unprocessed Challenge. There has been a death in our family, which requires me to be absent from my daily life. As I plan on still doing my best to choose healthy, unprocessed foods while on hiatus, I'm afraid eating out and eating meals prepared by others will limit me a bit. I'll check back in a few days and let you know how I fared.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

5 Days In

Well, we are officially into our October Unprocessed Challenge and I must admit, it is harder than I thought. Mostly it is difficult for the kids and Dan, although he is kinda ignoring my advice and eating whatever he wants when he is on his own.

So here is a breakdown of what we've been eating for the last 5 days:

Breakfast - I went ahead and made my homemade granola recipe with brown sugar. Sorry, I'm not ready to mess with that. Besides, I don't eat it. My breakfasts are almost solely comprised of eggs, re-fried beans (only beans and salt in those!) and sauteed peppers and onions. But for the rest of the family, I'm willing for them to eat healthy, preservative-free granola, with a little brown sugar, than sugary boxed cereal. I'm hoping to get them eating real oatmeal soon, but these sensitive transitions take time. The kids are still drinking milk, but on the rare occasion I eat oatmeal, I use unsweetened almond milk. In fact, I've been using almond milk as a substitute for regular milk in almost all my recipes (except bread).

Lunch - This has been a bit more difficult. So far the kids have eaten pbj sandwiches on homemade bread. We buy Skippy Natural peanut butter, which may not pass the "completely unprocessed" rule, but it is better than the regular stuff. I searched for jelly made without high fructose corn syrup and was amazed to find a couple of brands at Woodman's that are made from fruit, sugar and pectin. Once again, I'm not totally on the bandwagon of sugar-free yet.
I've mostly been eating tuna or egg salad (with beans), although my mayo is processed. Not sure what I can do about that, except I am planning a trip to Trader Joe's this week and maybe I can find something there. Yesterday I made a salad with chicken and beans and without thinking I added dressing. Oops! Should have been homemade, but it was Newman's Own, which is all-natural, whatever that means. As I start to make more soups this fall, I plan on eating leftovers regularly.

Supper - is the easiest. Most of my recipes are made from scratch and while I do fudge a little when the recipe calls for soy sauce or something of the like, for the most part it is the most un-processed meal of the day.

Dessert - this is for the kids and Dan. I really try to stay away from sugar and unnecessary calories myself, so I rarely partake. But snacks and such are a must for the kids and I have to indulge them with more than apple slices sometimes, so here has been our go-to snack for the week:

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 can, drained) (250g)
  • 1/8 tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
  • tiny bit over 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (You can get away with using only 3 T)
  • up to 1/4 cup nondairy milk (Start with 1 T, and add more as needed)
  • Sweetener (see note below, for amount)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 to 3 T oats (or flaxmeal) (You can omit, but also omit the milk if you do)
Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a blender or food processor, and blend until very smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips.
Once again, I used brown sugar for the sweetener (2/3 cup), but hey, my kids are scarfing down chickpeas. I can overlook a little sugar for that fact alone. They love to dip apple slices in this and they are convinced they're getting the most sugary treat possible. I love it!!! I also found some amazingly simple graham crackers in the health food aisle, so when apples get boring, I'll break those out.
Next up is homemade applesauce! I hope to be posting some other recipes soon. I can't say we are doing this challenge completely perfectly, but I love that I'm thinking purposefully about my food! Hope you are, too!