Posts Tagged ‘kid-friendly’

Tonight’s dinner was a successful cornucopia of veggies in disguise, and a quick and easy one at that!

By now, Ecogirl is four and a half, and Ecobaby isn’t such a baby anymore … two months past her second birthday already! How time flies! They are (mostly) adventurous eaters, but I sometimes still get stubborn resistance to eating vegetables.

So what do I do? I don’t bother with a fight. I just pull the veggie bait-and-switch, and dupe them into eating something delicious and nutritious that they weren’t expecting.

Who doesn’t like pasta?!?! That one always goes over well at our house, and likely at yours too. Cries of “Yay, fettuccine!” filled my ears, while they hadn’t the foggiest notion I’d be hiding several servings of veggies amidst the twirling mass of tasty noodles.

I’ve been trying to stay (somewhat) gluten-free while I’m exploring my newest diet to increase alkalinity. I’m not religious about it, but I do find I feel better when I reduce, or better yet eliminate, processed wheat products. Ecodaddy is mostly onboard with my unconventional dietary choices, but he is not a big fan of rice pasta, instead ever-loyal to those amber waves of grain that are a staple of the standard American diet (aka wheat).

But since he’s at work tonight and it’s just us girls having dinner at home, I took the opportunity to let my beloved rice pasta take center stage. You, however, are more than welcome to use any type of pasta you darned please.

veggie fettuccine

While I chose not to, feel free to top with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if you are so inspired!

Quick and Easy Veggie Fettuccine

While the water boiled for the pasta, I warmed up a cast-iron pan and poured in a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil. When it had that glisten that told me it was just right for sizzling veggies, I added about 1/4 cup diced onions. I let the onions sauté for a few minutes til they softened and browned a bit, then added 1/4 cup chopped broccoli florets, 1/4 cup chopped cauliflower florets, about 1/4 cup vegetable broth and a few hefty pinches of sea salt. I put a lid on it and let it simmer over medium-low heat a few minutes, then took the lid off and let the cooking liquid evaporate. In went a couple of minced garlic cloves. Just another minute or two of sautéing so the garlic wouldn’t burn, and I then dumped in half a jar of store-bought tomato sauce (hey, even Ecomamas take short cuts sometimes!). Warmed it all up and voila: fast and easy veggie tomato sauce!

By this time, I had put a glug of extra virgin olive oil and a few hefty pinches of sea salt into the boiling water, and in went the rice fettuccine. Rice pasta is terribly gummy if overcooked, so you really need to keep a close eye (and taste) on it. It keeps cooking in the colander, so after straining it, I ran some cold water over the noodles to halt the cooking process.

Meanwhile, the now-empty pasta pot went back on the stove on medium-low heat with a glug of extra virgin olive oil (if you are not on a dairy-free diet like I am, I encourage you to use a few tablespoons of butter instead!), and the rinsed pasta went back in the pot and tossed with a few pinches of sea salt and a few turns of the black pepper mill.

I served the veggie-laden sauce over a bed of the well-seasoned fettuccine, and topped the girls’ bowls with grated parmesan cheese (parmigiano reggiano is our personal fave). Alas, no cheese for me, but still very tasty.

The girls both gobbled it up … I was thrilled when they asked for seconds, and simply floored when they asked for thirds!

Sidenote: several years ago, my sister gave me one of the greatest pieces of kitchen advice EVER. She said, whenever you have only a short amount of free time, like the five minutes you’re waiting for your kid to go potty before you head out of the house for an excursion, and there’s no other real project or task you can get done in this short time, do this: grab something out of the fridge, chop it, put it in a lidded container, and place back in the fridge.

Thanks to her, and all these little segmented five-minute periods of time throughout my day, I have nicely organized containers of just about every vegetable and fruit chopped and ready to use at a moment’s notice! Thanks sis!

What are some of your favorite ways to disguise veggies or your favorite time-saving kitchen tips?


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This yummy sweet green treat was inspired by Earth Baby Yoga Mama. It is dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, raw, and absolutely delicious! It has the rich, melt-in-your-mouth decadence of chocolate, yet is super healthy. And because it’s raw, it contains all the life-giving enzymes and nutrients that are lost through the cooking process.

Spirulina is a blue-green algae found in freshwater ponds and lakes. It is very high (60%!) in complete protein, meaning it contains all eight essential amino acids. This is not so common in the plant world, so already spirulina is pretty special.

In addition, it contains high levels of beta carotene, the rare essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid or GLA (which is also found in breast milk), vitamin B12 (lacking in many vegetarians because it’s mainly found in animal products), iron, magnesium, trace minerals and phytonutrients. A little less than a teaspoon of spirulina (3 grams) is the nutritional equivalent of two servings of vegetables.

All this from a tiny microalgae? Amazing!

Keep reading …

Eating spirulina strengthens your immune system, helps generate new blood cells, improves cardiovascular function, supports healthy cholesterol levels, improves digestion, detoxifies the body, and reduces the risk of cancer through antioxidant protection.

Are you sold yet?

Up until now, smoothies were the main way to feature spirulina in my diet. But with the discovery of these super snacks, my horizons have been broadened and spirulina has found a new way to shine.

Raw Spirulina Super Snacks

  • a handful of raw sunflower seeds (can use your favorite type of nut instead)
  • 4 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3 Tbsp raisins
  • 1 Tbsp spirulina powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 squirt raw honey (anywhere between 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp; I used closer to 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Pulse sunflower seeds in blender or Vita-Mix until as close to powdery as you can get them
  2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until sticky. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides a few times.
  3. Form small balls, place on a plate, then place the plate in the fridge. You can also flatten the balls to look more like cookies.
  4. Let harden a bit; will still be chewy when done, but not gooey.
  5. Enjoy! Store remainder in fridge, but rest assured, they won’t last long …

Spirulina super snacks are great for kids, but if feeding to a child under the age of 1 year, just make sure to substitute agave or maple syrup for the honey .

Honey can contain botulism spores that are lethal to infants. Adults and children over one year are safe. It’s also fine for breastfeeding moms, since the spores are killed on their journey through the GI tract, never making it into mom’s breastmilk.

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