Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trying to "Deceptively" Eat Better

This past month I have been trying very hard to cook more meals from home, not waste food, cook once and eat twice and transition our meals to ones that are more healthy and wholesome. So far, it's going pretty well! At the end of February, my husband and I created a monthly meal plan. I made a shopping list with all of the ingredients needed to cook a month's worth of meals. I went shopping once at the beginning of the month and spent $125. Each time I would make a meal, I would immediately freeze half of it and save it for later in the month. This has worked out great for us! Our issue before (when I would cook a lot of these same meals) was that we would eat about half for dinner, and then maybe another quarter for left overs and then the other quarter would be forgotten about in the back of the fridge and wasted. This new method is working out much, much better. Since we are also being more mindful of our portion sizes, there is usually still enough food left over for me to have lunch the next day.

Another thing that I have been experimenting with is some recipes from Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook Deceptively Delicious. I have had the cookbook for about a year, but the only thing I had ever made from it was the pancakes (with added sweet potato puree). Lately, I have been revisiting this cookbook. My son has always been a really good eater, but he is starting to get a little bit more picky with what he eats and we also have a problem with him throwing his food. He eats it, but while he's chewing it's like he needs something to do, so he throws it. It's VERY frustrating and drives me crazy. I've tried different techniques trying to get him to stop doing this, but nothing has really worked thus far. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! So, the whole premise of this cookbook is to "sneak" pureed fruits and vegetables into foods so that kids don't even realize they are eating their veggies. I know that some of the criticism aimed at this book is that by putting pureed veggies into things like macaroni and cheese, brownies and cookies, you aren't teaching your kids to eat vegetables. However, Jessica advocates always serving vegetables with your meals, you are just sneaking in some extra nutrition into the dishes your kids love. Personally, I agree with this. Andy gets lots of vegetables and fruits, which he willingly eats, but now he is getting a little extra boost into some of his favorite foods.

So far I have tried four of the recipes. The sweet potato pancakes (super yummy!), apple sauce muffins (pretty good! We had them for breakfast for a week! They have butternut squash puree added in), "buttered noodles" (we tried this today for lunch! Yummm! They have yellow squash puree added) and the chicken nuggets. The chicken nuggets have been what I have made the most of. Andy loves chicken nuggets, but they are expensive and I don't like not knowing what kind of meat is in them. Because I'm making them myself, I can afford to get high quality, organic, free range chicken breasts and still end up spending less than I would buying the ready made nuggets. I have made these with both the sweet potato puree and the broccoli puree. Both are SUPER delicious! The breaded coating also has ground flax seed which is a great source of omega 3's!

Last night I made up a huge batch and put them in the freezer so that I can warm them up for lunches. The only change that I made to this recipe is that I bake my nuggets at 350 degrees for 20 minutes first. The recipe calls for pan frying them, but I had read some reviews online that said people were having trouble with the coating not sticking when they were pan fried. So, I bake for 20 min, then do a quick pan fry to brown them up. I posted pictures of the nuggets and the "buttered" noodles.

I can see where some people would think it was a pain to puree all these veggies, but I have an unnatural obsession with pureeing things! I love it! I'm really excited that I have a reason to puree again since I haven't been making pureed baby foods for Andy for several months. When I would make his baby food I would spend 2 afternoons a month preparing all of my purees. If I find that there are several usable recipes in this book, I might start doing that again.

Today I added pages to my Home Management Binder. Done! Crossed off the list! I added our monthly meal plan calendar, the shopping list and a calendar of due dates for all of our monthly bills. They are now in page protectors and in the binder. As usual, I've totally been putting off the painting projects that are on my list for this month. I need to get on those! I see a trip to Home Depot in my future... like, tomorrow!

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