Thursday, August 6, 2009

Successful family dinner....

Ok, that is a relative thing in my house. I usually eat first as I hate dinner-interruptus and would rather eat my food in peace early and then sit at the table picking at vegetables, and listening to complaints about how mean I am for making my kids eat a vegetable every dayyyyy!!!

But ideally we'd all be sitting, eating, chatting, looking lovingly into each other's eyes and becoming incredibly close as a family each night at 6pm. And I would make one thing for everyone. So I've mentioned the kids get to choose is working well and the deal is no complaining on mommy's nights. Last night I made whole wheat pasta and made a very light sauce of pureed baby lima beans, which I had defrosted from a huge batch of beans. I use it as a sauce thickener, but last night it was basically the whole shebang. I also added some Parmesan cheese. So the magical part was that I tried something I found online, "crispy greens" absolutely fabulous!! I way over salted and perhaps over oiled them, which owes to how good they were - but take one bag pre-cut, pre-washed mixed southern greens, spread out on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, olive oil, and roast on a high temp - like 425, for 10-15 min. They really do come out crispy and salty like potato chips. Disclaimer- don't put up too high in oven or they will burn. Also I did kind of twist half way through with some tongs. Since I over salted the crispy greens I under salted the pasta on purpose. Kids got extra shredded cheese, Dave and I didn't. Alex ate the greens mixed in with his pasta!!!! This is amazing to me! Five year old boy eating "crispy greens"

Natasha, who loves kale soup, for some reason refused to eat them, which really upset me as I really thought she'd love them, but she did eat a ton of green beans. I cooked those too - directly from my friend's farm and yummy. Fresh they're almost peppery like arugula.

So I kind of made more than one dinner, but not really. Kids got extra cheese and a choice of two vegetables - but that was more about using up what was in the fridge and less about placating them. I could have put extra cheese on all the pasta but I didn't want it. Meal was vegetarian but it would have been yummy with a spicy sausage - which incidentally I did have left-over in the fridge but we were being healthy. Dave finished up the bean salad from earlier in the week as an appetizer. That bean salad is good, but better for a party - the recipe makes a huge portion and it does get kind of less fresh tasting after a while. Natasha did ask me why I wasn't eating with them, which was a problem. I must work on the sociability of these meals and the 5-7pm time period in our house in general. We're all readjusting now that Dave is home earlier - we should be able to have nice family time together instead of a stressed out mommy griping at tired kids. It's funny though, I've already noticed that they treat him more like me....he's around more so gets more general kid flak from them and he is less patient with the flak. Very interesting.

For some reason I found this dinner highly satisfying. Kids ate green things, we all ate together - everyone tried a new recipe. It was super simple and very healthy. I can't say enough about adding beans into the diet. I'm trying as much aspossible to use dried beans, soak, cook, freeze and use in a variety of ways, pureed as a thickener, fiber additive, and whole. The kids are more and more open to them also. They are hands down the best way (cheapest, easiest, healthiest, most versitile) to stay full for a long time.

After dinner I sent them all out with Dave to take a walk while I cleaned up and prepared lunches for today and then I met up with them at the park. If there is chaos while I am cleaning/preparing next day's lunches I get insane. Tonight is hamburgers and turkey burgers on grill....I'm excited about the sandwich stacker pickles I bought!

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