Food for thought - FamilyEducation

Food for thought

January 23,2012

It's been a long time since I've put up a recipe post. It may seem like I haven't been busy much in the kitchen, but I have. I got this new cookbook for Christmas, and I've been enjoying meal planning each week, and looking forward to trying out the recipes. But sometimes the camera is out of batteries, or the meal/dessert is so yummy I forgot to snap a picture before it's all gone, and then another food post opportunity has passed me by.

I made a scrumptious seitan and mushroom recipe, simmered in red wine and shallots. Scott was thrilled I made a dish with mushrooms. I'm not a huge mushroom fan, but I do like them cooked in a nice hearty sauce, and mushrooms and a red wine-based sauce do go particularly well together. 

I also made stuffed tomatoes with orzo, and a hearty and healthy dish using chickpeas and broccoli rabe, and brown rice.

And once a week I've been baking this simple but satisfying bread, which conveniently makes two loaves at a time. It's perfect as toast, and freezes well, too. I substitute non-dairy milk and the recipe works out just fine.

I have lately become addicted to this pudding. If you like tapioca, then give it a try. But if you don't like the texture of tapioca, you might want to stick with a pudding that's thicker and smoother. Since I'm the only one in the house who likes the chocolate chia pudding, I get to eat it all. It's particularly good with a few pieces of my favorite dark chocolate bar chunked across the top of it.

Last week I made a mean vegan pizza--homemade tomato sauce, and topped with capers and artichokes. And I recently discovered the deliciousness that is breaded and baked tofu (not dipped in ketchup, though, as she did, but dipped in hoisin sauce--divine!).

So I've been in my kitchen a lot, cooking and baking my way through the week when I can. But life has also been pretty insanely busy, and I feel like we're still trying to find our footing after the holidays.


All the attention I've been giving to cooking and baking, and unearthing new vegan-friendly recipes, and working hard to get more B-12 into my diet, has brought me around to feeling anxious again about L.'s extremely limited diet. Last year there was so much else going on that was extremely worrisome and stressful, and we were constantly troubleshooting and doing damage control, that thinking about his nutrition and his rigid eating patterns took a backseat to just trying to get through the day in one piece. It's a good thing, then, I guess, that life has settled down to the point that we can come around again to worrying about how to get more food into L., and how to broaden his extremely limited range of foods.

Right now, here's what he will eat:

A small amount of plain pasta.

Fresh spinach leaves (only 3 or 4).

Tofu, but only if it's cooked the right way. He also likes the puffed tofu balls we can buy at the Asian market.

Cereal, but only a certain kind.

Plain rice, but only a couple of bites.

Some fresh fruit, like grapefruit, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. He won't do apples, pears (unless Asian pears), or oranges. He does like melon in the summer. I am so grateful that he will eat some fruit; however, as with the spinach leaves, he won't seek it out on his own, and we basically have to set it in front of him--I imagine, though, we're not the only parents with that issue!

Cheese pizza, but never frozen, only fresh. 

3 or sometimes 4 plain pancakes on Sunday mornings (pancake day). I load these up with chia seed, or flax seed and make them with spelt flour, to try and pack in as much good stuff as I can.

Bread, bread, and more bread.

And that's pretty much it, right there. He can binge on things like saltine crackers, and pretzels, but I don't consider those options for dinner. He will eat some broccoli if it's hiding in a big stir-fry, so we try and have stir-fry at least once or twice a week. On other nights, the fall-back meal for him has become all too often plain pasta and 3-4 spinach leaves on the side. If I serve tofu too often, he won't eat it. I didn't realize how often he has been eating the pasta/spinach leaves combination for dinner until one night he lamented upon coming to the table,

"Orzo AGAIN? Why didn't you make me stir-fry?" 

To which I admit I unleashed some frustrated words for about five full minutes, because I had spent so much time and energy cooking up the above mentioned seitan-mushroom recipe and the last thing on my mind had been whipping up a side of stir-fry. As it is, it's sometimes too much to boil an extra pot of water for plain pasta. While in a perfect world it would be nice to be the kind of parent who tells her kids to eat what's on the table and only that, we just haven't been able to do that at our house. L. would simply go without, rather than eat a food he doesn't want. When I agonize about whether we enabled his rigid preferences at all, I just think back to when he was a toddler, and remember what a painful struggle it was to get him to even recognize that he was hungry. We've come a long way, in some ways; but ended up backsliding in others.

I don't have a new plan yet for tackling mealtimes in 2012; only a renewed resolve to work hard at getting L. to incorporate one new food into his diet this year. If we can do that, I will be thrilled beyond words.