I am not an intuitive cook, nor did I grow up in the kitchen with my mom (thus learning how to cook). My mom did not enjoy being in the kitchen and only did so because, well, we had to eat something. I really don’t know where I developed a passion for food, but from an early age, I have been enthralled with the culinary arts. Maybe it was all the cooking shows I watched with my dad growing up. Julia Child and Justin Wilson were our favorites (“I guar-ron-tee!”).
I love to learn and I am so appreciative when someone teaches me something new. While I still love cooking shows, food blogs are my new joy. They seem more accessible and real to me. They also have an added level of intimacy, where one can easily feel as though they are right there in the kitchen with the author, even though you may be many miles away.
Linda from Kitchen Therapy recently shared a recipe for Gingered Beet and Berry Salad. I loved Linda’s post and really enjoyed reading her thoughts about what she was thinking when she came up with her recipe. I always wonder how people can “just” create something from out of nowhere!
I just so happened to have some orange colored beets and fresh raspberries in my CSA box that day, but I was lacking the ginger root, but I did have some Chavrie goat cheese and walnuts. I decided to follow most of Linda’s recipe, but made a fresh raspberry vinaigrette instead (and I just winged it, a first for me but Linda made me feel as though I could do it!).
Raspberry Vinaigrette (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Corn-Free and Nut-Free)
1/2 cup Fresh Raspberries, rinsed
2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
4 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sweetener of choice, to taste (I added 1/2 tsp. SUSTA Natural Sweetener)
Puree 1/2 cup of fresh raspberries in a blender or food processor.
Add Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, blend well.
Sweeten to taste (I didn’t need much since I used a high quality Balsamic Vinegar and tends to be more mellow).
Mason Jars are perfect for storing homemade dressings. I picked up this tip from Renee over at Beyond Rice and Tofu, when I was reading her recipe for Lotus Root Sesame Stir Fry. I had never heard of Lotus Root and I am excited to try it! Renee has a lot of great gluten-free, vegetarian recipes on her blog and I encourage you to check it out. Renee was the person who shared the recipe for Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with me and it is one of my favorites!
For the salad:
I shredded 5 orange beets in my food processor (no cooking of the beets) then dressed them with the Raspberry Vinaigrette. (I was watching a recent episode of Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie At Home” cooking show and he shared the “proper way to dress a salad.” I have been doing that lately and it makes a huge difference with dispersing the flavor of the dressing, but not overdoing it in the fat and calorie department).
I then topped the beet mixture with a handful of chopped toasted walnuts, Chavrie goat cheese and the remaining whole fresh raspberries.
We all loved the salad and my picky 3 year old even asked for a second helping! I’m sure it helped that I lied to my kids and told them the beets were carrots, but hey, sometimes ya just gotta do, what ya gotta do!
Seriously though, the raw orange beets really do taste like carrots (at least with the dressing), so don’t be afraid to try this. My kids are embracing more and more veggies that I have only begun to like. I have mentioned this tip before, but it really does work (at least it has for me but I also have an iron will and will not back down for anything) so I thought I would mention it again:
My rule for my kids is that they must have one bite for each year of their age, of each food that I put on their plate. Luke must have 3 bites of everything and Sam, 7 to be excused from the table and still have a small dessert (which is usually homemade and low sugar). My boys feel like they are getting a “deal” by not having to clean their plate and I feel good that they are being exposed to new tastes and textures (that I know they will eventually accept). I am also not sitting there ready to pull my hair out by fighting and bargaining with them to eat their veggies!
I have been on vacation this week with my sister and her family; and I have to admit that my nephew’s eating habits are making me itch. He is the quintessential picky eater and my sister lets him get away with it because she doesn’t want to fight him. My sister won’t listen to me or even try my tip (we’ve not outgrown the little sister/big sister “thing” yet, LOL!), so maybe you can help me:
Do you have any tips or tricks to share for getting kiddos to eat their vegetables (or try new foods altogether)?
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