Tag Archives: Vegetable

Eat those Green Leafy Vegetables!

Kale close up in Norddeich, Dithmarschen

Image via Wikipedia

We all know that children (and many adults) don’t like to eat vegetables.  This information was reaffirmed a few weeks ago when the USDA said good-bye to the pyramid approach and launched their new graphic for illustrating how you should proportion your food throughout the day.  The reason for the relaunch isn’t because there was new information about what is healthy and good, but because people just aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables.  If you don’t believe me or the research, just do a goolge search for “people don’t eat enough vegetables” and not only do you get the research and articles, you get all the excuses and complaints that people use.

Eating vegetables has always been really important in my family.  I’ve been a vegetarian since high school, so all the meals that I make are vegetable based.  My son, however is just as picky about eating vegetables as any typical 3 year old.  It’s always a challenge.  I’ve done everything from decorating his plate to look like a monkey face to hiding vegetables in muffins.

Recently, I found a great recipe idea that tackled one of the healthiest yet most despised (by children) vegetable – the green leafy vegetable.  It takes the often tough and boring vegetable (I used kale) and makes it fun.  It was so great that he even asked for more.  Then we just devoured every bite.

This recipe is sure to please all the vegetable haters in your family.  You will be amazed at how much they will eat.

Kale Chips:

1 head of kale (or swiss chard or other dark green leafy vegetable), wash and remove the tough stems and cut leaves into fun sizes
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
seasoning of your choice (salt and pepper, garlic salt, cayenne)

Mix your olive oil with your seasoning in a really big bowl.  Toss the kale in the bowl with olive oil so that all the pieces are coated. Spread the leaves out on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper.  Bake in the oven at 350° for about 10 minutes or until the leaves are really crispy like chips.  Mix them around about 1/2 way though the baking. They will become a beautiful bright green color and start to get brown on the edges.  You want to take them out before they get all brown.

I hope you enjoy them.

 

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Veggie Scrap Soup

Soup on the Stove

Veggie Scrap Soup

I’m sure we all have them.  I call them veggie scraps – That stockpile of vegetables that accumulates towards the end of the week.  In my house it’s usually a 1/2 pepper and some carrots.  Then I dig further and find there are 2 or 3 halves of onion,  a couple of broccoli florets, some mushrooms and 1/4 of a bag of spinach leaves.  All of them are just good enough to use for cooking, but only for a day or so.  I always find them when I am sizing up the inventory in the refrigerator, just before I go grocery shopping.  I hate to throw away good food, but it’s such a hodgepodge that it would make for a really weird impromptu dinner.  So what do you do with your veggie scraps?  I make veggie soup.

I love making Veggie Scrap Soup because I can clear out the fridge to make room for my grocery store trip and I can turn what would’ve gone into the trash into lunch for a couple of days.  There is no recipe for it because it really uses whatever you have on hand.  I try to keep veggie broth in my house so that I always have it on hand when I need it.  I like to add a pasta or grain (preferably barley).  I always seem to have a partial container of something lying around. And, often I add in some fish to make it into a veggie stew.  When I buy fish from the fishmonger, I usually get 1 extra fillet and freeze it for soup time.

The process for making the soup is simple:

  1. Go through the fridge and pull out all your scraps and chop them up.
  2. In your large sauce pan saute onion and garlic.  If you are using any peppers, mushrooms, celery or carrots add those to the onions and garlic and saute until they start to get a little soft.
  3. After that, add your veggie broth and any other vegetables that you are using.  If you are using frozen fish or pasta add that now as well.
  4. Bring it to a boil for a few minutes and then simmer until everything is cooked (20-45 minutes – depending on the ingredients).

That’s it you’ve got a great hearty soup and cleaned out refrigerator without wasting any food.

This week I had a lot of variety in really small amounts so my soup was truly a melting pot.  Here’s what I found in my fridge: 1/4 of an onion, 3/4 of a bell pepper, 1  1/2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 5 broccoli florets, a bag of greens that I forgot I had, 3/4 cup of fresh peas.  I added 1/2 frozen Mahi Fillet and 1 frozen flounder fillet, 1/2 package of tortellini, and 1 can of cannellini beans.

What kinds of veggie scraps do you have in your fridge. What do you do with them? I’d love to hear your ideas.

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