Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Veggie Might!

After I wrote my New Years post last week, my friend Heather shared some of her New Years goals with me and asked for a few suggestions with a couple of things.  One of her goals, which is a fantastic one, is to have a vegetable with every dinner.  She has three young children who apparently are not big veggie fans.  I think she's making a wise move by making this a priority now because getting a 10 or 11 year old to suddenly start eating veggies is much more difficult.  We have a side of veggies or salad just about every night.  The exception would be if we're having a one pot meal like a stir fry or a pasta dish packed with veggies then I might not bother with a salad.  We have always put the veggies on the kids plates from day one and I'm pretty sure that has a lot to do with how well they eat them.  Certainly there are some they like better than others (actually aside from Kale I'm pretty sure Hayden will eat anything!) but I do ask them to take at least a bite or two.  This strategy has worked well with Phoebe who tends to be a little pickier.  A year ago she professed to hate Brussels sprouts and I'm happy to say that now I get a "yay!" when I say that they're part of the meal.  She is not a big fan of beets but since I'm on a major borscht kick, I require her to eat one or two out of the soup each time.  Maybe she'll never be a fan but maybe one day she'll decide she actually likes them.  I think the best thing to do when trying to get the kids to eat their veg is to just keep offering it.  Have them take a couple of bites.  If they put up a stink, don't let them have more meatballs (or whatever) until they at least had a bite or two of their green beans (or whatever).  Obviously if this causes a major freak out session then you need to look else where for advice on this topic but if you're kids aren't totally freaking and their not puking at the table I say go for it.  For many, (mine included) a little bribe goes a long way.

So with all of that out of the way, there is one more MAJOR suggestion I have to get your family eating their vegetables, and that simply put is make them delicious!  Don't serve up boiled Brussels sprouts and expect them to eat them.  If they don't love broccoli, add it to your mac and cheese or in a flavorful stir fry.  If they don't like steamed carrots, roast them.  Roasted carrots are so sweet they're bound to like them.  You have to try new things and dress them up until they get a taste for them.  So today I'm sharing my roasted cauliflower.  I've been the one in our family to be last on board with the cauliflower.  I started eating it in the Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and gradually started eating it in many other ways (Except raw. Still not eating it raw).

If you're looking for a way to try out cauliflower on your family, give this a whirl.  First take a medium head of cauliflower and roughly chop it.  Pre-heat your oven to 475 and put the cauliflower on a baking sheet.
Everything is better with garlic (in my opinion anyway)!  A clove or two, depending on how much you like garlic is fine.  I most likely used all three.
If you have a garlic press, this makes things quicker and easier to spread around.  By all means, if you don't have one, just finely chop the garlic and sprinkle on the baking sheet with the cauliflower.
Next sprinkle a little salt (1/2 tsp or so) and fresh cracked pepper and drizzle with a tablespoon (or a little less depending how much veg you have) of olive oil.
Next get yourself some fresh thyme.  I swear that it's pure happenstance that this has become my favorite herb!  Chop about a teaspoon of thyme.  Sprinkle that over the veg as well.
Next squeeze a half of a lemon over the cauliflower.
Toss all of it together with nice clean hands so all of the cauliflower has olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme and lemon on it.  Put it in a 475 degree oven for 10-15 min stirring once or twice.
I find that when I need chives for a recipe I never use them all up.  So I decided to bust them out as a garnish.
Chop them up and if you're so inclined grate a little Parmesan cheese (maybe two TBS or you can leave it out it you rather).
Remove from the oven when cauliflower is tender and lightly browned.  Taste to adjust seasoning.  I think I added a little more lemon juice and topped with the chives and a touch of salt, and it was delish! I didn't use parm this time but it is a nice addition to change things up a bit.
We had this as a side dish with some pulled pork sandwiches.  Don't get me wrong, we like fries as much as the next family but this was a perfectly fabulous substitute.  In fact I was sure that the whole head of cauliflower was going to yield some serious leftovers but the four of us devoured it all.  Roasting veggies is totally flexible so take what you like from this and leave out what you don't. Try it out and let me know how it goes!

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