How To Raise Homemade Gourmet Kids

mpj042267100001.jpgGrape tomatoes, olives, eggplant parm, feta cheese, Quiche Lorraine, couscous, wild rice & roasted veggies, Thai shrimp & rice noodles, sushi, Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte (decaf) and for dessert…….. 2 gummi bear vitamins, 2 graham crackers & a sippy cup of milk?

Confused?  These are foods my twins enjoy eating.  Some in fact, like the grape tomatoes, are actually an obsession.  Surprised? I thought you might be, let me explain.

One of my passions is cooking, or should I say food. But I didn’t learn to cook until I got out on my own. I grew up with the typical 5 to 8 standard meals most everyone did in the 70s.: spaghetti, fried chicken, meatloaf, pot-roast, burgers, tuna casserole, etc.

My goal was to share my passion with my kids and expose them to the culinary delights of the world.  Why should a toddler’s palate be dumbed down to mac ‘n cheese when they can equally enjoy pumpkin ravioli with Gorgonzola sauce? And mine devour it every time I make it. Beyond the exposure that I wanted for them, I also wasn’t about to waste my time in the kitchen every night fixing two separate meals.

So, how do you develop a sophisticated palate in a 2-year-old? Well, you start from day one.  The first day you introduce food.

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Meet My Best Friend… Uncel Ben

When it comes to cooking quick healthy meals for me & my kids sometimes it’s not easy.  Running all day or just playing all day can be exhausting.  And I don’t always feel like the gourmet chef.  So I’d like to introduce you to my best friend who has taught me so much about quick & healthy cooking and saved me so many times in a jam. His name is Ben…..  Uncle Ben. 

Uncle Ben Whole Grain Brown Rice

This is the stuff miracles are made of. It’s whole grain and ready in 90 seconds and my son loves to pick out the different flavors.  He prefers it  over pasta, even mac & cheese. It can be served as a quick side dish or spruce it up with some seasoning & sliced toasted almonds. Serve it as a main dish by adding some fresh or frozen veggies if you are going vegetarian. Or saute some canned chicken (white breast meat)  or if you have more time grilled chicken breast and voila you have a complete meal in less than 20 minutes. 5minutes if you go the canned/frozen route. You can’t beat that. And nutritionally frozen veggies are as healthy.  

So the next time you are in a rush.  Call on my friend Ben, for fast nutrious and delicious meals.




Summer Previews, Now Rolling….

Hey Team!  Wow! It’s been a solid week since I’ve posted a blog and I’ve missed you guys.  I’ve written a bit outside the community but it’s just not the same. But my time off was necessary. I feel refreshed and I truly believe my focus and my writing will be better for it. 

I wanted to share with you a bit about what has been going on in my world and give you a preview of what I will be writing about this summer. 

Career:  I have continued to struggle with the idea of what I want to be when I grow up.  Of going back to work full time and putting my kids in daycare all day. Of not having an income. Of doing something with for a purpose instead of a paycheck.  Of being bummed out that the two jobs I wanted, I didn’t get. But here’s what I came up with… God still has a plan, right? I just don’t know what it is. That’s why Jer. 29:11 is posted on this blog because I knew I would need that reassurance over and over and over.  In the mean time, not having a job has allowed me to pursue some other things.

Blog Header Design:  No, No, No.  This is not all the really neat website design stuff that Brody & Randy do with their company.  This is stuff that I started just for me.  I offered to do some for Eric at GoGlobal and his wife like what I did and so on and so on.  I like layering and textures. Someone said I was a creative designer and I said no, I’m more like the interior designer of headers.  I’m not the person creating a new font or anything like that. I just like mix & match of things that are already available. But if people like it, that works for me.  So I’m be sharing some of my work with you all.

Giving Back:  One of the things that I have focused on as I have been going through the divorce is that there are so many others worse off than me.  Yes, divorce is not easy. Yes, I am taking care of myself and my kids. And no, I am not living in some manic state of denial.  If you read my blog, you know I have my moments. There are many ways to deal with a tragedy in life. You can learn from your mistakes and try to make the best of a bad situation or you can blame others, quit living and not move forward.  I have chosen to go Beyond Me. I have to for myself and my kids. First and foremost, I feel in my heart, God is leading me in this direction telling me that if I trust Him, He will make this ok. Secondly, I have to do this for my kids. They have to know that bad things happen to good people and it is how you meet challenges and adversity in life and how you deal with it that defines your character and makes you who you are.  With all that being said, I’m working on a project to host a charity event. It will launch to the mainstream a new fundraising activity and benefit Compassion International at the same time.  So I am hoping it will be a lot of fun.  I have never taken on anything quite this big, never even been on a committee before.  But I can launch a car, so I figure I can launch a party, right? Haha! 

Rehabbing My House & Rehabbing My Life:  One of my passions is designing and I wrote a lot on my passions page on it one night and lost it in a computer glich. But I own a rental property which is a cottage near Berry Hill in Nashville that was built in 1929. I ripped out the bathroom with my dad’s assistance and retiled the floor & shower/tub surround.  I did all the tile work. My dad did all the plumbing work.  We had such a great time. That was my 3rd tile project.  Now I’m living in a fixer upper all my own and it needs some work.  There’s a lot to be said about the feeling of power when your are a girl weilding a hammer for the demo phase.  Sometimes you have to knock down a few things in your life and built them up again starting over with new materials.  Selecting those materials is very important because once they are in place you’re kind of stuck with them unless you want some costly repairs.  There are a lot of lessons learned when it comes to rehab and many of them apply to life.  I’m going to be taking some before and after pictures and documenting the process along the way. Maybe you can learn something or may be you can teach me something. Or maybe you can help me decide on which tile to chose, it’s already killing me!!!

Training for my Half Marathon: I have mentioned training for a half marathon for the fall. But I haven’t mentioned that it is for the Team in Training Nike Event in San Fran and to raise money for The Lukemia & Lymphoma Society.  One of the reasons I am doing this is for my grandfather, he has lymphoma. I will be posting on this and my run within the week.

Cooking as a Single Mom: I love to cook. It is a passion. But I hate to cook for myself.  I would fit well in a big Italian family because I love to cook in volume for a crowd of hungry people or on occassion for that intimate dinner. But for me.  I’m really bad about that. But now… cooking as a single mom with little ones is kinda of like cooking for 1.5.  They don’t each much, so portions & recipes are smaller.  I think it’s eazy to get bogged down in the day and just kind of get by.  So my goal is to come up with some great easy ways to make good healthy nutrious meals for kiddies & mom alike when you are not feeding a ful blown family of 4 or starving teenagers.

That’s kinda what’s been going through my head.  I’ll be expanding on things and digging in to my usual.  But it’s good to be back!  In fact, my shrink said to me this week, you haven’t been writing or running much lately have you, I said, no why, he said, i can tell – Go Write! Go Run! 

He’s Right!  I can tell too!