Monday, December 6, 2010

How Do I Feed Thee??

I have a confession to make.... I hate cooking... I hate the chore of feeding my family....why do these people need to eat EVERY single day?  Well, okay, so maybe I don't HATE to cook or feed my family, but it is a really, really, REALLY difficult chore for me.  There was a time that I actually enjoyed it - and even longed to whip up a quick batch of something healthy and wonderful - there is a certain instinct in us women that needs to nourish our little ones, much like the pleasure you receive when nursing a newborn babe or feeding a bottle.  Something that drives us to need to do that..... so WHAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH ME???  The problem = I catered for faaaaaaar to long to that monster that lives in our house "The-Picky-Eater".  Ugga-mugga.  Now I pay the price. 

Now, it's easy to point fingers and place blame when it comes to this subject in our house - the Papa Bear that lives here is the worst culprit of all.  However, I am not using that as an excuse - not complaining, just owning up to the fact that it is one of the cards I have been dealt.  He has always said "Cook what you want, I will fend for myself".  Which works, but.... well, it's not ideal.   It's a difficult area when it comes to parenting.... a perfectly prime example of the old saying "do as I say and not as I do" - yeah, um, NO.  They WILL do as you do.  I can't exactly make Junior eat his peas, when Papa turns up his nose at them too.  I got no back up I tell ya, no back up.   Which, however, makes the subject of feeding/cooking/nourishing my brood quite the undertaking.   It's a one step forward, three steps back situation.   So - this time of year, I get my feathers all ruffled up again and decide ENOUGH is ENOUGH - I shall COOK and you shall EAT!!!!   And, really, it does work if I am persistent, consistent, and authoritative, which is true in any area of parenting, right?   When I set down their plates in front of them and the dreaded comments and questions begin "What is THAT?", "Do I have to eat it?", "What if I don't like it?", "What is in there?", "It smells funny", "Why does it look like that?", "She has less than I do", "How about just three bites? Okay, four?", "I'm not hungry", "Can I go to bed?", "I'd rather eat dirt".... okay, so maybe I haven't heard the last one just yet, but my friend has - and this child actuallly did eat dirt... just to prove her point.  But I digress.....  My point is that when all of this mayhem starts to escalate, I now very calmly and simply say "I have done my job as your mother, now you do your job as the child and eat what you are given.".    It's that simple.  Eat or go hungry.  Of course, being consistent with that is the hardest part (especially when a certain someone snacks the rest of the night because he didn't eat his dinner!!)  Oh wait.. did I say HE?

Which brings me to the actual point of this post... yes, there is one....I'm getting there.  My sister and I joke about how just once a year we actually put effort into feeding our families.  Something about a warm hearty meal simmering away while the snow is falling outside just bespeaks of everything motherly, and home-making-ish to me (is that a word?).  Also, a little bit of inspiration can go a long way. And let me tell you I have stumbled upon some inspiration!! Two words - Beth VanBemmel.  She just happens to be the wife of the Headmaster at our school.   She was so kind to cook dinner for our family a few weeks ago - and it was one of those moments when the angels were singing, and a light shone down from heaven - everyone LOVED it.  I really didn't think it was ever possible to please every mouth in this family at the same time.  But she did it!  Then I discovered, she shares her recipes on a blog !!!! Eeeeek!!!!   Last week, I cooked up a homemade, made-from-scratch (well mostly) dinner for my family almost every night.  Unheard of around here.  Her blog that she contributes to has become my new cookbook.  http://www.makeadiff21.com/ - on the right side column is a section called Tasty Bites which is where you will find her recipes.   So far I have made the Creamy Ham and Bean Soup, the Iron Skillet Chicken Pot Pie, the Santa Fe Soup, and I plan on making the Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins. this afternoon.   Plus - I also whipped up some yummy Chex Mix from Stacey's blog (another cooking inspiration) that we have been enjoying all week.   I am one of those people that has to follow a recipe - tell me exactly how to do it, and I can manage.  It would be even better if someone would tell me what to make every night too. 

One of the best things about making an effort in the kitchen every night is how much the girls have started to enjoy cooking.  I used to get so frustrated at all the time, effort, and money put into cooking meals, only to be thrown into the trash can... that I just stopped trying, and we lived on take out and lots of eating out.  But, having the girls help, and making it fun, is not only a benefit in the time we spend together, and the learning that happens, but the girls are usually much more willing to try something (and eat it whether they like it or not), than if just mom was doing the cooking.  Banana really enjoys it the most, and even makes several things by herself now.   One of her Christmas favorites is making Peppermint Bark.  It is very simple and the kids love the process of making it almost as much as the eating it! (HOWEVER, they can only eat it if they have eaten all their dinner - HA!)

Three simple ingredients....

Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between.

Crush up a bag of peppermints (after unwrapping of course).  This is their favorite part.  They triple bag the mints and use a hammer to smash them.  I send them to the basement floor with a towel under the bag because the bag will get holes in it.

Spread the dark chocolate on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet.
Sprinkle on the crushed peppermints.

Place your melted white chocolate in a baggy and snip the very tip off the corner of the baggie and drizzle the white chocolate all over the peppermints.

Place in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes, or until it hardens and then break into bite-sized pieces (sometimes a pizza cutter works better).  And enjoy!! But eat your vegetables first.....


10 comments:

The Full Nelson said...

I hear ya with the picky eaters. I should just make them eat or starve...however they generally will skip a meal rather than eat what I say so I cave. I know they'd eat that chocolate though :) V8 splash is the only way I get veggies in my kids!

Joanne said...

Your post was hilarious! just the first two lines made me laugh so hard I could hardly see the page! I know exactly how you feel. My son God Bless him is the pickiest eater I have ever seen! Thanks for the laugh.

Carrie said...

What a cute post, Heather! I didn't know you were so funny! ;)

I've even heard "It's too hot!" to something I pulled out of the refrigerator! We joke about our boys about having a "Good Eater" and a "Good Sleeper." If only we could morph them into one easy kid!! Just kidding, of course. ;)

Timeless and Treasured, Photography by Heather said...

HA HA!! Oh yes - the V8 splash is always on hand around here! They call it blueberry juice. Whatever works!

Nana said...

Unfortunately there is very little veggies and mostly sugar in the V8 splash. We tried it too but the doctor was NOT impressed. oh well. It taste good and may have more benefits in it than a coke. I dont care all that much for cooking and I have a man that will eat Almost anything. Which means we can go out to eat almost anywhere and he is ok. I might try the Santa fe soup. It sounds good. Right now I have homemade spegetti sauce simmering on the stove. It is so yummy and so much better than ragu. Only thing is I am hungry all day smelling it. I do love the peppermint bark. Have made that before. It is good.

Karen said...

Amen Sista! Peppermint bark is a seasonal staple around here - easy to make too. AND when you live where I live, you just put the pans out on your back deck and in 10 minutes, it's cold enough to crack apart. Yay. That was a sarcastic yay. But it IS so yummy!

Christy said...

That is so yummy! Love the blog - bookmarking it as well and hoping to try some recipes.

Caroline said...

if you are looking for help with menu planning - may be this is helpful
http://gnowfglins.com/2010/11/29/need-help-with-real-food-menu-planning/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+gnowfglins+%28GNOWFGLINS%29&utm_content=Google+Reader ?

Kimberly said...

So funny Heather! Thanks for the giggle! I think you have come a long way! I'm so proud of you! Remember when our older girls were really little? You didn't cook at all! I remember making dog bone cookies at your house for the 4th b-day and you didn't even have flour in your pantry. :) I can't wait to check out Beth's blog for some yummy recipes. Keep up the good work! We love Chex mix here too and tell "H" I will try her Peppermint bark this week!

Warm Cozy Cook said...

Oh, Heather, I'm over here blushing. :O) Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad the recipes have been a blessing! And that peppermint bark looks awesome!