Dinners… experimenting outside of our comfort zone.

by Adriana

Zara!Darius!

Veggie burgers. Again.

Well, we had another one of those rushed evenings with a to-do list that was too long to allow us to make a nice dinner with the kids, so we decided to try another veggie burger. This time we went to Harvey’s. I’ve had their veggie burger before, but never as a weekday vegetarian. This one was good, but if I’m honest, I preferred the Yves burger. The Yves burger had more flavour and substance. The Harvey’s burger just tasted like the rest of ingredients we piled on the burgers. Also, the sodium levels were quite high just like the Yves, so that wouldn’t be a deciding factor. However, the onion rings and french fries will definitely change your mind… that, you can’t get at home! Now, back to our good home cooking. Last night for dinner my daughter asked for… PASTA! Surprised? No, me neither.

I have wanted to try a macaroni and cheese for awhile now and decided to take the plunge. I also wanted to throw something super healthy into the food, and so I added some cooked broccoli to it.

Broccoli Macaroni & Cheese

The macaroni and cheese was good, and surprisingly easy to make. I added the broccoli that I originally was intending to serve beside the macaroni and cheese (which is why it is so big). However, as much as I trick my kids into eating vegetables by hiding it in tiny pieces in their food, sometimes I like to see them try something they know they are eating, without hiding it.

My daughter is constantly saying “I don’t like that” about something she has never tried before. It bothers me. Don’t get me wrong, I was probably the exact same way growing up, and I don’t remember eating broccoli as a side dish, ever. So, even when I have to bribe the kids with ice cream for dessert so that they’ll have one piece, it makes me happy to see them push their limits a bit. Also, I have to remember that my husband and I weren’t the serve-broccoli-as-a-side-dish kind of people, so for my little ones, this is their first time eating broccoli as a main part of their meal. They’ve had it as a snack before at birthday parties dipped in so much dressing that they didn’t even know it was there. But, this is different. This is broccoli as broccoli. As we cook more and try new vegetables and recipes, I am learning which vegetables to hide from them (by pureeing, or grating) and which ones they are more willing to try.

My daughter started eating salad sometime last year, and that was mostly because she loved the croutons. But the croutons lead her to the dark green leaves, which is great. Yesterday was the first time my son ate the lettuce and not just the croutons. And then once he started, he kept eating. I was so happy. It showed me that he is willing to try something out of his own curiosity and not just because of the promise of ice cream. I feel very fortunate that we have started eating vegetarian for our kids at such an early age. My daughter now knows that we only eat meat on “S” days and hasn’t asked for it. In fact, when we were eating the veggie burgers, she asked me why we were eating meat on a Wednesday. She’s catching on, and she’s willing to tell anyone who will listen that we aren’t eating meat.

This is just the beginning and it’s going to be a challenge to get them to try things they’ve never SEEN before, but at least some of these firsts are at a time in their lives where soon they won’t remember a time before weekday vegetarianism. Hopefully we’re just paving a better path for them and teaching them healthy eating habits that will stick with them for the rest of their lives! Of course, this means that we won’t have Harvey’s too often!!!

For the macaroni and cheese recipe, click here. I added some ground nutmeg to the sauce and broccoli to the dish and omitted the minced onion.

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