What a summer!
Well, it’s almost been 2 months since my last post and while I wish I had a plethora of photos and recipes to share with you, it seems we got too busy eating food and the keeping track and the photographing of it, sort of slipped my mind. I suppose I should ask you to take my word for it that we ate some amazing, new vegetarian dishes – some made by me, some made by family, and some eaten out – and we had our fair share of non-vegetarian dishes and (I’m ashamed to admit this) we neglected our green smoothies for the better part of the summer. However, after the whirlwind that was our summer, we are back to our regular schedule, back to our regular diet and back in the swing of things. Our bodies are once again adjusting to a high-fibre vegetarian diet and I’m encouraged by the fresh produce that is still available where we are (tomatoes, wild blueberries, herbs from our own garden, eggplants, pears, apples…) to help keep our food interesting.
We have had a garden for three of the five years we have been in our house. Our first year we planted strawberries, raspberries, mint, chives, tomatoes, cucumbers and jalapeno peppers. Now, in our third year, we have two strawberry leaves (I’m holding onto hope that they’ll one day yield fruit), a raspberry BUSH (with so much fruit it’s amazing!), chives and mint that are taking over most of the garden, and several other things that, thanks to the amazing weather, have provided us with a nice variety of delicious healthy treats.
My kids love helping me water, de-weed, and pick the vegetables in our garden and I love letting them help me. The first time they followed me into the garden, my husband got worried they were going to get filthy, and they did, but I told him I would clean them up and the result was wonderful. They enjoyed themselves, and I enjoyed myself because I wanted to be sure they saw where some of the food they eat comes from. Most kids will answer that food comes from the grocery store. The answer is correct, but as we all know, that’s not where food originates from. In fact, I can remember when my daughter learned what a chicken was and the next time she had chicken, she stared at her fork for about 2 minutes. She was making the connection that what she was eating was an animal that she just learned about. Truth be told, it didn’t seem to bother her that much, and I know it doesn’t bother my son (he is a meat-eater through and through) but I was happy that she realized that it wasn’t just some food that magically gets made.
If you watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, it’s staggering to see how many children can’t identify various vegetables. I am determined to educate my children on food, what they eat, why we eat it, why we don’t eat certain food, etc. I do this by letting them help in the garden, and getting excited to take them to the farmer’s markets around us. They get excited too, which makes me so happy. The best thing is that as we make changes they don’t seem to notice or mind. We stopped buying yogurt with all sorts of sweeteners and fruits inside and instead buy organic Greek-style yogurt. The kids love it and don’t miss their old yogurt at all. If you were to take a look at our grocery bill from a year ago today and our grocery bill now, you would be shocked at the difference. Before we bought processed foods (because they were convenient and appealing to a child) and didn’t pay much attention to the label (for ingredients or nutritional values), but now we are mindful of everything we put in our cart and therefore, in our mouths. Of course, we eat out occasionally and let go of our “rules” every now and again, but most of the time, we watch and our hopes are, that doing this now, will set up the kids for the future. I’m not going to say that coming up with delicious vegetarian dishes my 4 and 2 year old children want to eat has been a walk in the park, but, as I said above, I’m excited to continue trying new vegetarian dishes. We have our staples that I know they’ll eat, but we can’ t have homemade pizza or “tacos” every night so I continue to search and cook and blog and I hope you come back and see what I’ve tried!
To tantalize your taste buds, here are some things I plan to make in the next little while:
Whole-Grain Morning Loaf
Portable Breakfast Pastries
Seeded Savoury Mini Scones
Potato Gnocchi with Walnuts, Browned Butter and Sage
Couscous and Vegetable Stuffed Tomatoes
Cuban Style Baked Beans and Rice
Check back often for more regular updates as we get back into the swing of things. I hope your September is going smoothly and if you are getting back to school or work, or have kids that have gone back, I hope you are able to snatch a moment to yourself for a cup of coffee or tea and a chance to read this blog! See you soon!!