Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New post at the new URL

Monkeys eating kale: http://greenishmonkeys.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/csa-week-6/

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Water everywhere

(mostly in the garden. And we sealed the deal on a giant thunderstorm when we watered the garden ....)

We did a water-on-the-head race and it went fabulously. No, we didn't really save any actual water (rather the opposite), but both kids had a blast, and were able to really engage in the activity and some conversation about it. It's hard to carry water on your head! (and I can add to that, that it is even more difficult to carry water on your head when you are wearing a baby in a sling... especially a baby that pulls back and looks alarmed every time you put something on your head).

 We picked out containers from our recycling to use, beginning with a tiny yogurt container, progressing to a can, a large yogurt container, and finally a gallon milk jug.

Afterwards, we looked at pictures of mamas and children carrying water (and by accident, an alligator with a WHOLE HUMAN HAND in his mouth... I recommend pre-googling) and talked about the containers, the volume, the distance....both kids seemed to have a greater appreciation of the work so many families do each day to get the water they need. We ended up skipping the clean-up-outside part-- we'll do that another day, since I needed to get dinner started. The kids also played with a water quiz at the UN website for children, and picked up some random facts. All in all, a success.

The garlic scape pesto pizza was delicious (with a little yellow pepper and some fresh mozzarella). We also really liked the greens/ricotta pasta dish I made last night (we being me and Ben, notsomuch the children). I used part-skim ricotta and a food processor rather than blender-- it was creamy and good. Also very, very quick, which was a good thing indeed because Mr. I'm Seldom Fussy was very fussy.

Tonight? to my surprise, we are at the end of Book 7. It's Harry Potter Marathon night for the last time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


How do you teach kids about sustainability without being too heavy handed? I remember some parts of being a child pretty clearly...and I do remember the blinders you have where you really mainly worry about how things are going to affect YOU. But I know our kids are inheriting a pretty big mess here (I mean the earth in general, not just my house)... and I want them to grow up with compassion, with a sense that the world is a big place with room for lots of other experiences than those they have.

We were walking to an activity today, downtown-- a little over a mile from our house. It was hot (for here). I fielded several complaints, and Adam said, "When we get there, I need to wet my mouth." I saw a teachable moment there, and said, "Did you know that a lot of people in the world walk farther than we are walking today to get the water they need to drink and cook and clean?" Rachel said yes and Adam said no.
So we talked about it a little and then did some imagining about it.... "What would we do with Sam if we were walking to get water? Would we have a jogging stroller? Who would carry him?.... how would we carry the water back to our house?" We thought about several different possibilities (would Adam be the one to carry Sam? Would he be strapped to Rachel's back? How would we get the water home?). Then Rachel just shut down. "I won't talk about this any more and I won't answer your questions." I tried to explore that a little, but she just said she was done. I said it was okay to feel uncomfortable about it, and it was important, too, because it helped us realize how much we have, and how we need to help others. But she was done. We arrived at the activity, both kids drank from the fountain, and I headed home with Sam.

I spent the walk/run home thinking about what we could do that would be fun, but also make the point without me being so heavy-handed....so when we get home this afternoon on this very hot day, we are going to do some water games. We need to water the garden, anyway. Here's what I'm thinking: we will do a race from the front yard to the garden with different sized containers of water on our heads-- fastest time and  least spillage wins. I figure we can start small and work our way up to a milk jug. Instead of taking showers tonight, we'll clean up in the back yard in our bathing suits.... with one bucket of water to use. When we come inside I've bookmarked some computer games and activities that focus on water.

We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CSA Week 4: What's in your basket this week?

What did you get this week, and what region are you in? I was just looking at a picture of a share in Alabama this week-- as you would expect, completely different veggies (tomatoes, peppers... a giant cantaloupe).

We did give away some beets to my dad last week. We are continuing to do well with using the full share-- I have had to put a few odd leaves of limp lettuce in the compost, but there hasn't been any major waste, so far.

Here's our share. I had to put it on the table this week and stand on a chair to take the picture.

Sam was once again exhausted from baby socialization at Music Time at Central St. Farmhouse, and was thus unable to play with the produce. He had a blast, though, showing off his forward scooch and making Ring Wraith noises with the other baby his age.

 I'm guessing a little for amounts this week because I don't have the newsletter right in front of me:

2 heads of lettuce
1 lb salad mix
1 bunch of Hakuri turnips
1 bunch of carrots
1 bunch of chard
1 bunch of kale
1 bunch of scallions
1 bunch of garlic scapes
1 (enormous) head of pak choi

 Tentative Meal Plan
Big salad with cheese and 5-minute bread

At least three batches of Kale Chips. Maybe I will get to eat some this time!

Pasta with greens and ricotta, from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day (I'll use all chard)

Homemade pizza with garlic scape pesto (never made this last week)

I am torn between doing a basic stir fry and making spring rolls, which would make good use of some of the remaining veggies-- I've never made them before. Any tips? I was thinking the kids might enjoy rolling them/ customizing them (perhaps... even eating them).

Tomato soup, five minute bread, salad

Grill night-- hot dogs, trimmings. and, shockingly, salad.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Green(ish) Challenge 3 Wrap-up

It's Monday. And I have used the drier about twice as much as I did last week, so I am counting this one as a fail-- not an epic fail, just not a success. 12 loads of laundry, 5 of them dried in the drier. The problems that I had mostly focused around the weather, which was a bit unpredictable this week-- one day I was overly cautious, another day I wasn't cautious enough.

I'll keep hanging it up whenever the weather permits-- I find laundry much less burdensome if I can spread it out, so I try to do that whenever I can. This was a bad week for laundry... a bad week for exercise (no idea why) and a sad week in general (the loss of our friend). So we'll start over again. I think we have a decent routine going, and that's half the battle.

This week we are getting ready for a trip to the beach, when we will have our fourth green challenge of the summer... bringing our cloth diapers along on vacation.We're going to use mostly hybrid diapers-- here's hoping this goes well.

Things that did go well this weekend:
We picked strawberries with some friends and had a lovely time. All the berries have been eaten, frozen, or cooked. Rachel and I made no-sugar freezer jam from this recipe and it came out really well, if you like tart jam (we do-- and Rachel ate it up with no comments about it not being sweet enough).  I saw in the comments that some added small volumes of sugar or honey to this to sweeten it just a bit. It set really well (much better than other freezer jams I have made-- the extra pectin and the slow cooling seem to help).  I also made this cake for the 4th-- we haven't tried it yet but it looks really good. I was going to use blueberries and strawberries together but didn't get out the blueberries and therefore forgot them.
They look good from this angle. You can't see just how many under-ripe berries came home with us. But they were tasty anyway!

Kale Chips: prepared with Adam. Note to self, do not let Adam add the salt next time.
Continued good use of CSA share, despite some menu changes (and my ILs had us over for dinner last night). We have eaten everything or will be eating it tonight (except for a few beets...which are going to my dad who is, frankly, way more fond of beets than any of us).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Eight Months of Beautiful Baby

It's about 7:30 in the morning and I have done a load of laundry and hung it on the line-- so we are off to a better start today. An extremely early start, thank you all children working together in tandem. I weeded a little, too. The big kids have read another chapter of Harry Potter. We're going to have a "blitz clean" and then head out to pick some strawberries-- yum.

Last night's dinner was a hit and made good use of our CSA share: honey-balsamic chicken with roasted carrots and onion, salad with roasted beets and a dab of goat cheese, and 5-minute bread.

Today marks 8 months of being a family of five. Sam is in his glory-- he is round and happy and the most mellow little guy I have ever known.

He did a sort of creeping army crawl maneuver this morning and got himself about 4" forward.

backwards scooching, soon to be a thing of the past.
He doesn't much care for solid foods, but will eat a few bites before devoting himself to trying to get a hold of the spoon. He likes to gnaw on a big piece of whatever we are having.
He is a thoughtful little guy. He tries really hard to do some simple signs, like all done and more. He's not quite there yet.
He ran his first 10K.... well, actually that was me, he just watched.
Milestones omitted from baby book: first time upending cat's water dish over own head.
His favorite game: the big kids ask if he wants his foot kissed, and he holds it out and giggles. We have to make regular stops when we are out to kiss his feet. Not that we spoil our baby or anything.

He is basically the baby of awesome. Where did all that time go?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Who will win, me or the laundry? And the garden, early July.

I love this rose. I would never have picked it out myself (I worry about killing anything as fragile as a hybrid rose-- my benign neglect plus the Maine winter is not a good combination for something delicate), but it was already in our garden when we moved here. And despite me just cutting back dead growth, doing some erratic weeding and tossing some compost in its direction periodically-- it has done pretty well.

This has not been a banner week for our clothesline challenge. Wednesday I waited for the thunderstorms that never came. Yesterday I got the laundry started very early... and it got rained on. It dried, but it took all day and now I am behind. Our family just got home from the funeral of a friend from church, and everyone is sad and the sky looks alternately sunny and ominous. The drier is going right now and I am okay with that.

Finishing our CSA share is going well this week. The taco salad we made last night was delicious and the kids ate large handfuls of kale chips. We make them like Smitten Kitchen. It really makes me unreasonably happy to watch them eat a dark leafy green.

The garden is mostly looking good. This week we staked the tomatoes and fertilized the pepper plants. They look a little better but are still small. The green basil is doing well but the purple basil is not. All of the tomatoes have flowers and the yellow cherry tomatoes have set fruit.
None of the pictures I took of the little sunflowers and zinnias came out well, but they are up and thriving. The little cilantro plants are also up, and I need to seed another row of those, since they don't last very long. In a few weeks it will be time to plant seeds for the fall garden-- this will be the first time we've tried that.

The back of the yard does really well with benign neglect.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wooing my children with carbs

My children love bread. I love baking, and I love baking "real" bread that requires lots of love and kneading... but finding the time to make it is often a challenge. My sister sent me this recipe this winter and it has really been great for our family-- I keep a container of dough in the fridge almost all the time, and regularly bake a loaf with dinner, especially when I know that the main course is not going to be a hit. It's also great for company, or if we are taking a meal to a friend-- it bakes fast. It looks good (usually)! Rachel can make it with a little supervision. I have made the loaves in many shapes and sizes, and can now pull off just enough dough for dinner with no leftovers.
The recipe can be found here and is originally from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

Variations we have done:
I always use at least half whole-wheat flour and have used as much as 2/3 whole wheat flour. I also have used a six grain blend flour  (2.5 c white, 2 c. whole wheat, 2 c. six grain flour-- that made a heavy but tasty loaf). I have rolled it out and sprinkled on sugar and cinnamon and raisins (yum). I plan to try making a pesto swirl bread but that is waiting till the next time we have company.

Green(ish) updates for the week so far: all that fuss.... and it never rained yesterday. Sigh. Laundry is on the line now, although the sky looks pretty grey and the humidity is high. We are eating our way through our CSA share with a few minor menu modifications: last night we had salmon, roasted broccoli, and rice with chard and almonds. I think we'll do a giant taco salad tonight.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reading with Rachel, and a little challenge fail.

this is what the weather channel has on the agenda for today.  

Sam is on antibiotics for an ear infection. I'll just leave it at that. I have to wash diapers and I need them dry quickly, so I am going to have to cheat and use the drier. I was hoping to wash a small load of diapers yesterday to avoid this, but we had an unexpected errand in the afternoon and I just couldn't manage it. Oh well. Our real goal here is to make small changes, slowly, that we can maintain, and we're doing decently with that. 

I did do a big combined load with clothes for everyone yesterday, though, and I think taking that kind of approach is helpful with this challenge. I will say that I am the world's least pickiest laundry-doer (well, other than a college student). I sort by temp only and other than my freaky wash routine for the diapers, I am laid back about what goes with what.
multitasker like mama.

Rachel loves to read, and in the last year or so I have really been enjoying reading old favorites, as well as new books with her. I love reading children's and young adult lit, and have checked out a number of my favorites to "pre-read" to see if Rachel might be ready for them. Sometimes she is; sometimes not. These are some of the books we've enjoyed reading and talking about recently.

A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet)
One of my all time favorite books. I have been trying it with Rachel for about a year now. She was capable of reading it, but just not interested until a few months ago, when one of the librarians at the BPL suggested it for a book club. We haven't tried the next one yet, but maybe this summer. "It was a little scary."

The Cabinet of Wonders: The Kronos Chronicles: Book I (Kronos Chronicles Trilogy)
A gift from Rachel's godmother that we both loved. This is a fascinating story-- now we are on to Book 2. Petra is a strong heroine and I love her tin spider.

Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself
Lots of discussion about Hitler after reading this one."There was a lot of drama in this one, with Sally making up stories that she thought were true but turned out not to be. Sally is very good at thinking up games to play with her friends."

Cherry Ames Flight Nurse: Book 5 (Bk. 5)
I loved these books when I was a little girl-- we used to check them out from the library when we were visiting my grandmother. Rachel is admittedly not as interested in these as I am, but she has been reading the ones I picked up at the library booksale, as well as one that used to belong to her great-aunt. Like Nancy Drew only she's a cute nurse who has adventures, solves mysteries, and goes out on tame dates with nice boys. Cruise Nurse was fun too.

The Capture (Guardians of Ga'hoole, Book 1)
Another godmother gift. Excellent owl story. "It's very adventurous, and Soren is very courageous. I love the songs."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CSA Week 3: beets are a challenge for me.

 Sam is intrigued by the broccoli in our farm share this week-- some fell out when I was unpacking and he went to town.

What's in our share this week:

1/2 lb salad mix
1 bunch Hakuri turnips
1 bunch kale
1 bunch swiss chard
1 bunch garlic scapes
2 heads of lettuce
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch beets
2 lbs broccoli 

    Tentative Meal Plan  (Plus: Kale Chips)
    Roasted Shrimp with Broccoli, rice, fruit
    Chicken with honey roasted carrots, roasted beets, 5 minute bread, Salad
    Big salad with leftover chicken, roast veggies
    Pasta with swiss chard and goat cheese
    Homemade pizza with garlic scape pesto on the "adult" side, salad
    Taco salad bar (black beans and fresh corn chips); Breakfast for dinner (hmmmm...) with salad.

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Latest green(ish) challenge

    We are all enjoying the sun, especially Rosie Dangercat.

     1. Many cloth diapers are hanging on the line. Sam closely examined blades of grass while I hung it up.  We'll see if I can keep this up all week. The weather looks like it will be great, though, so I have a decent shot. And I am not actively behind on laundry right now, either.

    2. Lots of exercise for all of us this week-- Rachel went to track camp and I got in a four mile run/jog/walk this morning with Sam (who enjoyed a nap).

    3. Rachel and I started a craft project during the rain this weekend: a prayer flag for our backyard. It looks like it will be really neat.

    4. We have almost eaten our entire CSA share for this week, except for the beets. I may give them to my dad, who loves beets. I have one head of lettuce left but will likely give it to a friend. New share tomorrow!

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Gillyweed Burritos

    My big list of ways to try to elicit interest in food:

    1. kids help prepare it
    2. kids help grow it or select it
    3. we call it a "_________ Bar" and act like there are cool and optional things about it. This is often really successful, actually. Burrito bar, sandwich bar, pasta bar....kale bar.
    4. we give it a clever name
    5. bribery.  
    This meal involves  4 and 5. And yet was not an especial success, although Ben and I love it-- super easy and very tasty. I think if Rachel would actually make a reasonable effort to try it, she would like it... because who can resist the siren song of so much cheese?

    Spinach-Cheese Burritos, from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers: Fresh Ideas for the Weeknight Table

    My adaptations:

    I use a mixture of greens when fresh are available-- I have used all kale before, without any issues. Just make sure you cook the greens longer than the directions indicate if you are using a tougher green (or, add the greens in order, starting with the tougher ones and adding spinach toward the end). When fresh greens aren't available, I have used frozen (thawing and squeezing out the water before cooking). I have used regular or sweet onions in place of the scallions. I use reduced fat cream cheese and usually cut the Monterrey jack cheese, too, by at least 2 oz and sometimes more. We use whole-wheat tortillas.

    For the hot sauce, I have grilled the pepper and onion outside and then chilled until I was ready to prepare the sauce-- and we add at least one jalapeno, which we usually roast, too.

      Saturday, June 25, 2011

      CSA midweek, and another Potter-a-thon

      1. So far, so good on the CSA share for this week. We've eaten about half the greens (kale chips! they continue to eat them. I actually did take a video....) and will be making the other half into Gillyweed (greens and cheese) Burritos for our unsuspecting company tomorrow night. We have eaten a ton of salad and I have discovered that I actually like the little white turnips, go figure! I have many negative memories of turnips but these taste good, even without salad dressing. We have basically stuck to the menu plan with one exception (listed in #2).
      What is helping us use all our CSA share, so far:
      • making a menu plan
      • not going to the grocery store for staples until after we pick up our farm share
      • combining strong flavored greens with milder ones
      • sharing.
        Also, I just didn't grow lettuce in our family garden-- I plan to do some as a fall crop, but I didn't do any in the spring. I don't feel nearly as overrun with salad as I have in the past, even though we had to buy it at the farmer's market early in the season.
      2. We had pizza one night so we could do a big Harry Potter marathon and finish Book 6. I couldn't believe we were at the end, but I guess the end of school and a highly motivated Rachel contributed to our speed. Plus Book 6 is a bit shorter, and was easier to read aloud than Book 5. So now we are on to Book 7.  This excites me for several reasons, not the least of which is that we will be reading a non-Harry Potter book for bedtimes in the near-ish future. We're thinking it will be The Hobbit.
      3. I'm starting the green(ish) challenge Monday, because I managed to get all the laundry "done" before the weekend.

      Why I'm not doing laundry today. Picture by Adam (made this fall, I think).

      Friday, June 24, 2011

      Green(ish) Challenge 3: the laundry, it's infinite

      Here is our new clothesline. I am enjoying it way too much. It is almost kind of fun to strap Sam up on my back and grab a basket of wash and hang it up. Yes, motherhood has given me a warped idea of fun.  I am sure the romance will end soon but in the meantime, I am hardly running the drier at all. I'm finding that I have to use the weather report to plan my laundry, which is a little inconvenient, but doable.

      The laundry situation with three children is really kind of amazing, volume-wise. I thought I did a lot of laundry before but I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Sam is cloth diapered, too, so that is 3 or so extra loads a week.

      Rachel recently expressed horror that I had hung her underwear on the line. She was concerned that our neighbors two doors down are a family of four boys and that they might have looked in our yard. "They are BOYS." We pointed out that they were a family of four boys and that they might not even recognize girl underwear but she was not impressed. A close eye will note that Adam's unmentionables are hung up on the line in the photo above... and he does not care. At any rate, I am going to rig up a clothesline in the basement to limit her mortification.

      Green(ish) Challenge 3 is to not use the drier at all for a week. I admit that I looked at the long-range weather forecast before setting this goal-- and it seems doable. The kids help some with the laundry, although that is mainly centered around folding and putting away-- this challenge will mostly be on me.

      Thursday, June 23, 2011

      Gardening, Late June

      we wondered what this was all last summer because it never bloomed-- turns out it is a biannual and worth the wait. 

      6-23-- tomatoes are doing well and the cherry tomatoes are starting to set fruit. The sunflowers are about 2" and the zinnias are about 1". The cilantro has just come up. The basil is doing quite well, but the peppers don't look especially good. I think they need some fertilizer.

      Sunflower. This one is Adam's "favorite."

      Rock garden area-- the hen has had chicks.

      Wednesday, June 22, 2011

      Walking to School-- the end of Greenish Challenge #1

      And... the end of kindergarten and third grade. Here we are on the first day--


      And here we are on the last day. Some of us have matured so much that we will not condescend to pose for a picture at school.

      We started our walking to school challenge right around the time I left my job and this one has gone really well. I picked them up one day for a dentist appointment, but other than that, we walked both ways, every day. This one was really pretty easy, and Rachel discovered that unlike the Wicked Witch, she does not melt if she gets a little wet. I have a giant "Mama Coat" on loan from a friend so Sam felt no pain on those rainy days. Adam had much better mornings at school after the exercise. It makes me sad that he will be getting steadily less and less physical activity throughout his school day-- he concentrates so much better when he gets frequent opportunities to run. We run him in the church garden before services and you can see a huge difference in his behavior.

      And now the countdown begins....

      Tuesday, June 21, 2011

      CSA Week 2: KALE KALE KALE

      ALERT: My children consumed a green vegetable!!

      I made kale chips this week for the first time and they were an amazingly big hit. I just tossed the washed kale with olive oil and then sprinkled on a little sea salt, and baked them in a low oven for just under 20 minutes. I was a little shocked they even tried them, but then they found that they loved them. They asked me to make them again. They begged me for more. "Can I have a few before dinner?" Uhm, sure. You do that. "Can we put the bowl between me and Adam?" Why yes, yes you can. "Do we have any more kale?" No. "Will we get some in the CSA share tomorrow?" Molly was also charmed at the amazing kale consumption and she gave us an extra head of kale, so... kale chips it is.
      Seriously, watching them eat the kale chips was one of the highlights of my parenting career. Maybe I will video it tonight so I can watch it again and again.
      Sam didn't pose with the produce this week because he collapsed in exhaustion after we went to Music Time at the Central Street Farmhouse.
      This week's share:
      1 lb salad mix
      1 bunch Hakuri turnips
      1 lb beet greens
      1 bunch kale
      1 bunch green garlic
      2 heads lettuce
      1/2 lb spinach
      1 bunch beets

      Tentative meal plan: lots of salad. And kale chips.

      Mixed green salad with roasted beets(recipe in our farm newsletter), 5 min. bread
      Grilled chicken, salad, salt and vinegar potatoes with rosemary
      Pasta with greens and white beans
      Turkey burgers, giant salad
      Tomato soup, salad, 5 minute bread
      Spinach quiche, mixed green salad, 5 min. bread
      Waffles, fruit... and salad.

      Zero Waste Food Challenge Wrap-Up

      We have finished our zero food waste challenge, although I am hoping we can keep going in that vein. We threw out about a fifth of a loaf of bread that got moldy this morning, which was sad (it was awesome bread). But we threw out very little produce this week, and ate all leftovers, which I count as a success. The children gained some mindfulness about wasting food, too-- appealing to their competitive natures often really helps us to make some good changes. I'll wait a few weeks, and then we'll do it again. Later this week, we'll bake a special dessert to celebrate, and both big kids will ensure that not a bit of batter nor a single crumb gets wasted.
      This was helpful for me in that I did a much better job thinking about leftovers and how to use the food I had available. I planned the meals for the week after getting our farm share, and while I did flex quite a bit on my original meal plan, I flexed in a way that didn't involve any last minute trips to the store. We didn't use one head of pak choi, but I prepped it and put it in the freezer, where I will likely use it the next time I make soup (we put the other head in a the chicken tortilla soup we made last night, which was delicious).

      Monday, June 20, 2011

      Zero Waste Food Challenge: Weekend

      Still plugging along and doing pretty well-- we have been using all our leftovers and no produce has been thrown out at this point. We changed the meal plan up a little and made homemade pizza last night-- topped with leftover arugula pesto and chicken for the adults; the standard red sauce and cheese for the kidlets. This was a predictable hit.I made the crust a little too thick (I used the artisan bread dough instead of my usual recipe, which I prefer-- but this was a last minute decision so I used what I had on hand) so there was some wasted crust.
      We went to the farmer's market for day-old bread (from Daily Bread in Levant), eggs, and some goat cheese (which will be used with our CSA share greens next week-- yum). We met friends for coffee and I went to a birthday party with Rachel and Sam. It was a good and busy day.
      We had both sets of parents over for Father's Day dinner. Menu was a giant salad, a roast chicken, 5-minute bread, and kale chips. We had strawberries and some bars from a bake sale for dessert. I did throw away four berries that had gone bad-- even though they were just purchased on Friday. The kids ate the kale chips like magic-- it was awesome. I cooked the organ meats to use for broth (which I usually skip) and have the bones on the stove right now to make tortilla soup for dinner tonight (menu change due to all kale being used for kale chips).

      Friday, June 17, 2011

      Zero Waste Food Challenge: Day 3

      We didn't throw away any produce, we ate all leftovers, and other than some people who were not me or Ben being picky about trying their dinners, it was a pretty good day.

      I ended up changing the menu since I didn't use all the arugula making pesto-- so we had grilled chicken, braised white beans with arugula (recipe provided by our CSA.... delicious), couscous, and fruit salad.

      Feeding the kids is surprisingly hard to me. Rachel was a fabulous eater as a young child. Adam had some medical problems as a toddler that have contributed to a continuing eating problem, although since he gains weight and grows well now, I feel blessed not to have to worry so much. Rachel became picky after observing Adam for a while, and now, if we are not careful, eating is a serious power play issue with her. I have read up on it and tried different approaches, including that of Ellyn Satter. But using her approach completely doesn't work well with the kids-- they won't try anything new at all. We serve at least one item the kids like at each meal, and they can have second helpings after tasting everything on their plate. I insist that things I know they like be finished before they have seconds. I try not to make a big deal out of their not eating-- I know it's my responsibility to provide healthy food, and their responsibility to actually eat it. But eating gets very emotional for me, and trying not to get angry when I know Rachel especially is just being stubborn is really hard.

      We try to serve a reasonably balanced menu. We serve regular treats (I usually make them from scratch). We garden, cook, and eat together. But both kids still have a really limited diet and it totally frustrates me.

      Thursday, June 16, 2011

      Zero Waste Food Challenge: Day 2

      Another decent day. I threw away no produce and no leftovers, and again ate a very strange lunch. The kids did great at breakfast and at lunch (no crusts!) but dinner was again a challenge. Adam hates pasta and Rachel hates pasta with anything on it. I served them some plain pasta as well as some with the arugula pesto. They tried everything, though, so I'll count it has a half-success. Maybe starting this the last week of school (when kids in transition are naturally a little oppositional and tense!) was not the best idea. It has increased their mindfulness around waste, though, even just a few days in, and they both have been paying attention to my planning (today, I knew I would have a leftover egg white from a cookie recipe I planned to make. So I made scrambled eggs for breakfast, including the extra white. Adam watched me store the yolk and said, "That's zero food waste!")
      If I ever do make pesto out of grass, Sam will collect it for me.
      The arugula pesto was excellent-- I combined several recipes and made it like this: 4 c. arugula, 4 (thawed) ice cubes of chopped basil from last summer, 1/4 c. olive oil, 1/3 c. parm, 1/3 c. toasted walnuts, dash salt, dash lemon juice. It was spicy but not overwhelming. I couldn't taste the lemon but according to multiple recipe comments, it makes it not taste like it is made of grass. I haven't ever made pesto out of grass so I can't comment.

      Wednesday, June 15, 2011

      Zero Waste Food Challenge: Day 1

      Well, we did fairly well. Everyone ate every bite of breakfast, took one food item at a time, and finished drinks. Half a dish of fruit salad came home from Rachel's lunch, but I know that often the kids don't get enough time to finish lunch. I ate leftover mashed potatoes and fruit salad for lunch. Adam finished his dinner (very petite servings, sometimes I feel like I am that guy on the food network who plates food in tablespoon portions, only without the beautiful garnishes). Rachel spent thirty minutes eating a peach and a tortilla while waxing poetic about Maine history and then refused to eat most of the rest of dinner. The kale and cheese burritos rocked (and I am not a huge fan of kale. but how can you go wrong with lots of cheese?). Well, only Ben and I would endorse that statement.
      Food waste for Day 1: 1/4 c. milk that went bad (although it was a couple of days before it's date), small amounts of dinner, about a quarter cup of fruit salad, and 1 crust belonging to a nameless peanut butter eater.

      The garden is coming along!

      Tuesday, June 14, 2011

      CSA Week 1

      Today we picked up our first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share from the Brewer Farmer's Market. We are doing a full share with Nettie Fox Farm this year. We bought produce from Molly a lot last year and I was always happy with the quality, so when we decided to switch CSAs this year we went with her.
      This week's produce:

      what WILL you do with all that kale? this picture is at a funny angle because I had to hold onto him while I took it-- still not so steady with the sitting thing.

       This week's share: 1 lb salad mix, 1 bunch radishes, 1 head pac choi, 2 bunches kale, 1/2 lb arugula, 1 bunch green garlic, 1 baby head lettuce, 1 bunch radishes, and 1/2 lb spinach

      Tentative Menu Plan for this week:

      1. Kale-Cheese Burritos with Blender Hot Sauce (adapted from Moosewood)-- 1 bunch kale, green garlic
      2. Father's Day Meal: Roast Chicken, Spinach Salad, 5 minute artisan bread (we're having company, so I'll roast two chickens)
      3. Giant Salad with leftover chicken, radishes, 5 min bread
      4. Arugula Pesto on whole wheat pasta, tossed salad
      5. Chicken Soup with Kale and White Beans (made with final leftovers of chicken)
      6. Shrimp Stir-Fry with Pac Choi/ remainder of green garlic, brown rice
      7. Kale Chips