Monday, August 27, 2012

School night dinners

We seem to be getting a bit fancy with weeknight dinners lately...
Since the small-and-very-fussy girl decided to be vegetarian, it's been an ongoing challenge to make dinners that supply a wide range of nutrients that will be eaten....

In recent years, friends-of-old have been shocked to discover that (...oh, since about when the girleen started eating solids and rejecting anything I cooked....) I've lost my food-preparation mojo.  I used to be seriously obsessed with growing organic food, lardering excess produce (jams, pickles, freezing) and making all my own bread and pasta. I loved trying new recipes and experimenting with my own foodie ideas.  Lately, I've just been grateful for anything that I don't have to cook myself. 

For the last 6 years or so, NOTHING has inspired me, except the odd bit of baking as entertainment with the girleen.  For the last wee while, two-minute-noodles and frozen stir-fry vegetables have featured more heavily in the dinner repertoire than I'd like to admit (because at least she'll EAT that).

But lately, I've discovered the value in dinner preparation as entertainment and incentive to eat, for the small, fussy, vegetarian kid.
Sushi rice is easy enough to prepare in an evening, and the nori-rolling process is a great activity for little hands. Vietnamese rice paper rolls are easy-peasy, too.

Mixing and kneading pasta dough is one night's entertainment for small hands.  The dough can then be set to rest in the fridge until the next night, when the pasta machine comes out to work. 

Dinner then has a whole new appeal to small fussy girls....
..even if they pull out all the big green bits.

14 comments:

Carmel Morris said...

Oh, a vegetarian who pulls out the green bits. I bet that's tricky to accomodate. It all looks a bit yummy and I'm really impressed that you can fit all that extra work in to your schedule.

Breakfast Jo said...

My vegetarian progressed into a vegan!! I remember only too well how hard it was to prepare/convert recipes into something she would eat and was actually good for her too. Some of our 'stock' recipes included homemade vegetable soup, vegetarian stack ( no cheese) vegie burgers, anything with light soy sauce, cous cous, with lemon, peas and broadbeans ( precooked and popped out of their skins}, Christmas pudding made without eggs or butter ( or added sugar) pesto with garlic,chilli and pinenuts, home made nutloaf etc etc. I keep a separate cook book filled with vegan recipes that she likes and we have a cookup when ever she visits :O) stuffed mushrooms are another favourite. Think of it as a challenge, it gets easier.

Annie said...

Yummo!

Karen said...

Yum - looks good.
It was rice paper rolls here tonight - the girls love rolling them up as much as anything I think.

Lisa M said...

Oh I admire you. I have always given my children the same choices I was given as a child, being:
1) Eat it or go hungry
2) If you don't eat it now, you can have it for breakfast
3) It's a pity you will miss out on ice-cream because you didn't eat your dinner.
I recently was tired of the 'I don't like that vegetable' and allowed my 3 children to pick one vegetable that they never have to eat again - I now just serve them something else and expect it to be eaten.
Lucky for me though, none have decided to be vegetarian - this is because I told them (when they have raised the subject) that they could no longer enjoy (if that's possible) cheeseburgers from McDonalds! No conviction.
Good luck, you are doing well. I wish I were as patient.

Katy Cameron said...

Ahh, Lisa M above me's parents must have known mine, they had the same philosophy, although as a teen my mum did concede to stop making me eat liver and kidneys (I mean really, who has to concede to that?!) Sounds like a good plan to encourage the eating though, and it's always fun to play with your food :oD

OurGangof7 said...

I have fussy eaters too, although mine are meat eaters, I have trouble getting them to eat anything remotely looking like vegetables and fruit. That is my constant battle.

I used to love cooking too, then as thte kids got fussy I just stopped being adventurous. I recently started up a new blog to try and get me "re-inspired" about cooking. I am working my way through all of my cookbook/recipes. It has been on hold after our recent insterstate move but now am thinking I need to start it up again and try out some of my recipes once more.
That pasta looks so yummy,,,,,I have been thinking of getting a pasta machine like yours but don't know if it will just be a novelty for me and then gather dust in the back of my cupboard lol.

Fer said...

Yep, it's all about pasta, sauce and cheese in our house at the moment (at least the boy still eats everything!). If I try to introduce something new I'm met with an almost panicky "I don't like it, I don't like it!!" I try not to let it get to me and hope she'll grow out of it.

Dianne said...

My youngest is about to turn 9 & has only become more adventurous with trying new foods this year! Thankfully his big brother is really into a wide variety of food & always has been. The Donna Hay kids annual (just out this month) always has good tried & tested dinner/snack/lunchbox recipes. There are lots of kids cookbooks but not all are created equal! The WW & family circle books are good - FC do a great couple of books with step by step pictures, terrific or kids to read. Out of print now but sometimes turns up at clearance sales.

Maddy said...

I spat meat out as a baby. No matter how hard my mother tried she couldn't get me to eat meat. It was tough for her but I'm glad she gave me that choice.
It might be worth while checking out the vegetarian society. I am however wondering if this is new and a faze or if she just doesn't like meat. Will she eat fish? Oh and if she doesn't like the texture of tofu try the silken one or tempeh.

Tanya said...

what a gloriously surprising foodie post and fancy food photos! I agree about the entertainment factor but need to be abit 'chilled' to include others in the dinner prep! Often its my 'downtime' (and I have been seen with the 'don't approach me' head phones and music or a podcast on!)
I hate google 'prove youre not a robot'

julie @ tractorgirl said...

yes it's a toughie, especially when they've been eating everything & suddenly changed their mind! :( And I'm with Tanya - I have to be in the VERY right frame of mind to let the kids get involved in cooking - it usually just frustrates the hell outta me because they poke at and open everything before I'm ready & generally make an easy job THAT much harder. So well done you!! and yeah, pass me those nori rolls...

Vegan said...

It's been too long since I've visited your blog, but I'm so excited that your little one has gone vegetarian! I went vegetarian at 16, then vegan at 21. We now have 2 daughters and we are raising them vegan. Congratulations,vegetarian girl!

Vegan said...

It's been too long since I've visited your blog, but I'm so excited that your little one has gone vegetarian! I went vegetarian at 16, then vegan at 21. We now have 2 daughters and we are raising them vegan. Congratulations,vegetarian girl!