Tag Archives: kids

Sweet potatoes…. I love you, I love you not

IMG_4493We hung out with our cousins one weekend this summer (well many weekends, but one particular weekend inspired this post). It was fun, and I discovered that their kid too used to love sweet potatoes and now turns his nose up at them. I’ve heard this strange story from other parents too. I understand sometimes liking things sometimes not, I understand liking only certain preparations of foods, but going from basically a sweet potato monster to absolutely refusing to eat them, this fairly typical toddler transition baffles me.

For us, and my cousin, this happened sometime before their 3rd birthdays. Now, just after their 4th birthday I am starting to see a sweet potato revival. I have continued to cook with and serve sweet potatoes. Usually accepting that the leftover sweet potato dish would be my lunch.

I really like sweet potatoes, it was the magical food on holiday plates. Cooked in generous amounts of butter and brown sugar candied sweet potatoes and I are good friends. Yet even prepared this way (with vegan butter) my children refused to touch them, I was baffled. I still am because I am drooling just thinking about these!

I tried mashing them with vegan butter, brown sugar, pumpkin pie type spices and still nope. I tried plain and boiled
(sometimes with toddlers the simpler the better) big nope. I tried in soups and stews, which worked only if accidentally ingested. I tried fries (only if the frozen variety, made by the grandparents and served with mayo). I roasted them in very shape I could think of (nope). I was out of ideas. Then my mother had a craving for sweet potato chips. So we made some. In the oven, with olive oil and salt. And 2 out of 3 preschool aged children ate them. (The lone hold out has since relented to these) We had a collective mom mouth drop and a way to make sweet potato chips for the future:

Sweet Potato Chips

serves: 6                prep time: 15minutes          bake time:40min approx

Ingredients:
3 sweet potatoes cut into chips, carefully!, with mandolin or by hand
1-2  tsp olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 400
Lay sliced potato out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (you may need to make 2 batches) sprinkle half the salt and the pepper over the potatoes drizzle the oil over them toss with your hands to coat them all toss with rest of salt and the lay in a single layer on the baking sheet, any that don’t fit just keep aside for the next batch.
Bake for about 45 min turning once or twice, watch carefully as they go from perfect to burnt very quickly. They are still a little soft when “perfect” allow to cool a few minutes on a cooling sheet or wooden board. They will crisp up a bit more as they cool.

Easy, healthy (use other seasonings, or salt preparations like herbamare to cut back on the sodium content), and sweet potato hating kid approved!

Since this particular weekend, homemade sweet potato chips and fries go over extraordinarily well. We even had a french fry dinner.

 

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Vegan Apple Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins

muffins2For a while it was a regular Sunday morning occurrence in our house to make muffins, prior to recognizing my daughters dairy issues we followed this recipe but using real dairy and free-range eggs. It took a while for me to brave adapting our favourite recipes because when you have a memory of something its not so appealing to start messing with it. But this adaptation worked quite well, probably because I didn’t have to switch out butter, I find butter the hardest ingredient to replace and get the right texture and flavour.

IMG_2128

As for baking muffins I love it because generally they are 1 or max 2 bowl recipes, they bake fairly quickly, and they are pre-portioned. This is super important when it is fairly easy to pass through half a cake without realizing it. I keep out what we will eat at that meal and freeze the rest.

Vegan Apple Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins

Makes 12 muffins            Prep time: 20 min                   Bake time: 20 min

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups flour (plus 1 tbsp in reserve)
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk alternative (I have used almond, soy and rice with success but prefer almond or soy)
2 tbsp applesauce, mashed banana or other egg replacer (I recommend a flax egg)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 apple, grated or finely chopped ( I keep skin on, but feel free to peel)
1/2 cup fresh, frozen or dried chopped cranberries.

Method:

Preheat oven to 375

In large bowl mix flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon and salt.

In another bowl whisk soy milk, apple sauce, oil and vanilla,

toss chopped cranberries with the reserved flour

pour milk mixture into dry, add apple and cranberries and mix until just moistened, do not over mix.

spoon into well greased or lined (or both, muffins tend to stick) muffin tin (makes 12 muffins)

Bake for 20 min or until toothpick or fork comes out clean. allow to cool at least 5 min before removing from muffin tin.

In general, muffins do not store well on a shelf, (24-48hrs max) individually wrap muffins and freeze to keep fresh longer.

 

Wibbly Wobbly Life

image credit: from linkedin post.
image credit: from linkedin post.

Change loss and inspiration from the blogs around us.

Life hands us a lot of opportunity to deal with change. in many forms. In welcoming new into our lives as well as saying goodbyes. Sometimes at the same time, sometime the same event is both, regardless we enduring a lot of it. The birth of a child and becoming a parent, the loss of our own parents,  new jobs, lost jobs, health conditions, marriage, divorce, a new pet, a new iPhone 6 or blackberry passport. Our lives fail to follow a linear path but rather amble along and sometimes in loops. we stumble at times. sometimes we fall flat on our face, but life is not the destination, it is the journey.

This Mommy blogger put the experience of becoming a parent so eloquently and succinctly. The message I left with is one I try to apply widely to my life: it is hard, it is work, but it isn’t hard and it isn’t work, it is what it is and that is OK. When I think of change, I often associate it with loss, even positive changes feel like they come at a price. It is hard finding the balance between these two at times.

This year as I have mentioned I experienced a loss, a major loss, the breakup of a future marriage. 4 years ago I experienced another major life change, the birth of twins.  In the in-between I have lost 2 grandparents, have seen my own health suffer, have gained new skills, promotions at work and moved, just to name a few. Lots of change! Add to that, the simple truth that having children means living constant change.

When thinking about the post on parenting and my interpretation of change as loss, I thought of the post I read recently on the crossroads which brought the concept of loss and the emotions we go through home for me this week. Religiously, it s a time of renewal (rosh hashanna) and repentance (yom kippur). It is also the hebrew calendar anniversary of his proposal. Loss, I am feeling it. It is making this a very difficult holiday because I want to be happy.  But maybe, like other things in life, it is what it is and that’s ok. for now.

 

In the meantime, in honour of the change of fall, check out this fall themed meal we had for dinner!

 

pumpkin dinner

The recipe for the salads

The others coming soon!