Friday, March 9, 2012

Cooking Challenge!!!!

Well I am going to share a little secret with all of you. I am TERRIBLE at making sure that we have a descent dinner! I wish I could say I have a beautiful healthy meal on the table each night, but I jut cant! Most days it a  miracle if I figure out what we are going to eat before 3pm! I know I know.....its not rocket science! So I am going to change this! I can cook! In fact it is something I am rather good at. I have recently read Bringing Up Bebe. This book has had a TON of controversy and yet the bits I read about it sounded great! It was! I really agreed with so much of what she had to say about parenting in France. I know that this isn't what everyone there does and maybe its not even what is accurately French, but I really didn't care! I wanted what she described about the kids behavior that she saw. There was alot of wisdom in this book about how kids learn to eat, how kids learn to experience their world, and about how they need a firm solid frame of guidance around their freedom! I was really surprised at what I was able to pull from this book and it has really made me think alot about things here  and how I do them. I want to be a better mom and this book really allowed me see a place to start! It showed me how to have authority, but to still allow my kids the freedoms they need to be the people that God wants them to be. This issue is something that I have struggled with for a long while. How do you maintain authority and yet allow for personal freedom? As a Montessori homeschooler, freedom is the corner stone of the method, yet with too much freedom our home falls apart in every area. This book talks about the cadre, the solid frame of expectations that children are expected to respect. These are rules that are unbendable and never change ( no hitting, meal times, tones of voice, etc) However, the children are allowed total freedom within this frame. They play and experience their world happily and safely with in the cadre. I love this! I love the idea of a set of rules and total freedom inside that frame! The french (according to the book) view discipline as education. They are educating, not punishing! It really gave me some good ways at looking parenting.
Another thing that I think really made me think in this book was about food! French and food is a love relationship! They love food....they love to eat, to cook, to talk about, and share it! I don't! But when the author talked about how they introduce their kids to all kind of food, even if they don't like it, it made me think! The government run childcare places have 4 course lunches for their kids, even the babies! They serve the kids leeks, veggies of all types, and meats that have been prepared alot of different ways! As I read this I realized that I don't think I have eaten a leek! This is part of everyday life for the kids there! They also are more interested in eating these new food, because they don't snack more then once a day! There are no baggies of cheerios, no grabbing a cheese stick, no bags of chips. They eat breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. So with this amazingly diverse menu and with no endless eating, they are healthy and love a lot of different foods! Here, like I said, I really don't cook as I should. So I am going to change this! I am going to think ahead, make good food, eat more veggies,  and to really try new things! So today the girls and I headed to the store. We bought all kinds of new thing that we never do. I bought herbs (fresh ones), rice vinegar, wine, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, sugar snap peas, and fresh bread! I also let Bunny pick out some thing she thought were cool! She wanted baby stir- fry corn, and purple carrots (I have never seen these so I will have to let you know how they turn out)! So we are going to experimenting and trying out some fun new food! I hope with alot more effort on my part and with some beautiful food, we can all learn to like new food and open ourselves up to new tastes! I plan to take some pictures of what I make and try to document what we eat and how it tastes! Maybe it will be good, maybe not! We will see, but we will eat!
Now for a shameless begging for ideas or recipes for some good food! If you have something that is really wonderful or something that you think should be wonderful, please leave a comment and tell me all about it! Maybe its a great way to cook veggies, maybe its a meat or fish, or maybe its just a dessert! ;) I am looking for recipes and would love to know what you love to eat! I hope to hear from you! Happy Cooking!


  1. Wow, Stephanie. I could write you an essay in return! I also read that book, called "French Children Don't Throw Food" in the UK. I also liked it but more because it chimed with how we DO do things in my family! It was more a comfort in recognition for me.

    However, food. I have to get food on the table incredibly quickly some nights because we all get home from school at 5.30 and I have not been at home to have something prepared. I have a stock of recipes that take 15 minutes max to make from first chop, to getting the meal on the table. Some of these meals are so simple they are almost not a recipe, more a throw some ingredients together but my rule is, always two veg on the plate and small amounts of protien and carbs the size of the person who is eating its fist.

    Pasta is a good start. Bring the pasta to the boil. When it is about 5 minutes away from being ready chuck into the pan a selection of bits of broccolli, peas, chopped carrots (small pieces as they won't have long to cook), sugar snaps, green beans, any other veg you have that will cook in 5 minutes and taste good. Drain the pan when the pasta is cooked and return the pasta/veg to the pan. Put a teaspoon of butter in and melt it in, grate cheese in. On the table have more grated cheese, black pepper to grind in, a jar of pesto to add a teaspoon of pesto as each person likes. I sometimes drizzle a little chilli oil over mine and Livi also likes that. This only takes as along as the pasta takes to cook to make! You can have some cucumber, chopped peppers (capsicums?) etc on the table and a green salad. This goes every time! I also have the raw veg on the table while I cook so that the kids are coming to sit down and have a starter while I am finishing up, because they are so hungry after school.

    Pasta and pesto is great. The bought jars are nowhere near as nice as freshly bought or made and home-made is gorgeous. The girls could learn to make it independently. All mine did from the age of about 4.

    The hot pot is very helpful. I think it might be called a crock pot your way? I make veggie soups, meaty stews in mine, and also a delicious rice pudding. The beauty of these is that you do the preparation when you have time and then you come into a gorgeous smelling house and a meal that is ready to be served.

    My other great standby is rice. learn how to make a simple savoury rice salad and it can sit in the firdge until you need it.

    We also make a lot of things and keep them in the fridge ready for another time - chicken stock, tomato sauce, etc.

    Have fun!!!

    1. Ohhh what a great idea! Thanks for sharing! The pasta will definatly be on my list of quick food! I love the idea of putting it all in one pot! I use my crock pot alot when I know we are going to be out late! There are some amazing recipes out there for it!
      Your rice salad sounds really good. What is in that? Rice is something that everyone here loves! Would you share the recipe?
      Thanks for popping by here and leaving a comment! I love hearing from you!

    2. Rice salad is a movable feast - you stick in whatever you have hanging around! Start with the rice and when you cook it put a stock cube or powder in so the rice has some taste in itself. I use Marigold Stock powder but that might be a UK thing. It is much nicer than oxo cubes or whatever! Leave the rice to cool down once you have drained it.

      Then, add chopped up veg and meat, boiled eggs, chopped cold ommelette, whatever you have that you think will go. Sometimes I go with a colour theme - green peas, cold cooked aspapargus, sugar snaps, cucumber etc and sometimes I make it really colourful. It is possible to make it all from the store cupboard - canned sweetcorn, frozen peas, tinned kidney beans etc. I like it with some fried onion but my kids think I am trying to kill them then!