Wednesday, February 10, 2010

on the table (or floor)

the ew face

Well, so much for daily blogging, eh? Maybe someday life will shape up that way again. For now, I thought I'd share with you some links to recipes I've been trying.

Remember how I was excited about weekly menu planning? Well, it hasn't gone so well. For one, the boys are getting pickier by the day, and when I try new recipes (or sometimes even old ones), they don't eat what I'm serving. Pot roast was a hit one week and a total flop the next. Ribollita soup was gobbled up once, never to be touched again. As a rule, neither of them likes leftovers. To complicate matters, my sister is lactose intolerant, so many things I make, she can't eat. For me to be left with (for example) a 9x13 pan full of three cheese baked ziti to eat myself is just frustrating.

How do you all deal with picky eaters who are not yet old enough to serve themselves? Those of you who've never had this problem, well, just don't tell me about it, ok?

Here are a few of the recipes I've tried in the past few weeks:

Baked rice: very easy, great cleanup. I was the only one who ate any, and it was a little crunchy for my taste. I'll try it again and use a little extra water.

Chocolate chip zucchini bread: delicious, and the boys will eat it. I was glad to get rid of the zucchini, which until now has been one of the only veggies I could count on the boys to eat. Alas, those days are gone.

Polenta wedges: really tasty, but the boys wouldn't touch it. Really annoying, since our most reliable dinner is sliced polenta from a tube and marinara sauce.

Mom's chicken pot pie: mmm, how we love a good pot pie. I got my toddlers to eat the inside, but they wouldn't eat the crust. The first time, they turned up their noses to the whole thing. I'll post our family recipe soon.

What's on your menu for this week? In this house, we may have eggs and polenta every single day.


  1. Eleanor was and is pretty particular about what she will eat. Plain noodles with parmesan, no sauce. Cheese quesadillas/cheese roll-ups. Plain beans. Cut-up avocado or avocado slices on crackers. Lunch meat. Tuna with crackers. Cut-up hot dogs. Oatmeal. Scrambled eggs. Fruit salad. Corn, peas, green beans, broccoli-steamed.

    For dinners, I just make sure she will eat something that I make. If I make tacos, I put some plain browned ground beef aside for her before I add the seasonings. She gets a plate with some plain beef, shredded cheese, lettuce, avocado, and maybe a tortilla. She won't eat it all mixed together, but she will eat them individually. Good luck mama!

  2. Honestly? I got into the boring, toddler food, repeatedly eating the same 5 things routine for a few years and forgot about trying new things. It was the gentlest thing I could do for all of us during that time period. Then, when they were 3 and 5, we moved out of that because they were older and able to understand more discussion on the topic. Up to that point, they each had 4 or 5 things I knew they would eat, and would always eat raw salad veggies (thank God!), so that's just what I did. If they didn't like the meat we were having I'd be sure it was a grain they liked and zap some nuggets for them; if they didn't like the grain we were having, they'd have the same meat as us and I'd throw in a quick pot of plain rice. Neither would eat eggs so that was out as an option, unfortuantely. So it was me just making one 'extra' special thing and didn't feel like too much work for the first year or two. Not adventurous, not pretty; in fact, pretty boring for a couple years, but it kept me sane, and kept them fed.

    Of course when we moved out of that blissful (for them) arrangement we had some high drama for a few days, but they got over it very quickly and now happily eat a wide variety of foods - we're still not super adventurous, but they eat most "normal" stuff; if not happily, they eat it anyway. I won't force them to eat things they really don't like (like casseroles, soups, stews - they like their foods separate and not "mushed" together...come to think of it, I was like that as a kid too). They each get one night to choose the menu, then the other 5 nights it's whatever I make. Our big lightbulb came when they were both old enough to understand that they didn't have to LOVE everything they ate....but they did have to eat it..or at least some of it. I had been doing, 'you can have a yogurt or a PB sandwich instead' thing, but even that got old beacuse I wasn't serving anything outrageously unusual, it was all relatively normal, some might even say boring, meals...BUT, and the big BUT here was that was at 3 and 5 yrs old. At those ages, I was prepared to make it an issue. At toddler age I was just not up to the task.

    Kids can be really, REALLY weird about their pickiness, including phases of likes/dislikes swapping about, just to keep you on your toes. The pot pie/crust thing sounds SO normal - actually, neither of my kids would eat a pot pie because of the whole casserole-y/gravy concept - they'd eat the meat and veggies separately, but not all mixed in a sauce with crust - I'd probably pull out a serving of meat and veg to have for them before I made the pies. I'm up for modifications like that, that don't cause any real extra work for me.

    Soooooo, there's my answer. Good luck!!

  3. Picky eaters? We have two things on the menu at our house: take it OR leave it. If they don't eat what I serve, they eat bread and drink milk.

    Now, with that said, I don't serve them things I KNOW they don't prefer, and IF I do, I always make sure I have a couple other things that they like. But sometimes, I could serve salmon, baked sweet potato fries and green beans, and they don't want any of it (all previous favorites.) I could go nutso trying to make sure they have food they like at every meal, so I don't sweat it.

    As my dad has always told me, he's never known a toddler to starve themselves. (I know some toddlers have more severe eating issues or "failure to thrive" but the vast majority are just struggling for control over their environment and become "picky.")

  4. Just wanted to say hi--I've been following your blog since I found out I'm expecting twin girls (in May), and motherhood is a solo venture for me too, after having struggled with infertility both when I was married and afterward. I'm very excited to know there are mothers like you out there! --Jen (at lyricaljen at gmail dot com)

  5. until the weight panic with butterfly i always ignored what they ate and just offered stuff off my plate (they like to eat from mamas plate ,P) and looked at what had been eaten over the month rather than a week.

    if it seemed balanced over a month; then no worries - toddlers are notorious for eating well one day, skipping 3 and then refusing to eat anything but baked beans for 5 days.
    it normally evens out.

    now i *do* the same but *feel* sad and stressed when butterfly chooses to leave food. though if i'm objective she's eating just fine over that month.

    so, go ahead and cook what *you* like. if they get hungry they'll eat whatever, honest!
    and if they don't, then you can panic in a few months time .))

  6. ps: i so want to eat at your house!!!

  7. Yeah, I also have a repertoire of the usual things they like. Sometimes they eat them, sometimes not. I usually offer three to four things and hope they like at least one of them - a vegetable, a protein, a fruit and a carb. Favorites right now are cheese tortellini, mac and cheese, bean burritos, veggie lasagna, chicken strips. Our veggie repertoire is really boring - steamed carrots (usually with honey-mustard), plain canned green beans or spanikopita (bought frozen from Costco!)