Thursday, January 15, 2015

Happy Third Birthday! -- and my last blog post

Henry turns three years old today and he is so excited for his birthday. 
A birthday high-five! Henry requested peanut butter toast and a strawberry banana smoothie for his birthday breakfast.
This weekend, we'll celebrate with family. By special request, Henry's Grandma and Nana are baking a rainbow cake that I am sure will be a highlight of the day. Henry says that his birthday wish will be to ride a real elephant (unfortunately, I don't think Daddy or I will be able to make that dream come true).
We recently upgrade Henry's plates, bowls and cups from plastic to ceramic and glass. He was excited to find his new "big kid" dishes in the cupboard last week and has been very careful with them. If one does break, he is old enough now to help clean up.
It's been quite a while since I last posted so I think it is time for me to officially close out this blog.

Thank you for everyone who joined in on Henry's childhood food journey. I hope you enjoyed reading about our experiences from Henry's first bites to his toddler whims. Personally, this has been a rewarding and creative media for me to document our family's adventures, to learn more about childhood nutrition, to examine our family's cultural beliefs about eating, and to connect with other parents.

Maybe you've even be inspired to tried out a few new recipes with your family. These four have been the most popular recipe posts on this blog:
  1. Quick No-Pastry Vegetable Quiche
  2. Veggie Pizza Muffins
  3. Savory Breakfast Muffins
  4. Vanilla Spice Sweet Potato Fries
We have been trying out some new pre-dinner activities at restaurants recently. A few of our favorites for keeping Henry occupied while we wait for our food are Tegu blocks, ImagineInk coloring books, finger puppets, and mini games from Imagine I Can and Haba.
Looking back at the goals I set out with on this blog, I believe we are on the path to nurturing a love of good food in our son. 
  • Henry enjoys eating foods from cultures around the world, from pho and fajitas to sushi and schnitzel. There are only three foods that Henry refuses to eat: eggs, mashed potatoes and melon. We'll keep offering them and maybe one day he might decide that he likes them. I have updated his current list of favorite foods at the end of the "About Us" page. 
  • Henry is growing up healthy and strong. He has always been petite, but we don't worry that he is not eating enough. His growth curve remains steady and he has not experienced any ear infections since he had the ear tube procedure. We have learned to trust that he really can listen to his own body and decide how much to eat (or not to eat). It is our job as parents to keep offering a wide variety of balanced foods.
  • Henry is learning about where food comes from by helping in the garden, and by visiting farms and markets throughout the year.
  • We all enjoy cooking and eating together, although I aspire to include Henry in more meal-making activities. Sometimes, I forget what he is capable of achieving.
Henry practices using training chopsticks to eat gyoza.
Thank you again for following along over the past 2.5 years. And please join me in wishing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Henry!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Plantain Chicken Tenders (Serves 4)

Most kids I know love chicken strips, and Henry is no exception. Baked chicken strips are an easy weeknight meal with just a short amount of prep time. The dried plantains give them a delicious crunchy coating.
This recipe is Henry-approved.
If dried plantains are not a staple in your pantry, you can find them at Trader Joe’s. Their plantain chips are pre-salted so no need to add any salt to this recipe.
Henry creates a play dough scene while I prepare the Plantain Chicken Tenders.
1 lb chicken breast cut into strips
1-½ cups dried plantain chips
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 clove garlic
1 egg
1 T whole milk
1 T olive oil
Plantain chips chopped in the food processor.
Put plantain chips, spices and garlic into a food processor. Grind until the mixture is in small crumbs. This will be the breading for the chicken.

Prepare your breading station with two shallow dishes. I like to use pie plates, one for the egg dip and one for the dry ingredients. For the egg dip, lightly whisk the egg and milk. Pour the plaintain mixture into the second pan.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat baking pan with olive oil.

Dip each chicken strip in the egg mixture coating on both sides. Then, dredge each cutlet in the plantain mixture so that it coats both sides. Place chicken in oiled baking pan.

Cook 25-30 minutes until juices run clear when tested with a fork.

Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
Plantain Chicken Tenders, Sweet Potato (Tiger) Fries, and Cuban-style Black Beans

How your kids can help
  • 2-year old: Pushing the button on the food processor to grind the plantain mixture.
  • 3-year old: Pouring the plantain mixture into the breading pan.
  • 4-year old: Whisking the egg and milk.
  • 5-year old: Choosing the dipping sauces for the chicken strips
Chowing down on Plantain Chicken Tenders.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Planting Our Garden

Henry has been very excited to help in the garden this spring. Last month, we pulled weeds, prepped the soil, and planted peas and potatoes.  
Removing a few more weeds / Making a mud pie.
This week at the garden center, we chose three vegetable starts that we have planted before: tomatoes, summer squash and peppers. We also selected three types of veggies we have not grown before. I picked out cauliflower starts. Daddy asked for cucumbers. And Henry wanted tatsoi -- I don't think I have ever seen tatsoi before, but Henry insisted that it come home with us.

Henry thought this cat statue at the garden center was in need of a snuggle.

Digging a hole for our pepper starts.
When I asked Henry to help select nasturtium seeds, he chose the red and orange varieties. He really enjoyed poking holes in the dirt to plant the seeds.
Planting nasturtium seeds.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It's Farmers Market Season!

It was a beautiful week for the opening of our local farmers markets

On Thursday, we enjoyed a lovely picnic on the grass at the Tacoma Broadway Market. This midday market features plenty of lunch vendors for downtown workers, but many families attend as well. Henry and I shared a combo meal from Gateway to India. Henry's favorite is definitely the chickpea curry; he ate his portion, and then devoured mine too.
Henry LOVES chickpea curry.
Yesterday, we met up with friends at the 6th Avenue Market for dinner. After more Indian food, we headed over to the produce stalls where we found purple asparagus and apples. Our favorite vendors here are the fish mongers.
Henry requested an apple for dessert -- YUM!
 We are very lucky to have an array of farmers markets in Tacoma -- daytime, evening and weekend options can fit almost any family's schedule. 

Are your local markets open for the season? Who are your favorite vendors?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Grilled Cauliflower (Serves 4)

Warm weather is on the way, so here is a new grilling recipe for you to try. Cauliflower does not have much of a reputation as a food to grill outdoors, but I think you will be impressed by this delicious dish.
Henry helped prepare the grilled cauliflower.
Since Henry is in an "I don't like it" phase, I cannot say that he approved this dish. He was, however, willing to take two taste test bites. And he very much enjoyed painting the cauliflower with olive oil and spices.

You’ll probably be able to use about half of the cauliflower head as large steaks for this recipe; you can reserve the remaining small florets for another recipe (I used ours to make New York Cauliflower for the next evening’s dinner).

1 head of cauliflower
½ cup olive oil
½ t cumin
½ t coriander
½ t salt
½ t pepper
Grilled cauliflower cooking on the barbecue.
Rinse cauliflower. Slice it vertically into large steaks ¼-inch thick. Place the cauliflower steaks on a large sheet pan.

Whisk together the olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Use a brush to paint the cauliflower steaks with the oil mixture.

Heat a barbecue grill to medium-high. Place the cauliflower on the grill to cook for about 3 minutes per side. Serve warm.
Henry painting the cauliflower with oil and spices.
How your kids can help
  • 2-year old: Using a brush to paint the cauliflower steaks with the oil mixture.
  • 3-year old: Rinsing the cauliflower.
  • 4-year old: Placing the cauliflower steaks on a large sheet pan.
  • 5-year old: Whisking together the oil and spices.