The Great Food Experiment
Thanks to his formative years in Ethiopia, Zinabu is by far my most adventurous and well-rounded eater. He loves Ethiopian food (duh!), he loves comfort food, he loves Mexican food, he loves Chinese food, vegetarian, Indian, middle eastern, and anything else you can come up with. Primarily this is because he loves food. Period. He is still pretty sensitive to when and where his next meal is coming from. He wants to know the food agenda every day. And he gets a tiny bit antsy when the pantry is low. So all in all, food makes him happy.

But his taste buds are seriously a mother's dream. He doesn't like cheese or pasta (my two favorite items in the universe), but other than that, he's happy about anything. He also goes through hot sauce like tokens at Chuck E. Cheese.

My other kids... not so much. Lily is better than Carver, but they still have their ten favorite foods and don't like to stray too far from them. Lily, at least, loves fruit and vegetables and I have no problem getting her daily doses of vitamins and minerals. But Carver.

He's thirteen and I'm still sneaking spinach into his smoothies. He loves white food. Bread. Tortillas. Cheese. He hates vegetables. Most fruit makes him gag. Literally.

But I'm ever optimistic and always wanting my kids to eat as healthy as possible. I used Pinterest this morning to find some interesting recipes... especially foods from other cultures. Here's my list for the week.

Saturday: Vegetarian tamales with salad. I found the recipe here.
Sunday: Falafels and fruit salad.
Monday: Tomato garbanzo bean soup with sandwiches and salad. Recipe here.
Tuesday: Vegetable casserole with pesto and polenta (for me), chicken for everyone else. I'm not stupid.
Wednesday: We have company that night, and I'm trying my hand at spinach and cheese enchiladas. One of my most favorite meals in the world.
Thursday: Tortellini and marinara sauce, garlic bread and salad.
Friday: I'm done. We go to our favorite New York style pizza restaurant.

I think I finally figured out why I hate to cook. For the most part, it makes a mess. A big mess. Between prep work, cooking, eating, and then clearing the table, I use a lot of our dishes, pots and pans, and the sink is full. I really would rather make everyone a piece of toast and call it a day. I also hate the amount of time it takes to make a meal for 6 people, plus clean up. Am I just incredibly slow, or does it take the rest of you two hours to do all that? Seriously, if I begin prep work around 4:30, make the meal, serve it by 5:30 or 6, we eat, then clean up... by the time I'm done it's 6:30 or 6:45. Yes the kids help (a little), and yes there are days when my meals don't take that long, but on average it's a production. I always plan my meals so we know what we're having, but I just wish the entire process was a wee bit easier.

And I just looked at the time. If I'm going to attempt homemade tamales (my first time), I'd better get moving. Who knows how long this will take.


Melodie Monberg said...

I love this idea...and would love it if you posted your menu every week...I'm going replicate this one! And you tempted us with those spinach cheese enchiladas...recipe please!

As for dishes...I hear you...after cooking for 12 the entire Christmas break, I'm off duty for a while!

jenlyn said...

So, are you guys vegetarian, vegan...or just you? I have been wondering....

I hope your 2012 is amazing in all the best and blessed ways!

--jen drake

hotflawedmama said...

I love you. If we were neighbors (like we are in my imagination) we'd totally get together once a week and pre cook as much of our food as possible.

You want to know a trick I do? Once a week (usually Mondays) I look at our menu for the week and chop veggies, start stews, etc anything I can do ahead of time that I can save time doing when kids are gone, etc. Maybe try that?

Also, I'd like recipes please!

Also, that picture of Carver took my breath away.

cathy said...

Hey Jen,
Thanks for asking about our eating style. I am a vegetarian and sometimes vegan. I went completely vegan for about 6 months in 2011, and would have kept at it but Lily's illness took over and I got tired of thinking about food. So I began eating cheese again. Sometimes cheese just tastes really good. My family are still meat eaters, but because I am the cook, I'd say they eat 20% vegan, 60% vegetarian, and 20% meat. Being a vegan was the best thing I ever did for myself (food wise) and I am heading back in that direction right now.

Mark and Sarah said...

Thank you for the ideas! I am brainstorming meals for the next month+ and it's hard to find good freezable vegan meals!! If you have any, send them my way :-)

M and M said...

I hear you. I have been making family meals for about 23 years...and I am sure I am more intimate with my dishwasher than my husband.