One day right after Thomas was born, the girls were playing with our sweet neighbor-friend and while I was indisposed, NR convinced this poor girl that they needed to make me a snack. I walked back into the kitchen 20 minutes later to a concoction of I-can’t-remember-what except that I do recall that it had peanut butter and raisins in it. It is not typical for my kids to pilfer through our pantry or fridge, so my first reaction was to wonder what had gotten into her. But I counted (counting always works) before saying anything and soon realized that I was actually going to have to eat this delicacy and enjoy it because the look on NR’s face was 100% pleased with herself.
If you really love something and do it a lot its pretty standard that your kids will take an interest in it, as well, right? So my girls see me cooking all of the time and for the last 6 months or so, NR has been very keen on helping in the kitchen and talking about what she would like to put together (sugar is usually a primary ingredient). Is her interest a good enough reason to let her in the kitchen ASAP? Probably. But as much as I enjoy cooking, I dream of the day when my three kids will all pull their weight in this household, especially in the kitchen, and THAT, in my opinion, is the best reason of all to include NR in all of the cooking that goes on around here.
So far, she’s planned and cooked 3 meals for us. In December it was spaghetti and zucchini chips, January was pizza, I don’t know what happened to February (its a short month), and this month it was veggie quinoa chili and cheese toast. She picks the meal (sometimes we just talk about it and sometimes we decide to look online for a recipe), she makes the grocery list & does the shopping, and then there is the washing, chopping, measuring, stirring, tasting (her favorite), serving, cleaning up…. So far, I think she’s learned the most about washing and chopping different vegetables. And I do let her chop. Scary, but I’m always close by, usually reminding her to slow down. She really picked a fantastic recipe this time, I recommend it! It was a perfect choice because I bought a massive bag of quinoa at one of the bulk stores and, as you will see, we’ve been eating a lot of quinoa lately and still have loads more to use up.
So here’s what we’ve been eating (most of our school lunches are leftover dinners!) for the last two weeks and the grand finale is NR’s veggie quinoa chili!
oxtail ragut w/stoneground grits (an idea I had from watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives- LOVE that show), apple slices, pumpkin-quinoa muffin
veggie roll (avocado, carrot, red bell pepper, cucumber, cilantro), apple slices, pumpkin-quinoa muffin, edamame
veggie roll (same as above), plums, smoothie (spinach, banana, pineapple, ginger)
pea/feta/mint pizza, apples, smoothie (spinach, pineapple, banana, ginger), popcorn
pork belly/sweet potato/callaloo quesadilla, cantaloupe, corn on the cob
veggie-quinoa quiche (spinach, red bell peppers), corn on the cob, clementine, blackberries, sweet potato-quinoa muffin (used this recipe again but cut sugar in half, used sweet potato instead of pumpkin and raisins instead of chocolate)
cilantro lentils on basmati rice (Food Network Magazine- thanks, Mom!), clementine, and….another sweet potato quinoa muffin
veggie quinoa chili (made by NR!) w/cheese, sour cream, and avocado, a clementine, and bagel cheese toast (I always slice the bagels 2x so we get 4 pieces of toast out of one bagel. It goes a lot further and we eat less bread!)