It wasn't until I was an adult that I tried both avocado and kiwi; the former because I didn't know avocado was a food (more on that to follow), the latter because the fuzzy brown skin, bright green fruit, and tiny little seeds were a little too odd for me to move past.
In both cases, my mom was the cause behind both the food avoidance and acceptance.
As parents and caregivers, we model so much more than how to balance a bank account, fold bath towels, or make beds. The way we approach food becomes deeply ingrained in our children as well. The more we model an open acceptance to try new things, including food, the more our children will move into their own adulthood with a spirit of adventure.
When I was a child, my mom had the most amazing green thumb. She had houseplants flourishing in every corner and on every table. She was particularly fond of avocado plants and always had them rooting and growing in glasses of water on the kitchen counter.
I didn't know avocados were food! My mom would buy one, toss the meat, and root a plant. It wasn't until I was 21 years old and out for dinner with a friend that I found out what that green stuff was when I ordered a taco salad and he told me to eat it.
My mom enjoys eating avocados now! But it took a few years for her to develop a taste for them.
When I was not quite as old, around 18, she forced me to eat a kiwi. She described the taste as a cross between a strawberry and something else, which was a good enough description at the time. She told me I was old enough to try it and made me eat some with my eyes closed so the appearance of it wouldn't put me off. Of course she was right. They are delicious. But I wouldn't have tried it if she hadn't made it happen.
We're the great influencers of the people around us. Food is a journey for all of us and we don't all have to like the same things. But I want to encourage you to try new foods and expose your family to new foods, spices, flavours, and presentations. The more variety in our diet, the healthier we will be. No one food group can satisfy our body's nutritional needs any more than a single bar of soap can support a lifetime of personal hygiene.
It might help to have a routine in place to bring new foods into the house. Perhaps a "new month, new food" tradition- the first day of each month a new food comes home to be tasted. To help foster ownership, try having everyone in the household take turns picking the new food to try. Perhaps a recipe search or a call for suggestions on Facebook will help. Whatever you choose to do, it's never too late to adopt a more adventurous palate. Your health, and the health of the people around you, can only benefit.
Enjoy your day, friends.
...but also a little intimidating! There are so many changes coming up for The Meals Maven, all of them good ones, but all of them a little scary anyway. Thanks for sharing this journey with me! You're an important part of it.
You won't miss out on blog posts, survey opportunities, free offers, or any of my exciting news stories coming up in 2017 when you're subscribed to my new newsletter! I can't wait to share any of it with you! The best part is, you can customize what you want to hear from me. Over the course of the next few days I'll be learning the ropes and making my contact with you much more specific and manageable. I am so excited for everything that's going to be happening in 2017, and so thankful that you're with me along the way.
Enjoy your day! It's a short week for our American friends, and in honour of them I'm cooking a turkey dinner on Thursday. Today's question: What's your favourite side dish to serve with Turkey?
All the best, friends. More will follow soon!
Comfort food- it's a common concept in the world, isn't it? We end a significant relationship, and drown our sorrows in ice cream, chocolate, and/or alcohol. Or perhaps we are sick, get up on the wrong side of the bed, or feel whatever somewhat negative emotion, and we turn to food. Sometimes we choose healthier options, like chicken noodle soup. But often less than stellar choices, such as fried chicken, poutine, or pizza, make it into our bellies. Even though this is something I'm aware of, I can tell you from personal experience that food is often something I turn to "for comfort".
I try, as a parent, not to equate food with emotional upheaval but it's an uphill battle. Our society uses food for everything- celebration to mourning, reward for a job well done to coping with tragedy. Yesterday my youngest son was feeling sad because his older brother didn't want to play. I can understand the big brother's choices - I used to find it a hassle to play with my little brother, and there were far fewer years between us - but my youngest son felt sad and heartbroken.
I snuggled with him on the couch and asked if he wanted to go out with me to run errands and stop for a cookie. "Cookies won't make it better, mom". "No," I said, "I know. But it's a special treat for you and mom. We get to spend some time together and, after we get our work done, I'll have a coffee and you can have a cookie and some milk before we come home". He agreed to come with me although he was quick to remind me that it wasn't as much fun as playing with his brother. And I know that but it was all I could think of at that moment to stop him from crying so hard.
I know, I know. I used food not only as a treat, but also as an emotional respite. However, after thinking about it for the last day I can't come up with another solution. I don't think it's my job to try to make him happy all the time. I know we need to equip our kids with the ability to recognize emotions, accept them, and find a way to deal with them. Overall he is pretty good at it - he recognizes feelings as they happen, such as anger, disappointment, happiness, and sadness. He can assess situations and identify what other people are feeling. It's difficult to teach our kids how to deal with emotions, especially the negative ones, in a healthy way when I myself am still learning these lessons.
I don't have a ready answer but I think just being aware of the issue is a step in the right direction. If any of you have any suggestions or comments that relate to the tendency to self-medicate with food I would be happy to hear them and share them.
All the best, friends!
A few years ago I attended a direct sales "party" - Epicure. As far as parties go, that one was right up my alley. It involved food and drink tastings and cooking demonstrations and I fell in love with the idea that I could cook foods from different parts of the world.
It was such a revelation! There are so many foods common to everyone, but it's how they are prepared- what spices and herbs are used, how they are put together, how they are cooked, how they are served, and what they are served with- these are the differences that make regional cooking "regional". Of course, many foods are region specific. But several cultures make use of foods such as potatoes, rices, and pulses, for example.
I have a stocked cupboard full of Epicure spice blends but also way more individual herbs and spices then most people I know- almost a whole pantry shelf in my pantry is devoted to herbs and spices. I have been spending some time "deconstructing" the flavours I taste in those blends, and coming up with my house version of the same. At first I would make a small amount, adjusting each time until I was happy with the results. I'm at the point now where I can confidently make a big batch of whatever I need- not of everything, but I'm working through my favourites as I go along, so when the Epicure product in the jars get used up it's a simple matter to create my own and keep cooking for whatever mood I'm in.
The key to finding creativity in the kitchen is giving yourself the physical tools (such as slow cookers, milk frothers, veggies spiralizers, and other small appliances and utensils), the physical space- a clean counter is much easier to work on than one covered in clutter (believe me, this I know from years of personal experience!), and a well-stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry.
Over the next few posts I'll be sharing tips on how to stock your fridge, freezer, and pantry. I'll give you ideas, suggestions, photographs, and practical advice on upping your game in the kitchen if you're not satisfied with how it's working now. If you've got any questions or concerns you'd like me to comment on, please leave me a comment or send me a message here or on Facebook. And if you haven't already, please go ahead and "like" my Facebook page! I post there daily!
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It's been a pleasure, friends. Enjoy your week!
Hey friends...I'm on a quest to make the Perfect Plan! Everyone who completes my survey on meal planning will be entered into a draw for a Walmart gift card. Please help me out! Just click the picture to get started. And feel free to share with your friends. Open to both Canadian and American friends.
-I appreciate it!
Update: Survey Closes July 8, 2016 @ 8:00pm MDT
I'm excited! I'm taking a course on developing a course. Which sounds redundant, but if I'm going to the effort of producing a course, I want it to be the best and most supportive and useful course possible for the most people.
So, I'm wondering if you would give me your opinion- you can comment on this post, on my Facebook page, or send me an email. I'm offering one-on-one calls this week and the next, so if you'd like to participate in my course development and share your opinions with me, I would love to set up that call. Here's a handy appointment scheduler! You just need to give me 20 minutes of your time.
I'm thinking about offering a course based on these ideas. I'd love your opinions and ranking on these- what you would like to see first, second, third, and fourth. The names are subject to change- this is just a general idea of what I'm thinking of.
Thanks for your thoughts and comments! I can't wait to get creating- but there's homework to do first, and I'm doing it.
Enjoy the rest of your week, friends!
To follow an extremely busy decluttering, cleaning, and organizing week over spring break, this has been another extremely busy week getting our house ready for company this weekend.
Our winter was hard in every way except for the weather this year. We had illness after illness sweep through the house- from ear infection, scarlet fever/strep throat (twice), and the common cold (repeatedly), and with my dad's passing, the house got left alone for months. We had clean clothes to wear and food to eat, but everything else just got left. We even just took down our Christmas tree around the first day of spring (<Gasp> I know).
This list was my absolutely MUST do list from yesterday. It might be the first time ever that everything on any list of mine is crossed off. Granted, my larger, more expansive list for the week still has uncrossed items, but I'm still counting this as a win going into the last day before the weekend.
How about you? How do your lists usually look at the end of the day? What other life organizing things do you do to get things done? I love being organized in theory, but in practice I don't usually keep it together for long. One big unexpected event and it all goes away. Oh well...at least I always know what's for dinner!
I would love to hear how you tackle your housework and cleaning schedule. For myself, I always feel better in every possible way when my house is clear, organized, and uncluttered. Please give me your ideas!
All the best to you this weekend, friends.
As often as I can I will decry the vast amount of food waste we have here in the West. This issue is very close to my heart, because as our world population grows, food shortages will become more of a reality for more people. The fact that food shortages are already a reality for many people is a terrible thing. Here and here are a couple of articles on food shortages and riots.
Our world is so interconnected, now. When Florida has unexpected weather that kills their orange groves, or drought in California kills the almond trees, our food gets more expensive and less available. Living here in Alberta, our local growing season is considerably less than climates to the south, and as a result of that much of our fresh produce is shipped here. When bad weather strikes. as it often does, decreased supply means more expensive grocery bills.
With this in mind, I thought I'd address the problem of the last 2 potatoes in the bag. You know the ones I mean- they're a bit on the soft side, kind of wrinkly, and may have eyes- those wierd tentacle-like things that your kids call alien life. You may have already bought a lovely new bag of potatoes, each with firm flesh and unwrinkled skin. But before you throw out your last 2 potatoes, give these ideas some thought. Throwing food away is a waste of all resources, from the land it's grown on, to the time spent on growing it, to the cost in your overall budget.
What do you do with your last 2 potatoes? What other ideas can you share?
Wishing you and yours an excellent day!
I am contemplating a client's suggestion of producing a printed cookbook with The Meals Maven exclusive recipes (as found on my website) that includes grocery lists, time-saving techniques, photographs, etc. To sweeten the pot, I am thinking of adding a section of never-before seen recipes exclusively developed and tested by The Meals Maven. These recipes will be exclusively available in the cookbook, and not online.
I'd appreciate your vote and to hear what you'd most like to see added. Please feel free to comment on this post as well as I will take as many suggestions and comments into consideration as possible.
I would love it if you could like and share this post! I'm looking for a broad range of opinions.
Enjoy your Thursday,
I'm on a mission to make eggs my husband likes. He finds cooked eggs inedible, but they're such an inexpensive and healthy form of protein I'd really like to change his mind. He loves the flavours found in salsa and santa-fe type of seasoning, so I'm working at developing spice blends to work with that flavour, and juggling the amount of egg, milk, and vegetables cooked together.
Do you have any tried and true recipes with this flavour profile in mind you can lead me to?