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Kids — Page 3

While there are few things I am proud of as a parent, I am happy that my kids eat vegetables every day. I’ve spent a good deal of my parental meal planning time coming up with ideas for vegetables that my kids will not only eat, but will enjoy.

In general, if your kids will absolutely not eat vegetables, you are probably going to have some work ahead of you. Research shows that it takes many introductions of a particular food before a child will eat it; a nutrionist at Tufts suggests a “rule of 15″—introduce a food 15 times before your child might accept it.

Hopefully, though, these vegetable sides might be a little easier for kids to try.

1.  Cheesy broccoli

(Image: Share My Kitchen)

When my kids were little, I used to put cheese on their broccoli all the time. Not cheese sauce, which in my opinion tastes rather bleh. Real cheese. After steaming it, I’d simply put a small piece of cheese (usually I’d tear off a small piece of a sliced cheese, like muenster or havarti) on top, and then I’d cover the whole batch with the pot I’d just used to steam it. That trapped the heat from the cooked broccoli and melted the cheese. And my kids loved it.

2.  Maple Carrots

It doesn’t get much sweeter and delicious than maple-glazed carrots. You can cook them to whatever texture your kids like and adjust the sweetness, too. For my recipe, see here. You can even add a little brown sugar while cooking to sweeten even further.

3.  Roasted asparagus

(Image: Simply Recipes)

I’ve tried steamed asparagus before, but roasted is so much more delicious, and my kids like it better, too. I simply coat the spears in olive oil, toss a little salt over them, and stick them in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes at 400º (how long you put them in depends on the thickness and how tender your kids will like them). It’s one of my kids’ favorite vegetable dishes.

4.  Zucchini Coins

Pretty much anything breaded tastes good, right? My Zucchini Coins are simply thin slices of zucchini that you bread with healthy stuff and bake. Calling them coins only adds to the mystique and can help get a kid to try something they might be wary of. For my recipe, see here.

5.  Pumpkin Nuggets

Probably the most unusual of the vegetable dishes, Pumpkin Nuggets might seem odd at first. But bear with me. Pumpkin is a super food, and since it’s not an easy vegetable to serve, I came up with this recipe. It’s really quite delicious. Kind of like moist pumpkin cookies. And since it doesn’t resemble a dreaded green vegetable, sometimes kids are willing to try it. My recipe is here.

What’s your go-to vegetable for your kids?

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How To Write a Letter To Santa

The five year old will show you how.

"Can you get all the toys on my list? Write back."

That, my friends, is how it’s done.

Happy merry!

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Hi, peeps!

I’d like to introduce a new Friday column I’m working on that I’m calling “Five on Friday.”  I know, isn’t that unique and clever?

Anyhoo, every Friday I will give you a list of five things.  They may be anything from tips to cool products to fun links.  But hopefully they will be of use or interest to y’all.

I’m kicking it off with my list of five ways to get your kids to eat broccoli.  I’ve chosen broccoli because it’s one of the healthiest vegetables and because my kids have been successfully eating it for years.  We probably eat broccoli about three or four times a week.

If your kids won’t eat broccoli, and you are interested in changing that, here are my five tips!

(Image: Flickr member JACoulter licensed for use under Creative Commons)

1.  Put soy sauce on it.  This is how my five year old prefers to eat his broccoli.  I only put a little on, but that’s enough to enhance the flavor, and he eats it willingly and happily.

2.  Call them trees.  This is an oldie but a goodie.  Sometimes just changing the name of something makes it more intriguing.  Obviously, this won’t work with the most intractable vegetable naysayers, but perhaps combined with some other tricks, it might send them over the edge.  I like to present it with no irony or explanation: “Ok, boys, tonight we’re having pasta, apples, and trees.”  Then they starting thinking, “Is Mom crazy?  Did she just say trees?”  Crazy like a fox, suckas.

3.  Put cheese on it.  Isn’t everything better with cheese?  I think this is how I got my kids to eat broccoli in the first place.  For the first six months to a year of their broccoli consumption, I would put a little melted cheese on it.  Eventually, I got tired of that extra step, and by the time I did they were willing to eat it without the cheese.  My technique?  I would steam the broccoli and immediately upon taking it out of the pot, I’d sprinkle some grated cheese on top.  Then, I’d cover it with the upside down pot, and within a minute or two the heat from the cooked broccoli would melt the cheese.  Voilà!

4.  Make it a game or competition.  I know, I probably shouldn’t be promoting competitive vibes with food.  But sibling peer pressure can be a force for good when it comes to healthy eating.  My one caveat is that I never make the competition a race, since I’m terrified of choking and I don’t want them scarfing their food.  Instead, it can be something like “Who can eat that piece of broccoli most politely?”  or “Who can eat more pieces of broccoli using only his left hand?”  I’m sure you all have better ideas for challenging your kids to eat what’s good for them.

5.  Make them apple trees with ketchup.  Someone just mentioned this idea to me, and I think it’s kind of brilliant.  It’s kind of a combination of calling them trees and putting something they like on it.  Ketchup can be a good motivator, too, and if you put a few tiny drops on a piece of broccoli, suddenly you’ve got apple trees.  I haven’t tried it, but I thought it sounded like a great strategy.

Do your kids eat broccoli?  Have you done anything brilliant to encourage them?  Don’t keep it to yourself… let us know in the comments!

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Just checking in for a brief… debrief on Halloween.  It was all Mario Brothers up in here.

First, the 8 year old wanted to go as Luigi.  No problem, since I made the 5 year old a Mario costume when he was 3.  Except the pattern I had was for toddlers.  The 8 year old is over 4 1/2 feet tall, so I had to adapt the pattern for his height.  Thankfully, he is also super skinny so I actually kept the width of the overalls since Luigi is tall and thin.  It worked really well.  I made a hat out of felt with this tutorial, which is super simple.  His friend was going as Mario, so it all worked out lovely.

The moustache is made out of thin foam, and I think it creeped the 8 year old out enough that he wouldn’t move his mouth.  He was talking like he’d just had his wisdom teeth removed.

When the team paired up, they were unstoppable.

Now, the 5 year old had to make things super complicated.  He wanted to be Bowser Jr.  What, you don’t know who Bowser Jr is?  Clearly, you don’t play enough Super Mario Brothers.

Bowser Jr is a “Koopaling,” which means he is a child of the main villain, King of the Koopas, Bowser.  There are 8 Koopalings, and Bowser Jr is both the youngest and the favorite.  And the heir to the throne.  How do I know all this, you ask?  The interwebs, silly.

So, he looks like this:

No, I am not kidding you.

We managed to get a yellow footed sleeper in the 5 year old’s size and then we went to work on the shell.  The 5 year old, to his credit, did help me make it.  We had a fun little exchange during the process.  I was hot gluing things together, and he was watching intently when he suddenly asked:

“Mommy, what are you going to BE when you grow up?”

I paused for a moment to regroup.  ”Well, honey, I’m already grown up.”

He barely thought a second and replied, “NO, I mean like, when you’re like grandma and grandpa.”

I said, “Well, when I’m like grandma and grandpa, honey, I’ll probably be a grandma.”

Exasperated, he sighed and said, “NO, I MEAN, like, what’s your JOB?”

That’s when I started laughing, but he didn’t seem to think it was funny.  I explained to him that I used to have a job teaching, but now my job is writing and taking care of him, yadda yadda, here’s me trying to justify my existence to the 5 year old.  What was most hilarious to me was what I perceived as his thought process.  It seemed clear that as he was watching me hot glue, he was thinking, “Hmmm.  I’m not sure this hot gluing thing is a marketable skill.  I wonder where she’s going with this?”

He’s always got my back.

And I’ve got his, because I produced the following Koopa shell for it:

That’s him without his mask on, since preschool does not allow masks for Halloween.

When we were ready for trick or treating, though, we went all out: Bowser Jr put on his mask and Luigi sprayed his blond hair black.

We collected enough candy that each child’s bucket was essentially overflowing.  Pieces of candy were falling out as we walked down the street.  That’s when we knew it was time to be done.

I hope you had a fantastic Halloween and that you don’t get any stomachaches from all the candy.  I’ve already pilfered an Almond Joy, a Snickers and two mini Milky Ways.

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