Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Growing Healthy Humans

  One big reason for our MicroFarming experiment is how we can incorporate growing healthy food into growing healthy humans.Yet, finding ways to get the SoulFull munchkins, particularly BumbleTot, to eat some of the things that will help them grow healthy and strong, is quite a challenge. Combine that with my fear of failure, and you end up with a mama that has far too often been afraid to deviate from trusted recipes and menus. Now, the problem here isn't just my creativity, but losing out on the opportunity to enrich our diets with a variety of seasonal foods and the financial perks of buying/using* the best priced, in-season produce.
 Spinach has been a staple in our house. It is one I buy all year round, as I have failed to successfully grow it- giving away just how black my thumb really is. I know that with spinach, we can have it raw for salads ( which the little SoulFulls are typically loathed to eat) or cook it into just about anything. I can add it to sauces, baked goods, etc, without their even noticing. Because I can cook it into things, as well as eating it raw, it has been beneficial in terms of buying bulk, because I don't have to worry about it going bad before it can all be eaten, as we may have with certain other leafy greens.
 However, the concept of green smoothies started changing my mind set. I started using whatever dark,leafy greens were best priced, in-season, etc. If we were drinking it with lots of fruity goodness, it really didn't matter how well it kept, tasted, etc.
 As a result, Kale has become a staple in our house. When the poor 18 year old refrigerator recently went to appliance heaven, we had a refrigerator full of leafy greens, including Kale and Collards, that needed to be eaten with or without Greek yogurt and frozen strawberries. I was forced to start getting creative....
 Thank goodness for My favorite feature there is the ability to input specific ingredients, and omit the ones you don't want ( or have on hand....) and voila, come up with something that you can make with what you have available. Things got even more creative when I realized that honestly,I could use kale and greens the same way I use spinach- chop it finely and cook it into nearly anything, but I also wanted to get as much nutritional punch as possible, so i started looking for recipes that wouldn't over cook them.
 This recipe was a major hit. I needed something to take to a ladies meeting, and I had been too tired to go shopping. With the powers of google, I discovered this recipes, and with the itty bitty bit of tahnini I had on hand for making hummus ( one of my tried and true's) a dinner time star was born. It might not smell that pretty, but even BumbleTot gobbled it down.
 Another great recipe, for snack or side, was discovered at A Nation of Moms. These are amazingly delicious and incredibly easy, and even more importantly, BumbleTot gobbles them down. The kids ask for for it's popcorn ! Big Boy even suggested that we pop up some popcorn in the WhirlyPop and add kale chips to it. I think that sounds like a delicious and yummy idea...probably on our snack menu for tomorrow...We season it with just a smidge of Celtic sea salt. A little bit of this goes a long way, and I don't feel any guilt about adding it to their snack foods.
 Last night, Mr. SoulFull was doing visitations with our Pastor. So, we were looking for something quick to make for dinner, with what we had on hand. It wasn't a home run kind of dinner,but it did the trick, and with some tweaking could probably be delicious. I will share it once we get to that point ;D
 The trick I am finding though, is keeping healthy staples on hand- things that work well with little cooking and can be mixed and matched. In addition to the Kale and Celtic sea salt, one of these staples has become a Quinoa and Sprouted Wild Rice mix. By itself, the kids aren't crazy about quinoa...but with the the sprouted rice....the texture is divine and makes vegetarian dishes very satisfying .

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