Tag Archive | food

Salmon Wellington FTW!!

I don’t know what happened last night…I’m still kind of in shock! I think I entered the Twilight Zone for a little while.

“For God’s sake, Bella, it’s just an apple.”
“I don’t care, Edward! Why do you always give me things I don’t like? You know I hate apples! They have skins! And they’re cold! Why can’t you just give me things I like?”
Photo from: http://www.fanpop.com/spots/twilight-series/images/720496/title/movie-posters-fanart

At some point last night, at the dinner table (it’s all still kind of a haze) I heard the words, “Can I have some more broccoli?” and “Can I please have some more salmon?” and if I hadn’t seen my kids’ lips moving I would have assumed that I had invited some cruciferous vegetable and Atlantic fish-loving hobo in to eat and promptly forgotten about it.

I’ve already talked about Ben’s picky eating at length. It has been a lot better since he turned 5, and he did really well in Germany, but “a lot better” is relative and means that instead of a screaming, flailing meltdown EVERY dinnertime, we just have a whining, complaining argument 9 out of 10 times. And the 10th dinner is pizza.

The biggest problem now is not so much Ben (in the end, he does eat it), but Molly, who actually loves to eat ANYTHING, but loves to imitate what her beloved big brother does even more. So almost every mealtime now goes, “Ben, eat your dinner please.” “But I don’t like this!” “Just eat it, please.” “Ohhhhhhhh…” *grudgingly eats a bite* “Molly, please eat your dinner.” “But I don’t YIKE this!” *flings it on the floor*

Ian is away for the week, which means that I can eat and feed the kids all the seafood I like (he’s not a fan). Yesterday I thought, what the heck, I feel like eating the frozen President’s Choice Salmon Wellington that’s been in the freezer for ages, and I’ll deal with the consequences when my dinner-shunning kids sit down at the table.

Photo from: http://www.presidentschoice.ca/LCLOnline/products.jsp?type=details&catIds=119&productId=12709

I had fairly low expectations of success, giving Ben’s meltdown this morning over being told that I had put macaroni and cheese in his lunch instead of his usual bagel with cream cheese.

The only thing that I can think of that made tonight different was that instead of telling Ben what was for dinner, I let him figure it out for himself when he saw it on the table:

Ben: “What’s dinner?”

Me: “Dinner is the meal that comes after lunch and before bedtime.” (HAHAHAHAHA!!! That line never gets old!!)

Ben (actually laughing this time – we’re off to a good start!): “No, what’s FOR dinner?’

Me: “What do you think it looks like?”

Ben: “I can see that it’s broccoli, but what’s the other thing? Croissants?”

Me: “That’s a good guess – it’s kind of like croissants. It’s fish stick, but instead of cereal for the breading it has croissant. It’s called Salmon Wellington.”

Ben: “Oh. Okay.”

Oh. Okay”??? That’s when I knew something was up. I never get, “Oh, Okay.” It’s usually more like, “Ohhhhhh….but why? I don’t like that! Why do you always give me what I don’t like???” “But you like fish sticks, and you like croissants.” “But I don’t like them together!! Ohhhhh!!!!”

Maybe psychologically there’s something going on there – If I tell him what’s for dinner, and it doesn’t match the idea that he has in his head of what he wants, cue freak-out…but if I ask him to look at something unfamiliar and figure it out for himself, his brain has time to adjust to what he is seeing while trying to apply a name to it, and by the time he has figured out how to fit it into a familiar box, he has come to terms with it and maybe is even intrigued. Who knows? I don’t know if this was the key or not, but I’m definitely going to try it again.

Anyway, from there on it went swimmingly (heheheh). Ben decided to get himself a knife so he could cut his dinner up with a knife and fork like me, and Molly followed suit. Molly decided that salmon is her favourite because it’s pink (note to self: serve more pink foods). Ben STOLE a piece of salmon off Molly’s plate and ate it. Let me repeat that please, for my own benefit – he ACTUALLY FREAKING STOLE A PIECE OF SALMON OFF MOLLY’S PLATE AND ATE IT. Molly devoured her broccoli without stopping to draw breath. Ben squeezed his salmon out of the puff pastry and cut it up and ate it, then ate all his broccoli.

©PicklesINK 2012

I stared in mute shock at their empty plates and then offered them dessert. They accepted and happily ate their chocolate stars. And then came the kicker:

Molly: “Tan I pease have some more broccoyi?”

Ben: “And can I have some more salmon? But not the breading this time. I didn’t really like that. Just the fish?”

Molly: “Yeah tan I have some more salmon too?”

Me: *jaw hits the floor*

~ karyn

Food glorious food…coma.

German food. Very, very yummy. Not a lot of emphasis on green. Or red. Or orange. Unless they’re Smarties and gummy bears sprinkled on ice cream. But definite emphasis on the delicious. Here is the round-up of what we ate:

Every morning started with someone, usually Grandad, venturing to the bakery (or “makery,” as Molly termed it, which makes a sort of sense) with one or two children in tow to pick up fresh rolls (and gummy bears for the kids – breakfast of champions!).

Fresh-baked every morning!
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These would be served at the breakfast table along with soft-boiled eggs, fresh-churned butter, assorted jams, ham and salami, and local cheeses, most notably the delicious Heumilchkäse and Blumenkäse (literally, hay-milk cheese and flower cheese). The Heumilchkäse has a distinctly barnyard aroma and strong flavour and the Blumenkäse is milder and rolled in dried wildflowers. Heaven for a cheese-lover like myself! Ian wasn’t quite so enthralled and the kids were for the most part indifferent.

Heumilchkäse and Blumenkäse
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I have to confess to a weakness for Schnitzel und Spätzle so I sampled both as often as I could. My first opportunity was outside of Munich when we went to get the estimate for my (*sniff*) broken stroller (*sniff*) where we stopped at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and I had Schnitzel mit Pfeffer-Sahnesauce und Spätzle (schnitzel with peppercorn cream sauce and spatzle noodles/dumplings). I was so hungry that I ate it all without thinking to take a picture first so unfortunately I have no record except for the memory of its utter deliciousness, but the sauce was creamy and amazing and the spatzle was plump and had been crisped to golden perfection.

We enjoyed a lovely meal al fresco at the Biergarten across from the house where I had Champignon Schnitzel und Spätzle (schnitzel with mushroom cream sauce and spatzle). I realize that I have unfairly painted all of the German chefs with the same brush – as you can see this meal did include some green and orange!

Champignon Schnitzel und Spätzle.
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Ben and Molly each enjoyed a Kinder-Schnitzel und Kartoffel Kroketten (kiddie meal of schnitzel with potato croquettes), to which I had introduced my picky eater before we left to make sure that there was something he would eat in German restaurants…

Kinder-Schnitzel und Kartoffel Kroketten
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And German mall food courts:

Schnitzel und Spätzle (again)
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On another beautiful sunny day out we again had lunch on the patio of another local restaurant where I had (you guessed it!) Jägerschnitzel und Spätzle (schnitzel with mushroom gravy) and a Radler (half Pilsner, half Sprite). Yes, I may have a Spätzle problem.

Jägerschnitzel und Spätzle
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Ian went off script and had Hähnchen-Cordon-Bleu mit pommes (chicken cordon-bleu with french fries). Once again, I realize that I was unfair to the German chefs as his meal also included a variety of vegetables. Bundled together with a strip of bacon.

Hähnchen-Cordon-Bleu und pommes
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Sometimes of course we needed a break from the heavy German food. Fortunately there was an excellent take-away pizza restaurant down the road that did European-style thin crust wood-fired pizza with every topping imaginable. 

Pizza Hawaii
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Pizza Oliven Salami Peperoni
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For our last night out we ate at an Italian restaurant where I had Tortellini mit Gorgonzola, which was delicious,

Tortellini mit Gorgonzola
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and a bowl of Pfifferlingen Cremesuppe, a cream soup of the locally in season Chanterelle mushrooms.

Pfifferlingen Cremesuppe
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Of course, it wasn’t all savoury dishes. Germans are also very fond of ice cream. In the form of ice cream sundaes:

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Banana splits:

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Liquor-spiked chocolate milk with a scoop of ice cream topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings:

Baileys Eisschokolade
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And of course, appropriately small portions of ice cream for the children:

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As comfortingly delicious as it all was, the first thing we did when we got home was head to the grocery store to stock up on a fresh, crisp, brightly-coloured assortment of fruits and vegetables.

Produce, sweet produce!
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I ate half a cantaloupe for dinner yesterday and I may swear off white flour for good.

~ karyn

Bavarian bits and pieces

Our German adventures continue. The whole family has arrived, so Ben and Molly now have two cousins to play with and they are all getting along famously.

Ian and I headed into Munich the other day to pick up his brother from the airport and get an estimate for my favourite-phil&teds-best-stroller-ever-tragically-broken-by-Condor-Airlines-and-yes-I’m-still-bitter from the Kinderwagen-Shop und Werkstatt. They seemed to have encountered this sort of situation before because they had forms and everything. They declared the stroller un-repairable and wrote out the estimate, charged us €10 and sent us on our way with their sympathies.

We stopped for lunch at a sort of hole-in-the-wall type side-walk cafe that Was. Just. Amazing. I had Schweinesteak mit Pfeffer-Sahnesauce und Spätzle (pork tenderloin with peppercorn gravy and German noodle/dumplings). I wish I had taken a picture of it but alas I was so hungry that I didn’t think to do so until after I had devoured it. Next time.

During our journeys we encountered vehicles representing both air and sea:

The very definition of the shaggin’ wagon.
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Really, does it get any better than a fuchsia, butterfly-covered, fringe-hung windshield Mercedes camper van?

“Up on the shore they work all day;
under the sea we play away!”
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And it’s a little hard to tell in the through-the-car-window shot but this is a camper trailer completely hand-painted in The Little Mermaid motif. Why? Why not, I say?

Ben and Molly have been enjoying the civilized life, lunching al fresco on the balcony.

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Although on reflection, al fresco is not really appropriate, is it? Google, how do I say “al fresco” in German? Google Translate informs me that al fresco (Italian) translates to al fresco (German). Thanks for a whole lot of nichts, Google.

Interestingly, the change of scenery seems to have had a profound effect on my picky eater – Ben has been very open-minded here when it comes to food. In the last few days he has tried, unbidden, salami, fruitcake, and various German pastries. Long may this trend continue! And if not, at least now we know that the solution to picky eating is international travel. I think Molly’s vote is for the French Riviera next.

“Dahling, my public awaits.”
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Even everyday errands are more fun in a foreign country – we visited the dairy shop to get fresh cheese (carved off the giant wheel before your very eyes) and yoghurt (preservative-free, spooned into 1L tubs from a vat and guaranteed to last no more than 2-3 days).

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And of course there are frequent visits to the Getränkemarkt to exchange empty juice, fuzzy water, and beer bottles for full.

Smells like The Beer Store, but they sell juice too!
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And, finally, we have been spending plenty of time at the playground and the Kurpark (more on those later). In the latter Ben found the perfect stump on which to pretend to be The Lorax. I’ve got to say, while I was not particularly shocked at how much of the book Ben could recite,

“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.”
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I was a little more taken aback at how much of it Molly knew.

“I yam the Yorax! I ‘peak for the fwees!”
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~ karyn

But I don’t LIKE that!

Food. Delicious, comforting, nutritious, not-so-nutritious, sweet, savoury, spicy, sticky, crunchy, chewy, bland food. Food can be a source of great pleasure…or, for the parents of a picky eater, agonizing despair.

Ben started life as a 4 lb. 10 oz. preemie, delivered at 33 1/2 weeks. Happily, aside from being teeny, he had none of the challenges one usually expects with babies born that early. He was fed first by nasogastric tube and then a combination of breast and bottle (the debate around which will I’m sure the topic of another post at some point).

Yes, he is doing “The Emperor” from Star Wars…
dun dun dun dun da dun dun da dun…
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We went on to start “solids” (purees) around 6 months and he ate ANYTHING. I was super-adventurous mom – I made my own baby food and mixed spices into everything (cinnamon carrots…curried chicken and broccoli…gingered squash). His favourite foods were kalmata olives, feta cheese, and anything with curry powder. I patted myself on the back and felt superior to all those moms who feed their kids boring purees and set themselves up for a lifetime of catering to their kids’ bland palates.

This was probably curried something.
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And then around 18 months, “More! More!” suddenly turned into “MMMMM!!” which is the sound of a toddler with his mouth clamped tighter than the trash compactor on the detention level of the Death Star. As an added bonus, always a bit of a puker (gastroesophageal reflux being one of his remaining preemie traits), Ben discovered the ability to barf on command to demonstrate his disinterest in eating something. Suddenly I had become a mom of a dreaded picky eater.

After I worked through the initial denial, anger, and grief (there is nothing quite like sobbing hysterically at the dinner table while Googling “How do I get my picky toddler to eat?” on your laptop while your 3 year-old screams, “NO!! I don’t LIKE that!! Why are you making me eat that?? I don’t LIKE it!!”), I slowly reached the acceptance stage.

A lot of the websites out there on picky eaters will tell you not to engage in power struggles – you choose what to put in front of your child and he or she chooses how much of it to eat and I wholeheartedly agree that power struggles around food can lead down an unhealthy path. The websites suggest offering a variety of foods, changing utensils, ignoring, removing distractions, using reward charts, etc. None of those tips worked for us and the list of things Ben wouldn’t eat grew: Raw vegetables were too crunchy. Cooked vegetables were too wet. Grapes and blueberries had skins. Ice cream was too cold. (ICE CREAM!! THE KID WOULDN’T EAT ICE CREAM, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE!) Just about everything else “didn’t swallow very well” (ie. led to puking). And the behaviour at the dinner table (both his and ours) got worse and worse.

Finally we realized that we were dealing with two separate issues at mealtimes: what Ben ate and how he behaved. We decided that while we had no power over what he liked or how much he ate, we did have a responsibility to teach him to act appropriately at the table, and for us that meant no yelling, no arguing, and no declaring that he didn’t like something without trying it first. To deal with the behaviour piece we implemented the “try a bite or you sit out rule.” For time-outs we used Supernanny’s Naughty Step technique: the CALM but firm warning – place in neutral time-out spot for prescribed time period – return to time-out spot – repeat as necessary – apology – hug and kiss predictability of this worked really well for Ben and for us.

To deal with the “what Ben ate” piece, I focused on offering him a variety of foods but making what I knew he would eat as nutritious as possible, which meant making my own fish sticks and chicken fingers breaded in crushed bran or corn flakes, pureeing vegetables like carrots, zucchini, pumpkin or spinach into tomato sauce and serving over whole-wheat pasta, and baking a whole lot of the best ever “blank slate” muffins using my sister-in-law-to-be’s recipe:

These can be customized pretty any way you can think of – replace the banana and/or the oil with applesauce or jarred baby food (sweet potato or carrot work well); add grated or whole fruits or vegetables like carrot, zucchini, or berries; spice it up with vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, or cardamom; use whole wheat flour or oat bran for the flour; or boost the nutritional punch with additions like yoghurt, powdered milk, wheat germ, or ground flax – just increase the baking powder to help it rise as you add more “stuff.”

Ben turned 5 in May, and as suddenly as the pickiness started, it stopped – just in time, too, because Molly, who is NOT AT ALL a picky eater had just started to imitate her big brother’s, “I don’t LIKE that!!” just like she imitates everything else he does. Ben will now try most things that I put in front of him with, if not enthusiasm, at least much less argument than previously, and has even been heard in the past few months to say, “Can I try some of that, mommy?” The majority of these taste-tests now elicit a grudging, “Well, don’t LOVE it, but I LIKE it,” and in the words of Abraham “Grampa” Simpson, “Hot diggety-damn, that’s good enough for me!”

Ben enjoying a surf-and-turf dinner of lobster and steak with fuzzy water in a wine glass – “I don’t love the lobster, but I like it.”
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Molly, on the other hand, loves it.
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Ice cream: No longer “too cold.”
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And for Molly, ice cream = food = LOVE
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