My ongoing Mommy conundrum is figuring out how to get Hodie to eat the veg. This might come as a surprise to some of you because I eat lots and lots of veggies both raw and cooked. So doesn’t the baby follow the Momma’s lead? Well yes, and then there’s the Pappa. Pappa and I have very different diets, and although I probably influence him to eat a tad bit healthier than he would without me, I have a feeling he influences what I eat more than the other way around. It’s hard to cook for two and always serve something different, so I end up compromising a bit and throw in a big salad for myself.
Along came baby and all is good until he starts to figure out Abba (Daddy) is eating something different, and it looks interesting. Plus if Abba likes it then Hodie wants to try it! White bread, (here in Israel) rugelach and burekas, and more crazy stuff that I wish he never even had the chance to see. But, here I am, here we are, and my task now is to make the healthy stuff so awesome that my 2.5 year old will choose it gladly over whatever Abba is eating.
I try not to make a big deal out of it because I figure if I do, my son at some point will rebel, and in the present time be confused as to why he can’t have, if his Abba can. I will just do my best to teach him about health and wellness and foods inseparable role as he grows. In the meantime, he does spend a lot of time with me in the kitchen, he tastes my green drinks and occasionally wants more than just the first sip. He loves all the raw desserts I make (of course), but he also tastes just about anything we make together in the kitchen. I also notice he is more and more interested in everything I am eating and I think especially because I never force him or even strongly push anything on him. I always say he is welcome to taste it and if he likes it, great and if not fine. Most importantly I want him to have a healthy relationship to food, and as he gets older (hopefully) he will get why healthy, whole, colorful, vibrant food is the best!
A couple days ago I had some beautiful large red bell peppers on hand and remembered a delicious dressing that Elaina Love used to make. With her dressing in mind, I threw the peppers, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and some dates into the blender. It was good, still needed a bit more of this and that (anyone who has taken a class with me knows I always taste and end up adding a pinch of salt or a splash of vanilla for desserts, this time it was a bit of salt and a splash of apple cider vinegar to balance out the flavor and make it pop). I also thought Hodie may just love it and why not add some more fresh veggies to the mix – better for all of us that way! So, I ended up adding a bit of celery and some extra garlic and ginger. All in all this recipe turned out to be a sweet and sour taste explosion. I had some raw broccoli on hand, dipped it in and nothing – nothing ever tasted better.
A great dressing will take your ordinary veggies and turn them into an extraordinary delicacy to remember. The only veggies I had left in the fridge at this point were the rest of my broccoli, celery and some cabbage. Chop, chop, into the bowl and a helping of this dressing on top and Voila – the most incredibly colorful, satisfying and fresh lunch I have had in a long time. And Hodie you ask? Hodie quickly became a fan, dipping in celery sticks, nori and munching away. I think the finger foods with his own ramekin of dressing made the whole experience fun and exciting too. The next day he decided to give my salad a taste (he has never been into leafy greens, but again this was cabbage, crispier and crunchier) and again he was hooked eating salad out of the bowl with me. That made me one happy Momma. Here’s to eating our veggies (and our kids eating our veggies) and loving them too!
If you are a parent reading this, do have any veggie rich recipes that your kids love? Thanks in advance for sharing and I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
Sweet and Sour Red Bell Pepper Dressing
by Chaya-Ryvka, Inspired by Elaina Love
- 2 very full cups chopped red bell pepper
- ⅓ cup, chopped celery
- 1 rounded Tbs. + 1 rounded tsp. peeled and rough chopped ginger
- ¼ cup packed and pitted medjool dates about 4 large medjool dates
- 1 Tbs. rough chopped garlic
- 2 ½ Tbs. lemon juice
- 1 ½ – 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar, depending on level of acid you like – I like 2 T, but start with less and taste
- 1 ¼ tsp. high mineral sea salt, if you prefer low salt start with less and add to taste
- ½ cup + 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- jalapeno or crushed red pepper to taste, I omitted this to make it more kid friendly, but my adult version would DEFINITELY include some spicy, spicy!
Place all of your ingredients into a high speed blender. (This may work just fine in a basic blender, but I haven’t tried it. It may not get as smooth, but still taste delicious)
Blend until creamy and smooth.
Store in a glass jar for up to a week.
Enjoy as a salad dressing, dip for crudite, sandwich spread, sauce for steamed quinoa and veggies, dip for a fresh spring roll or nori wrap – really anything your creative palate can come up with.