Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday's Top Ten: I Love to Cook for My Kids- Let me Count the Ways!!!

They are the reason for the depth of my passion!!

How I love to cook at create for my children, let me count the ways!  In my life story there was a particular moment when my love for all foods transformed and turned into a real passion.   Like a beautiful bud when it meets the face of the warm springtime sun, my love intensified for all things food and opened up into a full bloom.  It began with reaching out for fresh knowledge, and building an understanding that there is so much more to eating than I ever took the time to notice before.  Suddenly I wanted to know everything I could about nutrition, food origins, and how to purposefully create meals that would meet our crucial daily needs to be healthy and energized.  At twenty tree years old they laid a beautiful baby girl into my arms, and nineteen months later a sweet boy - from that point on I knew it was going to be my responsibility to lay the all important nutritional foundations of my babes and give them the strong and highly flavored start they deserve.

Strawberry Picking- so much goodness!!

I have learned so far that by setting a good example and creating awareness for how to make good choices, these two munchkins of mine have learned all about "Good Food".  They have a sense of pride in knowing where our food comes from when we practice growing our own garden veggies or when we take a visit to the farmers market and local orchards.  Even raising our own egg producing chickens has been a major lesson in how special food really is.  A new appreciation for how food is produced in nature has really enlightened all of us to the importance of supporting agriculture not only for ourselves but for everyone and our futures.

 My children have a very developed palate at their young ages of 6 and 8, and it is always fun to see what they think of new foods or flavor combinations that we come up with.  They definitely have their favorites and I have also allowed them to dislike things too.  Since there aren't too many things in the "dislike" category, I am fortunate that I have not had to become a short order cook to satisfy rumbly tummies at dinner time.

I have acquired and stored a vast body of knowledge so far and yet I feel like I have hardly scratched the surface.  Every day I learn something new in my culinary crusades.   It is my mission to give my children the best start so here are the Top Ten Reasons why I Love to cook for my kids:

1.  There is nothing better than hitting a home-run, double play at the diner table- this is when they ask for seconds.

2.  My mom always made sure that my sister and I had a warm, hearty meal for dinner every night, even when she was attending night school. I never appreciated that until I had kids of my own.  Certainly she gave me a great foundation to build upon with this practice- I have the blueprints in my own hands now to create a similar foundation in my own kids- Thanks Mom!

At the apple orchard with my Mom and Lauren- Family Traditions

3.  My kids love to help in the kitchen- I have learned that this usually equates to messes, but how else are they going to learn.  Its our time together, these are the real teaching moments.  I am just thankful they are interested.

4.  With noses up high in the air, they walk into the kitchen and exclaim "What is that yummy smell Mama?  What are you cooking?"  Hook, line and sinker!!  If it smells good that is half the pleasure, right?

5.  My kids have told me that their lunches always look different than anyone else's at the school lunch table.  I asked them if that was OK and if they were happy with their lunches I made for them.  Both answered that they love their lunch "even if there aren't any fun things in wrappers."  Whole foods have nothing to hide!

6.  I love to talk about the week's dinner menu with my kids and get ideas for what they would like to see at the dinner table.  Together we can come up with some ideas that work well not only for dinner but we can use the leftovers for lunches too.

7.  Since they were little babies the Grocery store trip has always been a "Big Family Outing."  We make a pretty big deal about going to pick out our ingredients and favorite foods.  We talk about how to pick out the freshest ones of the bunch and in the past couple of years we have enjoyed doing our circle through the store without much aisle action.  The kids understand that fresh is best whenever possible- it takes three stops to accomplish this- but the trip is always an adventure and they usually get the added bonus of eating dinner out on such occasions too.  Oryana deli (a local Co-Op with an Organic focus) is one of the family faves.

8.  They always tell me the truth about what they think of the food I prepare.  The constructive feedback is never sugar coated.  Either they like it or they don't- they aren't afraid to go over it with me.  This is very helpful especially if it is a new creation.

It was super hot but they were loving it!!

9. When they do like something the praises are overflowing with love and admiration.  There happiness is what fuels me.  It makes me want to keep pushing the boundaries of my knowledge and learn even more so I can present them with the next exciting and delicious dish.

10.  Someday I hope they will look back at what I have started them with on this journey towards making healthy choices and appreciating "Good Food."  I pray that they will take these values and ideas and pass them to their own families.  I believe that if they start to understand it all now, and appreciate all these experiences that no matter what they do, they will always know how to pick a good peach, enjoy a garden fresh carrot, and create a balanced meal.

I love you my dear Lauren and Riley!  You make me so very very proud!

Love Always, Your Mama