Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Green indeed is the colour of lovers"*

Lucia's preschool teacher eats a raw foods diet and offers fresh fruits and vegetables to the children during snacktime. Lucia's favorite snack is the "sushi" made with veggie pate plus cucumber and carrot slices rolled up in dried seaweed sheets called nori. If food is wrapped in nori, there's a chance Lucia will try it.

No one in the House of Glee has any plans to toss out our cooking pots or cover our burners with cutting boards. If we're fanatic about anything, it's our dislike of artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated fats.** Still, we are open to new ways of getting more fresh vegetables into our diets with as little discomfort as possible. Today, we tried the Green Smoothie for the first time. I blended bananas and strawberries, then threw in a handful of fresh kale.*** The mixture turned green. I'm a fan of green, so I was undeterred. I took one sip, then another. The mixture tasted like a strawberry and banana smoothie. That's it. There was no kale taste. Really. I would not joke about such a serious matter. One of the hardest things about my era of vegetarianism (1991-95) was my displeasure in eating minimally-prepared vegetables.

I'm not implying that you should go grocery shopping immediately to get the ingredients for a drink that will rejuvenate your blood cells, make your eyes shiny and your fur glossy. I'm just thrilled to have an alternative to salads. I'm not a big fan of salads unless they're mostly meat, nuts and fruit.

*Shakespeare: Love's Labours Lost. It's one of the few lines I remember from that confusing little play, but it made an impression.

**Actually, Brad the Gorilla and I are the only ones with strong opinions on artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated fats.

***Lucia's teacher recommended starting out with kale, which is mild when blended with fruit. Other fresh greens have much stronger tastes.


galetea said...

It's amazing how aesthetics can color nutrition. If you hadn't told me that that concoction tasted like bananas and strawberries, I wouldn't have touched it with a barge pole!

Nonny said...

My mother-in-law cooks kale all the time. It stinks. I'd probably try the smoothie but my boys wouldn't. I'm actually going through a really tough phase where neither of them will try anything new and will only eat about 5 things: Pizza, chicken nuggest, PB&J, fries and spaghetti. Any suggestions?

Lady K said...

While I'm a big fan of smoothies, I don't think I could drink anything green. Not unless it's a jello shot. Maybe if I chased the green smoothie with a green jello shot? ;-)

I think salads are great, especially on a hot, hot day, with raspberry vineagrette dressing. Now I'm hungry.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Galetea: My smoothie mixture was a brighter green than the one pictured (I drank it all before I could take a photo), but yeah, still... when I first saw it, I was tempted to change the color with food coloring. I suppose that would have been against the whole idea of "healthy" though.:)

Nonny: Fortunately, the kale smoothie does not smell like cooked kale (at least, to me-- I only put a handful of kale in the mix). Gak! As far as suggestions on getting your boys to try more foods, that's been an age-old struggle in our time of abundance. Lucia goes through those phases too, and she's only 3. When she was 2 years old, she loved broccoli and peas. Yeah, how long did that last?! The foods your boys are eating right now seem like warm comfort foods in preparation for winter.

I really like carrot slices that have been boiled and then baked in the oven with olive-oil, fresh rosemary, and a little salt. Lucia is not yet convinced they're as good as french fries.:(

Lady K: Believe it or not, the salad I like best (at the moment) is the Northwest Beet Salad my local restaurant serves. A raspberry vinagrette is lovely, though.

limpy99 said...

The only way we get our kids to eat vegetables is to threaten them. I'm sure this is bad in the long run, but in the short run it keeps their fur glossy, so who cares?

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Limpy99: How do you threaten them?! Lucia is unthreatenable AND immune to bribery. These traits will serve her well in the long run, but in the meantime, I'm concerned that she's vegetable-deprived.

The Moy said...

I'm sorry, but a banana strawberry smoothie is not green, and that's all there is to it. Making it taste ungreen is nothing more than a gross deception, and one that, if it were handed to me to sip in the dark, I would find very hard to forgive once the lights went on.

Green things come in leaves, shafts or spears. The only other green drink I know of is a revolting Louisiana hangover remedy called "The Worm" that consists of liquified okra with a dash of vodka.

So there.

BlueMamma said...

you have strong opinions on artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated fats too? every post of yours that i read, i love you more. let's go butter and sugar!

nonny: sounds like your sons have the same diet as one of my daughters, with one exception: my daughter won't eat spaghetti. i have tried letting her make out the fruit/veg portion of the grocery list, sometimes if i let her pick it out, she'll eat it. but not always.

she gets it from my husband, who defines junk food as "stuff that grows out of the ground." he seems to think that the e-coli spinach thing justifies his terror of all things green.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

The Moy: What if I handed you a strawberry-banana smoothie in a covered cup with a straw and you drank it, enjoyed it, and only found out later by hearsay that it was green? And does "The Worm" work? I think I would convince myself I wasn't hungover just so I could avoid drinking it.

BlueMamma: I'm glad we're on the same page with artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated fats. Most of the time, I cook with vegetable or olive oil, and use sweetener sparingly (maple syrup or molasses). It was when I got pregnant that I became hypersensitive to fake stuff: the scent of the chlorine in Splenda, the way non-dairy creamer just turned my stomach, etc. I still enjoy sweets, but I like simple ingredients, you know? Why does something have to have both corn syrup AND high fructose corn-syrup?

Oh, here I go again.

BlueMamma said...

real stuff or go hungry. why use fake when real is there? real butter, real cream, real potatoes, real beef, real vanilla... the list goes on. this is my number one rule of cooking and baking.

Fridaysweb said...

My youngest recently told me about the dangers of artificial sweetners. She learned it in health class. The majority of them ARE carcinogenic and can attack the digestive system, terribly.

As for eating more veggies, we tend to steam a lot of things. Especially broccoli and carrots. We also enjoy zuccini, cut into spears (like pickle spears), sauteed in a little olive oil and teriaky sauce. You can add pine nuts or sesame seeds to the mix for an even healthier side dish.

I suppose I've been lucky with my kids. They love veggies. They always have. They love fruit and always have. When they were little, we'd just set out all we'd cooked for dinner in the middle of the table and let them choose what they wanted to eat. We rarely forced anything on them, but would encourage them to at least try new things. If they did and didn't like it, they didn't have to eat it. If they didn't want to try it, we didn't force it, but we also kept serving all kinds of vegetables with every meal. Sometimes, we'd have nothing but vegetables, fruit, cheese and bread out for dinner, leaving the girls with few options - they never realized we did it on purpose ;) (the sushi sounds fantastic!) Now, to keep the veggies rolling, we encourage the kids to help cook and to bring in new recipes. As long as the ingredients are easily found and aren't terribly expensive, we'll try any new recipe. They love it when one of THEIR recipes is a big hit.

Lone Star Ma said...

My kids don't like veggies and we're vegetarians. Go figure. I should never have allowed them to see their father eat.