Sunday, June 26, 2016

How to Make Healthy Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice for Kids

Growing up, our family rarely ate out. Instead, we would eat Chinese or Taiwanese food at home. On the occasions we did go out, we would eat Chinese or Taiwanese food at a Chinese or Taiwanese restaurant. Once a year, as a special treat for my birthday, we would go out to Red Lobster and I would order popcorn shrimp. 

Oddly enough, now that I can choose whatever I care to eat, I often choose Asian cuisine. Perhaps Asian flavors are comforting to me because they remind me of my childhood.  Or perhaps Asian food is just simply some of the best food out there. Although I hate to admit it, perhaps my parents were right all along. 

One of my favorite childhood dishes was Asian fried rice. I used to shovel spoonfuls of the stuff into my mouth. Now that I make an effort to lead a relatively low glycemic lifestyle, I no longer eat rice regularly. One great low carb substitute for rice is cauliflower rice. Recently, I tried an Asian style cauliflower rice. Pulsed in a food processor, the cauliflower "rice grains" soaked up the soy sauce, making for a very fine substitute for Asian fried rice. The kids loved this dish, happily shoveling spoonfuls of the stuff into their mouths. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy Blanched Vegetables : Crudité Dip

My first born just graduated from preschool. We attended his graduation ceremony, which was complete with cap and gowns, celebratory necklaces, and diplomas. Never mind that Colin went back to the same preschool the very next day, or that he will continue to attend preschool for the next three months before Kindergarten actually starts. That's besides the point.

The point is that my first born graduated from preschool! This is the same kid that would greet me in the mornings with a fresh bowel movement in his diaper. This is the same kid that couldn't even hold the weight of his own head up. This is the same kid that I would hold with one arm like a football. This is the same kid who would call out for me in the middle of the night due to night terrors. And now he's graduating preschool?!?

Over the years, I have seen my son evolve from an infant, to a toddler, to an adolescent. I am proud of many things, but I am most proud of his emotional growth. He used to pout when he went to piano or tennis lessons, and now he goes happily. He used to throw colossal tantrums on a regular basis and now he throws them on a semi-regular basis. He used to stubbornly demand his way all the time. Now, when he doesn't get his way, he has the emotional maturity to self talk his way into believing he got his way. 

I've noticed how his emotional growth has translated into being a more adventurous eater as well. He used to absolutely refuse to try new foods. Now, he knows that we expect him to just try things at least once. Often, he surprises himself when he learns that new foods aren't all that bad. 

Recently, I made a crudité with a roasted garlic aioli dip. Thanks to our friend Kris, for introducing me to crudité!  Typically, Colin doesn't like bell peppers. But I found some sweet mini peppers and I made him try them. I saw him process the taste of the peppers and determine they weren't bad after all. I didn't push him further because I knew we had accomplished what we needed to. I am sure that the next time he sees the mini bell peppers, he won't refuse them. These are the small victories that make me a proud papa. Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

How to Make the Perfect Healthy Bite For Kids : Best Meatball Ever

We took the kids to see a free concert by Rachel Platten at Tysons Corner this Friday. Rachel Platten became famous for her hit, the Fight Song. I didn't know what to expect but I figured it was worth going since it was a free concert, the weather was gorgeous, and did I mention it was a free concert?

Despite being a free concert, I was really impressed with Rachel Platten. She was ebullient and energetic on stage and she seemed genuinely happy to be there. She was an excellent stage performer and she sang with control and power. You can tell how good an artist is when you listen to them live since their pitch is exposed. She sang completely in tune and she sang completely within herself.

The most poignant part of the concert came at the end, when she shared how much The Fight Song meant to her. Up until the Fight Song, it was clear she had led the life of a struggling artist. She shared her struggles with self doubt and what she called, "the demons inside her head." Clearly very talented, the Fight Song was not just a symbolic fight, but emblematic of her own fight to succeed. Ironically, the song that was all about her own fight to succeed was also the song that ultimately brought her success.

I can relate to Rachel Platten, as I have had my own struggles. I have been on a long and seemingly endless pursuit for the perfect bite. My road has been frustrating and arduous. There have been dead ends and blind alleys. But all the while, I kept fighting, until, until, I came across this recipe for meatballs. This Asian meatball combines protein, vegetable, fat, herbs, salt, and umami all into one bite.  And not just any bite…the perfect bite.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

How to Make Healthy Gluten Free Grain Free Cheesy Cauliflower Bread Sticks for Kids

Last weekend, we took the kids to feed the birds at Roer's Zoofari in Vienna. Some people might protest about the price of admission at Roer's Zoofari (formerly the Reston Zoo), particularly when the National Zoo is free. Those people would be me. However, Roer's Zoofari has a lot of advantages, making the price admission totally worth it. It is less crowded than the National Zoo, parking is free, there are plenty of shady respites, and it is on flat, level ground. 

But the most unique aspect of Roer's Zoofari is the up close and personal interaction with the animals. Ordinarily, I would have been too cheap to purchase animal feed, but thanks to Groupon, I purchased discounted tickets that included animal feed and feeding sticks. It's a good thing too, because it turns out that animals, much like humans, are drawn to food.

Colin loved having the goats literally eat out of the palm of his hand. Budgie stick in hand, he squealed in delight as the birds would flock to him and land on his shoulder. Cailya had a slightly more traumatizing experience, as you'll see in the video for this week. Although she found the birds overwhelming, she really enjoyed the wagon ride. More like a safari, the wagon ride was a truly memorable and unexpected experience for a zoo located in the middle of the suburbs. 

Although it may not seem like it, feeding your kids can be as fun as feeding the birds. But leave the breadcrumbs to the birds and try this recipe for cheesy cauliflower "breadsticks". Your kids will love pulling these cheesy breadsticks apart and gobbling them down. 

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