Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Feeding My Family

Learning how to feed my new family took some time. It was a little trickier than I anticipated, which partly came from my unrealistic expectations. My husband likes everything...no pickiness there, so of course his children would too, right? Um, not so much. In their defense, they are better than some kids, and his daughter can be downright adventurous with food, but they're kids. Kids are picky, end of story. So there were a few things I had to learn about feeding my new family.

First, I couldn't take things personally. This was hard for me because cooking is a love language to me. If I love you, I will cook for you. Just watching someone eat and enjoy a meal I have prepared gives me the warm and fuzzies. I don't care how long it takes to make, how messy my kitchen has become, or anything else. If your taste buds are happy, my heart is happy. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. I did take it personally when the kids didn't like what I made, which is stupid because it had nothing to do with me, just their underdeveloped ultra picky kiddo taste buds. It took me a few months to figure this one out.

Next, I realized I had a better shot at getting the kids to eat if it was familiar to them. Obvious, right? I think it's important for kids to be exposed to all sorts of foods, but I had to be clever with this one. What I found works the best is to add something different to something they already love, like pizza. Pizza has been the key to getting my stepson to like mushrooms, bell peppers, sausage, and many other things. I also always make at least one thing in a meal that I know he'll eat since he tends to be the pickiest. And let's not forget how cheese and ketchup are momma's best friends. They'll eat almost anything if there is cheese or ketchup on it.

Finally, I had to be patient. Food is really complicated. There is much more to it than just its ability to nourish our bodies. Emotion, memories, all sorts of things are attached to it. I've had to gain these kids' trust in so many ways since I've entered their lives, including preparing meals for them. I think I'm there now, but it took time. The amazing thing is this--they trust me and my cooking now. They'll eat things for me that they never would before and that they still won't for others. My cup runneth over.

With all these lessons learned, I thought I'd share the meal I made for the fam tonight. It was a big hit and had some new ingredients in it.

The Menu
Banana Nut Waffles
Breakfast Potatoes with Stuffed Green Olives
Orange and Banana Smoothies

Use a box pancake mix and follow the waffle directions. Here is what makes them special though. Add one mashed banana and one part whole wheat flour to three parts pancake mix. Cook them in a waffle iron and serve with walnuts, butter, and syrup.

Breakfast Potatoes
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan.
Slice about 4 Yukon Gold potatoes up really thin. Once pan is hot, add the potatoes making sure that all potatoes are touching the pan. This will give them a nice golden color and crispy texture.
Add seasoning to the potatoes. I like garlic salt, oregano, freshly cracked pepper, but you can use anything that makes you happy.
I let them cook for a few minutes, then flip them with tongs and add more seasoning. I keep doing this until they have a nice golden color.
Now add some sliced stuffed green olives. I used some that were stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes. Let them cook with the potatoes for about a minute and you're done!

In a blender combine the following:
1/2 can of orange juice concentrate
10-12 ice cubes
1 banana
Milk, enough to cover all ingredients in the blender
1 tbs vanilla
*Note: This recipe is definitely to taste, so feel free to add more or less of something. Often times I end up adding more milk or even a bit of Splenda if I don't think it's sweet enough.


Amanda said...

I can totally relate! Ben does most of the cooking, but I took a lot of things personal from the new family at first. I've definitely learned that I CAN discipline them and they WILL forgive me. :) Those waffles look delicious!

Megan and Brian Rogers said...

I always take it personal!! Something I need to get over! Your meal looks so yummy! You are an amazing stepmom. I am always so amazed at how patient and kind you are!