Counting Our Veggies

Please join us as we focus on learning about and trying one vegetable each week.


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We’ve Been Away from Our Blog, But Not Away from Our Veggies

Our last blog post was in March. Since then, we have been busy with a few annoying illnesses, some fun travel, finishing up Lucie’s first year of K12 virtual school and enjoying the outdoors after a long, cold winter. One of our outdoor projects is our vegetable garden. We are going to change our blog, for now, from focusing on one vegetable each week to sharing what we are growing in and eating from our vegetable garden. While we have not had time to write blog posts lately, we have taken some pics of some of the new veggies we have tried and of our garden. We hope to share those with you soon, starting with our next post on blue potatoes.

Digging in the Dirt

They couldn’t wait to dig for worms this spring.

Early Garden

Dave planted tomatoes while the kids dug for worms.

Goofballs

Bubbles!

Theo's Radishes

We had good luck with our radish crop. I wish we had planted more of them.

Garden Growing

Corn and Potatoes


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Blue Potatoes and Baked Blue Potato Chips

Dave has always wanted to grow potatoes and this year he finally did. He planted blue potatoes on April 5th.

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I was just sure that he planted them too early. They even got snowed on in mid-April.

But, by mid-May, they had pretty flowers on them.

Blooming Potatoes

Yesterday, Dave decided to dig one of the plants up to see if we had any blue potatoes. We did!

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They are even blue on the inside.

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We decided to make baked potato chips out of them. We sliced them with our Pampered Chef slicer and then tossed them with a few tablespoons of peanut oil and sea salt.

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We placed them on cookie sheets with silicone baking mats and baked them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. The cooking time varies with the thickness of the slices. A few of our slices were thicker and had to go back into the oven for a few more minutes.

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When they were crispy, we sprinkled them with a bit more sea salt and some finely minced fresh rosemary from our herb garden. Then we let them cool on a paper towel.

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The kids could not wait to try them.

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We were not surprised to get three enthusiastic two thumbs up ratings. Dave and I loved them too! Just looking at these pictures makes me want to make some more.

Three Two Thumbs Up

If you have a garden, consider growing some potatoes. They were much easier to grow than I thought they would be. (Especially with Dave doing all of the digging.) We all thought it was extra fun to grow blue ones.


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Week Seven (a little late): Baked Broccoli with Brown Sugar Spiced Baked Chicken

Hello again! We are a bit behind on our blog. Last week was our week for broccoli. We tried a few new broccoli recipes, one of which we will be sharing with you in this post. We entered an art contest and with help from our wonderful friends, family and blog readers, we won! Thank you for voting! And this week we chose to try brussel sprouts. We will be sharing those recipes after we get caught up with broccoli. I will say that brussel sprouts turned out better than I expected. We are undecided about what next week’s veggie will be.

I mentioned in our first post about broccoli that the kids all love it. They like basic broccoli: uncooked or steamed. The girls also like broccoli cheese soup. We decided to try something new instead of what we knew they already liked. We began with Baked Broccoli from Rachel Schultz‘s blog. Her blog features a chicken recipe that she said is great to bake along side the broccoli, so we tried it too.

We used the pre-cut kind of fresh broccoli from Costco. I love having a bag of this in the fridge – easy veggies!

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I (mostly) followed the recipes from Rachel Shultz’s blog. I marinated the chicken breast fillets in a mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 tablespoon garlic powder and a bit of salt and pepper for about 15 minutes. (Her recipe suggests 1 to 3 hours, but we were short on time.) Then in a plastic bowl with a lid, I tossed about 1 pound of the broccoli florets with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic (the recipe calls for 1 clove) and a bit of salt and pepper. I was a little worried that doubling the amount of garlic would make it too strong, so I tasted a bite of the uncooked broccoli after it had been coated with the oil, garlic, salt and pepper. To my surprise, it was delicious uncooked! I normally do not like uncooked broccoli, but I could have eaten a bowl full of this. Trying new veggie recipes is great for grown-ups too! Lucie and Theo wanted to try it and also loved it. I put the chicken and broccoli on a jelly roll pan and baked it all together at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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The kids were ready to eat! They thought it smelled delicious!

Theo was a bit groggy and had “grumpy” hair, so I was expecting him to be negative. This stuff must be great because he gave an enthusiastic two thumbs up.

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Josie, who can almost always find something to improve upon, also loved it!

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No surprise – two thumbs up from Lucie!

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They all three cleaned their plates with no complaining. A rare occurrence!

I agree with the kids – fantastic! And very easy to make. Dave missed out on the broccoli, but he had some leftover chicken and he loved it.

It is great to try new things with a veggie that you love! What is your favorite way to eat broccoli? Do you love it or hate it?

Thanks for visiting,

Jen


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Week Seven: Fun with Veggie Art

One of our favorite clothing brands, Polarn O. Pyret, is holding a contest. They are famous for their fun prints and they are asking their fans to create their own prints. Lucie and I worked on this veggie print together. We were inspired by her favorite Polarn O. Pyret dress with teapots on it and by our veggie blog. You can help us win a gift card by voting for our vegetable print here http://bit.ly/1kpnebI.

Veggie Print

Here is a picture of Lucie in her favorite teapot dress.

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Wouldn’t a veggie print dress be fun!

Thanks for visiting,

Jen


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Week Seven: Broccoli

My kids love broccoli. It was the first vegetable we could manage to get Lucie to eat when she was just a little toddler. (She is about one year old in this picture.)

Lucie One Year Old

At first, she refused to try it. She finally tried it when we told her she could pretend to be a giraffe and eat the leaves off the broccoli “trees”. (I think we had just returned from a trip to the zoo and she was very excited about having seen the giraffes.) She did just that, leaving all sorts of broccoli “tree stumps” on her plate. Dave and I thought we were parenting geniuses when we got her to eat it. Somehow, possibly as a result of Lucie’s broccoli-loving example, Josie and Theo have always liked broccoli too. (Remember last week when Theo ate the big broccoli stem for no reason at all.)

Since the kids already like broccoli, you probably think choosing it seems like a lazy vegetable choice for this week. You are right! We are feeling lazy. I think we have chosen to go out of our comfort zone in the veggie department quite a bit lately and we just need something comfortable this week. Even so, I’m hoping we will learn more about broccoli and even discover a new recipe or two that we can enjoy.

We will begin with learning this week. I’m trying to come up with a list of twenty things you didn’t know about broccoli. (I just love that 20 Things You Didn’t Know About… department of Discover magazine.) Hmm. . .

20 10 (See LAZY!) Things You Didn’t Know About Broccoli

1. Broccoli is a member of the Brassica oleracea species, which includes cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, collard greens and kale as cultivars. Each of these varieties has been selected over time to produce larger leaves, stems, buds or flowers, giving us the veggies we know today. (Click on this link and read it! Very interesting!)

2. Per person consumption of fresh broccoli in the United States increased from 1.5 pounds per year in 1980 to 5.6 pounds per year in 2010. Americans are eating their broccoli!

3. One cup of chopped broccoli has only 31 calories. It also contains 135% of your recommended vitamin C intake.

4. The word broccoli has its origin in the Latin word broccus, meaning projected or pointed.  The word brocade and broach are also derived from this same Latin word.

5. The most common type of broccoli is called Calabrese because it was first grown in the Italian region of Calabria. (Calabria is the “toe” of the “boot”.)

6. California produces 90 percent of the fresh broccoli in the United States.

7. It is nearly impossible to can broccoli with acceptable results. It would turn to mush and smell bad if you tried. Yuck!

8. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush banned broccoli from Air Force One because he didn’t like it. The United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association responded by delivering two truckloads of broccoli to the White House, along with a sheet of recipe suggestions.

9. The children’s cartoon Veggie Tales has no broccoli character. The one I thought was a broccoli is actually an asparagus.

10. Sulphoraphane, a chemical that occurs naturally in broccoli, has been studied as a sunscreen.

We are having broccoli for lunch today and and the kids are excited!

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

I am really excited about broccoli! I remember always liking broccoli. I only ate the “leaf parts” when I was little, but now I eat the stems too. I think it is really funny that a president banned broccoli from his plane, because broccoli is so good.


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Week Six: Edamame in Chinese Chicken Salad

Things have been busy around here! We are sharing our last recipe from edamame week a bit late. We will have our vegetable for this week (rumored to be broccoli) in a day or two.

We love it when our readers leave us comments about our blog posts! Grandpa Perry told us in a comment that he loves the edamame in Panera’s Thai Chicken Salad. This comment inspired us to look for a similar recipe to give edamame one more try. We found the recipe for Lighter Chinese Chicken Salad at Gimme Some Oven. (I love this blog’s name!)

Lucie and Josie were happy to shell the edamame. This time they pretended that the pods were caterpillars that turned into butterflies as they shelled. This reduced their efficiency, but increased their level of fun.

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We marinated two chicken breasts in a mixture 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar for about 15 minutes before grilling them on our griddler.

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Next we made the dressing according to the recipe, leaving out the optional sriracha chile sauce. The dressing smelled so good! I love the smell of anything that includes fresh grated ginger. Lucie and Josie were pretty skeptical about a third round of edamame tasting, but when I let them sample this dressing with a piece of carrot, they became a bit more optimistic.

Now for the salad. We did not have romaine lettuce, as the recipe calls for, but we did have bagged baby spinach, so that it what we used in its place. I love it when my veggies come pre-shredded, chopped or otherwise prepared!

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We combined the veggies, dressing, almonds and chow mein noodles in a bowl. Josie was impressed with the colors of this salad. She said it reminded her of fall.

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Finally, we sliced our chicken breasts and topped our salads with them.

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What would the kids think? They are not huge fans of salad and edamame has not made it to our list of favorite veggies, so I was prepared for the worst.

Theo could not wait to dig in.

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He gave the salad two thumbs up. He ate around most of the edamame, but I’m pretty sure he ate a few by accident. He ate all of the chicken and a good portion of the other ingredients.

Josie said….

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What?!? Two thumbs to the side! That is a pretty good rating from her, considering this is a salad. She ate all of the chicken and she liked the carrots and red cabbage. She still did not like the edamame.

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Lucie thought the whole salad was great and ate everything. I agree with her. It was fantastic! We decided we felt like we were eating at a restaurant. I think the taste of edamame might be growing on me. Surprisingly, we enjoyed the red cabbage in this recipe. I normally pick all the red cabbage out of salads, so this was a big change for me. I was also surprised to see that the kids ate it.

We have two important ideas from edamame week  to share with you. First, if you do not like a vegetable, keep trying it in different ways. It may grow on you! Second, edamame is a great way to distract kids. They focus on picking it our of their meal and eat all the other vegetables on their plate instead. I think I will call this the “decoy vegetable” trick.😉 I wonder what that book I’m wanting to read will say about this kind of vegetable trickery?

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

I really liked the new recipe we tried. I liked the edamame in it too. My favorite part of this recipe was the dressing. I was surprised that I liked it. I even asked Mama to save the leftovers for me! Maybe edamame isn’t so bad after all.


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Week Six: Crispy Edamame and a New Book

Baked radish chips were a big hit with the kids, so I was hoping that crispy edamame would also appeal to them. I used a recipe from allrecipes.com by Sophia Candrasa. It was really simple. We used frozen shelled edamame that we had first thawed with cool water as the recipe suggests. We coated the shelled edamame with olive oil, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper and baked them at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Super easy.

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The crispy edamame looked and smelled delicious when they came out of the oven. Would they taste delicious?

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Lucie was very hopeful…

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Aww… two-thumbs down. Josie and Theo wouldn’t even consider tasting them.

I thought that these crispy edamame smelled fantastic. I could not wait to taste them. I was disappointed because I thought they were just ok. Definitely not wonderful. I think the taste could grow on me. As usual, Dave thought they were great.

I was impressed by Lucie’s willingness to try the edamame again and her optimistic attitude that she might like them prepared in a different way.

We are in our sixth week of trying new vegetables with the kids and I am very happy with how things are going. The most important goals of this project are learning new things, having fun with the kids and exposing them to vegetables and recipes they might like to try. It is not about making them eat something they do not want to eat. So when I read about the book It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating by Dina Rose, I headed straight to amazon. The book arrived a few days ago and so far I have only had time to read the first few pages, but I can’t wait to read more. In the first chapter, the author makes the point that 30% of  all children between the ages of two and three do not eat any type of vegetable on any given day and when they do, the vegetable is most likely a french fry. I am hoping to get my kids eating two or three kinds of vegetables almost every day because they want to. I look forward to reading more about the authors approach to encourage the kids’ healthy eating.

In the last six weeks I have tried several things I never thought I would try and I have enjoyed many of them. I love hearing from you about what recipes sound good to you and about your favorite ways to prepare the veggies we are trying. Please continue to share your thoughts with us. The kids love hearing your comments too!

Don’t forget to follow Counting Our Veggies on Pinterest, where you can see boards for other recipes and vegetables we are considering and find all the recipes we have used on our blog.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

We tried a new edamame recipe. I though I was going to like it because it looked good. I did not like it and I gave it two thumbs down.