Counting Our Veggies

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


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Week Five: Artichoke, Sun-Dried Tomato and Blue Cheese Pizza


Lucie chose artichokes as our vegetable for this week. We started by doing some reading about the artichoke and learned that this funny looking vegetable is part of an immature flower from a plant in the thistle family. The type of vegetable we are working with this week is called a globe artichoke. Other vegetables called Jerusalem artichoke and Chinese artichoke come from the underground part of different types of plants and are not related to the globe artichoke.

We started artichoke week with a recipe that I love: artichoke, sun-dried tomato and blue cheese pizza. We included the kids in pizza making by giving them each their own pizza to top. This worked very well for us because Theo is allergic to dairy. Instead of feeling left out, he was able to make his own cheese-less pizza to be proud of.

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This made me think of the “make your own pizza-pie” episode of Seinfeld. I found watching parts of this episode on YouTube to be a great way to procrastinate from veggie blog writing. I can assure you that the characters at my house are just as entertaining as the ones on Seinfeld. We used our favorite pizza crust recipe, Jay’s Signature Pizza Crust from allrecipes.com. I doubled the pizza crust recipe, so we would have enough crust for three kids pizzas and two regular pizzas.

The toppings we offered the kids included the following:

  • homemade pizza sauce
  • sun-dried tomatoes (I cut these into small pieces and soaked them in olive oil and fresh minced garlic for about thirty minutes before using them.)
  • canned artichoke hearts (I sliced these lengthwise to make them more bite-sized.)
  • mini-pepperoni
  • mushrooms
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • blue cheese crumbles

Theo was very careful adding the pizza sauce.

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The girls selected and arranged their toppings.

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I thought surely they would pile on the artichoke hearts.

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Lucie did decide to sample one.

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“Mama, I would give this two thumbs down, but I’m not sure where to put the rest of this yucky artichoke.”

Theo’s pizza ended up with pizza sauce and pepperoni. The girls’ added pizza sauce, sun-dried tomato, pepperoni and mozzarella. Lucie added a few mushrooms. Not too heavy on the veggies, but oh well.

Now for the extra yummy pizzas:

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I added pizza sauce, sun-dried tomato and artichoke hearts.

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Then, lots of crumbled blue cheese and mozzarella. I baked it at 425 degrees on a pizza stone for about 20 minutes. (Really, until it looked done, but around 20 minutes.)

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This is so delicious! It is my favorite kind of pizza. The girls have eaten it before and loved it. There must have been some kind of anti-artichoke attitude going around today.

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Theo could hardly wait to eat his pizza.

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Josie was very proud of her pizza.

I feel like today’s post was a bit light on the artichoke. But, we have plans to tackle a real artichoke soon. We have never purchased a fresh artichoke before, so this is a bit intimidating. Lucie has chosen a recipe that she would like to try. I hope she likes it better than she liked plain canned artichoke heart.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

I did not like the canned artichoke heart that Mama had for the pizza, but I liked the pizza that I made. I like making my own pizza. Sometime I will try making a pizza with different vegetables on it. I hope we try more artichoke recipes soon.

Click here to find Counting Our Veggies on Pinterest.


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Week Four: Roasted Radish, Pepper and Carrot

Radish week is coming to a close. Our final recipe is Roasted Radish, Pepper and Carrot that we found at Sarah’s Cucina Bella. This recipe uses the daikon type of radish that we made into radish cakes a few days ago. I had high hopes for this recipe, since I liked the radish cakes and like all the other veggies in this recipe. The idea of roasting them sounded appealing, as well as the idea of adding balsamic vinegar.

First we gathered our veggies.

Veggies for Roasting

The recipe calls for specific amounts daikon radish, carrot, red bell pepper and shallot. We just chopped up what we had without measuring and used an onion instead of a shallot, because that is all we had.

Pan of Veggies

I think Lucie is too young to use a sharp knife, but she was still interested in learning about what I was doing and had fun stealing a few peppers and carrots to munch on while I cut the veggies for roasting.

Veggie Stealer

We drizzled the veggies with olive oil, added salt and pepper and put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, we drizzled them with a bit of balsamic vinegar and put them back in the oven for about ten more minutes.

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The veggies looked good and smelled good at this point. I could not wait to taste them and neither could Lucie and Dave.

Tasting Daikon Radish

The verdict…

Two Thumbs Down for Roasted Radish

Two thumbs down! I had to agree with her. I thought the rest of the veggies tasted fine, but the radish was just not for me. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but I really did not like it. Josie and Theo are smart kids. They watch Lucie very closely and they trust her judgement. They were not going near these radishes.

Dave, on the other hand, LOVED these roasted veggies, especially the roasted daikon radishes. He ate them with a baked chicken breast and had a second serving of veggies. He says he would gladly eat this dish again.

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Overall, I feel that we learned a lot during radish week. I had never even heard of a daikon radish before last Sunday and I ended up using them twice this week. I thought that learning about tillage radishes and the Night of the Radishes festival was interesting. I was proud of how excited Lucie was about incorporating the veggies into a math lesson. (Lucie’s radish calculations were Dave’s favorite part of our blog so far.) I also felt that the kids were very interested in what we were doing in the kitchen and enjoyed being involved in preparing and tasting our recipes. What was your favorite part of radish week? We would love to hear from you!

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

We tried a cooked daikon radish recipe. I thought it looked like a veggie salad before we put it in the oven. I gave it two thumbs down. I did not like it. I really liked radish week because I like the spicy taste of radishes. In fact, I just ate a bowl of crunchy, red radishes with salt and butter.


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Week Four: Baked Radish Chips

While Lucie and I were researching radishes online, we came across an article about a festival in Oaxaca, Mexico called “The Night of Radishes”. This festival is held each year on December 23 and features art carved from locally grown radishes. You can read more about it in this article from the Vancouver Observer.

Lucie and I decided to try our own radish art. We saw this idea at Shades of Tangerine.

Radish

Carving Radish

Radish Mushroom

The kids all thought this was a fantastic thing to do. They now have big plans to carve an entire enchanted fairy garden from vegetables. I think we will save that project for later…

In addition to making radish art, we tried making two different kinds of radish chips. The first was plain baked radish chips with salt. We found this recipe on food.com.

First we sliced the radishes. We just used a knife, but they may have been a more consistent thickness if we had used some kind of vegetable slicing device.

Sliced Radishes

Next, we added one tablespoon of peanut oil and tossed the slices around to coat them. I’m sure any other kind of oil would be fine.

The girls were excited to help with the next step and had fun lining them up on the baking sheet.

Radish Helpers

We sprinked them with salt and baked them at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Then we flipped each little radish slice over and baked them for another 8 minutes. We may have overcooked them, but we found that we liked the crispy ones the best.

Radish Chips

These were eaten in less than one and a half minutes. And they only took about 30 minutes of slicing, arranging, flipping and salting to make. We need to find a way to automate this process.

Seriously, look at this reaction from Josie:

Josie Tasting Radish Chips

She was smiling as she tasted a radish! We got a triple two thumbs up rating for this one!

Radish Chips Theo Two Thumbs Up

Radish Chips Josie Two Thumbs Up

Radish Chips Lucie Two Thumbs Up

We will definitely be making baked radish chips again soon.

We also tried a cinnamon, sugar and honey variety of baked radish ships from Pinch of Yum

This variation was a little trickier to bake. They went from soggy to overdone in the blink of an eye.

Radish Chips Cinnamon

The girls did not like this kind of radish chips, but Theo and I gobbled them up.

Theo Tasting Radish Chips

I thought they tasted kind of like really burnt marshmallow for s’mores, which I love, but I would probably skip this variety in the future.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

We made radish chips and they were a lot of work. Josie and I helped Mama lay the radishes out on the tray. I like one kind of radish chips, but I did not like the other.

I think the radish festival and carving contest in Mexico is cool. I would like to visit the radish festival someday. I like the mushroom radish that we made. Vegetables can be more than tasty. They can also be fun!


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Week Four: Comparing Radishes – Combining Vegetables with Math

This year, Lucie has been attending a virtual school from home. We feel very fortunate that K12.com is a public school option in our state. One of the things we love about it is that we have time to come up with our own learning projects to supplement the already comprehensive curriculum that K12.com provides. This blog is one of our projects and today’s radish project was a way of incorporating math and consumer education into our vegetables. When we shopped for radishes on Sunday, we wanted to compare the price and quality of radishes available. We shopped for radishes at Whole Foods and Hy-Vee.

We decided to measure how much radishes cost per ounce and whether the quality varied based on the price.

Whole Foods/Hy-Vee Radishes

We purchased the two bunches of radishes on the left from Whole Foods. These cost $2.00 per bunch and were labeled as “organic”. We purchased the two bunches on the right from Hy-Vee. They cost $0.99 per bunch. We purchased one bag of radishes, pictured below, from Hy-Vee at a cost of $1.99.

Hy-Vee Bagged Radishes

Now to weigh the radishes.We removed the leaves and roots from all radishes before weighing, but left them in the picture for comparison.

Whole Foods bunched radishes:

Whole Foods Radishes Two Bunches

Hy-Vee Bunched radishes:

Hy-Vee Radishes Two Bunches

Hy-Vee bagged radishes:

Hy-Vee Bagged Radishes

Lucie made a table to help her compare price per ounce.  (I helped her get started and assisted with the calculator.)

Comparing Radish Prices

Her calculations showed that the Whole Foods bunched radishes were $0.33/oz., the Hy-Vee bunched radishes were $0.22/oz. and the Hy-Vee bagged radishes were $0.12/oz. While we were working on her table, we talked about dividing dollars into cents and rounding to the nearest penny. Lucie was frustrated that she could not divide a penny into thirds, but was able to understand why she could not. We compared the appearance of the radishes. The Whole Foods radishes were the prettiest, the Hy-Vee bagged radishes were the second most attractive and the Hy-Vee bunched radishes were the least attractive, but not bad. We found no difference when we compared the taste of the three types of radishes.

I introduced her to Microsoft Excel and helped her make a table of  the different radish attributes and a bar graph comparing price.

Type of Radish  Cost per Ounce  Amount of Leaves Appearance Organic Flavor
Whole Foods Bunch  $                     0.33 lots best yes Great
Hy-Vee Bunch  $                     0.22 few good no Great
Hy-Vee Bag  $                     0.12 none better no Great

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I asked Lucie to decide, based on her radish data, which type of radishes she would choose to buy and why she would choose that type.

Lucie’s response: “I would buy the bagged radishes from Hy-Vee. I want the lowest price and they all taste good. I would only care about how many leaves the radishes had if I had a pet rabbit who would like to eat the leaves. If I was making a craft out of the radishes, I would choose based on which ones were the roundest and the smoothest. I thought it was really fun to do a math calculation of radish prices and make a graph about them.”

Theo was interested in watching Lucie’s radish analysis and kept running through the kitchen to steal radish snacks.

Now, what were we going to do with all these radishes?

Thanks for visiting,

Jen


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Week Four: Daikon Radish Cakes

On our Sunday radish shopping trip we purchased this:

Daikon Radish

As we left the grocery store, I wondered to myself, “What in the world am I going to do with a giant radish?”

I searched Pinterest. One of the recipes I found was for daikon radish cakes from Naturally Local. My kids love pancakes and potato pancakes, so this seemed like a reasonable thing to try.

Except that they were made from a giant radish… I had my doubts. Serious doubts.

Late this morning, I could put it off no longer. I prepared to shred the giant radish. I considered using my Cuisinart food processor, but instead decided on the Pampered Chef Ultimate Mandoline. After scrubbing the giant radish, I cut the top off and cut it into sections that would fit on the shredder. Shred, shred, shred….

Shredding Daikon Radish

And we ended up with an odd smelling pile of shredded daikon radish.

Shredded Daikon

It was a whole lot watery, so we decided to squeeze out the liquid using a mesh strainer.

Straining Daikon Radish

I would say that we ended up with one and a half to two cups of shredded radish.  We added one beaten egg, 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/8 tsp. chili pepper, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper to the shredded radish and mixed it well with a fork.

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I’m not going to lie. It looked a little weird and smelled even weirder.

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After brushing the grilling surface with a bit of peanut oil, we scooped the mixture into small piles on our Cuisinart Griddler, using the grill-panini setting on high heat and then closed the griddler lid for about five minutes, which gave us crispy, golden-brown radish cakes. They started to smell much better as they cooked. Instead of using a griddler or panini-press, you could also cook these in a skillet or on a pancake griddle, turning them with a spatula to make both sides crispy.

Crispy Radish Cakes

The Naturally Local recipe suggested topping these cakes with sour cream and chives. I have a “no-sour-cream-on-anything-ever” policy, so we mixed some chopped chives into some softened butter and topped the cakes with that instead. They looked pretty appetizing.

Daikon Radish Cakes with Chive Butter

But how would they taste?

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Initial reports were quite negative…

Two Thumbs Up for Radish Cakes

Lucie loved them. She ate three! I had to talk her into saving two for Dave to try. He also liked them.

I thought they were pretty good. My guess is that they would taste better fried in some bacon grease, but I would definitely make them again. They were similar to potato pancakes, with a slightly different flavor.

Here is a more organized version of what we did:

Daikon Radish Cakes:

Ingredients:

1 large daikon radish, thoroughly scrubbed (1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded)

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/8 tsp. chili pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. peanut oil

1/2 cup butter, softened

handful of fresh chives, chopped

Shred the daikon radish with a food processor or mandoline. Remove excess water from shredded radish with a mesh strainer or by squeezing through cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Add egg, panko bread crumbs, chili pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and spoon mixture onto peanut oil coated griddler or skillet on high heat. Cook until both sides are crispy and golden-brown. 

Mix chives into softened butter. Use chive-butter mixture to top radish cakes. Makes 8-10 small cakes.

Lucie and Dave also tried a few bites of the raw daikon radish. They said it had a mild initial taste with a peppery aftertaste.

This recipe and cooking experience really goes along with the purpose of our blog. We tried a vegetable that we normally would never have tried. We had our doubts, but ended up finding a recipe that three of the five of us would like to make again. And, although Josie and Theo did not like this recipe, they willingly took one bite in order to give it a try. I think that is also a victory. (I know that Josie is making unhappy faces in many of her tasting pictures. However, she has never been “made” to try any of the vegetables in our blog and always has the option to opt out of tasting. She just tends to approach the veggies with skepticism as well as curiosity.)

We have plans for at least one more radish recipe and a fun project or two before radish week is over. Stay tuned!

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

Today I used the index in my veggie book to find information about radishes and daikon radish sprouts. I read a little bit about them while we were cooking. I enjoyed helping Mama in the kitchen today. I want to take cooking classes when I get older. I give the radish pancakes two thumbs up and I would like to try them again.

Lucie Using the Index


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Week Four: Radishes

And our week four veggie is ……radishes!!! Lucie and I just returned from an afternoon of radish shopping. I think letting kids shop for veggies is an important way to get them interested in eating veggies. Lucie loves looking at all the unusual produce and planning what she would like to try in the future. Here she is admiring the variety of beets at Whole Foods.

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We did browse a few other veggies and, of course, the toy and electronics section at Target. We checked out the radish supplies and prices at Whole Foods, Hy-Vee and Super Target. We were hoping to find the standard red radish that we know so well, as well as a few other varieties. Although we have seen the small white radishes at Whole Foods before, they did not have any today. We found a very large, white radish variety called the daikon radish at Hy-Vee. We only purchased one, because we really did not know what we would do with it. When we got home, a quick search of Pinterest gave us lots of ideas.

Did you know that there are varieties of the daikon radish that are planted for the purpose of drilling through the soil with their giant roots? These tillage radishes are planted in the late summer and allowed to grow until they are killed by cold weather. Their growing roots diminish soil compaction. They are killed by cold weather and then decompose over the winter, enhancing the nutrient content of the soil. One of the varieties I read about was called “Groundhog“, apparently for its excellent digging ability. One downside to this technique seems to be that the radishes get a bit stinky as they decompose in the field. I had never heard of tillage radishes before today. You can read more about it at TillageRadish.com. Does anyone have any experience with radishes used in this way? I’m curious about just how smelly this really is.

Tillage radish update: I have spoken with someone who has experienced tillage radish decomposition first hand. Apparently, the process is very stinky, lasts several weeks and is reminiscent of sewage. I think I will skip tillage radishes as a means of soil amendment in my garden. I have read that turnips can be used in a similar way and are not stinky. I am interested in any more information you may have on this topic. Please erase any thought you may have of sewage aroma before moving on to the recipe section of this blog post…

Our radish recipes for today are as simple as can be.

Recipe #1: Sliced radishes with salt.

Ingredients:

  • radishes
  • salt

Slice radishes. Sprinkle salt on top of radish slices. Feed to three year old. Tell him they are chips. Watch them disappear.

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Theo gives this recipe two enthusiastic thumbs up. He ate a whole pile of them and asked for seconds.

Recipe #2: Sliced Radishes on Buttered Crackers

Ingredients:

  • crackers
  • butter
  • sliced radishes
  • salt

If you can, try to keep the three year old from eating a few of the sliced radishes from Recipe #1, so you can use them in this recipe. Butter some crackers. Place radish slices on top of butter. Sprinkle salt on top of radish slices. Delicious!

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This is a favorite snack of Lucie’s. She ate the whole plate full.

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This snack gets an easy two thumbs up rating from Lucie. Dave and I love radishes. Josie is not a fan and was not feeling up to trying any radishes today. We eat radishes like this at our house all the time. I think they are a great substitute for potato chips – crunchy and salty, without all the fat and calories. (A half of a cup of sliced radishes only has about ten calories.)

We are planning to try one of the recipes where you roast the radish chips later this week.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

We ate radishes today. I like them best with crackers and butter. I am looking forward to cooking the big white radish that we got at the store today. We will show you a picture of it in our next post. Happy Groundhog Day!


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Week Three: Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

Have I mentioned that my kids love eating bell peppers? I got these peppers out of the fridge to use in the soup and the little pepper-munchers wanted me to cut them up so they could eat them right away. Red Pepper_33

This past summer, when garden fresh tomatoes, red peppers and herbs were plentiful, I tried a recipe for garden fresh tomato basil soup from Will Cook for Friends. It was wonderful! I made it several times and made a few changes, adding more red pepper and using chicken broth in place of water. With garden fresh tomatoes months away, I wanted to try a winter version of this favorite soup of ours. Instead of fresh tomatoes, I tried canned fire roasted tomatoes from Costco.

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I cut up two really big red peppers, drizzled a bit of olive oil on them and roasted them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.

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I added them to three minced cloves of garlic and half of a chopped up white onion that I had sauteed in olive oil. Then, I added two cans of the tomatoes, one and a half tablespoons of dried oregano, three tablespoons of dried basil, a pinch of sugar, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a cup of chicken broth. I blended it all with my handy immersion blender and added some salt and pepper to taste. Theo was curious about the noise from the blender and was the first to come try some soup. He wanted a few croutons in his.

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He loves tomato soup and croutons and was quick to give it two thumbs up. (You can see his day and a half old water park wrist band, still on his arm. He refuses to let us remove it. He is just sure that he will need it when he goes back to the water park “tomorrow”. It has got to go tonight at bath time!)

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I called in the girls, who were busy pretending to be super-hero-best-friend-sisters. Super hero #1 was not happy to have her super hero activities interrupted. She gave two thumbs down, but did offer to eat the rest of the soup in her bowl in exchange for croutons.

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Super hero #2 was happier to taste the soup. She requested goat cheese and crouton topping and happily ate it, giving a two thumbs up rating.

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Dave and I were both pleasantly surprised with how much we liked this version of the soup. We were afraid that using canned tomatoes and dried herbs would ruin it, but we found that using the canned fire roasted tomatoes gave it a nice flavor. I love the roasted red pepper in this soup. If the peppers I used hadn’t been huge, I might have even added one more. We also love our tomato soup with goat cheese and croutons.

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup:

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 2  cans (14.5 oz. each) of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a large white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth or water instead)
  • 1.5 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 3 tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar to taste
  • goat cheese
  • croutons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Quarter and remove seeds from bell peppers. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil and bake in a baking dish at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes to roast. Saute onion and garlic in 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium soup pot. Add the tomatoes and roasted red peppers to the garlic and onions. Add the chicken broth, basil, oregano, balsamic vinegar, and sugar. Simmer for a few minutes before using the immersion blender. Make it as chunky or smooth as you like. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more chicken broth if you think it is too thick. Garnish with plenty of goat cheese and croutons. Enjoy!

Thanks for visiting, Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

I love this soup, especially with goat cheese. I thought it was even better than the soup we made this summer and I would have eaten even more if I had been hungrier.


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Week Three: Pick a Pepper Color

“Red peppers are good. Yellow peppers are good. Orange peppers are the best!”

We tested the kids’ bell pepper theory today.

The kids have always said they like the orange bell peppers the best. We usually buy a pack of six peppers containing two of each color. We slice them all up and keep them in the same container. At meal time, they keep track to make sure that they are not being shortchanged on orange pepper distribution.

We decided to do a taste test to see if they really could tell the difference. Everyone wore a blindfold for the test and there was no peeking.

Josie went first. She was correct on the orange and the yellow, but thought that the red was orange.

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Theo went second. He guessed orange for all three, getting one right.

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Lucie went third. She got them all wrong, but had fun guessing.

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Finally, the kids insisted that I give it a try. I got them all right!

Although there is not a huge difference, I think the red peppers are the sweetest and the yellow peppers are the least sweet, tasting more like a green bell pepper than the red or orange.

We had a fun game and the kids decided that they now think the red, orange and yellow bell peppers all taste about the same. Our left over test peppers were soon devoured! I think playing games with veggies is a great way to encourage kids to eat them.  In the future, a “guess the vegetable” game could be fun.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

The pepper game was very fun today. I found out that all the peppers tasted about the same.


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Week Three: Red, Orange & Yellow Bell Peppers

After two weeks of rather challenging vegetables, we decided to go with something we know and love. My kids love red, orange and yellow bell peppers. I keep a container of sliced bell pepper strips in the refrigerator for them to snack on. Sometimes they eat them plain, sometimes with salad dressing or hummus. We frequently eat them for lunch and pack them in lunch boxes. The kids think the orange ones taste the best. I think we should do a blind taste test to check that theory sometime. Anyway, we definitely have two thumbs up ratings from everyone in our family about raw bell peppers. So, this week we decided to try cooking with them.

Since we all love bell peppers, I figured we could manage a dairy-free recipe to start the week, so that Theo could try it. No need to smother the peppers with cheese in order to make them tolerable! We chose stir-fried honey ginger chicken with peppers from marthastewart.com. I had the bell peppers already sliced and the chicken prepared. I decided to add baby portabello mushrooms to the recipe and I had those ready, too. I had ginger and garlic minced and waiting to add to the skillet.

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I felt so organized as I began to prepare this recipe. Then, my printer quit working, so I had to go back and forth from the kitchen to the computer to read the recipe. Then, I found out that I did not have the rice vinegar. How can the right kind of vinegar not be in this ridiculous vinegar assortment?

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I went with the white wine vinegar.

Soon, I found out that I had forgotten to take the chicken out of the skillet before cooking the veggies, like the recipe says. Oops… I figured I would make Minute-Rice while the chicken and veggies were cooking. Um. Where was the Minute-Rice? I was just sure I saw a red box in the pantry. Arg. That box was a cake mix. Here were our rice choices:

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I chose the black rice. But, it didn’t exactly take 5 minutes to make. It took 35 minutes. So, the rice was ready long after the chicken and veggies. In the end, it all ended up cooked. It smelled great and the kids came running to the table.

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Upon seeing their lunch, some of my tasters were in a great mood.

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And some were not.

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“Mama, why did you ruin the peppers by cooking them? And MUSHROOMS? I HATE mushrooms! They are slimy!”

Here is a summary of ratings for this recipe:

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I really liked this dish. If I could make any changes, it would be to use less honey. I thought it was a bit on the sweet side. The kids all liked the chicken, but Josie did not like the cooked peppers or mushrooms. Theo and Lucie asked for seconds and thirds! We ended up without any leftovers.

If you ever see the black rice in the grocery store, give it a try. It turns dark purple when you cook it and tastes pretty much like regular rice, but contains anthocyanins. Anthocyanins, which are also found in blueberries, eggplant and other red and purple fruits and vegetables, have antioxidant properties.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

Today we ate red, orange and yellow peppers. We tried a new recipe with them. I give it two thumbs up. This was my favorite recipe so far and I want to make it again. I am especially glad that Theo liked it. I think Josie would have liked it better if she was in a better mood.


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Week Two: Belgian Endive with Red Bell Pepper and Prosciutto

Monday’s attempt at Belgian endive got two thumbs down from Lucie and Josie and Theo missed out on trying it. We had planned to try again with a recipe involving cooking this veggie, but then we saw a recipe for Belgian endive with red bell pepper and prosciutto from FOOD52. The recipe calls for sauteing the red bell pepper strips with garlic and olive oil, but since my kids love raw red bell pepper, we decided to use them raw.

The way we made this was very simple. First, cut the red pepper into strips. Then, cut the end off the endive and separate the leaves, so that they look like little boats. (California Endive Farms has a nice video about Belgian endive which includes a demonstration of how we prepared our endive leaves.) Next, put a few strips of pepper into the endive boat and then wrap the whole thing with a piece of prosciutto. That’s it!

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I said, “Theo, would you like to try a red pepper boat for a snack?” Theo ran to the kitchen and took possession of ALL the red pepper boats.

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Poor Josie! She thought he would eat them all before she could try one.

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It turns out, he didn’t really care for them. He left them to his sisters after trying just one bite.

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Lucie and Josie carefully tasted  our new Belgian endive snack.

Josie decided that one bite was enough, but did offer to eat more plain prosciutto.

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Lucie gave this combination two thumbs up and insisted that I make her another plate full. She succeeded in eating all the Belgian endive that we had left, so we may not have another recipe this week. I think the sweetness of the red bell pepper and the saltiness of the prosciutto were a great combination with the Belgian endive’s slightly bitter flavor. These would be great to pack in lunch boxes and I definitely plan to make them again.

Did you know that Belgian endive is part of the chicory family? It is related to radicchio, curly endive, frisee and escarole, as well as those blue flowers that grow along the side of the road. Be sure to read about the interesting practice of growing Belgian endive at California Endive Farms’ website.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

We tried Belgian endive and pepper wrapped in prosciutto. I give it two thumbs up. I might like to try more endive recipes someday.