Counting Our Veggies

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

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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!


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.


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.


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


No surprise – two thumbs up from Lucie!


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,



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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,



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.


Week Six: Edamame in Gingery Beef Stir Fry

On our last few grocery shopping trips, Lucie has spotted the edamame and expressed her desire to try them soon. So that is what she picked for our vegetable this week. Edamame, a type of immature soybean, is also known as a vegetable soybean or edamame bean. You can read more about edamame at the National Soybean Research Lab’s website.

Dave went to Hy-Vee and brought home every kind of edamame he could find for us to try. He found fully cooked edameme in pods, frozen edamame in pods and frozen shelled edamame.


I have only tried edamame as a part of a Kashi frozen entree. While I have enjoyed eating the Kashi® Steam Meals™ Sesame Chicken, I was a little nervous about preparing edamame on my own.  (By the way, this is an excellent dairy-free option for those days when you are too tired to cook. Theo loves it.) I planned to try preparing our first edamame meal with a similar idea and chose Gingery Beef Stir Fry from A Full Measure of Happiness

While I was preparing the ingredients, a whole herd of rowdy children came to the kitchen to see what was going on. They insisted on trying the edamame right away, so we followed the directions from the package of the fully cooked edamame in pods. We microwaved them for 30 seconds and sprinkled them with sea salt.


Lucie was excited to try them. Theo practically crawled across the counter to get to them.


Sadly, they were not a success.


Josie acted like she was going to die from edamame poisoning.


Theo gave the edamame two thumbs down. His sisters agreed with him completely.


Fortunately, the girls found a way to make the best of the edamame.


Theo had to join in. They also found that shelling edamame for our supper recipe looked like fun.


The girls were very efficient and soon had the whole tray shelled.


While they worked, I prepared the other veggies that we would need.


Theo wondered about the broccoli stem that I removed and decided to make it into a snack.


He also sampled some raw broccoli florets, some raw carrots (claiming to be a bunny rabbit) and a few red peppers. Meal preparation time is a great way to get kids interested in eating veggies. I think they are more likely to try a few bites of something new when they are hungry and waiting for their meal.

We prepared the Gingery Beef Stir Fry according to the recipe.


It looked and smelled very tasty.


We served it over black rice, as the recipe suggested.

I wasn’t sure if the kids would be willing to try it, since they had just rejected edamame, but they were all willing to try again. We were hoping the soy sauce and honey made an improvement in its flavor.


Nope. No improvement for Theo.


As I suspected, two thumbs down from Joz.


Same verdict from Lucie. These ratings were based on a bite consisting only of edamame.

Since the kids all like beef, rice, broccoli and usually red bell peppers, I urged them to try eating around the edamame. They did and said that they liked the rest of the food. Chow mein noodles sprinkled on top of everything made it even more appealing. After a while, I asked Lucie if she thought that the edamame would taste a little better if she ate it with a piece of broccoli or beef. She though it might and gave it a try.


She decided to upgrade her rating to two thumbs to the side.


I was shocked when Josie did the same.

Dave and I both though this recipe was very good. We would both eat it again. I do agree with the kids. I did not really like the edamame by itself, but I thought it tasted fine when eaten as part of this recipe. Dave thought the edamame on its own was great.

I think distracting kids with edamame was a great way to get them to eat broccoli, onion, red bell pepper and carrots.

Thanks for visiting,



A few words from Lucie:

I was kind of surprised that I did not like edamame. I did not like the way it felt in my mouth and I thought it tasted bizarre. It wasn’t as bad if you ate it with other food.