Counting Our Veggies

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


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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: 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.

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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.

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

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Sadly, they were not a success.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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It looked and smelled very tasty.

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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.

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Nope. No improvement for Theo.

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As I suspected, two thumbs down from Joz.

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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.

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

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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,

Jen

P.S.

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.


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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.