Wednesday, May 27, 2009

kid food, cool attitude.

pestogoo

Most of you probably know that I have a 2.5 year old son. I'd love to lie and say, "Oh, he just eats whatever we eat! Ha ha ha! I rule at parenting!" but the cold reality is that no matter what I cook for dinner, the little turd angel begs for cheese. I know that, like most parents- I harbored asinine ideals about parenthood before I actually had a kid. "Oh, my kid is going to eat whatever I serve him because I'm only going to offer him HEALTHY CHOICES! Ohh, my superior parenting skills are going to prevent my kid from having tantrums!" etc.- of course, now that I'm in the thick of the "terrible twos" (whatever dude, newborns suck so much more than toddlers- give me a 2 year old over a caterwauling 2 month old any day of the week, thanks) I fully understand how stupid I was being. Duh, my son is a human being. A human being who wants to survive solely off of cheese and Trader Joe's honey whole wheat pretzels. ("Cratzels!")

noodlegoo

So, imagine my delight when I came upon the realization that I could combine 2 of my son's favorite things- dairy products, and Shrek- and convince him to devour MONSTER NOODLEEEESSSSSSSSS. It's just noodles with pesto, duh- but you'd think I laced it with crack rocks, the way he gobbles it down. The only way I could get a better reception is if I gave him a heaping plate of noodles drenched in butter and parmesan cheese- but we reserve that for special occasions. (like when I don't feel like cooking real food.) Anyway, now my kid loves monster noodles and I really like pesto, so it works out for everyone. Plus I am stoked when he eats it because I add spinach to my pesto, (an absolute abomination, according to some, but what the hell ever!) so it's basically one of the 2 green things he'll eat. (Sometimes he'll eat broccoli.)

pesto2

Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, I wanted to make a point- I've flipped through those "sneaky chef" type books and I have to say- in general, I am not a fan of lying to kids. I'm not going to sneak blueberry puree into my son's brownies and pretend like they're healthy, in fact, the whole "puree" thing seems like a ridiculous ploy, to me. Teaching your kids to prefer babyfood-style, overcooked, mushy vegetables doesn't seem like a very good idea. But, that doesn't mean I'm not above sneaking in vegetables wherever I can. I don't do it to trick my family, I do it because they taste good and I want to be healthier!

Anyway, this simple dinner consisted of:

Half a package of spiral noodles
A few scoops of fresh pesto
Chopped vegetables- zucchini, summer squash, bell pepper, and tomato (added raw at the end) or whatever you can find in your fridge that sounds good

To make the pesto, just throw pretty much all of a package of fresh basil leaves, a large handful of spinach (SHUT UP, EMILY. IT'S GOOD FOR YOU. AND I LIKE SPINACH, OKAY?), a few handfuls of grated parmesan, 1 clove of garlic, a large handful of walnuts, and a huge glug of olive oil- all into a cuisinart (Thank you, wedding registry. It's been 4 years and every time I use all the awesome crap in my kitchen, I think to myself, "God, I love being married.") or blender. While blending, drizzle in olive oil until the consistency is smooth, and add salt & pepper to taste. You can spread it on sandwiches, throw it on noodles, dip veggies into it.

I like to either roast or lightly saute my chopped vegetables, then I just toss everything together in a large bowl. I add the pesto, throw in fresh chopped tomatoes, and then I inhale it while my son showers me with praise. He even ate a few of the vegetables, woo hoo!

I wish I could say I had tons of leftovers, but my husband came home from work late and inhaled the rest of the bowl. Luckily I still have some leftover pesto in the fridge.

28 comments:

Kristen said...

I say boo to people who don't like spinach in their pesto. In fact, my favorite version of pesto has pine nuts, bacon, olive oil & spinach. Not a basil leaf to be found and it is SO DELICIOUS. Don't get me wrong, I love a good basil pesto, but spinach pesto is just as amazing. I've also made pesto with tarragon (yum!) and watercress (different but quite good).

I'm also not a fan of lying to kids about veggies and I definitely understand how hard it is to get a 2 year old to eat them. Mine hates carrots with the fire of 10,000 suns. If there's even a smidgeon of orange that could potentially be a carrot she won't touch it. But she loves broccoli and cauliflower trees if we pretend like she's a dinosaur. So there you go. :)

laura said...

Ahhhh-dorable!! You could convince me to scarf up monster noodles any day.

Lisa-Marie said...

Pasta and pesto is the standby 'can't be bothered cooking' food in our house, and also the thing that always gets eaten at parties!

p.s. I put spinach in mine
p.p.s. I love your blog.

jen said...

I've been following your blog for sometime now, and must say I love it! I'm glad I'm not the only one out there battling the two year old diet of cheese!!Granted, your buttered parmesan nights are much healthier than our mac n'cheese/hotdog/dorito nights...i admit it. Sometimes, i give in and give my child crap. Never thought I would...

Missy said...

Haha! That is too funny. And the pasta looks great.

Kristina said...

Awesome! Pesto seems like a great way to make vegetables more bearable for little ones. I made arugala pesto this week (recipe here)and thought it was wonderful. Maybe even better than basil. Anyway, that's my two cents. Monster noodles. Excellent.

Birdie said...

I LOVE this post. I have a 20 month old and I get what you are saying...its a fine line between getting them to eat veggies and not lying to them about what's in their food.

I'm definitely gonna try the monster noodles. Mmmmm...

Jenny.Lee said...

Monster noodles sound great to me! Like right this very minute!

Anna said...

OK, you've done the spinach. Next try peas wizzed into the pesto. I'm eating last night's leftovers for lunch right now. Yum! And yes, our 2-1/2 year old loved it too.

So with you on the terrible twos? Eh. thing. Nothing can compare to colic. My baby was kind of an asshole; LOVE my two year old!

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

i usually just throw peas right in with the noodles, i like the way they pop! seriously though, babies are total assholes. they just scream and cry and suck on your boobs, and their only redeeming quality is that they are cute. at least two year olds can say stuff like, "i love you mommy! you're the best cooker!" or, "ooh, monster noodles! HOORAY!" i mean seriously, 2 year olds are pretty awesome.

Karen said...

thanks for the pesto recipe, i can't wait to try this one, too! and i'd put spinach in it, as well!

Blue is Bleu said...

Haha! Monster noodles! How brilliant :D I shall have to remember that when I have a toddler.

Deborah said...

I'll have to try the monster noodles ploy. My 2.5 year old won't touch anything green. Ever.

Kate said...

my son is going to be three next month. just you wait! very excited to add spinach to pesto as my kiddo has loved loved loved (and would ONLY eat) pesto since he was about a year old. would not go near red sauce (a recent addition) and still will have nothing to do with mac and cheese, even though cheese is also a favorite. maybe now i can add 'spinach' to the list of things he will eat with glee! lol

Brooke said...

Couldn't agree more about the whole baby thing... two year olds are awesome! But they can be quite picky... I tried the hiding veggies, and it is boring... I can usually bribe mine into "trying" some of everything, but it usually takes some jelly bellies! Love your blog, and pesto sounds awesome, along with all your other recipes. Thanks, fellow Oregonian!

Emily said...

This reminds me of when I was little. My mom would rename some foods just like you would. The only one I can think of right now is how she would get me to eat chili. It wasn't chili, it was beef stew. Beef stew actually sounds a lot less appetizing now...

E said...

spinaacchh.

I want to eat that nowww. I am also 22 and always want cheese on things. haaah.

zoe said...

Cute post! He seems to really love it!

Aran said...

this is so true! i also have a 2.5 yr old son and before i had him, i remember clearing thinking that "he will eat everything i give him!". little did i know... i still have not made it to most children menus in restaurants, but i now i understand why they are there. i try not to lie to him about his food either, but i have done this same thing. i even put steamed and chopped broccoli in meatballs and give them names. loved this.

Aran said...

btw, have you ever checked out Tamra Davis' (the film director's) blog? it is awesome. she has two kids and cooks super healthy meals with them in mind and she has awesome videos to go along with the recipes. www.tamradaviscookingshow.com

Zig Zag Mama said...

Wish you had a facebook "share" button...wanted to post this on my page. And yes...my three year old is down with the pesto.

Karen said...

i made the monster noodles! they are *incredible* but i only could really taste the flavor after they sat around in the fridge for a few hours. also, i used all the pesto .... thanks for the post, i was super amazed at how very easy the pesto was to make ... though holy WOW this things needs a LOT of olive oil. maybe i'll use some soy milk or water for part of the olive oil next time to help thin it? not sure ...

The Leftoverist said...

I am laughing my #@$ off reading this post. I have a six year old and a two year old, and have blogged about their pickiness. I put spinach in my pesto sometimes, too. In fact, I mush just about everything together and call it pesto. And my kids eat a lot of Cheetos. Don't tell anyone.

kaz said...

found you today & love this post...my second son is 9 now & he was the worst 2-4yo! especially eating.. i am with you on the not lying thing & purees. only this year has he stopped whining each dinner time & is prepared to taste things now. apparently i was exactly like him. his brother will eat anything. the spicier the better. and he sees us eat healthily consistently. he won't starve himself & i grew to sdmire my kid with attitude. i could've given him away at times...but you know! cannot wait to read more of your blog. kaz x

Rebekka said...

Hahah! I laughed all the way through this post. Great one. I don't have kids yet, so I definitely harbor dillusional ideals about raising them to eat perfectly. Thanks for bringing me back down to earth!

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

omg karen, i kind of threw up in my mouth a little picturing pesto thinned out with soy milk. just use the olive oil! it's good for you! hahaha!

Bgstoner said...

I love different kinds of pesto: spinach, basil, watercress, etc.
Oh and the different nut combination too.*drool*

Have you ever tried grill pesto shrimp? Start the grill, skewer some shrimp, slather(yup I mean slather) on some pesto (any kind). Slap them onto the grill and oh my are they good. I can't accept credit for that, it goes to Sam The Cooking Guy.

Stash said...

Try it with a little lemon juice or lemon zest the next time. Adds a note of brightness.

I totally empathize with your kid. LOL. I *hated* garlic when I was growing up, with a capital H. Fast forward 30+ years later and I love the stuff.

He'll be fine.