Chorizo + Gouda Stuffed Peppers (Gluten Free)

January 15, 2020

 

Hi there all you wonderful readers! I’m going to send hopeful thoughts that when I don’t have two-year-old twins I will give you many more original recipes than I currently can, because it is completely my favorite part of food blogging. Still love sharing recipes that pass my big family test too, but new recipes are so fun.

I have one for you today and it is SO GOOD.

We make a lot of stuffed peppers in our house, and I usually make them with sautéed onion + garlic, ground beef/turkey, Rao’s tomato sauce, rice, diced tomatoes, and plenty of parm + mozzarella. Easy peasy, didn’t even blog about them because I usually make the recipe up as I go and I think there are already a ton on the internet. Such as here and here.

But then I was trying to think of healthy dinners that were also crave-worthy, and I thought the stuffed pepper routine could use some jazzing up. I mean, the possibilities are endless, aren’t they?

My thoughts kept returning to flavorful sausage, and how it infuses soups like my Sausage, Kale and Lentil Stew and rice dishes like Jambalaya (I use Zatarans  with chicken, shrimp and andouille or chorizo, which you could also use to stuff these peppers with if you’re in a hurry).

So I let some brown rice mix with some sautéed onions, garlic and chorizo…

Added some chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and black beans and corn…

And then added some smoked gouda because smoked cheese + smoked meat is a match made in heaven.

 

 

My twelve year old daughter and I actually tasted tested cheddar, mozzarella, and monkery jack along with the gouda to see which cheese tasted the best. She just put down her little taster ramekin and said, “You have to go with the gouda, it’s is delicious. The other ones don’t even come close.” I kind of think they came a little close, and you could use any of them, but the gouda did take it to the next level.

Also – you will probably have some filling left over. It is delicious on its own or you can find some extra veggies to stuff like zucchini or tomatoes. It’s funny I almost always make zucchini boats when I make stuffed peppers.

These are no ordinary stuffed peppers – the chorizo infused them with so much flavor I barely needed to add any seasonings! It does make it spicy, which my big kids love, but full disclosure the youngest had mac + cheese with hot dogs and corn. Still, it might be worth making the beef/tomato/rice ones for the littles and these spicy ones for the bigs if you have the patience for two pots going. You could also go with kielbasa which is smoky but not spicy and just add hot sauce or tabasco. But there are some amazing flavors in chorizo sausage that made this so yummy, and we all thought the spicy kick was amazing.

We tried to keep it on the healthier side with brown rice and less cheese but FEEL FREE to add more cheese on top and cook for 10 extra minutes with the tin foil off.

I hope you get to try these spicy beauties! They make the BEST leftovers too…

Chorizo + Gouda Stuffed Peppers:

2-3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 pound chorizo, diced
2 cups rice
4 cups chicken broth (can mix broth + water to get to 4 cups of liquid)
2 cans fire- roasted tomatoes
1 can black beans
10 oz. frozen corn
S&P
8 peppers, combo of red & green
4 oz smoked Gouda, grated

Garnish options: sliced green onions, melted cheese

Heat 2 T. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions for 4-5 minutes, then add garlic for one more minute, then add chorizo. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil. Add broth, lower to a simmer, then put a lid on a simmer for 35 min. or until rice is tender.

When cooked, stir in tomatoes, beans, corn, and salt and pepper if needed.

Slice peppers in half vertically and remove white parts and seeds. Lay in two 9 x 12 baking dishes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Add gouda to rice mixture and stir, then scoop rice mixture into peppers and fill so it is heaping a bit. Cover dishes with foil.

Bake at 400 for 35 minutes with tin foil on top. Serve with green onions on top.

If desired you can add more cheese on top like mozzarella, cheddar, or Monterey jack. Cook for 10 more minutes with foil removed to melt cheese.

Serve immediately or reheat leftovers.

Easy + Delicious Tomato Soup

January 9, 2020

 

Happy New Year friends! I hope you are warm and healthy and feeling like tackling that pile of Christmas decorations that is sitting on your dining room table. Just me?

Like millions of others, I am trying to eat clean this January and am finding that soups are the quickest, most comforting way to do that. I’m kicking it off with one of our favorites – Tomato Soup.

One of my earliest food memories is coming home from kindergarten and my mom making tomato soup and grilled cheese for me for lunch. As a kid it was one of my favorite lunches and it still has a soft place in my heart. I tried to pass on this love to my kids through the same Campbell’s can of soup that I loved but they weren’t a fan.

Then I made this recipe.

Now they beg for it, and get very excited if I tell them I’m making it for dinner, especially with grilled cheese on the side, but they love it with toast too. On a recent Friday, they even voted for this soup over ordering pizza.

To give you an idea of the flavors, a foodie friend stopped by while I was making it and said, “oh my gosh what smells so good?” I am not the first to tell you that good food often comes from really simple ingredients, and in this case, it is that simple combination of onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Not just any tomatoes though – San Marzano.

I have been buying these huge 5 lb cans of tomatoes for a while now, ever since I started making Smitten Kitchen’s tomato sauce. I triple her recipe, which calls for 28 oz. of San Marzano tomatoes. Fun math: a 5 pound can of tomatoes is 90 oz, ergo we triple the recipe.

I do the same for this soup. Technically this yields 12 servings, but since everyone always has seconds let’s just say it serves 6. Plus the leftovers freeze beautifully. But if you are cooking for one or two, consider using a 28 oz. can and cutting the rest into thirds.

Now we start to get itchy when we use up our last big can since we’ve been making both the sauce and this soup almost every week.

As you may have noticed, with six kids I really need recipes that are easy (read: that I can multitask 5 other things while I am making it), and this one feels so simple but yields that wonderful comfort of homemade food. Now I can’t even remember how I could eat the can stuff.

So go get a giant can of tomatoes or two, chop some onions and garlic, and let your house start to smell amazing.

You’re going to want to add this to your family recipe binders, its a keeper!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, I leave it out for little kids)
  • 1 (90-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in their juices, preferably San Marzanos
  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Optional garnishes (alone or in combination):

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Toasted baguette slices
  • Grilled cheese (obvi)

Directions:

  1. Place a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and add the oil and butter. When the butter melts, add the onion and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is completely soft, about 15 minutes. (Reduce the heat if onions start to look brown). Add the garlic and optional red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  2. Increase the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan. Roughly crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon and cook until they’re hot and beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the broth or water and bring to a simmer. Cook at a medium simmer until the tomatoes begin to fall apart, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the soup from the heat and cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot. (You can also use a countertop blender, but this size pot of soup will require several batches.) Return the soup to the burner over low heat and stir in the cream. Add black pepper, then taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt or pepper as needed. Serve in warmed bowls, as is or topped with the garnishes of your choice.

Recipe adapted from chowhound.com

Christmas Gift Ideas 2019

December 16, 2019

If you are looking for holiday appetizers, please click on over to the Easy Holiday Appetizer article I wrote for Coastal Design Magazine. I am so excited to share four easy recipes that taste SO much better than the ones from the freezer isle but are almost as fast.

Now that you have some great recipes, let’s talk gift giving. I am definitely procrastinating doing the 4,857 things I need to do for Christmas and instead put together a gift guide for you lovely readers of le blog.

If you’re anything like me it is hard to come up with great gift ideas in the 15 minute increments you have to Christmas shop, and then I try to text girlfriends frantically for good ideas. Here are some ideas of things I have loved or have loved to give in the past.

So without further ado, here are…

15 Christmas Gift Ideas (Procrastinator’s Edition): 

  1. These comfy pants from JCrewFactory    I got these when I was shopping for my daughter’s birthday and they have been my go to when it is time to relax and get cozy. I have only recently realized the love I have for putting on the comfy pant as a ritual to hunker down and love my people. Winter and hygge-ing are not going anywhere soon, so you might as well buy three for the whole weekend.
  2. Short Rib Braising Sauce from Williams Sonoma – While they are an investment, they are still cheaper than taking our family out to eat. I like to brown the short ribs before we go skiing, put them in the crock pot with this sauce, and then when we get back they are falling off the bone and I just have to boil some egg noodles or make mashed potatoes. I also ordered the Black Truffle version because that just sounds delicious.  
  3. Fog Hand Cream – This scent is amazing, with hints of lavender, amber and black current. Every time I put it on I get transported…to a spa? a vacation? somewhere nice smelling? It’s my jam. I got it at a local beauty boutique in Portsmouth called Making Faces and when I just googled it I learned they also have hand wash.
  4. Trader Joe’s Taste Test of Carmels – What is not to love about a gift that is both eating chocolate and guessing? The Espresso and the Chile flavors are my favorite. Would make a great teacher gift!
  5. I just got  this Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs  and know my kids will want to make everything in it. 
  6. I also just got these books upon the rec of Grace Patton. She said her kids get so absorbed in these books and we have a lot of discussions about what part of the animal our dinner comes from. Is that weird?
  7. These silicone oven mitts were gifted to me by my husband last Christmas and I love them. They are so thick you could lift a hot oven rack with them (I do) and they wash off under the faucet. And I know it sounds crazy but I love that they are bright because I always know where they are in the kitchen if I am doing a million things. These are the exact ones he got too – Rachel Ray knows what she is doing.
  8. Kind of intrigued by the low sugar wines I see coming out. This Syrah from FitVine was ranked one of the top 11 low sugar wines. Also liked the reviews of the wines from Dry Farm Wines I read while I was ironically working out and they come in a subscription service. The perfect gift for someone you love who loves wine and working out. Which strikes me as a big demographic.
  9. Flavored Salts – These are super easy to make, and after loving the flavored sea salts I got at a local store last year, I’m determined to make these for my fellow foodie friends. They are so good on bagels, chicken, fish, salads..and with a bow they look so pretty.
  10. If you are in the mood to make another food gift, my cousin just sent me a bag of these Spicy Almonds from Martha Stewart and they are addictive. I used some in a quick salad with arugula, strawberries, goat cheese and raspberry dressing and they were mind blowing.
  11. Two of my favorite Instagram Foodies have cookbooks out – Rustic Joyful Food and Half Baked Harvest. This one is basically because I hope my husband reads my blog and gets these for me.
  12. We’ve given away waffle ‘kits’ to friends and family before with our hometown NH Maple Syrup and the heart waffle maker plus Stonewall Kitchen’s Waffle Mix. I love the idea of using this mini waffle maker because they are the perfect size for kids.
  13. Sriracha Key Chain – for serious heat lovers. A great stocking stuffer.
  14. If you have a HomeGoods near you, I have to rave about all the white platters and pitchers I have found here for very little money that I use all the time. They are all made in Portugal for some reason, and I don’t get sad when little kids chip them because they are all under $20. If you have one near you and time to run out there, I’m pretty positive you’ll come away with the perfect gift.
  15. Last but not least, everyone can always use a good cutting board. Bonus points if you create a cheese board on it before you wrap it up and gift it to them.

Ok I am off to go shopping with twins, wish me luck! Hope you have fun playing elf and you remember to turn up the Christmas music when you get stressed.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

December 3, 2019

I didn’t intend for this to be a blog post. This dish started as me just using up the turkey carcasses we froze after Thanksgiving.

But then I tasted it.

As usual with home cooking, simple ingredients, slow cooked, with flavor make the best best dishes. And this soup was SO delicious I had to share it. So here we are. If you don’t have a turkey carcass left over, consider just making this with chicken. It is that good you can’t wait until next year.

I made a huge pot of Turkey stock yesterday in our lobster pot and cooked for 3+ hours. If you have never made stock, check out my post here.

While it simmered, I cleaned out the fridge and tackled organizing projects in the kitchen. So basically, a clean fridge plus a delicious soup with crusty bread on a cold rainy day = the perfect evening. Plus making stock is so great for using up all those veggies in the veggie drawer that have seen better days.

Sometimes it can be hard to sell my family on soup for dinner, but everyone took a bite of this and raved. It is totally thanks to the delicious broth that adds so much depth of flavor, plus the comforting, stick to your ribs feeling from the creaminess of the butter and milk and cream.

I hope you still have a turkey carcass you can use up! If not, just pull this post up next year. You’ll be so glad you did!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (find printer version here):

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice blend*
  • 1 small yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 2 ribs celery , diced
  • 6 Tablespoons butter , divided
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 4 1/2 cups turkey (or chicken) broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey meat, diced (can substitute chicken breasts, see step 5)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or half & half)
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.

  3. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until slightly tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

  4. Stir in the broth, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. *If using chicken breasts, add and bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to boil for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, then remove chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.. If using pre-cooked turkey, skip to next step.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add turkey meat (or chicken meat) and cooked rice to the soup.

  7. In a separate medium saucepan melt remaining 5 Tbsp butter over medium heat.

  8. Add flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken.

  9. Add this mixture to the soup pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in heavy cream or half & half. Serve warm.

Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch’s Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Thanksgiving Ideas

November 17, 2019

It’s that time of year again when we get to think of ALL THE THINGS we could be making for Thanksgiving, and then whittle that list down to a manageable feast. I’ve seen so many great ideas lately that I thought I’d just share them all here.

For the Turkey:

Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey from Half Baked Harvest –

When your favorite food blogger tells you this is her go to every year and it never fails her, you try it.

For the Stuffing: 

Ciabatta Stuffing with and Chestnuts and Pancetta

Giada had me at Ciabatta. And chestnuts. And pancetta.

For Great Starters:

Swiss Pumpkin

From Ruth Reichl’s memoir Comfort Me With Apples, this is one of the most fun recipes and it is ah-mazing.

Baked Pears with Blue Cheese, Walnuts and Thyme

These look SO pretty and sound totally delicious. We recently had a cheese board when we ate out that just had a simple red wine poached pear to cut off and that is also a simple idea that can wow guests.

Cheese Puffs 

These are just mandatory at our family holidays. Sounds weird and simple but tastes like a cheesy, butter bite of heaven.

For the sides:

Maple Glazed Roasted Delicata Squash with Brussel Sprouts 

One of my favorite THO recipes, I keep these ingredients on hand all fall so I can whip it up for a special weekend dinner. It looks so pretty.

Spicy Carmelized Squash with Lemon and Hazelnuts – 

I subscribe to NY Times Cooking and when this popped in my inbox I started to obsess. Can’t wait to try it.

Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes

Love love love these potatoes. Simple and delicious. Also intrigued by these ones too….

Three cheese crock pot mashed potatoes – 

Oven space can be so limited, it is such a smart plan to have your mashed potatoes warm in a crock pot.

Martha Stewart’s Cauliflower Gratin – 

I make this every year for my husband who loves cauliflower and tries to eat low carb. It always ends up being one of my favorite parts of the dinner.

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta – 

This is how I  make Brussel sprouts at our house (minus the sun-dried tomatoes). My kids love the little bits of pancetta.

Bon Appetit’s Green Bean Casserole – 

This is getting me so excited for Thanksgiving. Of course Cream of Mushroom soup is FINE but I love the idea of making it from scratch. Also just discovered Onion Rings filled with Green Beans if you want to really wow your people.

For Dessert: 

Ina Garten’s favorite pumpkin dessert is her Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream

The Pioneer Woman’s Carmel Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake looks like perfection.

Then again, this S’mores Sweet Potato Cheesecake does too…

My kids would love these Candy Turkeys

 

And as we think about being thankful I want to say I am so thankful to you for reading this blog, and for all the enthusiam, support, and messages you have all sent me about recipes you’ve made or things you have loved from this little blog. It’s such a labor of love, and I am so thankful to share it with all of you.

Hope you have a wonderful day with your families, Happy Eating!! xoxo Katie

 

Cooking for Kids

November 9, 2019

 

I get DM’s, emails, and have  in real life conversations in the corners of birthday parties with people all asking the same thing: Do your kids really eat thatWhat do I do with a picky eater? What if I shop, put away, chop, prepare, and serve a meal and they only eat two bites? Dinner is driving me crazy.

Believe me, I hear you.

The struggle is real, and I would venture a guess that it is among the biggest challenges of parenting. Food shopping and cooking takes up a huge part of our daily budget and schedule, so it’s worth a reflection. I also think there are some assumptions worth challenging that can make your life so much easier.

When people start to ask about their picky eaters, I share what our very first pediatrician told me: your job is to make them healthy food, and their job is to eat it. Anything else is a power struggle. 

I’ll let you sit with that for a minute.

Parenting is complex. Every kid is different. And seeing through the eyes of a three or four year old really helps to see that of course running in circles is way more fun than sitting still. It really helps to give yourself a pep talk and to know that this domain is one that everyone has challenges in, and that you are not alone.

But there are some things you can do to help or hurt your situation. Kids are always testing where the lines are, where their power is, and the easiest arena to do this in is what they eat. Staying positive, setting boundaries and taking back your power as a parent almost always helps you and your kids.

Here are a few general pointers that help with meal time negotiations and help eliminate the power struggles for me. Note these apply to kids over 3. I find toddlers generally eat when they are hungry, and don’t eat when they are not hungry. They also can’t sit still for long. We rarely take the twins out to eat because at two they can’t sit for longer than 10 minutes and then we all get indigestion unless we can let them down to go play. But for table dwellers, here is what works for us:

  1. I only have time to make one meal. I tell my kids when they beg for chicken nuggets instead of the casserole we are having that I don’t have time to make separate meals for people. This really ends the begging because it’s such a clear boundary and one that kids in every country, all across time have learned to accept. With that said, I have lived through picky eaters and I know if I offer a scoop of pasta or cheesy veggies (or whatever is on their ‘will eat’ list) in the meal everyone is having, we are all happier. And if some of us really want something spicy, I either try to add the spice after or will make something very simple for little kids. But since the rule gets repeated to them when they ask for something else they come to accept it and don’t seem to notice diversions.
  2. You can always have apples and ketchup. Our kids know they are always welcome to eat fruit or veggies anytime. So if they tell me they are hungry right after dinner, I tell them to have an apple, carrots, a banana. If they really hate the roasted asparagus they can go reach for a handful of baby carrots from the drawer. It ends the constant negotiations and promotes fruits and veggies. Any worries of hunger or getting nutritious food in them are settled for me because they can fill their belly with these. And most of the time, the ‘gross’ vegetable or chicken can get swallowed if they dip it in ketchup or ranch.
  3. Bribery works. Ask any grade school teacher – kids brains are wired for rewards and light up with winning a prize. I always dangle dessert at them when they don’t want to eat something. We tell them that if they want dessert they have to eat their protein and veggies. During our pickiest eaters pickiest years this rule helped me the most. Often ‘dessert’ is only a frozen yogurt tube or berries with whipped cream, but they still get the job done because of the prize dangled. Often with ketchup.
  4. Kitchen is closed after dinner. If they are hungry, see rule #2.
  5. Meal time is special. We are lucky to have this food, each other, and the time to sit down together. As our kids get older and do sports it is increasingly rare to have everyone eat at the same time.(Sniff). I try to make it fun by everyone going around sharing their ‘News & Goods’ (one new thing and one good thing) of their day. We also just found conversation napkins that they all are loving. I really believe in setting expectations and tone for this sacred part of the day. If they are having fun they are too distracted to complain or misbehave.
  6. Meals at the table are training. One day they will be asked to eat at a friends house, or go to banquets, or go on a date, or even run dinner meetings (like their Dad) and if good manners are habits these will generally go better. I start at their level and say ‘if you want me to let you eat over at your friend’s house, you have to show me you know good manners’. Getting up from the table repeatedly, eating before prayers, interrupting, complaining about the food are all recent offenders that made me give the friend’s house speech. (You parents of grade schoolers know that time at a friend’s house is golden.) Napkins in their lap, saying ‘please pass the butter’, watching their elbows and keeping your water glass where it won’t get knocked over are all life skills and things that greatly help me enjoy their company. We eat pizza on Fridays in our family room, and some nights they eat at the island with a sitter if I am running a kid somewhere, and I notice when we get away from the routine at the table they forget their manners. So I keep bringing it back around when are at the table.
  7. Keep your expectations low and theirs high. I think kids rise to expectations. Don’t be afraid that a three or four year old can’t sit at the table for 10 minutes because it happens gradually over many repeated attempts where you expected them to and then suddenly one day they can. But if it goes south, or they knock over that water glass, or they push their plate away and tell you they’re not hungry and they don’t want dessert, you’re unfazed because your low expectations keep you from getting triggered.
  8. Attitudes are contagious. If I’m stressed and annoyed that I am making dinner, it rolls off to everyone. But if I am excited to cook what we are having and to eat it with them, or I have stuff to tell them about our dinner or they can learn something, it elevates the experience. This impacts my big kids a lot.
  9. Cook for yourself first. If I make something that I’m interested in making or tasting or craving, and do all the planning, shopping, meal prep, cooking and they only eat two bites, I am not resentful or angry, because I am still happy to be eating the meal. If you make waffles out of cauliflower because you read in a magazine that kids love it! even though you don’t want to eat it and neither do they, then everyone is grumpy. I ask my kids what they want for dinner when I’m meal planning though and the answers are usually things I want to eat too, like Spaghetti and Meatballs or Shepard’s Pie, so when I include them we’re all happy.

So what do you do if you have a child that is making meal time hard? First off, kids come in ALL different temperaments, and if you are familiar with a bell curve in statistics, most fall under the range of ‘normal’ eaters, but some have very open personalities and will try anything, and some are very clear on what they do and don’t want to eat and are extremely picky eaters. (Bell curves are also a helpful way to think of nursing babies too FYI. Some are great, some are hard, most are in the middle.)  Extremely picky and very open eaters are small percentages all kids, but power struggles or a lack of them can shape them to be more picky or more open.

To eliminate power struggles, try for a month to serve pretty kid-friendly meals (i.e. not spicy, not overly cooked and mushy vegetables, or overly foreign items), and don’t offer a lot of commentary if they don’t eat it. If they say they are not hungry at the table, tell them there are berries with whip cream/frozen yogurt tube/actual sugary treat for dessert if they eat a reasonable amount of their dinner, but if they don’t want to that’s fine.

If your kids are like mine, next they ask ‘what do I have to eat?’ Without a lot of negotiation, I quickly make it a judgment based on age and kid. For my son who hates veggies, I’ll offer him raw carrots from the drawer instead of the mushy green beans. For my picky carb loving daughter, we’ll make a ‘have to eat’ pile and there will be 3-4 pieces of chicken and her veggies. Ranch and ketchup get offered. After that, I’m done helping them. They get to choose.

If you are still having major behavioral issues, I HIGHLY recommend 1-2-3 Magic , and while it isn’t food specific it is a great way to deal with behavioral issues which is what is behind a lot of food struggles. Some of our kids have ADHD and it is especially good for giving impulsive kids time to make a good choice. (This book helped me realized that all kids secretly want you to take the power back so they feel safe and secure).

If none of this works, talk to your pediatrician. They might be in the small percentage of kids who are extreme. If they are then maybe just making a box of pasta (or whatever else is one of ‘their’ foods) with everything else and give them a scoop along side the family dinner so you know you’ll all sleep that night and life will go on.

I think a lot more fall under the category of ‘power struggle’ and I want to empower parents to step out of this if possible. I have definitely locked horns with a kid at dinner (mostly the same child over and over) and I know what it is like to have your buttons pushed and to have them wear you down. But I also know that repeated exposure to good REAL food over and over again has made that same child who at ages 5, 6 and 7 ask only for pasta to now be eating buffalo wings, loving soups and stews, and begging for chili at age 10. Progress not perfection is always the goal.

What do you think – does this cover the challenges you are having? Drop me a line in the comments and share your struggles with other parents.