Thursday, September 2, 2010 | By: Tangy

Don't quit your dayjob!

Not to toot my own horn, but I know my way around the kitchen. I can make some pretty delicious dishes, both clean and VERY un-clean. I've enjoyed cooking ever since I've gotten out on my own, and I get all geeky goofy excited when I discover a new kitchen gadget that can somehow make my culinary life easier!

Over the past couple of months, I have been going on a clean cooking and baking spree! I have been loving trying out new recipes and making up my own! Off the top of my head, some of the things I have made- blueberry-corn muffins, banana bread, fruit-filled muffins, pancakes, peanut-tahini pasta, fajitas, baby bella/potato omlettes, tomato-basil soup, cornbread, danish meatballs, and apple crisp. I know there are many more but you get the picture!

There's only one problem. I have been the only one who has liked everything!! My 20 month old daughter is my harshest critic! If she likes something, I'll hear "mmm mmm mmm" sounds coming from her highchair and she'll have this big grin plastered on her face while she's eating. If she doesn't like something? Oh, she'll get MAD! She'll just toss the food off her tray and scream, "YUCKY! EWWW!" I have been getting a lot of the ladder lately! It's been a bit of an ego kill!

Take this. This is my clean-eating danish meatballs over brown rice. We aren't normally rice eaters here, mostly because my only exposure to rice thus far has been broccoli au gratin Rice a Roni, fried rice from Panda Express, and Mexican rice served along side a heaping pile of greasy refried beans at one of the zillion Mexican restaurants we tried while living in Texas. The rice had a surprisingly good flavor, the turkey meatballs were delish, and the white dill sauce was unlike anything I've ever tried before! It was so good! And healthy! But of course, my little princess had her plate thrown on the floor before I had even served the other kids. Tell me how you really feel, Riley! Sheesh! I'm sure the dog enjoyed it!
Another obsession of mine lately has been sweet potato fries.

I feel like they are my gift from God!! A veggie-haters dream! I am not much of a fan of baked sweet potatoes or that nasty Thanksgiving dish with the big chunks of canned potatoes covered in butter, sugar, and marshmellows. It hasn't ever tasted good to me, aside from stealing a burnt marshmellow or two. These are so simple to make and I could eat them three times a day, they are THAT good! I slice them up, toss them VERY lightly in olive or canola oil, and sprinkle them with a bunch of cinnamon. Then I bake 'em for about 30 minutes at 450*, turning at least once. They get a little burnt and crispy on the edges and it is seriously my new favorite food! Of course, my husband and I are the only ones in the house who will eat them. Neither of the kids will touch them! Give them those salty, greasy fast-food fries, and they'll gobble those right up. Ugh.
With fall approaching, I feel the need to bake. One of my all-time favorites has been my mom's apple crisp. The original recipe calls for about a cup of sugar, plus a bunch of butter and white flour. I LOVE the sugar/butter/flour combo but my waistline does not!! So I decided to try making my own version. I put a little olive oil in a pan and then added some whole wheat pastry flour until it got crumbly. Then I just started adding stuff. I added some agave--about a teaspoon or two, plus wheat germ, flax, and chopped walnuts. I cut up 6 granny smith apples and put them in my baking dish and sprinkled them with apple pie spice and drizzled a little honey over that. Then I put on my crumbly topping and baked it at 400* for an hour.
I served it with the sweet potato fries and some grilled chicken.

Unfortunately, the apple crisp just didn't measure up. It was good, but just not quite the same thing. It was only "take one" of many so I am confident that one of these days I'll either get it right or I will just get used to the clean version tasting a bit different. And it tasted much better the second day when it was a little cooler. I've always liked my apple dishes at room temp or cold, never hot. I'm weird ;)
I'm still super frustrated that my kids do not enjoy much of the clean dishes I've made for them. They prefer boxed macaroni and cheese and commercial chicken nuggets and hot dogs. While I don't know if they will ever completely stop getting these things, I still have hope that they will start to get a taste for the wholesome foods I make for them! They really love the banana bread and pancakes I make and surprisingly one of their favorite things are ww tortillas with my homemade clean-seasoned refried beans, cheese, and chicken. They love to snack on string cheese and fresh fruit like apples, pineapples, strawberries, and grapes. I think they'd rather have fruit than any other kind of snack, which is always a "proud-mommy" moment for me! And I think I've gotten Peter hooked on a big spoon of peanut butter for a mid-afternoon snack. So even if they haven't liked 90% of the things I've made for them lately, they ARE making some healthy decisions every single day. And I am definitely not finished trying out new recipes and improvising as I go, so I have hope that one day I will get Riley's "nommmm mmmm" seal of approval!


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