If Kids Were CEO’s
My girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter asks if they could go to McDonald’s and my friend tells her “no” because “the food is very bad for you”. So this precious little girl with the biggest brown eyes (picture Cindy Lou Who) looks up at her mom and says “then why do they sell it to the people?. How much time do you have….costs, sales, profits, preservatives, shelf life. Now perhaps this 4-year-old doesn’t understand all that, but she does understand the basic difference between RIGHT and WRONG. Too bad she doesn’t have the CEO’s job.
As a parent, I struggle with the balance between GOOD and WEIRD. I want to make the good choices for my kids; eat healthy, play outside, limit video games, encourage reading, imaginative play and non-violent TV. However, I do fear that if they aren’t exposed to the bad choices, they will be perceived as “weird” or they might rebel or they might never learn to make the good choice for themselves. I don’t want the kid who has NEVER tasted McDonalds but rather the one who has and knows the consequences (chemicals are bad for your body). I don’t want the kid on the playground who can’t join in the conversation about Pokemon because he never watched TV or played video games but rather the one who has and knows the consequences (it literally scrambles your brain). If they can learn this now, maybe it will help them make better choices as they get older and the stakes are higher. Maybe when they become the CEO’s they will make the right decisions. Now, I’ve educated the kids enough about food and they haven’t asked for McDonald’s in years, video games….well I’m still working on that one.
Spaghetti w/ Shrimp, Peas & Portabellos: I buy the shrimp pre-cooked and frozen so they are always ready to go. Simply run them under warm water for a minute to partially defrost.
- Cook the spaghetti in salted water according to directions. Drain and save a little pasta water.
- In a pan, heat up a little garlic (2 cloves) and butter (1 TBS) in olive oil.
- Add shrimp, peas, mushrooms and cook through (few minutes).
- Add parsley, juice (and grate rind) from one lemon, salt/pepper.
- Toss spaghetti into pot and mix. Add a drop of pasta water if needed to thicken sauce.
Top with parmesan cheese if you’d like.
This recipe is good with a variety of ingredients. Try asparagus, soybeans, spinach, etc.
How Can the Kids Help?
- Teach kids how to open a clove of garlic -I smash down on the garlic with the side of the knife – Mia peels away the skin.
- Pour olive oil in the pan – Count to 3: That’s enough!
- Ask kids to tell you when garlic is getting brown – oh no!
- Count the shrimp – how many per person?
- Add the peas and mushrooms and stir (I let Mia cut the mushrooms)
- Help grate the lemon and squeeze the juice in.
- Disney Spaghetti Coloring Page: http://disney.go.com/magicartist/coloring/lady/page7/index.html
Did You Know?
- Show your kids this trick! How do you know when the pasta is done? Take a piece out of the boiling pot and throw it against your kitchen cabinet. If it sticks, it’s done cooking!
- Some historians think the Sicilian word “maccaruni” which translates as “made into dough by force” is the origin of our word, macaroni. My grandmother called ANY kind of pasta, “macaroni”. She would get excited and tell us, “We’re havn’ mac-a-rone-eeee!”
The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker…
Remember the days when you got your meat from the butcher shop, your bread from the baker, and your fish from the fishmonger? Maybe not, but I do remember my mom getting her meat from “Sam, the butcher” (no his girlfriend was not Alice) and her bread from another Sam at the Italian Market. Today we have Walmart and Target where you can purchase camping equipment, a new TV and of course, frozen chicken nuggets.
I changed my entire purchasing philosophy. Fresh Market has an old-fashioned butcher at the back of the store with EVERY type and cut of meat laid out fresh in front of you. They grind their own Turkey meat on demand if you need more and nothing comes in pre-packaged quantities shrink wrapped with extra god knows what. They have thin chicken cutlets with almost NO jiggly white stuff on them which is terrific because it saves me the step of vigorously scrubbing them like a scene from a prison shower or radioactive decontamination.
I know that most people don’t think they have the time or money to shop at specialty shops these days. However, when I focus my purchases on primarily fresh organic ingredients (fewer boxed¸ processed items), I actually spend less overall. Once a month, I go to a superstore or shop on-line (free shipping) for all my bulk/cleaning items which greatly reduces my impulse purchases. I also buy a lot of meat at once (preferably on sale) and freeze it. The only guy left out is the Candlestick Maker. Oh well, what about, “The Butcher, The Baker….Starbucks”.
This is very similar to the ‘Lemon Chicken’ but I add mushrooms at the end.
- Salt and pepper chicken cutlets then dip chicken in flour (of any kind).
- Heat a drop of EV olive oil and fresh garlic and cook chicken until brown on both sides. Move to the serving platter.
- Pour some (1/2 cup) chicken broth, (1/4 cup) white wine (if desired), and a squeeze of lemon juice into pan and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms and sauté for 6-7 minutes or so until they are cooked and sauce thickens. Any kind of mushroom works (baby bellas, white, shitake).
- Add chicken back into pan to finish cooking. You can cover and put on low until you finish rest of meal. You can serve the mushrooms on top or along the side of the chicken if not everyone likes them.
RED POTATOES (small):
- Wash and peel only as needed. Leave most of red skin for color and nutrition.
- Boil in pot of salted water until cooked through.
- Toss with EV olive oil, salt/pepper and herbs (I like the ‘Fine Herbs’ from Penzies spices but even just parsley is good).
- Peel and boil the carrots. Toss with a drop of butter, salt and splash of orange juice (a drop of maple syrup works too).
- It’s nice to splurge on carrots on the stem sometimes, they look so pretty (although usually too thin to roast).
CORNBREAD: Bought it from Fresh Market – YUM!
SALAD: Used the romaine and yellow pepper from last night.
How the Kids Can Help:
- Dash salt/pepper on chicken and shake the chicken in a Ziploc with flour or toss around in the bowl
- Help wash the mushrooms
- Roll the lemon to loosen up all the juices
- Rip pieces of romaine into salad bowl (depending on age, use a butter knife to cut peppers, celery, etc.)
- Learn about using the peeler (try peeling carrots if ready)
- Set table, get drink orders
- Fungi for Kids Pictures and Coloring Sheets: http://www.northamptonshirewildlife.co.uk/nfungi/fungiforkids.htm
Did You Know?
- 4600 years ago, many believed that mushrooms had properties that could produce super- human strength, help in finding lost objects and lead the soul to the realm of the gods, therefore no commoner was allowed to eat them!
- ‘Magic mushrooms’ seem to have been the subject of ancient rock art in caves, proving that this inspiration has been around for over 7000 years.