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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Daring to be Truthful About Veggies (+ Zucchini Mint Frittata)

By Stacie Bills & Michelle Christman

Day to day, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about food in terms of feeding. What can we make in 30 minutes? How do we get our families to eat more vegetables? Is there anything we can do to get our kids to stop throwing food? For parents, even foodie parents, feeding becomes a mere practicality. So much so that we forget that mealtime, if approached with a sense of love and purpose, can actually nourish the soul. Even if all the food ends up on the floor and not a single vegetable is consumed.

ChowMama (www.ChowMama.com) puts food back where it belongs—at the center of our families’ physical, emotional, and social development. While our recipes keep nutrition front and center, we also remind parents (and ourselves!) that mealtime is more than getting nutrients into our bodies. It’s also a way to learn about society, practice being open minded, foster a sense of independence, initiate environmental responsibility, and connect with community. Because real food feeds the body and the soul. That’s why healthy and adventurous eating from the very first bite can inspire habits that will sustain a lifetime of healthy eating adventures.

Critical to our approach to food, cooking, and eating is a (surprisingly controversial) no hiding (ie, lying about) veggies philosophy. That often means our ChowBabies go without veggies. For a while! But we’re not worried. Because, if you ask us, tricking our kids about what’s in their food may feed their growing bodies, but it fails to nourish their souls. So, day after day, we humbly and honestly present simple, delicious veggie dishes that the entire family will enjoy (some put veggies front and center, others let them play a supporting role) to send a clear, repeated message that veggies are delicious!

The research suggests that our long bet on candidly teaching children to (eventually) eat their veggies is a fair wager. We’ll see. In the meantime, we hope you’ll give it some thought. We think it’ll serve your families over time and—lest we abandon practicality all together—our philosophy also happens to be a serious time saver. (Whoever says it’s not extra work to make pureed veggies to “sneak” into meals certainly has more time than we do!)

Read more about other ideas for delicious family-friendly veggie fare visit us HERE.

Zucchini Mint Frittata
(can be served to kids 12+ mos)

8 organic eggs

1/2 cup organic grated parmesan or crumbled organic feta (you can add as much as 1 cup if you like your eggs super cheesy)

3 tbsp fresh organic mint, chopped

2 medium organic zucchini, grated, squeezed dry

salt and pepper

organic olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the meantime, whisk together eggs, cheese, mint, and salt and pepper (unless serving to early eaters, in which case you can salt and pepper individual portions before serving). Fold zucchini into egg mixture.

2. Brush a 9″ pie dish or oven proof skillet with olive oil and pour in egg mixture. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until frittata is set and browned. Insert a toothpick or knife into the center of the frittata—it’s done when it comes out clean.

NOTE: I often half this recipe and divide the frittata mixture between 4 oiled ramekins. They bake for about 2o minutes and make perfect little kid portions.

Read more about ChowMama at www.chowmama.com

Learn more about Brooklyn moms and Co-Founders of ChowMama & Chowbaby, Stacie Bills & Michelle Christman:

Stacie Bills

Stacie grew up the daughter of a restaurateur in a large Greek family where food and family go hand-in-hand. Family coming to visit (and, yes, the second cousin of your best friend from elementary school—whom you met once, ten years ago—counts as “family”)? Feed them. Need to cheer someone up? Feed them. Want to help squash a family squabble? Feed them. Since deciding against culinary school (opting to focus on children's development instead) and seeing the important role food plays in raising her own son, Isaac, she’s been on a quest to educate families about the vital role food plays in a child’s social and emotional development.

Michelle Christman

When Michelle got pregnant with Atticus Huckleberry she found her true calling. She’s always loved food. It stems from her childhood in Pennsylvania farm country eating everything from heirloom tomatoes straight from the vine (before they were fancy!) to homemade pickled pig's feet. Food that was nutritious, delicious, and natural. Her background in health care and passion for farm-fresh food informed her quest to educate families about the important links between food, health, and the environment.