I’m a picky eater.
Those who know me cannot stop laughing hysterically at the perceived understatement.
I don’t like vegetables. Or whole grains. Or beans.
I’m a white bread, cheese, and filet mignon addict.
That’s right, I’m a total I Will Only Eat the Best and Therefore Most Expensive Cuts of Beef Snob.
I never wanted to be this way, I just am. I will only eat what tastes good, and these are items my pallet craves.
I don’t want my children to inherit my eating habits.
I begged, pleaded, and cajoled for my husband to stay home with the kids so I could attend – it was during the day on a Friday.
Yes, he’s awesome.
So last Friday, my fellow blogging friend Leigh Ann and I drove in circles trying to find the elusive Texas Beef Council (be sure to check out Friday’s “What the frak?” post for the full story).
We found it. Eventually.
After a lovely introduction by Erin Johnston, who helped put together this whole event with Gigi, Stacy Bates gave us five things to do to sneak nutrient rich foods into our family’s meals.
The Lil Diva is a classic picky eater – you never know if she’s going to eat her weight in something or toss it all onto the floor and spit it out. This includes both new foods and her favorites. So here are those 5 Tips:
1. Make the food fun – Doing things like making faces on a sandwich, dining picnic style, or choosing a food “theme” are ways to stop having the dinner table battle.
2. Keep it colorful – The “rainbow game” was mentioned. Have your child help with the meal plan by picking a food from every different color of the rainbow. It turns the distasteful broccoli vegetable into a simple “green item” to check off the list.
3. Recognize healthy eaters – This stuck with me, as I often fall into the “scolding for not eating” parent for my 19 month old. Instead, turn on the positive. Your child refuses to eat the grilled chicken? Say, “You love chicken!” anyway. They eat a small bite of food, praise them for that bite. Talk about how they love their vegetables, even if they don’t. If the toss it on the floor, remove it. Avoid falling into the battle trap.
4. Get everyone involved – I have already learned this with The Tackler. He loves to help cook. He loves to taste everything if he’s helping bake. If they’re involved, they’re more likely to eat the end product. I’m still working on ways to incorporate Lil Diva into the mix…
5. Enjoy family meals – I know how these can become frustrating fights, so try to let things slide, and make it fun. Again, I’ve noticed picnics are often a great way to do this.
Next up, Chef Richard Chamberlain prepared two dishes using “lean” beef.
First up: Beef and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Balsamic Syrup, using beef shoulder center steaks or a “ranch cut.”
My first thought? “Ew. Tomatoes.”
Yet, this was my plate at the end:
Next up was Tandoori Beef Skewers with Pistachio Couscous, using flank steak.
My first thought? “Ew. Couscous, yogurt, and peppers.”
My plate after trying it:
Then it was our turn to somehow reproduce culinary miracles, and we drew slips of paper and divided into groups.
Our trio (and our helper, Master Griller), prepared Mojo Beef Kabobs.
I learned I’m very good at trimming top sirloin steak for kabobs.
It did involve a fair amount of prep work, but none of it was difficult.
We waited for our turn at the grill.
And voila! Beautiful kabobs.
I sampled from each of them as we dined outside in the shade of their beautiful patio. Our kabobs were tasty, but my favorite dish was the one I thought I’d never like in a million years: Farmer’s Market Vegetable, Beef, and Brown Rice Salad.
This would be the perfect meal to make for my family.
Luckily, Chef Chamberlain gifted us all with his The Health Beef Cookbook – where each of the day’s recipes were taken from.
Other swag included spices and a Nolan Ryan gift card, an HEB gift card, aprons for me and the kids, a meat thermometer, a hat, plus reusable bags for shopping (check out Gigi’s post on it, because I’m probably forgetting something, and see her take on the event).
Finally, a bit of dessert to wrap up our day.
I had an amazing time, chatting and meeting with other local bloggers and learning to cook.
I’m already daydreaming of another event as I return to my regular routine again, of dancing with chaos, changing diapers, and trying to keep my children from maiming one another or themselves…
***I was not paid or reimbursed to write this, unless you count the enormous amount of food consumed or the swag brought home. Even then, the opinions in this blog are all mine. And yes, Mom, I really did eat vegetables and LIKED them.