Tales of a Reformed Beef Snob and Vegetable Hater

I confess.

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.

When Gigi Ross from Kludgy Mom invited me and other local bloggers to Appetite for Inspiration at the Texas Beef Council, I jumped at the chance to learn more about lean cuts of beef.

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.

He agreed.

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).

This would have been much easier to find if it hadn't been hidden behind trees from the road.

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.

If only I could walk into a kitchen with already measured ramkins of ingredients. Please?

First up: Beef and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Balsamic Syrup, using  beef shoulder center steaks or a “ranch cut.”

Before.

My first thought? “Ew. Tomatoes.”

Yet, this was my plate at the end:

After.

Next up was Tandoori Beef Skewers with Pistachio Couscous, using flank steak.

Before.

My first thought? “Ew. Couscous, yogurt, and peppers.”

My plate after trying it:

After.

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 need one of these knives at home...

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.

The end result of our group's cooking.

Here are all of the dishes we prepared:

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.

My favorite.

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.

Each design had a different flavor inside.

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.

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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8 Responses to Tales of a Reformed Beef Snob and Vegetable Hater

  1. kir says:

    Oooh Kel! I’m so jealous, that looked like an amazing day…and I don’t even like to cook! I need the recipe for the Farmer’s Market beef and rice, that looked so yummy!
    So glad u got a day out!!!!!

  2. Katie says:

    Neither Albert or I are picky eaters but at 2, Jake often is. There are usually lots of tasty vegetables and meats on our table and he just wants eggs and pancakes. On a friend’s recommendation I read the book Hungry Monkey. I highly recommend it — very funny and it gave me some reassurance that he may not always be such a picky eater!

  3. I’m a picky eater, too. I only like what I call the “normal” vegetables and fruits.

    That food looks tasty!

  4. John says:

    All of that looks so yummy.

    You remind me of my ex-fiancée, though, as she ate no vegetables. None. If she knew there was tomato in something? She just wouldn’t eat it. Macaroni & cheese, steak, bagels . . . that was about the limit of her diet. I always liked ordering Chinese with her, though, because she’d always order beef with broccoli, so I’d eat all of the broccoli.

    I’m curious as to how you handle eating with the kids? Do they ever question “why isn’t mommy eating the vegetables” or anything like that?

  5. Annie says:

    So jealous! What fun!

  6. Christina says:

    It was a great day, wasn’t it Kelley? I learned so much and ate so much, ouch!

  7. Pingback: The GPS #FAIL: Friday’s “What the frak?” Moment | Dances with Chaos

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