Saturday, September 15, 2012

What up doc?...Carrot Salad

Like most moms, I'm constantly trying to figure out ways to interest my kids in eating their vegetables.
What I've found works best, is take what of vegetable they do like and run like heck with it!   I keep exposing them to other veggies and fruits, and hopefully as they become more comfortable and open to trying new ways to eat their favorite vegetable, they will at some point try a new one out.  The goal is to never stop exposing the kids to the fruits and vegetables.   So for their favorite one:  try it in different forms and textures, such as shredded, sliced, julienned (or "sticks"), peeled into ribbons or "noodles", or just left whole and eat the entire vegetable like you would an apple or peach (I often halve a red or green pepper or peel an entire carrot and spread peanut butter or cream cheese on it. C'mon...these thing can make any kid maybe think twice about trying something :)  
You could prepare the vegetable of choice cooked, or keep raw, or blanch it so that it is still get the drift.  Just try multiple different ways of making a vegetable they like. Like cucumbers?  add cheese cubes and mango Boom.  Plain cucumbers just became a little more interesting.   
In addition to how to cook it, I like to add something to it that makes it even more appealing to them (within reason....I'm not into adding chocolate and butterscotch chips to my salads at this point.  Because let's be honest, we all know what will get eaten and what won't in that salad!)

So the other day I told H. (6 years old) that he can make a salad for dinner.  We almost always have some sort of vegetable at dinner.  I always eat a salad at dinner, and I leave it up to the kids if they want a "mommy" salad or if they would like the other one.  Still getting their veggies, but they get to make the choice of what it is.  I personally love salads (you can shake your head at me if you like, but I do really love them!).  My hope is that someday (maybe it won't be until they are 30 years old....), is that they too will see the beauty and benefits of a fresh salad.   
H. is at the age that he can really help in the kitchen.  Like real, live--"wow..., you actually saved me time"--help.  The twins (age 3) are still at the "I want to help" stage, but really the type of help they offer is more like a lesson to me in patience.  But, I feel that it's important that they are exposed early to being in the kitchen and seeing how food is made.  And, it's time together :)  And, one more......even they aren't necessarily saving me time, they think they are pretty darn awesome for "helping" in the kitchen.  Building some major confidence!  Ok--back to H.'s salad....

H. loves carrots.  These are his go-to vegetable that I'm trying to build on.  We decided to shred the carrots and I let him pick two things to add to it.  I kind of wondered where he would take this new opportunity.  But he went into the pantry and picked raisins and almonds.  Perfect!!  (note--if I would have had chocolate chips, gummy bears etc. at eye level in the pantry, this is likely what he may have picked.  However, these types of food are usually out of sight at our house from a kid's eye level :)  I couldn't really lose with what he picked.  I knew he would probably come back with some type of dried fruit (a plus.....most usually love dried fruit).  And almonds....yummy!

Here's how we roll:

Shred carrots in food processor with grater attachment (the kids love this part!)
(my food processor is a Cuisinart 9-cup.  I love it, but someday would like to get a 12 cup one!)
Add caption

silly boys...

all three boys take the raisins and spread them on top.  The white specks in the picture are chopped almonds because we ran out of sliced ones

getting ready to stir.....everyone gets a turn

Stirring the raisins and almonds into shredded carrots

TA-DA!!  Carrot Salad!

I like to make this salad with the kids and then we have it for the week.  I can add it to more "adult" salads, or I put it with cheese in a sandwich wrap or sprinkle on peanut butter in a tortilla for H's school sack lunch.  It's very versatile!  And if carrots aren't yours' or the kids' thing, you could try with red bell peppers....yum:)

Carrot Salad

4-5 cups shredded carrots (about 5-9 carrots depending on size)
1 cup raisins or golden raisins or other favorite dried fruit
1/2 cup sliced or chopped almonds (or other chopped nuts)

Mix all together and you're done.  Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

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