July 2011

The Dessert Dilemma: Part 1

by Sally on July 27, 2011

Growing up, we always had dessert after dinner–and sometimes lunch too. I never thought much about it until I had kids and realized that if dessert is on the horizon, they couldn’t care less about the healthy dinner I just spent 45 minutes preparing. And oh, do they put on Oscar-worthy performances: Clutching their overstuffed bellies, they will beg in pained, sickly voices to be excused from the table–only to run back five minutes later asking for ice cream.

This is irritating. And unhealthy. So over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to figure out ways to put less emphasis on dessert, while still giving my kids the treats they love (and in many cases, that I love too).

I wrote here about a seemingly insane strategy: serving dessert with dinner (scary but surprisingly effective!). And in my next few posts, I’ll be including more tips for tackling the dreaded dessert dilemma that I know many of you struggle with also.

Hopefully they’ll help tame any dessert demons (and divas) you may have at your table as well.

Up first, two tactics that sometimes work around here:

Designated Dessert Nights

One evening at dinner, when one of my kids inquired about dessert before his fork even pierced the first bite of food, I calmly explained that we would be having dessert only on the weekends. Do I always stick to this? No. Birthdays happen. Surprise plates of delicious cookies from neighbors happen. But this policy is there when I need it. My toddler still protests a bit, but my seven-year-old accepts it as fact. And when they find out there really is no sweet treat afterward, they miraculously find more room in their tummies for dinner.

Retooled Sweet Treats

One of the accidentally brilliant moves I’ve made this summer is freezing all of the kids’ yogurt. Because in their minds, this has magically transformed it from a regular snack food to dessert. I wrestle with the place sweetened yogurt has in their diets because it is, after all, a sweet treat. So putting a stick in it and calling it a popsicle feels right. I’ve been doing the same with leftover morning smoothies. I freeze them in popsicle molds and they become goodies. They love it, and I love that they’re getting yogurt and fruit (and yep, even some flaxseed) for dessert.

Stay tuned for Parts 2, 3 & 4 of “The Dessert Dilemma”, which will feature ideas from some of my favorite dietitians and feeding experts.

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Recipe Roundup: Heat Wave Edition

by Sally on July 22, 2011

The mind-blowing heat we’ve been experiencing has killed my desire to eat anything beyond salad and blueberries. But my family’s gotta eat, so I used the week to try three new recipes. I loved them all and thought you might too.

Bean Blondies

I heart the Meal Makover Moms because their recipes use simple ingredients and are kid-tested by their own children. I loved their Black Bean Brownies so much that I had to try their White Bean Blondies. Verdict: Thumbs up from everyone. I even took these to a potluck dinner, where no one could guess the secret ingredient.

Salmon Burgers

I got this recipe from Raise Healthy Eaters, one of my go-to blogs and a great resource for family-friendly recipes. I’m still the only one in the house who will eat salmon, but I hope these burgers will inch everyone closer to liking it. You can get the recipe here.

Grilled Pizza

I was loath to turn on the oven too much this week, so I finally tried pizza on the grill. I was inspired by Erin Chase, over at $5 Dinners. My pizza (a half-turkey-pepperoni for my husband and kids) wasn’t nearly as fancy as her’s, but I loved how crispy the crust became and how quickly it cooked. You can use any dough you like, including store-bought. I like to make my own pizza dough but let my bread machine do all the hard work (recipe below).

Bread Machine Pizza Crust

(makes 1 small crust, about 14 inches)

3/4 cup water

1 T. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

1 cup all-purpose white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp. quick-rise or bread machine yeast

Add ingredients to the bread machine pan in the order that they’re listed. Select the “DOUGH” cycle on your machine. When it’s done, take it out and let it sit on a lightly floured surface, covered with plastic wrap, for about 5 minutes. Roll out dough on a well-floured cutting board or baking sheet. Make sure there’s enough flour under the crust that it will easily slide off the baking sheet and onto the grill. You can add your toppings before or after placing the crust on the grill (I grilled my crust first, flipping to get each side crispy, then added the toppings and let it cook until the cheese was melted and gooey).

Have you tried any new recipes this summer?

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The Case for Oreos

July 20, 2011

On my Sunday perusal through the coupon circulars, I came across an advertisement for a new product that stopped me in my tracks. WhoNu? cookies may look a lot like Oreos but according to the ad, they pack as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal, as much vitamin C as a cup of blueberries, […]

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Vacation, All I Never Wanted

July 13, 2011

I loosen up a lot about food when we’re on vacation. There are quite a few things I don’t keep in the house (like hot dogs and Hawaiian Punch) that I don’t mind my kids having once in a while. Ditto for visiting friends or relatives. I was once at a gathering where a mom […]

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Macaroni & Cheese, Please

July 11, 2011

Despite my love affair with bento last year, I’m relieved to have a break from packing Henry’s lunchbox. But lunches at home can be challenging too. So I like to keep a box of macaroni and cheese on hand. Around here, it’s considered a treat. (It’s loaded with sodium and the cheese comes in a […]

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