Friday, February 25, 2011

If only brocolli tasted like biscuits...

A colleague of mine sent me this article which starts with the no-surprises statement for any parent of a toddler "given a choice between raw brocolli and a salty cracker, 18-month -old children will invariably choose the tastiest: the biscuit." Ok, so no news here. Then it goes on to explain that if an adult says "yuck" to the biscuit and "yum" to the brocolli, then the child does not, as you would hope and pray, think "that brocolli must be rockin", instead according to this research, they think "that adult must have strange taste that is different to mine." It seems these small children are cleverer than we thought. Damn! I've invested so much time in being a great role model who loves crunchy, carrot sticks and it seems that all this will have achieved is making Leo think I am a bit strange. I tried to work out how this could be used for reverse psychology - so I maybe should say that the salty biscuit is yummy? But soon realised that the whole point is that children are very smart and cannot be fooled that easily. I guess the only take away message here is that you don't want to force vegetables to compete with biscuits. We sometimes have to keep this in mind at our house when we want to have some garlic bread with pasta - the bread has to come out after most of the pasta has been eaten because just like brocolli vs biscuit, there is only one winner in the battle between buttery, hot white bread and vege-laden, wholemeal pasta!

Monday, February 7, 2011

You gotta eat your spinach baby!

Well, those scientists have done it again - as outlined in this article spinach has been found to be good for we thought all along. As it turns out, it's not the iron that makes it so special but rather, the nitrates. Admittedly, I can't understand the scientific explanation for this but apparently the benefits can be cancelled out by mouthwash - weird hey?

I love hearing this because spinach has proved to be, in my experience, an excellent hiding vegetable. I quite like to sneak it into all things containing mince like spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne, shepherds pie, and even an unconventional san choy bau.

Here is the shepherd's pie recipe that has been working for us lately - enjoy!

Eleanor's sneaky spinach shepherd's pie

500 grams lean mince beef
half a jar of low salt pasta sauce (we use Stromboli)
One handful spinach finely chopped
2 cups mashed potato
1 handful grated cheese

Heat the oven to 180 degrees
Brown the mince in a saucepan and add the pasta sauce
Simmer for 15 mins then add chopped spinach
Pour mince mixture into a pie dish and cover with mashed potato
Sprinkle with grated cheese
Bake in over for 30mins or until golden on the top

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Time for a rant

I like to think that one of my main areas of expertise is how to travel successfully with small children. Leo has been on a ridiculous number of flights in his short life (it's well into double digits) and some of my first blog entries were about how to feed a travelling child. So my ears pricked up when I noticed this article in the age today about how to survive a flight with an infant.

I don't have any issue with the article itself, although I am hoping that the author is exaggerating what an ordeal it was for comic effect - it was only a one hour flight! But if you look in the comments section, there is so much in there that makes my blood boil. I cannot believe that there are so many people out there thinking that all parents of young children are selfishly and needlessly dragging their children onto flights when other travellers are "entitled to travel in peace".

Obviously it is pretty indisputable that sitting next to a screaming child for a long haul flight can be pretty irritating. However, I don't think there are actually many parents of little ones flippantly booking their child in for an uncomfortable airplane experience without a reasonable justification. For us, it has been visiting grandparents so they can spend time with their first an only grandchild, not to mention the uncles, cousins and other relatives. For others it might be for work or a wedding of close friends and family but I struggle to believe that anyone is doing it just to piss other people off.

So this is why I think articles, and the range of blogs that tackle this issue, should be applauded as their only aim is to help the next parent of a small child who needs to travel and make the experience a little bit smoother and a little less teary. Rant over!