Friday, June 24, 2011

Yum cha - a parent's best friend

Today I have a hankering for dumplings and it inspired me to reflect on a very successful visit to the Shark Fin Inn in Little Bourke St last week. I think it is one of the best dining options when dealing with a toddler or even smaller little people! Or do I just tell myself that because I like to go to yum cha regardless?

A friend had proposed an 11am Sunday yum cha sitting following his going away party on the Saturday night. For him, this turned out to be a bad decision as he was out on the town until 6am but for us it was perfect! Kids seem to be pretty much ready for lunch by 11.30am (which it was closer to by the time we all got in there and seated).

There are a few aspects that make yum cha perfect kid food. Firstly, the food is there instantly which is an important first step for feeding kids (it's the same reason that all my handbags now have boxes of sultanas in them). Secondly, kids can pick whatever takes their fancy which for Leo is mostly prawn dumplings. Thirdly, you don't get any weird looks if you bring you're own kids food in as well. I tend to bring some chopped up fruit so when there is a slow patch where nothing is taking the toddler's fancy we can keep his interest going. Finally, if it all seems to be wearing thin, you can easily pack up and go at any point and it doesn't really affect anyone else - others can keep grazing or hang around for dessert without it feeling weird.

So if you're organising a lunch with multiple kiddies or just looking for an easy outing with a smaller group, (oor like me you are jjust crazy for dumplings) I would strongly recommend hitting Chinatown!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why you should trust other parents

In a weird paradox, I often seek advice from other parents about what they are successfully feeding their toddlers but simultaneously think to myself "that wouldn't work for us". I included an example of this in an earlier post where I was convinced that a cookbook recipe for 'green rice' that was supposedly a favourite in the author's household was going to be rejected by our toddler (and probably my husband). In that case, I was entirely wrong and all of it was happily eaten.

Today I was wrong again in exactly the same way. We are pretty much out of fresh food in our household (it's Friday) and while I had enough to pull together a chilli con carne (inions, mince, tomatoes, beans) I had no rice just tortillas. I remembered a friend telling me how much her toddler loved burritos a while back. At the time, I had rejected the idea thinking it would be too messy and too confusing to explain - my husband even has trouble folding them. However, as I mentioned, I was happily proven wrong. All family members successfully folded and ate their burritos and I even managed to hide bonus vegies in the chilli.

It's funny how much energy I expend trying to convince the toddler to try new things but it turns out I am the one nervous about change. So recommend any of your successes to me and I am going to try them from now on! I have learnt my lesson - trust other parents, they have been there before.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why you should never shop when you're hungry or pregnant

I think most people know that it is not advisable to do the grocery shopping when you're hungry as you tend to end up buying too much food (or eating potato cakes in a shopping centre food court). Unfortunately the same useful messages haven't come out about the perils of shopping when pregnant. I was caught by surprise on the weekend when I somehow came home with frozen hash browns, nacho flavoured corn chips and mini-boost chocolate bars (which I convinced myself were for my workmates but are now sitting in my bottom desk drawer in the office).

I am usually I very disciplined shopper and totally know to make lists and a budget and to stick to them but somehow the black arts of product placement overcame me just this once. I've never really subscribed to the concept of cravings but it seems this time it is my only excuse. Something in my body desperately needs orange colouring, MSG and trans-fats (and wouldn't mind a post-dinner cheeseburger).

So pregnant ladies be warned - the supermarket knows your weaknesses and they will get you!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chop and they will come

I always love reading about other people's small successes (or large ones for that matter) when it comes to kids eating' - the time that someone's little one non-chalantly ate a piece of brocolli after never touching anything green before or announced that chips make their tummy feel yucky and they would prefer some soup.

I had a success on the weekend with not just my boy but my husband too. After a junky dinner of fish and chips (we were at the beach to be fair), I suggested having some chopped up apple for dessert. Both husband and boy rejected the idea but I pushed ahead regardless thinking I could at least get some fibre into myself. However, no sooner was the apple chopped up and on the table than it was demolished and the boy requested some more.

This was a happy reminder that it is only my job to present healthy food and everyone else will decide what and how much they eat (of my dessert mind you). It also confirmed my belief that a chopped up apple is at least twice as appetising as one in the fruit bowl...