Reaffirmation.

I know I sound like a religious zealot, but tonight was one that reaffirmed all the planning, grocery shopping, cooking, cajoling, yelling, and cleaning. Because although I love food more than the average bear (in case you haven’t noticed), this is a lot of work. And there are days when I want to throw it in and eat out, order a pizza, make fish sticks for the kids and eat a peaceful meal after they go to bed. But tonight, my miracle children came through with a reaffirmation. Actually, we had a great weekend of interesting, fun food, and it has reaffirmed that I do this for a reason.

So I love Indian food. I would eat it weekly if you gave me the chance, but sometimes my husband dares to want something else on our takeout night. So I try to sneak in the flavors in my own cooking. It is by no means authentic, and I have no idea whether the spices I used are really used in Indian food. But it tastes good and reminds me of Indian food, so that counts. Anyway, what we ate tonight I called Indian Chicken (real creative name, huh?), and curried cauliflower. I marinated chicken parts in low fat sour cream and many, many spices. I would have used yogurt, but I didn’t have any. The spices I used were: cumin, curry powder, all-spice, cinnamon, cardamon, ground cloves, and probably ten other things I have forgotten. It was a lot of spice. I marinated several hours. Then I roasted it.

On the side I served cauliflower that was simmered in low-fat coconut milk and curry powder, cumin, and ginger. I also threw in peas. And some brown rice.

Kyra ate all her food before I even looked up. And had three additional serving of chicken. Garrett announced it was one of his favorite dinners that he ever ate. (His grammar, not mine.) It was friggin’ good. I am not bragging, but it was really, really good. And even sort of healthy.

What did I learn tonight? That my children have no preconceived notions about food. That they like flavor, and funny-colored vegetables. That you can’t make blanket statements about taste — Kyra hates anything remotely spicy. It is one of her main food complaints, and usually comes up when we have Tex-Mex, although occasionally with sausage. But she loved what I thought was a pretty spicy meal. So if your kids don’t like Mexican, it doesn’t mean they won’t like something else flavorful. Just keep trying. And none of this is because my children are perfect angels. God knows I am already threatening to cancel Disney on Ice this week because Kyra is so obnoxious. But she was a miracle child at dinner this weekend, and that is because we have made dinner a priority. We have an open, happy attitude toward food (as much as we can in between whines and spills), and we only cook one dinner. Without fail. I am a terrible disciplinarian, but I hold strong on the one dinner rule. Reaffirmation.

Another thought on this reaffirming evening: the non-food value of one dinner. We all read the articles that emphasize the importance of the family dinner. It is idealistic to think that every family can sit down together every night, with sports and commutes and late work nights and school plays, but so many parents I know don’t even try. They prefer the peace and quiet of eating without the kids. I rarely find dinner a peaceful or pleasurable experience, but I talk to them for 10-15 minutes a night without TV, computers, or my iphone. And if that doesn’t save them from drugs, alcohol and teen pregnancy, I don’t know what will.

Somebody save this link for when Kyra first appears on Teen Mom 27. I can’t wait for my blog to be quoted in US Weekly!

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