Monday, September 13, 2010

Playdate Special: Scissors Salad for The Kids Cook Monday

Great headlines here: Three boys from 3 to 6 years old ate all their salad bowl at a playdate.

Yay! Before too much of a celebration, I must make a confession: I've been truly obsessed about developing a new way of thinking about how I feed my kids. That perhaps -- following my intuition -- they trust me as a good reference for what to eat as much as they trust my suggestions for how to dress. And as many other things in life, they might think that if I think it's just no big deal for them to eat salad, they will do it. Naturally. I've been working on this change lately, so to accept that they might even like and eat what I don't, something like roe and osso bucco.

I am learning to be more open-minded with two close sources of mine: My mother-in-law and husband proudly eat and happily try anything labeled or called edible food. One of my boys goes with the same DNA. For me and somehow my older kid, things are a bit more complicated, and we love all the good-looking foods but sometimes not all greens and types of meat and foods with unusual textures. That might also run in the DNA. But I promise, at least we will try to eat that something that just doesn't look so yummy.

Before I go too deep into the troubled waters of the classic debate "nature vs. nurture," I will just share here something very, very easy: a strategy to turn "making salad" into play time. To ease our way into eating the ultimate green – aka lettuce -- I invited the kids to help me with scissors, plastic lettuce knives, a oil mister, and garlic “sprinkles.”

When I served the salad itself, I gave them the power of chopping the already-cut leaves into smaller pieces, and also the possibility of using the dressing (at the playdate we served Organic Light Balsamic form Newman's Own) and sprinkling croutons, served with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Scissors Salad

fresh bread, cut into 1/2-inch dice
olive oil
garlic powder


3 hearts Romaine lettuce, chopped in large pieces
2 cups shaved Parmesan cheese

Suggested dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons apple juice
1/2 teaspoon basil
Salt to taste

Prepare the croutons ahead of time. You can ask the kids to sprinkle the diced bread with garlic powder and spray the olive oil with the aid of a mister. Bake for about 6 minutes in a 300F pre-heated oven.

Cut lettuce leaves and dry them well. Mix the dressing. Serve the lettuce in a bowl with a pair of scissors (we used a kid's Fiskar), the dressing, croutons and cheese on the side. Have fun!

1 comment:

Myrna said...

Bravo for finding such a creative way of exposing children to greens, and making them a part of their lives. Many grown-ups are suddenly confronted with the need of eating greens for their health, and it is a real fight, because they were never used to it. It is remarkable, that while you confess not being so fond of some of the greens, you still find a great way to make your children like them. This is education in the deepest meaning, i.e., preparing children for life, enlarging their palette of foods to choose from, giving them flexibility. And you do it so creatively! The pleasure displayed by the boy while cutting his lettuce is eloquent, witnessing your success!


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