Tag: picky eater

The Recipe That Got My Husband to Like Green Beans

IMG_6333

Everyone dislikes certain foods.

For me, it’s olives.

My friend Sam loves olives and would probably put them on just about everything if she could.

I’m just not a fan.

I even lived in Spain when I was in college, and Spain is THE place for olives.

I remember one meal in particular that my Spanish host family served me – a tuna fish, olive, and hard-boiled egg salad.

At the time, those three foods by themselves were a no-go, so the trifecta totally grossed me out.

But I had to at least TRY it because it’s rude not to in Spain (even if you’re 100% sure you won’t like it). After forcing down one nausea-inducing bite, I smiled and politely said, “It’s not my favorite” and was off the hook for the evening. Phew!

For my husband, Bill, that “thanks, but no thanks” food was green beans. 

Until tonight.

IMG_6319

Sometimes, the reason we don’t like certain foods is because we’ve only had them prepared in ways that doesn’t make them taste very good.

When most people think of green beans, for instance, images of the precut, brownish-green, mushy beans that come in a can and are then boiled to death come to mind.

Maybe you’ve only ever had canned vegetables and have never tried those same vegetable prepared a different way – roasted, sauteed, or tossed into a chili or stew.

Consider giving them a second chance…like Bill did!

To put it bluntly, we housed this recipe. We couldn’t stop eating them. They were that good.

Cooked “al dente” (AKA still crispy and brightly colored!), the green beans were tossed in a mixture of garlic, lemon, slivered almonds and a touch of sea salt. They were downright addictive.

We were licking the bowl clean, scraping up the last bits of crunchy slivered almonds before finally putting the bare dish in the sink.

My husband is a green-bean-hater no more. Mission accomplished!

Garlicky Green Beans Almondine with Lemon

IMG_6334

Ingredients

  • Equal parts water and vegetable broth (see step 1 below)
  • 2 pounds green beans, ends cut off
  • 3/4 cup slivered raw almonds
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled & minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil (The original recipe called for cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, which you could also use. I use coconut oil because it holds up better than olive oil when it’s heated.)
  • ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • sea salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Fill a large stock pot with half water, half vegetable broth and bring it to a boil. Make sure the amount of water/broth is at least twice as much as the amount of beans you intend to cook.
  2. Gently blanch the green beans (cook them in the boiling liquid for about 3 minutes until just al dente (brightly colored and crisp)). Drain beans in ice cold water (or put them in a bowl containing an ice water bath and set aside). This stops the cooking process.
  3. In a wok or large deep frying pan, heat the oil and garlic on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Don’t let the garlic brown.
  4. Add in the almonds and stir for about a minute. Then mix in the lemon juice and finely grated lemon zest.
  5. Add the cooked beans to the stir fry mixture and toss to combine and coat. Add salt to taste (I added about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of sea salt).
  6. Top the beans with additional lemon zest, if you prefer.

For more information about WHY green beans are so good for us (including building strong bones, filling us up, and being an anti-fat storage anti-cancer GBOMBS food according to Dr. Fuhrman) click here.

The recipe above is a variation of this recipe from Healthy Blender Girl.

Green Goddess Guacamole!

Think of a food you dislike.

Maybe you’ve tried it before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, you know you don’t like it, and there’s no way anyone can get you to try it…right?

Until about 4 years ago, guacamole was one of those foods for me. Why? Because I was CONVINCED that guacamole had mayonnaise in it…and I’ve always disliked mayonnaise.

One day at work, we had a healthy cooking demo taught by a health coach like me, and we were learning to make none other than…guacamole!  I had all but made up my mind that I wasn’t going to try it.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long before I realized that it was NOT made with mayonnaise and that everyone else was trying it, so…

I gave in to peer pressure and was shocked to find out I LOVED IT!

What had I been missing??

Ever since that day, I’ve been an avocado and guacamole lover.

Delicious, fresh, and seasonal ingredients for this delicious guac!

Delicious, fresh, and seasonal ingredients for this delicious guac!

Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat AND are known as a beauty detox food. Here are just a few of their awesome health benefits:

  • Heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals promote moisturizing from the inside, which means healthy, smooth, radiant skin (a true beauty food!)
  • The healthy fat helps our bodies better absorb antioxidants from other fruits and veggies
  • The antioxidant they contain – glutathione – is a powerful cancer-fighter
  • The combo of good fat and fiber helps control blood sugar

My favorite ways to use avocados are in dips, soups, desserts, mixed in to salads, and (of course!) in guacamole. I found a super simple recipe that used a slightly different combo of ingredients than the usual ones, so I thought I would test it out.

Two of the other ingredients in this guac – cilantro and scallions (AKA green onions) – are also great for you. Cilantro helps the body detoxify and onions are one of the top anti-cancer GBOMBS foods, so enjoy them all you want!

Green Goddess Guacamole

Creamy guacamole goodness

Creamy guacamole goodness

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados, seeded and peeled (here’s how to cut and peel an avocado)
  • 1 tablespoon FRESH lime juice (don’t sub the bottled kind)
  • 3-4 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced (also called scallions)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mash with a fork or potato masher until you reach your desired consistency. We like ours to be a bit chunky, so we don’t mash it too much.

We love dipping fresh veggies like carrots, cucumber, celery, red peppers, and sugar snap peas into our guac, along with these tortilla chips!

Super Simple Curry Roasted Potatoes

For most of my life, I ate a pretty bland diet.

Sauces, spices, and condiments? No, thank you. I will have it “plain.”

“Plain” was safe, familiar, predictable.

My seasonings of choice were, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray, parmesan cheese, and black pepper…and maybe a pinch of oregano or basil every now and then. That was it.

As I’ve gotten more comfortable exploring new foods, I’ve been exposed to dozens of flavors and tastes that I never knew existed. Food used to be boring, but now it’s exciting and filled with variety!

One of the cuisines that I resisted eating until very recently was Indian food.

I did what I had done many times before and made up my mind that I didn’t like Indian food, even though I had never tried it. I made the assumption that all Indian food was spicy and the funky colors and strange-looking dishes were not appealing to me as a picky eater.

I had no idea what I was missing!

Though it likely started as a combination of ginger, turmeric and garlic, the origin of a signature Indian spice blend, curry, has been traced back thousands of years to the Indus Valley Civilization in modern-day India. Most likely rooted in the South Indian term for sauce (kari), British traders adopted the more familiar word curry to categorize these spice blends. It has evolved and been adopted by other cultures since then.

curry

Curry spice blends vary widely, depending on which region they’re from and based on people’s personal tastes, but some of the most common ingredients include turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, coriander, and cinnamon. Other varieties include cayenne pepper, cumin, mustard seed, and cardamom.

Many of these spices are highly anti-inflammatory, and many health experts agree that inflammation is at the core of a lot of disease and our struggles to lose weight. In addition, curry is full of warming spices, so it’s perfect for this cold weather we’ve been having.

After learning which spices were actually in curry (and realizing that I liked all of them), I’ve been on a huge curry kick, adding it to recipes to completely change the way they taste. You can find curry powder in the spice aisle at your grocery store. Bill and I are absolutely loving it!

We used the red potatoes and onions we got from our weekly delivery of produce and made curry roasted potatoes and onions. This recipe is so simple and delicious, it will become a staple at our house.

Curry Roasted Potatoes & Onions

IMG_2796

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Let stand, tossing occasionally, for 15 minutes so flavors can be absorbed.
  3. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet (I used parchment paper, so they wouldn’t stick).
  4. Toss every 15 minutes for even browning and to prevent burning.
  5. Bake potatoes and onions until golden brown, 30–35 minutes.

Want to change it up? Try subbing in sweet potatoes or cauliflower florets instead of red potatoes!

What's Your Eggplant? Confessions of a Picky Eater

I haven’t always eaten this way.

Kale, millet, hemp seeds, quinoa, tahini, coconut oil, kombu, adzuki beans, cacao. 

What do all of those foods have in common? Well, I had no idea what they were for most of my life and would have refused to try any of them 10 years ago, but they have become staples in my diet.

I grew up enjoying the typical foods that many of us loved as kids – Kraft Mac & Cheese, Beefaroni, Spaghettios, Rice-a-Roni, Doritos (Cool Ranch, anyone?), Cheetos, Little Debbie cakes, Gushers, Fruit Roll-ups, Funyuns, Bugles, chicken fingers (BK > McDonald’s), hot dogs, yogurt, and, who can forget, pizza?

book it

Pizza Hut had it down – read lots of books, get free pizza. Well, I read a lot of books as a kid…so, I ate lots of pan pizza. Mmmm. The Book-It Program was my friend.

As a general rule, I avoided unfamiliar foods and was very picky.

To put it simply, I didn’t eat salads, soups, sandwiches (ok, except grilled cheese), seafood, sauces, or “weird” vegetables like eggplant, cabbage, or asparagus. Which left me with…well, the list above….and buttered egg noodles (with parmesan cheese, of course!). I did like certain cooked veggies, and I’ve always loved fruit…and plain chicken. Other than that, I didn’t exactly have a ton of variety in my diet.

I hit a turning point in 2004, my junior year of college, when I decided to study abroad in Granada, Spain.

What gave me the most anxiety about going abroad?

Not the travel, being away from home for 4 months, or fitting in with my host family…it was the food. I was terrified of trying new food.

IMG_0674

I read a book called Spain Is Different before leaving, and one of the things the author said was it was rude to reject food, even if you didn’t think you would like it. You HAD to at least try it and then say, “It’s not my favorite.”

Oh no. Bad news for the picky eater.

One night at dinner, my host mom, Matilde, put a dish in front of me. It looked kind of like thicker fried potato or squash slices, but I knew it wasn’t. I asked her what it was, and she told me, but speaking very little Spanish, I had no idea what she said. 

I hesitantly but bravely tried it…I had never tasted the flavors before, but I LIKED it. I was excited about my revelation but still curious about what I had just consumed.

After dinner, I went to my room and consulted my Spanish dictionary to find out what I had just eaten…I looked up “berenjena.” Shock overcame me as I read the definition…eggplant. Eggplant?! But I HATED eggplant…didn’t I?

That was a turning point in my picky eating tendency.

As I opened myself up to trying new foods, I realized I had written off so many that were actually delicious. While in Spain, I was introduced to lentils, fish, calamari, and other tasty food and am now a huge fan.

I’m really into lentils right now and just made this rich, hearty and yummy lentil chili last week (SO good!). Lentils are an awesome protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral source. They fill me up more than almost any other food…AND they are super cheap!

The transition to an unprocessed, unrefined whole food way of eating takes time and happens gradually.  But we have to be willing to at least TRY new things – to open ourselves up to the possibility that we might actually like them.

IMG_2659

If I had continued believing guacamole had mayonnaise in it (seriously, I believed this until about 3 years ago…until I saw someone actually make it), then I never would have grown to LOVE it (and avocados!) as much as I do today. I had to be willing to let go of my longstanding beliefs.

So, what’s your eggplant?

The next time you go to the grocery store, commit to picking out ONE healthy food (maybe a fruit, veggie, bean, nut, seed or grain?) that you have never tried before or have been hesitant to try.

A friend just messaged me the other day and said, “I bought some kale today. What do I do with it? Lol.” Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place! 

Feel free to post below in the comment section and let me know if you try something new. I would love to hear from you!

What’s Your Eggplant? Confessions of a Picky Eater

I haven’t always eaten this way.

Kale, millet, hemp seeds, quinoa, tahini, coconut oil, kombu, adzuki beans, cacao. 

What do all of those foods have in common? Well, I had no idea what they were for most of my life and would have refused to try any of them 10 years ago, but they have become staples in my diet.

I grew up enjoying the typical foods that many of us loved as kids – Kraft Mac & Cheese, Beefaroni, Spaghettios, Rice-a-Roni, Doritos (Cool Ranch, anyone?), Cheetos, Little Debbie cakes, Gushers, Fruit Roll-ups, Funyuns, Bugles, chicken fingers (BK > McDonald’s), hot dogs, yogurt, and, who can forget, pizza?

book it

Pizza Hut had it down – read lots of books, get free pizza. Well, I read a lot of books as a kid…so, I ate lots of pan pizza. Mmmm. The Book-It Program was my friend.

As a general rule, I avoided unfamiliar foods and was very picky.

To put it simply, I didn’t eat salads, soups, sandwiches (ok, except grilled cheese), seafood, sauces, or “weird” vegetables like eggplant, cabbage, or asparagus. Which left me with…well, the list above….and buttered egg noodles (with parmesan cheese, of course!). I did like certain cooked veggies, and I’ve always loved fruit…and plain chicken. Other than that, I didn’t exactly have a ton of variety in my diet.

I hit a turning point in 2004, my junior year of college, when I decided to study abroad in Granada, Spain.

What gave me the most anxiety about going abroad?

Not the travel, being away from home for 4 months, or fitting in with my host family…it was the food. I was terrified of trying new food.

IMG_0674

I read a book called Spain Is Different before leaving, and one of the things the author said was it was rude to reject food, even if you didn’t think you would like it. You HAD to at least try it and then say, “It’s not my favorite.”

Oh no. Bad news for the picky eater.

One night at dinner, my host mom, Matilde, put a dish in front of me. It looked kind of like thicker fried potato or squash slices, but I knew it wasn’t. I asked her what it was, and she told me, but speaking very little Spanish, I had no idea what she said. 

I hesitantly but bravely tried it…I had never tasted the flavors before, but I LIKED it. I was excited about my revelation but still curious about what I had just consumed.

After dinner, I went to my room and consulted my Spanish dictionary to find out what I had just eaten…I looked up “berenjena.” Shock overcame me as I read the definition…eggplant. Eggplant?! But I HATED eggplant…didn’t I?

That was a turning point in my picky eating tendency.

As I opened myself up to trying new foods, I realized I had written off so many that were actually delicious. While in Spain, I was introduced to lentils, fish, calamari, and other tasty food and am now a huge fan.

I’m really into lentils right now and just made this rich, hearty and yummy lentil chili last week (SO good!). Lentils are an awesome protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral source. They fill me up more than almost any other food…AND they are super cheap!

The transition to an unprocessed, unrefined whole food way of eating takes time and happens gradually.  But we have to be willing to at least TRY new things – to open ourselves up to the possibility that we might actually like them.

IMG_2659

If I had continued believing guacamole had mayonnaise in it (seriously, I believed this until about 3 years ago…until I saw someone actually make it), then I never would have grown to LOVE it (and avocados!) as much as I do today. I had to be willing to let go of my longstanding beliefs.

So, what’s your eggplant?

The next time you go to the grocery store, commit to picking out ONE healthy food (maybe a fruit, veggie, bean, nut, seed or grain?) that you have never tried before or have been hesitant to try.

A friend just messaged me the other day and said, “I bought some kale today. What do I do with it? Lol.” Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place! 

Feel free to post below in the comment section and let me know if you try something new. I would love to hear from you!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: