Cooking

As most parents have struggled with picky eaters from time to time, I feel like for the first time that my boys are finally coming around to trying new things! Granted, I’m not giving them a lot of choices, as I’ve explained that they don’t have to eat it all, but they have to at least try everything that we make on the weekends.

And the funny thing, is that they are starting to really open and broaden their food palates. And yes, I’m talking about 6 year old children having a broad food palate, but I want to do the opposite of what my parents did for me. Did they expose me to foods, yes, but they also didn’t have me try new things either. My mom, who I love dearly, would just make me a  burger if I didn’t want to try something.

Growing up in a rural area my parents were not exposed to certain types of foods and neither were their parents, my grandparents. Doesn’t make it wrong, it is just a reality. But when I was old enough and went out on my own, I tried  new things. I feel in LOVE with Tex Mex when I lived in Houston, Texas for 7 years. Breakfast Burritos are life changing kids. My point is, it took getting away from my environment and comfort zone and forcing myself to try new things.

As a parent, I have encouraged the boys not to be picky eaters and to at least try new foods. In doing so, they have realized that they too like things that test their palates. This weekend, they will be trying a skirt steak and shrimp with a chimichurri sauce. And yes, for dessert, there will be creme brulee. How many 6 year olds BEG for creme brulee?  How many 6 year olds try chimichurri sauce? Probably not many, heck, I think that I had my mom try it for the first time her last visit to see the boys.

As parents, it is our job to provide an outlet or at least an experience to try new foods. And hopefully, if you too can get your kids to try new foods and to be less picky eaters, you can expand their food palates too.

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Fast food is just that, fast and quick on the go food and growing up, I remember being able to get fast food once a week, usually on Wednesday night on the way to church. But as I grew older, I realized, that fast food, is not really 1) good or 2) healthy.

Now that the boys are getting older, they are aware of fast food options and they love them! They love the colorful boxes and they love that they can get toys. And who doesn’t love french fries, heck, I’m having some today for lunch but they aren’t healthy for me. But it hit me this morning, I have to take better care of myself, so that I can take better care of my kids.

Several years ago, I was forced to learn how to cook and ever since, cooking has been my release of life. But, what I have realized is that the boys are watching how I cook and they are becoming more and more interested in cooking. And not only that, they are realizing that what we are cooking at home, is better than the fast food that they so liked. Each week, as I prepare our family weekly meal for my Sunday all day cook, I try to introduce a new vegetable and meat dish. I really want to try to expand the boys eating habits and palates, so that as they grow up, they look at fast food as one thing, a last resort on a road trip.

Here are a few kid friendly recipe places, so that you can try a few new dishes for you and your family.

Foodnetwork – Foods for Kids

Healthy Child

Allrecipes.com – Kid Friendly

Cooking Light – Super fast and Kid Friendly

So when planning your next meals, think about a healthy alternative before fast food.

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My obsession has quickly become my passion.

I’ve been working in Digital Marketing and Web Development for over 15 years now and I have literally written code with my eyes closed. Yes, everyday creates a new change and everyday some new technique or skill comes out to try. But it is just that, something that I’ve been doing for 15 years now. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy what I do and I am very fortunate to have worked my way up in this industry and to have gotten to grow my career and implement a lot of changes for the organizations that I have been a part of. But, when watching Chef, this clip hit me hard:


When my mother in law died, I had two choices, learn how to cook or starve and that wasn’t really an option so I started asking questions of my mom and then I remembered my days in Texas and how much I loved grilling and smoking food. And I started off small and I talked with my Mom about her spaghetti recipe and I made that and realized that my mom was not the right person to ask for cooking advice. I started making the spaghetti recipe once a week and then I perfected it to a point, that I could make spaghetti almost the same each time and not look at the recipe. And while I was starting at the basics of spaghetti, I remembered how much I loved to be outside and grill. In church one Sunday, my wife’s grandmother asked if I wanted her Weber Grill, which might lead to one of the most honest responses in the United Methodist Church, which was a simple AMEN!

So, fast forward a few years and my obsession of cooking has become my passion.  My days of traveling to and from work now are often spent talking cooking and food with friends and giving them suggestions or ideas for recipes. I am often asked now to smoke or grill food for co-workers and when they want me to try new recipes. I am talking with chefs on a more regular basis to gain ideas, learn new techniques, pick their brains on pairings of beers and foods, seasoning of food and things of that nature.  And the importance of the clip above, is showing how excited he was and how he was expressing his creativity, something that I can relate, because when I cook, I get to use my creativity side. In my job, I am the least creative person that I know.

What I have found, is that as I learn more, my obsession continues to increase. My obsession for cooking has become a creative passion that I have never experienced before.  And not only has this obsession taking a life of its own, it has created an opportunity to show and teach my sons. Not only am I teaching them about cooking and exposing them to differently flavors and types and styles of foods, I’m bonding with them and spending time with them. So my obsession is just as much about spending time with them as anything. The boys know that on Sunday, we goto church, get coffee and donuts and the come home and spend the day at either the grill or the smoker.

While I am teaching the boys how to cook, I get to laugh and joke around with them. Teach them about the importance of food safety, but also the time that we are spending together and doing something that we love. Growing up, I didn’t have this type of relationship with my father, we do now, but not then. I didn’t spend a lot of time with him and know that every Sunday or Saturday or both days, that we would be outside cooking. I didn’t have him teaching me about things that he was passionate about. And my hope, is that as this obsession, not only mine, but the obsession that my sons are having with learning more about cooking grows, that they will share these same things with their children when they have them.

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Most Sunday’s I can be found in the kitchen and today was no different. On the menu for today’s sunday cooking is spaghetti sauce, marina sauce, pizza sauce, grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, grilled yellow fin tuna and grilled vegetables.

My wife and I have focused on trying to preparw as many meals as possible on Sunday as we can. It has even gotten to the point that we are cooking for weeks in advance. I am really focused on cooking as many different things as I can as I want to expose the boys to as many different foods as I can.

So as many enjoy their Sunday day, we have sunday cooking day. And i have started getting the boys involved and helping me cooking.

#foodporn

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As you can gather, I love cooking and it is something that I use to hate. I find it as a my way to relax and unwind from the day.
I have been making my own pizza now for a year or so and the boys go crazy when they see it. Now, I don’t give them any of mine, because I do add a fair amount of Cayenne pepper in mine. But I got thinking, why not make them mini pizzas?

So, I figured out a quick recipe and off we went into the oven. I was not sure how the boys were going to react, but I took some pizza dough that I made and then some homemade pizza sauce, minus the cayenne and just added some cheese and a cut up some pepperoni and then I was done. My biggest regret is that I didn’t take photos because the boys ate their mini pizzas in no time.

Well, looks like I’ve found a new recipe that the boys not only like, but that is not terribly unhealthy and who doesn’t love pizza?

 

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Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking on the weekend for the week. And this week, with the weather turning a little warmer, I thought that I would fire up the smoker. So this weekends menu will be as follows:

Saturday – smoke a turkey and sausage links. This will be a 6 hour smoke, using hickory wood, so this will also give me time to whip up some homemade BBQ sauce as well.
Sunday – I found this recipe for Slow Cooker Bacon-Wrapped Apple BBQ that really peeked my interest. Since I will only be cooking 4 pieces of chicken, I’ll probably make some Chicken Enchiladas too.

So what are you cooking this weekend? Next week, I’ll share with you the recipes that I’ve been using for homemade pizza.

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To keep up with the 52 week challenge, I found this recipe for Chicken Wings and made a few minor modifications. But this will definitely be in the rotation for food, starting again this weekend for the Super Bowl.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

Buffalo Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup hot pepper sauce (such as Frank’s)

Wings

  • 5 pounds chicken wings, tips removed, drumettes and flats separated
    NOTE: Instead of wings, I used chicken tenders
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
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We are in the middle of winter and there is nothing better than comfort food to help keep you warm.  So another simple recipe that we like to make, that usually makes about 4 meals is an easy Pot Roast.  So here is our simple crock pot recipe for Pot Roast

1 Pot Roast (we used a 3lbs Pot Roast)
6 red potatoes
1 medium onion
1 package of dry onion mix
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup

Cook for 7 – 9 hours  in the crock pot and that is it.

Feel free to check out other recipes here.

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