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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Taste testing: broccoli

When I was growing up, we had at least one vegetable every night for supper.  Unfortunately I did not, and still do not, like many vegetables.  And I am embarrassed to say, that even at my age, I still involuntarily gag trying to eat some veggies.  I think it was in the 1980s that broccoli was put on the "anti-cancer diet."  My mom, a big broccoli fan, quickly fell in to the habit of feeding us broccoli several times a week.  Yuck.  If we kids dawdled too long over eating anything, we would be served a second helping.  We always had to clear our plates.  (And I bet my mom is reading this thinking "you don't have cancer do you!"  No mom I don't nor does any one else in our family.  Thanks to the broccoli??!!)

So last month, when I read Getting to YUM: The 7 Secretes of Raising Eager Eaters by Karen Le Billon, I was excited thinking "maybe I will finally learn to start liking more vegetables!"  Oh yeah, and I want my kids to eat them well.  (Tabby already does though.)  And ... for Frank to eat more too.  The author wrote, and used evidence, that repeated exposure to a food can help a person develop a taste for it.  Hmmm.  I was very skeptical when I read this because I've eat lots of "yucky foods" - besides broccoli - hundreds of times and still despise them.

However, she pointed out that when the French teach their children to like foods, they expose them to that particular food in many different forms.  Interesting.  Thinking back to my childhood I remember only eating broccoli cooked one way.  (Sometimes I was allowed to smother it with cheese, so maybe that counts as two ways.)

And, I reflected on an amazing broccoli experience I had earlier this year.  Tabby had asked me to make a recipe called "broccoli bites" from a cookbook I have called Effortless Read Food:  Taking the Kitchen Approach to Health by Wendi Michelle.  In this recipe, you mix sharp cheese with lightly steamed broccoli and them roll it into little balls and into a mixture of salt, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs.  Fry in grape seed oil.  I forced myself to try one and was surprised.  IT WAS NOT BAD!

So I knew that I could tolerate a little bit of broccoli prepared at least one way. In Getting to YUM the author states broccoli is one of the "mildest green vegetables."  (Really?!)  I decided to start our experiment in taste testing with broccoli.  I would prepare it several different ways for several days.  I would use the recipes in Getting to Yum.  We would discuss what we liked and didn't like about it.  Life happened though, and we only had two recipes.  Two more to follow this week.

First I made "George's Broccoli Puree." I managed to eat several small bites without gagging.  Frank didn't say a word and had his serious face on as he ate.  Hunter tried it and said "I don't care for this."  Solomon ate half of his without protest.  Tabby smiled with the first bite and said "YUM!  I really like it!"  She was happy to get to finish up the boys bowls of puree.

George's Broccoli Puree
The next recipe we tried was called "Mollie's Enchanted Broccoli Rainforest."  (The author of the book said that it has been proven that people like things better when they like the name.)  It was a fun sounding name.  Reactions:  same as first night, though we thought it did taste a little better than the puree.  Tabby once again ate it smiling.

Mollie's Enchanted Broccoli Rainforest
Sigh.  I was hoping for fast results.  I know, I know, that was only two tries.  Two more coming this week.  Then after that, it is time for carrot taste testing.  I am determined to expand our eating horizons!  (I know any "foodies" reading this must be shaking their heads in bewilderment!)

I thought I would share one recipe - a non-broccoli one!- that I have been obsessed with this summer.  It is from the book Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison & Pearl Barrett.  It is called "Fat Stripping Frappa" and the author's describe it as a "creamy, icy, chocolately drink."  It reminds me of a fluffy Wendi's Frosty, but not as overly sweet.  It will fill you up for hours and is a great drink for losing weight.  I don't need to lose weight but am addicted to it anyway.  :)  The recipe is on pgs. 240-41 of the book, and I have re-written it below, using the amounts of everything I use:

1 - In blender, put in 1/2 c. of milk AND 1/2 c. of water (I use our goats' milk - the authors suggest almond milk).
2 - Add:  1 heaping Tbs. cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp. glucomamman powder, 2 pinches sea salt, 1 tsp. NuStevia Pure White Stevia Extract Powder [or Truvia], and a splash of vanilla.
3 - Blend well, then add about 20 ice cubes.  (It gets really thick - I use our Vitamix and use that push down thing that came with it to get things to mix when it's on).
4 - Add 1/2 to 1 scoop of plain whey protein powder and blend again.
5 - Pour into a quart sized jar and enjoy.  YUM ....

On a non-food related note, I bought Solomon his first pair of rubber boots last week.  It was so funny seeing him learning to walk in them. (They are up to his knees so I'm sure it felt weird!) He had lots of short practice sessions one morning and then by the afternoon was walking pretty well.  Now he gets so excited to put on his rubber boots when we go outside and put ours own.  When you live on a little farm like we do, you WANT to wear boots outside.  ;)


  1. That recipe sounds DELICIOUS! Have you seen this book? She teaches you how to disguise vegetables in foods kids like to eat. I've been told you can't even taste that there are vegetables in these meals:

    1. Yes I have that cookbook! It has a lot of yummy recipes we all like. I have another set called "The Sneaky Chef." I still use some of the recipes. Thanks for leaving a comment! :)

  2. I had to laugh out loud, a REAL LOL, when I read about Bubba's serious face when taste testing your broccoli recipes!
    We were raised with the exact same foods and I love nearly ALL vegetables and he hates them.
    Sounds like fun experiments.

    1. Since he and I both struggle with liking veggies - is there any hope for our boys??!!

  3. My kids actually like broccoli and I am so thank thankful, However until recently I have allowed them to smother it in I can't believe it's not butter. After some recent research we are really changing our eating (no chemicals disguised as food) so I will have to find a new way to get them to love there broccoli:)

    1. Try real butter! Real butter is actually good for you. :)

  4. Have you tried roasting vegetables? Autumn is by far our families pickiest eater. She loves roasted broccoli. The key is cooking it just right without burning...that way it's crispy :) Just olive oil, salt and pepper on a cookie sheet roasted at 425 for 15ish min...sometimes a little less sometimes more. It should get brown for the crispies to be tasty! Eat immediately because every food is better warm :)

    1. That's so funny you mentioned roasting it! I've had several people contact me to tell me that is the only way they like it. We will try it for sure! :)