tart 3

OK, so I’ll be honest here; my kids didn’t like this the first time (or two) that we made it.  But now they love it and request it all the time.  It has all the fixin’s that kids love: crispy pastry crust, honey topping and something fried.  It isn’t a weeknight dinner since it takes a couple of steps to prepare, but that being said, it isn’t complicated, just takes a bit more time. 

It is the perfect weekend dish, served with a salad or a steak (or both!!) and I’ve served it at a brunch as well with tons of compliments.  I got the original recipe from Gourmet October 2005.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (from a 17.3-ounce package)
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 12 1/8″-thick rounds peeled butternut squash
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 thinly sliced Fresno, jalapeño, or red Thai chile
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
  • black pepper

tart1

Preparation:

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (which I didn’t have). Gently roll out 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (from a 17.3-ounce package) on a lightly floured surface to a 10″ square (just enough to even out). Transfer to prepared sheet.
    2. Brush pastry with 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water. Arrange twelve 1/8″-thick rounds peeled butternut squash (cut from squash’s neck) over pastry, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1/2″ border. Place another sheet of parchment paper over squash.  (oops!  I don’t have parchment paper so I used aluminum foil!!)  Set another large rimmed baking sheet over the tart. (This will weigh down the pastry dough and steam the squash slices.)tart2
    3. Bake until bottom of pastry begins to brown and top begins to puff, about 10 minutes.
    4. Remove top baking sheet and discard top sheet of parchment paper. Brush squash slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt. Return tart, uncovered, to oven and bake until pastry is deep golden brown and cooked through, 25-30 minutes longer.
    5. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup honey, 1 thinly sliced Fresno, jalapeño, or red Thai chile, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat (add another thinly sliced chile if more heat is desired). Boil until thickened slightly and syrupy, about 6 minutes.
    6. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet until just beginning to smoke. Add 12 fresh sage leaves; fry until crisp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain
    7. Slice tart. Arrange 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan on top; drizzle with chile-infused honey. Garnish with fried sage leaves and a few grinds of black pepper.

tart 4

 So don’t despair if they only have one bite the first time or two, keep at it and soon this will be one of your recipes on rotation!

10 tips

Here’s a list of 10 tried and true tips to being a good parent:

  1. Routine

It may not fit your lifestyle if you are used to being more spontaneous and flying by the seat of your pants before you had kids, however it is the number one way to having happier kids.  Doing more or less the same things at more or less the same time of day every day will make your children better sleepers, better eaters and better behaved.

2. Eat dinner together as a family

There is study after study about how eating dinner together as a family insulates your children from many societal ills.  Be sure to use the “no devices at the table” rule or you won’t benefit from the time together.  But this one simple thing will set your child up for life!

3.  Breathe

The best thing I ever heard as a parent is, “breathe in for a count of 5, breathe out for a count of 5”.  Not only does it calm you down, but it is a great model to help your children calm down.

4. Rotate your children’s toys

When your children have fewer toys to play with, they are more engaged and more focused.  Clean up is much, much easier and when they are bored with their toys, the ones in storage will feel like new!  Get some good storage bins (or even plastic bags) and put about half of your kid’s toys away in the garage or a closet.

5. Don’t force your kids to eat

Take all the stress away from food and eating and your children will be better and healthier eaters.  Provide them with three healthy meals a day with fruit for snack in-between meals and as long as there is at least one thing on the plate that they will eat, let them decide how much food they want.  It’s OK if they decide not to eat, or just eat the one thing that they are familiar with.  Have them take one bite of the new food even if it is a tiny bite.  It takes 20 times of trying most foods before children will eat it.

6. Carve out a little time for yourself

If you are burnt out, you won’t be much support for your children.  Taking some time for yourself doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you a good parent.  Whether it is a 5 minute walk around the block, a little meditation in the morning, or watching your favorite show while they are sleeping- just do it!

7. Teach your children problem solving skills

If your children can solve their own problems, then your life will be much easier and your children will have more success in life.  Start by identifying the problem (you both want the same toy) and then help them come up with solutions.  The more creative, the better!

8. Get outside every single day (even and especially on the worst of days)

One of my favorite quotes is “Nature is cheaper than therapy.”  Getting outside is something you can do with or without your children.  When you go outside for even a short time, your whole look on life will improve.  If you have even more time to get a walk around the block or a get out into nature, your outlook on life will increase ten-fold.  And if the weather is super rainy, cold, hot or just uncomfortable, then coming back home will be that much more enjoyable.

9. Get down on the floor (when times are good and when times are bad)

Getting down on the floor does many things:

  • It changes your perspective so that you see things from your kids point of view
  • It moves your body in ways that you aren’t used to and puts you into a mood to have fun
  • If tempers are flaring, it lowers the anxiety level of your children (Seriously. Try this- they immediately calm down)
  • It puts you on the same level as your child which increases connection and decreases power imbalance

10. Give your kiddos a hug every single day

This one is a no-brainer, but somehow I still seem to forget!

 

 

dinner

My boys are three.   It can be a tough age and it can be a wonderful age.

Tonight for dinner, I made zucchini pancakes which is essentially zucchini latkes (zucchini, onions, eggs, and carrots fried in oil).  YUM!  My boys didn’t want any. 

I said, “Okey, dokey.  You don’t have to eat.”

At one point during dinner, they tried to get my attention and my husband’s attention and we said, “We are eating now, we can look at it when we are all done eating.”

They were so stumped, that they played quietly the whole rest of the meal.

There was no yelling from us.  There was no cajoling or negotiating from anyone.

There was no fussing from the boys.

It was really pleasant!

We took a bath after dinner (or our dinner since they didn’t eat).

We brushed teeth and read stories.  At one point, one of the boys realized that he really wasn’t going to get dinner and he cried for a minute.  But I kept repeating, “Of course you can have dinner tomorrow night at dinner time!  I would love for you to eat with us!” (You may hear sarcasm in my voice as you read it, but when I was telling it to my son, I had true empathy in my voice).

Then they went to sleep and they will eat well tomorrow.  It was a really pleasant evening.

One of parent’s biggest fears is if their kids are getting enough food and it starts when they are infants when it is a legitimate fear.   Little itty-bitties do need to get enough sustenance, but as children get older, it isn’t as important that they eat every single meal.

It’s ok if they don’t eat dinner.

Check with your pediatrician to make sure that you are on the same page, and if she gives you the go ahead, tell your child, “you don’t have to eat.”


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picky-eater

The thing I love most about working with parents, families and children is discipline, but nutrition comes in a very close second.

I was a super picky eater.  Super picky.  I ate potatoes, pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cereal growing up. 

I have two boys.  They shared the same food in my uterus (at least that is how I imagine it) and they shared the same flavors and substances while breast feeding.  So I was surprised when at 6 months, one of them ate everything in sight and then other one bunched his face up in disgust and spit most food out.  

But here’s the thing- they are both three now and neither one is picky.  I have to add that they aren’t very open to much when we are out and about because they really don’t know what they are getting in to, but at home, they will take at least one bite of everything and they both love a huge variety of foods including kale, elk steak, salmon, red peppers, spinach, quinoa, spicy foods, etc etc.

So if your child is picky right now, that does not mean that they are a picky eater.  ALL children are picky eaters at some point in their life!

There are two things that you can do today to help your child stop being picky.  

1) Don’t refer to them as picky eaters.  

They are not.  

They are either going through a phase where either they aren’t that hungry (It happens. Kids can go days without eating much.  Just check with your pediatrician if you are worried.  I do.  All the time.)  

Or they are going through a phase of being distrustful of food.  This comes from our ancestors since things that we put in our mouths can kill us.  Children are wired to be distrustful of food once they are more mobile and independent.  This is to keep our species alive so that little one doesn’t put a poisonous plant (á la Into the Wild) in their mouths while mama is starting a fire to cook the meat that papa brought home from the hunt.  So don’t think that you are a bad parent when your child refuses food.  That is actually their job.  So just keep offering and eventually they will eat it!



2) Be relaxed about food and eating.  

They don’t have to eat if they don’t want to.  We try and force our kids to eat because we remember the days when they were infants and they needed a certain amount of food in order to sleep.  

Toddlers are not like that.  If your pediatrician says that there isn’t any reason to force food, then don’t.   Offer three meals per day and one or two healthy snacks in between meals and then forget about it.   Don’t offer food while they are distracted.  Don’t have them carry around food hoping that they will eat.  Don’t keep offering different things hoping that one of them will stick.  Don’t give them something right before they go to bed if they don’t eat dinner. Don’t worry about how much they eat.  Children will regulate their nutrition without any adult interaction, if we just offer three healthy meals and one or two snacks per day and that is it.  


My family loves the following recipe.  We serve it with elk steak.  My boys have loved and eaten sweet potatoes from day one which allows them to try other parts of the salad.  Make sure if you serve something new (which you should do at least once per week!) that something else on the plate is well-liked.

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon tamari
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Juice of 1/2 orange

1 cup diced sweet potato
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 bunch braised kale

1) Whisk first 6 ingredients, set aside
2)Place sweet potatoes in a steamer with water and steam until soft
3) Mix everything together and serve


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