I enjoy preparing and consuming foods that are a little out of my comfort zone. I've discovered some of my favorite recipes are those which send me on a multi-store hunt for ingredients, or make me Google a new cooking term. I've cooked with herbs, cheeses, and vegetables that I would otherwise not have touched with a ten-foot fork! Some have been successes and some, well, have not.
My husband and I believe it's important for our children to leave their comfort zones, too. We ask them to try new foods, and give us their honest feedback. In doing so, I've had to learn to accept not-so-constructive criticism regarding my recipe experiments. A five-year old and two-year old give VERY honest feedback and sometimes follow that up with a disgusted face, pretend gagging, or enthusiastically tossing food to the dog! It's a good thing we always have a sunflower butter and jelly sandwich option.
A surefire way to get our girls interested in trying healthy new meals, is to ask them to help with the preparation. Kids love being in the kitchen, and take pride in sharing their kitchen creations with family and friends. I have several resources I use when our girls put on their aprons. My favorites are: Food & Family magazine, Disney's Family Cookbook, The Royal Recipe Collection (Disney Princess Cookbook), Family Fun magazine, and Taste of Home magazine/website.
My youngest daughter and I were browsing the TOH website this morning, and discovered a coloring cookbook. There are many free coloring pages available for download. Not all of them are healthy, but most of them do look tasty. My daughters are very excited to "cook" Veggie Christmas Trees (who cares it's just now September?!), and the Festive Tomato Wedges. They'll enjoy coloring the little pictures on the recipe page, and I'm excited because this means they will try herbs on tomatoes and might give cauliflower a second a chance!
I love the idea of combining coloring and cooking. A great way for kids to have fun and be adventurous in their eating habits!
Now...if only some brilliant person could figure out a way to combine the things I enjoy with foods I don't. Handbags and raisins? Oil painting and jalapenos?
If you have a favorite kid-friendly recipe or recipe source, please share! I'd love to know where you gain your inspiration.