Tag Archives: vegetables

Roasted Broccoli on the Side

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that you really want your kids to eat. It’s rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, calcium, folate, and more. These nutrients promote a healthy immune system, optimal brain function, bone health, regular blood pressure, heart health, and muscle growth.

Lucky for me, Olivia can’t get enough broccoli. She’s the only two-year-old I know who will pick through mac and cheese to eat the broccoli and leave the pasta for last. But I’m certainly not complaining! Her favorite way to eat broccoli, hands down, is roasted. The little booger will STEAL the broccoli from my plate when she’s done with her own. She can easily polish off an entire broccoli crown on her own when I cook it like this.

Something about the roasting process brings out the natural sugars and adds a nice caramelized crispness to the veggies. If your little ones normally turn their noses up to broccoli, I would give roasting it a shot!

Roasted Broccoli

2 fresh broccoli crowns
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 375°. Chop the florets off of each of the crowns and spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until browned.

To Buy or Not to Buy {Organic}: That is the Question

I try to buy organic as much as I can, but great googly moogly it can be expensive! I usually focus on  the dirty dozen when it comes to produce, and we always buy organic milk, but I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve bought organic meat. So how do you know which organic foods are worth shelling out the extra cash?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently conducted a study on organic versus conventional produce, meat, and dairy. The study concluded that there is no real nutritional difference between organic and regular foods—they have the same nutrients, minerals, vitamins, etc.; however, organic foods have been proven to contain lower levels of pesticides and other chemicals, which is especially important to small children whose brains are still developing.

When it comes to meat, the hormone and steroid levels in conventional meat were not found to be significant or very different from those found in organic meat, thought the AAP notes that the animals who provide the latter are “less likely to be contaminated with drug-resistant bacteria.” Something to think about and definitely more of an issue when it comes to red meat versus poultry.

Perhaps the most surprising part of the report (to me at least), was that the AAP found no real benefit to buying organic milk. Considering I have been shelling out around $7 or $8 a gallon for organic whole milk (about twice the price of the non-organic variety), I was shocked—and a little embarrassed considering I was the one who insisted that we only give Olivia organic milk or she would surely grow boobs by the third grade. The fear of early puberty is what made my husband cave in. Turns out, I was wrong.

At the end of the day, the AAP report concluded that the most important thing is for children to get plenty of healthy foods, organic or otherwise. As Janet Silverstein, MD, FAAP, a member of the AAP Committee on Nutrition and an author on the report, notes, “Many families have a limited food budget, and we do not want families to choose to consume smaller amounts of more expensive organic foods and thus reduce their overall intake of healthy foods like produce.”

Simple Summer Vegetable Tart

This easy tart can be made with whatever vegetables you have on hand. Because it calls for pre-made pie crust, it’s a quick, healthy weeknight fix, and it looks deceptively impressive. I recommend getting a quiche/tart pan if you want the fancy scalloped edges; plus, it makes getting the tart out so much easier because the sides lift right off. Although Olivia initially squealed “Avocado!” when I set the plate down in front of her and was not-so-pleasantly surprised to find that “avocado” was really zucchini, she seemed to like it and ate almost her full helping.

Summer Vegetable Tart

1 refrigerated pie crust, brought to room temperature
1 zucchini, sliced thin
1 yellow squash, sliced thin
1 tomato, sliced thin
15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
5 leaves of fresh basil*, chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary*, chopped
3 sprigs of fresh Italian parsley*, chopped
olive oil
goat cheese crumbles

*I used basil, rosemary, and parsley in mine because those were the fresh herbs I had out back, but you can use dried herbs as well. I’ve also used thyme, dill, and mint, but it’s really whatever you prefer.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Spray your tart or pie pan with a nonstick cooking spray. Unroll the pie crust and place it into the pan, pressing gently along the edges. Bake the shell for about 3-4 minutes, and then allow to cool for just a few minutes.

Lightly sauté the zucchini and squash with a little bit of olive oil over medium-high heat to soften the vegetables.

In a small bowl, mix together ricotta cheese and herbs, and then salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture evenly into the pie crust. Top the tart with your vegetables, placing them in a circular pattern working from the outside in, one type of vegetable at a time.

Bake the tart for about 5 minutes or until the crust begins to turn golden brown. Pull the tart out and top it with goat cheese crumbles. Continue to bake until the cheese starts to bubble and brown.