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I Refuse To Surrender To Picky Palates

(post, Heather Slater)

I am a lover of food and new recipes. Each Saturday I pour over my favorite blogs, recipe sites, magazines and cookbooks and choose meals for the upcoming week. We seldom repeat recipes. Much to my horror, my family of six celebrates when I prepare a traditional taco dinner or (gasp) a frozen pizza! It does not stop me, I bravely shop at farmers markets and butchers and avoid the boxed offerings and breaded and fried fast foods. 

Each night it can be quite a struggle to get my children to eat their vegetables. Only the baby happily eats everything I give her. Her three older brothers whine and pick at everything on their plates. 

One night as I began to prepare dinner I looked over our recipe for Salisbury Steak with a side of garlic-y green beans and mashed potatoes and groaned. I knew the poor beans would be frowned at. Why? They are fresh and one of my favorites. I got out my food processor to prepare a batch of bread crumbs and something went off in my brain. I threw in a few handfuls of the green beans and watched them turn from long and slender to tiny flecks of green. I pulled together the rest of my ingredients and made my steaks. I shaped each patty and set them one by one into my baking dish. I prepared a saucepan with equal parts fat and flour and slowly whisked in beef stock. When the gravy had thickened I seasoned it and poured it over the patties. I baked the dish in the oven at 375 for 45 minutes. While the Salisbury steaks baked I prepared the mashed potatoes and prepared the rest of the green beans in a saute pan with some garlic and olive oil. Each plate was filled with the Salisbury steaks, the mashed potatoes and gravy and TWO servings of green beans. One serving IN the meat and one serving next to it. I expected a rebellion. "What IS this green in my meat?" I waited. Nothing. Each child ate every bite of their Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and struggled to eat their visible beans. As usual I asked that their veggies be tasted and then either finished or ignored. I do not fight with children over food. I only try to provide healthy offerings and a good example. 

After dinner as I was cleaning up my seven year old desperately asked "Can we eat this EVERY day?" Really? I bit my tongue. I will not admit to the hidden beans. 

Two weeks later I prepared the same dish (a rare repeat from me) but this time I substituted peas. I waited, the peas were much more obvious this time and I knew I would be caught. Nothing? Again the children ate every bite and lovingly asked for more. 

Why do kids torture us? I hear rumors of Mothers that sneak veggies into foods and I frown. What does this teach our children? And now I have become one of them. I should be happy that the vegetables were eaten without fuss but more than anything I am just sad about the struggle. 

What do YOU do to promote healthy eating? How do you feel when fresh and fabulous vegetables are frowned at? Do YOU hide your veggies? Did I just admit surrender?

Do you want to try the recipe? 

Green Salisbury Steak (Shh!) 
1/2 sweet onion, minced 
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 cups of fresh green beans
2 pounds ground beef
4 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
24 ounces beef stock

Saute onions, and garlic in 1 tablespoon butter until translucent and set aside to cool. When cooled process the sauteed onions and garlic with the green beans. Mix beef with cooled onion/bean mixture, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, and mushrooms. Form into 4-ounce patties and place in a baking dish. In saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add flour and cook over low heat for 1 minute until combined. Begin to add stock 1/3 at a time whisking and bringing to simmer each time making sure there are no lumps. Pour gravy over patties and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.