Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On trust and patience, & a sausage vegetable bake



Work deadlines, 45 minute tantrums, a botched recipe, piles of mail to go through.  Balancing self-care and being present with the ones I love. Otherwise called Sunday.

How to get through it? With grace hopefully? A work in progress, surely. But something clicked for me at one point these past few months. An understanding, a new synapse connection (or something) that’s been helping me for the small, and the big stuff of life.

The link between trust and patience.

This has been so all-encompassing for me, I can see its applications in all areas of my life. If we trust, truly trust, have that faith, that things will “work out” even if we don’t know how or when (and ultimately we shouldn't be too concerned with the how or when, and focus on enjoying the journey and process of our lives). Just the profound knowledge we are capable (good enough, smart enough, deserving enough, fill-in- the-blank enough...). Of failing and learning and thriving (repeat as necessary), and so are our children.

This profound trust can be incredibly hard, we must let go of control, we must be accepting and open-minded, we must acknowledge and demystify our fears, rend them powerless. We must leave anxiety and guilt behind.

Yeah, profound trust is a heck of a lot of work, for a lot of us anyway. No wonder I’m feeling tired! ;-)

But this trust has a precious gift for us as well: it gives us patience, and compassion (for ourselves and others).

Because I trust that my son will develop, and struggle, and learn, and make all the right and wrong decisions that will help him grow and live life fully, I’m able to feel compassion for him and stay steady with him as he struggles (for 45 minutes...) with his feelings of anger and frustration, his desire for independence against his need for a safety net. I can be his rock, empathetic, patient, kind and safe.

Because I trust my son knows what his body needs and he’s capable of eating all kinds of foods, and enjoying a family meal, and in the long run, I have trust in his ability to enjoy good food, I’m not worried if he eats less at one meal, rejects a certain food, or tests me about getting up from his chair mid-meal. I can set my boundaries and feel patient with it.

If I trust my ability to get through hardships and struggles, I will feel more compassion and patience for myself and my own process.

Don’t get me wrong, this is HARD. Terribly hard in some areas for me. But it is a guideline, something to strive for. I don't feel so lost. Just moving forward on an uphill path. Oddly enough, I suppose because of the role of food in my upbringing and cultural environment as a child, food is one area where I had it naturally. This trust. When first feeding Pablo solids, it didn't occur to me he wouldn't like vegetables or have issues with eating. I trusted he would taste things, enjoy good food, and good meals, and ultimately "get it". That left me to enjoy the process, the fun of the food discovery, of the “education of taste”, and to learn and be infinitely interested in that process and its meanderings. Which in turn got Pablo even more eager and interested and engaged in the process, by model.

Trust and patience. Present and future. Self-care and compassion. A sense of worthiness and accepting our struggles and vulnerability. It’s all the same yin and yang. And it feels like a key to me...  to so many lovely gardens to open, explore and grow.

Real food for thought.


Speaking of real food, I thought you might enjoy this very simple, delicious and seasonal meal. It's full of flavor and the sage brings great subtlety to it... And since I couldn't be here last week, I'll hit you with a FFB Trifecta: my ramblings, a recipe AND the week's menu (scroll down below for that) ;-)




Roasted sausages with apples & onions

Adapted from Petits Plats Familiaux

Serves 4 people

Prep time: 15 mn
Cook time: 45 mn

Age for babies: 8-10 months, cut up small as finger food (skip the honey for a child under 12 months)

3 red onions
3 apples
1 bunch of small new carrots (1/2 pound or so)
3 Yukon potatoes
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
6 large sausages (either Bratwurst or I used Irish bangers)
6 sprigs of sage
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 tbsp honey
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven at 400°F.

Prep all the ingredients: Peel and quarter the onions, peel, core and cut the apples (in about six pieces), peel the carrots, peel and dice the potatoes, cut the sausages in half. Wash and finely mince the sage and rosemary leaves.

In a large bowl, mix the coconut oil, olive oil, and minced herbs (setting a tbsp of herbs aside). Add in the onions, apples, carrots and potatoes and toss so they are well coated. Add salt (about 1/2 tsp or to taste) and pepper.

Place the coated vegetables in a baking dish. Place the pieces of sausage throughout. Sprinkle with the remaining minced herbs.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden and potatoes are soft to the knife. (If you use a metal baking dish, it might cook faster, keep an eye on it.)

When you take the dish out of the oven, drizzle with honey, mix and serve. 




And now for good measure, the week's menu...

Cheeses of the week: Following French tradition, I always offer a little bit of cheese at the end of every meal, between the main course and dessert. Rotation this week: Raw cheddar (cow), goat brie, Italian blue, Petit Basque (sheep's milk).

Desserts: At lunch, I offer a fruit yogurt (or plain yogurt with fresh fruit), but at night, I prefer sticking to plain yogurt (regular homemade* whole milk, sheep’s milk, goat's milk and Greek yogurt for extra protein) to avoid too much sugar before bedtime.


MONDAY

Pablo's Lunchbox: 
Green asparagus tips, winter vegetable galette, ham, Petit Basque cheese, apple


Goûter (4pm snack) – Tangerine

Dinner
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Baby artichokes roasted with lemon, herbs and olive oil
Main course:  Herbed lamb meatballs in coconut milk with quinoa

TUESDAY

Pablo's Lunchbox:
Yellow and green beans salad, smoked salmon with tzatziki, quinoa, goat gouda, tangerine

Goûter - Pear

Dinner
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Golden beet rainbow chard goat cheese salad
Main course: Crockpot oxtails braised in coconut milk, jasmine rice

WEDNESDAY

Lunch 
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Avocado with vinaigrette, French breakfast radishes
Main course: Fresh mushroom ravioli with tomatoes and feta on top

Goûter – Mango

Dinner
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Roasted cherry tomatoes with vanilla and rosemary
Main course: Pea, ham, Boursin clafoutis*, endive salad

THURSDAY

Lunch
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Watermelon radish (with butter and salt)
Main course: Pea sardine tartines

Goûter - Kiwi

Dinner
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Spinach broccoli sorrel soup
Main course: Turkey breasts and vegetables in coconut milk*

FRIDAY

Pablo's Lunchbox: 
Savory herb (dill & chives) bread, hard boiled egg, tzatziki, bell pepper feta salad, gruyère, blackberries

Goûter - Tangerine

Dinner 
Appetizer / Finger FoodsPea & herb salad
Main course: Baked creamy sole filets over leeks and carrots*

SATURDAY

Lunch out

Goûter - Apple turnover

Dinner
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Celeriac, Beet & radish greens soup
Main course: Roasted Pork tenderloin in creamy mustard sauce


SUNDAY

Lunch 
Appetizer / Finger FoodsFrench-style grated carrots
Main course: Prosciutto mushroom comté tartine

Goûter - Strawberries

Dinner
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Boiled zucchini (cold) with mint vinaigrette
Main course: Roasted chicken with caramelized onions and blue potatoes











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14 comments:

  1. Could you PLEASE share your recipes for the mint vinaigrette and for the tzatziki?
    Also, do you have a preferred recipe for the basic French yogurt cake? I've tried several, but figured you would probably know a fantastic one. :)
    Thanks so much!

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    Replies
    1. Hi there. Mint vinaigrette is just 1 part red wine vinegar, 3 part olive oil (maybe 1/2 part walnut oil), 1/2 tsp mustard, and minced mint leaves (6-7). The Tzatziki I actually buy already made either at a Greek stand at the Farmer's market or at Trader Joe's. I'll have to make it some time soon. The French yogurt cake recipe is usually pretty basic (though it has 100 variations): 1 part yogurt (whole milk plain), 1/2 oil, 2 parts sugar, 3 parts flour + 2 eggs and baking powder. You can add vanilla or lemon zest. I haven't made it in a while, I've made the 4 quarts (equal parts sugar, flour, eggs, butter) - pound cake basically - which is great too, perfect for young toddlers. Hope this helps :-)

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  2. Food looks amazing, but what I really enjoyed about this post (and all your posts) is the bit at the start. Love your musings; they calm me and make me feel like life's all good :) It's valentine's day, a day for loving– anyone, babies, friends, family, dogs, so here's wishing you a very happy v day and some time off to yourself maybe xx

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  3. New reader but very much enjoying your approach. Out of curiosity, what do you do for Pablo's breakfasts?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lily and welcome :-) Breakfasts are usually berries, plain greek yogurt with jam or honey, some cereal (oatmeal or granola), and some bread (cereal or whole grains) and butter. Sometimes sausages. We tend to be creatures of habits when it comes to breakfast... :-)

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  4. Yes! I was dealing with trust this week as well !
    trusting in your path does produce less worrying about the unnecessaries ..thank you for that observation!

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  5. Hi. I'm a new reader and totally hooked. I read FKEE and found your blog through your guest post. I am an American mom to two girls ages 3, and 13 months. There is such a learning curve here that I am just really not sure where to start? I realized my husband and I really need a wake up call and this was it. Questions for you so far: 1) How do I make yogurt myself? 2) Is the gouter really just a small fruit snack and then dessert is kind of another version of the gouter? I did some research and Nutella and bread came up a lot! 3) If you can't do dinner that late what changes would you recommend? My husband comes home at 5 and wants to eat at 5:30. I'm thinking of giving girls a gouter at 3pm? What about portion sizes of each of the courses? THank you for your site and explaining all this. I am really really amazed at how little information is given to mom's here in the US about feeding babies. I pretty much stopped after peas and carrots with my girls. I was fearful. All of this is out of my own very limited experiences with food. I'm thinking about it more and more and I think there the food industry makes us think that cooking a vegetable is harder than opening a box of dinner/meal. Please continue to take away all the mystery about cooking! CC in VA

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    Replies
    1. Hi there, and welcome! Thrilled you're finding the site helpful. To answer your questions: 1/ I use a yogurt maker (it's in my Amazon Store, link on the right column, if you want to take a look), really simple for the European style plain yogurt, you need whole milk and some fresh yogurt as starter, or yogurt cultures starter packet. 2/ Gouter is usually composed, for my 2 1/2 year old son, of a cookie or two and a piece of fruit. It's optional, sometimes he's not hungry for it or just has milk. I leave it up to him. Dessert for us is usually either a piece of fruit or a yogurt, sometimes he'll have none and just end the meal with cheese. Yes, French kids do eat a lot of Nutella, I did grow up adoring that stuff, but I try to avoid it now. It's very sugary, and I have been planning on making some homemade Nutella instead. I have made homemade chocolate pudding, which Pablo loves. At a young age, cookie and fruits are better, I think. Or a square of dark chocolate on its own. 3/ It all depends on naps, and bedtimes, I suppose. Finding the right rythm for the family requires some trial and error. You can certainly shift the whole day earlier and make it work that way. Do you find yourselves or your children getting hungry later on in the evening or do they go to bed shortly after dinner? 4/ Portion sizes for children is really on trial and error, and I'm really big on letting children decide how much they want to eat. Portions are obviously smaller when you serve in courses than when you have one big one-course plate or meal... I would suggest trying different portions to see what works, and repurposing leftovers for lunches or freezing if necessary. Hope this somewhat answers your questions... Congratulations on making a change and thinking about this, it's wonderful and I'm sure you will find it very rewarding for you and your family. Happy eating :-)

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    2. Hi, Thank you for your reply. Yes, my husband and I are getting hungry after the kids go to bed because dinner is so rushed. Typically, as I'm reading through all the information in your blog, I'm realizing this is when we binge eat all the sweet treats in the house, which is not good on so many levels. We're not showing our girls that they can enjoy treats in moderation! I'm going to make a meal plan for next week. I have to admit that I think your blog might me too expert for me a novice. You make pan frying sound really simple though! For some reason, that 5pm time (the shift when Daddy comes home) as Karen explained really can be the "arsenic hour" for us too. We call it 5:00 fusssy. I can already see a difference starting with my 3 year old when she knows the new routine that she can have other things (like the cheese or yogurt) if she tries a taste of something new. I also noticed she had more patience waiting for dinner when I put more thought and set aside time into the afternoon snack. I would love to see the homemade Nutella recipe. I bought TJ's version yesterday, but I'm sure it's just as sweet. All of this reading has brought back memories of my trip as a student abroad. I was so picky I ate nothing except the bread and Nutella. My parents were amazed I came back so thin. Blessings on your day! CC in VA

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  6. I haven't written in a bit...maybe a year,busy busy and all! I wanted to take out the time to thank you again for broadening my culinary horizons!! Whenever things get hectic, in addition with figuring out what the kids are going to eat, I turn to your blog like an OASIS!! It soothes, your pictures are gorgeous and your writing reminds me that I'm not the the only parent dealing with the comedies/dramas of child rearing! I leave your blog, always rejuvenated and inspired to cook for my kids. My seven year old twin sons and my 2 year old daughter love being called the "fearless eaters" at the dinner table when something new comes across their plate, and I love that they ask me how many courses are we having!!

    Keep writing, I'm reading!!

    Sincerely inspired,

    Ericka M.

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    Replies
    1. Wow Ericka, what a treat to find your comment :-) Thank you so much for those heartwarming words. I really can't think of anything more fulfilling than to be an oasis for someone who needs one!!! And can I just say I love the FEARLESS EATERS, that's so awesome. The new superheroes :-)

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  7. So I looked up petit plats familiaux because I need some new cook books. It's been a while since reading a book in french, oh boy. But I'm excited.. Do you have any other recommendations on cook books? French, or otherwise?

    I wish there was something I could help you with, I only say that because you're always helping me out, lol.. thanks

    Nitasha

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    Replies
    1. Hi Nitasha! Sorry for the late reply, and thank you for your kind support! I would definitely recommend Small Plates & Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga, in English, great cookbook. In French, I love the Petit Larousse collection, I have posted a number of recipes inspired by the "Recettes aux légumes du potager", but they have a whole series. Happy cooking :-)

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  8. Can't tell you how heartening it is to hear that you too deal with tantrums! Our children are about the same age, and my normally mellow girl has turned into someone I don't always recognize. Blogs can be such an edited version of reality, it made me feel connected to see you're dealing with similar challenges! Thank you.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

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