THREE COURSE MEAL

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The other night all my dreams came true! Without coaxing, our three daughters decided to prepare a three-course meal, each one taking responsibility for choosing and preparing a course (thanks to My Kitchen Rules, for their inspiration!)

We left the girls to their own devices preparing their dishes in the kitchen and my husband and I retired outside to have a pre-dinner drink. I commented to my husband that we were really living the life! Finally our kids had come to a point of preparing a meal for us, rather than just expecting a meal to magically land in front of them, as it does every night!

Our youngest daughter started with a bruschetta, which to my astonishment was as good as, if not better than, restaurant quality. She made an effort to plate the bruschetta nicely, with a garnish on the side. I must admit she set the bar pretty high!

The next course was a Spanish Tortilla prepared by our eldest daughter. She has chosen to prepare this as a cultural meal of Spain for a Food Technology assignment, so the practice came in handy. The meal was simple, but delicious, with my husband and I both having second helpings. Hopefully she prepares it as well as she did for us, when the pressure is on at school. 

Finally our other daughter prepared a dessert of chocolate mousse with crushed malteasers throughout, served with fresh berries. This decadent chocolate dessert was delicious but rich. Again the presentation was great, leaving us feeling like we had just eaten at a restaurant. 

The only difference between the experience of our home cooked meal versus visiting a restaurant was the kitchen aftermath. It looked like a bomb had gone off, with every utensil and appliance used!

As the girls dispersed after dinner, we enlisted the help of our son to assist with the kitchen clean up. I must admit, even elbow deep in greasy dishwater I still felt like we were living the life!

I now just hope that they are enthused to cook for us on a regular basis, as it is a handy life skill and relieves me of the tedious task of cooking! Seriously, Our Kitchen Rules!

 

(Picture courtesy of iosphere, freedigitalphotos.net)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Do you ever feel that whatever food you prepare for your kids they have some form of complaint about it?  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that whatever I prepare for dinner someone has an issue with it. If I try new and exciting meals, one or more of my kids will say they don’t want to eat it. If I prepare tried and true dishes they complain that we always eat those meals and ask for more variety. Considering I don’t like preparing meals at the best of times, I have to grit my teeth and take a deep breath before mumbling something neutral to the effect that I will make something different tomorrow night – and so the cycle goes! 

I only serve my kids small portions, but I expect them to eat what is on their plate. If they are still hungry they can have more once they have finished their meal.

If they complain vigorously about the taste of the meal, I tell them they can hold their nose while they eat so they can’t taste it. Eating and holding your nose simultaneously can make breathing a little difficult, but they work out pretty quickly what is more important – oxygen versus the horrible taste of Mum’s cooking! I, of course, give them the standard lecture about children around the world starving while they have the privilege of getting a hot meal for dinner. This is usually met with nodding and not too subtle eye rolling.

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On a good night when the issue is not the taste of the meal, but the fact that the kids are taking too long to eat their meals I play a ‘whistling’ game with them. The rule is that to qualify to play they must have a mouthful of food before I start each round where I whistle a tune and they have to guess the song. Once they have finished their meal they can have a turn at being the whistler (as it’s impossible to whistle with food in your mouth). This game is a win, win situation for us all. The kids eat their meals, I can’t nag them to eat while I’m whistling and we all have fun to boot!

It is a struggle for me to prepare healthy, nutritious meals for the family that will be met with excitement and eaten with fervor. As with every group of people, there are different tastes and preferences in my family and trying to find meals that satisfy everyone is an arduous task. With my non-existent passion for cooking and limited time to prepare meals after I return from running the kids around to their extra curricular activities, I think everyone should be grateful that there is any meal on the table! Maybe one day I should just serve them up a ‘third world’ meal of a small bowl of rice to help give them perspective!

 

 

 

 

(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net)

HIGHLIGHTS

I have noticed in the Twittersphere that there is a lot of hype around Thanksgiving at this time of year. Obviously in Australia we don’t celebrate this holiday, however our family has its own tradition when we sit around the dinner table.

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I used to ask the kids what they had done at school that day and the response was normally ‘nothing much’, leaving me wondering why we were paying private school fees for them to sit around all day. We then introduced ‘highlights’ to our dinner routine, where each person around the table takes the opportunity to talk about what the highlight of their day was. It turns out the kids don’t actually sit around all day and in fact their days are varied and fun. Stating your highlight to the family gives each person a chance to be in the spotlight, as usually the dominant personalities generally control the flow of conversation. It also gives us an insight into what has gone on in the child’s day and to see what things they find fun/interesting/comforting. It also puts a positive spin on the events of the day.

My husband will often just say his highlight is ‘sitting down to dinner with his gorgeous family’; which is not a momentous occasion, but given he has been at work all day he doesn’t have a huge choice of events from which to choose. That, or he is tired from work and chooses the path of least resistance – sucking up to his family!

I have one child who often finds it hard to narrow her highlights down to one event and may list a whole heap of experiences as her ‘highlight’. Whilst we try to encourage her to choose her absolute favourite time of the day, I feel so blessed that she is living a life where there are so many wonderful times that can be shortlisted.

Every now and again someone will try to throw in a lowlight for the day, but that brings the mood of the discussion down. Whilst I’m always happy to discuss any issues my kids are having, I prefer to do that one on one and keep the mood of the dinner table upbeat.

So whilst in our household we don’t have Thanksgiving once a year to remind us to be grateful, we have daily highlights to be appreciative every single day.

 

 

 

 

(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net)