I just finished reading Fed Up with Lunch, a book about a teacher's year of eating and blogging about school lunches. It described the challenge of serving healthful meals to children at school with limited time, limited money, USDA and corporation influence, and kids' unwillingness to try new things.
I spend quite a bit of time in my daughter's elementary school helping the kids learn to recycle and compost. Our school is trying to do it right. The kids come straight to lunch from recess. The cafeteria tries to serve healthier options: pizza with whole wheat crust, baked sweet potato rather than regular fries, fresh fruit. But there is a lot of waste. Salads, carrot sticks and other vegetables are often heaped into the compost untried. I keep trying at home with my kids to accustom them to veggies and fill them with delicious nutrient rich meals and snacks.
So more cooking. Creating different vegetable-rich meals seems to be my obsession these days. I combine this with food planning to make the next meal easier.
Last night I tried some Indian cooking inspired by a salad dish a friend made for a pot luck I'd been to recently and a rice/mung bean mix that my mom gave me for Christmas. Rice and canned chick peas were combined in two dishes with chopped veggies (carrots, peppers, frozen peas), herbs and spices (cilantro, cumin seed, garam masala). I'm finding that flow when I chop.
With the chick peas: toasted cumin seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, raw peppers, carrot, cilantro, apple.
With the rice/mung bean mix: peppers, carrots, peas, garam masala, cumin seeds all into the mix before or half way through rice cooking. Then cilantro before serving.
The finished plate with a bit of naan and some grapes:
The previous night I had made roasted spaghetti squash with a creamy sage sauce with bacon. At the same time I roasted that squash I put in some butternut squash to roast. (Filling the oven when I turn it on as best I can.) This became squash scones for breakfast this morning.
Pumpkin/Squash Cornmeal Scone (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics)
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
Gently fold dry ingredients into mixed wet ingredients:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pumpkin/squash puree
3/4 cup apple cider
Spoon batter as biscuit shapes (9-12 depending how big you want them) onto baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees F.
There were warm scones for breakfast with pear and yogurt. Some more are leftover for snacks. And another jar of puree for another warm batch in the next few days.