Archive for April 22nd, 2009

Should parents let their kids be vegetarians?

This link is from a few months ago, but it has come up a few times here and there on various sites.  My question is, should parents let their kids be vegetarians?  I’m sure it’s a noble choice the kids are making and parents should encourage their children to make ethical choices in their lives, blah blah blah.  Personally, I don’t know ANY kids who made good food choices growing up.  The kids I knew grew up on peanut butter and fluff sandwiches, chicken fingers, and french fries.  They were picky eaters.  They ate bland things because they were afraid of different textures new foods had.  They were picky because their parents were picky.  They grew up eating crappy school lunches that served only bland things. 

The article does say the main reason kids turn vegetarian is because they don’t want innocent animals slaughtered.  I think that’s pretty reasonable.  But then the article goes on to say most kids still end up eating unhealthy foods in place of meat that contributes to obesity.  They replace meat with lots of pasta, doughnuts, and candy.  Obviously, vegetarians should eat in moderation like anyone else, but do kids know enough to understand how much beans and tofu they should consume to make up for their protein-deprived bodies? And with 1 in 3 (!) Americans being obese, do these parents know enough to teach their kids how to manage a healthy vegetarian diet, let alone a normal non-vegetarian diet?

When I was 7 years old, I refused to eat meat.  I thought it was gross, and being a vegetarian seemed to be a nice thing to do.  I liked animals, and I didn’t want to hurt them.  I was only vegetarian on days I didn’t like my mom’s meals.  She cooked no less than 3 main dishes containing meat or seafood, 2 side dishes of vegetables, and rice.  Every single day.  I ate maybe…like 10-50% of what she made.  I was picky.  I wanted McDonalds and chicken fingers like every other kid.  During freshman year of college, I gained 20 pounds from chicken fingers.  I hate chicken fingers now, they are the devil.  Chicken shouldn’t look like that.  Anyways, when I came home that summer from college, 20 pounds fatter, I craved everything my mom made.  Rice, meat, veggies, whatever.  I ate more at home than I ever did at college, and I lost 20 pounds that summer.  I didn’t diet.  I ate a variety of foods in moderation.  So basically, it took me 20+ years to learn how to eat a normal healthy diet.  I can’t imagine how hard it is for kids to be vegetarian, so good luck to them.

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Mushroom and Onion Stuffed Tilapia

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This is a fish dish that fills you up like chicken or steak. It’s hearty and healthy.  The filling is a mixture of  mushrooms and onions stuffed between 2 pieces of tilapia, and baked.  I served this with a side of buttered red potatoes with chives. If you can get your hands on a large fresh piece of tilapia, great, use it.  I don’t have enough money to purchase fresh fish, or else I would have to sacrifice my diet soda, cheese puffs, and alcohol for the week.  So I buy flash frozen tilapia fillets, which I find in the frozen food section of my supermarket.  You can roll fresh fish around the filling, seam side down, being that it’s more pliable.  Or half-ass it and use 2 fillets to sandwich the filling like I have. This recipe serves 2-4.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 6 oz. can of mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp. chives
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 6 oz. tilapia fillets
  • olive oil
  • paprika

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in skillet on medium high.  Add onions first, sweat them a bit and add garlic, mushrooms and chives.  Sprinkle dash of salt and pepper. Turn off heat, coat mixture with breadcrumbs.  If breadcrumbs are too dry and aren’t sticking, drizzle some olive oil to get it to stick.

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2.  Drizzle olive oil onto bottom of baking pan. Place bottom fillets onto pan, spoon mixture on.  Put top fillets on mixture, pressing firmly with hands.  Drizzle olive oil on top, sprinkle salt and paprika. 

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3.  Bake @ 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until tilapia flakes easily. 

 

Buttered red potatoes with chives (serves 2-4)

Ingredients:

  • 12-14 baby red potatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. chives, chopped

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes until done.  To test doneness, I stab one with a fork; if it slips off fork easily, I have done my job.  If it holds onto the fork, I have failed, and potatoes should be cooked a little longer.
  2. Drain potatoes. Add butter and chives, salt and pepper to taste.

Strawberries and Cream on Sliced Baguette

 

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I couldn’t decide which picture to use, so I used them all.  They just look so pretty.  To get my cheesecake fix without spending hours baking one, I had some cream cheese, strawberries, and half a baguette left.  If you don’t have a spare artisan baguette laying around that you purchased at the  fancy gourmet section of your supermarket, use crackers.

Ingredients:

  • 12 in. baguette, sliced (16 pieces)
  • 1/2 block cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp yogurt (vanilla or plain)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 8 strawberries, sliced in half
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar

Directions:

  1. Toast baguette slices if they are stale, in the toaster oven. 
  2. In small bowl, mix cream cheese, honey, yogurt, vanilla extract, sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. sugar onto strawberries, mix gently until strawberries looked glazed.
  4. Spoon cream cheese onto bread, garnish with slice of strawberry.