Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Spring Is In the Air

From the bean of Green Bean.

Okay, so you see this title and you're thinking, dude, spring was in the air and is now gone. It's summer, Bean! And you would be right.

But I'm not talking about seasons here. I'm talking about family dinners. About getting your kids to eat something green or at least purple. About moving beyond mac 'n' cheese (even with the pumpkin mixed in) or pizza. About experimenting and growing, trying new foods, making healthy decisions, and learning to fold one mean rice paper envelope. I'm talking about spring rolls.

Last spring, we brought some "real food" into my son's public school classroom in an attempt to show kids how fun food can be. How cilantro smells. How to chop cabbage. How to sample an onion or bean sprout. It was such a success that my son soon asked to make spring rolls at home.

Since then, our family has made spring rolls half a dozen times - each time with different ingredients. We (including the kids and my handy chopper from Pampered Chef) chop up whatever is in season or whatever is lingering in the depths of the fridge. Everyone gets a soaked spring roll wrapper and can fill it as they choose - though the rules are that it must include some sort of vegetable.

At first, the kids stuck to the safe orange of carrots. Soon, though, purple cabbage cajoled. The dim yellow of lemon cucumbers coaxed. The soft glow of summer squash seduced. Tofu tempted. Celery ensnared. Before I knew it, my boys were stuffing their mouths with every variety of vegetable in season - as well as last night's leftover pasta - and asking for seconds.

If you've not tried them, I implore you to hunt down some spring roll wrappers in the Asian food section of your local market. Then, clean out your fridge, revel in seasonal vegetable goodness, get some honest to goodness food in your kids (and yourself), and roll into spring.


greeen sheeep said...

That is definitely a feat of superhero proportion.

I am impressed with your push to get real food in a school cafeteria. Why are our children eating nachos for lunch?

Daisy said...

Great idea! I'm "hiding" spinach in all kinds of foods right now. My favorite is scrambled eggs or omelet with spinach; mmmmm.

Mary Kay said...

Great idea! You've hit on one of my biggest challenges in life right now!!! Getting my daughter to eat healthy food... Sometimes I think I'm doing a bad job, but then I see what some of the other kids are eating and I don't feel so bad. I'm always looking for ways to get more veggies in her. One of my favorites is a pumpkin smoothie: some sort or milk and/or yogurt (my daughter drinks rice milk), frozen bananas, pumpkin puree, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice (optional).

Donna said...

Good for you! Your veggie-eating boys put mine to shame. :) We've finally added a second vegetable that he will eat. The first was catsup, the second is... drumroll, please... sweet pickles.

Green Bean said...

Sheeep: Thank you. I really truly believe our kids need to be eating more than chicken nuggets and french fries.

Daisy: Nice! I've been known to add a little to omelets and even the occasional pizza.

Mary Kay: Pumpkin smoothie?? Interesting. I'm pretty sure my kids would go for that. Better yet, a way to get through all the frozen pumpkin puree.

Donna: Dude, sweet pickles totallllly count!

Going Green Mama said...

OK I have to ask - how did you make the spring rolls?

Green Bean said...

First, you soak the wrapper in water for a minute so that it is flexible. Then, lay it out flat on a plate. Put the filling in the middle and fold it up like a little package. First the bottom, up over the filling, the fold the sides in and then pull the top over tight. It takes a bit of practice but my kids do their own.


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