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Random Concoctions

March 18, 2010

Being that I am an almost-vegetarian I’m not sure why I keep pushing Maya to eat meat.  Maybe because I don’t want her to be anemic like me.  Or maybe because I want to feed her as much protein as I can because I am tired of people asking me why she is so thin.  Or maybe because I don’t want people to think that as an almost-vegetarian I won’t let her eat meat. 

The only thing that one can extract from the above paragraph is that I need counseling to figure out why I think I need to justify why I think Maya should eat meat.  And now that we are all suitably confused, I’ll just move on…

Maya won’t eat meat unless it comes in a nugget form, and since I obviously won’t allow my child to eat deep fried carcinogens it goes without saying that Maya doesn’t eat much meat!  So on the rare occasion she asks me to make her “Red Chicken,” I get off my lazy behind and oblige her.  

Despite the unappealing and completely deceptive name Maya has given this dish, it is the easiest recipe in the world:

Red Chicken (There is no chicken in this meal but I can only correct Maya so many times before I throw in the towel)

1/2 pound of ground turkey
1/2 cup of tomato sauce (I use Ralph’s organic brand which Ali and I agree is the best jarred sauce we’ve tasted.  Ali and I don’t agree often so trust us on this one).
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat the olive oil and add the ground turkey. When the turkey is browned, add the tomato sauce, sprinkle the spices evenly, and mix well.

After making the “Red Chicken” I was suddenly inspired to make a vegetarian dish to go along with it.  Truth be told, I visually needed to see some green foods on the dinner table so I could pretend I served my family a well balanced meal.  So after considering the contents of our nearly empty fridge, I dug deep into our freezer, found a bag of frozen peas and broccoli, and came up with this:

Indian-ish Peas and Broccoli

3/4 cup of frozen peas
1 cup of defrosted broccoli
1/2 of an onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric

Heat the olive oil until super hot, add the mustard and cumin seeds. Stir until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the turmeric and stir well. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion. Stir until the onions are soft, and then add the defrosted broccoli and the frozen peas. Stir until everything is well combined, turn the heat off and cover so the peas defrost.

A chopped tomato would have been a fabulous addition to this delicious dish, but since I was pretty surprised to find an onion in my bare bones kitchen, I knew that finding a tomato would have been sheer madness.

Right after I finished cooking dinner, my father-in-law came over for a surprise visit.  I can count on my right hand how many times he’s eaten something I’ve cooked, so I was speechless when he took me up on my offer to have dinner with us.  Truth be told, I can’t say I blame him for being a bit timid around my cooking…you would too if you saw some of the random things that have come out of my kitchen. 

I didn’t get any compliments from Ali, his dad, or Maya, but I didn’t get any complaints either.  And in the Din household, where every sentence usually includes at least one complaint, no complaints = success in my book.

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41 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2010 9:23 pm

    “(I use Ralph’s organic brand which Ali and I agree is the best jarred sauce we’ve tasted. Ali and I don’t agree often so trust us on this one).”

    You got it!!

    PS- I’m anemic too. Iron deficiency is so common in women! Gotta get more.

  2. March 18, 2010 10:16 pm

    wow..this looks delectable…
    nice blog..love the way u write.
    http://forkbootsandapalette.wordpress.com

  3. March 19, 2010 12:27 am

    Veggies and vegans arent by nature protein deprived OR anemic. I don’t feel I am either nor is Skylar. Trust, trust, trust in the plants that grow from the earth to nourish us, my dear, Ameena. They have done so for millennium, and have sustained the human race. That said, common sense needs to be balanced with all this “trust” and you gotta do what you gotta do…but just don’t stress out..that’s what us moms do, though, I realize 🙂

  4. March 19, 2010 3:25 am

    What a delicious looking meal!

    One thing I’ve learned is that children will eat what their bodies want. If they want meat, they’ll eat it… if they want veggies, they’ll eat it…

    Our job is to provide them with a variety and then let them choose 🙂

  5. March 19, 2010 3:34 am

    I was never big on meat as a child either, and one of the only ways I would eat it would be the chicken nuggets at McD’s.

    I’ve been a veggie for a few years now, and it’s probably a good thing; the thought of working with meat in the kitchen scares the crap out of me… I was always afraid I would undercook it and end up with food poisoning!

  6. March 19, 2010 3:42 am

    Ugh– people will always find something to ask about that is NONE of their business. Don’t even worry about it– Maya is obviously a happy, healthy kid.

    Too cute that she calls it chicken 🙂

  7. March 19, 2010 3:58 am

    Did u eat it? Both dishes look good.
    And I know what you mean about the comment with Sandra Bullock…I have been convinced that Bullock and Keanu Reeves BELONG together since I saw Speed a million times a long time ago. Loved that movie…have never understood why those two just didn’t get together 🙂

  8. March 19, 2010 4:08 am

    When are you going to start on your short stories??

    I don’t have any experience with kids… but I do wonder from time to time how I would handle mine… Raymond being a meat eater and I a vegetarian.

  9. March 19, 2010 4:50 am

    If she only eats meat in nugget form then it’s a good idea to encourage her to eat actual meat. I think it’s good that you are exposing your daughter to a variety of food.

  10. March 19, 2010 5:02 am

    Lady, are those onions in that? If I’m not mistaken (and I remember onion haters like they’re my family) Ali hates onions. Can you tell I have a deep dislike for onions??

    The red chicken/turkey sounds really good. Nice and simple!

  11. March 19, 2010 5:15 am

    When I saw “red chicken,” I thought it was going to be an authentic Indian dish. (Is it bad that I thought that? lol) Then I started laughing when I realized that there’s no chicken in it… that’s so cute that Maya calls it that! I often do the same thing w/ veggies… I dig out whatever I have and throw it all together. 🙂

  12. March 19, 2010 5:18 am

    I think a lot of times little girls want to be just like their moms, so if mom doesn’t eat something, she won’t want it either! I think its good to keep meat in her diet, but if she decides she doesn’t want it/like it, then it is her decision, not yours! I completely respect and admire that you are letting her make her own choices 🙂

  13. erintakescontrol permalink
    March 19, 2010 5:36 am

    I think that being a good mother comes with a lot of stress – am I steering my child in the right direction? How do these other Moms do it? Is their method better than mine? It goes on and on and it can become this big competition – I’m reminded of those ladies in the park you mentioned awhile back.

    My son is not a big meat eater, either – he’ll eat an entire head of steamed broccoli before he’ll touch meat. He is bone thin, but he is HEALTHY. Some people tell me that I need to feed him more, plump him up, even. But they don’t run my household and they don’t sit at my dinner table every evening, so they can “keep it moving.” I think that we all do the best we can as mothers and hope it sticks.

    Maya is a beautiful and healthy girl, and you are a great Mom! 🙂

  14. Danielle permalink
    March 19, 2010 6:09 am

    I was like Maya when I was younger. The only meat I’d eat was chicken…in fried form. I was also the really thin girl and my mom tried to “plump” me up because of other’s comments. I think she sort of regrets letting other’s judgements get to her like that. Once I hit puberty, everything evened out 🙂 You’re a good mom Ameena!

    *Also, I’m still fairly young and I don’t eat ANY animal products and my bloodwork said A+ 😀

  15. March 19, 2010 6:25 am

    Does she like beans or eggs? Those are great for protein!

  16. March 19, 2010 6:34 am

    Although I am not vegetarian I don’t think there is anything unhealthy about a vegetarian diet.

    Kids are always very picky when it comes to food. I remember as a kid I refused to eat any sort of vegetable, anything with the color green would not go into my mouth! Mom says I lived off of PB&J sandwiches. Now, I love me loads of veggies. Maya may or may not grow out of that phase, but regardless she looks healthy and beautiful to me 🙂

  17. March 19, 2010 6:48 am

    i really do not agree with children(or anyone) being vegetarian… kids need meat
    http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/lipid-hypothesis/the-vegetarian-myth/

  18. March 19, 2010 6:57 am

    I imagine it’s so hard to properly feed your child and make sure they’re eating enough of all the necessary vitamins and minerals. But I’ve heard from a few sources that in the end, they will find balance and a source for all of the nutrients they need. But I admire you trying to diversify Maya’s intake!
    This meal looks great to me! Sometimes these meals that are thrown together quickly become the best. The creativity is inspiring!

  19. March 19, 2010 8:00 am

    i’m off and on anemic. it totally depends on what i eat. at school i don’t get much variety and i’m anemic but at home i can eat what i want so my iron levels rise

  20. March 19, 2010 8:22 am

    I agree with Averie…..we eat plenty of protein through beans and veggies……Don’t worry about Maya. You are doing everything right 🙂
    Love both of your dinners….easy and good and no complaints is good!
    have a great day girl…..

  21. March 19, 2010 8:41 am

    That is so hilarious that she calls it “red chicken” and there’s no chicken in it. She’s awesome.

    And, I have to echo others and say don’t worry about Maya. I was a really skinny kid and I was super, super picky. My mom told me years later that she used to sneak tofu into my mac and cheese. I had no idea. Perhaps this deceptive strategy could help. Oh, and to this day, my sister still only eats meat in nugget form. She’s 28. I’m sure Maya is doing just fine, nutrient-wise. I don’t think meat has to be part of her diet. If her body is craving something, she’ll probably know in a subconscious way and she’ll ask for it. I’m sure I’d have my insecurities too if I was a mom. I care what others think and I would hate to think that others judge what I feed my kid. But, you’re doing fine. Who cares what they think? If the doctor says she’s healthy, that’s all that matters!

  22. Susan permalink
    March 19, 2010 9:50 am

    I rarely ate meat as a child, and now, like many many others, suffer from being slightly anemic. I do believe that this is a problem for meat eaters as well, just not as much. I understand as a mom why you’re concerned, so don’t feel paranoid! I’d be the same way! But I also believe (like Kim said above) that our body tells us what it wants and needs. So if Maya’s body needs something, you’ll probably be the first to know, thanks to that lack of filter in kiddies ; )

    Totally bookmarked this recipe – I love my PEAS!

  23. actorsdiet permalink
    March 19, 2010 11:02 am

    mmm dinner sounds good! sometimes no compliments are a good thing.

  24. March 19, 2010 11:25 am

    I’m gonna try your veggie recipe. Look yummy.

  25. louisianagrown permalink
    March 19, 2010 11:47 am

    My family is just like that! Everyone has some type of weird food pickiness and complains about almost every bit that crosses their lips (normally while still continuing to eat). Any time there’s silence while someone is eating your food, your heart just swells with pride. Sorry you have those type of people around, but glad to know someone was finally silent for you!

  26. March 19, 2010 12:07 pm

    i love no complaints=success, so simple! your dinnerlooks delicious!!!

  27. March 19, 2010 12:17 pm

    I LOVE Indian vegetables! I was just thinking the other day that I haven’t been out to Indian (or ordered it in) in so long. I miss it!

    Have a great weekend, Ameena!

  28. March 19, 2010 12:29 pm

    Oh, the nugget phenomenon! 😉 There’s a book you should read!! It’s called Too Many Cooks by Emily Franklin. Seriously, you need to read this – it’s perfect for moms with who have young children!! There’s a chapter on kids and nuggets and it’s so true!!

  29. March 19, 2010 12:35 pm

    oooh your dinner looks good. sometimes it’s so hard to please everybody. i’m not a big meat eater either but i love seafood.

  30. March 19, 2010 1:18 pm

    I wouldn’t worry about getting enough protein if you get nuts, seeds, beans and some good grains. It’s really important kids don’t drink calories in the form of sugar. That steals away from good nutrition, IMHO.

  31. March 19, 2010 2:00 pm

    This meal definitely looks like a success! I think my hubby would like red chicken too. 😉 That veggie dish looks pretty delicious — I’ve never cooked with cumin seeds, but I use cumin all the time so I think I might pick some up.

  32. whydeprive permalink
    March 19, 2010 2:42 pm

    Indian-ish peas and broccoli – lol I LOVE that.

  33. March 19, 2010 10:56 pm

    I like yr recipes – sounds yummy and simple enough for me to follow. Did you get yr spices in LA or overseas? i went to Whole Foods for some spices and while I was reading the labels another lady customer told me they were not good. My friends got their spices from India when someone in their families travelled.

    • March 20, 2010 8:32 am

      My mom gets me spices from the Indian store. But I’ve had good luck at Cost Plus too!

  34. March 20, 2010 5:53 am

    it’s good that you have this great awareness, ameena. i have similar issues with both of my children. while my 7-yr old son is an experimenter, my 10-yr old daughter rarely eats meat (unless it’s in nugget or finger form) or veggies. she is picky which makes dinner-making hard. you are lucky that maya is a decent eater. she is healthy and growing and that is what counts. everything else will fall into place.

  35. Ali permalink
    March 20, 2010 8:14 am

    I can’t believe I didn’t share my compliments on the food- it’s so unlike me. The daal (lentils) went great with the rice and the sauce is excellent. Thumbs up on this receipe.

  36. March 20, 2010 8:34 am

    Love the recipes, Ameena!

    The Red Chicken sounds flavorful and simple and I’m always on the lookout for Indian veggie dishes.

  37. March 21, 2010 9:33 am

    More than Jessica Alba my heart goes out to the kid ,Simple pleasures are such a big deal for them .

  38. March 21, 2010 6:55 pm

    I wish there was a pic of the Red Chicken too. 😀 I feel like having turkey now but it’s only available during Christmas 😦
    The veggies look delicious. 😀

    • March 21, 2010 6:56 pm

      Forgot to add that soya chunks are a good replacement of meat and high on proteins too. Milk and eggs are another source but I guess you already knew that.

  39. April 17, 2010 7:22 am

    I just wish her all the very best. The sun will rise and shine again on such a talented actor.

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