Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Marching forward


Wow. March. How did that happen? Steve is home. He really seems to be loving his new job. Life is slowly returning to normal. The girls are still a little nervous about daddy leaving. Yesterday, Steve left for work before the girls got up. When she woke up and he was gone, Tessa immediately began to act out and became very clingy. He was home late and both girls were being difficult. When he finally came home, Tessa came to me and said “Daddy home. I happy again.” I think it will take awhile for them to trust that he will come home every day.


February seemed busy but I couldn’t say why. The only thing out of the ordinary was that I…well hosted isn’t the the right word because others did the work and I provided the space…provided a venue to celebrate the pregnancy of a wonderful friend. The baby shower reminded me of how much I love this community I am a part of here in TN. Partially because there was the warm fuzzy aspect and partially because the theme of the baby shower was chickens. Big metal ones to be exact. And if you have no idea why this is hysterical to all of us, go read this now. We are petitioning that she name the baby Beyonce after the chicken.



I picked up my 3rd CSA box yesterday. The photo above is the 2nd box. It contained Amish whole wheat egg noodles, muscadine jelly (had to google it – that is a kind of grape native to this area), kale, carrots, a big jar of spiced peaches, and 4 or 5 sweet potatoes. This week’s box contained Amish noodles (thicker and not whole wheat this time), carrots, kale, 2 sweet potatoes, jar of apple sauce, and a large jar of pickled carrots. (And I bought a dozen eggs.)

I’ll be honest, the pickled carrots are the first thing that I am seriously considering just not trying. Nothing about that sounds good to me.

So how have we been using our goodies? The kale I’ve used in a couple of ways. First, I cut the stems off, tossed it with a little olive oil and sea salt then baked.  It becomes crunchy like a chip. Shockingly, Tessa, who doesn’t eat any vegetable unless forced, ate them and asked for more. She loved them. Sabrina was luke warm on them. Steve and I thought they were pretty good too. Win. Second, I’ve been using it in place of spinach in recipes. Last night, I made quesadillas with shrimp, onion, red bell pepper, mushrooms, kale, and cheese. I sauteed the kale with the other veggies and its flavor was so mild you didn’t even really notice it was there. Win.

The sweet potatoes are a little trickier. No one in the house particularly likes them. The girls don’t like potatoes (white or sweet) in any form except french fried. Not even mashed. Just last weekend Steve forced Tessa to eat a bite of mashed potatoes and it resulted in her throwing up on her plate – the texture has always bugged her. Steve isn’t a really a fan of sweet potatoes. And to be honest, I only voluntarily eat them as sweet potato fries. But I was determined to use them in some way so I got out my mandoline and sliced them thin. Tossed them with a little olive oil and sea salt and baked them into chips. (Noticing a theme here?) The girls loved them. They fought over them. So apparently, if I make things into crispy chips, my children will eat them. Who knew?

With the peaches,  I am going to make a cobbler or crisp for Steve and the girls. I’m not a huge fan of canned peaches. The carrots we eat raw. The pickled carrots – I’m not sure what their fate will be. The noodles we had some as a side dish (the girls weren’t crazy about the whole wheat noodles) and I will use the rest in soup sometime. The noodles from this week, I will use in a pasta dish with shrimp and kale most likely.

As part of this, I’ve started doing dinner a little differently. I usually put the food on the plates then take the plates to the table. I am still doing that but I’m putting veggies and fruit on the table for free access. Carrots, celery, cucumbers, salad (not a lot in season right now) are all on the table to pick at and eat as everyone wishes. Also grapes and any other fruit I have around (come on summer – I’m craving fruit!). I’m hoping that this will encourage the girls to eat more of those things and also that they will see us munching on them and pick up on us modeling the healthy choices.

There you have it – way more than you ever wanted to know about our CSA boxes and dinner habits. Who knew this raising kids stuff would require so much thoughtful planning?


A couple of photos from Tessa’s visit to the fire house yesterday:

posted under csa, family
4 Comments to

“Marching forward”

  1. On March 8th, 2012 at 10:21 am heather Says:

    We made the kale chips last night. Both a success and a failure…truly depended on the kid. But EJ proudly took some to school last night to share with her friends, so I’d call it a win!

  2. On March 9th, 2012 at 10:49 am debbie Says:

    You are totally inspiring me to do better with our food choices at home. I’m not a stay at home mom, so a lot of times I just go with what is quick and easy. I doubt we’ll ever go the food box way, but our local farmers market might be a good choice of us.
    I started this year by trying to buy organic eggs and milk just to get away from all the hormones they are putting in to our foods. I have to say that the eggs make me a little nauseous and I can’t really eat them. My next move is to find local beef and chicken.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas. About how long did you bake the sweet potatoes?

  3. On March 9th, 2012 at 12:21 pm KimN Says:

    I thought I was the only one raising kids that hate potatoes of all kinds unless they are fried. I have also made Gabe puke after eating mashed potatoes.

  4. On March 10th, 2012 at 8:26 am Jenny Says:

    That last pic of Tessa is so cute!
    We do kale and sweet potato chips here, too. They don’t look like chips, but you can do brussel sprouts the same way – olive oil, salt, pepper. Let them get brown (or even black) and although they look awful, they taste like french fries!