Monday, March 30, 2009

The case of the picky eater

Big N is a VERY picky eater. This makes dinner time a challenge and rarely a pleasant event. I refuse to only feed him his 3 favorite foods, which makes for a lot of complaining. Up until recently, the only dinners he would voluntarily eat involved dino-nuggets, oatmeal or mac and cheese from a blue box. Peanut butter and Jelly was the standard lunch fare.

I finally broke down and went the bribery route. I sat down with Big N and my cake cookbook. I told him if he tried a new food for seven days I would make him a cake. We even flipped through the pages together. I went as far as to say it could be any seven, non-consecutive days. I really wanted him to achieve something simply because dinner had become so tedious for the entire family due to his complaining.

Apparently, cake is a good motivational tool.

Apparently, a picky 5 year old has no problem dictating how the bribery cake should be decorated.

Apparently, my son loves cake more than dino nuggets and mac and cheese.

Big N settled on a tic-tact-toe cake very early on. On day one of his quest, he decided the cake should be chocolate and square. On day two, we were told it needed to have white frosting with green Os, red Xs and blue lines. By day there, he made it clear that there would be yellow squiggles, because we needed to use all the frosting colors. By day four, it was very apparent that Big N was motivated to have his cake as soon as possible.

He really gave every new food a try and would decide which parts he liked best. The part that excited us is he would actually finish some of his new foods. These are foods that before would result in a "yucky" with crossed arms and tightly sealed lips.

We found out that he loves anything with corn in it. He will tolerate Quesadillas, nibbling on one or two bites in the past. However, once we added frozen corn in with the cheese, Big N will eat an entire Quesadillas. He even asked for seconds.

He also loves bacon. This one was a well known fact and I may have exploited it. Big N has come to the conclusion that everything is better with bacon. His dad agrees. I came up with a soup involving all of Big Ns favorite foods and he ate two bowls. Big N would never try soups in the past. He even critiqued it and had suggestions.

As you can guess, Big N got his cake. It was a fun evening when we cooked the cake together. We pulled out the mixer and the cocoa powder and made the chocolate cake from scratch. The next night we frosted it with a butter cream frosting. Big N ate dinner without any complaints and we all enjoyed the cake after dinner.

I'm really proud of him for trying new foods. It appears that the cake-as-motivation worked well for him. The best part, even though I haven't promised to make him another cake, he still will take a bite of the new food and that is a 100% improvement from where he was a while ago.

In honor of Big N, a soup recipe using our leftovers was born. Enjoy!

Everything is better with bacon soup

1 1/2 cups cooked white rice
4 strips bacon
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (Big N would prefer that I omit this part)
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 box (32 oz) chicken broth
1 can(10 ¾ oz) cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/3-1/2 bag frozen french cut green beans
1/4 bag frozen corn
1 1/2 Tbspns garlic powder (or to taste)
2 teaspoons dried cumin (or to taste)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Fry the bacon in a large dutch oven. Set it aside to drain on paper towels.

Pour off most of the drippings. Saute the onion, celery and carrots in the remaining drippings.

Dice up cooked bacon.

Once the onions look clear, not brown, add cream of chicken soup, garlic powder and cumin.
Stir this for 1-2 minutes to heat up the soup.

Add chicken broth, mixing to incorporate into the condensed soup, about 1 minute.

Add rice, diced bacon, frozen beans and corn. Bring the soup to a boil. Add salt and pepper.

Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.


Tamara said...

Wow, I'm really proud of you for finding something that brings peace to your family dinnertime! I hope this is a turning point for you guys. I'm off to go practice not feeling envy about it all.... ;)

Stacie said...

lol. Glad you found some new ways to get him to eat...seems that it worked!

Momma Bear said...

that is great!! And i love the picture of Big N :).