Those of you who choose not to have children may disagree, and that's perfectly OK, each of us needs our own points of view, or the world would be a boring place! But for me, being a Mom is a huge piece of my identity, and, right now, the most important part of my life.
While many of my friends are pursuing gimmicks, supplements and fads to keep themselves "young" in one way or another, I can promise you, spending the day with a young teenager will be FAR more rejuvenating! 8th-grade homework, church activities, youth club, birthday parties, friends, sports, concerts; our schedule is jam-packed, our lives are fast-paced and full.
There's a fine and bittersweet balance here between my girl wanting to be a "teen-ager" and yet still needing to snuggle all 5-and-a-half feet of her leggy self onto my lap at bedtime. As a parent, I can choose to collapse exhausted at day's end, or I can chase each day into the next with every bit of energy I can find. Frankly I don't have TIME to be "old"!
The fact that my girl and I actually get along and share many of the same interests probably helps here too. Despite our crazy-scheduled calendar of events, we both secretly love a long afternoon escape to the air-conditioned quiet of our local Starbucks, reading to our heart's content in one of the overstuffed chairs, iced tea in hand. Heaven!
One of the activities my daughter loves to join me in, is messing up the kitchen... er... I mean... COOKING! And I love having her there. I started all my girls as soon as they could stand on a step-stool at the counter, doing simple kitchen tasks. It takes a LOT of patience at first but now they're all cooking veterans! Kitchen time with your kids is invaluable!! We're spending time together, sure, but she's also learning life skills and trying new things. I understand better what she likes and dislikes. She's building quite the repertoire of recipes she can make on her own, and willingly helps me with any culinary experiment I'm attempting. And of course, we all know cooking with your kids is a great way to get them interested in a wider variety of foods. I definitely do NOT have a picky child here.
Today's recipe is one of my girl's absolute favorites. She's been able to make it by herself for years, but usually still recruits me to help; I suspect because it's much more fun watching Mom get messy too!
This is a fun snack (we almost always serve it at our Superbowl Parties) but it's also a VEGETABLE, right? My child could easily eat an entire head of cauliflower roasted this way (and I think she has). Try this on your vegetable haters, child OR adult, you may convert them.
Maria's Favorite Garlic "Popcorn" Cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower, broken into little bite-size flower-ettes
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- handful fresh herbs (I used a couple sprigs rosemary, parsley and sage that are still growing in my garden, or sometimes just a big handful of fresh basil)
- 1 Tbsp. good olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 cups fine, dry, seasoned breadcrumbs (or 1 cup breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup finely ground almond meal)
- 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
Break cauliflower into small flower-ettes, about as big around as a quarter.
Place in a large bowl.
Put garlic, herbs, olive oil and mayo into food processor and blend until garlic is completely blended and mixture is emulsified.
Pour mixture over cauliflower and mix with your hands until all cauliflower bits are evenly coated. (Maria's favorite part!)
Mix breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast.
Put breadcrumbs on a plate. Toss a few pieces of coated cauliflower at a time in the breadcrumbs until lightly and evenly coated.
As pieces are coated, remove to cookie sheet. Continue until all cauliflower is coated and spread evenly on cookie sheet.
Roast 10 - 15 minutes or until tender-soft when pierced with a fork.
Serve with vegan ranch or dipping sauce of your choice.