Hi. I’m Chef Sizzle-snap, the son of the Good Food Fighter.
I’ve grown up in an extremely healthy family. This means lots of vegetables, and no matter what you do you’re not going to escape them. As the saying goes “If you can’t beat them, join them.” In this scenario, that means:
In this article I’m going to tell you how I’ve learned to tolerate and even enjoy vegetables.
The tricky thing about enjoying an avocado is cutting at the right time. There’s one sweet moment where it’s ripe, and then it’s already too soft . So make sure to constantly check whether your avocado is ready to cut: not too hard and not too soft. There are a few different ways to prepare it. Here are a few of my favorites:
Lemon, Pepper, Salt and Cheese: This one is as simple as the name—you cut the avocado in half, add these things in and boom! You have a delicious meal. The type of cheese doesn’t really matter as long as you like it. Just grate it on top.
Avocado Toast: To prepare, all you need to do is toast up some fresh sourdough or sprouted bread like Ezekiel (these are the only two choices in our house) and spread the creamy avocado on top. Add some flaky salt and pepper and voilà! you’re done. You can also add a sunny-side up egg or tomatoes on top which makes it even better.
My mom didn’t have a picture of either of my creations so instead I’m showing her “avocado snack plate” which is pretty tasty even if it’s missing the cheese. It includes raspberries, cuke rounds, peanuts, a fresh fig, and string beans which is a pretty decent combination.
I used to not like broccoli very much, but now I can tolerate it in a few different ways. This usually involves adding extra spices or combining them in dish with other ingredients to help balance the flavors. Here I am on a Zoom call with a dad from my school and classmates making broccoli and sriracha chicken wings. This is also my favorite shirt (Go Ravens!)
Oven Roasted Broccoli: Chop up broccoli into bite sized pieces, then add coconut aminos, salt, pepper and—if you want some spice—red pepper flakes. The oven will do most of the work for you. Simply set the temp to 450˚ and cook for about 25 minutes or until it’s soft on the outside but has a little bend in the stems.
Broccoli stir fry: Here it is combined with ground lamb, carrots, onions, garlic, and celery. This is so easy to make! I like to use avocado oil for stir fries because it has a higher smoke point. First put in chopped garlic, then onions, and then anything else. Put the hardest veggies in first–carrots and celery. Then broccoli. Finally lay in the block of ground lamb. You can pry it apart by stabbing it, then mushing it, then mixing it together with the veggies.
Broccoli Pasta: My mother prefers chickpea pasta but occasionally she let’s me use pasta imported from Italy that uses Italian flour, which doesn’t contain some of the chemicals in American flour. You can either start with a good quality jar of pasta sauce (with no added sugar or synthetic ingredients) and add in broccoli, or make your own sauce, like I do. For the broccoli, sauté in olive oil with a few hot pepper flakes and garlic while stirring for 5 minutes. Then add all contents to the tomato sauce.
Tomato Sauce from scratch: To make your own sauce use a small can of tomato paste, a can of crushed tomatoes, a splash of red wine, the leftover olive oil and garlic from your sautéed broccoli, and lots of spices like oregano, rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper. Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes stirring every so often.
I pretty much hate all mushrooms, but I have found two that I can tolerate: white and Portabella. So far I’ve only found one way to cook them where I genuinely enjoy the result.
Butter Mushrooms: You will need salt, pepper, butter and red or white wine. You can add other herbs if you want. To prepare: cut the mushrooms into centimeter thick slices, heat a pan on medium, then add a few pats of butter. Once it melts add in the mushrooms. Once they start to fry add the wine and cook for an additional 30 seconds. If you want this to taste even better, try adding to an omelette. Picture to come next time I make it (check back next week!!)
Even though vegetables might seem gross, there are many ways to prepare them so you are bound to find a style that you like. There are some basic tricks that almost always help: adding hot sauce, butter and salt. If you like herbs, you could experiment with cumin and paprika, which I use to spice up cauliflower. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention my spicy cauliflower. Here it is!)
Spicy Curry Cauliflower: To make this dish you need to first chop it into bite sized pieces. Then you need to season it. Toss the following things into a bowl: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp of red pepper flakes, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it up and lay it onto a cookie baking sheet or glass casserole dish. Bake it for 25-35 minutes at 400 degrees until it is soft. This goes great as a side to a meal for the those who can tolerate a little bit of heat.
The most important part is that you are always open to new things and never stop experimenting and being curious till you find something you like.
Note from the GFF:
- Kids’ taste buds change all the time. One minute they love mushrooms and the next minute they hate them. Or they used to love mushroom omelettes and now they’ll only eat mushrooms on pizza. And so it goes. I have found the following conversation to be productive:
kid: I won’t eat that; it has mushrooms on it.
mom: But you ate it with mushrooms last week and loved it
kid: Well now I hate mushrooms and I won’t eat it.
mom: No prob, let’s switch them out for something else–red peppers?
The trick is to not argue and to reintroduce the food again in a couple of months.
- There are two flavors that tend to appeal to kids: sugar and fat. Added sugars are not healthy but there are many good sources of fat. So try finding a really creamy rich pastured butter, or some flavorful cheese (raw is best), or some animal fat like the juices from chicken, or a coconut sauce. The veggies will absorb these flavors and become much more appealing!
- Chef Sizzle-Snap has gotten used to experimenting with veggies and there are plenty of dishes that he may not love but certainly doesn’t mind. Stay tuned for more yummy dishes made by 14-year old Chef Sizzle-Snap and approved by the Good Food Fighter!
Lynda Mandlawitz says
Chef Sizzle-snap, what is coconut amino? Can we eat chickpea pasta if we’re avoiding carbs? Is it edible? I have to look around for it. Lynda
Good Food Fighter says
Thanks for connecting with us! Sounds like you’re trying to eat healthy 🙂
First question: Coconut aminos taste a lot like soy sauce (and it’s sold in a similar looking bottle) but it’s actually the fermented sap of coconut palms. It has a slightly sweeter flavor but doesn’t taste at all like coconut.
Second question: pasta made from beans, including chick peas, is lower carb than pasta made from wheat flour, but beans are still technically carbs. Beans are a great source of nutrition, and while they are most healthy in their original bean form, even in this processed form they make a very nutritious alternative to traditional wheat pastas.
Nadine Cohen says
Loved hearing directly from Chef Sizzle-Snap! You rock!!
Hey Good Food Fighters of all ages!
Here in France, I found a brand of pasta that is not only organic but doesn’t contain wheat. It’s made of rice.
Now I can see you rolling your eyes and saying “c’mon lady, we know them fake pasters taste like pre-chewed gritty cardboard with a pavement aftertaste” but wait!
See, when it comes to pasta, i do NOT mess around. I have searched high, I have searched low. And this is the only non-wheat pasta i’ve found that actually taste like bona fide wheat pasta.
You probably can’t find them in the US but I’ll mail you a package to go with some of that home-made sauce 😉 And if you happen to be in France, the brand is Revola.
Keep on cookin’, kid! And bring your parents to France!!
Good Food Fighter says
Thanks for letting our readers know what’s available in France! Here’s an interesting twist, however:
1) In general, rice is not a great substitute for wheat because it turns to sugar in the body, thereby spiking your blood sugar. One cup of rice is the equivalent of eating about 13 carrots, according to the glycemic index/load chart. There are more and more alternatives on the market and the ones I like best use almond flour + egg, and amaranth flour. I’ll write a blogpost soon about all the options.
2) The reason that there is such a high and growing demand in America for alternatives to wheat is because it’s been manipulated over time to contain far more gluten (and a completely different protein structure) than ancient wheat. Our bodies cannot properly digest it, and over time it causes a huge range of problems in people. A secondary reason, which deserves a whole separate article, is the presence of glyphosate in wheat. This is an herbicide that is used on many American crops to quickly dry them before harvesting, to speed the process. Glyphosate is a known carcinogen, linked most specifically to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, but also implicated in many other diseases. Luckily for you, the wheat used in Europe is completely different. Many gluten-intolerant Americans come back from Europe raving that they were able to eat the wheat there.
Moral of story: if you are eating traditionally made bread and pasta, and the flour is sourced from heirloom wheat, it might not be a bad food!
Stay tuned for more tips from the GFF.
In the meantime check out these helpful links: