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Eating Green

Everyone’s Irish in March. There are many fun ways to make a St. Patrick’s Day-themed recipe with your child. And who says it has to be on the 17th? What I hate about a holiday is that it’s over in 24 hours. With so many ideas, you can make something every week this month.

My grandchildren love to help me in the kitchen. And I love having them there. I’m certain time with me in the kitchen is the reason my son is such an enthusiast. He started as a little kid, and these days he’s so into cooking he even makes his own cheese! Cooking with children is a wonderful way to get kids to try foods they might not otherwise.

Of course there’s the traditional corned beef and cabbage, but many children will balk at that one. Instead, I’d make a kid-friendly Irish stew. The key is to brown the meat before you put it in your slow cooker. Lamb is the traditional protein, but I suggest you use what you know your family will like. While browning the meat is a job for an adult, the kids can then layer the vegetables. If you use turnips instead of potatoes, you’ll drop your sugar content significantly. (One cup of potatoes has 31.4 grams of carbohydrates, but a cup of turnips has only 8.36 grams of carbs!) The kids won’t know the difference.

To make a kid-approved version, I’d use salt and pepper and a bit of dried thyme with your beef broth. Save time by using a boxed, low-sodium version. I like a bit more spice but have found both my grandkids and friends’ children prefer their foods blander. In fact, 4-year-old Anna says food is too “yummy” when it’s spiced. What a polite kid! “No, thank you. That’s too yummy for me.”

So Irish stew is one dish. You can also make rainbow cupcakes—you know, so the kids can find the gold at the end of the rainbow? Top with a chocolate coin!

But my favorite March dish is green eggs and ham. It’s another quickie recipe. Everyone does their eggs differently. I prefer to use a combination of fresh eggs and egg whites and a splash of water to loosen the eggs, and a few drops of blue food coloring to make them green. That way I reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol. Spray your non-stick pan with a cooking spray, then heat and add the scrambled eggs. Keep the eggs moving with a flat spatula and cook low and slow for a fluffy and creamy result.

While those are going, have the kids use a cookie cutter to make four-leaf clovers out of bread, then toast in the oven.

And finish with a slice of turkey ham; just brown it on both sides. Turkey ham is typically 95 percent fat free. Pull out your Dr. Seuss book and read:
I like green eggs and ham!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat!
And I would eat them with a goat ...
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good so good you see!

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Chris Xaver, Ph.D., is a local TV and radio personality with three children and five grandchildren. Her healthy lifestyle show, The Sweet Life, is airing on public television stations nationwide.

Chris Xaver Photo

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