Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Table Talk: Healthier Zucchini Bread

 It's our last official week of Table Talk as a group.  I'm going to finish out the year posting recipes every two weeks from the The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook but it will be more of a series now than a group.  

This zucchini bread was pretty good.  Was it the best zucchini bread I've ever had?  No, but I'm sure the best zucchini bread is also quite a bit less healthy. :)  I haven't fooled myself into thinking that this bread is entirely healthy, but if you are trying to change some small things and make healthier choices when it comes to sweets, this bread would be a great choice.  Some of the fat in the bread is replaced with low-fat yogurt (or sour cream in my case) and some of the white flour is replaced with whole wheat.  Anytime I make small changes like that, I feel just a little bit better about eating it.  Then, I can have 2 slices instead of 1. ;)
Of course, my kids liked it too even though they refuse to eat zucchini by itself.  I'm going to start covering all vegetables in sugar to get them to eat them I guess. ;)

If you'd like the recipe, you can get it at the blog of our host this week, Valerie.  She picked the recipe and chose a good one, thanks Valerie.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tomatoes, Squash and Fresh Mozzarella with Creamy Polenta (Or without, whatevs)

I don't want to sound like a loser or anything but I've never had polenta before.  I've never cooked it before and I've never even seen it at the grocery store before.  I was wondering if I would even be able to find it but Bob's Red Mill came through for me.

If I'm being honest, I would have to tell you that I almost didn't even make the polenta.  I almost decided that it wasn't worth buying something I knew I wasn't going to like.  Then, I realized that I'm not a five year old and that this is the reason for the cooking group to begin with.  To learn new things.  To try new things that I wouldn't normally try.  To cook new things.  To eat new things.  To not be a 5 year old.  

After a pep talk in the mirror, I tried the polenta by itself and was less than impressed and wondered if maybe I was a 5 year old after all.  Determined to try everything together before I wrote off polenta forever, I dished everything up and took a bite.  And was pleasantly surprised.  All the flavor combinations really worked together.  The juices from the vegetables mixed with the polenta and it was really good.   It's almost like America's Test Kitchen knows what it's doing.  Weird.  And the texture of the polenta was completely lost in the vegetables and flavors.  I actually really liked it and would maybe make it again.  
 If you leave the polenta uncovered, it turns into a rubbery brick of cornmeal so make sure to serve it right away. 

And this is how the rest of the family ate their vegetables. Okay, fine.  This is how Tyler ate his and the kids pretty much had noodles with parmesan cheese.  (I forgot to add the mozzarella to his plate before the picture. oops)
I know what you're thinking, I should have just made them eat the polenta.  If they get hungry enough they'll eat it right?  Well, let's just say that all of my ideas about eating from my younger years have been blown out the window.  Like with a hand grenade.  I usually make them taste it and if they don't like it, they don't have to eat it.  When an autistic kid can't handle the texture of something, I don't make him eat it.  Or he will throw up.  Yeah.  And Tyler's decided he's pretty much autistic too so he got noodles.  And I can't punish Hadlee for being the only 'typical' one around here so she got to have noodles too.  (I learned that's what you call your normal kids when you have an autistic one, 'typical'.)  Maybe now that I'm more of a polenta eater, I will convert them in the future.  Like when all their taste buds have grown up a bit. :)  And Tyler did actually try a bite of the polenta with veggies and said it was pretty good.  He liked his noodles better though. :)

If you'd like to try the recipe you can get it at Janet's blog.  She was our host for the week and chose the recipe.  Thanks for making me try something new, Janet!

Here's what I did differently this week:
Not much.  I didn't have cherry tomatoes, but we have a lot of tomatoes in our garden so I used about 4 medium tomatoes, sliced them and roasted them in the oven.  Then, cut the slices into 4 quarters each and added them to the recipe like they were cherry tomatoes.  I didn't have fresh thyme so I used 1/4 tsp dried.  Other than those things, I followed the recipe pretty closely this week!  It's almost a record for me!

P.S.  I think I said 'polenta' 3000 times in this post.

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