When Jennifer Tyler Lee asked me to be a part of the blogger challenge for her new book, The 52 New Foods Challenge, I was excited to help. Jennifer and I met a few years ago, realizing we had a similar passion when it comes to feeding our families healthy foods. She is also the creator of a game for kids called Crunch A Color, where kids get points for eating different colors of the rainbow and trying new foods. We collaborated on a cooking class to raise money for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and I’ve been a guest blogger for her as well. I remember when she started the blog posts for 52 New Foods. I’m quite proud of her as well as impressed with how she has taken it and created a book. When moms have a mission, watch out!
If you are looking for some new ideas on how to engage your kids in the kitchen as well as have them try some new food, this book is great. It is laid out very well. It starts with a new food plan and helps you get started on the challenge. Then Jennifer details foods from each season, really, how we all should be eating. For each food, she provides basic nutritional and general information about it then proceeds with 1-2 recipes. All along the way, she offers advice about how to get your kids to help as well as offering variations.
She asked some select bloggers to pick a food from the book and create a recipe for it. Since my kids were little, my husband and I have really tried to eat more vegetables and salads. I thought about some of the transformations we have made, especially in the grocery store, with what goes into the cart. We often would eat mashed potatoes simply because 1) they tasted good 2) they were a good mechanism to capture gravy, and 3) it was easy to prepare. Did I mention that I think mashed potatoes are tasty?
Somewhere along the way, to up the nutrition, I started adding cauliflower to the potatoes. After dabbling with a more paleo-approach to cooking both for my family and a client, I eventually switched to just mashed cauliflower. I found it’s particularly good as a topping for shepherd’s pie. The basic components are: very tender cauliflower, some type of milk (we use unsweetened plain almond or coconut), some type of fat (for us, olive oil or a non-dairy spread), salt, and pepper. I liked to mash it first then use the immersion blender to make it very smooth. If this is too much of a jump for your family, try half mashed potato-half mashed cauliflower first.
How do you get your cauliflower tender? To me, steaming is the best method. When you check it, make sure the largest piece can be easily cut with a fork (aka “fork tender”). If it’s not, the texture will not be right to make it smooth. Be careful how much liquid you add; do this sparingly so that the final product is not too runny.
You might want to try this dish with her Simple Sautéed Chicken (see page 283 in her book) and roasted kale chips (see page 124 in her book). If you take a closer cook, she gives me credit for the chicken recipe; it’s one that my family loves as well. I really hope you take a look at her book (and maybe even buy it!). As an author, I understand the time and effort it takes to write a book, in between soccer games, homework, and playdates. Even if you don’t take the full challenge, I’m sure you will find some recipes to inspire you in your own kitchen.
Here’s an added bonus: if you pre-order the book from her website with this link, you will receive a bonus 16 page cookbook packed with 9 additional recipes.
Eat well and be well!
1 medium to large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons – ¼ cup milk or milk substitute
2 tablespoons – ¼ cup butter or butter substitute
½ – 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (if you have table salt, start with less, then add more to taste)
¼ – ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Steam cauliflower until very tender. Carefully remove the cauliflower with the steamer basket (you might want to transfer to a bowl), drain water from the pot, then add the cauliflower back to the pot. Be careful; it will be hot.
- Mashed with a potato masher or large fork until it’s mostly broken up.
- Add remaining ingredients (start with lesser amount and add more to taste). Blend with an immersion or stick blender or a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.
The 52 New Foods Challenge may also be purchased through The Family Chef amazon affiliate link here.