One of the main reasons vegetables get blind-sided especially by children is not only because of taste but also the way vegetables are served. So, why not add colour, flavours and include new ways to plate and serve vegetables to your family.
By taking these extra steps you not only combat food waste and possible increased grocery expenses but you allow vegetables to be enjoyed without worry that it will taste horrible from the get-go.
When our son was a baby he couldn’t get enough fruits and vegetables and just loved them at every meal, even breakfast. He would eat half an avocado mushed up without problem, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and so on. These days we’re lucky to get cucumber slices into his belly because we think he’s lost his appeal for vegetables. Perhaps we need to perk them up a bit, so that’s what we’ve done.
Mrs. CBB and I were talking about vegetables and his diet in general and were working on ways to get him rip-roaring about healthy eating and why vegetables are important. Although he’s knocking on four years old we want him to enjoy a balanced diet which includes vegetables and fruits especially in his lunch for school starting this September.
Now is the perfect time to be working on this for us because it’s summer when loads of Ontario vegetables are in season plus utilizing what little space we have to grow our own little herb garden has encouraged him to help us.
Just the other day we had him help pulling garlic scapes even though he didn’t fancy the smell. Introducing him to smells are just as important as visual appeal. He also got a whiff of fresh mint and fennel where both he made funny faces but the introduction was very important to us.
Just as kids must get healthy foods into their diets so must adults and we should lead by example. Forcing our kids to eat something we won’t touch doesn’t go over well. Forcing anyone to eat anything never works and simply is a bad method of parenting.
So, while we have the nice weather upon us Mrs. CBB and I came up with a list of ways we enjoy vegetables and how we might boost our son’s vegetable appreciation in order for him to reap the benefits and tastes of our earth.
Let’s see what we came up with and I hope you share some of your favourite ways to enjoy vegetables with your family that perhaps I didn’t include in the comment section below.
I’m no chef so turning to the professionals when it comes to cooking and preparing certain foods is important to increasing my cooking knowledge.
About two years ago at Christmas Mrs. CBB received a Jamie Oliver Kitchen gadget that helped to prepare vegetables so they looked fancy on the plate. Not only did it look pretty but we wanted to eat more vegetables than we normally would because humans eat with their eyes.
Some of our favourite cuts of vegetables have been spiral, baton, batonnete, Julienne, diced and chiffonade where you roll and chop. An example would be a bunch of basil leaves.
Here are the different types of cuts that anyone interested in the culinary arts should know from the Culinary Cook.
- Large Dice– The large dice types of cuts are primarily used for stews, long-cooking dishes and for mirepoix in stocks.
- Medium Dice– The medium dice type of cuts are derived from the Batonnet and the only added step is slicing the batonnet to produce cubes.
- Small Dice– The small dice are similar to the brunoise, but it is slightly larger.
- Bruinoise– The Brunoise dice is the smallest dice you can have.
- The Baton– The baton type of cuts is the largest stick-cut you can cut.
- The Batonnet– The Batonnet we are aiming for a larger stick-cut.
- Julienne– The julienne is a type of cut that is stick-shaped and very thin.
- Paysanne– The paysanne types of cuts are included here to show you that while cubed items are common, sometimes you would prefer a slimmer, flat, square item.
- Chiffonade– The chiffonade types of cuts are used when slicing very thin items such as herbs or leafy vegetables such as spinach.
In the Spring we start our herb garden and you’ll find parsley, basil, chives, spring onions, fennel and garlic. Although we don’t have a large space to grow vegetables we do make sure that we are loaded up on herbs to flavour our vegetables whether we buy them from a local farmer or from the grocery store.
Stocking up on various oils and acids such as lemons, limes, lemon juice, lime juice, rice vinegar, white vinegar, wine vinegar, apple-cider vinegar is a huge must for any home chef. Make sure your spices are up to date and that you keep a working list of what you have and need so your shopping list is up to date.
Other ideas to add flavours to vegetables might be salsa, mustard varieties, sour cream, cream cheese and Greek Yogurt.
One thing I hate is running out of something when I’m in the middle of cooking. This is probably why I always pull out the ingredients before I start to cook. Having a variety of pantry spices, oils and acids available offers you selection in the event you do get caught off guard.
No one likes to see one vegetable on a plate as that can be uninteresting and simple to push away especially for children. Offering a variety of vegetables at meals brightens the plate and opens eaters to the idea of pairing vegetables together for optimal flavour.
When I make a salad for instance I just don’t have tomatoes and lettuce I like to add radishes, cucumbers, green and red peppers, red onions, spring onions, fennel, tomato varieties, corn and so on. The idea is to make vegetables interesting and powerful to the eye so that the person eating them will want to dig in and experiment.
Mushrooms and peppers
Any time we make steak on the grill having vegetables on the side is a must and a favourite of ours is garlic mushroom caps and grilled peppers of any colour. The more the merrier.
Tomatoes and Cucumbers
A must in our house during the summer is to make organic tomato and cucumber salad with feta cheese and fresh basil mixed in. A simple vinaigrette of olive oil, wine vinegar and minced garlic adds just enough flavour to the salad.
Fruit and Vegetable pairing
Not everyone is a fan of mixing fruit and vegetables together but if you haven’t tried it that’s the first step. I was always taught to try something once and if I didn’t like it then I could move on. My late father-in-law is not a fan of adding fruit and vegetables together but he sure loved to grow both. Even this year his fruit trees are blossoming with loads of bright red cherries, apples, pears, plums and peaches.
Adding fresh halved peaches, strawberries, cherries and even apples to vegetable salads not only adds a burst of colour and flavour but it screams healthy. Add a protein to your salad and you have yourself a full meal. Another great salad is watermelon salad with added spinach greens or sweet red, yellow and orange peppers.
We are huge fans of adding bits to our vegetables whether it be sesame seeds, dried berries such as Gojji berries, cranberries, blueberries or various nuts such a almonds, cashews, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
What are Goji Berries? I knew you’d ask so I will deliver an explanation!
Over time, people have used goji berries to try to treat many common health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, fever, and age-related eye problems. Goji berries are eaten raw, cooked, or dried (like raisins) and are used in herbal teas, juices, wines, and medicines.
Some studies using goji berry juice found possible benefits that included a feeling of well being and calmness, better athletic performance and quality of sleep, and weight loss.- Source Web MD
One of our other favourites is to use fennel greens instead of throwing them out which most people do when buying bulbs of fennel. The greens are packed full of flavour and are medicinal in helping a squiffy tummy and perfect mixed with hot water as a cup of tea.
Bacon…add bacon to just about any vegetables and you’re all set! We make this amazing tomato and bacon salad in the summer and we love it. Not only does it look delicious and powerful but it’s packed full of flavour.
Vegetable Cooking Methods
You won’t catch the oven on much if at all during the summer months but in the Fall and Winter roasting vegetables is a must. A simple sheet pan, extra-virgin olive oil and spices lend flavours that will allow the natural flavours to expel from your winter vegetables.
This is my favourite way to enjoy cooked vegetables in the summer whether it be on the gas BBQ or the charcoal grill. We have various grilling pans made specifically for our grill that we use and on occasion using frying pans from our kitchen set works just as well. Make sure they are oven-safe and there is no plastic.
If you’re not in the mood to turn on the grill simply pan frying your vegetables in some butter or other fats will work equally as well.
I’m a fan of fried vegetables with bite which means they aren’t cooked until they are limp. I like the crisp crunch in my mouth which means cooking vegetables on high and fast-paced. If you own a wok this is the perfect cooking vessel but if not a frying pan will substitute.
Broccoli, cauliflower, corn are great vegetables that you can steam until tender then add herbs, fats and other spices to jazz them up. Some of you may even enjoy a creamy cheese sauce to add a splash of colour and flavour to your vegetables fresh from the steamer.
Ways To Serve Vegetables
Drink your vegetables
There’s nothing wrong with having vegetable juice in your diet. If you own a juicer you’re in for a surprise with all of the delicious summer fruits and vegetables that you can combine to make smoothies, juices or even a frosty. If a juicer is not in your budget using old-fashioned elbow grease or standard methods…
- Masticating (also referred to as cold pressed) – utilizes a single gear driven by a motor; slower operation; kneads and grinds items placed in a chute
- Centrifugal – (also referred to as high-speed juicing) – utilizes a spinning blade that resembles a grated basket; faster operation; quickly grinds items and discards pulp in a receptacle
- Triturating – utilizes twin gears; slower operation; often has multiple uses
Soup for the win
Don’t let any vegetables go to waste. If you can’t use up your vegetables on time consider making a pot of soup with them. Using vegetables such as onion and carrot peels, celery ends, garlic and other scraps to make a vegetable broth paired with any vegetables you have on hand makes a lovely soup. Add protein or even something unique like ricotta balls, mini meatballs, pastas and seafood to boost appearance.
If we can stuff them we will and have especially peppers, cabbage, eggplants and zucchini. Think cabbage rolls, lasagna rolls, stuffed egg plant or lasagna rolls and stuffed peppers with rice, cous-cous, beans, beef, pork etc.
Adding dimensions to your vegetables will certainly go a long way. Last night I also noticed a recipe for taco stuffed avocado halves which at fist I laughed at but then realized the importance of enjoying what we eat with our eyes as much as our mouth.
Kids Love to Dip and so do adults
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about dipping vegetables is a summer fresh hummus dip, Tzatziki dip, avocado dip, taco dip and ketchup for my fries. Fries in our house not only are potatoes but we’ve used sweet potatoes, rutabaga, beet fries and turnip fries. All are delicious on their own with a bit of salt but having various dipping sauces also helps jazz up the flavour and the plating.
Making dips are dead easy as long as you have the ingredients in your kitchen. In the summer you will find tonnes of dips floating in and out of our refrigerator that we use on salads or to dip fresh vegetables. If you find that eating raw vegetables on their own slows you or your child down don’t be afraid to add a heart-healthy dip to make vegetables fun!
Food presentation is important especially to the kiddos who might take one look at food and turn their noses up at it. Just last week we turned a piece of bread with peanut butter on top into a car with banana slices as wheels. Guess what? Our son loved it and ate it all up.
The same approach to plating food for adults is just as important because if we don’t like what we see then we probably won’t eat it. Choosing the right plate for a meal is just as important as making sure the food itself looks delicious and in a presentable form. Slopping food on a plate isn’t much of an effort when it comes to presentation and wanting people to tuck in.
Creating visual appeal by adding variety, colour and different amounts of food to the plate help jazz it up. What I mean is to add a few radishes, Julienne red and yellow peppers, mushroom slices but in different group sizes.
Most importantly don’t put too much food on a plate so that it looks more like a mountain than a meal. Leaving space is important for the eater to see what they are eating and to decide what foods to pair together on their fork or spoon. I’m also a fan of adding textures and height to my plates because I feel it adds that chef appeal.
When you cook at home plate your food as if you are eating at a restaurant and I promise you that eating at home will become far more appealing than spending money eating out. If you plan to use garnishes please make sure they are suitable and edible.
The idea is to keep it clean, sleek, flavourful, textured and ready to eat!
In conclusion I hope to report back to you by September to see if any of our vegetable techniques work with our son and perhaps celebrate a new tradition in the CBB home where we care more about the food we serve, how it’s grown and variety.
June Grocery Game Challenge
Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!
- Last shop May- How to successfully return food to the grocery store
- 10 Best Foods To Bulk Bulk When On Sale – June GGC #1
- The Ultimate Guide To Portion Sizes– June GGC #2
Free Money Saving Tools 2018
This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
Don’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2018
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2018 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300-$13.63=$286.37
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Optimum Points to Spend: 3,200,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet -$0
- Checkout51- $1.50
Our Grocery Shop This Week
Total Our-of-Pocket $0
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $286.37
- Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $25.00
- Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $210 Saved
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $116.54
- Total spent this week: $0
- Total spent so far this month: $183.29
- Total over/Under spend this shop:
- Total left to spend for the month: $103.08
- Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $337.84+ May $275.79 + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
This week is a no-shop week for us since we still have lots to use up from last week. Since we went to my mother-in-laws house for 2 days that also is the cause of wanting to finish up before buying more food.
2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll add it below.
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals
Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2018 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018!
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