Hello there! I’m Annie from Seed Babies, a blog all about organic edible gardening. I started my gardening journey almost a decade ago while living in NYC. While living in the East Village I joined a community garden on my block and fell in love. I have since moved back to Ohio and have continued on with my gardening adventures. Growing food has brought me so much joy. It has been the basis for so many things in my life including my love of cooking (and eating for that matter), my desire to take better care of our planet, and even my drive to live more simply and minimally.
In addition to being an avid gardener, I am also a mom to an almost 2 year old and another tiny human that is due this October. One of the things I have really looked forward to as a mom is sharing my love of gardening with my kids. I love spending time in the garden with my daughter, even if she is mostly just moving dirt and rocks around. I can usually get her to help me with small tasks, like watering some of the plants, or her ball if she decides he’s thirsty, but her favorite thing is harvesting root veggies. She loves digging in the dirt but, honestly, who doesn’t!?
The other night we had a great time harvesting carrots and potatoes. I love showing her and talking to her about where our food comes from. When we got in the house, I immediately washed one of the carrots off and offered her a bite. She happily took it and ran around before bedtime taking bites and making yummy noises.
The next day we got to work prepping the carrots for dinner. It’s not easy to have a toddler “help” you in the kitchen, but even the times when I am most tired and just want to get things done quickly, I am always glad when I include her. Seeing how happy and excited she gets to work with mommy makes it totally worth it. And as a bonus it definitely makes a difference in how willing she is to actually eat the final result.
So, we kind of threw this meal together. I was in desperate need of a grocery store trip, but that’s one of the great things about having a garden. There are always veggies on hand. In this case we had our newly harvested carrots and kale from the garden, along with a few other left over veggies in the fridge so we made a quick veggie couscous with goat cheese.
Since at the ripe old age of two, my daughter has no knife skills to speak off, I generally will chop most of the veggies before having her join in on dinner prep. Then I’ll have her help by transferring the chopped veggies into a bowl. She usually does quite a bit of taste testing while doing this, which kind of makes me feel like I’m winning at motherhood. Throughout the entire prep and cook process we talked all about how much fun it was to pick the carrots from the garden and clean them and how now we get to eat them! I like to think these reminders help get her more excited to eat her veggies. Sometimes it works. Sometimes.
The final result was delicious and toddler approved. She was excited to get in her seat to eat the meal she helped create. Side note: even though she tried the goat cheese, she was not a fan, so her plate did not include it.
Feeding a toddler is not easy, especially when it comes to vegetables. Some days I feel like I just can’t win and I’m pretty sure she just eats crackers and fruit all day. Other days, like today, I feel like I’m killing it at this whole motherhood thing. I will say when I include her in the entire process, from pulling carrots to cooking them I tend to have a lot more success than when I just plop a plate of prepared food down in front of her. At the very least if she only taste tests some of the veggies while we are prepping dinner I’m happy. I hope that as she grows she will learn to appreciate the food we grow and will get more excited to plant and care for it. There is nothing quite like going into your backyard, picking produce that you have grown from seed, and eating it.
Here is the recipe for our quick veggie couscous:
1-2 garlic cloves chopped
Small pinch of red pepper flakes
4ish mushrooms chopped- you can use any variety, we just happened to have button mushrooms on hand
1/2 yellow pepper diced
6 garden carrots- 4 of them sliced thinly, the other 2 are for snacking while cooking
2 large kale stalks- stems removed and greens cut into ribbons
A handful of frozen or fresh peas
1 box of couscous
Prepare the couscous while you chop the veggies. Fluff with fork and set aside when done. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for one minute. Add the rest of your veggies, throw in a large pinch of salt and saute until veggies soften, stirring occasionally. I like to sear or brown my veggies a little. To do this you can leave them undisturbed for a few minutes until they are slightly browned on one side. Once the veggies are done you can remove from heat and stir in the couscous. Done! I added a few grape tomatoes to mine along with some goat cheese. Lastly, I drizzled a tiny bit of aged balsamic over it. Yum yum! I plan on eating the leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg on top.