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Super Dad has had primary custody from a very early age in the girls lives and did a fabulous job. As far as Nola was concerned, the perfect dessert was a nice little dish of pineapple. But kids will be kids. When the girls first joined my world, they were very quick to let me know that when visiting their mom, they would feast on corn dogs, Lucky Charms, and fish sticks. (Why do that to perfectly good fish?) I suppose it’s natural for kids to compare. But there’s no rule that says the “step” household has to follow when we can lead instead.
This choice of faire is great for days when the entire day has slipped by and its dangerously close to feeding time, or when a migraine decides to rear its ugly head and the only goal is to have everyone happy – and quiet. But truth be told, that’s not even a suitable excuse. It is just as easy to toss out some pitas and hummus as it is to preheat the oven for (gasp) fish sticks !

So how does a stepmom get away with such a feat without getting the full Charles Dickens treatment ? Introducing a star in my arsenal – Natasha. Although new to the category, she is a great secret weapon as she was a nanny as well. She is also the reason I started this blog and my very first subscriber (Thanks, Girlfriend!). She reminded me reverse psychology usually plays out well with children, and together we came up with the following solution. 

Pick a celebrity. It goes something like this: “You don’t like hummus? Really, ok. Ya know, I found the same recipe that {Miranda Cosgrove/”iCarly”} loves for her snacks! Well, I’ll eat it….” It’s usually enough to coerce them into at least trying the new item with an open mind. As long as the menu isn’t something too far off the beaten path (don’t start with squid or pickled anything) kids will allow themselves to see things in a different light. Nola was tricked into trying couscous with a simple “You don’t have to eat it, that means more for me!” and now it’s a favorite.

And the teenage boy? He is actually the reason for most of my nutritional conversion. Soccer-obsessed, he decided years ago to be a lean, mean defensive machine and asked that I no longer bring home the chips and processed food. Peers do make a difference, having a few vegetarian friends around doesn’t hurt.

For us, the benefits are two-fold. Soon everyone is eating healthier, and that’s a no brainer. But the beauty is this is something that will stay with them outside of your home. Now comments like “mom lets us eat corn dogs” are replaced with “will you buy that great organic banana yogurt?”. Score one for the Mother Earth type. Natasha is a freakin’ genius.

See how this “evil stepmom” thing works?

Hummus instructions so easy Jane Jetson could do it (just press the button on the blender!):

30 oz Chickpeas (using canned is easier, drain first) 

2/3 c roasted Tahini

2 cloves garlic, mashed or minced

1/4 c lemon juice

1/4 c olive oil

1/3 – 1/2 c water

Throw in your food processor or blender til smooth. I like to then stir in pine nuts or minced sun-dried tomato (which can be purchased in most deli sections now). And really, there are many already prepared hummus’ out there. (hummi ? Does anyone know the plural of hummus?)

Quinoa is even easier. Follow directions on package. Stir in alittle of your favorite vinaigrette, chopped cucumber and feta.

Many great farm fresh ideas at one of my favorite blogs (say Hi to Susan & EJ for me): http://afterthemarket.wordpress.com/


Hummus 101