Carrot Soup with Bunny Ears

“What’s for dinner mummy?” asks Amelia. “Orange soup with bunny ears!” I reply.

A little nose edges up to the side of the kitchen bench and then on tippy toes, two big eyes peer over the top of the bowl. A smile breaks out on her face when she sees a vague bunny nose & eyes (natural yoghurt drop), bunny ears (homemade sourdough bread) and a big bowl of orange soup (carrot & ginger soup). It helps that she is in orange class this year at school so the more orange in her life the better!

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A good friend recently asked me how to get her 2 year old to eat more variety of foods. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do hope that people can learn from what we’ve had success with in our house.  If at first we didn’t succeed with a food/ vegetable/ dish/ flavour, I would ‘re-package’ it and serve it again and again… and again. I try and avoid ‘hiding’ vegetables – I think kids should learn what they are, where they come from, what they taste like, the texture, what colour they are, why you eat them and help choose which ones they want to eat. I think I read somewhere it takes 16 times for a child to try something before they will like it.

So, this would be my strategy if trying to introduce carrots…101 ways with carrots: steamed carrots, roasted carrots, round circle slices of carrot, flower shaped carrots, carrot soup, grated carrot salad, whole carrots (aka snowman noses), carrot sticks (check out One Handed Cook’s dip ideas), julienne carrots, carrot puree, carrot juice …. you get the idea. Exhaust all your options and make it fun at the end of the day 🙂

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Draw Richard Scarry’s Carrot Car together. Why not!

Other things I have tried that have worked for us:

  • I’d set out vegetable sticks and beetroot dip out on the table just before dinner time and tell them that they are not to eat this as it’s for daddy when he gets home from work. I turned my back and they scooped it all up!
  • Wait until the kids are hungry but not quite hangry and then start them with just vegetables while the rest of the dinner is coming.  Hold back the rice, meat, pasta or other bits until the veg is mostly gone. Either raw, steamed, whole, sliced, whatever. Think different colours, different shapes, different textures. This worked for us when they were in a high chair and doing a bit of baby led weaning.
  • I don’t force them to eat their vegetables, but they have to eat one of everything or at least lick it! Sniffing it or licking it is the first step, then next step would be to get them to just take one bite, then let them put it down and don’t force it.
  • I try not to make a big deal of food and eating, but I create an environment where we all sit down at the table and eat as a family. I try and do this most nights with the kids, and Mr Kurth joins us on the weekends.
  • Set table rules. Whatever your table rules are – set them and stick with them. One of ours is that everyone has to wait at the table for everyone to finish then you are allowed down. I find that just by sitting there long enough in front of their food and tasting their first bite or lick, the kids decide after 5 mins they are hungry enough to eat too.
  • Let your little one be the chef! Get them to decide what vegetables go with dinner (out of a selection you have pre-determined of course), then they can help you prepare them.
  • Grow it – harvest it – cook it – eat it! Many people acknowledge that when kids are involved in the whole process they have more of an interest in then eating it.
  • Name it! Sometimes by giving a dish a funny name it makes it more appealing. I appreciate not everyone has the energy or inclination to do this, but a little imagination goes a long way with kids.
  • When it doubt, dip it! Sometimes for dinner we have paintbrushes (broccoli) with paint (beetroot dip) 🙂 Try and keep with healthy dips like avocado or vegetable based dips like beetroot dip, broccomole, or a simple hommus, rather than creamy cheesy dips.

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Carrot & Ginger Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 8-10 large carrots (or feel free to mix in a bit of sweet potato, pumpkin or other root vegetables)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea salt & ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon Rosemary finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (more or less depending on taste)
  • 1 can of Coconut milk
  • Vegetable stock (about 1 litre)
  • Natural yoghurt, thick cream, cashew cream to serve

Heat oven to 180 oC. Peel and chop carrots into chunks and toss in olive oil, spices and salt & pepper.  Lay them out on a baking tray and roast in moderate oven until starting to caramelise and brown. They don’t have to be totally cooked as they will finish off in the saucepan. You just want them to start getting a bit of good colour.

In the meantime, heat a large saucepan and saute the onion and garlic. Then add the vegetable stock and ginger and bring to the boil.

When carrots are starting to caramelise, remove from the oven and toss them into the stock. There should be enough stock to just cover the carrots. Continue to cook until the carrots are soft adding the coconut milk towards the end. Blend with stick mixer or blender to a smooth soup.

Garnish with a dollop of greek or natural yoghurt or coconut cream to serve. Serve with bread of your choice. Great for freezing or for leftovers … if it last that long!

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How did you teach your kids to love vegetables?

Happy Easter from our kitchen to yours…

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