This is back to school time and for some families this means “packed lunch” issues start. My 4-year-old asked me on the first day of school, “This isn’t celery in my snack, is it?” It wasn’t; I sliced green grapes and shelled the edamame, which he likes, but the “sea of green” threw him for a loop for a second. If you are like me, you want your children to eat a variety of foods…especially fruits and vegetables.
Personally and professionally I encourage my family and clients to eat a wide variety of all produce with a focus on ‘as local as possible’ since the quality of the nutrition is higher. Many communities offer CSAs and my community has its own version that I started purchasing six months or so ago. Every Tuesday the “fruit man” as my son says, delivers a bag of local (if possible) and all organic vegetables and fruit. Summertime in Florida means the produce is a little weak if you can imagine—hot and humid. Tomatoes, melons, tropical fruits and CELERY are mostly what we get this time of year. What to do with all the celery? It’s one of those vegetables that is a staple for soup stocks, stuffing for a turkey and with pb and raisins. Let’s face it…it is usually not a requested summer vegetable.
How to use it up—cold, celery soup? Not really. The way I pitched it to my crew (with friends over as well) was how it was presented…You know…the marketing of it. I thinly sliced the inner celery stalks horizontally so they were in crescent moon shapes and placed them along with mango slices, melon and cucumber slices---all favorites in our house. The moons were won over!
I’ve never claimed to be a cookie-cutter-shaped-pb-sandwich-kind-of-mom. IF that works for you, go for it. I am big fan of getting the kids in the kitchen though and having them participate in making their own snacks, helping with meals and helping pack a lunch. So for now I am enjoying eating sliced celery sticks with almond butter and dried cherries. It is so good! And you know what? The kids like it too.