when it comes to parenting, we try to maintain a structured yet easy, simple yet proper, healthy yet playful approach.  and this extends to cuisine.  we are proponents of the family meal.  who has the time or money to buy an entirely different set of ingredients {or prepared foods} just for the little one?  she eats what we eat.  mini versions of our meals.  it is just easier that way PLUS it keeps us mindful of what we are consuming.  organic.  full fat.  fresh.  whole.  clean. hubby and i have always believed that meals should be an event.  careful preparation with fine ingredients.  and mindful enjoyment.  taking ample time to savor the sensory experience, aromas and tastes and textures.  slowing down.  enjoying conversation.  connecting.

we want this to be how elinor experiences food too.  letting her explore.  squish.  suck.  gum.  and yes, play with her food.  she has the rest of her life to be well-mannered.  a prim and proper little miss. and we will teach her all those glorious things.  but this is the special time for her to learn about food.  to establish an enjoyable relationship the wonderful variety of it all.  now, there is a time and place for these mealtime adventures.  we don't allow food fingerpainting at restaurants or other homes.  but when it is just us, it is fun to watch as her childlike wonder runs wild.  bananas in the hair.  eggs on her face.  blueberries in her hair.  butter in her ears.  she gets to poke and pinch and grasp.  and she gets to watch as her mama and papa eat the same foods and enjoy the experience.

and even though the mini meals for the little miss are smooshed and demolished a few moments after they arrive at the table, i still value the preparation and presentation.  taking time to place the food on elinor's plate.  garnishing and seasoning and drizzling.  i like to think that this will instill an appreciation in elinor.  that she will begin to learn that things take time and effort.  and that they must be waited for, patiently.  she sits in her seat while the meal is brought to the table.  she has to wait for the first bite until after our prayer.  and yes, we are sometimes met with impatient huffs and arm flapping, but it is a learning process.  and we hope that she learns that good things are worth the wait.  and that good things are for us to enjoy.

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one of elinor's favorite brunches.  full fat, probiotic, plain yogurt + strawberries + bananas + hemp seeds

we do this variation with all kinds of fruit.  dates, blueberries, raspberries, etc.

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red quinoa + cold pressed olive oil + celtic sea salt

sautéed lentils + squash + onions + cabbage

a side of cultured pasture butter

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steamed baby carrots + cultured pasture butter + celtic sea salt

cauliflower pilaf + golden beet purée + avocado bits

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roasted sweet potatoes + onions + garlic + avocado bits + cold pressed olive oil + oozy pasture egg yolk topper

food

kidney beans + navy beans + black beans

a hemp seed + millet + quinoa + sweet potato + spinach + spirulina + kale patty

drizzled with coconut oil and topped with avocado bits