Looking ahead to 2012 I feel hopeful.  Already, I’m mentally preparing myself for some changes I plan to make in what and how I feed my family.  I’m not talking about anything drastic; however my plan is to feed my kids a larger variety of healthier foods. I’ve noticed how selective my three-year-old son has become at meal time, which has often left me feeling defeated.  Surprisingly, my eight-year-old has become a more adventurous eater.  As for my ten-year-old daughter, she grew more appreciative this year of how good home-cooked meals can really be.  This was the year she began to like foods beyond the comforts of starches and carbohydrates.

I remember when my oldest daughter was two years old and the number of books I read on adolescent nutrition.  Most of them explained that young toddlers can be picky, but that they often outgrow food aversions when they get older.  By the time she was eight years old I pretty much decided the books were wrong.  Now I can see a light at the end of our food struggle tunnel.  Each of my kid’s attitudes towards food is as unique as their distinctive personalities.  I don’t take it as personally as I used to.  In fact, it is my daughters who give me hope that my son will someday enjoy eating something other than cereal with milk for breakfast, peanut butter jelly sandwiches for lunch, and rice and roasted nori for dinner.

Beginning with the New Year, I plan on teaching my daughters how to cook. And I mean beyond mixing cookie dough and adding ingredients to a bowl.  I want to teach them the skill of intuitively cooking with all five senses, such as knowing when a loaf of bread is almost done baking when it smells a certain way, or recognizing when muffins are cooked perfectly by touching their tops and feeling a slight spring to them.  I want them to appreciate the amazing color and flavor of a vine ripened tomato picked from our garden at its peak, and appreciate the sizzle of a steak searing in a hot cast-iron pan when it is cooking perfectly.

Yes, 2012 is going to be a great year of home cooking in our family.  I hope you and your family have a Happy New Year full of great cooking, too!

Here’s a recap of my Top 10 Favorite Recipes of 2011 on Kitchen Explorers.  To see the recipe, click on the link below each picture.

Sour Cream Pancakes

Mediterranean Sunset Salad

Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

Crunchy Rainbow Wraps

Dairy-Free Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

Make Your Own Sushi Rolls

Made-in-the-Pan Chocolate Cake

Easy Fresh Fruit Tart

Indonesian Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Caring for Others-Chicken Almond Rice Casserole

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  • http://www.thescramble.com Aviva Goldfarb

    What a beautiful post, Alice. I too have seen a major progression in my kids’ palates as they have gotten older. One of my goals for 2012 is also to take their cooking skills and independence in the kitchen to the next level. I hope you and your family have a very happy new year!

  • Nicole

    Great recap, Alice. Your Sour Cream Pancakes definitely top my list, too. Happy New Year to you and Aviva!