shut the fridge: dena gross

February 11, 2014

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welcome to another edition of “shut the fridge” where we take an apologetic look into some of the most interesting people’s refridgerator’s.

i have been on-my-knees begging for this latest post.

today we welcome dena gross.

dena is a friend…more of an online friend, because she’s that cool girl, i have not had the confidence yet to ask out for coffee, dinner or to just let me breathe in her prettiness.

first espied at the gym, and then {like so many of my other victims,} stalked on facebook, dena has become another katie casualty and graciously succumbed to my badgering, allowing us a glimpse into her, now east-coast {yes, sadly she and her family moved away this summer–from me?!?!?!?} life.

dena has 3 A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E {we’re talking like j.crew model–ALL 3} children..twins and a plus one; all very close in age..and yet she still seems super chill, VERY connected to her awesome husband jared, and as grounded as they come…no wonder she left orange county…

ladies and gents….dena gross:chickensoup (1 of 1)

Growing up in the heart of commercial California farming, watching Big Ag crop-

dust my small town with liquid pesticides at regular intervals, I developed a certainamount of cynicism about the food supply and the average American diet. Raised by a mother who believed that processed food was nutritionally void and cooking at home was more economical than buying pre-packaged meals, my sibs and I ate lots of homemade bread, chicken & barley stews, fresh eggs, vegetables, and drank unpasteurized milk that a local farmer delivered to us weekly (by the pail). These foods were healthier and cost much less when prepared by Mom.

familypic

Having three young kids of my own, I believe my role as a parent is to train my children’s appetites for real food.

willa (1 of 1)

If I am a little uncompromising with them it’s because I know that as they grow more independent they’ll have plenty of exposure to artificial dyes, bleached flour, and processed junk masquerading as food. I want the things they eat while they’re young to be the highest quality I can provide. And now Ms. Katie has asked to peek into my fridge and know a little more about my approach to feeding young kids healthful food. In the early days I had three kids under the age of 2, so I went through a long period of pureed meals. I dedicated many Sundays to steaming and blending every combination of vegetable, fruit, and protein I could think of (sometimes nabbing ideas off the labels of baby food jars). My husband Jared would entertain the babies while I pureed “recipes” and portioned them out by the ½-cup amount in zip-lock bags, freezing them flat on a cookie sheet and stacking them in labeled rows in my freezer; a veritable “library” of options for the week to come; defrost as needed. Five years later I no longer have the luxury of a captive audience.

vegetables (1 of 1)

My kids have LOTS of opinions about what they don’t like and no one seems to be a fan of leafy greens (which is not negotiable in my book), so one of the mainstays in our house is a green smoothie several times a week. While I serve vegetables at every dinner and for many snacks, I find that by supplementing their diet with green smoothies I can be sure my bases are always covered.

peanutbuutter (1 of 1)

Smoothie ingredients vary but usually include a majority of the following (all organic): almond/dairy milk, avocado, big handfuls of raw kale, Swiss chard, spinach, green leaf lettuce, frozen bananas/grapes/pears, raw almonds or cashews, chia seeds, hemp seeds, mesquite powder, coconut butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and frozen berries.

spencer (1 of 1)

If I make a batch before school pickups and store them in a cooler on the passenger seat, the kids hop in the car whining for a snack and I hand them a green smoothie.

Done.

top shelf (1 of 1)

But back to my fridge: Top shelf: whole milk, almond milk, many containers of nuts and seeds and trail mix. Fresh greens and herbs keep oodles longer in a jar of water. Barley and spelt flours for these lovely muffins from GOOP, which are a staple in our lunch boxes.

coconut (1 of 1)

Harmless Harvest coconut water is costly but a lovely indulgence, presumably full of natural electrolytes – we drink it straight because it’s too delicious to mix with other things.

beets (1 of 1)

Also in my fridge you’ll find random items like roasted beets, a batch of cooked farro or wheat berries for serving cold as a salad in lunches, homemade beans (pimento, garbanzo, red kidney or white navy beans) to mix with brown rice or serve cold with a vinaigrette.

chickenpart (1 of 1)

The chicken on the bottom shelf represents a lot: salted & roasted with fingerling potatoes for dinner, a quick gravy from the drippings; panko-crusted baked “nuggets.” If there are any leftovers the kids will take chicken salad sandwiches for lunch.

chickensoup (1 of 1)

I often buy organic parts (wings, drumsticks, feet, necks) for stock that I use in soups, stews, and as the liquid for cooked grains.

nutbag (1 of 1)

Recently tried making my own almond milk (see photo) and although it was sublimely creamy, it was a bit of a hassle to do on a regular basis. Plus, the “nut bag” could not be taken seriously.

fish sticks

My husband and I are not seafood fans so in order to get the kids a regular dose of healthy oils (outside of the panko-crusted fish sticks I make now and then), I supplement their diet a couple of times a week with Nordic Naturals fruit-flavored Cod Liver Oil.

fishoil (1 of 1)

It’s a little gross but they’ve been eating it by the half-teaspoonful since infancy so they don’t think much of it. They also take a probiotic regularly.

cheese (1 of 1)

 Because dairy is my greatest weakness, elsewhere in my fridge you’ll find a very hearty cheese drawer stuffed with at least 6 varieties at any time.

freezer (1 of 1)-2

In my freezer are many of the usual suspects: frozen Ezekial sprouted grain English muffins (great toasted & slathered with almond butter and honey, but may explain my husband’s penchant for grabbing hot ham & egg sandwiches in the city before work), a backup supply of chicken stock and my collection of accumulated chicken parts for the next batch; leftover cannellini beans, Trader Joe’s Panang curry, and Niman Ranch uncured bacon. Berries or pineapple as fodder for future smoothies. And, of course, brie to be served warm with apricot jam because you can’t have too much cheese.

  • We have been at Dena’s home and witnessed her kids jumping up and down in anticipation of their green smoothies. My husband wouldn’t touch them!

    • i’m so jealous you’ve been to their home…but wait…she served you green smoothies for dinner!??!? dena????

  • No – we don’t rise to dinner guests. Just backyard visit during the day…….but I think there was cheese involved for the adults.

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