Pablo’s menu this week… & a couple slices of his life

It’s Friday morning. It’s 8 am, but the ankle-biter (more like knee-biter now) has been busy already. Busy cuddling, reading, running around, puppet playing, resisting diaper change, resisting sitting down for breakfast, watching the neighbors come and go… Busy little man he is.

But none of that matches the excitement of the hour: the CSA delivery.

The box of fresh fruits and vegetables is here, sitting in our kitchen, unopened, hiding treasures of potential scrumptiousness. And I smile, because Pablo knows this. He’s so excited, he opens the box, takes every piece of vegetable and fruit out, examining it, smelling it. Might as well be Christmas morning. We grab an orange from the loot, and breakfast has just become a lot more fun.

“A table!” It’s dinner time and Pablo is engrossed in his favorite firetruck puzzle. He repeats, “A table!” (Dinner’s ready!). It’s pretty darn cute. But he’s 22 months after all, and transitions are… well, sometimes challenging. “Why would I stop doing puzzles to go have dinner? Beats me”, thinks Pablo.

And Pablo protests vehemently. He skirts the issue, wanders around the house, stalls. Writes mental notes of our reaction to his resistance. “Note to self. Button pushed here. Fascinating”, thinks Pablo. My MO is to stay nonchalant, patient. Up to a point, that is. “It’s dinner time. Now”, thinks maman. With much trial and error, I’m getting pretty good at dealing with power struggles and refusals, tantrums and outbursts (thanks in great part to the awesome wisdom of Janet Lansbury, btw), and I’m not afraid of a crying toddler, I can handle it calmly. But well, it’s dinner time, and I’m French, after all, dinner time is sacred, I don’t want to stress out, this is the time to unwind, connect, sit down, relax.

So… as Pablo’s getting upset, giving me a lot of “Non! Non!”, I peak in the kitchen and notice the roasted chicken (from this awesome recipe) my mother so kindly cooked and wrapped in foil so it would stay warm. “Look, the chicken is hidden over there, shall we take a peek?” “How exciting”, he thinks. The toddler is interested, rises to the bait. So we go play peekaboo with the roasted chicken while very much anticipating eating a leg with our hands. He sits down in his chair like a charm, and we proceed to enjoy our dinner. Sigh.

You get my meaning here: the enjoyment of food isn’t just about meals & nutrition.

I wanted to share this thin slice of our life, as I found recently that engaging Pablo with the food, the meal and its preparation, experiencing it, talking about it, getting excited about it, was a great way to deal with potential resistance, or impatience / antsiness at the table…

Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell… the chicken.

Or fennel, as the case may be.

Enough slices, let’s get to the meat of it. Moving on to our week’s menu, which I apologize for posting a bit late this week.

Wishing you a week full of tasty treats.

Cheeses of the week: Following French tradition, I always offer a little bit of cheese at the end of every meal, between the main course and dessert. Rotation this week: Goat brie, Comté (type of Swiss), Danish blue.

Desserts: At lunch, I offer a fruit yogurt (or plain yogurt with fresh fruit), but at night, I prefer sticking to plain yogurt (regular homemade* whole milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk and Greek yogurt for extra protein) to avoid too much sugar before bedtime.

If you would like a particular recipe on the menu, feel free to contact me! (I marked with a * the recipes that will be the topic of upcoming posts).


Lunch – OUT

Goûter (4pm snack) – Apple-blueberry compote


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Spinach broccoli soup

Main course: Bison patty, vegetable noodles



Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cucumber in dill yogurt dressing

Main course: Cold roasted chicken, dino kale mash

Goûter – Apple compote


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Dandelion greens, bacon, comté salad with mustard vinaigrette

Main course: Pan-fried veal liver, sweet potato puree



Appetizer / Finger Foods: Green lentil shallot salad

Main course: Mixed crab crudités salad

Goûter – Kiwi

Dinner – OUT TO DINNER (yay)



Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cold pea & chive salad

Main course: Trying this leek feta lemon quiche from London Bakes

Goûter – Homemade chocolate pudding*


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Avocado fennel grapefruit velouté*

Main course: Poached salmon & edamame in coconut broth*



Appetizer / Finger Foods: Grated carrots French-style

Main course: Mushroom caps stuffed with cream of sardine

Goûter – Banana


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Trying this beautiful beet soup from Mowielicious

Main course: Duck parmentier (we had leftover duck stew which we pureed together with potato, and froze)



Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cucumber Feta rolls from Good Life Eats

Main course: Sautéed shrimp with lime and coconut rice*

Goûter – Mango compote

Dinner (simple tonight, maman’s going out!)

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cauliflower, green beans salad

Main course: Ham & quinoa



Appetizer / Finger Foods: Authentic Greek salad

Main course: Smoked salmon dill avocado tartine

Goûter – Tangerine


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Artichoke soup, a recipe I found here

Main course: Roasted chicken thighs with clementines from Sassy Radish, with sunchoke gratin dauphinois

10 thoughts on “Pablo’s menu this week… & a couple slices of his life

  1. I feel the same way about my CSA box – may as well be christmas morning I get so excited! What a gift to your son that is learning to appreciate the little things in life and good veggies!

  2. Your meals always sound scrumptious! Ronnie is 28 months now and absolutely loves "cooking" with me. Each time he sees me enter the kitchen to prep dinner, he demands a bowl and wooden spoon so that he can whip up his creation – almost always either pasta, salad or pizza!! I love this time, makes him eager to dig into his dinner too.

    Could you please post a recipe for compote? I know it may sound fairly simple, but I'd love to see a proper recipe and pic of it. I'm also contemplating on getting a CSA box next month, should make meal planning more interesting than stepping into a store and buying what I fancy! Can't wait to try it out.

    1. Hi Meena! So wonderful how your little one is inspired in the kitchen! I promise to post a recipe for compote, a few moms have asked actually. It's super simple, really, just steaming or boiling the fruit and pureeing it, but I know pictures can be usefule as well… Promise to post soon 🙂

  3. Hi Helene! Im enchanted with your blog. I have a 5 years old girl and I face the challenge of theaching her to eat well and everything. I would like to know how you do your compotes. I read on facebook that you only drink water. Is there any reason? I live in Brazil and we have many fresh fruits anywhere we go and its an habit drinking juice during or after meals. I would like to know your opinion. Thank you!

    1. Very kind words, Jaqueline, thank you so much! Meena above also requested the compote recipe, I promise to post one soon! As far as drinks: of course living in Brazil you must have a lot of wonderful fresh exotic fruits and delicious fresh juices, which is definitely a better choice than the processed juices we have over here. But I would still be careful, because fruit juices are high in sugar with no fiber to compensate, and I would consume them in moderation, at certain set times (it is a snack of sorts), not on demand throughout the day so as not to spoil the appetite for the meals, and I would generally favor eating the fresh fruit over just the juice. Children get "Addicted" to sugar so easily, and then it's hard to go back. Also, I put the emphasis on drinking water with the meals so as not to create the habit of having nothing but sweet drinks. In France, juices are served as a special treat for children. I think the best way to quench thirst should remain water (perhaps this way you appreciate the fresh juices all the more when you have them?). That's my 2 cents, hope that's helpful 🙂

  4. Hi Helene!

    Thank you for these posts! They're so inspiring and informative. I have a 3.5 yr old boy who's a very stubborn eater (we are Chinese so growing up, grandparents were all too happy to provide him with mushy rice combined with vegs and meats so they're unidentifiable ) needless to say we are struggling with getting him to eat independently. I also have an 8month old boy who's complete opposite! I vowed not to make the same mistake with food so I've been introducing him a wide array of foods in a variety of textures. Keep those menus coming! It's easy to fall into a rut sometimes 🙂

    1. Hi Maddie, so glad the menus can spark some ideas for your family! Have you read Karen Le Billon's book? I thought it provided some great strategies on how she got her picky eaters to come around…

    1. Hi Robin, sometimes patience is tough, those little ones can be talented at pushing our buttons 🙂

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