When was the last time you enjoyed some tasty cottage cheese recipes? For sisters Danielle Jonas and Dina Deleasa Gonsar, the classic ingredient has found its way into some creative and family-approved dishes. Even though sometimes hiding an ingredient can be a sneaky way to get the family to make better choices, the reality is that mom always knows best. A little food creativity can go a long way.
Recently, FoodSided spoke with Danielle and Dina about their food creativity and how they coax the families to making some smart food choices. Although many parents appreciate the reality of the struggle, food fights do not have to be part of the routine.
For Danielle, she has a go-to option for her family. She said, “I make a lot of muffins so I put stuff in the muffins, Hood Cottage Cheese or yogurt, carrots, broccoli and somehow it came out sweet! I do a lot of muffin pan stuff.”
As a content creator, Owner of DishItGirl and host of Homecook Hustle, Dina shared a very carefully laid out plan. She suggested, “Finger foods is what they’ll grab first, having them make food with you and if they feel like they had a hand in making something they’re more into trying it. With my daughter, I always had two things on her plate I knew for sure she would eat and the third thing was the wild card thing for her to try and eventually she would go for it. Eating with her made a big difference, if I was eating with her she would surprise me and grab salad off my plate at three. Being a good example, trying to eat meals with your kids, having two for sure things with one wild card, you make them feel like they’re getting the choice – also helps them be adventurous.”
While both approaches will work, the sisters agreed, “Put everything in front of (the family) and see what they go for.” Given that everyone has taken to food grazing in the past year, that concept seems like a huge win for families.
For Dina, she takes a bold approach when encouraging her family to make good food choices. Instead of just hiding it, she mentioned that wants “to see the color and the texture, though that may have resulted in a few no’s, but keep putting it in front of them – they may not like it this week, but they may next, it takes repeat exposures until they try it. Nothing is extinct from their plate – sometimes I just say do it and I’ll give you fruit snacks, there’s a little of that.”
While that approach works in her home, Danielle often tries to hide the foods. Also, she mentioned, “We do something called a try me bite (according to Danielle) or no thank you bite (according to her daughter Alena); where you say just try this with one bite for me.”
Even though that approach might with the kids, the idea is slightly modified for her husband Kevin Jonas. Danielle said, “I don’t really have to coax Kevin, except with fruit, I haven’t been able to get him to eat it and we’ve been married for 11 years and still I can’t get him to eat fruit. I can bribe him, do anything and he still won’t do it. He claims he’s “allergic” to it, but he’s not.”
Putting aside any “alleged” allergies, getting everyone involved in cooking and food can help make those healthier choices easier. In the past year, Danielle found that cooking together was “one of the best things to do.” That time in the kitchen was a great family activity.
At the same time, moms need to ensure that that put themselves on the to-do list. While family can be a priority, it cannot come at the expense of ignoring themselves.
Dina has a very doable suggestion. She said, “I have a new rule for myself, I was feeding my daughter 3 times a day and always made sure she had a fruit or vegetable and yet I wasn’t eating those nutritious things. So now, I am trying to mirror her – if she gets a few carrots, I also get and eat a few carrots. It’s the simplest thing, but it makes a big impact to ensure I’m also getting nutrition.”
On the other hand, Danielle has a routine. She said, “I get my nutrition in in the mornings. I feel like that’s the time that I have, but in the afternoon it’s very hard. I do a lot of smoothies, green drinks with spinach and bananas!”
While both sisters have different approaches, one important factor is always a priority, family. Over the past year, making sure that they saw each other at least once a week helped to keep that sense of normalcy. As Dina suggested, “It takes intention and commitment to say I’m going to cook every Sunday.” Still, that groundwork is imperative to keeping family connections nourished.
And, as families gather around the table, easy, approachable recipes can make the whole experience enjoyable. More importantly, some recipes can even boost the nutrition in simple ways.
Recently, Hood Cottage Cheese asked everyone to share their tasty, easy and favorite recipes that feature the ingredient. Whether or not you agree with the final recipe vote, the reality is that the variety of recipes using the cottage cheese can make you re-think that classic ingredient.
For the two sisters, they agree that pancakes and waffles can become a family favorite recipe that can be full of good for you ingredients. Plus, as Dina mentioned, giving kids the job of mixing the ingredients keeps the kids engaged. It is easy for them and keeps the messes to the minimum.
Luckily, the pair shared a tasty recipe that everyone could try. Check out this recipe for Blueberry Protein Waffles.
- 2 cups Hood Cottage Cheese with Blueberry
- 1 ½ cups oat flour or regular all-purpose flour if not making gluten free
- 6 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Toppings: Hood Cottage Cheese with Blueberry, fresh berries, maple syrup
- Preheat waffle iron.
- In a blender or food processor, add Hood Cottage Cheese with Blueberry, oat flour, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon. Blend until smooth.
- Spray waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Top with a spoonful of more Hood Cottage Cheese with Blueberry and your other favorite toppings such as fresh berries, and maple syrup.
Encouraging your family to make some nutritious food choices is easier than you think. As Danielle Jonas and her sister Dina Deleasa Gonsar proved, tasty cottage cheese recipes could be at your fingertips. From a touch of honey to that secret ingredient, it is time switch up that family food routine.
What easy way to you have to boost nutritional choices for your family?