My Dad, Nathalie, Santa and Me.
My Dad, Nathalie, Santa and Me.

Let me introduce you to the most pickiest eater in my family – me. Growing up, I wasn’t too interested in eating traditional Filipino food. For the most part, my parents would encourage me to eat the food but sometimes it just was not my thing. So, my dad being the master chef he is started making more Westernized dishes for me like spaghetti, steak and fries, burgers and more. Although I’m sure he would’ve preferred cooking Filipino food, it also gave him a chance to learn different cultures and hone his skills making other types of food. Now that I’m older, not only do I appreciate (and love!) Filipino food and many other cuisines, I’m highly appreciative that my parents were so willing to create different dishes for their picky little eater.

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During the holidays, many people entertain guests – family, friends, acquaintances. Many of them have different tastes and dietary restrictions. Thankfully, we live in Vancouver, where we are so conscious of different needs. I recently teamed up with Choices Markets to create a dish for picky eaters during the holidays! Choices Market is a local, BC owned and operated that provides a slew of different natural, organic and specialty foods. Choices Market sources whenever possible from local BC farms and producers, supporting our local economy. They’ve also recently gone 100% Oceanwise at their stores!

It’s been a little bit since I’ve visited a Choices Market, but there is one fairly close to me on Cambie and 16th. The store is cozy and you’ll find many families shopping together there. There is always plenty of staff on hand, so if you have a question about a particular item, they’ll be able to help.

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Normally, when it comes to creating recipes, I like to let my imagination begin by walking into the grocery store and see where I gravitate towards. Today, it was their meat aisle and what attracted me there was Choices’ New Zealand lamb selection. I found New Zealand lamb meatballs for $7.50! From here, I knew I was going to make a pasta dish. I roamed the store a little more to pick up super-fresh produce – a mix pack of local mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, onion and garlic, natural, omega-3 enriched pappardelle noodles and Alfredo sauce.

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One of the ways my parents had us eating vegetables was chopping them into the spaghetti sauce they’d make – and I figured that I’d follow suit with my pasta recipe.

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There are many other protein items you can use in place of lamb – regular meatballs, turkey, venison. But because this is a holiday recipe, I thought I’d elevate it a bit with the lamb. I find with New Zealand sourced lamb, the gamey taste that put most people off is at a bare minimum.

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Lamb Meatballs with Pappardelle Alfredo Recipe:

1 package of Choices’ New Zealand lamb meatballs

1 package of pappardelle

1 410mL Classico Alfredo and Roasted Garlic sauce

1 package of mixed mushrooms, chopped into small pieces

1/2 bunch of spinach, chopped in half

1/2 zucchini, sliced into thin long pieces

1/2 an onion, diced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or diced

1 teaspoon Truffle Oil

2 teaspoon Vegetable Oil

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  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius)
  2. On a cookie sheet, arrange meatballs so they have enough room between each other to cook. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
  3. In a sauce pan, add vegetable oil. When warm, add garlic and onions.
  4. When onions become slightly translucent, add zucchini and mushrooms.
  5. Pour alfredo sauce and mix.
  6. When warm, add spinach and truffle oil, mix thoroughly.
  7. In a large pot filled with salted water (either 1/2 way or 3/4s), let boil, then add pasta.
  8. Cook pappardelle for 7-8 minutes or until done.
  9. Drain water from the pappardelle noodles and throw back into the pot.
  10. Add sauce and mix thoroughly.
  11. Plate your pasta and top with meatballs.
  12. Serve hot!

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How do you serve food to picky eaters? I think its important to serve and introduce items to picky eaters, even just once, so they can make their minds up whether they like it or not, or maybe a way they thought they wouldn’t have thought of enjoying a particular dish. Variety makes different dishes or cuisines taste a lot better and with so many different ways to substitute in recipes and with the convenience of having local stores like Choices Market, it’s easy to create a dish even a picky eater would love.

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For more information on Choices Market, visit their website here: