Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lentils, Zucchini, and Spinach, Oh My!

Something has been revolutionizing my kitchen life lately. It started a week ago when I found a cookbook in the library. It’s called The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue and it’s all about sneaking nutrition into your kids’ meals through pureed veggies and fruit, and on top of that, it has unusual recipes for kids who are bored with regular sandwiches and other run-of-the-mill food presentations. 
Monkey Pancake batter
Sweet potatoes and carrots

I’ve been hunting and gathering vegetables and fruits in order to make the purees and then be able to try the recipes.

The other day I mixed up tuna salad with some sour cream as well as mayo, and added a pureed mix of sweet potatoes and carrots. Scrumptious! The boys ate it just as well as they eat regular tuna salad on crackers. They’ve had it several times since then and so have I.

This morning I made Monkey Pancakes. Here’s what’s in them: whole wheat and white flours, wheat germ, pureed carrots and sweet potatoes, bananas, and some baking powder, salt, egg, and milk. 
Cal gobbles Monkey Pancakes

Sounds gross, right? But they were delicious! Calvin ate most of the batch, and I’m not exaggerating. Brian liked them but he wasn’t hungry when I was done with the pancakes and so he only got Clark’s leftovers. Cal ate a bunch, got down to play, and came back to eat more. I felt a little like what a spy might feel like after intercepting a top secret plan from the Russians. Or something. They had no idea they were eating vegetables that they typically refuse to eat on their own.

On top of the colorful veggie and fruit purees there is a lentil puree, a nut puree, a flour blend, and a better breading blend. Let the food processor begin!

I don’t want to get out of the habit of always offering them veggies and fruit in their natural forms, but for now I am slipping them in on the sly and I feel pretty good about it. It’s basically like dropping a couple tablespoons of fresh, preservative-free baby food into every meal you make. The purees of every color blend in naturally to foods and provide a spectrum of important nutrition.

cauliflower and zucchini puree 

I encourage any parent to use this book. Eating smashed lentils and blending your spinach with blueberries has never felt better.

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