I love to cook. Baking is okay, but for me cooking let's me be a lot more creative and that is what I love.
Recently I have been on a sort of Cooking Odyssey. I like to make yummy recipes as healthy as possible without sacrificing any of the oogy gooey-ness of the best dishes around. Not the most novel of ideas, but I'm trying to broaden my scope a bit.
Let me be clear, I'm not a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, free-range, lentils only kind of girl.
We all know applesauce can be used in place of oil, but did you know you can also use ripe bananas or canned pumpkin. I will say though I think the pumpkin does tend to make things taste a little...harvesty. Great for fall, but a little off for Memorial Day brownies.
Recently I have come across the pureed veggie movement and I am in love! I have hidden brussel sprouts in lasagna, carrots in taco meat and butternut squash in mac and cheese. I can even make a cake with 2 cups of pureed chick peas (recipe for the cake can be found at http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/).
Jerry Seinfield's wife published a cookbook based on this cooking method. I'll save you the time and $15, its basically about steaming (or boiling) any fruit or veggie and then pureeing it until it's creamy. Then add the puree to virtually any dish in 1/2 cup to 1 cup portions.
Be smart about the combinations though. Obviously, pureed strawberries won't work in taco meat, but carrots did and I'm beating parsnips would work too!
I do think it is important for kids to eat veggies and know that they are eating veggies. These hidden treasure are not the only veg on their plates. I always have broccoli, spinach, green beans or the like on the plate. In fact, the only thing they have to eat all of is the actual veggie, the rest is negotiable.
And we do negotiate.
I just want to make sure they are getting the most amount of veggies possible. I am hoping their palates will develop a taste for some of these foods.
For example, I made Pumpkin Stew last week with chunks of butternut squash in it, along with other veggies, all visible, not pureed. Pman took a bite of the squash and said, "Ick!" spit it out and ate around the rest of the chunks. Tonight, I pureed the squash and hid it in the mac and cheese. Maybe by this time next year, we won't eat around the squash chunks in the stew.
Next week I am going to puree cauliflower and sneak it into chicken and cheese quesadillas.