I have received free product for this post, but all opinions, photos and kitchen messes are my own, as is that cute kid. For more information, please see my full disclosure.
If you have been following along for the past month (has it already been a month?!), you’ve seen a collection of recipes to use to hide vegetables in different meals and snacks and drinks to help those picky eaters in your lives get a somewhat balanced diet. My husband and I were just talking about the reasons why so many people don’t like fruits and veggies, and that maybe it’s because the produce we find in grocery stores are often bland and tasteless. This discussion goes on as we watch our son finish his THIRD freshly picked ripe peach of the morning. Can you BELIVE it?! THREE peaches in about an hour, and begging for more! Still, we consider ourselves lucky to have farms and orchards near us, where we have such easy access to sun-ripened produce, where the taste is like nothing you find in a grocery store.
If you don’t have access to such bounty, you may need to resort to sneakier methods to introduce vegetables in your diet. I’d like to share with you a cookbook a reader brought to my attention, whose focus is purely on incorporating vegetables and fruits into every meal and snack of the day. It’s called Vegetables Accidentally, by Merrin McGregor, and it’s got some great recipes in it!
In the last week, our family has tried the banana pancakes and zucchini cornbread, and both of them were a hit! I started out with these recipes because the vegetables/fruits were completely hidden, since J can pick out a smidgen of celery from an entire bowl of chili.
The banana pancakes were super easy to whip up – it took about 10 minutes to throw everything together and pass off to hubby who actually makes the pancakes on the griddle. I love that the recipes are broken up into dry ingredients and wet ingredients, so both the ingredient list and the directions are very intuitive and makes for a less messy kitchen when all is said and done. The ingredients themselves are also commonly found in your pantry so there’s no need to make a special run out to a store for that special something. I did have to go out and get sour cream though – because that’s the one thing I never EVER have at home…just not a fan. I’m not sure what the sour cream did in the recipe, but within 5 minutes of starting the griddle, Drew turned around and said “whoa, this is a great recipe”. He’d been eating the pancakes scraps. Doesn’t everyone?
Full disclosure here: he did add a few M&Ms to J’s pancakes, as an extra incentive, although we probably wouldn’t have needed them. J gobbled up 2 pancakes, while the adults only had 3 each – they were hearty and filling and delicious! And I felt great for having had a quiet, tantrum-less dinner while knowing J got some fruit into him and was able to fill up. Full baby = happy baby = baby who goes to bed nicely = quiet time for mommy. See how that works? Hallelujah!
Next up was the zucchini cornbread. I know there is the potential for J to eat cornbread, as he has done it before, but the recipe I used to use had tons of sugar in it, so I wanted to give this one a try. Once again, the split of dry and wet ingredients made the whole process quick and easy, and the inclusion of yellow zucchini ensured he wouldn’t be picking little bits of green out of the bread. It was another success – for breakfast and snacks. And oh, when it’s warm out of the oven, with a bit of butter…heaven. This one made me a bit giddy because all J could see was that there was corn, which is ok, but I knew there was also quite a bit of zucchini, so that’s a point for me!
All of the recipes in this cookbook are to help give you, or whoever the cook is, that smug little feeling (you know what I mean!) of having snuck in some goodness into what you serve, while not completely negating the nutrition with too much sugar or other processed goods. The recipes are easy to read with understandable measurements, and a little fun added – “when no one’s looking, add the zucchini” – yup, that’s how we roll. There’s also a table that shows where each recipe ranks in terms of veggie/fruit sneakiness, which translates directly into how many gold stars you’ll give yourself when your little one (or your husband) chows down, completely oblivious. Here are some other great features:
- Based on the USDA ‘MyPlate’ guidelines for healthy eating
- Extra info to educate and entertain:
- ‘cheat sheet’ overview of all recipes, to help you craft the size of your scams
- margins filled with quirky facts, helpful hints and a little accidental humor
**you might particularly like the ‘Top Secret Tips’ in the margins, which recommend many more sneaky tactics than just ‘puree it!’
- sneaky recipe title (just for fun) and a ‘code name’ to ensure your kitchen corruption remains a cook’s best-kept secret
- fruit and veggie ‘cup counts’ [for your eyes only]
- Keeps things simple for the busy home cook:
- readily available ingredients
- standard cup-based measurements
- use measurements generally based on whole pieces of produce [e.g., 1 ‘cup’ is most often equal to 1 piece of fruit] and standard quantities [whole packages or cans]
- encourages using in-season produce [for best flavor, nutritional content and value!]
If you’d like to learn more, go to Merrin’s website, or head straight on over to Amazon and get this book for yourself. I feel so much better having this book sitting on my cookbook shelf, just to help balance out the butter and cream being recommended by my array of french cookbooks!
I received free product for this post, but all opinions, and dirty dishes, are my own.