We have entered the phase of toddlerhood where my children will not just eat whatever I put in front of them without question. They used to just eat anything and it was awesome. I, of course, attributed this to my having introduced them to lots of different foods and flavors from the start. (Go Me!) Well....I still think I did the right thing and I will continue as I began but I may have to get a bit trickier over here for a while.
Of my two boys, one will eat mostly anything...the other (Aaron) prefers bread, cheese and hot dogs. Nice, huh? The kid won't even eat pasta or pizza! Luckily for me he does eat a lot of fruits and proteins. He chowed down on pork tenderloin for dinner just last night; he just doesn't want any veggies. Except for french fries of course. I am going to need to hide some veggies.
In the past I've loaded up my Turkey Meatloaf with veggies, put sweet potatoes in the pancakes and even made zucchini bread which both kids LOVE. But I was running out of ideas so I picked up Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious last week from the library. This cookbook is all about hiding the veggies. Her method does require a little extra work because she makes veggie purees and puts them into regular dishes. Sort of like Tyler Florence's Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese which my kids used to love until Aaron decided to boycott pasta.
Anyway. I figured that with the help of my trusty food processor I could definitely give some of this stuff a shot. My goal is to make a different veggie filled item for the kids each week. I'm going to try to sneak in some veggies in where I can. But this doesn't mean I'm going to stop putting "regular" veggies on their plates! I think kids need to keep seeing good healthy foods on their plates to help accustom them with these things. I'm confident that with constant exposure they will eventually try a bite or two and maybe even come to like them sometime down the road. And what does it hurt? My husband and I are eating these things already so it really isn't a big waste.
So my first "hidden" veggie recipe from Deceptively Delicious was the Applesauce Muffins. These are loaded with applesauce and a 1/2 cup of butternut squash gets "sneaked" in. They are moist and pretty tasty (you can't taste the squash I swear) and the kids love them. They each ate a whole muffin for snack yesterday, success!
Applesauce Muffins adapted from Jessica Seinfeld found in Deceptively Delicious
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butternut squash puree
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
To start, make your butternut squash puree by splitting a small to medium sized butternut squash in half and laying it cut side down on an oiled baking dish. Roast it at 400 F for about 25 minutes until it is very tender. Scoop out the flesh and puree it in a food processor or blender. Add a few tablespoons of water if needed. Let it cool.
Now make the topping. Just stir together all the ingredients in a small bowl to combine.
Make the batter: combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and the wet ingredients (including the squash) in a larger bowl. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients slowly. Don't over-mix, lumps are ok!
Now line a muffin pan with paper cups or spray them with non-stick cooking spray. Fill the cups with batter and top each with streusel topping.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes at 400 F. A toothpick inserted in a muffin should come out clean when they are done. Remove them to a wire rack to cool.