Monday, August 22, 2011
sneaking in the veggies - MUFFIN recipes!
When my son turned a year old this winter he developed a little attitude toward anything green on his plate. He ate any pureed veggie you can think of (except peas, always disliked peas) from the time we started feeding him solids. Yet when he turned 12 months everything green ended up on the floor or on me or somewhere except his mouth. It has been a struggle to say the least to ensure my child eats enough vegetables. So, I have sunk to a low - that I really consider a high point. I am sneaking in those veggies! And he's actually eating them!
I read a book a few months ago by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry's wife!) called Deceptively Delicious, all about pureeing vegetables to put in the middle of regular everyday recipes you make for your kids, such as brownies, macaroni and cheese and scrambled eggs. The book was interesting, as was the concept. I was skeptical at first, thinking that I do not agree with simply hiding veggies, for fear that if my child never sees them on his plate he'll never learn to like them. However, if you read Seinfeld's entire book you see that she offers her kids real veggies in their natural form every single day, several times a day. She just eliminates the constant battle with her kids, trying to entice them to eat the veggies, because she smugly knows there are veggies in their foods already. Pretty interesting, you should check out the book. I have not made any of the recipes, but some seem pretty good.
After reading that book that I did get sneaky and put frozen butternut squash into my son's macaroni and cheese - voila he loved it and at every bit! Very easy to do and kids can barely even see it in the pasta.
Since I am returning to work soon and have a busy fall ahead I decided to make some yummy muffins to have on hand for my son for breakfast or snacks. Here is the process:
STEP 1: PREPARING PUREES
I first started out at the farm stand, then the grocery store. I use many fresh veggies and fruits from the farm, but some things are much easier and almost as good frozen. I can buy a huge bag of frozen peaches and frozen blueberries at the grocery store for much cheaper than the fresh stuff. If you can get fresh, definitely that is best.
Take it home, start peeling and chopping, and toss into the blender or food processer to make it into a puree mush like for homemade baby food. (For more information on this see a previous post on here from May on making homemade baby food.)
STEP 2: MIXING THE MUFFINS AND PUREES TOGETHER
OK so you won't believe this and perhaps some of you won't agree with it, but I admit that I don't make the muffin mixture from scratch. Instead I use a totally healthy, no preservatives, batch of Jiffy muffin mix! Yup, it's true. And seriously it's the easiest thing in the world, that's why I'm able to make 5 batches of muffins in two afternoons so my son has muffins for the next 6 months!
So you mix the muffin mixture according to the box instructions... except - and this is important - you don't add as much oil or milk as the box calls for if you are mixing in some juicy fruits and veggies. I learned this the hard way when I made some muffins with zucchini (very, very watery vegetable when pureed) and the muffins took forever to cook! You have to estimate by the batter, but typically I cut it by a quarter to a half from what the box calls for.
I also always use two boxes per one batch of muffins.
Some great Jiffy options are corn, oatmeal, banana, and apple cinnamon.
Once the muffin mixture is made, you can have fun and be creative with throwing in various types of pureed fruits and veggies. Just go easy at first, stir it in, and then see if you think it needs more. There is no rhyme or reason to this step. It's all in what you think would taste OK and would be easy for your child to eat.
A few of the combinations I have tried that my son loves:
*apple cinnamon Jiffy mix with pureed carrots
*oatmeal Jiffy mix with pureed zucchini and diced strawberries
*pumpkin mix (I can't remember the box mix this was) with craisins
*pumpkin mix with pureed zucchini
*apple cinnamon Jiffy mix with frozen butternut squash
*corn Jiffy mix with ham and cheese (OK my son hated that one, but perhaps your child will eat it)
*banana Jiffy mix with diced peaches and pureed cauliflower and pureed zucchini (OK that one is very weird, I would not eat it, but my son eats it if it's mixed into yogurt)
STEP 3: FREEZING THE MUFFIN LOADS
Once the muffins are cooled I simply write on the outside of a large plastic ziplock bag the date and the type of muffins, then seal tightly, and toss into our large freezer. They heat up in the microwave in less than 10 seconds. Voila! A healthy breakfast or snack option for your child, that honestly lasts a really long time.
It's so easy! Try it out!