I think the hardest part of parenting is trying to get your kids to eat their veggies. They don’t teach that skill in parenting class, or even mention how painful it can be. Forget potty training, temper tantrums, and bedtime meltdowns; what I want to know is how to get my child to eat vegetables!
I’ve got one kid who eats them well enough. I’ll get the initial complaining when his plate is put in front of him, which I’ve learned to ignore, then he asks for a spoon and eats all the veggies first. The other kid has the most amazing gag reflex you’ve ever seen – has since he was a baby and now he’s 10 so, yeah, it’s been fun. He so much as looks at a vegetable, he starts to gag.
In recent years I’ve managed to get him to at least “try,” which basically means he licks or nibbles a microscopic piece off the top of the offending veg. Then he declares that he hates it. He once told me he’d eat the top of the broccoli. Great, I thought. He’ll eat broccoli heads. To be honest, that’s the only part I eat, anyway. Â Turned out he and I had different definitions of “top.” Whereas I meant what’s above the stalk, his interpretation was the teeny, miniscule balls atop the part above the stalk.
Dinnertime is a barrel of laughs at our house.
So I’ve resorted to being a sneaky chef. Most of the ways of getting veggies into kids’ meals is via pureeing and mixing into sauce, such as pureed squash in mac ‘n’ cheese. Sneaky, huh? But my kid doesn’t like any kind of sauce, not even ketchup.
He does, however, LOVE cupcakes, brownies, and cookies. So I’ve resorted to putting the veggies in those. In fact, I’ve gained a bit of a reputation for spinach in brownies and beans in cookies, so much that some of my neighbors are highly suspicious of the treats I make.
Yesterday I tried out a new recipe: chocolate cupcakes with beets, and posted this picture of my sneakiness on facebook:
The reactions were interesting, ranging from “Beets are disgusting!” and “that might be the only way to get me to eat those” to “Recipe, please!” So, I guess the beet-haters need not read further, although I can tell you with absolute certainty that you cannot taste any beet in these cupcakes, because my 10 year old is like a hound dog sniffing out a fox when it comes to finding veggies hidden in his food, and although he may have found the spinach in the brownie several years ago, (“why is there grass in my brownie?”) he didn’t even hesitate when downing one of these cupcakes yesterday, and he asked for one as soon as he got home from school today. Yes, I too, am older and wiser.
This recipe was adapted from the Double Chocolate Red Beet Cake recipe in The Costco Connection, February 2012.
One 8 oz. container steamed and peeled baby beets (I purchased mine at Trader Joes) OR 2 large beets, roasted/steamed, cooled, and peeled.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Puree beets to make 2/3 cup. Set aside. Set oven to 350 F.
Cream butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add sour cream; mix well. Add beet puree.
In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Fold into wet mixture.
Spoon batter into 24 cupcake cases and bake until done, 18 – 20 minutes.
After cupcakes have cooled, frost with your choice of frosting.
No-one will ever know.
If you liked this recipe, please share it via twitter or facebook! And please feel free to pin the images on pinterest. Thanks!
Have you ever been a sneaky chef?
What’s the sneakiest item you’ve put in food?
Do you like beets?