Well, we made through two natural disasters last week, so I am hoping for a little peace and quiet for this last week before school starts. With school starting back, I want to continue to focus on kids foods. A couple of weeks ago I did a guest blog post for Lazy Day Books. I reviewed Jessica Seinfeld’s book, Deceptively Delicious. The theory behind her book is to sneak fruits and vegetables into recipes using purees. This isn’t a new idea but it’s nice to have a collection of recipes using this method to give you guidelines. Below are the two I made from her cookbook with my own tweaks, of course.
Chocolate Pudding (with avocado)
1 cup avocado puree
1/4 cup trans fat-free tub margarine spread (I used a little over 1/8 cup butter)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cornstarch
To get cup of avocado puree, I used 2 medium-sized avocados. I used my fork to mash-up the avocado and then put it into my mini Cuisinart food processor. Over low heat, I melted the butter and added the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and avocado in a medium saucepan. Seinfeld suggests using a silicone spatula to smooth out lumps and let it thicken over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. You stir in the cornstarch after you remove it from the heat and serve it warm.
Overall, I like this recipe. I don’t use margarine so I used a little less butter than her margarine. I also didn’t like the amount of cornstarch she uses so I cut back to about 1/8 cup. You definitely need to eat this one warm or you can taste the avocado. I also suggest making sure you have minimal lumps for texture and taste. Speaking of taste, my 3-year-old daughter loved this! I thought it was good as well. It reminded me of chocolate lava cake, only pudding style. I have to warn you, it does have a green juice to it in the bottom of the bowl. It may be just because I used butter. I didn’t have margarine so I can’t confirm how it will turn out for you. It still tastes really good.
Pita Pizzas (my new name for it: Sneaky Spinach Pizza)
8 (4 inch) whole wheat pita pockets
½ cup spinach puree
2 cups bottled tomato sauce
2 cups of thinly sliced part skim mozzarella.
Did I follow this recipe exactly? No, I didn’t have pita pockets. I had actual thin pizza crust that I have purchased early in the week. I also used frozen spinach because they were out of fresh at the store. My sauce was an all natural premade tomato pizza sauce. Does this change the recipe completely? No. What I am looking for in her recipes is taste of the puree. I didn’t want my kids to realize my sneaky maneuver.
Let’s get to the food, shall we? First, I heated up a cup of frozen spinach in a glass dish in the microwave for about 60 seconds. I would have totally steamed fresh spinach had it been available. I pureed my spinach in my mini Cuisinart chopper, but I quickly realized I needed to add ½ cup or so of water to the spinach to get it to the baby food consistency I was going for. Big chunks of leaf were not an option for my crew. I made more puree spinach than needed. I saved the rest of the spinach for some porcupine meatballs I planned to make later in the week.
Next, I combined the premade pizza sauce with the spinach puree. I had 1 cup of tomato sauce versus 2 cups, so I just adjusted the ratio to ¼ cup spinach puree for 1 cup of sauce. The sauce went straight on my two, 8 inch olive oil coated pizza crusts. It did look a little green but I topped it with cheese and added mini pepperoni so you couldn’t tell. You can add any topping you like to these kid pleasing pizzas or just leave them cheese.
I baked the pizzas per crust package directions. Deceptively Delicious had her pizzas on 400 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes. I use parchment paper instead of the aluminum foil Seinfeld suggests. It’s easier to use in my opinion. After cooling and cutting, I served my deceptive pizza to the kids. What did they think? They loved it! They didn’t even know. SUCCESS! I like this idea because it put some veggies in their mouths they wouldn’t usually eat.
Overall, I like this book. The Sneaky Chef is another book with the same philosophy. You are going to see this philosophy in more products on store shelves. Kraft is adding cauliflower to their mac and cheese and Barilla has a new pasta out made with 25% pureed vegetables. These recipes and products are all inventive ways to get more nutrition in our kids.
Thanks to www.lazydaybooks.com for allowing me to review one of their ebooks for this post. You can find Deceptively Delicious and The Sneaky Chef books on their website.