Tuesday, August 12, 2008

5 vegetable servings a day... are you trying to kill me?!

Yes, this is how I feel about vegetables. I try and eat healthy for myself. I have kids and I need to eat healthy and make them eat healthy. In the world of fruits and vegetables I feel like I just don't like many of them. Although once I start to name them off... the ones I like... I do like quite a few. My kids, my son in particular is pretty picky about the ones he likes. I read many years ago to start kids off eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and they'll like them all their lives. BIG FAT LIE! If anything my son's love of fruits and vegetables gets less and less each year. He's the kid that loved carrot juice. He's the kid that stole creamed spinach off my plate when I stepped away from the table to get napkins one night. It became a game after that. When it was Spinach Maria night I'd say, "Now don't you touch my spinach!" I'd come back and he'd have eaten it. Not a bad game get your kid to willingly eat spinach. My daughter started in the opposite direction. She didn't care for many things when young and has embraced fruits and vegetables more and more the older she's got. In middle school she asked if she could make her own lunches, because the hot lunches at school just weren't healthy. As a mother I remained calm and showed no emotion (wanted to jump for joy!) and said sure. Just write on the grocery list the things you want for lunches. She's been packing ever since.

I know where my son gets it as the older I get the less fruit and vegetables I want to eat too. So, when I do I want to get as many into a meal as I can. This is where my friend Julia showed me a book she bought by Jessica Seinfeld called "Deceptively Delicious ." This gal has written a book where she's hidden vegetables in recipes. Again something I've been doing for years and why the heck didn't I write a book. Anyhow she's got it down to a science (sort of) in that she REALLY hides the vegetables by making purees. I thought this would work to get more vegetables in my day as well as my kids.
I went to my friend Julia's house and we spent an evening cooking and pureeing vegetables to be prepared for the recipes. I knew that like Ms. Seinfeld I would not be making purees every week. So, I decided to freeze mine in portions suitable for the recipes. That created a problem as some recipes ask for 1/2 cup, some 1/4 cup and some 2 tablespoons of pureed vegetables. I thought that is a either a lot of baggies or plastic containers. That seemed cumbersome and wasteful. So, I decided to freeze my purees in 2 tablespoon size portions in ice cube trays. At first I used a 1 tablespoon sized cookie scoop to fill the trays. This worked out really well. Then I realized that each cube held 2 tablespoons and therefore measuring was no longer necessary. I then just snipped the corner off my baggies and filled the trays. This worked out GREAT! After frozen I then popped out the cubes into containers to store in the freezer.

This has worked out SO great. I keep planning on trying one of Ms. Seinfeld's recipes, but popping these veggies into my own recipes has worked out great. Funny thing is I have teenagers and my son actually read the book so he'd be prepared for any hidden vegetables coming his way. He quizzes me daily thinking he'll find out I'm making one of her recipes, but I haven't. One evening I was making my spaghetti and meatballs and he thought it was the "Deceptively Delicious" recipes. I asked, "Are there spaghetti and meatball recipes in the book?" He said sheepishly, "Yes." I asked, "Have you read the book?" Then he laughed and said, "Here I thought I was calling you out and ended up calling myself out." We had a good laugh.

I've really enjoy adding a bit more nutrition to my day (and my kids'). When I actually use one of her recipes I'll review it here. Her idea on ready made purees is genius though. Having them on hand means you can defrost in the microwave if need be and use them at a moments notice. I've slipped carrot puree into my "Mom"ba Juice. I've slipped sweet potato puree into my spaghetti sauce. Neither time could I taste the addition. Life is getting healthier.

No comments: