Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld is a fantastic answer to the question, “how do I get my kid to eat her vegetables??” As the mom of three, Seinfeld has plenty of real experience feeding the under-8 set. Her premise is simple–what they don’t know, will actually be good them.
She spells out the method of pureeing and freezing vegetables (and fruit, but really, for me, it’s all about the veggies), and then adding them to assorted recipes where your family will be none the wiser. This a great technique not only for veggie-shy children, but for busy adults who have a hard time getting their 5-a-day as well.
After reading the game plan, I went ahead and tried an evening of steaming and pureeing vegetables to use for the next few weeks. (I even I purchased two vegetables I have never purchased before–cauliflower and sweet potatoes. I’d eaten sweet potatoes on occasion before, with you know, marshmallows, on Thanksgiving, but certainly never cauliflower.)
It was easy, and really did only take an hour. I chose to freeze my purees in 4oz glass canning jars, because I am trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use (Seinfeld recommends storing in baggies and then clipping the corner and squeezing out the puree).
I was wondering how food-allergy friendly the recipes would be, and I actually found many to fit within my daughter’s dietary restrictions. The recipes are incredibly healthy–by adding in the puree, the fiber content of every day foods (like mac and cheese) are boosted to new levels. All of the ingredients are natural–forget high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, “natural” flavor or food colorings. The recipes are also very low fat, because the purees hold things together much like fat would.
The recipe I will use the most? The recipe for homemade ketchup. Crazy, but remember I feed a two year old on a daily basis. Now instead of dipping her hot dog in high-fructose corn syrup with tomatoes, she is truly dipping her hot dog in tomatoes and carrots. And she loves it!
The recipe for taco meat with added carrots was incredibly easy, and the carrots went unnoticed by all parties at the dinner table. Honestly, if I am able to puree carrots on a regular basis, I can easily add it to just about anything tomato based (think Mexican and Italian dishes).
The dessert section appears incredibly delicious. Because of my daughter’s diet, I only tried one recipe, but it was an exceptional one… an out-of-this-world Chocolate Pudding, that really was to die for, with, of all things, avocados! The pudding was rich and creamy, and completely dairy-free (which is a good thing at my house). The rest of the desserts sound promising, and I fully intend to try them at some point.
I even tried the scrambled eggs with cauliflower. I could detect a slight cauliflower taste (or what I perceive cauliflower to taste like, being that I’ve not actually ever tasted it straight), but I think it could be overcome by adding back more egg yolks (the recipe called for 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites). The recipes are easy and basic–it’s definitely a book for families with young children in the house.
This cookbook is absolutely gorgeous, beautiful photographs and graphics with a 1950’s feel. How appealing is the look and feel of this cookbook? Take a look inside at the publishers site. My daughter has learned the names of the Seinfeld family (there are little sketches of each family member commenting on assorted recipes), and loves the photographs of all the food. This is the book that she now wants to take in the car with her, and she’ll flip through the pages, naming the food she sees, along with the Seinfeld clan.
Deceptively Delicious lays out a very manageable way of improving the nutritional quality of every day family meals. Seinfeld’s simple techniques can be applied to other recipes–and this little tidbit of knowledge is handy in a toddler household. Currently my 2 year old is actually to the point where she removes anything identified as a vegetable from her plate and places it on mine, with a sweet, “Here, Mommy!” So obviously, anyway to sneak in veggie goodness is appreciated. If you know a toddler with similar habits, I recommend picking up this book for the ketchup recipe alone. Every time she nudges a green bean off her plate and proceeds to dip her hot dog in my homemade ketchup, it makes me smile.
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