Sneakin’ It In

“I don’t care for that.”

Most of you probably realize that a good part of my motivation in experimenting with healthier food comes from the little people in our house.  Mine are still at home and so aren’t exposed to much in the way of outside influences where food is concerned.  My food battles with kids, therefore, rarely have to focus on undoing impressions garnered from advertising or eating with friends.  Over here we’re still about trying to help them 1) understand what healthy food is; 2) develop an appreciation for the full range of flavors from REAL food; and 3) experience the well-being that accompanies wise dietary choices.  We talk about all of these things and so far my five year olds do a pretty good job of sorting out what’s what and bearing up under demands to eat the green thing on the plate first or take two bites before you write something off.  With that said, I must admit that it can be tiring.  Some days I don’t want to tell them they have to eat the vegetable.  Some days I don’t want to hear what their preferences are (and frankly, on occasion I share this feeling in the form of an edict).  From time to time, in the interest of family harmony (peace for Momma) and in the interest of fun food experiments, we sneak things in as a way to boost nutritional value without having to talk about it.  I thought I’d share a few of our most recent experiments in this department.  After all, you don’t have to be five to benefit from a few hidden veggies, right?

Today’s Big Share:  Green Waffles.  Yes, that’s what I said.  Those of you who prefer lower fat baking have undoubtedly already used applesauce as a substitute in baking adventures.  Well, the other day I had a weird idea.  Why not other pulverized fruity concoctions?  Inspired by the remainder of a kale smoothie, I decided to attempt to make my children eat kale as part of their beloved waffles. So I did a straight swap from this recipe.  I used kale smoothie in place of applesauce.  Mixing the smoothie with the oil and almond milk looked a bit, well, too tame.  So I decided to add some spirulina powder.  Yes, I realize I’m demented.  I figured if I was going to try to get the kids to eat green waffles, they might as well be REALLY green (nutritionally speaking).

At any rate, I mixed it up and it wasn’t all that green visually.  I thought I’d just pass them off as regular waffles, but the kids saw them while cooking and the picky one said “ARE THOSE GREEN WAFFLES?!”  I replied:  “Not just plain ol’ green waffles, sweetie, they are brave smoothie [a very clever name Big Sis came up with for super green smoothies] green waffles.”  This answer got a VERY positive response.  The waffles cooked up pretty much as they have for me in the past.  On the next go-round I will use a little less smoothie as I think they were a little wet – took a little longer to cook and were a little heavier than I’ve had with that recipe before.  But, guess what?  They were great.  Topped with a little plain almond yogurt and some fresh fruit…. absolutely delish.  I will DEFINITELY be doing more experimenting with kale smoothie baking.  And my kids will eat those veggies right on up…

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8 responses

  1. Spectacular!! My question is, does cooking spirulina harm it’s nutritional properties? I can’t stand the stuff but know how good it is for you and am always looking for ways to choke it down…..if I could cook with it…..that would change the playing field!

  2. You are one delightfully demented cookie. How wonderful! Who’d have thought about putting spirulina in waffle batter – I’m all over this (although I don’t have a waffle iron so we’ll try it in our next batch of buckwheat pancakes. Brave pancakes – St. Patty’s Day muffins – Earth Day cookies. The possibilities are endless :-)

  3. Your kids don’t realize how lucky they are. You can adopt me and I’ll eat all the good food you make every day.

    Another good trick is using raw almond meal in place of a portion of flour. You probably already knew that.

    A friendly tip on the Almond milk: I switched from cow milk (can’t believe I drank so much of that stuff) to soy (bean) milk (too gassy), then to almond milk, but found the carrageanan problematic. I read that it’s (carrageanan) used as a thickener and some suggest it coats the stomach for a long time and can cause stomach upset. I’m not positive that carrageanan is bad, or not, but I switched to rice milk. Stomach upset cured. All soy and almond milk that I’ve seen has carrageanan. The only milk alternative that I’ve found to pass my ingredient test as well as not include carrageanan is Rice Dream.

    • Thank you so much! Every now and again my kids will express some general appreciation for my cooking, and honestly, for five year olds, that’s probably the most I can ask for. They do say I’m the best cook in the world, so there is some kind of admission that the problem is theirs rather than mine. ;-) Thanks for the tip on the almond milk. I’ve not had trouble with it thus far, but will keep it in mind!

    • Thanks! My love affair with kale is relatively new – I had no idea how versatile it can be. I also didn’t know that my stuffy nose would cease if I just ate a whole lot of it. Magical plants.

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