Oh Those Tasty Sneaky Greens

As Little Sis so eloquently pointed out in “It’s Not You, It’s Them”, just because it’s in the grocery store, doesn’t make it safe to eat.  The safest foods in the grocery store are the whole, unprocessed foods: fruits and vegetables!  And of course it is an age old battle to get children to eat more vegetables.  Our culture’s diet is not based on fruits and vegetables, it’s based on bread and meat and potatoes and meat and lots and lots of sugar.

Although the popular notion that children have different taste buds or stronger taste buds than adults is difficult to tease out scientifically, due to many other factors affecting perceptions of taste, children do seem to have a higher density of ‘sweet’ taste receptors which is offset when puberty increases the ability to differentiate between tastes and the preference for sweet declines.

There’s no denying most children love sweet and most seem to like bland.  Maybe that’s because they can’t differentiate and so complex flavors seem strong.  But let’s get back to the basic problem.  How to get more vegetables into your children, and into you and your adults as well?!  We adults also exist in this culture and have also been inundated with bread, sugar, meat, sugar, potatoes, sugar, meat, and sugar as well!  I am not looking to engage people in a discussion about the relative merits of meat here, but it’s simple math.  If your plate is full of bread and meat – where are the vegetables?  Vegetables are key to good health!

We have lots of vegetable based recipes on board here, but I wanted to share a vegetable-increasing-money-saving-technique especially for the vegetable impaired.  Green smoothies are nothing new, but keeping fresh greens on hand if you don’t go to the store every other day can be tough, and of course the big bags / bunches / piles of greens are cheaper than the small.  And what about the stems of the greens that are a little tough?  Blend, freeze and then smoothify those nutrient dense Good Boys!

2013-02-15 06.21.46 What the heck are those?  Is it mineral crystals?  Amputated popsicle ends?  No, my friends.  Right there is raw beet greens that your children will eat.  No lie.  Now you might have to mix a few other things in there with those raw beet greens, but a bunch of greens, or other vegetables your children don’t appreciate, some water, a strong blender (I have a VitaMix), and a few ice cube trays you don’t mind staining later.. and voila!  You have a smoothie starter that will cool, thicken and nutrify your smoothies.

Beet greens are great because many people don’t even cook them, they buy the beets and throw away the greens.  Well… if you want ideas for cooking beets and greens try this link, and this soup link and this meatless patty link

But in the meantime, don’t throw away stems, tips, greens that will go bad before you use them, or your husband’s favorite hole-y T-shirt!  Put all but the last in the blender.

Basically your limitations with this idea are based on your blender.   You need enough water to keep things spinning and pulverizing without so much that you have very little nutrition in each cube.  I just add a little water at a time until I can get things moving well enough to chop.  You don’t really want a super thin consistency, because again, you will have less nutrition per cube.

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Keep annoying everyone with lots of noise and let the mixture blend.

(This is indeed beet greens and stems that I wasn’t going to be able to use before greens floppage)

2013-02-06 16.56.07

Now for the messy part!  Pouring/ spooning into trays.  Again please don’t use your heirloom, best white ice cube trays if you want them to stay white!

2013-02-06 16.59.07 Put them in the freezer and when frozen, pop em out and into a bag to keep in the freezer.

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Then you make a smoothie with as many cubes as you think your sweetsters can stand (this amount can go up as taste buds get re-trained).

2013-02-15 06.27.13This one has some banana, pineapple and homemade almond milk – and of course the sneaky hidden beet greens and stems.  Mwwoooo hooo hahahah.  My son likes beets but is not a fan of any cooked green.  We’ve just gotten him eating salads with some pleasure, so I’m hoping cooked greens aren’t far behind…. I hate the sound he currently makes when he eats them ;-).

2013-02-15 06.31.06Smooth going down!  To your health!

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42 responses

    • We like to do that as well – but if you find yourself with too much spinach… this is a great storage technique :-). Thanks for stopping by!

  1. I never thought to puree my greens for smoothies. We seem to put everything else in them. My kids like sauteed greens. I like to make cauliflower mash and mix in sauteed greens with a little cheese and chopped bacon.

    • I am SOOOOO with you on that one. I do think that the more you sneak it in, they still get a bit accustomed to the taste and texture and then they might even eat it without being tricked!

    • Thank you for stopping by! The Vita Mix is really wonderful… I’ve had mine for 15 years if that helps consider the investment.

    • Thanks Diane. We all have our limits, don’t we? I confess I don’t like broccoli, but it’s hard to avoid broccoli, isn’t it?

  2. The picture caught my eye over on Flamingo Toes Think Pink. I just knew those were some type of fruit frozen concoction. What a grand idea. I’ve had beet greens but not since i was a child and my grandad kept a garden. They weren’t bad. Recently I made the chocolate beet cake, It too was a winner, but how can you go wrong with chocolate. One of the staples of life.

  3. I stay ahead of my veggie-hating son with purees, too. Also, I peel and shred zucchini, then wring it dry in a towel before adding it to chili, spaghetti sauce, meatloaf and more. As long as he doesn’t see the green peel, he doesn’t realize he’s eating it. Of course, I serve zucchini at the table regularly, and he tries to claim he’s “allergic”. Bahahahaha. Nice try, kid.

    If you haven’t already, I’d love if you’d come join my How To Tuesday link party, too.

    http://housewifehowtos.com/link-party-2/how-to-tuesday-link-party-11/

    • Thank you Katie! Quite a party you are hosting ;-) I love the drying the zucchini a bit first idea – makes it a little less noticeable. Gotta love the creativity involved in claiming an allergy. I’d like to try that one with cleaning the bathrooms!

  4. Just blended up my stems and greens and put them in the freezer. Since we didn’t have ice trays, I used little dixie cups and gave them a quick spray of PAM so they would come out easily (hoping that works out ok). I’ve got my frozen pineapple ready to go. Can’t wait to have my girls try a pink smoothie! They’re going to love it. Thanks for the great idea.

    • You are so clever! That’s a great substitute for ice trays. Let us know if the girls like their pink smoothies. So glad you shared your tip with us.

  5. What a great idea! I am always looking for ideas on how to sneak veggies into my kids. :-) Thanks for linking up with “Try a New Recipe Tuesday.” :-) Hope to see you again this week.

  6. Pingback: Is it Summer Yet? | katiejeancooks

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