Concession Sweets

As many of you know, my twins started kindergarten this fall….. gack.  There’s an awful lot swirling around in my head about THAT very fact and rather than sit here and take it in, there’s a whole new world of work and school logistics to get to know.  We’re all feeling, while still reasonably enthusiastic, a little tired and beat up around here.  The kids are especially tired in part because their school day is so much longer than anything they’ve done before, and in part because the paltry amount of time they are given to consume lunch is not working out too well for ravenous boy and chatty girl.  Lunchboxes are coming home with a dent at best.  They do, of course, always manage to extract the small sweet that I’ve been including to cheer them up at the time that they say they miss me the most (awww, yes, it breaks my heart a little).  Because of these developments, after having a talk about the fact that veggies need to be eaten before sweets just like at home, I’ve doubled down on my efforts to find and make sweet bits that are much less…. well everything.  The delightful thing about severely restricting sweets is that your kids get a lot less picky about them and so this is one category of food where everyone, even my daughter, is consistently rapturous about my efforts, and let’s face it, that’s pretty good for the chef. 🙂

This week’s little sweetie scored 100% approval and was just about as easy a cookie as I’ve ever baked.  Why is it better than other cookies?  Less sugar, less fat, and I used buckwheat rather than regular flour (read about the benefits of buckwheat here) and so have a whole slew of health benefits over your average chocolate chipper.  Yes, that’s right, once again I will breach into the realm of the sacred and dismember a classic flavor expectation with a healthier chocolate chip cookie.  Nearly blasphemous.

We Heart Buckwheat Chippers inspired by Jordan’s Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 c buckwheat flour
  • 1.5 t baking soda
  • .5 t salt
  • 1/3 c canola oil (or whatever kind you like)
  • 1/3 c applesauce
  • 2/3 c maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla
  • heaping .5 c semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I used minis to ensure choc in each bite and because, let’s face it, they’re cute)
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix flour, baking soda and salt in large bowl.  Mix wet ingredients in smaller bowl.  Add wet to dry and stir.  The dough will be wetter and easier to mix than traditional chocolate chip cookie dough.  Don’t be alarmed.  The dough will also be considerably darker than you might expect.  Again, it will all be okay.  Add chips and nuts (and whatever else your tribe prefers in such things) and stir gently to distribute.  Plop onto parchment or greased baking sheets.  I confess to using an official cookie dough scoop for such things (my Christmas baking requirements justified this little gem), but use whatever method you usually use with drop cookies.  After filling the tray (I got 12-15 per tray), squash the tops a little as they will not spread the way higher fat cookies do.  Bake for 6-9 minutes.  Mine took 9, but my oven is wacky.  Judge doneness by touching the cookie gently.  When it feels like a cookie and not a squishy ball, they’re done.  Allow to cool on the pan briefly for cleaner liftoff.  Cool completely on wire rack, or I should say after you’ve eaten some while they’re warm because you simply must eat some while they’re warm, cool the rest on a wire rack.  Delish.

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…