Before becoming a mother, I always had the best intentions when raising my kids. I still do, though in striving to maintain good intentions, I think I may have stooped lower than I ever thought I would. I've done the unthinkable. I've deceived my children.
Yes, that's right. I've deceived. But wait...let me explain. Brian and I are really into eating healthy and do, for the most part. Our sweet tooths do get the best of us, but we are pretty good at keeping a good moderate handle on our sweets. I never thought mealtime would be an issue. "Our kids will love healthy foods because we do!" Or, so I thought. Now, I am wiser and know that kids do not come into this world loving broccoli. Well, at least ours didn't. So, we implemented a rule that we learned from Brian's sister, Tami. We insisted that the girls try 2 bites of everything on their plate. If the girls still don't dig the dish, then they don't have to eat everything. The last thing I want is the girls to grow up thinking they have to clear their plates. So, that rule works. But the 2-bite-rule wasn't quite cutting it in terms of the girls getting enough nutrients, so fearing that bribery was just around the corner, I decided I needed to get creative.
I saw a cookbook called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld a while back and when my former college roommate, who is expecting her first child (a girl...congratulations, Anna!!!), told me that she bought it, I decided to check it out of the library and try the whole "deception" route. I've actually experimented with this type of deception earlier in the summer. For special occasions, or just because we felt like baking, I would grab any type of cake mix and substitute all ingredients called for on the back of the box with a small can of pumpkin. The girls NEVER knew, and barely did I for that matter! With the pumpkin mixed in, I didn't feel so bad about loading the top with frosting. :o) But this cookbook really gets detailed. The concept is to puree' several batches of veggies in different freezer bags, and then pull them out as needed for a recipe. Last week I hid yellow squash in the girl's macaroni and cheese. I also made broccoli tofu bites. Both times I made Brian be the guinea pig. Now, the tofu bites were tasty in my opinion, but as Brian choked them down, he laughed at my hopes that the girls would eat them. To both our surprise, they did! But as soon as they saw the green under the breaded coating, they screeched on the brakes. After Brian tried the mac-n-cheese, he was surprised at how great it tasted and predicted the girls would eat it. He was right! It actually helped the texture of the cheese and made it very creamy and delicious.
So, today, with the help of my chefs-in-training, I have attempted the lemon blueberry muffins, with squash and flaxseed added. This was a HUGE hit with the kids and I loved the lemony, light, and not-so-sweet flavor. They were incredibly moist and oh so delicious!!! I think we have a winner! Please give a hand to my mini-chefs: Liv, Sydnie, Drew, and Holland. They are not only cute, but incredibly cheerful mixers, brave egg-crackers, and silly zesters. I really had to suppress my giggles when Liv picked out all her blueberries (Can you say, PICKY?). Little did she know that the muffin was loaded with squash, yogurt, and flaxseed meal...all things that could not be seen OR picked out.
Next week, I think I may try the burgers with mushrooms and zucchini, chocolate pudding with avocado, pink pancakes with beets, or blueberry Oatmeal Bars with spinach. I'm still trying to decide if Hot Cocoa with sweet potato sounds really good, or really bad. Please make your opinion known on my new poll!
Blueberry Lemon Muffins (with yellow squash)
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed.
4 T. soft margarine, chilled (trans fat free)
1 C. lemon yogurt
1 C. blueberries
1/2 C. yellow squash, pureed
1 large egg
2 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. flaxseed meal
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking sode
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper cups. Beat the sugar and the margarine in a large bowl by hand. Stir in the yogurt, blueberries, yellow squash puree, egg, extract, and zest.
Add the flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir just until combined. Batter is supposed to be lumpy.
Divide the batter evenly among cups. Bake until the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when insterted in the center, 13-16 minutes. Turn the muffins out onto a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temp. for 2 days, or wrap individually and freeze up to a month.
I didn't have lemon extract, so we just zested a bit more and also juiced about 2-3 tsp. from the lemon and stirred into the batter. It still tasted deliciously like lemons!