Friday, June 11, 2010

Orange Puree

This puree is used in all recipes that call for an "orange" puree. It's a blend of carrots and sweet potatoes and is from the cookbook The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine.

  • 1 medium sweet potato (or yam) peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
  • 2-3 tablespoons of water
  1. In a medium pot, cover carrots and potatoes with cold water and boil for 20 min until very tender (especially the carrots). 
  2. Drain the carrots and potatoes and put in bowl of food processor with two tablespoons of water.
  3. Puree on high until smooth. No chunks or pieces of carrot or potato should remain.
This makes about 2 cups of puree. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags (that's what I did!).

White Puree

This puree is used in all recipes that call for the "white" puree. I also call it the "cauliflower puree." This recipe is from the Sneaky Chef by: Missy Chase Lapine.

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (I used frozen)
  • 1-2 medium zucchini, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I used some from a bottle)
  • 1-2 tablespoons water, if needed
  1.  On the stovetop, pour about 2 inches of water into a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Put a vegetable steamer basket into the pot, add the cauliflower, and steam for about 10 minutes until tender, drain. 
  2. OR: to prepare in microwave (this is what I did) place cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it with water, and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes until very tender. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, place the raw peeled zucchini with the lemon juice in your food processor (I don't have one so I used a blender) and pulse a few times. Next add the cooked cauliflower and 1 tablespoon of water to the food processor (work in batches if needed) and puree on high until smooth. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water make a smooth puree, but the less water, the better.
  4. This recipe makes about 2 cups of puree; double if you want to store more. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions sealed in plastic bags (this is what I did). 

I think this will probably be the most useful puree out of them all. It's white so it's easy to sneak into foods and I've heard that cauliflower is basically tasteless. I plan on using it not only in the recipes that call for it but also in mashed potatoes!


I found this recipe online out of the cookbook The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine. It is a great summer treat that sneaks in both carrots and sweet potatoes!

  • 1/2 cup Mott's Medleys Juice, Tropical Flavor
  • 1/4 cup Orange Puree
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • rainbow sprinkles, optional (I didn't use them, my child isn't old enough to notice!)
  1. Blend ingredients except sprinkles together in blender until smooth. Drop a few spinkles (if desired) into each popsicle mold and then pour equal amounts of the mixture in each. Insert stick and freeze for at least 3 hours. (I have that popsicle making set of 4 molds and it fit perfectly!) 
I haven't had Kye try this yet as I just haven't been home around snack time but I'm sure he will like it! Especially since he's teething right now and anything cold always helps :)

    Green Puree

    This is taken from The Sneaky Chef by: Missy Chase Lapine I don't have her cookbook but I found the recipe online :)

    • 2 cups raw baby spinach leaves (or 1 cup frozen, which is what I did)
    • 2 cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
    • 1 cup sweet green peas (frozen)
    • 2-3 tablespoons of water
    1. If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if package says "prewashed"
    2. To prepare on stovetop, pour about 2 inches of water into a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Put a vegtable steamer basket into the pot, add the spinach and broccoli, and steam for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the frozen peas to the basket for the last 2 minutes of steaming. Drain.
    3. OR to prepare in microwave (which is what I did, of course) place the broccoli and spinach in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with water, and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes, until very tender. Add peas for last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.
    4. Place the vegetables in the bowl of your food processor along with 2 tablespoons of water. Puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to smooth out the puree.
    This makes about 2 cups of puree. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags (that's what I did!).

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Apple Breakfast Bars

    I got this recipe from Wholesome Toddler Foods and it's really great! It "sneaks in" healthy nuts, grains, and plenty of fruits! If you use Mott's Meadley's Juice then you're also getting some vegetables in there too!

    • 1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
    • 1/4 cup flour (whole wheat if you have it, I didn't)
    • 2/3 cup dates, chopped
    • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/4 cup orange juice (I didn't have orange juice so I used apple...I think they would have stuck together better if I'd had the orange. And next time I plan on using Mott's Meadley's to get in some vegetable!)
    • 1 1/2 cups raw apples, shredded
    1.  Preheat oven to 375
    2. Combine all ingredients, let stand 10 minutes
    3. Press mix into an 8x8 baking dish and bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes..
    4. Cut into bars while warm and serve hot for breakfast or a snack 
    5. Freezes well. I put in a freezer safe bag and get one out when needed for a snack and heat in microwave for 25 seconds.
    This is a Kye favorite food! Of course, I wish there was a vegetable in there somehow (but the Mott's adds it so I feel better about it!) but again it makes for a nutritious snack. I have offered it at breakfast but since our normal breakfast uses vegetables I typically keep these for snack time. The dates were TOUGH to chop up and I may try to find some already chopped or shredded next time if they make such a thing. Overall though it's a pretty easy recipe and they hold up VERY well when frozen!

    Snack Cracker Spread

    This is a GREAT snack food! Super simple, quick, and nutritious. As well as filling enough to get him through until dinner! It's great to give some extra grains and fruit into the diet.

    • Graham crackers or salt free saltine crackers
    • Applesauce or any fruit puree
    • Cinnamon
    • Raisins
    • Wheat Germ
    1. Mix cinnamon, wheat germ and raisins into the applesauce or fruit puree. Spread over the crackers. 
    2. Other than crackers you could also use pita bread slices or plain rice cakes
       Kye loves these! I love them because they are so easy to prepare and he really enjoys them too. Of course he eats off all the toppings first then eats the cracker but that's fine! I wish there was a way to make it with vegetables as Kye will eat fruit all day long but I still feel like this is a healthy snack and better than a lot of the alternatives out there.

      Frozen Ban-Ola

       This one looks very gross but it's a big hit for snack time! I got this recipe from Wholesome Toddler Foods and it is a great way to get your toddler to eat fruit, dairy, and some healthy grains!

      • 1 medium banana, peeled
      • 1/2 cup crushed granola
      • plain or vanilla yogurt (blueberry works well too)
      1. Dip banana in your choice of yogurt
      2. Roll banana in crushed granola
      3. Place in freezer bag and freeze. To thaw just put out for a couple of minutes until soft enough to cut.
        I used blueberry yogurt and I did 1/3 of a banana as a serving as the bananas I bought were rather large. I think I made about 9 servings of it and freezed them. They thaw very quickly so it's a good quick snack food. The cold is great for a teething toddler as well! And it's a very easy finger food for him. He loves this snack but I only give it to him on days where he doesn't eat a lot of other dairy. He eats banana each morning and I don't like to overdue it on the banana or on the dairy as he's a milk lover!

        Sweet Potato Fries

        I got this recipe from Wholesome Toddler Food and use it all the time. I know it's probably a "no brainer" recipe to most people but I do best when given instructions so I thought I'd provide them in case someone out there is like me and needs a recipe to follow :)
        1.  Preheat oven to 400
        2. scrub sweet potatoes (they say 6 medium/large ones but I only use 1 or 2) clean and/or peel them if you don't think your child can handle the skins (Kye likes them so I leave them)
        3. Cut into sizes that will suit your need or cut into strips that you can cut down later (I do the strips)
        4. In a large bowl put 1/4 cup of olive oil and add cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar etc (I put both cinnamon and brown sugar)
        5. Toss the cut up sweet potatoes into the bowl and stir so they are drenched in the olive oil mix.
        6. Dump onto a baking sheet, drizzle remaining olive oil over potatoes on sheet 
        7. Stir and swirl potatoes on baking sheet before placing in oven
        8. bake 30-45 minutes or until tender (I do around 30)
        The only thing I've changed about this is the whole bowl thing. Why mix it in a bowl then pour it on the baking sheet? I just do it all right on the baking sheet to save time and having the hassle of cleaning the bowl haha!

        Kye adores sweet potatoes and often eats them baked from the microwave. I like to make the fries as a nice variety to the same old thing and he enjoys them too. I wouldn't say he likes them more or less than the baked version but Zach said he liked them in the fry version so I guess that's a plus in that direction!

        Magic Breakfast

        Growing up as a picky eater my mom found her own ways to sneak nutrition into my diet by making "Magic Malts." I'm still to this day not exactly sure what was in them but I know it included Minute Maid OJ, bananas, and green beans...but hey we drank 'em!

        My version of a "Magic Malt" comes in the form of oatmeal. Kye started out eating cereal like most babies and he still eats oatmeal just about every morning. He loves it and it's good for him! I've started adding things to it to make it more nutritious (and delicious?!?) and it "sneaks" in two servings of green vegetable, 2 servings of grains, and 2 servings of fruit! Here's a picture of his typical breakfast:
        Ready to hear what it includes?
        • 1/4 cup Gerber oatmeal
        • 1/4 cup water
        • 1/3-1/4 container of Gerber stage 2 green vegetable (either peas or green beans)
        • small my size handful of frozen peas
        I heat the first four ingredients in the microwave for 25 seconds then stir and add:
        • 1/4-1/3 of a banana
        • 1 prune
        • pieces of either apple, peach, or pear
        Sound good? Kye LOVES it!!!  I sometimes will add Cheerios to the mix too if it's too runny. And ANY fresh fruit will work if I don't have apples, peaches or pears! Got any ideas of other goodies to add???

        Sunday, June 6, 2010

        Carrot and Spinach Brownies

        This recipe comes from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and sneaks carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, peas and spinach into chocolate brownies!

        • nonstick cooking spray
        • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate (I used semi-sweet choc chips)
        • 1/2 cup carrot puree ("orange")
        • 1/2 cup spinach puree ("green")
        • 1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
        • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
        • 2 tablespoons butter
        • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
        • 2 large egg whites
        • 3/4cup all purpose flour
        • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt

        1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray.
        2. Melt the chocolate in a double broiler or over a very low flame (I just microwaved it!)
        3. In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, cocoa powder, margarine and vanilla and whisk until smooth and creamy (1-2 min)
        4. Whisk in egg whites. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon.
        5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35-40 minutes. Cool COMPLETELY in pan before cutting into bars. (to freeze I wrapped each bar in cling wrap then put in a freezer safe bag, to thaw I microwave for about 20 seconds)
        • TIP: I read that it's very important not to eat any of them until they are completely cooled as you'll be able to taste the spinach!
        • Toddler: Kye LOVES these! He liked them right away and I give him 1/2 a bar as a dessert. I love that it counts as a dessert but is much healthier than his typical dessert (which is a cracker). 
        • Adult: Both Zach and I tried these. I thought they were a bit dry but I couldn't tell it was "healthy" at all. Zach said it tasted like a health food bar so while it wasn't gross it surely couldn't replace a regular brownie in his book!

        Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins

        This is a recipe that "sneaks in" either carrots and sweet potatoes or cauliflower and zucchini! From Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.

        • nonstick cooking spray
        • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
        • 1/2 cup natural-style peanut butter (I used Jif)
        • 1/2 cup pureed carrot ("orange") or pureed cauliflower ("white")
        • 1/2 cup mashed banana (I used 1 1/2 bananas to get 1/2 cup mashed)
        • 1 large egg white
        • 1 cup whole wheat flour (all I had was white)
        • 1 teaspoon baking powder
        • 1 teaspoon baking soda
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray.
        2. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, peanut butter, vegetable puree of your choice (I used cauliflower as Kye loves orange veges so I don't need to sneak those in!), banana, and egg in a large mixing bowl (a large wooden spoon is suggested)
        3. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and combine with a whisk
        4. Fold the dry mix into the wet mix and combine just until lumpy. Don't over mix as it's a muffin recipe and you want them lumpy.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar and stir once or twice (this put s a crust on top of the muffins)
        5. Divide the batter between the muffins. Cook until lightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean (15-20 min)
        6. Store at room temperature up to two days, freeze up to a month (to freeze I wrapped individually in cling wrap then put in a freezer bag, to thaw I heat in the microwave for 25 seconds)

        • Toddler: At first he wouldn't try it. But that's typical for a toddler. So I smeared some peanut butter on the pieces and he went to town. He LOVES these now and I typically will give him 1/2 of one with lunch.
        • Adult: Neither Zach or I like bananas and Zach said it smells very banana-ish. I didn't completely mash up all the bananas either so you can still see chunks of them so I haven't tried them. The next batch I plan on mashing up the bananas better and then I'll test one and see what I think, I doubt Zach will try it though as he really loathes bananas. This will probably be a Kye-only food!