Friday, March 16, 2012

The (not so) Sneaky Chef

The other day I was checking out my Facebook News Feed and I stumbled across an awesome sneaky food idea, posted by one of my momma friends. She'd managed to get her toddler to happily eat a fresh spinach meatloaf 'cupcake', topped with mash potato 'frosting' and grated carrot 'sprinkles'.

Missy Chase Lapine
Ingenious! I just had to give it a whirl, so the next day we prepared meatloaf 'cupcakes' for dinner, using the almighty Maxed Out Meatloaf recipe from 'The Sneaky chef' written by Missy Chase Lapine. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of the magical 'Green Puree', which is a blend of cooked sweet peas and collard greens (or spinach).

Luckily we had just landed a bountiful supply of collards, from another health conscious momma friend, with an incredible knack for conjuring up tasty (and kid friendly) juice blends using the nastiest of greens! I'd attempted to follow in her footsteps by adding a bunch of collards to my usual 'safe' juice blend of celery, carrots and apple, somehow getting the balance so far off the mark that I've turned the whole family off juicing!

Our massive collard supply was just starting to become a thorn in my husband (The Family Chef')'s side, when we were reminded of the magical (and freezable) green puree! So Mommy and Daddy with the help of both boys got to work making the green stuff.

We stripped leaves from stems, nuked peas and leaves, and the kids took turns pushing the button on the food processor. All the while my youngest was happy to gnaw on a fresh collard stem - go figure!

What we didn't puree, we froze, leaving only a few stray collard leaves for Mommy's fresh veg stir-frys! The activity was fun, and educational for the kids, and what a relief to not let all that wonderful nutrition go to waste!

At dinnertime, Daddy prepared the meatloaf and made sweet potato mash to top off the 'cupcakes', letting the kids sprinkle paprika on top for fun. The presentation was fabulous, and my eldest boy, who has an unhealthy obsession with 'cake' was beside himself with excitement before dinner.

Of course I shouldn't have said anything to him (When will I learn?). As soon as my boy registered the word 'cupcake', he knew exactly what he thought he should have been getting. I watched nervously, as he sat at the table, wiggling and swinging his legs eagerly at the approaching, deceptively healthy cupcakes.

The poor kid took one bite and erupted into tears. What a mean trick! I admit, I felt as guilty as anything. The accusation and confusion flaring in my toddler's eyes was hard to take - Thank God I'd made banana bread for afterwards!

Our baby, however, wolfed down his 'cupcake' like there was no tomorrow. I don't think it touched the sides. He was signing for 'more', before mom even managed to eat a bite. Unfortunately my 'collard muncher' is not the one that requires treacherous trickery to load him up with the goods.

We may have lost that battle, but the veggie war is by no means over! We're already plotting round two of our 'Maxed Out Meatloaf' adventure. But this time "Shhh, nobody mention the word 'cupcake'!".

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