Sneaking In: CSA Summer ’15 – Week #16 (EO-B)

Wednesday, September 23rd– EO Group B

22 September, 2015 (12:14) | CSA Newsletter | By: cassie

Last week, as a member was unpacking her share, she asked where the swap box was because she wanted to leave her kale in it. “My kids will never eat it,” she said. I replied by saying, “Yes, kale is one of those veggies that takes more appreciation.”  I then told her about a trick I learned, where you dice up the kale super small and cook it in with the fatty or savory part of the dish that the kids love.  For example, cook up the kale with ground beef when making tacos or hamburgers. Down the hatch it will go.

The member loved the idea.  She decided to keep the kale and try out this trick with her tacos. I ran into her this morning at the grocery store and she said the trick worked! The kids and parents loved the kale this way. This conversation gave me the idea to share a couple of the tricks we use to get our kids (and some family members) to eat their vegetables.

The Dice and Mix:  This is the trick I mentioned above.  Dice a vegetable up so small so that the picky eater can’t pick it out of the dish.  Then mix it with the favored ingredient of the dish. This works especially well with greens like kale and chard. When chopped up small and mixed with something desirable,  like the meat of a hamburger or the groud beef of the tacos, this can work great!

Immersion Blend:  This might be my favorite trick of all.  It works so wonderfully for soups, sauces, and even stews!  This weekend I had a delicata squash soup that also had broccoli, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, and shallots all snuck in there.  Add cheese and mix with a blender and voila – a delicious soup that all the kiddos chowed down, with no knowledge of all the veggies they were getting!  I’ve also had great luck doing this with stews.  I love to make Local Thyme’s gumbo recipe, but the kids can’t handle the texture and knowledge of all the kale and chard.  But if I immersion blend it and serve it over rice, it disappears with no complaint.  You can also use a blender (it’s just a little more work to transfer from pot to appliance and back again).

Baked with Sugar: If you literally want to sneak vegetables into a body, doing it with sugar is pretty tried and true.  Carrots, beets, summer squash (like zucchini) and winter squash can all be disguised into breads, cakes, and muffins pretty easily.  And the veggies often tend to help the treat be extra moist and delicious.

Roast & Sneak Smoothie:  Smoothies are another great way to get vegetables to disappear – and a healthier way to do it than the baked good option above. Overripe bananas are super sweet.  We purposefully buy overripe ones, peel, halve, and throw into the freezer.  These bananas form the sweet basis of many breakfast smoothies. In the spring, I sneak in greens like spinach, kale, and/or lettuce. In the winter, I often roast vegetables like squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and beets. Then I freeze the roasted veggies in small size portions so that I can throw them into the smoothies. If the smoothie tastes a little too vegetable, then add a spoonful of frozen OJ concentrate and the kids won’t notice.

The Veggie Guessing Game:  At dinner time, we often play what we call the veggie guessing game. The kids have to try and figure out how many different vegetables were in their meal.  This game celebrates counting, eating lots of veggies, and often helps our kids realize they actually like certain veggies they thought they didn’t. As a cook, it’s a fun challenge too, as it encourages me to use as many as I can! (My all time personal record was 11).

Please Share Your Favorite Way to Sneak in the Veggies!

Thanks and enjoy your veggies!

Cheers, Cassie, Mike, kiddos and crew