Monday, January 14, 2008

Deception is not always so delicious... or easy.

So, as I like to do, I did a little menu rearranging during the week.
Last Friday I was feeling a bit lazy and made the executive decision to have Ryan grill up some sirloin burgers instead of making up the meatloaf. We had buns to use up and all the fixin's, so burgers it was.
Then, this didn't really make sense with my feeling lazy but I thought I'd give one of my new Deceptively Delicious recipes a whirl. I'd been eyeing these Rice Balls because they reminded me of some fried potato puffs I'd loved before. I had been curious to try them and thought they might be a nice side to the burgers, so I dove in. I'll skip the sordid details, but after much mess, I ended up with some great Mush balls. I followed the recipe, but I had a hard time dipping and coating the balls as the rice/potato mixture was not thick enough to hold together well. I made probably a dozen and then quit as my patience was wearing quite thin. They were actually quite tasty (the kids woudn't eat them of course), but they were just not holding up and turned into a pile of mush on our plates. Tasty, but too much hassle for the turn out.

This brings our recipe trials from this book to an overall 2 thumbs up, but 3 thumbs down:

Rice Balls- yummy, but yucky... I would have been just as happy eating the chicken/rice/potato mixture straight from the bowl.

Grilled Cheese- with sweet potatoes. This was tested on four adults and three kids... no one liked it. Savannah normally wolfs down grilled cheese and she didn't even eat 1/4 of her sandwich.

Pink Pancakes- made with beets... 1st of all I will never puree beets again. GROSS! The baking, the smell, the staining, just GROSS! And after all that work, I'm the only one who liked them. Ryan said he was getting beets in the aftertaste. I thought for sure they'd be a hit with SJ (hot pink pancakes!!), but she didn't finish one and requested regular brown pancakes.

French Toast- made with sweet potatoes. We all liked it.

Applesauce Muffins- these were really good, but really just like any other healthy muffin recipe. And they lost their quality fast... the next day I didn't really like them.

I'll keep trying some of these (easier) recipes. I have to admit it's frustrating to put the work into cooking and pureeing veggies that turn into recipes you don't care for. Some veggies are nice and easy like sweet potatoes and pumpkin and other squash, but dark messy things like beets and spinach are more of a hassle.
I also have the other book The Sneaky Chef published with the same premise of "sneaking" extra vitamins and nutrients into foods you know that your family will eat. I have yet to try any of her recipes, but from the looks of this book I like how there's more focus on the nutrition and the value of the ingredients you're putting into your dishes. She also has a lot of little simple ideas to give convenience foods a little kick of goodness to them... like adding sweet potato puree to a can of spaghettios (I tried this and successfully added over 1/2 cup of puree to a can of spaghettios and the kids wolfed it down! it made no difference to the color or texture) or using green tea or blueberry juice or pomegranate juice to things like jello or oatmeal instead of plain water for a boost of vitamins and nutrients. This author also has a big push for the fact of not just sneaking things into your kids food, and then forget about them learning to like to eat real veggies. She makes a point of saying that by using recipes like these, that you may be able to avoid some of these mealtime battles... you don't have to force them to eat their peas when you know there's spinach in their chicken nuggets and you know they're getting at least a bit of those nutrients. But that you also most definitely still need to be offering those vegetables and encouraging them to form those good habits of healthy eating and rounded meals. I'm definitely looking forward to experimenting with more of these recipes.

Any other experiences with recipes or ideas like these that you have to share?


Michelle Leigh said...

I've just recently tried out the pudding. Ick. It was not easy to puree/mush the avocado. It was lumpy and did not save well. I've had better luck just giving my kids the veggies! Thanks for sharing though, it was really helpful. I am going to try the blueberry bars. They look tasty.

Ryan said...

i really didn't mind the grill cheese sandwich but i could definitely taste the sweet potato. it wasn't bad but i would just rather have sweet potatoes on the side and eat a normal grilled cheese sandwich.

kimca01 said...

I have a recipe for you to try - it's sooo good! I challenge you to make it, it's pretty darn easy too! It's one of those things that's better made and eaten in the same day.

Here you go!

Christina said...

I tried the sloppy joes over at my sis in law's house. I didn't like it, they did, but the 3 kids represented didn't like it much either. We've also tried the blueberry bars, just okay, the brownies, just okay, and the chocolate chip cookies with garbanzo beans which were edible, just tasted healthier than the usual.

Nicole said...

Hi...I found your blog through the Swinigans', and I, too have been using Deceptively Delicious ideas. The rice balls were the worst disaster so far...exactly as you described. I have had lots of success just adding purees to stuff I already make for dinner, like lasagne and enchiladas. I'm posting my successes and failures on my blog if you care to check: Thanks for letting me know what's worked for you!