Friday, July 12, 2013

At Least Somebody's Kids Like My Food

This morning we had a playdate with a friend of mine and her three little kids. I decided to bring some chips, carrots, and a bowl of awesome artichoke/spinach/cheese dip I'd made specifically for my boys yesterday (they refused to even try it even though they watched Prickly Dad and me picking at it all afternoon).

Long story short: my friend's kids loved it. Even the one-year-old.

Why are my children so picky? I remember liking Lima beans, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts at age six, for God's sake. Okay. I have to be thankful they do eat broccoli and carrots (and corn, but I don't really classify that as a veggie). And my four-year-old likes saag paneer (curried spinach and farmer's cheese), which is a complete enigma (he is half Indian, after all, but considering his overall fussiness, it makes no sense).

So today, right this minute, I'm sitting at the kitchen table next to a container of carefully peeled apple slices and the dip du jour: a container of strawberry cream cheese mixed with a container of strawberry Yoplait. Yum, right? Wrong. I've had no takers yet (other than me).

So I guess it's understandable that I regularly feel like giving up on being creative and consider letting the boys eat scrambled eggs and pancakes and Lunchables and Cheetos whenever they want. Fig Newtons count as a fruit, right?

So, what do I do? What I do every day, of course. Scrape most of their dinner plates into the garbage disposal, go to sleep, and try again tomorrow. I really do care about getting some nutritious food into them, and we'll hit on something one of these days, I guess. (And for the record, my five-year-old ended up eating all the apples and dip.)

I'm sharing a couple recipes below: the spinach dip and my go-to healthy pancakes--which I make at least four times a week because it's literally one of the only things the boys will eat with 100% certainty.
Playdate Spinach-Artichoke Dip

1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup artichoke hearts (in water), drained
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (real, not the canned stuff)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder

In the bowl of a food processor, blend spinach, artichokes, and mayonnaise to desired smoothness (smoother for little kids, chunkier for grown-ups and less-picky kids). Remove blade and add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Transfer to a microwave-safe serving dish and microwave 90 seconds at a time, stirring after each 90 seconds, until cheese is melted (2-3 times). Serve with tortilla chips and sliced veggies.

Prickly Mom's Go-To Pancakes

1 egg, beaten
1 banana, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
1 cup liquid (I usually use milk, but you can also use leftover smoothies or half milk, half orange juice, applesauce, etc.)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup flour (I use white whole wheat)
3 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, if desired

Mix egg, banana, vanilla, sugar, liquid, and oil in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips, if desired, and whisk together until combined (do not over-mix; lumps are fine). Proceed to cook as you would any pancake batter (I seriously haven't looked at a pancake recipe in years...I think all moms know how to make pancakes). I usually make them about 2" in diameter, and the boys eat them right off the plate like cookies. No fork or syrup necessary.

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