Getting Your Kids to Eat Spinach

So I’m blaming this recipe hunt on my kids, when in reality I should have titled this post “Getting YOURSELF to Eat Spinach.” If you’re like me, you buy baby spinach in bulk with good intentions of starting a healthy lifestyle, and then when morning comes and you’re faced with making a healthy smoothie or eating cookies with your cup of coffee you always,  ALWAYS pick cookies.

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This week I went to the store and got, you guessed it… SPINACH. After a trip to the doctor [and their scale] I decided I really do need to commit to eating more vegetables. So, how to make them appealing? Chocolate, of course! I have had success tricking both myself and Sophie with spinach hidden in chocolate this week and now I am passing the success on to you, my readers.

Recipe #1 : Predominantly Paleo’s Chocolate Spinach Cake. 
I wanted to barf the first time I read the title of that recipe. It was close to my reaction for “Black Bean Brownies” WHY?! But, I had all the ingredients on hand, so I decided to give it a shot. Wow, I totally underestimated the power of cocoa. This cake was moist, chocolaty, and contained 2 full cups of spinach. I served it up with strawberries and a tablespoon of whipped cream. Sophie, my husband and I all loved it. I wouldn’t recommend making it for Thanksgiving or any other event where you really want to impress people with dessert, but if you have a sweet tooth like me, and simply MUST eat dessert every night, then this is a recipe for you! It cures your sweet tooth while still giving you an antioxidant punch.

Recipe #2: Chocolate Spinach Protein Shake
We invested in a Nutribullet a few years back and I love it. I filled the smaller sized cup with a handful of spinach, ice, and chocolate walnut milk. You could use chocolate almond milk as well, that is just what I had on hand. Blend it up, pour it in a cute cup with characters on it, and your kid will love it.

What does everyone love besides chocolate? Cheese! Martha Steward has a really delicious, home made Mac N Cheese recipe, but you can add spinach to any boxed version as well. Just make sure you chop it up finely, so you aren’t getting an entire soggy leaf on your fork when you dig in.

Baby Pouch DIY

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I don’t think there is anything wrong with buying pre-made baby food from the store. In fact, there are a lot of organic options nowadays for baby food. Like most other organic things, it’s usually more expensive. Luckily for my baby, my husband and I are slow produce eaters. Yes, we buy the finest organic produce, but we’re human, we’re going to grab for the bacon before we grab for some fruit in the morning. That being said, I really needed to find a way to get my babe to eat more leafy green AND use up all the produce we buy before it spoils.

You can buy reusable pouches online, but some of them come with some kind of filling contraption in order to get the food into the tiny hole at the top of the pouch. If that works for you, great, but I for one rarely use appliances that have more than 2 pieces, so I knew if this was some thing I was going to commit to doing on a weekly basis, it was going to have to be easy.

Hubs and I found these pouches that actually have a wide opening on the bottom of the pouch, so you can easily pour or scoop a puree into them. If you don’t want pouches that open at the bottom [I’ll admit I was skeptical at first] you can always use an icing/piping bag to fill your pouches with puree.

In any case, here’s what you need:
-reusable pouches
-food processor
-2 apples, peeled and chopped
-1.5 cups of spinach
-.25 cup of organic yogurt
-1 Tbs of ground flax [optional]

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the apples and spinach until both are tender. Add to food processor with remaining ingredients, and pulse until everything is smooth. Pour into pouches and refrigerate.

Did I mention the pouches we got can also be stored in the freezer? Like I said…. it’s a solution to using up produce before it goes bad!

DIY Kale Crackers

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My daughter loves cheddar bunnies. Yes, I am a mom who will pay $2 more for ORGANIC cheesy crackers vs the little orange fish. As parents, we try try try to do our best, and that includes what we’re giving our kids for consumption. I’m not a complete hippie ok, so just hear me out. These are easy, don’t involve a lot of effort, and are an easy way for YOU to give your kid an extra veggie throughout the day. Because of my daughter’s love for cheddar bunnies, we always seem to be out of them. She eats them in fistfuls and for some reason, she prefers savory tastes to sweet. Once upon a time my husband bought me these spinach+kale tortilla chips and I gave one to Sugar Plum because she would not leave me alone. Well, giving her a chip only intensified her clingy-ness because then she wanted to eat the whole bag. SO, I decided why not make my own kale crackers to satisfy her? Not only could I relax about the ingredients, but it saves me from going through $5 boxes of cheddar bunnies.

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What you need:

  • ⅓ cup of frozen kale  (loose leaf spinach works too though!)
  • ¼ cup oil (I use avocado oil)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt ( I use pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1 and ½ tbs water
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour)

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Sugar Plum was concerned at first, that it wasn’t cheddar bunnies that made their way into her mouth… She eventually asked for “more” of these kale starts, though!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Puree the kale, oil, salt, baking powder and water in a food processor or blender. (In my case, I used my nutribullet)
  3. Combine the flour and the spinach mixture in a mixing bowl.
  4. Knead the dough and form it into a nice ball.
  5. Roll the dough out on a well floured surface. The dough should be rolled out very thin for best results.
  6. Put the dough on a floured baking sheet or silicone baking mat.
  7. A cute cookie cutter, like my star, works well for cutting our the crackers from dough (a pizza cutter or knife will do if you don’t have one)
  8. Prick each cracker with a fork.
  9. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  10. Crackers should be put directly on a kitchen towel to cool, to maintain their crispness.

Enjoy!

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Veggie Muffins

The perfect way to sneak extra veggies into your baby or toddler’s diet!

Some times Baby Led Weaning is all too convenient in that, now that my daughter has the ability to feed herself table foods, I often cop out and hand her whatever cereal is close by. I try to justify this by only having organic cereal on-hand, but the truth is, it is imperative for babies to be getting iron and other nutrients from the food they are consuming.

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I made these egg muffins in an attempt to give Sugar Plum more veggies while still letting her self-feed, and it was also a way I could sneak in some rice cereal that I have left over. A couple months ago hubs got me these silicone cupcake liners that have made my world of baking so much easier, and they were ESPECIALLY lifesavers when it came to this egg recipe.

What you need [makes 6 muffins]:
-5 eggs [i used organic, free range]
– 2 tbs rice cereal
-1/4 c. of coconut milk [or any other milk]
-1 carrot peeled [specifically use the peels]
-1/4 cup of onion
-1 cup spinach
-2 TBS olive oil

Preheat oven to 360. In a skillet heat the olive oil, onion, carrot shavings, and spinach. Sautee until the onion is clear, then remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and rice cereal and set aside. Scoop sauteed veggies into a lined muffin tin. Pour the egg mixture over the veggie cups and bake for 25 minutes.

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My little one sure did enjoy them! [I did too!]