Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Deceptively Delicious

I am no flash cook, but I do have a family that needs feeding pretty much every night. Hubby and the kids can cook, in theory, but he usually gets home too late and kids can only contribute once every week or so. And that's a wildly optimistic time frame.

So, I have to cook the evening meal, and I do want my kids to eat well. For the older one, that's not an issue: she will try anything and is accommodating in her tastes. Little Miss 8, however, is another story. Hubby also likes to eat healthily, so I cannot put nuggets or mac and cheese on a plate and call that dinner.

Now, I know this book has had a ton of publicity and it is a year or three old, but I had to write about it here and now. Just in case someone would rather read Mrs B's book blog than tune into Oprah. And just in case Jerry Seinfeld's wife hasn't got enough publicity.

Anyway, back to the book. The idea is that you puree veggies and hide them in stuff most kids will eat. So, nuggets with spinach and mac and cheese with squash… Sound horrible? No, I tell you, it's not!

I've tried several of the recipes and they do work. Pizza with spinach was a big hit tonight, and the nuggets I made a while back were great. Little Miss 8 asked if the quesadillas had mashed potatoes in them, because she detected the texture of mashed veggies, but that didn't stop her wolfing them down.

I think seriously suspicious kids might have balked at tonight's pizza. Sorry about the messy plating up and the poor photography, but can you see how green it is? Over each mini pizza base I mixed a teaspoon each of spinach puree and pesto, which my kids love. They are quite used to pesto being smeared on their pizza bases, so she didn't inquire about the vibrant green 'pesto' under the tomato sauce.

Jessica also suggests we put crudités on the table with a healthy dip so kids and hubbies and mums can snack before dinner. I used Greek yogurt and a packet of salad dressing mix to make this quick dip. It's easy-as if you leave it in an unattractive container to pop back into the fridge.

It seems a bit excessive to contribute to the income of a woman whose husband earns ka-billions of dollars each time one of us sits in front of his TV show, but she deserves it. This is a great idea, and a solution to nutrition-minded parents of fussy kids.


  1. I saw this on Oprah and I could not believe that the kids will fall for it, but it obviously works!

  2. It really does work, Mystica. I put cauliflower in the mashed potatoes and carrots in the pasta sauce, and you'd never know. Highly recommended.

  3. +JMJ+

    It's not an old concept, because one of my aunts used to put carrots into the ground beef of her tacos for her picky kids long before this book came out.

    But it's always tricky to know which vegetables to hide where, so I know I'm glad there's a whole recipe book. =)

    And of course I'd rather read Mrs. B than watch Ms. O! ;-)

  4. I've never seen the book before but hidden veggies is a good idea. My mom used to put finely shredded zucchini in bread and brownies... i have to draw the line at brownies. It just isn't right making junk food healthy!! But I do love putting zucchini in my corn bread.

  5. I have this cookbook! I tried quite a few of the recipes when I first got it, and of course I made a freezerful of pureed vegetables--which I still have, because I haven't used the cookbook for a while, now . . . I hope you manage to stick with it longer than I did!

    One of our favorite recipes was the Baked Egg Puffs for breakfast. I do still make them every great now and then. The spinach/carrot brownies weren't great (perhaps they would have been better if not for my cooking skills?) but they sure disappeared fast. The chicken nuggets were good but too time-consuming for my usual lunch. Nothing else really stands out in my mind.

    My sister teaches English in Germany and a guy in her class heard about this cookbook and the entire class (along with my sister) was making fun of it. She told me this story and asked if I'd heard of the cookbook and I had to say, "Um . . . I have it."

  6. Great review!
    I've been wanting to try the ketchup recipe in this one :)

  7. I love reading about food almost as much as cooking and eating it-- great post, DeLynne.

    Isn't it interesting all the things we have in common-- but our differences are interesting too. I saw this cookbook on the sidewalk sale cart ($1-$3) at Books a Million last month and did not buy it-- Isn't that funny?!

    I just can't hide food-- I have to celebrate it openly with trumpets blaring-- and if a Mr. Picky turns his nose up-- Well, that just leaves more for me!! heehee

    Last night, Talon and I made lemon choc chip zucchini muffins with vanilla, cinnamon and walnuts too. Yummy! Zucchini makes quickbreads very moist-- you can't taste it.

    What kind of pasta sauce do the carrots go in? Carrots are supposed to go in basic tomato pasta sauce-- that is part of the Italian 'trinity'-- carrots, celery and onion.

    See-- I don't think the book would work for me-- I'd be having imaginary debates in my kitchen with Seinfeld's wife.


  8. +JMJ+

    I think I'll try the Italian "trinity" (which I think is also the French trinity) the next time I whip up some spaghetti sauce. (My grandmother's recipe calls for only onion and garlic for the base.)

  9. Aw, En, you say the nicest things!

    Chelle, I will try zuke corn bread!

    Kathy, Thaw out those veggies! you've already done half of the work! Next time, freeze the puree flat. You can break off a corner to toss into whatever is going. And I haven't tried the egg puffs yet. They'll be next.

    JuJu, Do you grow your own tomatoes? Wouldn't that be divine?

    Ok, Lesa and En and Ladies, if you want to try it, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc can either be finely grated and added raw or steamed and pureed. The will both work in a tomato based sauce. Cauliflower, pumpkin or squash, etc will work in a creamy sauce. Just try to match your colours.

  10. Yes En-- I think that is the French trinity too-- but the Cajun trinity is bell pepper, celery and onion-- you'd think it would be the same but guess peppers grow better in Louisiana than carrots.

    Yrs ago I worked near an Italian community in Ok and would see them after work in the grocery store buying the trinity.

    When you try your next sauce, finely mince an onion, 2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery (food processor works great for this).
    Saute veg in olive oil (add more olive oil as needed) till the veg starts to carmelize-- the brown bits will add depth of flavor. Add tomato sauce till it looks right. Add basil, minced garlic, salt to taste-- a drizzle more olive oil is nice.

    You can adjust the amount of carrot and celery depending on the size of the onion-- it just takes practice-- but it would be hard to mess it up.

    After the basics are down, experiment with adding mushrooms, wine, browned Ital sausauge, crushed red pepper flakes---what ever you have on hand or are hungry for-- I usually make a big batch and use leftovers for lasagna.

    Let me know how it turns out!

  11. These all sound like great recipe ideas, but the idea that a book that was published because a celebrity wrote it just grates on my nerves. I'm looking at you, Maria Shriver.

    P.S. Zucchini breach is delicious, as it anything with the Cajun trinity.

  12. I just got this book actually and it has given me some good ideas. I have used a few.

    But I really like the "other" book - "Sneaky Chef". It has a fantastic recipe for donuts/cupcakes with icing that uses spinach and other goodies. My boys absolutely loved it. In fact, my older son bragged to his friends at school that he got to eat cupcakes for breakfast! Hee hee hee! They told him I was a bad mom!

    We also made the pizza. I just pureed the veggies in spaghetti sauce (spinach, cauliflower, etc) and added tomato paste to "redden" it up! They never knew!

    I taste tested everything before I served it and made sure it was something I'd be willing to eat as well...

    Some of the recipes don't go over so well, but many do. Well worth the time if you have stubborn or picky eaters!

    Eh, people can make fun of it, but these days there is so much competition to get our kids to eat right. School lunches are disgusting and inferior quality (meat from downed cows? YUCK), McDonald's chicken is NOT all meat, and HFCS is in EVERYTHING...but that's what kids prefer, right?
    So ya gots ta make good food that doesn't taste like it's good for 'em!

    The "Sneaky Chef" series also has
    one to trick your husband into eating his vegetables too.

    ;) Leslie

  13. Hi Leslie-- Is the 'sneaky chef' author the one that sued Seinfeld's wife? Sounds like it is very similar to Deceptively Delicious. To be fair Oprah should have had both on her show.

    You are right about school lunches btw. I avoid them at all costs unless they are serving real food-- which happens 3-4 times a year.

  14. Hi, Lesa,
    Yes, you are right, it's the same one. Each book has their own recipes. So that whole thing was crazy!

  15. I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to tell you I love the photo with the message written inside of the book. What a neat find!

  16. Welcome Brenna-- I've returned the visit and follow-- always fun to discover a bookish blog that offers more than just reviews.


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