The Holy Grail of Cookbooks for Moms?

The other day I told my partner, “I just want a cookbook of really really easy recipes for super nutritious foods that kids will love.” To which he replied, “And I think it would be cool to find the Holy Grail. And maybe also the Philosopher’s Stone. Yeah, that would be pretty cool. We could use them as bookends . . . ” And I finished “. . . to put on either side of ‘The Cookbook’.”

We’re a hilarious comedy duo; you should check us out some time.

Well the next day, I went to the library where I spotted this cookbook I’ve noticed a bunch of times before and completely dismissed as pretty but not at all interesting to me. This time was different. This time, it was ‘The Cookbook’ I’ve been longing for!

covershotIt’s called Deceptively Delicious, a well-designed book of recipes written by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife Jennifer. And while I haven’t actually *tried* any of the recipes in the book (I have much more time for reading than I do for cooking these days, and even that means like 20 minutes a day!), the concept is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity!

And what is this amazing revolutionary concept you ask? Simply this: puree vegetables and fruits and add them to everything. Any recipe you can think of can probably take an extra quarter- to half-cup of fruit or veggie puree. Brilliant! Now you can get your kids to “eat their veggies” without the begging, bribing or cajoling.

The book has some great strategies: First of all, do a bunch of purees at the beginning of the week, portion them in ziplocks and stick them in the freezer for use later in the week. That way you can build up a stock of different veggie purees, for use where they make sense.

Then you simply thaw a puree when you need it. Cooking strategies include: Mixing veggie puree with the egg for breadcrumb coatings (chicken nuggets, tofu nuggets, mozzarella sticks). Using sweet veggies like squash, sweet potato and carrots added into sweet breakfast items and baked things. Matching colours to add yellow veggies secretly to carb dishes like couscous or “buttered” noodles, orange veggies like carrots to cheese sauce or cauliflower puree to potatoes.

So, while I haven’t yet tried any recipes, I got my partner to pick up a squash, a cauliflower, some sweet potatoes and some frozen spinach at the grocery store today. If I get some time tonight I’m going to roast a bunch of stuff for pureeing very soon.

I will update you on the success of this trickery. In any case I’m hoping to increase my own veggie intake. While my daughter has been fattening up on mama’s suddenly abundant milk supply (and foregoing most food while she’s at it), my own diet has been distinctly lacking in anything fresh and colourful lately. So anything that allows me to quickly and easily add veggies where there were none before, is a great, great thing. Maybe even the Holy Grail.

6 thoughts on “The Holy Grail of Cookbooks for Moms?

  1. Another thing you can try to get some greens:
    Dehydrate dark leafy greens. Spinach, kale, etc. Get them all the way dry, then crush them into a powder. Just a little of the powder is a LOT of greens. You can then use it sprinkled over almost anything! Gives it a good taste and you’re getting all those great nutrients that greens have!

  2. Hello!

    My favorite cookbooks are, in no particular order: Eating for Two from Robin Lim, Feeding the Whole Family from Cynthia Lair –> she also has a blog and youtube cooking show called cookus interruptus, which is pretty fun. and Vive the Vegan. All three are family oriented, discuss great nutrition and have lots of fun ideas for yummy easy food.

    Another great and tasty way to get greens in the winter is to try nettles powder ( dried ground up nettles). You can sprinkle them on everything, it has a tangy taste, much like pomegranate seeds.

  3. I wanted to add one more fun idea for using nettles powder in a yummy treat my whole family likes ( including our 3 year old). We call it Apple Snack: here it goes.
    -Slice a an apple (really you can use pretty much any kind of fruit),
    – spread the slices in one layer on a plate,
    – take some slightly runny peanut or other nut butter and let it dribble on the fruit slices ( as if you were putting some yummy chocolate syrup over the fruit)
    – if you’d like at this point you can add some additional sweetener for a really decadent treat ( maple syrup, honey, sprinkle or rapadura etc..) but it doesn’t really need it.
    – then sprinkle on the nettles powder
    – I like to also add hulled hemp seeds
    – You can also sprinkle on any other ymmuy things you have arround: pomegranate seeds, sliced almonds or other nuts, raisins, sesame seeds, etc…
    – Then enjoy! This is best eaten with your fingers, scrapping up every last bit of goodness as you go. : 0 )

    I like to spread the peanut butter individually on each fruit slice: but its probably not the most time efficient way to do it.

    I’d love to hear if you try it out and what you think.

  4. I’ve got Jessica’s book and love the puree approach. I’ve tried: French Toast (with sweet potatoes), Pancakes (with sweet potato), Tacos (w/ carrots), Turkey Chili (w/ red pepper and carrot), Chocolate Peanut Butter Dip (w/carrot), Marshmallow Crispy Treats (w/Flaxseed)s, Chocolate Chip Muffins

    two by Missy Chase Lapine (who actually published hers first and launched a lawsuit against Seinfeld) called The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals and The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man (in the Kitchen). I’ve made Brainy Brownies (which include spinach and blueberries) twice to great acclaim. Also tried thus far: Quick Fixes for Boxed Macaroni and Cheese (I’ve tried with Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, and Bean Puree; Unbelievable Chocolate Chip Cookies (with white beans); Real Man Meatballs (w/ spinach and broccoli – I didn’t like these but my husband did). So far, aside from the meatballs, we’ve liked everything.

    I love the puree idea and have a freezer packed with various ones. I put them in soups, taco sauce, tomato sauce, chili, and whatever else I can. I’m not sure if this is the holy grail, but these books give great inspiration and lots of photos, plus they introduce a way of cooking that is easy to incorporate.

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