I have worked in a kindergarten for five years. In kindergarten, we make a lot of snacks. We make all sorts pf things and try to toss in lots of fruits and veggies. You know what kids love? Trying new stuff. False. In general, false.
Before that I worked for four years in a group home with adults with developmental disabilities and aggressive behaviours. There were regulated guidelines to incorporate healthy choices. That being said, on more than one occasion, I had been threatened or shouted at for offering vegetables with dinner.
Needless to say, I have some experience tricking unwilling parties into eating healthier options. And I’ve experimented plenty with hiding vegetables.
While I do love to bake a blueberry pie glazed with a sugar wash, or a dense banana cake with cream cheese icing, this post marks the start of a segment called What I’m Feeding My Kid Today.
I’m experimenting with alternative sweeteners ( think dates or applesauce in place of sugar) and making from scratch ( if you can do it, why not!?) and sneaking in a veggie or two where the sugar lover in me is shouting that none belong. Luckily, Pepper, at 11 months, is a reasonably blank slate, and, thus far, has been a good eater…..though the new trend of putting things in her mouth only to open it and let the contents spill out is perhaps a chilling vision of things to come.
Anywho, today’s ingredient of choice: sweet potatoes!
Beginning with a couple of roasted beauties, I whipped up a little puree ( pop a couple sweet potatoes in the oven at 400 F and roast for about an hour, let cool, squeeze off the skins and puree in food processor or blender).
I was inspired to try some sweet potato brownies. I tracked down a recipe and modified slightly base on what i had on hand. This one comes from http://jaybirdblog.com
I followed the recipe pretty closely, though in lieu of coconut flour, I used all purpose, and I added just a skooch more applesauce, and, quite frankly, I never measure cinnamon, and nobody ever complains. I used lovely brown eggs with gorgeous yellow yolks that make every baked good seem richer and more luxurious. I didn’t have maple syrup on hand, but I think I’d toss in that spoonful next time, make them even more of a treat.
The brownies end up less like brownies than a baked pudding. They are velvety and rich, and Pepper eats them up in seconds flat! The bite of cocoa is satisfying and indulgent, and, though truly, these little snacks will never replace brownies, I don’t mind having them living in my fridge. They hit the spot and you don’t have to feel too badly about them.
Now, I ate my fair share of pureed potatoes, which, with the ever present cinnamon are pretty fine on their own. But even Pepper couldn’t be fooled into eating bowls and bowls of it for days. My solution??
Greek Yogurt Sweet Potato Pancakes!
Whisk an egg, add 2/3 cup full fat greek yogurt, 1 cup milk , a few tablespoons full of sweet potato puree and whisk until smoothish (yes, this is how I cook and bake)
add 1 1/4 cups of self raising flour, a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla. stir together to form a batter, splash in a little more milk if it’s too think (and it might be)
add cinnamon. As much as you like. As previously discussed…..I never measure cinnamon.
Heat 2 tablespoons full of sunflower oil in a skillet and add about 2-3 tablespoons of batter. They puff up pretty good, so keep a close eye on them as they go, don’t let the pan get screaming hot, or you’ll have crunchy cakes that are raw in the middle. I had to thin mine out here and there to get the consistency I liked and keep them from being too thick, but these beauties turned out delicious! The yogurt gives them a richness and moistness, and there is a distinct cake donut flavour about them. Gorgeous. Toss some berries on top, drizzle of syrup if you’re feeling frisky, but Peps eats them dry and nearly inhales them!
Needless to say, we’ve been getting our fair share of the sweet orange beaut that is the sweet potato this week. The last few spoonfuls have been stirred into Pep’s yogurt for breakfast, and are disappearing rapidly.
Stay tuned for future culinary experiments and tricky vegetable disguises!!
Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in seeing more of on the blog! I’d love to hear what you think!