Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sneaky Chef moments

There are some different views on mealtimes, especially with foster kids.  Foster kids have a lot of food issues and some things may work for some kids and not others.  We've only had one foster kid so far, so my opinion isn't the end all, be all, but generally the rule in our house is that we make one meal, eat it or don't, but we don't make a second option.  I've also heard suggestions that if they don't like the meal, then they can eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but I don't agree with that either.  Perhaps with a future foster child, we may choose that, but I'm not a fan.  If the child gets hungry enough, they'll eat what is put in front of them.

I'm not saying I will force liver and onions or brussel sprouts at every meal.  I will (and do) get the child involved in deciding what's for dinner (giving them healthy options to choose from) and will adjust meals somewhat when I know for sure what foods they really, seriously do or do not like.  For example, I know this one does not like mushrooms or carrots, so that's ok, I limit using those or when I do I will try to make it separate so they don't have to add them, and I won't make them as the only vegetable.  I won't force them to finish dinner, but they won't get dessert (if there is one) and the remainder of their dinner will be their nighttime snack.  Again, they don't have to eat it, but they won't get anything else.  They won't starve by breakfast if they miss one meal.

During a safety interview the caseworker had alone with the child at one point, she asked if we fed him, he said no, in child friendly language she asked him to elaborate and basically came up with he didn't like the food.  Basically, she asked if we provided food, he said yes, she said he doesn't have to like it, we just have to provide it.

So, having said all of that, our foster child is a pretty good eater, meaning he will eat what we provide (and has come a long way from saying we don't feed him and he hates our  He also eats his vegetables very nicely, however we all know that none of us eat enough veggies throughout the day, which brings me to my point of this blog.  A few years ago, I read the book "The Sneaky Chef" and thought it had brilliant ideas!  I haven't actually followed specific recipes in it, but I took the idea and basically simplified it.  I just cook veggies, puree them, then freeze them in ice cube trays (excellent, healthier and cheaper way to make baby food btw also.)  I will, at any point, grab a cube or two of veggies and add them to just about anything.

Some things I put them in:
pasta sauce
mashed potatoes
anything that calls for a cream sauce
grilled cheese sandwiches
mac and cheese
and my favorite so far.....pancakes!

How my sneaky cheffing started was with pancakes.  This kid loves any breakfast food that comes with syrup!  Pancakes are common in this house so I make a bunch at one time and freeze them, which makes for much faster mornings!  I had some extra broccoli from leftovers so I pureed it up and just tested one pancake with some mixed in.  They turned green and they were a little denser but taste-wise, they were great.  Unless I added a LOT of broccoli puree, I really couldn't taste it.  Well the little stinker is way too smart and saw the green pancakes and asked why they were green.  I had a "story" prepared already, I was just going to say I made them special because it's his favorite  He accepted that but then asked if I put broccoli in them.  Really?!  I said yes, of course, everybody puts all kinds of things in pancakes.  LOL  At first he was all "Ew!" but after tasting them he accepted that they didn't taste any different, so he was fine with it.  Ever since then, he actually enjoys helping me be a sneaky chef!  He helped me put carrot puree (yes the dreaded carrots that he hates!) in meatloaf and ate it without any problems.  I tell ya, once becoming a mom, my creative-thinking-on-my-feet part of my brain is really getting a workout!

So, don't fear the veggies.  Get them involved and be "sneaky chefs" together.  Try to pull one over on other members of the household.  Make it a game, see if people can guess the hidden veggies.

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