We wrote an e-Book!
Writing that makes me feel very modern, even though I’m still not sure we’re doing this right. I feel like maybe I should have taken a course on this or something?
I enjoy cooking and I really like eating, but we have two kids with opinions… about everything, actually. Feeding them can be tricky. I think there is a lot of angst from parents around their kids and food, and I want to take up space in that conversation.
“Are they eating enough?”
“Ok, but are they eating enough vegetables?”
“I am embarrassed by how often they eat pizza or mac n cheese.”
This e-book gives a handful of ideas to add vegetables into foods that you find they already like, hopefully making meal time less of a strain on you or them. I wrote two cookbooks before we had children and my cooking has evolved so much since then. Evolved because of them and because of myself, but this piece feels like I am handing a collection of favorite recipes to a friend. Nothing to prove, no effort to impress you with my creativity - just real food that I have on regular rotation for our kids, and it feels like it may help someone else trying to do the same. Perhaps an excerpt from the book’s intro will help that feeling make sense:
“Before I had children, I forecasted they would eat everything my husband and I enjoy - big vegetable lovers, lots of color and seasonal produce, requesting green smoothies (hold the banana, add extra kale, mom!), beyond their years in taste given what I do for work. Then they actually existed in my life, and I realized I may have built an unrealistic expectation. I cook constantly. For over a decade, I have been writing recipes for our food blog (Sprouted Kitchen), have published two cookbooks, freelanced for other food publications, and most currently, run a meal planning subscription service (Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club). I know my way around making a meal, but having kids at the table feels like it complicates the ease of which that once was for me. I make most of our food from scratch, but my kids, who are 3 and 5, cannot be persuaded with any amount of convincing nutritional information to choose broccoli over a hot dog. So, how do we settle somewhere between those things? I want them to have a healthy relationship with food. I love seasonal produce, home cooking, and general wellness, but I refuse to make meal time a battle. We have to eat for energy and nutrition, but also for the pleasure and practice of having a moment to sit down together at a table. My job is to provide nutritious food and a loving environment; it is their job to eat if they are hungry and no, I am not a short order cook. Those convictions are easier to put on paper than hold to at dinner time. I get it.”
It is a collection of 30 recipes (a few are favorites from here on SK and SK Cooking Club) that focus on getting more produce into your wee ones. I can’t guarantee they’ll like everything in there, but it’s adult-friendly too so you have that! The recipes are geared for ages 2+, and they are simple and easy to follow. Most of them are gluten and dairy-free, and when they’re not, notes are made to help accommodate. While it’s not exclusively vegetarian, most of the recipes do lean that direction, while many of the breakfast recipes include eggs.
(I like to be as clear as possible so ya’ll know what to expect!) I understand that you can flip through a book at the bookstore and here you cannot. The e-book is divided by breakfast, snacks + lunch, and meals. I may be biased (having birthed the children in most of the photos), but the imagery is beautiful too ;)
Whether you buy this e-book or not, I hope you know you are doing an excellent job. Parenting is hard and food is a sticky subject. If some days everything they eat is some shade of beige, they’ll be ok. I hope getting more color into your babes doesn’t feel defeating, and if it does, may I make that seem more accessible with Little Sprouts. xo
ROASTED BUTTERNUT + BLACK BEAN QUESADILLAS
From Little Sprouts
My children would eat bean and cheese burritos every day if given the choice. It doesn’t always work, but adding vegetables into things I know they already like, is helpful. Here, we are adding taco seasoned squash and a handful of greens (whatever you can pull off - cilantro, baby kale etc.) in with the refried black beans and cheese. I smash the squash down so they melt in with the cheese a bit. I’ve also had luck with shredded zucchini in the summer.
Batched Taco Seasoning:
Mix all of these spices together and store them in an airtight container.
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. light brown sugar
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp. sea saltdash of cayenne, to taste
I am including a recipe for a homemade taco seasoning, but we also like the one from Thrive market because it isn’t too spicy.
4 cups cubed (about 1”) butternut squash (from roughly one small squash)
1 Tbsp. avo or olive oil
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
Salt, as needed
4 whole grain tortillas
1 13 oz. can refried black beans
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups melty cheese - a Mexican blend, white cheddar or non-dairy sub
Coconut or avocado oil, for cooking
Preheat the oven to 425’. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up.
Pile the squash cubes onto the baking sheet and drizzle them with the oil, taco seasoning and another sprinkle of salt. Toss everything to coat and spread them in an even layer. Roast for 25 minutes until edges are browned and squash is tender. Remove to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, spread the beans over the top of the tortilla. Add a few spoonfuls of the cooked squash and use the back of a fork to smoosh them down a bit. Sprinkle the top with a handful of cheese and a generous amount of cilantro.
You can pan-fry them, or to do a batch all at once, placing the open-faced quesadillas on a baking sheet and heating them in the oven for 10 minutes to warm through, then just fold them over.