Apparently one day you have a baby who loves everything and does anything you ask and eats every little nutritious morsel set in front of her. And then you wake up and you have a toddler who has hopes and dreams and her own will and a limp-noodle strategy of getting out doing anything she doesn’t want to do, including eating the rainbow of colors of nutritious and deliberately planned menus you create for her.
Ungrateful little wretch. Delightful little spirit!
Before I had a baby I said ‘I’m not going to be one of those moms who tricks their kids into eating healthy foods! They will eat them and like them and that’s that!’ (sidenote: I could write a book titled ‘Before I had a baby I said…’ and it would be 497 pages and counting of stupid things I thought I could control/ignore/refute, this is just the tip of that sad iceberg) And in truth our little bundle of never ending joy is a pretty easy going lass when it comes to food. She will try anything (while retaining her rights to reject it with the disgust of someone who just ate a turd covered in toe jam, when in reality she was offered a slice of avocado WHICH USED TO BE YOUR FAVORITE YOU CONFUSING LITTLE IMP!) but has started to show preference to certain things and a pure hate of others.
So, in the desperate ways of Jessica Seinfeld (though I never read her book, I did see her on Oprah once talking about hiding antioxidants in lasagna or something, so I’m obviously an expert) I started thinking of ways I could add more veggies to her food. If you put ANYTHING in tomato sauce, she will generally eat it. So far this includes adzuki beans, kidney beans, zucchini, okra, and others. But just in case she thought about getting specific and sorting through the sauce, I took things a step further.
I steamed some carrots. In the name of full disclosure I had steamed these earlier in the day, as a part of her lunch. But she had the turd-eating reaction described above, so they were wrapped up and put in the fridge. I mashed them up while the baby helpfully took apart the garlic…and added it a tiny bit early but let’s not tell her that. Obviously you can get as elaborate as you want to with tomato sauce. Often we cook up some peppers and onions first, but Dave was out-of-town and time was of the essence. I simply chopped and sautéed the garlic, added two boxes of diced tomatoes, sea salt, pepper and dried oregano before mixing in the mashed carrots. Mixed it all up and simmered for a while! Sometimes we add a dash of cinnamon to our tomato sauce for some sweetness, but the carrots did me a similar favor and the flavor and texture ended up perfect!
Never one to turn down carbs doused in sauce, the baby ate this with vigor and never seemed the wiser that just hours earlier during lunch. she had turned her nose up at steamed carrots (brushed with butter and brown sugar thankyouverymuch) but ate them in disguise with her dinner. And it’s MOTHER FOR THE WIN!