Monday, October 15, 2007

Mother Talk Review: Deceptively Delicious

When I first heard about this book, I couldn't wait to read it! I have one child who is a picky eater, and a husband who turns up his nose at any vegetable except canned green beans and raw carrots.

Jessica Seinfeld created a cookbook that is a delight to look at and then filled it with tons of recipes that sneak in extra vegetables and fruits. She took kid-friendly recipes and added in various fruit and vegetable purees to increase the nutritional kick.

I love cookbooks, and this one hit all the big points for me -- color pictures of the food, simple how-to's, recipes that are unique and delicious. The beginning of the cookbook has some great basic information -- from stocking your pantry to specific how-to's on creating purees. After the basics are covered, it moves into the recipes -- including breakfasts, mealtimes and desserts.

My boys have been helping me cook more and more these days, and I debated about asking their help with these recipes. While I knew my 5 year old would be eager to eat any of them (since he eats most vegetables happily!), my 6 year old can refuse to eat a dish if a vegetable is even mentioned in the same room as food prep. I decided to ask their help on one recipe, and try another without their knowledge. I handed the book over to my boys and asked them to pick a recipe to try.

They chose Chicken Alphabet Soup -- I think because they liked the look of the large pasta letters in the picture (which I was unable to find at our grocery store.) Her trick for the soup is to stir in cauliflower and sweet potato puree instead of adding any recognizable vegetables. The recipe is very simple (broth, chicken, pasta and the purees) but it tasted good. Both boys liked it, and I never thought of adding puree into chicken soup before -- usually I just add chopped carrots.

I decided to try her brownie recipe, even though the thought of spinach in brownies made me grimace. She added carrot & spinach purees to the recipe -- and warned that the spinach flavor wouldn't disappear until the brownies were completely cool. Ummm, for the first time ever I threw brownies away. I didn't tell my boys or my husband about the spinach, but they all took 2 bites and wouldn't eat more. They definitely had an odd taste.

I didn't want to end on that note, so I tried her Angel Food Cupcake recipe, which added yellow squash to the batter and carrot puree to the frosting. This was a success, with everyone eating their cupcakes and not even noticing the flavor of squash in the cupcakes.

I also tried her ketchup recipe, which the kids liked just fine and had fun helping me prepare. We actually don't eat a lot of ketchup around here, but we eat enough of it that I liked the idea of having a healthier version on hand. It freezes easily in smaller portions that should last a few months.

Overall, it's a great addition to my cookbook collection. I will definitely try more of the recipes in this book. I like having some tried & true ways to add more vegetables to our diet.

My only complaint is that the recipes lacked nutritional information. I would have liked to see the calorie counts, fiber content, etc. for each recipe.

You can check out a few of the recipes from her book at the book's website.

If you'd like your own copy, it's available at Amazon and other bookstores. The publisher is also running a contest if you'd like to try & win a copy!

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