Beets, Zucchini, Spinach and the Art of Cookies and Cakes

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Getting enough veggies in your family can be a constant struggle. Armed with a food processor or blender you can sneak them in regular food, but truly picky eaters may not eat enough that way either. The best way I’ve found to get the pickiest eater to eat spinach, zucchini, and beets is in cookies, brownies and cakes. Here’s some information and recipe links to get you started.

Most people have had zucchini bread. If you or a friend have a garden you probably have more on hand in the summer than you can use. Make a few of these recipes and freeze them for a treat in the winter. It’s just another smart way to preserve your garden bounty. Try adding zucchini to some of your favorite recipes. Since it holds water you may need to adjust your wet ingredients to balance that out.

* Oatmeal Zucchini Cookies
* Pineapple Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
* Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies
* Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Tip: If your child looks for green to pick out, peel your zucchini before you grate it so there’s no incriminating evidence.

Spinach gets the worst rap of all the veggies. It’s green and that seems to trigger a big reaction in kids. In their minds, green seems to equal sludge or mold. Some kids love gross stuff, which is why they like green ketchup. So use the slime attraction to your advantage. If your kids like green, make the bright green spinach cookies. But if they avoid green, mix it in with dark desserts like chocolate cake.

* Brownies (with Carrot and Spinach)
* Spinookie or Spinach Cookie
* Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes (spinach and zucchini)

Tip: If you are using frozen spinach thaw and drain before adding it to your batter. It’s too watery if you don’t.

Honestly, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about beets. It one of the veggies I’ve always loved – even out of the can. Of course now, I use fresh organic beets. The complaints I hear is that they taste like dirt. I love their brilliant red color which can make a red velvet cake red without using the normal artificial color. You want to use red beets where you want a bright red color or in chocolate baked goods. Try golden or yellow beets if you don’t want to add red color to your cake.

* Chocolate cake
* Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
* Sweet Beet Muffins
* Red Velvet Cupcakes
* Golden Beet Cupcakes made with yellow beets

Tip: Don’t wear good clothes when you are peeling red beets, they stain!

I love beans now, but I wouldn’t eat them when I was a kid. Most kids I know don’t have a problem with them. If your children are bean difficult like I was, try sneaking them in brownies and cakes. An added bonus is you can swap out bean puree with part of the fat in a recipe to cut down on the fat content.

* Chocolate Chickpea Cake
* Black Bean Brownies
* Orange Chickpea Cake

Tip: Match the color of your beans to your baked good. Black beans are great for chocolate, but use navy beans or chickpeas for lighter colored baked goods.

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