Saturday, March 8, 2014

Secret Ingredient!

   I've recently begun a quest to getting my family to eating healthy.  We've hit the picky stage with the kids, and to be honest, I really don't know what encouraged it.  I always make my kids try everything on their plates.  I think Audra was born with a sweet tooth though!  Around here, desserts are a special treat, and candy is limited to maybe one a day, and we hardly ever have Kool-Aid or soft drinks in the house.  So, we are actually well on our way to having a healthy eating style, but I also realize we can improve in some areas.  A friend of mine recently gave me the most wonderful book called Deceptively Delicious.  Its a cookbook written by a doctor who got tired of the constant battle at the table, trying to get her three children to eat their veggies.  She began "hiding" them in food her children liked...and it worked!  Soon, she had her kids eating everything from squash to beets cleverly hidden in the most unlikely foods such as brownies and chicken nuggets!  And her family never knew the difference.
   After Andy began talking about changing our eating habits, I sat down and read the cookbook and poured over the recipes.  How in the world can you hide a vegetable in a dessert?  Or even in a main dish to where a smart husband can't detect it?  Sometimes, I wonder if my two and three yr olds have built in veggie detectors.
   I decided to give it a try and see for myself.   I pulled out my Magic Bullet and have been giving it a workout for the past couple days making batch after batch of puree.  So far I've done peas, squash, sweet potato, apples, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, and bananas.  I plan on doing pears, green beans, cantaloupe, pineapple, beets, and peaches.  I have started Wesley on solids, and have always made my own baby food in the past, so now is the perfect time to set some aside for him as well.  I have a food saver machine and have been packaging the purees in half cup portions.
   Tonight, I decided to put my family to the test.  I told the kids I was going to make them a special treat after supper.  When Andy saw me pull a small veggie puree pack from the freezer, I could see the uncertainty in his eyes.  My first attempt was milk shakes.  I HAD to try it because it seemed too crazy!  How can you possibly hide a veggie in a milk shake.  I figured if I could fool the family with this one, the main dishes would be a breeze.
   I blended up the ingredients in my Bullet and gave Christian and Audra their cups.  I watched in amazement as they gulped down that shake without hardly a breath of air!  I poured me a small amount and tasted it.  I couldn't believe it!  It was wonderful!  Andy looked quite skeptical as I handed him a glass.  The kids hung on me like ants on honey begging for more, and I knew I'd passed the test when Andy's eyebrows shot up and he said, "Wow, that's amazingly good!  Can I have another glass!"  The secret ingredient?  Sweet Potato!  Hey, give it a try and see for yourself!
   I also made a chocolate cake today with beets and milled flax in it.  You wouldn't have known it!  It tasted no different than a regular cake.  So my quest begins!  

For those out there who are brave enough to try them, here's the recipes. 

Chocolate Milk Shake
1 1/4 C. milk
1/2 C. pureed sweet potatoe
2 Tbls. chocolate syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
   *Blend thoroughly in Magic Bullet or blender.

Unbeetable Chocolate Cake
1 Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake mix
1 C. pureed beets (I used canned beets)
1-2 Tbls milled flax seed.

   *Make cake mix according to package directions.  Add the beets and flax seed.   Pour batter into a prepared bundt pan and bake for about 30 mins or til cake springs back.   I drizzled mine with a cream cheese glaze icing and chopped pecans. 

   Its actually fun trying to find ways of hiding these veggies in our daily meals.  After making that milk shake, I realized that my two toddlers just downed a half cup of sweet potatoes without a single complaint!    (Thanks, Kathy!!!  :)

    Last night was the first night of our Revival. Bro. Buster Kinsey did an outstanding job!  I was in and out with the kids (Wesley is beginning to chatter, Christian had to make an emergency trip to the bathroom, Audra likes a change of scenery and doesn't like sitting with someone else when I have to take one of the other children out so she insists on following me out... So most of the time, if one has to go out, I'm followed by the whole clan.  People don't really realize how hard it is taking care of more than one child in church by yourself when your husband happens to be the preacher.  :)  When you're holding one, the other two seem to know that your arms are busy and that you can't do anything about their squirming.  AH!  But, that's all beside the point.  :)  This is a stage that will pass eventually, and someday I will be the one sitting there "remembering those days" as I see a young mother herd her gaggle of ducklings repeatedly out the double doors.  :)  I always tell Christian to "walk beside me quietly".  Well, sometimes he takes that to extremes and creeps along at a snails pace trying ever so hard not to make a sound as he tip toes back to our pew.  One day, he was doing this WAY TOO SLOW tip toeing, concentrating so hard on being quiet, that he ran smack into the back of a pew with a resounding THUMP!  Well, so much for being quiet!  Everyone turned to look at the four of precariously holding Wesley, while trying to rub the knot off a disoriented Christian's head and trying to steer him in the right direction with my free hand and frantically whispering commands at a lagging and terribly distracted Audra who is notorious for flying off to La La Land at the drop of the hat.  So, this is our routine at church these days.  Oh, I've learned to have great patience with moms with small children!  Especially when their husband is the preacher or missionary presenting his ministry! 
   ANYWAY, :)  From the bits and pieces I heard of the service last night, Bro. Buster did a wonderful job.  He will be preaching again tonight and again on Sunday.  Bro. Steve Schleckty presented his scripture sign ministry as well last night and I believe he'll be preaching one of the services on Sunday, too.  Today, I had the wonderful privilege of having Bro. Buster's family along with two families from the church over to our house for lunch today, 13 people in all.  I made two pans of lasagna, two homemade pizzas, garlic bread, a salad, and two desserts.  I love feeding a crowd!  The more people in the house, the merrier.  :)  We had a great time visiting.  Tomorrow, the preachers and their families will come for lunch again, along with another family from church. 
   We had our offer on the house in the country accepted!!!  So, it looks like we'll be moving soon, depending on the inspections on the house, well, septic, etc.  I'm so excited! 
   We are also making a trip to TN next week, Thurs-Sat. for the Pastor's School at Cornerstone Baptist Church.  The kids and I will stay with family while Andy stays at the church and enjoys the fellowship with other the preachers.  We're all looking forward to the trip.  (I think...  :)  Its always fun traveling a long distance with children.  Though, I must add, Christian and Audra have always done VERY well in the car.  Wesley hasn't had a chance to try anything longer than an hour or two, so we'll see how that goes.  :)  He normally enjoys the ride as much as the older two. 
   Well, I need to go get the kids dressed for church!  I've had a terribly busy week, and it looks like another one's in the forecast.  :) 

Wesley enjoying a warm day outside.  It was actually his FIRST, come to think of it.  :)

We had a couple days this past week in the low 50's.  I took the kids outside to play and Audra ran up to me giggling and said, "Excising!  Outside!  FUN!"  Her hand on her face was so girly! 

You'd think after the winter we had, these two would play with anything but ice!  This big chunk took forever to melt and the kids had fun chipping away on it.  Amazingly they didn't get wet.  A complete miracle!

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