Experimenting with veggies

Have any of you read the book Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld?

Stacey recommended this one to me way back on one of my garden posts. I was intrigued so I got on the hold list at our library and have been waiting ever since. It came in this week so I've been "reading" the book. "Reading" is in quotes because it's primarily a cookbook (and I don't know if you get reading points when it's a cookbook), with a little introduction at the beginning about her method to get her children to eat nutritious foods. Basically, she sneaks it into their meals. What she does is puree all sorts of fruits and veggies, package them up, label them, and toss them in the freezer. And then when she's cooking, she pulls them out and adds them to her recipes.

She gives instructions for the best way to prepare, cook and puree the vegetables (avacados, beets, broccoli, peas, red bell peppers, spinach, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and zucchini/summer squash), and fruits (apples, bananas, berries, cantaloupe, cherries, and pineapple).

Now. I'm sure we've all tried to sneak good foods into our kids. My girl doesn't like fruit. (I know. Who has ever heard of such a thing?!), so I've tried to be creative to get fruit into her by pureeing berries and/or bananas and "hiding" them in the pancake batter (works good as long as there are no chunks), or offering smoothies for breakfast (which she won't touch, but the rest of us love) or smoothie popsicles (which she does love). Veggies aren't so much a problem if we're talking the basics: beans, peas, carrots, and potatoes they love and eat without complaint. But squash, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach? Um, not so much. Beets? Ew.

So the idea isn't new to me but the method of stocking up on those purees by having them ready in the freezer is a new one.

I must say, I wasn't impressed with the recipe section of the book, though there are a few I may try. For the most part I just liked the idea of trying to get some of these veggies and/or fruits into our diet by adding them (in puree form) to the meals I already make.

Well, then. There are two butternut squash from our garden that have been sitting on my counter since sometime in November. They've been calling my name (Really, I've been wondering how long they plan on sitting there before they'll go bad. And feeling a little guilty that I haven't used them yet.) But today I was newly inspired to try this whole method. So I cut off the stems, took out the seeds, sliced the squash, and roasted them on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes at 400°. Then I let them cool, scooped out the flesh, and pureed them in the blender. As I was scooping it into some freezer containers, I wondered if I could somehow work it into our meal that night.

We were having homemade pizza.

But it was pizza with alfredo sauce and chicken, so I decided I'd give it a whirl.

I made the dough, rolled it out, and put down a layer of pesto, then added a few tablespoons of butternut squash puree, then a few of the alfredo sauce, and finally the chicken and cheese.

It was "belicious!", Isaac said. And Ella's words? "Scrumptious! The best pizza I've ever had. This is my favorite kind.." I told them why it was so good (and it *was* good) and now my mind is reeling with the possibilities.

Beginning with the cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach.

I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. Fun! My friend Kate has that book and I've already looked through it at length. Very exciting stuff. The theory isn't new to me either as I've been adding finely grated veggies to lots of things over the years. (My husband still doesn't know I do this.) And the best thing about her method is that it's exactly how I made baby food for my babies! So I already feel experienced! I'm sure we'll all be anxious to hear about your future successes!

  2. This is funny- I actually had a review of this in the works! Now I'll just send them to your blog ;D

  3. Yum! the pizza looks yummy. i'll have to check out that book.


  4. Yay!!! I love that you tried it and got good results!!

    We use some of the recipes, and then I did what you did - I add the purees' to what I am already making. I like the recipes because it really taught me what to add to what...and how to do it.....does that make sense? I learn best by example, and then I branch out!

    Yay! I am also going to make that pizza! Yummy!

  5. That sounds so yummy! And (deceptively)delicious!;)

  6. A friend made a chocolate chip cookie recipe from that book- it had garbanzo beans in it, I think. The cookies were delish!

    I know some people buy baby food and put it in recipes...all the mashing work is done! :)

    Your pizza was BRILLIANT!

  7. Michele@PhiloxenosJanuary 8, 2008 at 6:47 AM

    I tried adding butternut squash to macaroni and cheese and it was gross. i think I tried to add in way too much. The colour was great, but the taste was definitely too much squash. So a few tbsp would probably be fine.

  8. Clap! Clap! I think I'll use this on my hubby!! I am used to making my own baby food - so this should be great. I can't wait to hear how you do with the other veggies, especially spinach (shudder). I wonder if I can deceive MYSELF with that one ;-)

  9. Mmmm-- that pizza looks good. I love butternut squash, and I will have to try that pizza.

  10. HI Stacy,
    I got that book for Christmas. It has my mind racing with ideas too.

    I'm so glad the pizza worked out so well. That is great!

    I have a pumpkin from november too :) Maybe I'll use it on pizza later in the week.

    Have a great day,

  11. Stace cracks me up- "Yay! Yay!" :)

    I flipped through this cookbook on hubby's and my last date at Barnes and Noble, and agree with you about not being too impressed with the recipes, but a little intrigued by the concept.

    My kids love all fruits, and eat them every day. But for veggies, they only *love* raw carrots and cooked green beans. It tapers off from there: Cor and Eliana love corn, Micah doesn't. Eliana loves sweet peas, the boys don't. I love broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, snow peas... and no one else does at all, including hubby.

    So I stick with what they like, and it's all good! As long as I serve it every dinner, and some lunches, I'm not worried.

    But the cookbook is cute, and I was impressed with her desires for her children's behavior- refreshing in Hollywood!

  12. Apparently Mrs. Seinfeld is getting sued over stealing that idea from someone who published a nearly identical book 6 months earlier. However she had much more normal last name and didn't sell as many books. Then Jerry went on TV and called her names. He'll pay handsomely for that.

    I like hiding things too. Hiding cottage cheese in pancakes is great. We hide several handfuls of spinach and sometimes coconut oil and kefir in our smoothies. I hide chocolate sauce in my lattes too. Barely know it's there. I like to hide Capt Morgan spiced rum in my coke sometimes too.

    We one time made "cream of chicken" casserole with tuna. Tuna is the one food Aidan is allowed to not eat. Everyone gets one food (Luke’s is cottage cheese) that they can opt out of. We never mentioned the tuna. At one point Luke even said, “I like this chicken stuff” (referring to the tuna). We nodded. Aidan had 3 helpings and said it was his favorite dinner.

    Are potatoes a vegetable? I thought they were a starch. I don’t think they count as a vegetable.

  13. You could hide that butternut squash in your bread! Here's the recipe:

    I hide squash in my bread! Here's the recipe:

    2.5 tablespoons yeast
    1/2 cup warm water
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 and 1/2 cups cooked buttercup or butternut squash
    2 cups milk
    2/3 cup packed brown sugar
    2/3 cup butter, softened
    2 eggs
    3 tsp salt
    7 cups whole wheat flour
    6 cups white or bread flour

    In large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar and let stand for 5 min. Add squash, milk, brown sugar, butter, eggs and salt; mix well. Add 6 cups flour; beat on medium speed. Add remaining flour until soft dough forms. Knead ten minutes; place in greased bowl to rise for an hour. Punch down, divide into 3 large or 5 small loaves; cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

    I tried these as 100% whole wheat and they didn't rise (squash's fault?) so adding some white flour helped them out. You can't see the squash, though sometimes the loaves get a faint yellow tint, which I tell the children is "butter baked into the bread" which isn't a lie because the recipe calls for butter! :)

  14. Thanks for the recommendation. I have been wondering about this book, asked for it for Christmas, but no such luck. Harrison will eat almost any veggie. His favorites are broccoli and asparagus, crazy, huh? But his father hates veggies and I worry about hubby nutrition. I have to see if my library has it.

  15. My girls got this recipe book for Christmas and I have to say that the oatmeal recipe is worth the book. My newer kids never liked oatmeal, which is one of the things we eat for breakfast a few times a week. I cut down on the sugar in the recipe and then don't serve sugar on the table... just craisins, nuts and yogurt (though that has sugar in it too). And they love it.

    Also, I always use canned pumpkin in my pancakes. We have these for dinner a lot with whole wheat flour that I buy fresh ground from Fairhaven Flour Co-op (cheaper and tastes so much better).

    Don't know if you'll get this comment so late after the fact, but I just keep thinking about it so thought I'd write it in here. :)


  16. Koe,
    Yep! Got your comment! All comments come straight to my email, so I always get them. :)

    Mm... I'm going to have to check out the flour. Thanks!



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