This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.
Once upon a time, my children did not eat Green Stuff. Well, wait. Once upon a time, they all totally DID, back when everything was pureed and mashed up and I was the one holding the spoon and making airplane noises like an idiot. Only Ezra retained any affection for green vegetables past his babyhood, but even he typically preferred them in a whole or easily identifiable form. Otherwise, he regarded Green Stuff with the same amount of suspicion as his brothers.
Green flecks of fresh basil in spaghetti? NOT SO FAST.
A bit of spinach in scrambled eggs? SACRILEGE.
Microscopic dots of broccoli in mac-and-cheese? YOU'VE RUINED EVERYTHING, MOTHER.
Beige was the ruling acceptable color in our house, and while we always tried our hardest to keep dinner from revolving around toddler whims and general childhood pickiness, our successes with green vegetables remained pretty rare unless I was up to serious sneaky-cheffing to mask their presence completely.
Plain green peas were generally acceptable to everybody, and eventually I could make tiny-but-visible bites of broccoli palatable to Noah in mini pot pies or macaroni and cheese. Ezra would eat steamed broccoli or fresh salad by the bowlful, then pitch a fit over a delicious batch of creamed spinach because he didn't like his "greens mixed with whites."
Ike, on the other hand, would just go full nuclear boneless melt mode at the table at the sight of anything green. I could drown it in cheese, pack it into meat, cover it with bacon -- basically making it as non-healthy and barely-qualifying-as-a-vegetable as possible, and he'd still bring dinner to a grinding halt of Green Stuff Suspicion.
Thankfully, you'll notice I'm using past tense here.
I've testified to Blue Apron's picky-eater battle power in the past -- it forces us (in a good way) to go Full Satter and stick with it. We cook what we get and the kids eat what we get. Every meal contains plenty of vegetables (way more than I was traditionally serving/eating on my own before) that aren't hidden, but are presented along with something that my kids find acceptable.
I was definitely skeptical at first -- sure, my kids might eat the glazed carrots, but you've gotta be kidding me about mixing up some collard greens in there. Rice/barely/quinoa are always winners, but you've now made me contaminate it with spinach/kale/arugula like some kind of monster. And do you really think my kids are gonna fall for tacos full of zucchini?
SPOILER ALERT: Yuuuuuup.
Obviously, we set the Satter-style no-short-order-cooking rule in place long before we joined Blue Apron, and our kids already understood that dinner was dinner was dinner. If you're hungry, you need to it, because the Beige Fairy isn't going to magically appear with plain pasta or grilled cheese just because you're whining over some veggie-flecked meatloaf and green beans.
But even though Blue Apron was technically presenting them with things that were unfamiliar or new night after night, they all quickly figured out that there was always going to be SOMETHING they liked or recognized -- even if it was just the tortillas wrapped around the veggie tacos -- and would just sort of...roll with it and branch out from there.
The salad has raw apple slices in it. The sauteed greens are topped with crunchy nuts. Mmmm, thinly-sliced fresh Parmesan cheese put it on EVERYTHING.
And in time, the dreaded Green Stuff became not-so dreaded. Okay, it was tolerable. Okay, it was no big deal. Okay, it was pretty good. Okay, I liked that a lot. Can we make that again? Can I have the leftovers in my lunch?
Case in point, Ezra asked to see our recipe cards this week and pick out which one to make first.
His choices: a classic cheeseburger with balsamic-glazed onions and roast potato wedges, a chicken and kale Caesar salad, or a spinach and ricotta pizza (served with a cauliflower and clementine orange salad). All things he generally likes, albeit each with a slightly different -- and kid-challenging -- twist.
I admit I was still pretty surprised that the burger (aka the one non-Green-Stuff-centric option) was the first to be eliminated.
The salad was a impressive close second, but in the end he decided the pizza looked more fun to make.
Plus, the salad had orange slices in it. And Ezra lovvvvvvvves orange slices.
Also peeling and sectioning them. I let him eat one as a pre-dinner treat for helping.
"It looks just like the picture!" he said approvingly of our final result.
(We used a pre-heated pizza stone in our oven. Highly recommended for perfect homemade pizza.)
Everybody loved it. I mean, it was pizza, and a really delicious one at that, with a whopping half-pound of spinach per pie. Ike ate two full slices.
Although he did choose to eat them beige-side first.
Eh. I'll take it.
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