our tale about everyday adventures and discovering the world

Post 10: Barfsicles, goats and two mini Jamie Olivers. (Or how I get my kids to devour vegetables almost every day.)


Our veggie popsicles used to look like frozen barf.  I can’t get past it but they love them.  My rule is that they must have roughly 50% veggies or more, no added sweetener (other than fruit) and (ideally) plain yogurt. Of late they’ve become more solidly green or purple which is far more appetizing to me. But the boys don’t seem to care what they look like.  They beg for them.

Our world changed when a friend told me about veggie popsicles and we found the Norpro Silicone Ice Pop molds. For the popsicle base, we usually start with two carrots, at least two cups of spinach and probably 1/3 cup of plain yogurt.  Then we just add fruit until it takes the vegetable edge off.  Which isn’t much. And what’s great is that if you vary the fruits and veggies they are different every time. I’ve also realized that tossing in just a couple of berries will change the color to a less barf-like, more appetizing color.  And don’t ever put pea shoots in a popsicle. It’s just plain nasty. Alright, those are all my expert tips.

Over the last few months, Eli has preferred eating them out of the molds. He has strong color preference.  Either green or red the first day.  Next blue.  Yellow last.

Fin finds it a bit easier to eat it mashed up in a cup with a spoon.

And then the obligatory purple tongue shot.

The unfrozen popsicles are basically smoothies so if we don’t have any in the freezer and need to make more we have smoothies that day. Amen for popsicle molds and my Cuisinart. And for goats.

With my kids, I’ve found it’s about being novel.  They eat it up. (Yes, pun intended.  I crack myself up.) So, I’m big on finding as many ways as possible to serve vegetables.  Actually this is sort of my tactic for any type of food. I want eating to be fun and I want them to be exposed to as many foods as possible. So what can you eat it in?  A shot glass. A tiny cup. What can you eat it with?  Chopsticks.  A fun toothpick. What can it be added to?  It’s sort of a joke that I add spinach to everything.  Muffins, brownies, eggs – there’s nothing I won’t try.  And usually you can’t taste it. What does it look like? Different size, shape or color?  I can’t wait to harvest our purple, pink and yellow carrots.  How can you eat it?  With an accent. Without hands. Like a goat. (Thank you, Eli.)

Eli happily eating freeze dried peas.

Fin is eating peas out of my hand but, frankly, I included this shot because of his beautiful baby curls. R.I.P baby curls.

The pea circus act.  No hands!

But, by far, the most successful and most enjoyable – and patience-testing if I’m being honest – thing that works for us is cooking together in the kitchen.  A lot.

Eli says, “Mom, can I lick the batter off that spatula?”  Say what? You want to lick a puree of raw vegetables?  Where are my 10 spatulas?  And that was after they both downed a stalk of celery, 1/4 of a tomato, tons of cucumber and at least two teaspoons of raw, minced garlic.  The veggies were completely unadorned and the kids were wild with excitement. And raving about how delicious it was.  Does this happen every time?  Of course not.  But does it happen often?  Yes.  I’m blown away by the things they both will eat while standing on the step stool and helping me cook.  Which is why I cook with them as often as possible.  Their exuberance yesterday was during our first try at making raw veggie crackers in the food dehydrator.

Onion googles?  Check. Fire truck?  Check.

Look, ma – celery!

The base included carrots, celery, tomato, green onion, cucumber, flax meal and a variety of herbs and spices.

And then we got to smell the yummy smells of cucumber all night.  The next morning some were done!

The verdict? The boys ate 1/4 of a tray before breakfast. Eli said they were delicious.  Fin was disappointed that he couldn’t lift up his pajamas to show me the party in his tummy. An hour or so later Eli told me he didn’t like them.  I’m sure he won’t eat any more.  Fin kept asking (and eating) “chips” the rest of the day.  And that’s how it goes. Tomorrow we will have another veggie adventure and my copy of French Kids Eat Everything will also arrive. Can’t wait.

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