I take a lot of (good-natured) teasing from some of my friends about the foods that I make for Maddy and Libby. I'm proud of the fact that they are 15-months-old and have never tasted a chicken nugget. I'm proud that they devour avocado, fresh fruit, tomatoes, peas, and various other foods that I probably would have spit out when I was their age. Or at 36. Peas. Blech.
By no means am I an all-organic hippie mom, growing her own veggies, and only serving all natural unprocessed foods, but there are days that I wish I could live that simply and be better about being a "locavore." I also don't mention the bag of Halloween candy that I bought yesterday and it's already short a few pieces. I'm not trying to save the world - just trying to find a good variety of healthy foods for my family.
I feel strongly that as a parent, I am charged to keep my children healthy, happy, and loved. I think by offering a variety of healthy foods at an early age can only do good for them. Sure, they still get cookies after lunch, but I try to make sure that they are somewhat healthy and not totally loaded with sugar. They have many years ahead of them to start buying Halloween candy in September if they choose.
I am always looking for new veggies or new ways to introduce veggies to Maddy and Libby. I'm sure peas for lunch every day would get a little old. Now that they are a bit older and are great self-feeders, I was happy to find Wholesome Toddler Foods. I loved their Baby Foods website and found many of our puree recipes from their site.
One that caught my eye were the spinach nuggets. I didn't have all the required spinach on hand, but I did have broccoli so I decided to improvise. After all, who doesn't want their kids to eat another veggie and serving of dairy?
Spinach (or Broccoli) Nuggets
1 16-oz package frozen chopped broccoli, cooked, drained, and chopped further if needed .
1 cup bread crumbs
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese *I used Cabot Extra Sharp cheddar, because it is the World's best cheddar!
3 Large eggs
Heat oven to 375F
1. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
2. Combine all remaining ingredients and mix well. *Add seasonings if you like - garlic powder, pepper, extra basil & oregano for example. Add a fruit or veggie puree to substitute for the eggs if desired*.
3. Shape mixture into nuggets or fun shapes such as squares or squigglies etc..and place on baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turn nuggets over after 15 minutes. Serve warm
You can "roll" this out and then try using small cookie cutters to make these into fun shapes!
I tried to roll out the "dough", and make heart shapes, but just ended up forming them into circles instead. It seemed a little too sticky so I just did spoonfuls.
Ready for the oven.
So, here are a few "after" photos. Happy girls, don't you think? And, I'm pleased to report that they ate all of their "nuggets." Unfortunately, they still left the sweet potatoes on the tray. They used to love them as a puree, but baked and diced, not so much.
Libby chowing down.