I just love how Pinterest is littered with “kid friendly” recipes that say things like, “I arranged these fruits and veggies in a funny face and my picky eater gobbled them right up”, or “These zucchini tots look and taste just like tater tots…try them on your picky toddler!” What about “mini meat loafs? or candied baby carrots..?” LIES. These are ALLLLLLLL lies.
First, if your “picky eater” gobbled up a funny faced fruit and veggie monster, then I must inform you that your kid is definitely not a picky eater. Also, if you think you can pass off zucchini tots as the real deal, and expect your kid not to notice, you my friend, are out of your mind delusional….And just because you make something “mini” or look pretty on the plate, does not mean your child will eat it. In fact, most kids I know, won’t touch that “mini meat loaf” if they don’t already enjoy regular meat loaf.
Do I think it’s wrong to hide healthy food in other things we eat? No, as long as you tell your kids what’s in it. Now, the timing of this is super important. I don’t always tell them while I’m making it, or even before they’ve tried it. I’ve made that mistake before and it backfired. I believe there is a time and a place to inform the child on what you’re feeding them. Like after they’ve begged for seconds.
Wow, I really got off on a tangent. Sorry…let me start over. I have yet to meet a child as “picky” as my sweet Nugget. I use the term picky loosely, because his aversion for food goes beyond the normal my-kid-won’t-eat-his-food-if-it’s-touching-other-food-on-his-plate “picky” eater mom problems. My picky kid makes your picky kid look like an olympic food eating champion. No really…my kid would starve if I didn’t have to get really creative and really sneaky. I’m still amazed that I’ve been able to get him to drink a smoothie. Ok, so I call it a “chocolate” smoothie (yes, there’s a little chocolate in it) but I load it down with fruits and veggies. On a good week, I can get him to drink 1 of these bad boys once a day. But then he goes into ultra picky mode and refuses it for like a week straight. During that week, I am stressed out to the max, trying to figure out how to get nutrients into his little body. That’s when I seem to be the most creative (read desperate) in my recipe attempts.
This past weekend started his “smoothie strike”, so the search began for a healthy version of the oh so favorite snack of every kid in America, the Veggie Sticks. No, I’m not talking about the cut up carrots, covered in olive oil and salt, and baked to a crisp (although that sounds amazing)…he would not even give those the time of day. I’m talking about those crunchy chip-like sticks of salty heaven. He loved those (back when I would buy them processed snacks)….but since we’ve made the change in our diets, it’s gotten harder to find things he will eat. Forget about trying something new. Hell will have to freeze over first. Last week I tried a new cheese cracker recipe that went over with flying colors! Praise the Lord, I got him to eat cheese! (you laugh, but I’m not kidding…the kid hates cheese in its regular form) So this week, I decided to try to sneak a veggie into it. I want to ease him in, so he doesn’t get scared away by an odd coloring in his cheese cracker, so I opted for the easily hidden zucchini. I know I am sounding like a hypocrite here, but hang with me. I peeled a medium zucchini, so there was ZERO green left in sight. Then I shredded it in my food processor, mixed it in with the cheese cracker recipe and voila!
What’s that, Nugget? Oh you won’t even taste these cheese crackers because they are a different shape? Why am I not surprised? Good thing I kept an uncooked batch in the fridge, then. Y’all, seriously. This kid. He definitely marches to the beat of his own drum, and dealing with his food “issues” on a day to day basis is taxing, at best. I know that God made him perfect, and has given him this strong willed little personality for a reason. My daily prayer is that God will use it in a big way to further His kingdom, and to His glory. So while I wait for God to reveal to us how he is going to use the Nugget’s strong personality, I will do whatever I can to help him and nurture him.
So…I made the exact same recipe and formed them into crackers and you know what…?
He gobbled them up. Crazy kid.
Ahh….but he ate zucchini!!!!! (this mama gave a huge sigh of relief)
And, so did Little Miss T. Shocker.
So how do you make these delicious, veggie sticks…or crackers? Easy!
(I got the base recipe from A Homemade Living…I obviously made a few changes)
What you’ll need:
- 8 oz. freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 medium zucchini, grated
- 1 cup (plus 1-3 Tbls) White Whole Wheat Flour
- 4 Tbls unsalted butter, softended (but not melted)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-3 Tbls ice water
Step 1: Squeeze out as much excess water from the grated zucchini as possible.
Step 2: Mix together (in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) the cheese, zucchini, softened butter, and half the salt.
Step 3: Add in 1 cup of the flour and mix well, until the dough looks like fluffy clumps.
Step 4: If the dough feels too sticky, add flour 1 Tbls at a time. If the dough is too dry, add ice water by 1 Tbls at a time. The dough should be semi-sticky, but not so much that it clings all over your hand.
Step 5: Split dough in half and form each into a small disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and stick in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Step 6: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 1 or 2 pans with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thick. Using a pastry cutter (I used a pizza cutter…it works great, you just don’t get the cute little edges on the crackers / sticks), cut out the shape you desire – either sticks or squares for a more traditional cracker.
Step 7: Line your sticks (or crackers) on the parchment paper lined pans, leaving a small amount of space in between each cracker, to allow for a little expansion. Sprinkle remaining salt on top of the crackers (or sticks).
Step 8: Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Allow to cool. Enjoy!
Store in air tight container in fridge for up to a week.
**Note: these are not super crunchy sticks (or crackers)…they have a little crunch to them, but they are soft enough that I can give them to Little Miss T and not worry about them being too hard for her.