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SALT LAKE CITY — Do you have too many pins on Pinterest and not enough time to try them all? Don't worry — the Page Two editors of ksl.com will try them out and give you the low-down. This week we're sampling inventive ways to get more veggies into your diet and your child's diet — without a battle and without sacrificing taste.
I had high hopes for this recipe for “Zucchini Tots,” and it delivered — though not at all in the way I was expecting. The pin touts the recipe from The Curious Country Cook as the “healthy version” of tater tots. Utilizing just a few ingredients and a mini muffin tin, the final product was supposed to be a crispy, crunchy veggie bite loaded with flavor. Not all of that was true when I made these. They were loaded with flavor, but they were not crispy or crunchy. Instead, they were more like soufflés with the texture of a crab cake (even though I wrung out and dried the zucchini as suggested). It seemed that the zucchini-to-egg ratio was off, or maybe I didn’t add enough bread crumbs. In any case, they were still delicious. If I ever find myself hosting a fancy dinner party, I’ll make these in regular-sized muffin tins and serve them as a side dish. Final grade: B
Oven-baked zucchini fries
My toddler is obsessed with French fries, so I thought I’d pull a fast one on him and swap out the potatoes for zucchini. He didn’t fall for it, but I myself thoroughly enjoyed the oven-baked zucchini fries from allrecipes.com. It’s a pretty basic recipe, which I only modified by making my own Italian bread crumbs first (with some bread, seasoning and Italian croutons). As for flavor, I give these two thumbs up. Sadly, however, the crumbs didn’t all stick to the zucchini, leaving the good stuff in little piles on the cookie sheet. Final grade: B-
I turned to this recipe for carrot chips again in an attempt to entice my toddler to try something new. And yet again, it was a failed attempt. In fact, this didn’t turn out entirely successful, but it did introduce me to a new way of cooking carrots. Since this pin for oven- baked carrot chips doesn’t go to a post (it’s just a picture with a few brief instructions), I experimented with different cutting thicknesses. The thinnest slices were crispy but too brittle, and the thickest slices were not crispy at all but were still delicious. It seemed I could find no happy medium. I won’t bother with carrot chips again, but I will be baking carrots in the oven for my next side dish. Final grade: C+
Full disclosure: Not only does this pin link to a ksl.com article about green smoothies, I am the author of said article. But since the story has been viewed nearly 20,000 times and shared more than 200 times on various social networks, it’s safe to say that people other than myself are on board. The article touches on the various health benefits of adding greens such as spinach, kale and chard to fruit smoothies and gives first-timer tips and instructions for making them. I’m including the pin in this week’s review not for more page views (I promise), but because I swear by green smoothies and always will. My daily green smoothies not only helped me kick a horrible fast-food habit and lose weight — not to mention improving my overall health — it got my son to eat healthy right from the start. Green smoothies were one of the first solid foods we introduced him to, and now, more than a year later, he still craves them. The best part is, when he has his smoothies I don’t have to worry about getting in all his fruits and veggies for the day, because he’s already gotten them all at the start. And, as picky as he is, he loves all kinds of fruit and will even gobble down raw spinach. As any parent can attest, that is a huge victory. Final grade: A
Here is another victory in the toddler war on food. These yam-n-jam muffins from parents.com are another way to sneak healthy stuff into your children’s food by adding sweet potatoes. Now, the recipe itself isn’t super healthy; each muffin packs 215 calories, but if you make them without the icing, as I did, they’re still sweet and delectable without giving your kid a sugar rush. I also made mine with canned pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes because it’s what I had on hand, and I reduced the amount of jam. (I used strawberry.) But they were still excellent. And yes, my son wolfed them down. I made a big batch before a week-long trip to California, making them not only the perfect road trip snack but an easy treat to take into Disneyland, helping us avoid the churro carts and bakeries. Final grade: A-