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Well let me begin by saying that I am not a professional chef, nor I am an uber-fan of the "Seinfeld" show - so I could care less who the author is. I also had a feeling that anything that deals with food and children and not being 100% honest with kids in this "kid-centered" world we live in would push a few buttons. And it did! I am a married mom of two boys and I am also interested in better health for my family. I do believe in eating fruits and vegetables in their natural state but let's be honest: Who among us eats five servings a day? I saw Ms. Seinfeld on Oprah and thought to myself, Well I have beeing doing the puree thing myself so let's see what she has to say. How are thre recipes? Pretty good, as a matter of fact. Here is what I did to try some of the recipes out:
First, I plugged my Bob Seger CD and got the ball rolling. The Beatles work just as well, the decision is yours. Then I washed my hands, put on my "Lutheran Jello Power" apron and said to myself: "It's Go Time!" I own a Vita-Mix blender which double as a food processor. I own a rice cooker which can be used to stream veggies. If you do not own a food processor or a steamer, do not despair. You can bake a lot of the veggies or put a colander in a shallow pan of boiling water to steam them. You can always invest in a steamer and/or food processor if you want, later. The first recipe I tries was:
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: 5 star.They are delicious! The only tweaking I did to the recipe was I pureed the chickpeas before adding them to the batter. I also used brown sugar Splenda rather than regular brown sugar; when done you have a batch of cookies that have 1/2 cup of brown sugar plus protein in them!! There is no white sugar in this recipe and I also used whole wheat flour. Excellent!! I have actually made these twice in a week.
SPAGETTI AND MEATBALLS: 5 stars. My kids are not that into meatballs and they ate them. This was my first attempt at meatballs, ever, and they turned out great. I put the broccoli puree and the sweet potato puree in the spagetti sauce and no one tasted anything different.
CHOCOLATE PUDDING: 5 stars. I put the avocado puree in this and believe it or not my two sons complained that is was "too much chocolate tasting!" The pudding was that good.
MACARONI AND CHEESE: 5 stars. I tried putting the sweet potato puree in with a box mix and there was no taste difference. I mixed the puree withe the milk and you could taste the puree. The kids actually said it tasted better than before!!
FROZEN YOGURT POPS: 5 stars. Very good, very sweet. I do not own popsicle molds so I used those multi-color cups from toddler days (my kids are 8 & 10 yrs old) and although they worked great - I bought popsicle sticks from a craft store - next time I am going to use smaller dixie cups so the portions are smaller.
The recipes are mistake proof as well; I put avocado puree rather than the brocolli puree in pizza sauce to make pizza burgers (Jessica says to label your bags, guess now I know why) but it still tasted good. It actually made them taste a bit sweeter, like I had put banana peppers in the recipe as well.
One error I made was when I was done with the puree was I put all the puree in one large Zip-lock bag. Follow Jessica's advice and use smaller bags so you can pull out just how much you need. I pureed the following veggies the first day: Summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, avocados, spinach, zucchini and sweet potatoes. I bought a bag of frozen blueberries. I am little type A but I wanted all the puree to be available so I could try as many recipes as possible. If you want to try a recipe or two but don't own all the equipment (especially a food processor, which if you are going to do this long term you will need) try the sweet potato recipes. You can bake a sweet potato and mash it up with a fork and some water. And one sweet potato goes a very long way. I used three and I have enought puree to feed a day care. For a week. The avocado would be another one to try without all the equipment, as it is easily mashed with a fork and some water. The borcolli and caulifower recipes will require a food processor as they are tougher vegetables to mash, even in a steamed state.
There has been much discussion about another book that was published last spring and "competition" with this book. Well I am no expert but there is no way that this book could have been put together and published in six months. Why can't both books be on the market? I am sure both authors want the same thing: Better diets for us all. I have ordered the other cookbook as well, there is room for both on my shelf.
As for the argument that we are lying to our kids: Big whoop-de-doo. I have eaten more sweet potatoes, brocolli, califlower, carrots, etc. in the past week that I have in the past six months. Do I present veggies in their natural state? Yes. Do my kids always eat them? No. But at least they are presented and I know they are still eating them in the puree. Mealtimes should be about talking and sharing, not arguing over food. My younger son likes to help with cooking and baking and he knows the purees are in there and he could care less, as long as can still eat. I highly recommend this cookbook and as soon as I receive the other cookbook I will write a review of that book as well. This book, to me, is a great teaching tool about nutrition. My kids and I have gone through the recipes together and discussed which ones we want to try. Do my kids eat cake and ice cream? Of course, just not every day. We talk about nutrition in a matter of fact way: These are the things to make your body grow. Period. No arguing, no crying, no bribing. I am sort of like Dragnet that way: "Just the facts, ma'am!"
I also want to edit my review to add that I could not help notice that all the one star and rwo star reviews are very critical of the author's personal life. I sincerely hope that folks can see through such attempts at being critical of the author because she is once divorced and is now married to a celebrity. It is sad that such personal attacks are listed in what should be a simple book review.