Force-feeding my kids…lovingly

So I’m starting a new section in the blog: recipes. I’m going to post the basics I feed my kids all the time. I would love your contributions, as well. Post some simple ideas in comments? Maybe we can figure out a new kids’ simple recipes book? I’ll give the billions of proceeds to a general parents’ wine fund. Cool?

I’m proud of the way my kids eat. I expose them to as many flavors as possible: steamed vegetables, smoked salmon, curry, garlic, lamb, Szechuan noodles, fried tofu. So far, so good. Some people might roll their eyes. Please. Roll away.

I have never (and will never) make two different meals. If they eat a majority of what’s on their plate and still protest “I don’t like it” and put their hands over their mouths (it’s hilarious when they do this), fine. They can have cereal and yogurt. But I’m raising kids to appreciate food. And I’m more stubborn than them. If they go to bed without a meal, no biggie. And because I’ve never relented on this, they always eat. Eventually. They have yet to go to bed without a meal.

And our house won’t allow “I don’t like that” until they’ve had a bite. I’m not feeding them liver or boiled veggies (things many people might argue they should eat.) And I won’t feed them things I won’t eat, myself. (Last summer I tried to get them to eat sauteed squash and zucchini. Then I looked at my plate and realized I hate those mushy things, too. So I stopped.)

I can’t wait until Colton is old enough to talk back. I know he understands me, already. Currently, he expresses his rage at have to eat anything other than carbs by running to the couch and dramatically throwing himself onto it. It’s hilarious. Eventually, he relents. Sometimes I force-feed that first bite. I know, I know. Not the way. Except with him, he usually eats the rest of the helping.

This first recipe is something they eat at least once a day. The second recipe is consumed at least three times a day.

GREENIES (my name for the recipe. Adapted from What Chefs Feed Their Kids)

So what if this recipe is reminiscent of a dog’s teeth-cleaning chew? It tastes better. And you can feel good about bribing your children into eating this. A common refrain in our household is, “You won’t get your milk or cookie until you eat your greens.” Works every time. And I feel rrrrreal good about that. My 3-year-old still eats it. I know, I know. It’s basically baby food. But I’m able to adjust flavors to expand his palate. And it’s an easy way to stuff him full of goodness. It’s basically pesto. Well, sorta.

Oh, and you need a hand mixer. Ultimately, a hand mixer will serve you easier and faster than a food processor or blender, unless you insist on frozen margaritas (or you’re a Martha Stewart wannabe…in which case, you’re neglecting your kids. Get a hand mixer.)


1 bunch Lacinato Kale or 1/2 bunch Curly Kale

1-2 broccoli stems chopped into bite-size pieces

1/3 bag frozen edamame

1/3 bag frozen peas (spring or petits pois are tastier)

1 heaping scoop of chopped garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

Steam broccoli (isn’t that resourceful? Save the broccoli heads for another purpose, or chop them and add them to the steamer. Up to you. I figure you’re saving broccoli discards and getting all the nutrients.)

While broccoli steams (4-5 minutes), strip the leaves from kale. Add kale to steaming broccoli stems. Let all this steam for another few minutes.

For next 3-4 minutes, check Facebook, stop your toddlers from fighting, escape to the bathroom or transfer laundry from washer to dryer.

Toss in garlic, edamame and peas.

Let steam another couple minutes.

Toss in spinach and turn off heat. Let steam just until spinach is wilted. (If it steams for too long, the spinach loses it’s nice green color. And who wants to eat Army green spinach? Gross. Keep it Kelly green.)

Let cool with lid off. Better yet, be tough and pull out the steamer to dump contents into a bowl and let cool.

Transfer the contents into a blending receptacle…a bowl, a blending cup, etc. Add olive oil and remaining water from the steaming pot. Blend it all, in batches if need be.

Blend it up.

Add water or olive oil to achieve (your) desired consistency.

Serve warm and fresh. And then put the rest in ice cube trays. Now you have “greenies” for the next few weeks. And you can feel rrrrrreal good about those nutrients, baby.

This recipe is entirely flexible. Add whatever you want to make a pesto-like blend of greens: more spinach, broccoli florets, herbs, truffle oil, spices, WHATEVER. But: I find the frozen peas are key to the tastiness. They are, by far, the tastiest element. The rest is flavorless ruffage (albeit very healthy).



English muffin or regular sliced bread

Smoked salmon slice

Cream cheese (or for the lactose-intolerant…like my partner…Tofutti – tofu-based cream cheese)

Toast the bread, schmeer w cream cheese, apply slice of smoked salmon. Enjoy the salty goodness. Serve with a cheap merlot.


  1. Love it! I have always has my kids eat the food my husband and I eat. I have created foodie monsters which now ask if the salmon is wild caught and whether the steak is choice or prime.

    I have been dying to share this new recipe.
    Make guacamole (lime juice,garlic,avocados, cilantro, red onion). Mix with shredded chicken and you now have the most amazing chicken salad! Seeing as it is 80 degrees in AZ this seems like a perfect spring meal. The rest of the country may need to wait.
    My kids also love roasted beets. They think it’s fun to eat food that makes it look like your mouth is bleeding ( 10 year old boys are awesome).


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