There was an article last week on Babble or some related “parenting” blog about 10 things people don’t understand till they are a parent. I understood very little before my son would come along. I was adamant that he would fit into my life, not the other way around. “He’ll be flexible” I told anyone that would listen, while my husband and I tut-tutted at parents whose schedules were ruled by errant children. “He’ll be adaptable and I will certainly not kowtow to his demands”, I asserted. He will eat whatever is put in front of him and I definitely won’t be one of those mums that “hides” veggies in foods, my son and I will have an open and honest relationship. HA! Callum was about 9 months old before I started scouring Jessica Seinfeld’s book about how to hide veggies in his food. Admittedly he’s not a terrible eater but I always feel that he could be a little more enthusiastic about eating his peas.
There’s plenty of research out there that suggests that instead of hiding vegetables in food, getting kids involved in the growing and preparation of food is incredible powerful. Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation has been pioneering this idea in Australia and now even Jamie Oliver has jumped on board. I’ve definitely seen that in action as a teacher. I’ve had nearly sixty kindergarten children scrambling to buy silverbeet, spinach and carrots just because they helped grow them. Not to mention a whole class of year ones and twos devouring buckets of fruit salad that they’d prepared themselves.
I find muffins are the perfect recipe for cooking with kids. There are no mixers involved, it can all be done by hand and there’s plenty of steps involved if you’re working with a large group of kids. This recipe has the bonus of being packed with nutritious veggies that are virtually undetectable once baked in, and it’s free of refined sugar. An adult friend who I gave these muffins to spent almost five minutes searching for the hidden zucchini, adamant I was lying.
If you’re making this with younger kids, have everything prepared and ready to go in individual bowls. Older kids can easily be involved in the measuring and counting.
- 350 grams plain / all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 2/3 cup honey (can substitute for maple syrup)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
- 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat an oven to 180C/350F and line a muffin tin with papers.
- In a medium sized bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips
- In a second bowl mix together the butter, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla and zucchini.
- Mix together the wet and the dry ingredients and spoon into the prepared muffin cups.
- Bake for 15-20 mins until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
These are best served warm, keep in an airtight container and pop them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Delicious!