The battle to get my 20 month old to eat her vegetables has been waging for a few months now. There was a time not so long ago when she would eat nearly anything I put in front of her. Oh the good old days. Now that she is starting to understand her own power and her ability to choose, she is exercising it at every opportunity. The fact that she is flexing these newly formed muscles makes me happy, mostly anyway. This means that she is right on track to becoming a strong, independent girl. Fantastic! However, when it comes to making sure she is getting the proper nutrition for her little growing body, this strong will is thwarting my good intentions. It can be extremely frustrating when I work hard to prepare a meal that I know will do her body good and she doesn’t even try the green stuff. In recent desperation, I’ve been exploring new tactics to get her to eat more veggies. Turns out she is old enough to understand the concept of ‘eat your dinner and you’ll get dessert’. Before I had a child of my own, I swore up and down that I’d never bribe my kids. That went out the window as soon as I realized how powerful a tool it was. 😉 My husband got me an ice cream maker for Christmas. I foresee much more dessert bribery in my future. In the meantime, I’m always implementing the tried and true method of hiding vegetables in other food that I know she loves. Works every time.
These bites are AH-MAZING. I made the batch yesterday and we’ve already eaten nearly half of them. I’ve packed 24 bites (the equivalent of a dozen muffins) with an entire onion, 2 carrots and 1 large zucchini.
The flour I used to bind it all together is toasted quinoa flour. All you do to make it is grind 2 cups of uncooked quinoa in your coffee grinder. Spread the flour out on a baking sheet and bake in your oven on 220 degrees for 2 hours. Roasting the flour like this will take out the intense grassy flavor that plain quinoa flour can have. Store in a tightly sealed jar for months!
I’ve also added a healthy dose of turmeric, one of my favorite spices to use in my cooking. Turmeric boasts a long list of health benefits such as containing powerful antioxidants and being a potent anti-inflammatory. Inflammation in the body of any kind can be the start of a myriad of health problems. The foods we are putting in our body are either feeding disease or fighting it; turmeric is certainly in the latter category. An important bit of information about turmeric – it is fat soluble, which means that it dissolves in fat. Without fat, the active component in turmeric, curcumin, has a difficult time making it past the stomach, into the small intestine, and into the blood where it can offer the greatest benefits. So whenever I cook with turmeric, I always add a healthy fat like ghee to the recipe as well. I also always add black pepper when I’m using turmeric. Here is why,
One problem with curcumin is its low levels of bioavailability. Most of the curcumin that is ingested gets metabolized before it can get absorbed. Piperine is said to help make curcumin more bioavailable. This could be because it could inhibit certain intestinal digestive enzymes. This increases the amount of any drug or supplement that can be absorbed by the body. They also do not get degraded quickly. Hence, there are studies to test if co-administering curcumin with piperine could improve the bioavailability of the former. These studies have been conducted on humans and laboratory animals. One study found that when even 2g of curcumin was ingested, its serum levels were very low. However, when 20mg piperine was added to curcumin the bioavailability increased by 2000%. The bioavailability, serum levels and levels of absorption of curcumin all improved dramatically. Thus, if one tales turmeric, most of it is unutilized unless supplemented by addons such as black pepper.
So dear readers, if you want to up your body’s ability to reap all of the yummy benefits of this super spice, use a healthy fat and black pepper when cooking with it. I’ve done just that in my zucchini onion bites.
Zucchini Onion Bites
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots grated
- 1 large zucchini grated
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup toasted quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 cup ghee
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Set oven to 350 degrees
- Add ghee to a skillet on medium heat and cook until melted.
- Once melted, add onions and cook for a few minutes, until translucent.
- Next add garlic and let cook for another minute or so.
- Add carrot and zucchini and mix until everything is nicely combined. Cook for another two minutes or so.
- Take off heat and place in a large bowl to cool.
- Meanwhile beat eggs lightly in a medium bowl.
- Add grated Parmesan and spices to eggs as mix lightly until just combined
- Once veggie mixture is cooled, add egg mixture to it and mix until combined.
- In a small bowl mix flour and baking powder, then add to large bowl with eggs and veggies and mix together until evenly combined.
- Pour batter into greased mini muffin tin or if you don’t have a mini muffin tin, scoop out 2 tbsp worth of batter and place bites onto large greased baking sheet to cook.
- Bake in oven for 18 minutes.