Avoid Kids' Blood Sugar "Spike and Crash" Recipes

by Missy Chase Lapine

Sneaky Chef's Breakfast Cookies:

Makes 16 to 18 large cookies

2 cups whole grain cereal flakes (such as Wheaties or Total)
¾ cup Flour Blend*
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup low-fat ricotta cheese
Cinnamon sugar for dusting

*(¼ cup white flour, ¼ cup whole wheat flour, and ¼ cup wheat germ)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with oil).

Using a rolling pin, gently crush the cereal (in a sealed plastic bag) into coarsely crushed flakes. Alternatively, you can quickly pulse the cereal in a food processor.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together Flour Blend, crushed cereal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, oil, vanilla, and ricotta cheese. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Drop single tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch between cookies. Flatten cookies with the back of a fork and then sprinkle tops generously with cinnamon sugar (or just sugar if your kids don't like the cinnamon flavor). Bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until nicely browned and crispy around the edges.

Sneaky Chef's Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Makes about 50 two-bite cookies

1 cup Flour Blend*
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup rolled oats, finely ground in a food processor
2 tablespoons blanched, slivered almonds, finely ground in a food processor (omit if allergic)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup White Bean Puree* (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove butter from refrigerator to let soften.

In a large bowl, whisk together Flour Blend, baking soda, salt, ground oats, and ground almonds (optional). Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars until creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and White Bean Puree. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Stir in chocolate chips. Make two-bite cookies by dropping rounded half-teaspoonfuls, spaced 2 inches apart, onto nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a metal rack.

Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature.

Sneaky Chef's Make Ahead Recipe -- White Bean Puree:

1 15-ounce can white beans (great northern, navy, butter or cannellini)
1 to 2 tablespoons water

Rinse and drain the beans and put in the bowl of your food processor. Pulsing in on/off turns, puree the drained beans with just 1 tablespoon of water in processor until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. The goal is a smooth, but not wet, puree. (You are aiming for the consistency of peanut butter.) If necessary, thin with a little more water by one teaspoonful at a time until there are no flecks of whole beans visible.

Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze ¼ cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers. Makes about 1 cup of puree.

Double this recipe if you want to store another cup of puree.

Sneaky Chef's Corn Muffins:

Makes 6 large muffins (or 12 mini-muffins)

½ cup Flour Blend
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup White Puree* (See Make-Ahead Recipe below)
½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, pureed
Optional toppings: ¼ cup chocolate chips or ¼ cup shredded low-fat cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Flour Blend, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined, then whisk in the oil, White Puree, and pureed corn. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until flour is just moistened (don't over-mix or the muffins will be dense).

Scoop the batter into muffin tins, filling just over the top. If you're using mini muffin cups, scale back quantities to fit into the smaller sized cups. Top with a few chocolate chips, or sprinkle with shredded cheese, and bake for 22 to 24 minutes until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sneaky Chef's Make-Ahead Recipe -- White Puree:

2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
2 small to medium zucchini, peeled and rough chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons water, if necessary

Steam cauliflower in a vegetable steamer over 2 inches of water, using a tightly-covered pot, for about 10 to 12 minutes until very tender. Alternatively, place cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with water, and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes until very tender.

While waiting for the cauliflower to finish steaming, start to pulse the raw peeled zucchini with the lemon juice only (no water at this point). Drain the cooked cauliflower. Working in batches if necessary, add it to the pulsed zucchini in the bowl of the food processor with one tablespoon of water. Puree on high until smooth. Stop occasionally and push contents from the top to the bottom. If necessary, use the second tablespoon of water to make a smooth (but not wet) puree.

Makes about 2 cups of puree. Double recipe if you want to store even more, which can be done in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze ½ cup portions in sealed plastic bags or the small plastic containers.

Read associated article, No Veggie Left Behind.

Missy Chase Lapine is the author of The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals (Running Press, March 2007). She is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine and the founder of a natural baby product line Baby Spa®. Missy is currently on the Culinary Arts faculty of The New School, in New York City, and operates The Sneaky Chef workshops, which is a program of cooking classes and demonstrations that teach families how to eat healthier. She is a contributor to Parenting Magazine, ediets.com, and education.com, and available to individuals, groups and businesses for private cooking instruction, workshops and personal coaching in The Sneaky Chef methods and recipes. Missy lives with her family in Westchester, New York. For more information visit www.TheSneakyChef.com.

Copyright © Missy Chase Lapine. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.