Now that he is all grown up and one years old, Baby James has decided that he no longer needs to eat any kind of food other than white food: cheerios, turkey, string cheese, french fries, noodles, doughnuts, and of course, milk. That's it! Notice anything missing from that list? Anything like, I don't know, fruits or vegetables?
I'm not even going to go into all the things I've done to try and get James to try a bite of juicy peach or a nibble of mango. From the way that kid turns his head away and squinches his mouth and eyes shut, you'd think I was asking him to eat dirt! Which, by the way, he will eat. Yes, that's right: He will eat dirt, but he won't eat a bite of peach.
So I've had to resort to being tricky. There is one non-white edible substance James will deign to eat (other than dirt, which does not count), and that is chocolate. James LOVES chocolate. He's wild about it, and whenever he suspects we have some he will wave his fat little hand for it and cry like there is no tomorrow. So when I found this recipe, it seemed perfect: What better place to hide a few blueberries and some spinach than in a chocolate pancake?
I know what you are thinking: Blueberries and SPINACH in a pancake? Yuck! And that's exactly what I thought too. The first time I made this recipe, I was just hoping they were not too horrible to eat, mainly so I could get some fruits and vegetables into my child. I never expected them to be so absolutely delicious, and I certainly never expected to like them so much I wanted to eat them all myself! And the spinach? It's pureed so fine, you can't even taste that it's there. Really, I promise. What you can taste is how incredibly soft and moist these pancakes are. There's no need to slather them with gobs of butter and syrup, because these pancakes are tender and soft all by themselves. I like to roll them up with some fruit inside, but baby James likes them just the way they are.
This is just photographic proof that my child has at some point eaten something containing spinach and blueberries. Note the cheerios on the tray and the football hold he has on the bottle of milk.
Baby James' Favorite Chocolate Pancakes
adapted from The Sneaky Chef" by Missy Chase Lapine
I was so impressed with this recipe I went out and bought Lapine's book. These pancakes have all kinds of nutritious goodies in them: whole grains, milk, eggs, and antioxidant rich chocolate, spinach, and blueberries. A lot of times recipes call for applesauce to be swapped in for the fat or oil in a recipe, and the spinach/blueberry puree has the same effect: The fat or oil can be reduced because the spinach and blueberries puree bring so much moisture to the cakes. And it tastes maaaeervelous, of course.
Although if you slather these with nutella and powdered sugar, that might negate some of the health benefit, just a little bit. But today is my birthday, so I think I am allowed to have as much nutella on my pancakes as I like!
1 cup pancake mix (I am very pleased with Pamela's gluten free pancake and baking mix, but use whatever healthy mix you like best, gluten-free or not)
1 cup milk (rice milk, soy milk, or almond all make good alternatives)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup spinach, packed
1/4 cup blueberries
1 large or jumbo egg
1-2 tablespoons healthy fat, such as coconut oil (you can also use butter or vegetable oil, but these are not as good for you)
In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1/4 cup blueberries...
...and 1/4 cup spinach (packed).
Puree until very smooth. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup pancake mix...
...2 tablespoons cocoa powder...
...1 jumbo egg...
...1 cup milk...
...and the blueberry spinach puree.
Whisk batter until smooth.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, pour batter into heated pan.
Heat one one side until little bubbles begin for form on the surface of the pancake.
flip over. Cook on second side until pancake springs back lightly at the touch. Remove from heat. If desired, keep in a warmed over (200 degrees) until the rest of the pancakes are done cooking.
Top with berries, powdered sugar, nutella, nuts, whiipped cream, whatever. Enjoy!