Sunday, February 1, 2009

Breakfast Battles Begone

My kids have never been big breakfast eaters.

Really, they're not big eaters in general.

While my oldest has come a long way from where she was, the other two still tend to be picky. They eschew meat, they turn their noses up at vegetables. And then, I start to worry. Because really, what kind of nutrition are they getting?

So, I've been known to resort to drastic measures.

That's right. I'm one of those mothers who has hidden spinach in her Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies and sweet potatoes in her Spaghetti Bolognaise.

What can I say?

A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

The cookbook that taught me everything I know about increasing the nutritional value of everyday recipes is The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine. It came out several months before that "other" hide-the-vegetables-in-the-food book -- and really, I think Lapine's is far superior. I've made dozens of her recipes and nearly all of them have been hits.

Which brings me back to breakfast.

Any nutritionist will tell you that a high-protein breakfast is the best bet for your little one. But, the day my kids eat eggs for breakfast will be the day pigs begin to fly.

So, I give them cookies and milk instead.

These Breakfast Cookies are my kids' all-time favorite. I make a double batch and they're gone within two days (partly because I can't stop eating them either). They're whole grain, high protein (thanks to ricotta cheese) and contain half the sugar of kids' breakfast cereals.

They're easy to make, a hit with the kids and don't have one trace of spinach. Promise.

Breakfast Cookies
Recipe courtesy of The Sneaky Chef by Missy Lapine

2 cups whole grain cereal flakes (such as Wheaties or Total)
3/4 c. Flour Blend (1/4 c. each of white flour, whole wheat flour and wheat germ)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. low-fat ricotta cheese
Cinnamon sugar for dusting

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 cinnamon flavor). Bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until nicely browned and crispy around the edges.

Serve with milk or hot cocoa.
Makes 16 to 18 large cookies.


mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I want to try these soon!

I've never heard of that cookbook...going to have to look for that at the library.

I am all about a healthy breakfast, and I made some breakfast cookies last summer, but these sound better!

Elizabeth said...

I'm making these today! Well, I have to buy ricotta cheese first, but then I'm making them. My kids and I are sick of cold cereal, but we need something quick. And I need to get that book. I read the "other" one and didn't love it.

notSupermum said...

Very cunning Michelle, but they do look delicious. My two are ok eating breakfast although each likes something different - one has yoghurt/cereal/muffins and the other has eggs/bacon toasties/cheese on toast. Occasionally if I'm organised enough inthe mornings i make pancakes which they will both eat.

Kristen said...

These look yummy! Does your book happen to say how many carbs are in each cookie?

pinkmommy said...

I have wondered about that cookbook. The Princess is a VERY picky eater. I think I will order it now. And I am going to buy these ingredients tomorrow and try the cookies!


Threeundertwo said...

These are a great idea! I have to try them. Thanks!

Christina Lee said...

Do you like it better than Jerry Seinfeld's wife's cookbook(sorry, cant remeber her name right now)? I'll have to give it a try. And let me tell you I DEFINITELY will try the cookies-they look sooooo great!!! Awesome!!!
and BTW, what book did you end up settling on to read next? Just curious......

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Michelle, I am so glad you posted these...I am always on the lookout for healthy things to feed my little one. You always find the best recipes!