Wow, She Likes Sautéed Kale


Our picky eater finally tries sautéed kale!

Mimi's Magic Sautéed Kale

Mimi’s Magic Sautéed Kale

It starts as a typical picky eater night at the table. She surveys her plate, eats her bread, nibbles her carrot, drinks some water and asks for more bread.

“Sure, after you eat some of what’s on your plate.”

“But I don’t like it.”

A roasted chicken drumstick (chicken nuggets are sometimes acceptable, but this chicken on a stick, not so trusted), sautéed kale, carrots and bits of baked potato lay in their separate compartments on her pink plastic plate. Not exactly dinner heaven for this gal.

Now, technically, there’s no excuse for feeding a four year-old. I mean, holding her fork, spearing each bite, bringing it to her mouth. I used to cringe when I saw parents do this for a child so obviously capable of feeding themselves.  Understand, though, DAYS passed without the child eating anything green.  So, when she asks, “Will you please feed me, Mimi?,” I cave.

Her mother working evening shift, I seize the opportunity to work my magic. The magic never works as well when Mommy’s here. I suspect she doesn’t want her mother knowing she will eat green things. All Picky Eater usually needs to say is “I’m full, Mommy,” and Mommy clears the table. She even gives her a snack later–instead of sticking to her veggie-guns.

Okay, so it's fruit. You get the idea.

Okay, so it’s fruit. You get the idea.

Mimi, well, is a magic veggie-gun slinger, with master skills.

“Okay,” I say, “I want to sit close to you, anyway!”

Scooting our chairs close together, I slide in and enjoy the hug she offers. She loves being close. I sweetly (yet firmly) declare she will be trying at least a taste from each compartment. She has a choice which one first. To my surprise, she chooses kale!

Wielding my good magic wand (which, mysteriously, looks just like her pink Minnie Mouse fork), I spear a little piece of the superfood and bring it to her mouth. It opens! Ahhh, Mimi magic is on tonight.

To my delight, she likes it! She asks for more! She eats all the kale on her plate, and asks for more. She even accepts a bite of kale on top of a piece of chicken–six, maybe seven times–to get the chicken down.

I am beside myself with joy. Yeah, I know, I probably care too much about getting vegetables into this little princess. In my celebration, I decide: This one is definitely a blog recipe.

I dub thee, appropriately:

Mimi’s Magical Sautéed Kale

1 large bunch fresh chopped kale, spines removed

2 T olive oil

1 T Parmesan bread dip seasoning*

1/2 lemon

salt, to taste


In large skillet, heat oil. Add bread dip seasoning and stir, infusing the oil with this marvelous flavor.

Did I mention that I love this stuff?

Did I mention that I love this stuff?

*(I LOVE this stuff. If anyone tries to tell me there’s something unhealthy about this stuff, I swear I will put my fingers in my ears, sing aloud and, if they persist, shout, “I can’t hear you!,” repeatedly, until they go away.)

Add kale and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 – 10 minutes, until wilted and soft.

Squeeze lemon juice over kale, stir and cook another minute.

Serves up to four.


For another sort of fare, visit me at:

Photo credits:

Kale and Parmesan bread dip seasoning: me.

Veggie-gun slinger and Magic wand:



The magic described herein is child-like, fun magic, in no way intended to be associated with evil, witchery, sorcery or green glowy scary stuff! 😉

Pumpkin Cupcake-Muffins Out-Riddle Grumpy Old Troll


As a baby, she devoured every food we offered, but as soon as she got a taste of sweet and salty, it was all over. Now she governs passage through those lips like Dora’s Grumpy Old Troll.

“If you want to cross my bridge, you have to solve my riddle.

In her case, though, there are three. Three riddles (challenges, that is) to solve, and I get over the bridge.

We’ll never know if it tastes good to her until we get past the troll.

One day I discovered she likes pumpkin muffins (I lied a little and called them cupcakes). Three mini “cupcakes” later, she asked for more. My OT brain started churning.

“Hmmm. . . pumpkin is a pretty healthy ingredient, and there are plenty of spices in there she likes, too. The color is forgiving, too. I bet I could hide a few veggies in there without her noticing.”

Food chaining is a practice I use regularly in my work as a pediatric occupational therapist. Now I also use my skills to help nourish my granddaughter. She’s a picky eater with mild hypo-sensitivity and a higher need for oral input than average. Mostly, though, she’s just a sweet and salty nut.

Every picky eater has their own, unique set of riddles. Here are her three riddles (challenges):

First, how does this mystery food sound?  Cupcake, not muffin. Yummy, not good for you.

Second, how does it smell? Cinnamon passes. Sweet passes.

Third, how does it look? Cake texture passes, with pumpkin color.

Equipped with a great idea, I came up with this:

Start with the already-accepted Quick Pumpkin Bread Mix

This pic nabbed from Walmart website below

This pic nabbed from Walmart website

(nutrition facts here:

Instead of putting the eggs, milk and oil in a bowl, though, put them in a blender with:

1/2 can pumpkin (not the large can, silly)

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, or 1/4 cup spinach purée, if you’re into making purée for your Deceptively Delicious recipes)

1/4 to 1/2 cup finely grated carrots (or half of that, if purée)

1/2 cup added sugar (yes, I know, but I have to start somewhere and gradually decrease to healthy). At least I use organic, raw sugar.

1/2 to 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I just threw some in there, sorry).

Blend. Now you will see it is green. Green does not satisfy the Troll’s requirements. I added red food coloring. I know, not so great, but we can work on color chaining too. Gradually.

Now, turn this into the bowl with the cake mix to blend with a spoon until the flour mixture is wet.

Spray your mini muffin tins or use liners. I usually use liners, they come with princesses or Dora, whatever pleases your Grumpy Old Troll. It makes them more believable as cupcakes.

Bake as directed, but shorten the time (about half) for mini muffins. Check with a toothpick–they will be heavier than regular muffins, but the toothpick will still come out pretty clean when they’re ready.

Now, the pièce de résistance, pour some confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and place it RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER! She loves that stuff, loves white powdered donut holes, so I took a muffin (Pumpkin Muffin, I accidentally said. Drat! Almost foiled it all! I changed it quick, “Pumpkin Muffin-CUPCAKE! Take the Pumpkin Muffin-Cupcake, and dip it in the white powder, look! It looks just like a donut!”

The result:

"You solved my riddle. Now you can cross over my bridge!"

“You solved my riddle. Now you can cross over my bridge!”


Related Links:

My Pinterest page (FUNctional Kids), where I post finds for Problem and Picky Eaters:

WordPress weekly writing challenge:


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