The greatest thing about being a younger sibling is that you get to observe the older kids try things first. You watch them ditch their training wheels, you watch them do their first real dive into the pool, you watch them push the limits with your parents. You watch, observe, mimic and learn. It carries on into the teenage years and young-adulthood, first boyfriend, first car, first "real job." In adulthood, people seem to level out in a sense. There is less newness and fewer firsts, experiences become more individualized as we each head down our own paths. In some ways, sometimes we outgrow those older than us.
I'm lucky. I have two older sisters that I'm still getting to observe. They each have two young children and are smack dab in the middle of mastering the whole parenthood thing. It's impressive. In the same way I watched them creatively master the art of building sled jumps and the coolest tree forts, they are creatively mastering raising children. They've developed a slew of parenting tricks and ways of instilling good habits in their little ones. They, like all of those with kids, are piecing together the puzzle of raising well-rounded humans. One piece of that puzzle: Ninja Recipes.
Getting kids to eat can be tough, especially when it comes to vegetables. I walked into my sister's house a few months back and her two boys, 6 and 3 were sitting pleasantly at the kitchen table slurping down a big glass of green juice. I asked what it was they were drinking and they pleasantly exclaimed, "Ninja Juice!" My sister nodded in affirmation and, talking in the way people do when they know young, impressionable ears are listening, explained. Yes, they were drinking Ninja Juice, and sometimes they also eat Ninja Noodles, Ninja Pancakes, Ninja Pie and other Ninja Stuff.
In the battle of getting her kids to eat a healthy dose of vegetables regularly, Ninja Recipes are her secret weapon. Most simply, for moms, the Ninja Recipes are the graceful art of sneaking spinach into every day "kid-friendly" foods. For the kids, the Ninja Recipes are what real life Ninja's eat to become strong, healthy, agile and really cool Ninjas.
I took the liberty of testing out not one, but two Ninja Recipes.
#1 Ninja Noodles
Bright green spaghetti noodles meant for the strongest of ninjas.
Ninja Noodles are a simple, pesto-like recipe that results in a vibrant bowl of spinach-packed pasta. The ingredients for four large servings: about two and a half cups of spinach packed, about 1/2 a cup of olive oil, some nuts, some parmesan and some garlic. The great thing about these recipes is that you don't have to be precise.
Take all of your ingredients and throw them in the blender. If your kids have spinach-phobia, you may have to do this when they aren't watching.
Blend and blend some more. My blender struggled a bit with so little liquid. It took a few times of stopping and stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure everything was blended. The more you blend, the easier the mixture will mix with your pasta.
When you're satisfied with the consistency of your mixture. Simply add the mixture to a bowl of pasta. I used four servings for my particular measurements. The results are a bright green, saucy noodle. For my own, I added some halved cherry tomatoes, fetta cheese, and chopped artichokes.
Here is the exact recipe I used:
1 package spaghetti noodles
2 1/2 cups fresh spinach, packed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup almonds, whole
3tsp minced garlic
Cook noodles as per directions on package. Place in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients to a blender and blend to a thick liquid. Use tongs to toss blended mixture with noodles. Salt and pepper to taste.
#2 Ninja Juice
A slimey green juice drank by the coolest of Ninjas.
Ninja Juice is exactly what my nephews we're presently drinking that one day I learned about all things Nina-recipe. The way they understand, is that to be as awesome as a Ninja, you have to drink Ninja Juice. The recipe is simple. My sister explained, "I use orange juice, spinach, carrots and whatever other fruit I have laying around."
It's as simple as that. For my particular batch of Ninja Juice, I used OJ, apple, carrot, and spinach.
Using 2 cups of orange juice, slowly added the fresh spinach, the chopped carrots, and chopped apple. Blend, and blend some more. The more liquified the better for this recipe.
The result is a vibrant green beverage that tastes mostly like the OJ and fresh fruit. It's a sure-fire way to ensure your kids consume at least a serving of spinach before they start their day.
Here is the exact recipe I used:
2 cups orange juice
2 cups fresh spinach, packed
1 large carrot, chopped
1 apple, chopped
Any other fruit you wish to add
Simply blend all ingredients in the blender until liquefied. The more liquified, the more disguised the spinach will be. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Note: One serving of raw spinach is considered 1/2 cup.