I think most parents are convinced, at least for a short while, that their toddlers are going to starve. How on Earth could a growing body possibly survive on little more than juice boxes and goldfish crackers? Tony and I do everything we can to introduce Teno to exciting new foods, sometimes with success (udon noodles) and sometimes with um, not-so-much success (BBQ tofu.)

If it were up to Teno, dinner would consist of a jar of peanut butter and a spoon and dessert would be melted chocolate ice cream with about two cups of sprinkles on top. Once in a while I can get a veggie dog past his precious lips, but only if it’s cut up into 6 even pieces, each skewered on a tooth pick – and I have a vague memory of another time when I fooled him into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich by cutting it into different sized circles, stacking it, and calling it a wedding cake.

But for the most part, Teno is fueled by chocolate soy milk and the occasional bowl of dry cereal. Every night I waste my time making him a well-balanced meal and every night he watches it congeal on his robot plate knowing damn well that there’s a bowl of Apple Jacks coming his way. I keep swearing I’m going to find a way to get him to eat a god damn vegetable. (Don’t waste your breath telling me about the joys of raw carrots or sugar snap peas. Teno knows your tricks, and he isn’t falling for them. This is the kid who knows what El stop his favorite bakery is at. He’s not eating bananas or apples or carrots and nothing you can say will change his mind.)

This was attempt number one. I thought that by disguising vegetables as corn muffins – something Teno normally devours – I could possibly sneak one or two down his gullet. I was wrong. He saw the green from a mile away. And while I’ll give him credit for at least humoring me with two pathetic nibbles I cannot in good faith call this a success. Teno’s grandma and I, on the other hand, both enjoyed these muffins with our lunches today and so, even though they were not good enough for my three-year-old, I am sharing them with you.

For the corn muffins you will need:

  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening, plus more for pan
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 medium broccoli crown
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Then you:

Preheat the oven to 350 and coat a muffin pan with shortening. Melt butter in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat; add corn. Cook, stirring occasionally until the corn is softened and some of the kernels are a light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. While that’s cooling, steam broccoli for about 2 minutes, until bright green and softened. Cool slightly and chop into small pieces. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cornmeal. Using a pastry blender (or a fork) cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles course meal. Add milk, egg and corn, broccoli and shredded carrots, stirring just until combined. Do not overmix. Scoop batter into prepared pan and bake about 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.