I used to be one smug mama, when Raine would chow down almost any vegetable presented to her. Carrots, broccoli, beans, even ampalaya (bitter gourd) would be eaten with relish. Then one day, she just woke up and decided to go on strike. Nothing would entice her to eat her veggies. Not cheese sauce, not mayo, not catsup, not bribery or pleading. She would just tell me, “When I’m three, I’ll eat my vegetables.” (And I will hold her to her promise—I’ve been reminding her that she’ll be three in a few days).
Now of course experts advice that meal time is one battle that parents cannot win, so I let her be, but offer her vegetables at every opportunity. One of my most successful tactics has been to sneak in veggies into the food she does eat. So I add finely chopped carrots to spaghetti sauce, cauliflower puree to instant noodle soup; or even broccoli puree to chicken nuggets. The easiest, however—not to mention yummiest—are what my mom has dubbed my “Kong Shakes”.
I learned about the Kong Shakes from my friend Stef over at God Spotting Her mom was on the Halleluiah Diet, which apparently is big on raw food and no meat. She gave me a bunch of recipes, but the only one I tried was the shake. It’s basically a combination of raw leafy greens and fruits, with a little water and honey, as needed. Some recommend a 40-60 proportion of greens and fruits, but I never measure and just go by taste.
- Green leafy vegetables—most recommend spinach, but I use kang kong (swamp cabbage), hence the name. You can also use lettuce or camote tops. Watch out for bitter greens though, like arugula. Choose only the nicest, freshest leaves (no stalks).
- Juicy fruit—strawberries in season are yum! So are mangoes, apples, pineapples, kiwi, melons, watermelons.
- Cold water—just add enough to ease the pureeing, or to make your shake more liquidy. Ice cubes would also work, and are actually fantastic for a summer thirst-quencher.
- Honey—most times, if my fruits are sweet, I don’t add this.
- Wash your greens thoroughly, preferably with drinking water (The Hubby is particular about this, since you’ll be eating the greens raw. Make sure, especially if you’re using kang kong, that you get your greens from a reliable source).
- In a blender, puree the fruit.
- Add the greens, and a bit of water as needed and puree.
- Add honey to taste.
- Enjoy as a shake or pour into popsicle molds and freeze. I have only one real popsicle mold, so I pour the rest into plastic cups and stick in anything that would make a workable popsicle stick—plastic spoons, recycled popsicle sticks from store-bought pops, coffee stirrers, whatever.
That’s it! Experiment with different combinations of fruits. Word of warning—depending on your fruit, the colors can range from a brilliant green (mango kong) to an unappetizing, mucky brown (berry kong). But it tastes fab just the same. Other non-kong flavors to try are carrots and pineapples; cucumber and kiwi; or cucumber and apple.