Hop To It

I am fortunate in that I don't have a kid who hates her veggies. Of course, now that I've put that out there, she will decide vegetables are evil. But I also go to great lengths to regularly introduce new and interesting veggies to her and her intrinsic curiosity kicks in and tends to take it from there. This never seems to be a problem because our CSA box is great at providing a bevy of great veggies, some of them less common than others. So I have a youngster that will go with us to parties and attack the veggie tray with gusto and that often leads other parents to approach me and ask for advice on how to get their kids to take a second look at veggies. As mentioned above, I don't have much of a problem with that, but I do have some advice to offer and it tends to focus around stuff like this:

There is something magical about a cute presentation. But, in this case, it's not just that. I also had my little munchkin help put this fun dish together. It works equally well as an appetizer or a light lunch and takes about fifteen minutes to prepare. What's not to love?

When it comes to the veggies you choose to serve with your guacamole, opt for what you have on hand, your family enjoys, or what fits with the rest of your planned meal. You can, of course, have a bowl of tortilla chips resting nearby, as well, but this dish is all about focusing on the vegetables. Picky eaters might be fondest of veggies with a lot of sweetness and crunch, like carrots and slices of cucumber. A variety of color will also make the entire dish more visually appealing and that can lead to more willing nibblers.

One of the nicest things about this dish is that any leftover veggies can easily be repurposed in a stir-fry or curry dish without a second thought. I like making it as a light lunch and then tossing the leftover veggies into a quick stir-fry in the evening. Presto! Less work and no waste. Again, what's not to love?

Guacamole Frog

  • 2 ripe avocados, skins and seeds removed
  • 2 T. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. sour cream, plus a tiny bit extra for decoration
  • 4-6 cups assorted vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces, including:
    • 1 bell pepper, cored and seeded
    • 1 small zucchini, sliced into thin coins
  • 2 black olives

In a large, resealable plastic bag, place the avocados, lime juice, salt, and sour cream. Using your fingers -- this is a great job for a little one -- squish the contents of the bag to form a creamy guacamole. Snip the corner off of one end of the bag and squeeze the guacamole into a small serving bowl, making sure the top is relatively smooth. Set aside.

Clean and cut the veggies into bite-sized pieces, reserving one thin slice of bell pepper and two zucchini coins of similar size. Set the other veggies aside.

Carefully slice the black olives in half and set aside the back half of the olives for another use (or just eat 'em). Press a little sour cream into the empty cavity of the front half of the black olives and set them gently onto the zucchini coins to make "eyes". Place them on the guacamole serving bowl alongside one another and use a thin slice of bell pepper to make a "mouth" for the frog. Place the guacamole bowl into the center of a large serving platter. Arrange the other veggies around the bowl and serve cold.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes