Yes, it’s true that of all the veggie side dishes I make most, our kids rate this spinach near the top. And it couldn’t be easier to make.
But there’s also another pressing matter.
Today I found out I was a POOPCUP. And before you think my two-year-old was name calling (he wasn’t), or I started some sort of expensive cleanse on GOOP (I wouldn’t), know that I really deserved it. Deeply. Maybe more than anyone.
When Phoebe was first born, and let’s face it, even after Estelle joined her a year and a half later, the name described me perfectly. What the heck is a POOPCUP, you ask? Annie Reneau lays it out awesomely on Scary Mommy:
All parents know how annoying it is to get parenting advice from people with no children. I’m actually amazed that people do that. I hope to God I never gave anyone parenting advice when I was childless. If you ever saw me do it, feel free to slap me retroactively.
Almost as annoying, however, is advice from people who are parents, but who only have one darling angel child under the age of 3. These parents are what I call POOPCUPs:
Parents Of One Perfect Child Under Preschool-age
POOPCUPs are—bless their hearts—full of crap. It’s not their fault. They just don’t know any better.
Quite often, first children are somewhat angelic, at least in the eyes of their parents. It’s the brilliant delusion that prompts us to have more children. They’re adorable, they make us gush with overwhelming love, and before the age of three, they trick us into thinking we’re awesome parents.
That was me! In fact, I used to be all proud that my kid, then kids, ate so well. But here’s the thing. Since then, they’ve all developed their own tastebuds. And even worse, their own personalities.
Now each one of them has a whole list of thing he or she doesn’t like. Take something as (formerly) simple as toast. I had no idea so many variables could be in play: jam, cinnamon, peanut butter, butter, no butter, just a little butter, “daddy style” butter which means smearing about half a cube right onto one slice. Things get serious well before 7am around here.
As it turns out, what one child likes doesn’t always translate into a hit for the next. Or the next. Or, in our case, the next. That’s right, we have four kids and not one of them is yet six.
That’s why I decided to keep track of what was working well for us, and when we crashed and burned, on this very blog. We’ve got a bunch of tried and true recipes going now and this is one that gets a 2 out of 3 every time. And you know what I say about numbers like those: I’ll take it!
How to make this simple spinach side
There are many things to love about this spinach (though we’re big on simple spinach recipes of almost any kind!) This one only requires a few ingredients, all of which are easy to keep on hand at any time. I can’t think of many other ways to pack quite so much nutrition into one dish than to honestly dump out an entire bag of spinach into a pan. And it’s vaguely Italian, which reminds me of our best times living in Rome.
But let me tell you one thing.
I use wine in this dish too.
It is not required, though I think it’s delicious and so do our kids. If you feel weird about cooking with wine for kids, or you already drank all the wine, you don’t need it. Use water, use lemon juice or use 1/2 cup of chicken stock. The garlic powder and olive oil, however, are not negotiable. Do not make this without them. (And if you do, do not mention my name.)
Do give it a try though. In 10 minutes, you’ll have a great little side dish you can make once a week. Believe me. I’ve fed it to three kids many times. And two of them liked it.
I’m pretty sure that means I’m past the POOPCUP stage, at least by definition.
And if you’re not, if you’re a POOPCUP yourself right now, enjoy it. Oh, do enjoy it. I loved those days.
While you’re at it, try this spinach.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bag frozen chopped spinach
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ cup white wine, chicken broth or water plus juice of a lemon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3-4 cracks of fresh pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet, then add spinach and garlic powder. Stir for 2 minutes, then add your liquid of choice.
- Add salt and pepper then bring to a simmer and allow liquid to evaporate a bit, about 5 minutes.
- Serve when you're ready. This one can wait a while on the stove, and even be made ahead of time and warmed in the microwave.
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And if you’ve tested out this recipe, what do you think? Let us know! I’d love all the details too:
- How many kids do you have?
- How easy was this dish to prepare?
- What did the kids say? Thumbs Up, Middle, or Down?
- Would you make it again?
Want more easy veggie dishes kids love?
Try a few of our rascals’ favorites or browse all of our vegetable recipes here!