A cheesecake by any other name…

We work so hard on getting the right balance of food into Nora in a palate- and socially-pleasing way, but we don’t always succeed. There are so many details to consider, and sometimes things are still just not right.

On Valentine’s Day, our family was invited to celebrate the 7th birthday of our great friend, Mackenzie. I knew in advance that they would be serving pizza and cheesecake, so I planned to bring everything I needed for Nora to eat pizza too. I also made some mini-pumpkin cheesecakes, which are ever so yummy.

However, the planning did not start with just the dinner and dessert foods, it started that morning when I made Nora’s breakfast and lunch. I was careful to not give her too many carbs in the morning, considering that the pizza and cheesecake would be a fairly carby dinner. When it came time to pack for the party, I realized she had already blown through her protein requirements for the day–she had been really hungry that afternoon and I deftly avoided carbs! So no meat on the pizza, and I actually had to cut the pizza portion in half to take out some protein. For every extra gram of protein, I had to find 3 grams of fat to feed her, and that just wasn’t going to happen. In addition, the keto-diet is also calorie controlled, as too many calories can interfere with ketosis. Things got complicated, but I kept 1 mini-cheesecake in the plan at all costs.

There was no fuss about the dinner, but the cake was a different story. Michael is a fabulous cook, so his cheesecake is divine and it was topped with mounds of blueberries. Nora couldn’t take the sight of it, even with her yummy mini-pumpkin cheesecake before her. She is only 3, and sees that she is getting something that is qualitatively different from everyone else. She cried, she whined, she pleaded for a taste of the “real” cake. She would not taste her own cheesecake. I carried her around and told her that I know it’s hard and talked to her about why she is on a special diet. She calmed down, but it’s just so hard to see others eating something so beautiful that you can’t have.

Mama learned a lesson from this. I need to get more details. I could have given her a few blueberries on top of her cheesecake, had I known in advance and planned for it. By the time she got her cheesecake, she had eaten all of her carbs for the day. I had nothing left to give her. I had actually considered making her cheesecake in a pan and cutting wedges instead of doing a mini-cupcake, but I was afraid that the sliver she would get would look even more pathetic than a mini-cupcake. But the blueberries could have fixed it.

Maybe. Or maybe not. Nora also cried when Mackenzie opened presents, because she wanted to get presents too, especially cool dress-up girl sticker books. Nora is 3, and it comes with the territory.

When she finally tried a bite of her cheesecake, she declared it “yummy!” and ate the whole thing. But I have to remember that the emotional impact of the food is in the appearance, and that just as important as the taste and nutritional profile.

“Yummy” Mini-Pumpkin Cheesecakes (without tears)

Mini-Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins. Nutritional analysis from www.caloriecount.com

6 oz Plain cream cheese
2 Tbsp Traditional Plain Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp English Double Devon Cream
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 egg (room temperature)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven 300F.

Beat cream cheese with mixer until smooth.
Add yogurt and double cream, beat until combined. Scrap down bowl.
With mixer running add cinnamon & nutmeg.
Add egg and vanilla. Mix till smooth. Scrap down bowl again making sure mixture has no lumps.
Last add pumpkin puree and mix until combined.

Divide evenly into 24 lined mini-muffin cups. Bake for about 15 minutes. When done, crack open oven door and let cheesecake cool in oven.

About Christy Anderson Brekken

In no particular order... Professor of Practice, Department of Applied Economics, Oregon State University. Educational background: University of MN Law School, class of 2005. MS in Ag and Resource Economics, Oregon State University, 2011. Teaches: Agricultural Law, Environmental Law. Mother: brilliant 9 year old boy; brilliant 6 year old girl with benign myoclonic epilepsy on a modified ketogenic diet therapy. Married to: Ted Brekken, OSU Department of Electrical Engineering. Ride: Xtra-cycle Edgerunner with kid seat; 400-pound cargo capacity. Grew up: Devils Lake, ND. Lived in: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Pohang, South Korea, Trondheim, Norway, Corvallis, OR. Interests: Cooking, knitting, eating, yoga, laughing, hiking, traveling, staying sane.
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3 Responses to A cheesecake by any other name…

  1. Ted Brekken says:

    Poor kid. That was hard to see her feeling excluded. But hopefully it won’t be for long. You’re a good mom.

  2. I am new to this and we are trying to battle just the same thing (without so many tears as my son is 10.) There are times when I can tell it bothers him and that breaks MY heart. Trying to be proactive and prepare for them is incredibly hard in social situations!

    • Christy Anderson Brekken says:

      It is a struggle. I’ve often been so glad that Nora is so young because she is not in the habit of getting her own food yet, so I have so much control on a day to day basis. Although it’s tempting sometimes, we can’t isolate her from those social situations and do the best we can. We learn a little more every day.

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