Low Carb Chocolate Pumpkin Blender Muffins

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This fall at our house, Pumpkin is in and carbs are out.  For a variety of reasons we’re making more of an effort to push ourselves to cut even more sugary, starchy foods from our diets, toddler (or as I call him, carb-fiend), included. For two straight years, I was fiercely committed to attempting to keep my son from sugary snacks and desserts (even the healthier ones), with a mind towards delaying the inevitable addiction to sweeter tastes. From age 2 to 3, it all fell apart. The more conscious he became, the harder it was to avoid succumbing to all the birthday cakes, cupcakes and celebratory foods that creep into our social calendar at holidays. This is to say nothing of those now more perilous grocery shopping trips with the interminable barrage of “mommy can I haves?”

With our goal of cutting carbs and sugar in mind, I set out to use the flavors of the season to create a tempting dessert that was a bit more virtuous, for use during those times when avoiding sweets proves difficult. In fact, these chocolatey, fluffy pumpkin muffins are almost light enough to eat for breakfast, though you’d want to pair them with a protein source (like a good old hard boiled egg) to fill you up – they have a delightful mousse-like consistency are light as air! An optional addition of just a small chunk of Dark Chocolate Sea Salt in the middle makes them perfectly decadent yet still guilt free. And, you guessed it, they are most definitely toddler (and mom and dad) approved.

Further these are #glutenfree optionally #sugarfree #dairyfree and #lowcarb too.

Low Carb Chocolate Pumpkin Blender Muffins with Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Middle

Adapted from Jessiskitchen.com

Makes 12 Muffins 

Dry Ingredients:

2 Cups Organic Almond Flour, fine ground (we used Bob’s Red Mill) – (sub gluten free Oat Flour for nut free per the original recipe)

1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder (Hershey’s works just fine)

1/4 Cup Monk Fruit Sugar (or other equivalent alternative sweetener – keeping in mind changes in proportion – Tip – if you choose to use a different sweetener you can mix all ingredients except the eggs and then add your alternate sugar source slowly, tasting for the right sweetness )

2.5 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Wet Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Organic Canned

Pumpkin Puree

3 Eggs

2 Tablespoons Coconut Butter at room temperature

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil  (or Coconut Oil)

3/4 Cup Almond and/or Coconut Milk Blend – we like Califia “Toasted Coconut Almond Milk”

1 teaspoon good Vanilla Extract

Muffin Cups

Optional:

1-2 Ounces Green & Black’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar, broken into bite-sized shards (or sugar free chocolate for the all sugar-free variation)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 with rack in the middle

Add all the dry ingredients to your high powered blender (ideally Vitamix) and the combine all the wet ingredients (leaving aside the chunks of chocolate) and stir. Close up the blender and blend until well combined, scraping down the sides if needed

Pour batter in each muffin cup up to about 3/4 full

Bake for 20 Minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Nutrition Per Muffin

Calories: 163

Carbs: 6.2g

Fat: 12g

Protein: 6.5g

Sodium: 35mg

Sugar: 2g

 

 

School Lunch Redux – (+ tips for all new and picky eaters)

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Today I’d love to discuss some strategies I’ve learned over the past few years for feeding babies and kids. We’ll also explore taking school lunch to the next level with the health and enjoyment of your little one in mind. You’ll notice 3 days of School Lunch pictured above. The components are broken down as follows:

Top Left: Cascadian Farms Frozen Broccoli steamed and served room temp wth grated Pecorino. Carrot Sticks and Spinach Leaf (just to mess with him), Plainville Organic Turkey Cold Cuts, rolled, Avocado, Cypress Grove Ewephoria Cheese, cubed, and Raspberries

Top Right: Sausage Rollups — made from Organic Whole Wheat Bread, crusts cut off and bread flattened with a rolling pin, then rolled up with an Applegate Naturals Peppered Turkey Breakfast Sausage (I crisp it in the toaster over and send it to be eaten at room temp) along with a slice of Green Apple, Organic Ketchup + Homemade Sweet Potato Fries (slice, toss in Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, and bake @400 for 20-25 minutes, flipping midway throughout — I  also do this in the toaster oven), Strawberries, Carrots & English Cucumber.

Bottom Left: Homemade Whole Wheat Cold Pasta Salad with in season Tomatoes, Avocados, Minced Fresh Spinach, and Pecorino, tossed with a little Olive Oil, a tiny dash of Red Wine Vinegar, Salt and Pepper. Sliced Ginger Gold Apple and one Earth’s Best Organic Letter of the Day Cookie, Carrot Sticks and Organic Mozzarella String Cheese, sliced.

Now that we’ve gotten some ideas flowing, let’s touch on a few important things to note about kids and food:

Remind yourself that it’s all about control: A wise mom once told me that early in life, there are only two things young kids can control. When and what they eat is one of them (can you guess the other bodily function?). This means food refusal is almost never about the food itself, but more a child’s act of asserting their autonomy.

The Basics For New Eaters 

Use these tips and self-reminders as soon as your child is on solids, keeping in mind age appropriateness of various options (i.e. pureed foods, minced foods, handheld or bitesized foods). Also check out Baby Led Weaning. It’s the absolutely smartest way to go about this next phase in your parenting journey. With that said, remember the following:

Food is food: Especially close to and after age one, forget kids’ food and adult food. Think of them as one in the same. Kids’ food is just adult food in bite-sized pieces. They eat what you eat! (Food allergies, a daily struggle in our home, are of course an exception to this rule).

It’s not about you: Are you ascribing your attitudes on food to what your toddler will or won’t eat? Are you declaring a food item not toddler friendly for no good reason? When my son was one I made him a pasta dish loaded with Mushrooms. My husband thought I was crazy to add them. What kid likes Mushrooms, he asked? Minutes later, my son gobbled down each and every one. Reject this sort of thinking as much as possible. That doesn’t mean that a well loved food won’t someday be rejected (two years later, he will not touch Mushrooms, but you can bet they will never stop appearing in his food until he realizes the error of his ways).

Texture: Introduce texture early and often. I recommend baby led weaning. Let them chew, eat with their hands, and try cutlery early. They’ll make a mess, but this is as it should be.

Variety is the spice of life: True for kids and adults! When little ones have a few choices, the more they will enjoy eating -why?? because they are exercising their will! This rule applies with babies, toddlers, and beyond (though you’ll want to provide less options the younger the child – too many can overwhelm a very new eater – 3 selections is a good amount).

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Serving principles for new eaters (all learned/adapted from nutrition and feeding expert, Ellyn Satter): Start with a compartmentalized plate and put a few different food items in it. Serve it all at once. Your baby will enjoy picking and choosing, and trying as they go. If there is a sweet or a dessert (but I advise that you avoid sweets as long as humanly possible), make sure it is served with the main. You don’t want to send the message that dessert is a reward for eating yucky regular food. If the child becomes upset, won’t eat, or begins to throw their food, try redirecting once and if it doesn’t work, take them out of their highchair and tell them the meal is over for now. Put them back when they are ready and repeat the process if they resist.

It’s my belief that if, after several tries, they don’t eat and they are otherwise healthy, then so be it. If your child is healthy and thriving, there is no need to worry about a few skipped meals* (* Please note — I’m not a doctor so use your judgment and consult experts if you are concerned). We all know that things like teething or feeling under the weather can put a damper on the appetite.

About Pouches: Pouches, rather than jars of baby food, are all the rage these days. The even better news is there is a huge variety that are organic and incorporate high impact ingredients baby might otherwise shy away from (think Kale or Quinoa and other Ancient Grains). Once you’ve past the exclusively baby food stage and you move to handheld, full texture foods, I believe you can still benefit from supplementing with pouches if you follow a few rules of thumb. Remember, pouches should not replace real food. If you are too reliant on them, you may end up with a child who is texture averse.

Here are some tips to make ever so convenient pouches work for you:

  1. The blander the better – go for green beans over sweet corn and cherries – you’ll be building their palates in the direction of less sweet, green veggies. Do this as long as you can!
  2. Provide a wide variety of flavors – even ones you think are “icky” – again, you’re coaching their taste buds not to be shocked by certain tastes.
  3. The most crucial time for child nutrition is up until age 2, so don’t feel bad about utilizing pouches to help pack them full of as many fruit and (preferably) veggie and whole grain varieties as you can during this window of time. You’ll benefit from the fact that they are probably a bit more docile and compliant than they will be later. If you haven’t gotten there yet, you can bet you’ll have plenty of fights on your hands from age 2 on when they develop even stronger opinions!
  4. Buy Organic Pouches. The extra you’ll spend is totally worth it.

My Philosophy on “Healthy Junk Food”: If I had a dime for every kid I know that (supposedly) only eats Mac and Cheese and Grilled Cheese, I’d be rich. “It’s the only thing he/she will eat,” parents will tell you. Of course! Because we’re giving it to them often as we know it’s a sure bet. So the cycle continues and parents come to believe their little one will only eat these foods. Instead, they’re eating them because we’ve allowed it and convinced ourselves that they’ll starve any other way. My advice to you is break the habit — go out on a limb to provide other options and resist the urge to fall back on the sure bet. I’d eat Mac and Cheese ever day too if it I could. It’s delicious! Wouldn’t you?

If you’ve tried a universally palatable food one or two times and it was rejected, keep trying. You’ll be shocked that all of a sudden, they’ll often change their tune. During the times you do serve them “junk food” like Mac and Cheese or Grilled Cheese, make it a little less pleasant by being sure you throw something healthy in there. I like to add frozen Peas and Carrots to boxed Mac, or top it with pureed fresh Spinach.  Another (undetectable) addition is finely chopped Cauliflower florets. Boil them along with the pasta! If you’re off boxed Mac because of the phthalate flap, try our shortcut “instant” version here.

Tips for Making Lunch for Toddlers & Preschoolers 

  1. Variety – If you provide a lot of choices, you have a better chance something will get eaten. Bento boxes are great for this! We love Bentgo Kids and LunchBots. Trust me, I know how disheartening it is to get an entire lunch back, with only one item eaten. Press on and don’t cave.
  2. Supply and Demand -When you send lunch to school your child will instinctively know t’s the only game in town – Capitalize on the fact that when they’re there, they are aware that their favorite short order cook isn’t on duty. I swear I seem to get far less food refusal at school, so that’s where I front load all the healthiest stuff (like frozen steamed Broccoli with a pinch of salt or parmesan cheese). Do push the envelope with fruits, veggies and leafy greens (flowers, as he calls them) during school lunch.
  3. Big Batches Make for Easier Lunches – At the beginning of the week, cook up large batch of something they love to anchor the meal. In my son’s case, that’s pasta. In keeping with the “cold” temperature of this week’s lunches, I made several portions of whole wheat pasta salad (bottom left in the photo above) with peak season tomatoes, minced fresh spinach (which he probably picked off bit by bit), avocado, olive oil, a little vinegar and pecorino cheese. He ate it at room temperature 3 days straight.

Thanks so much for joining me today and stay tuned for my upcoming mega list of healthy and convenient pre-packaged foods for the little ones!

Homemade “Instant” Mac & Cheese

What: Today’s recipe is an easy way to make Mac & Cheese just as quickly as you can out of the box. No baking necessary. A stovetop is all you’ll need.

When: Have extra cheese on hand? Whether you’re looking to get creative with leftover ingredients or simply want to skip the pricey boxed Macs, Homemade Instant Mac & Cheese is really a no-brainer.

Why: Right or wrong, thousands of parents across the country were shocked into despair a few weeks ago upon reading a bombshell report that their favorite foolproof shortcut kids’ meal, boxed Mac & Cheese, may have one of the highest concentrations of Phthalates (harmful chemicals found in plastics or, in this case, which migrate to high fat food from the manufacturing line). Though the veracity of the study is being debated (it wasn’t peer reviewed, for one, and there is debate over what constitutes acceptable levels of Phthalates), parents like myself who’ve been judiciously avoiding phthalates in toys and and plastic containers (to say nothing of BPAs), are probably more likely to err on the side of caution until more details emerge. Even for those already conscious of making “healthier” choices when it comes to our favorite “junk food,” the worst news was that even trusted organic brands were not immune from Phthalate contamination, particularly within the powdered cheese packet.

How: The trick to this recipe involves reserving some of the hot pasta water to create a sauce – you’ll dissolve slices of cheese in a small, microwave safe bowl, to create the creamy cheese sauce – you won’t even have to add Milk if you don’t want. All this comes together in nearly exactly the same amount of time as you’d need for the boxed version. Other bonuses include far less sodium (which may take your kids a bit of time to adjust to) and more opportunity for creativity! Play around with different Cheese blends and healthy mix-ins. My usual M.O. is to add frozen Peas and Carrots to the cooking pasta just a few minutes before it is done. The Veggies with thaw and warm right in the same pan, then you can drain the Pasta and Veggies and add the cheese. Guilt-free Mac & Cheese here you come. Check out the easy method below!

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Homemade “Instant” Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

1 Cup Dry Small Pasta or Macaroni

3-4 Slices Organic American Cheese

Flour or Potato Starch

Salt & Pepper

Pat of Salted Butter, optional

Optional Frozen Peas and Carrots (if using, add the to the cooking pasta 3 minutes before it is done)

Method: 

Set a pot of salted water to boil and the prepare Pasta as directed on the package, adding Organic Frozen Peas & Carrots about 3 minutes before pasta is done.

Before draining, reserve about a 1/3 cup Pasta Water in a small, heat proof and microwaveable bowl. Drain Pasta. Return it to pot.

Place about 3 Slices of American Cheese, Mild Cheddar, or a blend of similarly textured sliced cheeses. They should melt into the water with a little stirring, or if not, give them a quick zap in the microwave (30 seconds to start).

Stir to desired consistency and if the water looks too much for the amount of pasta you have, drain some off the cheese mixture. Stir Cheese Mixture into the Pasta and combine to coat. If the mixture is too thin, add a few pinches of Flour or Potato Starch to thicken. Taste for seasoning and add Salt if needed. Add a pat of Butter to enhance flavor and texture.

Serve!

Baby Bean Dip

What: An easy, toddler and kid-friendly White Bean Dip for your blender. 4 batches later, I can’t stop making this stuff.  It’s really satisfying and feels rich. It’s just a bonus that my son eats it too. 🙂

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When: Have 30 seconds? 

Why: Beans are so good for you (particularly by providing antioxidants, B vitamins, protein, fiber and iron), and this versatile dip is as appealing to kids as it is to adults. I spread it on toast, serve it with Smoked Salmon, use it as a simple dip for Carrot Sticks, or as a sandwich condiment for myself or my son. Any chance to get extra nutrition in your kid in no time flat is one you should take.

How: I like to add a little bit of green freshness to brighten this smooth and silky dip. Baby Spinach Leaves work nicely but any dark salad green will do. You could even sub in herbs to your liking such as a tablespoon of Italian Parsley or a pinch of Rosemary. For kids, the mellow flavor of Spinach is an easy sell.

Baby Bean Dip 

Makes about 8 Servings

Ingredients:

1 Can  (15.5 Ounces) Low Sodium Organic Cannelini or Great Northern Beans (we prefer Westbrae Brand) well rinsed and drained.

1-2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (2 Tablespoons makes a richer tasting dip but both amounts work)

1.5 teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar

5-6 leaves Baby Spinach

1/4 teaspoon Salt

Dash of pepper

Method:

Blend until smooth and serve! Keeps 4 days in the fridge.

School Lunch Remix! Veggie & Grain Base

What: A fast Veggie and Grain blend to help you switch up one of your many parental responsibilities – keeping school lunch exciting! The key is to make your grains ahead as I do each week – one big batch to use in lunches, salads, dinner sides. Grains even freeze well after cooking. Some favorites are: Farro, Barley, Bulgur, Wheatberries, and Quinoa.

When: When you and your little one are sick of making and eating sandwiches every day, serving protein atop a grain and veggie bowl is a great way to deviate from the norm. I’ll tell you more about how your child can easily to transport your creation to school, alongside some other exciting options to make lunch fun, healthy and colorful.

Why: We don’t serve too many cold cuts, a school lunch staple, in our house. This is because it’s hard to find good quality lunch meat that is without potentially dangerous Nitrates and Nitrites. I also prefer to buy Organic Cold Cuts where possible (which is not to say that we don’t cheat once in a while). While there are good options for Organic Lunch Meat, many brands still use fillers such as Carageenan, an ingredient that is non-nutritive and brings with it several health concerns. All these things considered, Grains and Veggies topped with a Protein are a great alternative to the omnipresent sandwich.

When I do manage to find a Cold Cut brand that satisfies all my usual requirements (Plainville Farms is my current fave), it will always, and unfortunately, have a higher price tag attached to it. Sure, maybe I’ll throw together a sandwich or two with it, but serving sliced Lunch Meat atop a grain bowl is a nice way to mix things up but also stretch the ingredient! Grain and Veggies are super filling and will give your little one a nutritional boost when they need it most.

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How: 

Grain and Veggie Blend (2  to 3 Lunch-Sized Servings)

Ingredients:

1/2 Chopped Zucchini

4 Sliced then Chopped Cremini Mushrooms

2 Pats Salted Butter

1/2 Cup packed Organic Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves, minced

3/4 Cup cooked grains such as Farro

Salt

Method:

In a skillet over medium flame, melt a pat of Butter and add Zucchini and Mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until tender, turning the flame down if needed. Once veggies are tender, add the Minced Spinach and stir. Finish by adding Grains and heat through. Melt one last pat of Butter and add Salt and other seasonings as desired.

To serve, top with sliced Cold Cuts or other protein (last night’s dinner leftovers make a great option too!).

Tip: We absolutely love our Bentgo Kids Lunchbox. I recommend it to everyone (they’re also available on Amazon). The lunch boxes are BPA free, and they come with a removable, microwaveable tray, for easy heating, serving and cleaning. If you can, buy a spare removable tray. This will allow you to prepare two lunches at a time leaving you ahead of the game on busy weekdays.

Pictured in today’s colorful lunchbox:

Organic Raspberries

Okinawan Purple Sweet Potato (steamed in the microwaved then mashed)

Horizon Organic Mozzarella Sticks

 

Here’s to fun and healthy lunch.

 

The Best Healthy Oatmeal Cranberry Muffins

 

What: Deliciously and healthy Oatmeal Muffins your kids will crave.

img_1999When: Have cabin-fever from the holiday break? Baking with your kids is a great way to engage them as you teach healthy eating habits and discourage straight up junk food. These Muffins make a great on-the-go breakfast you can feel good about on those super rushed days.

Why: We’re not a gluten-free household but we are huge fans of Oatmeal, so this is a win win. To make these gluten free, you can simply purchase Gluten Free
Oats instead of regular. Another reason we love these is that all told, this recipe is quite healthy yet naturally sweet enough to appeal to your little ones and the adults in your home alike.

How: These are so fast to make, proving once again that there’s absolutely no need to buy a mix. Customize them with Nuts and Fruits to your liking (about a half cup of Nt or Fruit per recipe should be enough).

The Best Healthy Oatmeal Cranberry Muffins 

Yield: 12 Muffins that are Gluten Free Optional, Oil Optional, No Flour, No Sugar and very customizable!

Lightly adapted from Brendid.com

Ingredients:

2.5 Cups Whole Rolled Oats (Optionally Gluten Free Oats), toasted in the oven or toaster for about 5 minutes

2 Large Ripe Bananas

1/3 Cup Apple Sauce

2 Eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 Cup 2% Milk

1/3 Cup Honey

1/4 Cup Coconut Oil (Optional) but improves texture and moistness

2 teaspoons High Quality Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries, briefly soaked in water

Equipment: Muffin Tin, Muffin Cups, Food Processor/Grinder to grind Oats

Method:

Preheat Oven to 350 with a rack in the middle.

Separate out 1.5 Cups of the Rolled Oats and grind them to a fine flour. Add to a large bowl.

Now measure off another 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats from the un-ground remainder and add that the bowl. Set aside the last 1/2 Cup whole Oats for the end.

To the bowl add all the rest of the dry ingredients and whisk well.

In a second bowl, mash the Banana really well with a potato masher until no chunks remain, add Apple Sauce, Eggs, Milk, Coconut Oil, Honey and Vanilla Extract. Combine.

Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir gently. Add the Cranberries and stir again. Allow to sit five minutes so the Oats are soaked through.

Pour into muffin cups and top with remaining Whole Rolled Oats.

Bake for 20 Minutes or until a pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and enjoy! Great with a smear of Coconut Butter on top.

 

3-Ingredient Candy Cobwebs

Boo! It’s Halloween, and we here at Neurotic Mom hope you’re looking forward lots of fun activities with your little ones this creepiest of evenings. Even if your trick-or-treating already happened this weekend, there’s still time for a spooky, edible craft that will delight big and little diners alike, with none of the commitment of cupcakes or other more involved baked goodies. You don’t even have to turn on the oven.

As you can see, these don’t have to be perfect to look positively adorable and delicious!

Grown-ups: are you headed to a party empty-handed? These whimsically sweet spider webs come together in ten minutes (just leave a half hour for them to firm up). With only three ingredients, they can be ready in a flash. 

For the easy HOW TO head to our sister site Neurotic Kitchen (the place for easy and elegant recipes for the busy home cook with a day job!).

Chewy Granola Bars In a Flash

What: Relatively no-bake Granola Bars (unless you count quickly toasting the Oats and Nuts)  that are the perfect healthier treat for your picky toddler. Customize them to your liking with easy ratios of Nuts and Dried Fruit. You could even add in ground Flax or Chia to up the nutrition content.

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When: This recipe comes together in about 15 minutes. Allow about an hour for them to firm up in the freezer before you cut them into bars.

How: You’ll need an 8 inch pyrex or small baking pan with high sides, some aluminum foil and a food processor or high powered blender. Toast Oats and Nuts in the toaster oven or conventional oven before you start the mixing process.

Why: Because Granola Bars are a good opportunity to add nutrition to your toddler’s diet. They’re handheld, chewy, and a little sweet – three things young children can resist. Still, I wanted to make the best of this opportunity and create an easy to make recipe that is as junk free as possible. That means less added sugar, and no ickies like tons of corn syrup or other sticky, nutritionally-vacant binders. Super tender Dates (we love Date Lady brand, also available on Amazon) do the trick to knit these bars together, and an hour in the freezer helps them set up. When ready to serve, bring to room temperature and slice. You can wrap them in Saran  or in an airtight container in the fridge and use them for up to 4 days.

Easy Chewy Fruit & Nut Granola Bars

Adapted from Inspired Taste

Yield: Makes about 8 Bars or 16 toddler-sized Granola “sticks”

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup very soft pitted Dates, finely chopped. If pitting yourself make sure you check them carefully after removing the pit.

2 Cups Organic Rolled Oats

1/4 Cup mixed, chopped Nuts of your choice (we used Pistachio & Walnut). For a nut-free option simply sub in the same amount of seeds such as Sunflower Seeds.

1/4 Cup chopped Dried Cranberries (or other dried fruit – i.e. Raisins, Apricots, etc)

1/4 Cup Salted Butter

1 teaspoon Honey

1/2 teaspoon good Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon Light Brown Sugar

Method:

Preheat Oven or Toaster Oven to 350. Line an 8-inch pyrex plate or small baking pan with high sides with some aluminum foil. Mix Nuts with Oats on the foil. Toast Oats and Nuts for 5 Minutes. Take care not to burn. Remove them from the foil covered pan to a bowl and grease the foil with Oil, Cooking Spray or Butter.

Mix in Dates and Dried Cranberries.

In a small pan or the microwave, warm the Salted Butter Until Melted. Add Honey, Brown Sugar, and Vanilla Extract. Blend until all are dissolved.

Pour butter and sugar mixture over the oat/nut/fruit mixture, carefully incorporating. Remove mix to a Food Processor and process until Dates are incorporated as well as possible. You may need to scrape down the sides.

Press Mixture into foil-lined pan and remove to freezer for an hour. When ready to serve bring to room temperature, slice and enjoy!

 

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Kebabs

What: A treat on a stick you can feel good about – today’s snack uses ingredients toddlers are unable to resist – Yogurt and Berries! Plus, have you ever found a food that comes on a stick that they don’t love?

When: When you have 5, count em, 5 minutes in which to craft your kid’s newest favorite treat. Just allow about an hour to freeze! These yummy mini pops are also a great, guilt free birthday party bite hat look impressive and take practically zero effort.

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Why: I once promised you that this wouldn’t be the blog where you’d find cutesy things like mini chia puddings in frosted mason jars, or anything that takes more than a short time to toss together. Who has the time? Certainly not your impatient toddler. I was drawn to the idea of making these healthy little kebabs because they are ready in no time flat and can have as little as 3 ingredients.

How: I purchased Wilton Lollipop Sticks on Amazon because I was smitten with the fun colors and patterns, but you could certainly find something far more basic to use. Just try and be sure whatever sticks you choose aren’t too sharp so your little one doesn’t end up poking themselves. Once you’ve dipped the Strawberries in the Yogurt mix, sprinkle with topping of your choice. Get creative with it! I chose some chopped Nuts because my son has a peanut and nut allergy yet there are a few nut varieties he can eat without an issue. For this reason, we do our best to keep them in his diet to hopefully help him remain tolerant to them.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Kebabs

YieldL Makes about 12

Ingredients:

One small cup, 5.3 Ounce Full Fat Greek Yogurt (for this recipe we chose Stonyfield for its consistency).

1 teaspoon sweetener of your choice – such as light Agave, Maple Syrup or our fave Honey *(Important note: Honey is only appropriate for children 1 year and up only!)

12 Large Organic Strawberries (they should always be organic where possible), hulled

Kebab Toppings of your choice- chopped Nuts, Coconut Flakes, Sprinkles, Mini Chocolate Chips

Parchment or Wax Paper

12 Popsicle or Lollipop Sticks

Method:

Line a plate or large tupperware container with parchment or wax paper

Mix your sweetener of choice in the Yogurt container

Place the Strawberries on their stick, inserting where they were hulled and continuing half way through. Don’t pierce the other end of the berry

Dip Gently into Yogurt Mix until coated, or spoon on if easier. Place on the parchment and sprinkle with toppings. Remove to the fridge for an hour and enjoy!

 

 

Magic Pancakes – 3 Ingredient Breakfast

What: The easiest Pancakes you’ll ever make, in personal, kid-sized batches.
When: When you’ve got ripe or overripe Bananas or just feel like making your little one the simplest and most delicious breakfast ever.
Why: While I am generally skeptical of any recipe that uses the word “magic” in its title, I thought the deliciously light breakfast you see below was deserving of such a designation. With just one more ingredient than it takes to make a humdrum bowl of cereal, you too can have Magic Pancakes. Trust me, you’re not going to believe how well these work.

Easiest Pancakes You’ll Ever Make, and healthier too! Photo: NK

How: Banana is the secret ingredient giving this light as air pancake it’s heft without adding heaviness from extra carbs. Something tells me you’ll be stealing these off your toddler’s plate. You can blend the three ingredients together in no-time flat and you’ll have one batch of just enough for 1/5-2 toddler servings or one modest adult-sized breakfast nosh.

Make Magic Pancakes if:

You love an easy 3-ingredient breakfast perfect for 1 but easily multiplied for a family
You like the idea of a lower carb (thanks to less Flour) pillowy-light, fluffy pancake
You’ve got nice ripe or even overripe Bananas that would otherwise go to waste (even slightly underripe Bananas will work).

You’ll be a believer too. Enjoy!

Magic 3 Ingredient Pancakes 
Per serving (about 3 four-inch pancakes)

Ingredients:  

1 medium to large mashed Banana, 
2 tablespoons any kind of Flour (regular, whole wheat, coconut or other gluten free types, etc), 
1 lightly beaten Egg. 
(Optional Butter or light Cooking Spray)

Method: 
Mash Banana in a bowl, add beaten Egg and Flour. Blend – this can remain a little lumpy and it will still turn out fine. 

Pour batter onto a hot skillet (you can lightly butter or spray it if you prefer) and flip carefully when Pancakes begin to get golden. Finish and serve.