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Favorite Things: Dubble Trubble Organic Kids Detangling Spray

28 Feb

Dubble Trubble Cool Cucumber Detangling Kids Hair Product

Hair products for toddlers?  Yes, indeed.  When you have a curly girl like my little lady you need a little something to tame the mane.  Dubble Trubble’s organic kids product line, available exclusively at Target, makes a great detangling spray in an awesome cucumber scent that has become our favorite hair product.  The smell is light, it feels weightless yet prevents curls from frizzing.  We use it on both wet and dry hair.

Dubble Trubble’s Cool Cucumber Detangling Spray retails for $4.99 per bottle, and is on sale March 9-April 5, 2014 at Target (buy 2 get 1 free).

Caprese Skewers {toddler snack}

27 Aug

toddler snacks - tomato and mozzarella salad on a stick

People love to eat things on a stick or skewer – kids included.  So when my sister-in-law served these charming caprese skewers as an appetizer for a summer party on the deck they were gobbled up in minutes by both kids and adults.  To be honest I have never thought to cut up string cheese sticks to use for an appetizer, but it’s a pretty genius idea when there are slim pickings in the fridge.  It’s also a nice way to serve a healthy vegetable to toddlers; combine tomatoes with their beloved string cheese sticks and get them to eat a tomato salad on a stick.  Serve them at any event with kids – a family BBQ, picnic or kids birthday party.  They would also make for a great snack for school (parents take turns bringing snacks for the class at my daughter’s pre-school), or a fun addition for a school lunch.  Just be sure not to refrigerate the tomatoes, which makes them lose their taste.

Individual Veggies & Dip {toddler snack}

8 Aug

veggie and dip cups - great toddler snack

Encourage little ones to eat their veggies with a fun presentation for a healthy snack.  Using plastic or lucite shot glasses, serve individual servings of veggies and dip.  To make these healthy and cute snacks:  Place a few tablespoons of your favorite creamy dip in the bottom of the cup (I like to make a simple yogurt dip using Greek yogurt, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper); next add a few cut veggies, such as baby carrots, red pepper slices and blanched asparagus tips.  They can be made in minutes if you have the veggies already prepped in your fridge.  They are also a great appetizer for kids birthday parties and even family holidays.  Make a large batch for a party up to 4 hours in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Watermelon Flowers

8 Jul

kid friendly summer healthy snacks

For the 4th of july, I made star shaped watermelon cut-outs.  After using the big cookie cutter to make the stars, I was left with a lot of usable pieces of juicy watermelon, so I took out a set of mini cookie cutters and made flower shaped pieces for a play date snack.  They were a big hit – perfect bite-size for the girls to snack on.  Use any cookie cutter shape that you have on hand.  Don’t throw out the leftover scraps – puree them in the blender to make watermelon juice (one of my summer favorites – drink on its own or add to smoothies for a sweet, refreshing drink).

4th of July Dessert: Red, White & Blue Berries {cooking with kids}

28 Jun

Cooking with kids fourth of july dessert

One of my very hip mommy friends, Vicki, is an art teacher and a very creative mom who comes up with fun holiday projects for her 3 kids.  Vicki made these patriotic red, white and blue chocolate-covered berries with her kiddies, and this simple recipe is a great way to get the little ones cooking.  Strawberries are easy for little hands to grasp and the lure of chocolate, even white chocolate, will likely be enough to peak their interest in the project.  Since the base of this treat is a berry, we can count them as a “healthy” treat, right?  Here is a how-to for making these red, white & blue berries for your 4th of July celebration, with or without your little one(s).

Red, White & Blue Berries

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz white chocolate
  • blue sugar crystals (can be found in cake decorating aisle)
  • 1 lb strawberries with stems attached

Instructions:

  1. Wash strawberries carefully to keep stems intact. Dry them completely – you don’t want any water left on the berries. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper and set aside.  Place about 1 oz. of sugar crystals in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Chop white chocolate with a serrated knife and place in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat in the microwave at 30 second intervals until half of the chocolate is melted, stirring each time you take it out. Once half is melted, stir until the chocolate is smooth and shiny (the heat from the melted chocolate will melt the remaining chocolate and this method ensures that the chocolate won’t seize or burn).  Continue to heat at 15 second intervals if the chocolate is not completely melted after stirring.
  3. Hold the stems of the strawberries away from the berry and dip the berries into the melted chocolate.  Twist the berries as you lift them out of the chocolate to let the extra chocolate drip back into the bowl. Dip the bottom third of the chocolate-covered berry in the sugar crystals, then place dipped strawberry on prepared parchment lined pan. Repeat with remaining strawberries. Allow the chocolate to harden at room temperature (about 30 minutes) or in the refrigerator (about 10 minutes).

 Makes about 12 strawberries

 

Cupcake Decorating {cooking with kids}

17 May

cooking with kids ideas for baking

The little miss loves to stand on a stool in the kitchen next to me and “help” me cook.  At first this started as her snacking on whatever I was chopping on my cutting board.  Over the past several months she’s started to actually help me.  I’ve give her little jobs, like ripping kale off of the stalks.  On occasion, we bake a sweet treat for a special occasion (we’ve had several of them lately – no complaints here) and I let the little miss top a small batch of cupcakes with sprinkles.  I put the sprinkles in a cupcake liner on the counter and let her have creative license with the decorating.  She loves the job (what’s not to like?) and takes pride in telling people that she made the cupcakes.  I’m not going to lie – several sprinkles were consumed in the process – but I am usually able to get her to wait until she’s finished with the cupcake decorating to indulge in the remaining sprinkles.

Healthy Toddler Mini Muffins {toddler snack recipe}

9 May

gluten-free toddler healthy vegetable muffins recipe high fiber whole grain

I find that if I make anything in the form of a muffin my toddler goes nuts for them.  She literally devoured these muffins which are packed with veggies and fiber and no added sugar.  They look like a crappy carb (to her), so she was thrilled.  In reality, these muffins are a nutritional powerhouse, at least as far as baked goods go.  The recipe was inspired by “toddler muffins” I saw on Pinterest, which gave me the idea to use up a stray leftover jar of babyfood by making muffins.  I added in leftover steamed veggies (carrots and a bit of chopped cauliflower), substituted flax seed meal and oat flour for the wheat flour that the original recipe called for and used bananas and apple sauce as the “sweeteners”  and in place of butter in the recipe.   The result is a muffin that is hearty and filling – reminiscent of a whole wheat banana bread with only a hint of sweetness.  These are not the type of muffin you would consider a “treat” unless you are a real health nut (like me).  But for a kid who doesn’t get much sugar these are a winning snack and very simple to make.

Be sure to either freeze half of the muffins or refrigerate them within a day (or both).  Because of the high moisture content from the vegetables they will spoil quickly at room temperature.  Also, you can use muffin liners to make these (saves on clean-up), but because they are so moist some of the muffin will stick to paper liners.  The muffins take about 30 minutes to make, not include cooling time.

Healthy Toddler Snack Muffins

4 oz jar pureed squash baby food (such as Earth’s Best)
2 medium bananas (I used frozen bananas, defrosted in the microwave and used the resulting “juice” in the recipe)
1/3 cup shredded carrots (or a mixture of shredded steamed carrots and chopped cauliflower)
½ cup apple sauce
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup oat flour*
½ cup flax seed meal
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.  Mix squash through vanilla in a large bowl and stir until well combined.  Whisk together dry ingredients (oat flour through salt) in a medium bowl.  Add mixed dry ingredients to squash mixture and stir just until full incorporated and no dry patches remain.

2.  Divide batter among prepared muffin tins and bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.  Store at room temperature for 1 day, refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze.

*To make homemade oat flour grind old-fashioned oats in a food process until they resemble a coarse flour.