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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).

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.

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes with Yogurt Sauce {family dinner}

18 Mar

This recipe came about because of the surplus of frozen corn I’ve been trying to clear out of the freezer from last summer’s bounty.  Making sweet potato and corn cakes was a nice change of pace and made for a satisfying vegetarian meal that the whole family enjoyed (my 2-year-old loves these “sweet cakes” and especially likes having her own little bowl of dipping sauce for dunking).
This recipe is inspired by the recipe fromBudget Bytes, which I adapted and made gluten-free by using more corn meal and omitting the bread crumbs.  They’re lightly seared in oil, rather than fried, to keep them healthy.  The creaminess of the sweet potatoes provides a nice contrast for the toothsome corn kernels and the yogurt sauce gives the dish a little tang.  I made my standard (very simple) yogurt sauce using Greek yogurt, lime juice rather than the usual lemon, salt and pepper.  For those without a freezer full of corn, use any store-bought frozen corn in this recipe.
vegan sweet potato recipe cakes with corn and yogurt sauce
Sweet Potato Corn Cakes with Yogurt Sauce

Yield: Serves 6 as an appetizer or 4 as an entree

Allow time to refrigerate the mixture before cooking to give the ingredients time to bind (it prevents the cakes from falling apart while cooking). These corn cakes are best served immediately, rather than reheating. Serve them as an appetizer, or pair with salad or braised greens for a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet potatoes (about 3 lbs.)
  • 1 1/3 cup white corn meal
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 4 Tbs. vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Cilantro sprigs for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 small clove garlic
  • 6 oz. Greek yogurt (fat free, lowfat or regular)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pierce potatoes with knife several times and wrap each individually in tin foil. Bake potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil for 30-50 minutes, or until soft when pierced with a knife. Alternatively, cook sweet potatoes in the microwave by wrapped one potato in a damp paper towel and cooking on high for 4-5 minutes, or until soft. Repeat with remaining potatoes. When cool enough to handle, slice potatoes in half and scoop out flesh into a large bowl.
  2. Add corn meal, corn, egg, scallions, cilantro, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper to bowl. Stir until well combined. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce. Place garlic in bowl of food processor and pulse until minced. yogurt, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil; place in oven. Heat 2 Tbs. oil on large nonstick griddle (or in large skillet over medium-high heat). Shape sweet potato mixture into medium patties (about 1/3 cup each), and flatten until about no more than 1″ thick. Working in batches, cook in oil until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Keep cooked corn cakes warm in oven on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat cooking with remaining oil and patties. Serve warm with yogurt sauce. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Pomegranate Salsa {Recipe}

15 Jan

pom salsa kids snack ideas healthy quick simple recipe for whole family

Trying to think of good toddler snacks can be a chore.  Something portable, healthy, simple and tasty enough for the whole family.  This pomegranate salsa is a winner all around.  My daughter loves pomegranate seeds so substituting the seeds for tomato and making it into a salsa is a good introduction to more complex flavors.  I like to serve this salsa at winter parties when seasonal produce is scarce – it’s a crowd-pleaser for both kids and adults.  Go light on the jalapeno or omit it for the little ones if they’re sensitive to spice.

 

Make the salsa at least a few hours in advance so the flavors have a chance to come together.  Serve this jewel-tone salsa with red tortilla chips for added color.  Yellow or blue chips will taste great too.

 

Pomegranate Salsa
¼ cup 100% pomegranate juice (such as POM Wonderful)
2 large pomegranates
½-1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (depending on how much heat you like)
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 Tbs. cilantro, chopped
½ Tbs. agave nectar or 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 Tbs. rice vinegar

 

1.       Fill a large stain-resistant (i.e. metal or glass) bowl with water.  On a cutting board lined with paper towel or another stain-resistant surface, cut pomegranates in quarters and put them in the water.  With your hands submerged in the water, bend back the peel of one quarter of the pomegranate and carefully remove the seed sacs (called “arils”) from the white pith.  The pith will float to the top of the water and the seeds will sink.  Use your hand to skim the pith off the top of the water and throw it away. Continue doing the same thing with each quarter until you have removed all of the seeds from the fruit.

 

2.        Combine remaining ingredients and seeds in a medium size bowl and gently mix until well combined.  Refrigerate the salsa for up to 2 days.