Toddler Blog

Category - Taste

Cooking with HappyBaby Pouches!

We have gone baking-crazy for the holidays since our little ones have formed a newfound love for measuring cups! Did you know you can cook with your Happy Baby pouches? Check out this one for Baby Apple Oat Muffins, created by Nicole Auker and Trina O’Boyle.

Ingredients:
1 cup quick-cook oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup Happy Baby S1 Pear or Happy Baby S2 Apples Cherries & Blueberries
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup low-fat milk
4 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup raisins (optional)

Steps:
1) Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease a standard 12-muffin pan or line with paper cups.
2) In a bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mix well and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together Happy Baby Pear, Winter Squash or Apple & Cherry, egg, milk, vanilla extract, and oil.
3) Add the flour mixture and mix just until the ingredients are moistened. If using raisins, gently fold in until combined.
4) Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full with batter and bake 20 minutes or until done. Makes 12 muffins or 24 mini muffins.

Find more simple recipes at http://happyfamilybrands.com/recipes/

Carly Falls In Love With FarmBox LA

We received our 1st FarmBox delivery on a Sunday morning. A friendly deliveryman who offered to help bring in the bags greeted us.  I was most excited to see what was inside. We received the Complete Meat and Seafood Farmbox along with extra family snacks. It was filled with every color of produce such as kale, tomatoes, half a dozen of eggs, the most delicious quart of fresh orange juice, an onion, fresh parsley, our kids favorite raw milk- Organic Pastures, and much more.

Our family favorites were the Dapple Dandy Pluots, which were immensely flavorful and beautiful in a purple color. The lemon cucumbers, which didn’t look to pretty but tasted like a perfect juicy cucumber was something, I’ve never seen or had before.  I love how FarmBox gives you recipes on how to use everything in your box and tells you the best way to store them. I learned a lot in this section.

FarmBox also re-uses all of the freezer cold packs and bags that stores your food. On your next delivery they collect your previous shipments waste, so you can save all your scraps and FarmBox will compost it and put them back into the earth to grow new food. How cool is that?  We have tried other fruit/veggie home and office delivery services and the nice thing about Farmbox is that no 2 boxes you receive will ever be the same.  Not to mention Farmbox is run and owned by women so just another perk that makes us love supporting this company.

Back to the box we received. We made a beautiful salad using the spring mixed greens, lemon cucumbers, fresh parsley, purple tequila peppers, beefsteak tomatoes, and the organic Haas avocados, so delicious. We made grilled cheese sandwiches for the family using the whole-wheat bran loaf of bread that was perfectly soft and the Spring Hill Jersey Cheese that we can buy at our local farmer’s market here in Studio City. There are many creative things to do with the food that came in our box and these were just a few simple yet tasty ideas.

We also used the recipe provided in the newsletter to cook the Broiled Halibut and potatoes. That was such a quick and super healthy dinner for the family. The fish is from Community Seafood that is caught wild not farmed from the Santa Barbara channel so you know you are eating local and fresh.

We also enjoyed some kid friendly snacks that are now a favorite in my house. The Ha’s Apple Farm’s Fruit Rolls, you’ll never want to buy these from the store again. They have a few different varities and we are going to need to try each one. The vegetable Root chips also taste like potato chips so they satisfy that salty craving but are healthier than your average chip because they are made from beets and sweet potato. The quality of food is worth the prices and we will be using our SoCal Moms coupon code to order again.

What’s nice is that FarmBox has great values and gives back to their community. With every delivery, they donate produce to a local non-profit that brings fruit and vegetables to low-income moms and families. Supporting local farmers means you get fresh, delicious food for your family and you keep your money in your community. It’s nice to know that the fruit is picked from the trees and arrives at FarmBox within 24 hours. It’s no wonder the food we got in our box tasted way fresher and than anything we buy from the market. Thanks FarmBox for such a fun way to learn about the food we buy and eat and helping us keep our families healthy and happy.

 

A Solution to the Impossible Task of Creating Dinners When You have a Toddler

I used to love cooking dinner. It was the one meal that I planned out weekly, shopped for and prepared as a proper meal at least half the nights each week.

Now that I have a toddler, a busy work schedule and what feels like zero time to do anything, organized dinners sadly have become a thing of the past. Our week night dinners consist of takeout orders, breakfast for dinner and/or really no dinner at all far too many nights.

I’ve been feeling guilty about the sad state of our dinner affairs (amongst other things) and wanted to make a healthy change this Spring.

For us, the hardest thing about dinner is the time it takes to come up with recipes, make a grocery list, do the shopping and remember to actually get all the ingredients we need plus prep, cook and clean up.

I looked into various services and was reluctant at first because I knew my toddler would not eat any of it. I really didn’t want to make multiple meals each night. But the bottom line is that most nights our toddler eats before us anyhow and rotates amongst a small set of toddler approved meals that usually look something like this.
Photo Apr 27, 7 00 41 PM

I’ve given in to that reality and make sure on weekends that we have “family” dinners that we cook together based on things I know he likes.

Knowing that we wanted to focus on adult dinners that we could make during the week at home, we decided to try Blue Apron to get us back on track.
Blue Apron product shot (1)

Blue Apron delivers the perfectly portioned ingredients you need to cook chef inspired seasonal recipes at home. It comes direct to your door in a refrigerated box so the ingredients stay fresh even if you’re not at home when it arrives. We choose the classic 2 person plan which got us three meals for two people a week.

What I liked about it:

  • The service solved our #1 problem of time since we didn’t have to find recipes or shop for ingredients. Everything was provided for us in a compact box with detailed labeling.
  • Having the portions pre-measured and sent specifically for 2 people also helped to eliminate waste and guilt over unused food.
  • The recipes were really interesting and things we would not normally cook for ourselves. It was fun to have “fancy” unique dinners for the adults once our toddler was in bed a few nights a week.
  • All the packaging, materials, recipe cards were very clear, well designed, visual and led to easy meal creation.

One thing to note: it does take time to prepare the meals. I would not recommend doing this if you really don’t like to cook. There are multiple steps to cook each meal plus prep work to get the ingredients ready. I did this with a glass a wine in hand and enjoyed the time and detail in preparing the meals. I realize that is not for everyone. If you decide to try it, make sure to leave a good 30 minutes for each meal.

Also don’t feel bad if your meals don’t look exactly like the pictures! Our first try tasted delicious, but did not look very good. Our second attempt was much closer to the pictures and also tasted amazing.

Photo Apr 27, 7 28 12 PM

Photo Apr 27, 7 34 09 PM

For us, it did re-inspire home cooked dinners on a weekly basis and get us out of our takeout rut. I don’t know if we can manage it every week, but what’s nice is that you can turn the service on and off on a weekly basis.

We will keep you posted on our adventures with Blue Apron on our Instagram feed HERE.

To join in on the action, our first 50 readers get two free meals with their first Blue Apron Box – redeem the offer HERE.

Happy cooking! Please feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments!

The Crazy Creole Mommy Shares Her Top Toddler Nutrition Tips!

Brooke

Summer is a time when we’re on the go more than ever. And while hot dogs and ice-cream are fun, they can’t sustain or strengthen us or our littles! Well today we are stoked because Brooke Abbott from The Crazy Creole Mommy Chronicles is here to share her best tips on how to keep your kids eating healthy, even in the more challenging situations! Brooke knows a lot about overcoming obstacles big and small, she’s a single mom conquering an autoimmune disease, all with a healthy and humorous attitude!

Brooke, how can we keep our kiddos eating right when we are constantly on the go? Prep. Prep is the key to life. Prep snacks. You can cut up grapes, carrots and zucchini sticks and place them in a reusable food pouch. I love doing that with hummus that come in single packs.

What about when they’re at Grandma’s or with a babysitter? I love using glass containers with different colored tops. Everyone in the family gets a color! That way dad’s lunch doesn’t get mixed up with mom’s lunch. And grandma will always know where your LO’s lunch is. For me, I wanted to make it easier on everyone. So pre-made food in a designated color container ready to be heated up, was the perfect solution.

How can we not lose our minds playing short order cook when hosting a dinner party where littles are invited? So glad you asked! This is the very reason I creates the dinner party series. Don’t worry about making completely seperate meals for everyone. Create ONE menu and then modify it for all of your guests. Perhaps for the toddlers, you may roast the veggies a little longer or don’t add salt. Less mess and less stress!

Thank you Brooke! For more info, tips, and adventures, follow Brooke at crazycreolemommy.com!

Growing with Little Duck Organics!

Mighty Oats

We make it our job to keep you up to date on the best healthy products we discover as our toddlers eat, explore, and grow their way through each day.

Our favorite newbie is Mighty Oats instant cereal by Little Duck Organics. It’s part breakfast, part nature activity. Yup, a two in one. We’ll explain…

First, there are three adorable cups of instant, organic cereal that you simply add hot water to. Portable, delicious, and EASY. The cereal cups are a mix of whole oat flakes, super grains like amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, and more. Plus they’re full of blueberries and cinnamon. Kiddos 4 months and up can enjoy.

Next, the box that contains it all is made of carrot seeds! You soak the box in water for one hour, plant it in your garden, then water it daily to grow your very own carrots. How cool is that? A nutritious breakfast that will keep your tot full (and a gardening activity to keep them busy!) until lunch.

We love teaching kids about nature and nutrition. They’re naturally curious about the world around them and getting them involved in growing their own food will make them healthy eaters for life. …Now if only Little Duck could get them napping as fabulously as they’re snacking.

Getting Toddlers To Try New Foods!

Getting toddlers to try new foods is a superhero task! But we are here to help you get your tot tasting a variety of nibbles in no time flat. Read on for our best, tasty tips!

Try and try again. Toddlers take quite a few times to get used to a new texture or taste. Try every day for two weeks straight and eventually, an odd food will start to become familiar and less intimidating to them.

Display it in a new way! Chunks of apple may not be a hit, but some littles will love apple slices, or a peeled apple whole, or even applesauce. And never underestimate the power of a funny shaped cookie cutter to make foods seem more enticing!

Talk it up. Before trying a raw carrot stick, build up the anticipation. i.e.: What color is that cute carrot? Is it hard or soft? I think that baby carrot is going to make a crunch sound when you bite into it! Do you?

Offer more than one newbie at a time. Play with offering two new foods on a dish in the same meal. As long as you also offer a side you know he loves, having two new options is great because you don’t know which newbie he will be drawn to.

Enlist a sous chef. Getting kiddos involved in picking and prepping food will definitely lead them to wanting to try the new dish they’ve helped create!

Sauce it up. Broccoli may become appealing when dipped in a favorite hummus or mixed in to the old standby, mac and cheese. A favorite sauce can make all the difference when first introducing something new.

Pair similar foods together. If your little nugget loves cauliflower, mix in a bit of broccoli with it. Pair nectarines with fuzzy peaches. Similar textures and flavors make new foods less scary.

Be an example. Kids want what we eat! So offer your tot a taste off your plate and the odds are stacked in your favor that she’ll want to try it too!

Take turns feeding one another. It may sound silly, but practice being the feeder and the one being fed. Kids usually get such a kick out of this that they’re willing to try a food out of their comfort zone to keep the game going!

Remember what you can control and what you can’t. You can choose what foods are offered to your little. But you can’t really control how much he eats. Pick your battles knowing that this too is temporary.

Be patient! Toddlers asserting their opinion and will is a crucial part of development. And though it may make meal time a bit tricky right now, that same independence and strong opinion will be to their advantage later in life!

 

Dining Out With Your Little!

Having a toddler in tow doesn’t mean your social life has to end! Here are some quick tips for surviving DINING OUT WITH YOUR LITTLE!

Get to know the most kid-friendly restaurants in your area. Local websites like  tastertotsla.com here in SoCal have helped us. Yelp can help too. Though nothing is as valuable as a recommendation from another mom!

Feed your babe before you leave the house. This way you can focus on your own food when the time is right. And if she wants to taste new things at the restaurant, great. If not, she’ll still be content with a full belly.

Arrive early. It’s a smart way to beat the dinner rush! And it also gives you time to get situated and get acquainted with your server. Friendliness goes a long way!

Keep your visit short, but your diaper bag full. Save those tasting menus for another trip, but be prepared with extra diapers and a change of clothes just in case.

Bring some simple distractions like a favorite book, stamps, or removable stickers. Just make sure they are easy to clean up and quiet activities. Work those kiddo’s fine motor skills while you wait for your food!

Have realistic expectations. Kids are not mini adults. And while we can challenge them, we have to adjust our expectations accordingly. Pick your battles and praise all appropriate behavior.

Be prepared to exit quickly. Worse case scenario, if your little has a meltdown, be seated by the door for a quick escape route so that there is minimal disturbance to the other customers.

Messy Mondays!

Can we even put the words “toddler” and “manners” in the same sentence without making you burst into a fit of giggles?

Wiggle worms have a hard enough time sitting still, never mind remembering to use their forks. So sometimes the most effective way to teach a toddler table manners is to take a day off! Try your hand at it this “Messy Monday!”

– Spread your picnic blanket on the kitchen floor and get ready to have some foodie fun! Playing on the floor is an important step since it shows toddlers the physical difference between how we act at the table versus when we are playing down low.

– Eat everything with your hands, no utensils allowed. Or better yet, try your hands behind your back and eat just with your mouth! Foods like pudding and pasta noodles work best when trying to slurp up your super silly supper!

– For an added twist, serve the unexpected! Why not have pancakes for dinner? Or spaghetti for breakfast? No rules apply when you are making the most of your family’s Messy Monday!