food

Spinach Tortilla Chip Snacks

Spinach Tortilla Chips

I actually thought of this by accident but it turned out to be an awesome new snack idea that is really easy to make! It started with me making him tortilla sandwich rolls the other day. I was using these tortilla shells from the bakery section and they are huge! So for him I of course just needed to use a small portion of it. I didn’t want to waste the rest so I got the idea to try making tortilla chips since I have never tried it yet before anyway! So…why not cut them into cute, fun little shapes and make them kid friendly! A new option for a quick grab snack!

Chips are not always the healthiest of options so I wanted to make these at least “healthier” if possible. So I decided to use avocado oil and just a very small amount of salt. I would like to try these with coconut oil as well, I’m not sure how they would turn out or if they would be much different at all.

Spinach Tortilla Chips

Spinach Tortilla Chips

 

Spinach Tortilla Chips

Spinach Tortilla Chips

How I made them:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut tortilla shells using mini cookie cutters. If you wanted to just make regular chips, just cut them into triangles. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and brush both sides with avocado oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes.

Spinach Tortilla Chips

That’s it!

See what I mean?! Super easy! I literally did this while Sawyer was in his high chair and on the brink of whining for his lunch. So if I can get it done before that, that’s really saying something 😉

I think these are really fun and Sawyer loved them!

Enjoy!

 

Spinach Tortilla Chips

Whippersnappers

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The Art of Hiding Vegetables in Kid’s Food

The Art of Hiding Vegetables

My son is actually a surprisingly good eater for being 11 months old. However, he has become more and more questioning when it comes to vegetables lately. I think the most frustrating thing is that one day he will LOVE peas! Love them! Eat them like blueberries (his current favorite!)! And then the next day completely refuses peas. Not only spit them out, but shakes his head back and forth crazily until they fling out of his mouth. Which he thinks is so funny by the way. For being only 11 months old this child is smart and I mean smart! He will take a pea and pretend to put it to his mouth with his eyes on me the whole time. Then slowly reach back and drop the pea down his shirt.

So yes, that’s what I have been dealing with. While it usually just makes me laugh I’ve also realized that I really need to get some vegetables in his diet more regularly instead of just when he feels like he is in the mood for them. With some experimentation I have come up with some ways to get veggies into my little guy’s diet without him even noticing!

 

Here are some ideas for hiding vegetables into some other favorite foods:

 

Veggie Baby Cereal

This one is obviously just for babies rather than toddlers or older children. But for those babies still eating baby cereal, this is an awesome way to add some veggies. Simply prepare the baby cereal as directed and then add some veggie puree! For some homemade baby food ideas check out my baby food puree page HERE.

There are certain things like carrots or squash that my son used to love but now absolutely will not eat it. So I will add it to his cereal in the morning and he gobbles it right up. I also like to mix in fruit purees a lot of the time in his cereal but when he is needing some more veggies or to just mix things up the veggies are great too.

Some good veggie purees to add to baby cereal are:

-carrots

-pea/spinach

-broccoli/kale

-sweet potato

-asparagus

 

Pea-Spinach Macaroni & Cheese

Pea-Spinach Macaroni & Cheese

Veggie Macaroni & Cheese

I like to make a very simple macaroni and cheese using velveeta and it is super simple and quick to whip up on a moments notice. The only thing is that macaroni and cheese is not really the healthiest option. So I figured I would try adding some veggies to make a really yummy food healthy too! What I didn’t expect was for it to actually taste so great! For my first time trying this for my son this is what I made:

Pea – Spinach Macaroni & Cheese

-pea/spinach puree

-elbow macaroni

-1 Tbsp coconut oil

-velveeta cheese

 

To make the pea/spinach puree, steam desired amount of peas (I used frozen this time) for 20 minutes. Add a handful of spinach and steam for about 10 more minutes. Rinse after steaming and let it cool for a bit. Add it all to the blender and blend well. Add water to smooth out if needed. You can make as much as you want. I like to make veggie purees in bulk and freeze the extra in glass jars.

Cook elbow macaroni as directed. Drain macaroni and put it back in the pan and back on the stove on a lower heat. Add desired amount of velvet cheese (depends on how much cheese you like), 1 Tbsp coconut oil and about 4oz of pea/spinach puree (I had frozen my puree into 4oz jars). Let warm until cheese and everything is all melted together and stir well.

That’s it! It was so good! I’m not even kidding, I was even sitting there eating it! My son devoured this without even giving a thought as to there being peas and spinach in this!

You could use other veggie purees too. Broccoli puree or butternut squash puree would work especially nicely. Again, you could check my baby food purees page for recipe ideas.

 

Spinach - Grilled Cheese

 

Spinach - Grilled Cheese

Spinach Grilled Cheese

This one is pretty self explanatory. My son loves grilled cheese sandwiches so one day I just tried adding some spinach to it and he didn’t even seem to notice. This goes for other sandwiches as well such as deli meat sanwhiches, tuna or paninis.

 

Oranges & Greens Smoothie

Blueberry-Banana & Greens Smoothie

Fruit & Greens Smoothies

Smoothies are the perfect way to get some greens into their diet without them even noticing! I even do this myself! I am not a super huge fan or spinach or kale but I add them to almost every smoothie I make because you can’t even taste it and yet it adds so much nutrients!

HERE is a recipe for my Oranges & Greens baby smoothie.

HERE is another great baby smoothie recipe – Blueberry/Banana & Greens.

 

I hope these ideas help you as much as they helped me!

ENJOY!

 

Whippersnappers

 

Sandwich Ideas for Kids

Sandwich Options

Well, I think it is safe to say that Sawyer is officially done with purees. He refuses almost all of them now and wants his big boy food. He is only 10 months and it amazes me the foods that he is eating already! I feel kind of sad about it but it is also fun to whip up new and fun lunches each day and not always just doing purees. I do keep a few around though to mix in with his cereal in the mornings since he is still eating baby cereal pretty often. So I will mix in a pureed fruit or veggie into his cereal.

So…my son’s new thing lately is LOVING something one day, and throwing it on the floor the next with a look of complete disgust. That can be a bit frustrating and it has taken a bit of trial and error lately. LOTS of error 😛 But…lots of success too, and on things that I actually didn’t expect him to be to fond of like quinoa!

Just last night he figured out that he could take a piece of food, reach behind him and drop it down his shirt. So that’s been real interesting! Usually most kinds of sandwiches he will gobble right up so here are a few things that we have tried.

Avocado-Cheddar Sandwich

Avocado-Cheddar Cheese Sandwich

Simply mash however much avocado you would like to use and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. This one was really good and would be even better on toasted bread!

 

Banana-Almond Butter Sandwich

Almond Butter-Banana Sandwich

I used mashed banana and almond butter for this and my son absolutely loved it! It contains two of his absolute favorites: bananas & almond butter! I make this a lot with peanut butter too, I like to switch it up!

The mushy lump of stuff on the plate is what I like to call Banavocado 😛 Rest of the mashed up banana and some mashed avocado. Doesn’t look all too great but for some reason my son will not eat plain slices of avocado at this point.

 

Raisin Puree

Raisin Puree-Almond Butter Sandwich

I made a raisin puree by boiling a handful of raisins for about 5 minutes and blending them in the blender with some water. You wouldn’t even need to boil them if you don’t want but they blended a bit easier that way.

 

Tuna-Cream Cheese Sandwich

Tuna-Cream Cheese Sandwich

I just used a package of plain tuna and some cream cheese. Took Sawyer a bit to get used to the tuna but ended up eating quite a bit of it!

 

 

Some other options:

-Plain peanut butter

-Peanut butter & jelly

-Grilled cheese

-Chicken, cheese & tomato quesadillas

-Ham & cheese panini

 

Just to name a few!

My Little Guy

Whippersnappers

 

 

 

 

What Kind of Baby Food Do You Make?

babyfood2After posting a variety of ideas and recipes lately on making your own homemade baby food, I wondered…what kinds of ideas do you have?

 

Any good recipe ideas?

Things that work well together, things that don’t?

Tips?

Funny stories of feeding your baby?

 

Share your ideas! I love getting ideas and tips from others 🙂

mango-avocado-kale

My son (he is almost 10 months already!) has branched out and it starting to eat a lot more foods of different textures and even eating pieces of food that my husband and I are eating. It is becoming more and more fun now that he is not just simply eating purees. He is starting to eat sandwiches (given in bites), green beans, rice, noodles and other cooked veggies. It also makes things sooo much easier when trying to go out to eat at a restaurant. He keeps much more occupied when we can feed him some things that we are eating as well. The other day my husband let him try lemon…ooooh man did he make quite the sour face!! To my surprise, he wasn’t upset though. In fact, he kept leaning in for more! But would make the same head-shaking sour face every time and then smile!

 

Again, I’d love to hear any of your stories or ideas for homemade baby food! Comment!

 

 

Whippersnappers

Blueberry-Raspberry Baby Puree

Blueberry-Raspberry Baby Food

Here’s how to make this super simple fresh berry fruit puree for your baby!

 

What you’ll need:

-1 container of fresh blueberries

-1 container of fresh raspberries

 

Make sure to rinse both berries well first. Cook all berries together in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water and add them to the blender. The berries have enough of their own juice that you shouldn’t need to add any extra liquid. If it is too thick just add a bit of water. This made about 5 servings of fruit for me. Of course, that’s by using the itty bitty yet super duper expensive containers from the grocery store. If you got them in larger bulk while they are in season somewhere like the farmer’s market, then you could probably make a lot more for cheaper!

Blueberry-Raspberry Baby Food

That’s it! See what I mean? Very simple! My 9 month old absolutely loved this combination mixed in with his cereal in the mornings. Hope your baby enjoys this as well!

 

Whippersnappers

 

 

The GRINCH! Red Velvet-Cheesecake Cupcakes

Grinch Red Velvet Cupcakes

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things about this time of year is Christmas candy and allllllll kinds of Christmas themed desserts. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a major, and I mean, MAJOR sweet tooth! So I decided I needed to get things moving along in the dessert-making department! Better yet…cupcakes! Who doesn’t like cupcakes?! I am very thankful that my husband works with a ton of guys who can take all of the extras off my hands. I am always baking up new things and sending them off to work with him. If it weren’t for that, I would probably have to stop baking because I would eat it all myself! It doesn’t matter if I hide it away in a container, wrap it up and freeze it…doesn’t matter. I WILL know that it is there and ultimately decide that I have to have it.

I’m not really all too great at actually coming up with dessert recipes myself so I actually combined a couple of ideas that I found from a couple of other talented people! I saw the most amazing Grinch cupcakes on pinterest and wanted to do something similar. The original cupcakes came from Sugar Swings blog, to check out their recipe click here. They did theirs with peppermint, which is also an amazing idea! Also, check out the heart they added in the middle!!

I decided to go a different route with mine with…red velvet! Doesn’t get much better than that right? Wrong! Add cheesecake and cream cheese icing and you have perfection!

I used a cheesecake filled red velvet cupcake recipe from Sweet Little Detail’s blog. Check out the recipe they used for their Surprise Red Velvet Cupcakes.

I have been wanting to make cupcakes for awhile now and red velvet is my favorite! I wanted to add some Christmas to them so why not the Grinch?! My son “helped” me with these cupcakes so it was very interesting but fun! Since he is on the move these days and crawling all over the place, it is nearly impossible to do any baking anymore. Thank goodness for the amazing invention of the front carrier! Well…my back doesn’t thank me, but at least I can get some stuff done and have my little one nice and content! Worth it 😉

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My little helper…

Here’s how I did them:

First, make the cheesecake filling to set aside so that it is ready.

Filling:

1 – 8oz pack of cream cheese

1 egg

1/3 Cup sugar

About 1/2 a bag of white chocolate chips (or however many you prefer!)

Blend the cream cheese, egg and sugar in a bowl until very smooth, then stir in the white chocolate chips. Set this aside until later.

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes: *To make sure to give credit where credit is due, this cake recipe is Bakerella’s Red Velvet Cake recipe. I originally found it through Sweet Little Detail’s blog 🙂

2 1/2 Cups flour

2 Cups sugar

1Tbsp cocoa

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 1/2 Cups oil

1 Cup buttermilk

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

2 oz red food coloring (I used a red velvet emulsion, which worked great! Use less if using this instead of regular food coloring)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners or spray with nonstick spray.

Whisk eggs in a bowl, add remaining liquid ingredients, mix and set aside. Mix all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fill pan with batter about 2/3 full and then top with a spoonful of the cheesecake mixture. I filled mine very full and they turned out great! I pushed my spoonful of cheesecake mixture down into the batter a bit with a knife.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Now for the frosting! I usually just guesstimate the amounts until I get the consistency I want but the amounts I used this time for this frosting turned out amazing! I was disappointed that I didn’t have much leftover to devour but it is probably for the best!

 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 – 8oz pack of cream cheese

1/4 Cup butter (half stick)

4 Cups powdered sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla

 

Beat cream cheese and butter well until creamy. Add vanilla. Add powdered sugar little by little until you get the consistency that you want. I then added green food coloring to make my Grinch cupcakes! But you could leave it white or do whatever you so choose to fit whatever theme you are trying to do.

Grinch Red Velvet Cupcakes

 

Grinch Red Velvet Cupcakes

 

Grinch Red Velvet Cupcakes

…and Ta Da!! Those are my Cheesecake Red Velvet Grinch cupcakes! I just iced them thick with frosting, added edible eyes and made white chocolate santa hats! You could do any design you want this way. Just melt white chocolate in the microwave and add a bit of food coloring to it. I then piped it onto wax paper in the shape of santa hats and put it in the freezer to set.

My son had a lot of fun “helping” me with these cupcakes! Aka putting his hands in the BRIGHT red batter without me realizing it and getting it everywhere! 😛 He sure has fun watching me though and that’s all that matters.

Have fun with your holiday baking!

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 Whippersnappers

Tips to Making Homemade Baby Food

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I’ve been making all homemade baby food for a few months now. I started making homemade baby food since my son turned 6 months (He will be 9 months this Wednesday…wow where does the time go, right?!). I love it for many reasons. First of all, my son loves it! I think that is first and foremost the most important thing right there. Have you ever smelled or tasted baby food from a jar? Most of them are pretty disgusting! Nothing against anyone who uses jarred baby food…I just prefer this method myself. Secondly…it’s way cheaper, and I mean WAY! Okay, there may be a few exceptions here, such as the mega expensive and out-of-season blueberries I have been buying but that is besides the point 😛 Take for example, I just bought a huge butternut squash the other day for well under $2 (I can’t remember exactly). And it made 9 servings of baby food! Considering that most baby food jars or especially the food pouches cost over $1 as it is, this is saving a lot of money. Another reason to give you motivation for making your baby’s food homemade is that it is much more fresh! They are trying to find more ways to make jarred baby food more natural such as the Beech Nut brands that say there are no additives but I don’t think that it gets any healthier or more nutritious than making it yourself homemade. Only then can you know for sure what exactly is in your baby’s food. My last main reason for making my son’s food homemade is that I enjoy it! I would have a whole lot less motivation to do it if I dreaded it every time I had to make a new batch of food. I love making it and coming up with new recipes to try for him, so it is really easy to make it fun too!

Are you thinking of trying to make your own baby food? Here are some tips I can give you that I have learned over the last few months that can hopefully make things a little bit easier. Like I said, I have been doing this for a few months so I am by no means any sort of expert in this but I can at least share what I know and hope that it helps! Not to mention, you really don’t have to be an expert to make your own baby food…it is that easy!

 

First Starting Out – Around 6 months (You can follow what your pediatrician suggests, but my son’s suggested foods at 6 months and he had started cereal at 4 months)

  • Start out with fruits and veggies that will be easy on your baby’s tummy such as:
    • avocado
    • banana
    • green beans
    • peas
    • carrots
    • squash
    • sweet potato
    • apples
    • peaches
    • pears
  • At first only make single purees like these and wait until your baby has tried a variety before mixing them.
  • Only introduce one fruit or veggie at a time and give the same one to them for at least three days. This is to make sure they have no allergies to that particular food.
  • Bananas are the EASIEST food to give your baby and perfect for on the go. You can simply mash it with a fork and it doesn’t have to be cooked. This is one of my easy go-to foods for my son.
  • Avocados can also simply be mashed with a fork. My son was funny about texture at first so I had to blend them, but I am now to the point where I can just mash them up along with a banana.
  • Your baby may not like the new texture of eating solids right away. If they don’t like a particular fruit or veggie, try giving it to them with a little bit of baby cereal on the spoon as well.
  • Don’t give up right away if your baby doesn’t like it! Sometimes it just takes awhile to get used to the new texture, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t like the taste. For example, my son haaaated green beans at first. He would eat everything else pretty well, but the green beans…nope! I will say, they were a grittier texture. I didn’t give up though, I continued to offer the green beans for a few days in a row, then offered a new veggie and then came back to the green beans again. He eventually got used to them and now loves his green beans!
  • You can add breastmilk when making a puree instead of water for added nutrients.

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After trying a variety of fruit and veggie purees – 7 to 9 months

  • You could now start making combinations of foods
  • Try adding spinach or kale to a veggie for added nutrients
  • Add some new fruits and veggies into your baby’s diet such as:
    • cantaloupe
    • potatoes
    • blueberries
    • mango
    • eggplant
    • papaya
    • asparagus
  • Some combinations that I have found to work really well are:
    • banana-avocado (my son’s favorite and SO easy to simply mash together with a fork!)
    • blueberry-pear
    • Green bean-kale
    • Kale-potato-peas
    • Spinach-sweet potato

Find more great combinations on my Homemade Baby Food page!!

baby food

 

As baby gets older they will start learning to pick things up and feed themselves. I started giving my son puffs at 6 months. It was a bit early for him but by 7 months he was picking them up and putting them in his mouth like a pro! Now he is starting to do that with more things and liking that he can feed himself. I will give him cut up bits of noodles, green beans, cooked carrots, melons and recently started with cheese (which he is not yet a fan of!). I’ve also started giving him yogurt and cottage cheese (make sure it is full fat, NOT the fat-free kinds) for snacks. Just remember that every baby is different and this is what worked for us. You can always talk to your child’s pediatrician to check with suggested ages to start a certain food.

Check out my Homemade Baby Food page for all kinds of recipes and how to prepare them! Whether you are just getting started or simply looking for tips, good luck to you and I hope that this helps if even in a small way!

 

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Whippersnappers

Celery-Spinach Baby Food Purée

Celery-Spinach Recipe

Celery - Spinach Baby Food

I have been making homemade baby food since my son turned 6 months old. I love making his food homemade and love coming up with new recipes and combinations to try! He has been starting to eat a lot more lately since he is almost 9 months old so I have been trying to make a variety of new foods for him. I will soon be starting him on meats so that will bring all kinds of new recipes! For now, here is a new veggie idea! I wasn’t really sure if he would go for the taste of celery but he gobbled it right up!

I would suggest starting this one around 8 months and up.

Celery - Spinach Baby Food

Celery - Spinach Baby Food

Use:

-1 whole bunch of Celery

-2 Cups spinach

-2 Tbsp Coconut oil

-1 Cup water for cooking

-1/4 – 1/2 Cup water or breastmilk for blending

 

How to prepare:

Wash celery off well. Chop into smaller pieces making sure to cut off the ends. Cook in skillet or saucepan on med-high with about 2 Tbsp of coconut oil. Make sure to stir well to coat the celery with the coconut oil. Let cook for about 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, add 1 cup water and lower heat. Cook for an additional 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

Steam spinach for about 10 minutes. You could instead blanch it by boiling in water for about 10 minutes and then putting it into ice water but I prefer to steam the spinach to preserve the nutrients.

Add both spinach and celery into the blender with about 1/4 Cup water and blend well. If it’s still chunky, add more water. You could also use breastmilk or formula.

This made 5 – 4oz jars for me and I put them in the freezer. Double or triple the recipe if you like making in bulk and freezing. This one was very easy and my son loved it!!

Celery - Spinach Baby Food