Lucky you...St. Patrick's Day is a gift. If your kiddo shies away from greens, take this opportunity (no matter how long you expect it to last) to get their buy in on green food. Some true crowd pleasers include:
Shamrock chips (of which you can also make quesadillas) from Spiced Blog. Tip: This is a good one to make with the kids.
Green mac n' cheese from Weelicious. Tip: This is a good one to make ahead; then, attach a funny leprechaun story to it (e.g., the broccoli are leprechaun trees and the pees are leprechaun rocks).
Author: Kari Johnson
"I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?” If you don't hear this at least once a day, then you more than likely do not have a toddler residing in your home (or they have an all access pass to the refrigerator, which is not recommended).
The "snack battle" is real, because oftentimes as caregivers, we have to decipher between boredom and actual hunger. A few tips for healthy snacking:
Following a few general rules helps cut down on potential frustration later on. For example, I enjoy cooking dinner for my family, but it takes time and planning to get the job done. With the effort that goes into it, I want my 5-year-old twins to actually eat what I cook for dinner. If snacks consume their afternoon, dinner becomes a hopeless cause.
My solution? On Sundays we have snack prep day as a family. We end up with healthy snacks that are ready for the week, and we also enjoyed a little quality time together. This plan also helps decrease needless snacking that can create unhealthy eating patterns for years to come.
Here are a few “nut free” ideas for the parents out there packing snacks for school as well!
Prepackaged Refrigerated Snacks:
Prepackaged Freezable Snacks Recipes:
Apple Carrot Muffins
½ cup oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup honey
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
3 large eggs and 1 large egg white
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
Preheat oven to 350oF. Whisk eggs, honey and apple sauce together. Mix all dry ingredients together. Add dry with wet. Fold in zucchini and carrots. Fill cupcake holders ¾ of the way. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Peach oatmeal cookies
1 cup oats
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp baking powder2 cup
2 Tbsp coconut oil or canola oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup honey
½ cup diced peaches
Whisk oil, egg, and extract together. In a separate bowl add all dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients until incorporated. Fold in peaches. Chill for at least 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 330oF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon cookie dough into 15 cookies and bake for 11-14 minutes. Cool on pan for 10 minutes.
Guest Blogger: Kari Johnson
If you're finding yourself at a crossroads to buy or make your own baby food, here are a few helpful tips to help you decide!
Benefits of homemade baby food:
What about the time it takes to make baby food?
The time is takes to make baby food is both a pro and a con. If you have a blender and a peach that is just a little too soft, you could have fresh food in a matter of seconds. On the other hand, if you don't have a few staples ready to go or if your baby's needs are a bit more specific, then you may be spending a bit more time in the kitchen.
So...exactly what do you need to make baby food?
A steamer or a stove top steaming insert for your pot, a blender, and containers with a tight seal for refrigerator and freezer storage.
Recommended starting age is at 6 months for a variety of pureed and mashed foods to be introduced.
Meatless Monday is a global campaign with the goal of reducing meat consumption by 15% to decrease stress on our bodies and the planet.
I like Meatless Mondays for a variety of reasons. For one, I am reminded to include beans and other legumes into my weekly menu. I especially like leveraging organic canned beans on Mondays because it's a stress-free way of easing back into the work week. If you are not regularly including legumes in your meal planning, you are missing out!
Plant-based sources of protein, like beans, have my family eating more fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium. In addition, when we're consuming plant-based sources of protein we are NOT consuming proteins high in trans and/or saturated fats (e.g., steaks).
One other huge benefit of Meatless Monday is that my family learns to "deal" with not having their favorite meals every night. We all try new things together. This doesn't mean that we all like the new things we try. In fact, my husband is on the same learning trajectory as my toddler in terms of green vegetables. They are learning to broaden their tastes together...how sweet.
Here are a few of my favorite Meatless Monday recipes:
1. Meatless Monday. "Why Meatless?" Retrieved from http://www.meatlessmonday.com/about-us/why-meatless
2. Meatless Monday. "About Us". Retrievefd from http://www.meatlessmonday.com/about-us/
My toddler didn't exactly ask me like this...it was more like, "Mom, I eat this?" So long as the rind is not man made, then it's usually edible. Simply put, you don't want to eat rinds that are made of wax, plastic, paper or cloth. These materials are actually used in replace of a true rind.
Also, if you find that a natural rind is particularly hard you might use it to flavor your dishes rather than eat it as a stand alone item. One example here is using parmesan rinds to flavor soups.
Yoav Perry, an artisan cheesemaker and blogger, provides somewhat of a list of cheese rinds to either avoid or eat.
Overly-tough, dry and hard rinds include:
One challenge I hear from fellow moms is that they repeatedly find themselves throwing out produce.
First, acknowledging food preferences is okay. This doesn't mean you don't ask your family to try new things, but if they all hate asparagus there are plenty of equally healthy alternatives.
Second, storage is a big deal! Check out a produce storage guide if you need a refresher. Besides proper storage techniques, there are other preparation tricks that can increase consumption.
If you still find yourself with items that are just about past their prime, below is one example of how I make sure they don't go to waste.
I had leftover asparagus from dinner last night. I also had a ton of tomato, onion and red pepper from a past weekend's BBQ.
Step 1: Spray the bottom of the foil pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Step 2: Dice leftover veggies and throw directly into bottom of pan.
Step 3: I had extra cheese from a HelloFresh box I had received. I topped the veggies with that.
Step 4: I whisked together five eggs and 1/4 cup milk together. I usually keep a carton of organic egg whites on hand for times like these. A 50/50 mixture of regular eggs to egg whites producing an exceptionally great result.
Step 5: I poured the egg right over the top of the veggies and cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
Step 6: Cover first with cling wrap, then with foil.
Step 7: I add a directions label and freeze as is! You can cook it either frozen or thawed. I like to thaw the day before in the refrigerator.
(Cooking instructions on the label read: 350 degrees for 40 min. covered with foil only.)
Registered Dietitian, Austinite, Mom with a 2-yr old, Dog lover