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Strawberry Waffles with Rhubarb Compote

These waffles have a secret.

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They are tinted a little pink/red, but not from the strawberries.  They get a little extra bright pink hue from… beet juice!

When toasted in the waffle iron, they turned more brown than I thought they would, but it’s still a fun addition if you have beets and a juicer. 😉 And infinitely more healthy than red food coloring!

These are so tasty, even my sister, who has an aversion to beets would like them!  Ok, the beet thing might be the fault of her brother-in-law (my husband). While we were at a party one time, she commented about how she didn’t like beets, so my husband told her he would give her $10 to eat some of the pickled beets that were out.  She tried and couldn’t finish it, and now her hate of beets is even stronger.  But really, you can’t taste it AT ALL in these waffles!

And you can’t forget about the rhubarb compote! It’s just rhubarb boiled in syrup, and although it’s not very photogenic, it sure is delicious!  Rhubarb, of course, pairs so well with anything strawberries!

Another great thing about this recipe is that it makes a huge batch.  We end up having a ton to freeze, and then it’s so easy to pop them in the toaster oven for quick and easy breakfasts or snacks.  We’ve been having them as the “bread” for egg sandwiches and it’s a very filling breakfast!

Hope you make these soon, with or without the beet juice, and let me know what you think!

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Strawberry Waffles with Rhubarb Compote
 
Author:
 
These pink waffles get their color from strawberries, and secret ingredient beet juice. Heartier than typical waffles, these will keep you full! Delicious sweet flavor from the bananas and strawberries, and the rhubarb compote pairs with them perfectly as a decadent topping!
Ingredients
Compote:
  • 2 Stalks Rhubarb
  • ¾ Cup Maple Syrup
Waffles:
  • 4 Cups Oat Flour
  • 4 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Nut Milk
  • 3 Large Bananas, Mashed
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, Softened
  • Juice of 1 Beet, optional
  • 12 Ounces Strawberries, Sliced or Chopped
Instructions
Compote:
  1. Rinse rhubarb and chop into ½" chunks.
  2. Combine rhubarb and syrup in a small saucepan.
  3. Simmer on low until rhubarb is soft and mixture has thickened (~10-15 minutes)
Waffles:
  1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients, set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl mash bananas with a fork or use an electric hand mixer. I like using the mixer because it will help whip in some air when everything is mixed together, this helps the batter stay fluffy. Add remaining wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and blend well. Mix thoroughly and quickly, the baking powder will effervesce and help the mixture rise. Once mixed quickly fold in the strawberries and let mixture rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Ladle batter onto a hot greased waffle maker, let cook until golden brown, enjoy!

 

I’d love to hear from you!  Do you “sneak” healthier ingredients into your recipes? Share with me in the comments below!

 

Unbeatable Beet Juice

Beets are one of the foods that have really grown on me!  I don’t think I had beets at all while growing up.  And these are one of the foods that we didn’t try to grow this year, in our garden.  So, when I saw some gorgeous beets and beet greens (you better not be throwing the greens away! You can sautee, use them in a soup, juice them, or put them in your green smoothie!) at the farmer’s market, I had to scoop some up!

One of my favorite way to eat beets is roasted with a little olive oil and salt until crispy, and they are like chips!  The trick with that is getting them really thin.  Another delicious way to include them in your diet is juicing them!  I find beets go really well with carrots, and in this recipe I added some lemon (with peel!), green apple, and ginger, which all help to tone down the really earthy flavor that the beet has.

This tastes so good, approved by the whole family.  The one caveat is, beet juice stains like crazy!  I felt like I had to stand over my 2 year old the whole time she was drinking it.

 

beet juice

Hope this inspires you to get our your juicer if it’s away in storage.  You won’t be sorry!

(What juicer do I have? This one. The best juicer for YOU, though? The one you’re going to use!)

 

Unbeatable Beet Juice
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium beet
  • 1-2 lbs carrots
  • 1 green apple
  • ½ inch knob of ginger
  • ½ lemon, with peel
Instructions
  1. Wash and prep all ingredients.
  2. Run through a juicer.
  3. Strain (optional), but I prefer this, for a really smooth juice.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Want more juice recipes?

Check out these ones:

Go-To Green Juice

Cucumber Mint Melon Juice

Sweet Potato Sunrise

What about you? Are beets a part of your diet? What’s your favorite way to prepare? Leave me a comment!

 

Black Raspberry Chia Jam

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Berries, berries, berries!  What a great time of year when berries are ripe off the bush!  We picked strawberries from a local place a couple of weeks ago, and I had hopes of trying to make a strawberry chia jam, but we ended up eating them all, they were just too good!  The owner of the farm told me that she had a truck driver that was bringing in strawberries from California for the big chain grocery stores, but he stopped and picked and ate HER berries, because there is just no comparison to the sweetness when they are picked at their peak.  Plus, you’re supporting local!

Our strawberries that we planted didn’t do so well, the bed is now taken over with weeds and we are in a bit of a drought right now, which doesn’t help either!  It’s our first year doing this much gardening though, so we figure everything won’t be perfect, we kind of just threw tons of plants in the ground and are experimenting with what works and what doesn’t, and will make changes for next year!

The raspberries and blackberries (technically ours are black raspberries I think), are amazing!  I can’t take credit for them, unfortunately. 😉 They are established plants and there is a bountiful supply of fruit coming off of them. It does take a bit of work going through the prickers, but it is worth it! Caterina loves going out there with me everyday and picking them off the vine. I think she eats more picking them herself than she would if she had a bowl.  I love that she’s learning where food comes from, too.  This is missing for a lot of kids… Remember Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution?  Check out this clip: Potato or Tomato?

The previous home owner said it was “more berries than you can eat.”  With our family, that isn’t the case!  We aren’t having any problem eating them.  When I got a decent haul, I hid them from Caterina 😉 and decided to try for a blog-worthy chia seed jam recipe.  Kevin and I have been making chia jam for a couple of years now, just winging it after trying another blogger’s recipe once (I can’t even remember which one anymore!)  I love that you can control the amount of sweetener, and use a natural one like maple syrup, and you don’t have to go through the whole canning process.  Maybe next year we will try canning, but this makes a small jar and will stay good for up to two weeks, although I think we always go through it faster than that! You could also double it and freeze one jar.

berries

This is just a great way to get more chia seeds in your diet, too!  I’ve talked in this post about how they are a superfood, and I make a habit of adding them to my own diet in smoothies, on oatmeal, in raw cereal, and of course chia pudding.  If you haven’t tried them yet, I don’t think you can go wrong with this simple black raspberry chia jam!  My mom, who made and canned her own jam for years, tried my version and loved it!

black raspberry chia jam 1

Black Raspberry Chia Jam
 
Author:
 
A lightly sweetened berry jam that "gels" due to chia seeds! Amazingly easy and simple, and much healthier than traditional jam or jelly.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups berries (I used a combination of raspberries and black raspberries)
  • Juice and zest from half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1½ tbsp. chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Rinse berries, removing and discarding any stems and leaves
  2. Place berries in small sauce pan, and heat on medium for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing a bit, if desired
  3. Add in lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup, and chia seeds, and stir again for about one minute.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool, jam will start to "gel" as the chia seeds absorb water.
  5. Transfer to a glass jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

I’d love to hear from you!  Do you make jam? What is your favorite way to enjoy berries? Leave me a comment, below!

 

 

 

 

 

No-Bake Superfood Brownies

I was really looking forward to trying to experiment with black bean brownies this week… until our air conditioner broke. What to do instead, since it was WAY too hot to turn on the oven? No-bake brownies!  And why are they “superfood?” Well, because I tried to pack as many superfoods in them as I could!

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What is a superfood? Well, the term “superfood” has no set scientific definition. Basically, I think of a superfood as something that really packs a nutrient-dense punch. The following brownie ingredients are what I’m considering superfoods:

  • Hemp Seeds

    • Contain all 21 known amino acids, including the 8 essential amino acids.
    • Contain a perfect balance of essential fatty acids or EFAs (which is helpful is replenishing EFAs in breastfeeding mothers!)
    • High protein (great protein source for vegans) and high fiber
  • Raw Cacao  (nibs and powder)
    • Most antioxidant-rich food in the world (make sure you get raw, not processed for the antioxidant benefits!)
    • Promotes the release of neurotransmitters like endorphins and serotonin (can you say mood booster?)
  • Chia Seeds
    • The richest natural source of omega-3
    • High energy food (prolonged, sustained release of energy)
    • Absorb 10 times their weight in liquid, so can help you stay hydrated
  • Spirulina
    • High protein- gram for gram, offers more (almost 3 times more) protein than steak
    • Increases your body’s oxygen levels
  • Goji Berries
    • High vitamin C – gram for gram, more than an orange
    • Have long been associated with longevity in China (and modern research confirms that certain oils in the berries increase your production of human growth hormone… no other plant has been shown to have this effect on hormones!)

The superfoods are great, obviously, but the other ingredients in these brownies aren’t half-bad, either. 😉 Walnuts, coconut, oats, dates, vanilla, salt and water.  Say what? No sugar?  Nope!  These are naturally sweetened with fruit. And you don’t even have to turn on your oven!

 

No-Bake Superfood Brownies
 
Author:
 
These brownies are a moist, rich, decadent treat. What's even better than that is that they are naturally sweetened with fruit, and contain no flour or butter. And it's no-bake, to boot!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ¾ cup coconut
  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup cacao powder*
  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tsp spirulina
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • ½ tsp salt
For topping: ½ cup dark chocolate wafers (or chips), 1-2 tbsp. goji berries, 1 tbsp. cacao nibs
Instructions
  1. In food processor, combine walnuts, coconut, hemp seeds, oats, and chia seeds until flour-like consistency.
  2. Add all other ingredients (except topping ingredients) and process until a thick dough has formed. (Scrape down sides as necessary).
  3. Press dough into an 8x8 glass baking dish until flat and smooth. Set aside.
  4. Melt chocolate in a double boiler until smooth. Spread over brownie base, and sprinkle with goji berries and cacao nibs.
  5. Store in refrigerator for up to a week, or the freezer for a couple of months.
Notes
*Raw cacao has many health benefits, whereas cocoa powder is stripped of 90% of its nutrients. If cocoa (not cacao) is all you have on hand, you can use that, but it just wouldn't be quite as healthy ;-)

 

no-bake superfood brownies 2

 

I’d love to hear from you! Do you include superfoods in your diet? What is your favorite no-bake treat?  Leave me a comment, below!

Lemon Dill White Bean Hummus

Is there anything better than raw veggies in the summer? What about having a great dip to serve with them!

lemon dill white bean hummus 1

This recipe is inspired by a local company, Ithaca Hummus. I had been making the same hummus flavors over and over, like roasted garlic, and roasted red pepper, which were delicious, but I was totally ready to try something new after I bought their Lemon & Dill Hummus. So fresh and different from my usuals! Plus, the dill in our garden was growing great, so I had to go for it!

I used white beans (instead of chickpeas) in this recipe, which I cooked from scratch, so I think that added another layer of flavor. I would not hesitate to use a can of Organic Great Northern Beans though, if that’s what I had on hand.  My version also has a toned-down lemon flavor, opposed to the really bright lemon flavor in the Ithaca Hummus, so feel free to increase the lemon juice if you are feeling that!

Any vegetables would go great as dippers, but I really liked the cucumbers with this. There is something so classic about cucumbers and dill together!

Really easy, too. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. You’ll be snacking in no time!

lemon dill white bean hummus 2

 

Lemon Dill White Bean Hummus
 
Author:
 
A fresh and bright hummus for your vegetables, with great lemon and dill flavors. Extra creaminess from the white beans as opposed to classic chickpea hummus. Pairs great with cucumbers, or any raw veggies! Happy dipping!
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup cooked white beans
  • 2 tbsp tahini (I used roasted, organic, salt-free)
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped dill
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp water
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Garnish with a couple of beans, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprig of dill.
  4. Enjoy!

 

I’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite hummus flavor? Leave me a comment!

Banana Crème Brûlée

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When my  husband and I were dating, one of our favorite desserts to get and share was crème brûlée.  When we got married, we even registered for a little crème brûlée kit. Do you know how many times we actually made it? Once.  We made it one time in the five years we’ve been married.

Now, with this recipe, that will be changing! It still has the ultra rich custard-y base with the layer of caramelized sugar on top, but without the heavy cream, eggs, and sugar in the traditional version.  It still uses a little white sugar on top to make the crust though. 😉 I tried it with coconut sugar, and it lit on fire… so just use organic cane sugar if you want the crackly sugar crust.

Besides being healthier, there is no question that this is easier to make.  No separating eggs, no whisking, no water baths, no baking… I daresay it will be easier to make than it is to type crème brûlée.

You can even make it with the help of your child as a Father’s Day present, which is what we plan on doing! Maybe not the blow-torch part though…

This makes 4 servings, but considering how rich it is, you could certainly do smaller portions to make 6.

Combine macadamia nuts, bananas, coconut cream*, vanilla, coconut oil, and salt in food processor or high speed blender. Process until smooth.

Pour the custard into four ramekins.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours, or overnight.

Sprinkle sugar on top of the custard, and shake it gently from side to side for even distribution. Use a kitchen blow torch to start caramelizing until it is lightly browned. Keep working until the sugar is evenly browned and has formed a hard shell.

If desired, place back in the fridge to cool for 30-45 minutes, because it is traditional for creme brûlée to be served cold.  I always want to break into it immediately, so opt to pop it in the fridge for just about 5 minutes for the sugar to set.

*(I scrape the cream from the top of a can of this brand of coconut milk).

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Banana Crème Brûlée
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
 
A vegan version of creme brûlée using ripe bananas as a sweetener. Divine rich custard with hard caramelized sugar topping, but without the use of heavy cream, eggs, and sugar!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted macadamia nuts*
  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • ⅓ cup coconut cream**
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • large pinch salt
  • organic cane sugar (for topping)***
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except sugar in a food processor or high speed blender.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Pour the custard into four ramekins.
  4. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, or overnight.
  5. Sprinkle sugar on top of the custard, and shake it gently from side to side for even distribution. Use a kitchen blow torch to start caramelizing until it is lightly browned. Keep working until the sugar is evenly browned and has formed a hard shell.
  6. If desired, place back in the fridge to cool for 30-45 minutes, because it is traditional for creme brûlée to be served cold. I always want to break into it immediately, so opt to pop it in the fridge for just about 5 minutes for the sugar to set.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
*I have tried making this with cashews, and they are a fine substitute if you don't have macadamia nuts
**I used a can of full fat coconut milk, and scraped the cream off of the top. (Trader Joe's makes coconut cream, but it has additional ingredients to preserve it, so I prefer to buy the full fat coconut milk in the can instead). You can save the rest of the can for another recipe or smoothies.
***Organic coconut sugar will not work here. I tried and lit it on fire. Learn from my mistake!!

 

Hope you love it!  And I’d love to hear from you!  Did you register for something that you had good intentions for, but never use? Do you have a father’s day treat recipe?  Share with me in the comments! 

DIY “Vitamin Water”

know I’m not the only one who used to think that VitaminWater was a healthy alternative to other beverages.  It was totally marketed as healthier, and even the name itself made it seem like a much better choice than a soda.  What was left out of the marketing claims was the massive amount of sugar (32 grams in one bottle!), which is more than the maximum amount of added sugar a woman should consume in a day (read more in this study).

Coca-cola (the parent company) was even sued by a nonprofit group, saying that the company made unwarranted health claims.  The company’s response? “No consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.” Yeah, for real.  Read more about that, here.

My days of drinking anything besides filtered water are long gone!  I do enjoy tea, kombucha, and freshly made juice, like this one. The majority of the time though, I’m just drinking good ol’ PLAIN water!  Do I always drink enough water, though? It’s not easy for me while I’m constantly looking over my very active climber of a toddler.  I might start a glass, and then find that she put some of her avocado in there and swirled it around and then you won’t find me finishing it! Or, she just wants to play with it and I put it out of reach, and consequently, forget about it!

My husband tends to be the same way, except he isn’t often satisfied with plain water, he always wants “drinks.” Water is so crucial to your wellbeing though, we both notice that our bodies don’t work at their best if we aren’t drinking enough. Something that has helped him drink more water is this gift my sister got us! Bubbly water = more fun than regular water.

Know what’s even MORE FUN? And more delicious?

Do It Yourself Vitamin Water!

It’s an easy way to up the health factor of your water.  If I’m drinking the water just a couple hours after I made it, I will eat the fruit too!  If I let it sit in the fridge to really infuse and let the flavors develop (and it’s been a day or two), I throw the fruit in the compost.

You can use almost any combination of fruit, veg, and herbs.  You tend to know what flavors may work together, like classic “spa water,” being cucumber and lemon infused water.  Feel free to remember back to the teas or storebought beverages you used to buy and use those as inspiration too.  I used to love Strawberry Kiwi Snapple (I’m sure now it would be way too sickly sweet for me to drink even more than a tiny sip!), so I made DIY Strawberry Kiwi Vitamin Water.

Because mint is growing like crazy throughout our garden and yard, I found that it goes with nearly everything:

  • Cucumber + lemon + mint
  • Pineapple + mint (One of my very favorites! So refreshing)
  • Berries + mint (any combination of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or all!)
  • Watermelon + mint

 

Fresh or frozen fruit? Doesn’t matter!  I just use what I have. Frozen organic berries tend to be cheaper than fresh unless it’s the peak of berry season here in Central New York.

Sliced or whole fruit? Once again this doesn’t matter too much! Obviously you will slice your citrus, but for berries, I throw them in whole if I’m using frozen, but slice them up if I’m using fresh.

What about an infuser water bottle? Sure, you could use one. I prefer just throwing everything in a mason jar.  If I want to travel on the go with my Vitamin Water, I will pour it into my favorite water bottle.

 

vitaminwater

Need more suggestions to get started? See the recipes for the infusions from the picture, below!

  • Mango Lime
  • Pineapple Mint
  • Basil Lemon
  • Strawberry Kiwi
  • Raspberry Lemon and Rosemary

Instructions:

Wash and slice produce.
Combine ingredients in a large glass bottle.
Fill bottle with filtered water, agitate, and let sit at least 5 min and up to 48 hours in the fridge. For citrus peel containing water avoid soaking for more than 24 hours as the peel can make the water taste bitter.

 

Do you drink enough water? What are some of your tips and tricks to stay hydrated? Tell me about it in the comments section!

 

Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

Healthy

My toddler is all about snacks! While she does sit down at the table for meals with us, some days I think she eats more in snacks than she does at meal times. Because we are giving her real, whole foods, I don’t limit her when she asks for food.

My go-to is just plain fruit and veggies.

pears

For vegetables, right now she loves slices of bell pepper.  She used to love cherry tomatoes cut in half (right now, she doesn’t), and cucumbers. She also loves gnawing on carrot and celery sticks, which I am comfortable giving her because she has so many teeth and has never choked (I think in part due to the way we introduced solid foods). We also went through a phase where she loved frozen peas!  What is simpler than getting a bag out of the freezer and pouring some peas in a cup?

frozen peas

Have a kiddo who doesn’t want “plain” vegetables?  Make it fun!  What about the old classic… ants on a log! Spread some peanut butter on celery sticks and use raisins as the “ants.” If you have a child who wants to help you make them, even better!  Our favorite around here is “red ants” on a log… almond butter + goji berries!

ants on a log

We also dip veggie sticks in guacamole or salsa.  If you don’t want to make your own, there are a lot of very “clean” brands. With salsa, we check the ingredients to make sure there isn’t added sugar.

salsa and guac

I don’t think there is a fruit that my daughter doesn’t like.  What is great about fruit, is that it is the ultimate “fast food.”  With the exception of some, like pineapple or pomegranates that take a little work to prepare, how easy is it to eat fruit? To just peel a banana? My daughter also loves peeling her own fruit, especially those little clementines.  That is half the fun for her! She also sometimes enjoys biting into the whole fruit, like a pear or apple.  If you are lucky, an apple can keep them entertained for quite some time! Another favorite is dates. If you are feeling fancy, you can stuff them with goat cheese and herbs, or perhaps slightly more kid-friendly, sunflower butter .  Most of the time we eat them plain, or take 2 to-go in a little container.

dates

Have a child who likes to dip? Try apple slices with my easy almond maple caramel!

Our whole family, including our toddler, loves snack balls.  You can make them by combining dates and any kind of nuts you have on hand, and add whatever else you feel like, such as dried fruits, oats, chocolate chips in a food processor.  Then roll into balls and stick in the fridge or freezer. Want a recipe to follow? Try these Spirulina Snack Balls.

spirulina snack balls

In the mood to have some messy play and snack time combined, which of course is so much fun for little ones? Try making chia pudding! It is such a different texture, they may love squishing it in their hands, “painting” the table, or it might be good practice using a spoon!  There are tons of chia seed pudding recipes out there, like this Banana Macaroon Chia Pudding.

Another fun texture is jello.  I won’t buy the jello packets from the store, so I make these Healthy Gelatin Jigglers, which are just as easy to make as those packets. The first time I made them, I had to give them away to other kids at a play date because my daughter didn’t care for them.  Now, she can’t get enough!  I hardly ever add sweetener, as they already taste plenty sweet.

Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. I am okay with giving Caterina nuts, but this, again, will depend on your comfort level with how your child chews and swallows.  If you are unsure, try seeds instead! Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are great, and my daughter requests them often. She also likes eating hemp seeds out of a little cup with a spoon, but I have to be prepared to sweep the floor afterward!  Dried fruit is not something I like to give all the time because it sticks in the teeth, but she sure enjoys goji berries, raisins, mulberries, etc. Another fun activity for toddlers is “make your own” trail mix. My mom has a bunch of antique mason jars filled up with different nuts and fruit right at Caterina’s level (which to me, screams disaster… like the all the jars getting knocked over and jagged glass everywhere).  So far, no disasters, and C loves taking a little of each and putting it in her own jar, cup, or baggie.

trail mix

Have a kid who likes granola bars? What about making your own healthy granola bars!

Hummus.  I never remember eating hummus growing up, but man, pretty much all the parents I know who give their child hummus say their kid can eat it by the bucketful!

Related: chickpeas. You can make your own crunchy chickpea snack by drizzling with olive oil, sprinkling with salt and/or spices, and roasting for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. No time for that? Simply open a can! My daughter will eat chickpeas right out of her snack cup, nothing on them. Feel free to mix it up and use other types of beans too (pictured below are homemade pinto beans).

pinto beans

Another easy snack is a smoothie.  Since I make one nearly every day for myself, it is no more trouble to pour her some of mine, or make a little extra.  When she was young and we were introducing foods slowly, I would start with just the ingredients I knew she could have, blend it up and pour it in one of her smoothie pouches and then add a bunch of other ingredients and blend it again for myself.

smoothie

Crackers are great too, but Kevin and I are particular about what type of crackers we give.  We want them to actually have some good nutrition.  The Endurance Crackers by Oh She Glows fit that bill, plus they are easy to make and delicious. If we want store bought, we go for Mary’s Gone Crackers or Go Raw Sprouted Cookies (pictured on smoothie bowl, above).

Summer is almost here!  As it gets warmer, I’m sure we’ll be making more popsicles!  Popsicle molds are relatively easy to come by, I’ve seen them in Wegmans and Marshall’s lately, but of course they are available online, too. It is so easy to just blend up some fruit and water or coconut water, pour into the molds and freeze! Recipe coming soon. 😉  Or, BANANA ICE CREAM!  Click here for classic banana ice cream (with optional chocolate shell topping), or go wild with adding your favorite mix-ins!


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Air popped popcorn is great for munching on.  To make it more exciting, I like putting salt and spices on it, or this recipe for more of a treat.  My daughter likes it plain jane, though! She likes pressing the button and watching it pop, too.

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More Tips: 

Mix up your serving dishes! Do you have different colored and sized bowls and plates to up the fun factor? (Did you notice that the frozen peas, above, were in a reused scoop from a protein powder?)

What about a muffin tin? This was fantastic for my daughter when she was younger.  It probably would be at this age too… note to self to try it again! The more colors and textures the better!

muffin tin snacks

Bring your kids with you when you buy food, whether at the market or the store. Let them pick out what they want!  If they pick it out, you bet they are going to try it when they get home!

Picking out tomatoes at the farmer’s market:

market tomatoes

Picking out a new fruit from the store (pitaya):

dragonfruit

Better yet, pick your own or grow your own food!  Right now, we only have herbs, but Caterina loves to pick and eat a piece of mint, basil, or chives. Looking forward to this summer when we (hopefully) have a prosperous garden!

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Now, I’d love to hear from you!  What are your favorite toddler/kid snacks? Leave me a comment! 

 

 

Mango Lime Creamer

How was your Mother’s Day?! I feel like I truly have the best of both worlds, having my mom around, and being a mom, myself.  At the same time, I am painfully aware of how hard this is for some of my friends, who have lost their mom, a child, or miscarried.  It makes me even more grateful for what I have and makes it easier to try to enjoy every moment, even when things don’t go as perfectly as you expect them to.

My awesome husband made us a huge delicious brunch, and then Mom, Caterina, and I went off to the play gym for some fun with Caterina, while he cleaned up. Thanks Kevin, you’re the best!

At brunch, I tried out a second version of a recipe I’m testing, a healthy and vegan version of crème brulee. It was a hit (how could something with caramelized sugar not be), but I think it could use some additional tweaking still! Stay tuned. 😉

In the meantime, this smoothie recipe is incredible! It is my absolute favorite, right now.  I think it would be perfect for a “beginner” green smoothie, as it doesn’t taste “green,” at all, despite the addition of spinach, and the smoothie’s vibrant green color. The mango, banana, and cashews make it super creamy, while the limes add an amazing freshness.  The addition of vanilla and almond extracts reminds me a little of an “Orange Julius” that I used to get at the mall when I was a kid. The dates add that extra sweetness, to compensate for the sour of the lime, but if you don’t have dates, I think you will still find it sweet enough if you have to omit them!

 

Toddlers love this smoothie too, if you can’t tell by the green face 😉 Which is why I usually give her smoothies in these reusable pouches… really helps with the mess!


Mango Lime Creamer
 
Author:
Serves: 2 servings
 
Sweet and creamy green smoothie, and you can't taste the greens, making it perfect for anyone shy about trying green smoothies!
Ingredients
  • 2 limes
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups frozen mango
  • 1 banana
  • 4 medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1 cup spinach (tightly packed)
  • ½ cup cashews
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup water (more if necessary, to help with blending)
Instructions
  1. Cut one lime in half, and place one whole half in the blender, peel and all!* Juice the other one and a half limes into the blender.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. Blend until smooth.
Notes
*If you do not have a powerful blender, you may want to just use the lime juice.

 

I would love to hear from you!  How did you celebrate Mother’s Day? What is your favorite smoothie at the moment? Share with me in the comments!

Easy Almond Maple Caramel

This almost doesn’t seem like it should be a recipe, it is so easy to make.  I’ve been having this with an apple for dessert almost every night for the past couple weeks though, so why wouldn’t I post about it?

 

Usually, I just throw the four ingredients (raw almond butter,pure maple syrupvanilla extract , salt ) in a small bowl and stir.  This time, I measured (I know how most people like exact quantities when following a recipe) and for whatever reason, it tasted better than ever before! My husband said, “why would anyone need to buy caramel from the store if you can have this!”

 

The name of it was almost a doozy too, I was so excited about it once I decided to put it on the blog. It comes together in ONE minute.  It has FOUR ingredients. It’s VEGAN. It’s SALTY and sweet! Also, it’s SINGLE SERVE so you don’t have to worry about eating too much, or the remainder going bad in the back of your fridge.

So how about, for a name… Easy One Minute Single Serve Vegan Almond Maple Salted Caramel?

I have to check myself, sometimes. 😉

Easy Almond Maple Caramel, it is!


Easy Almond Maple Caramel
 
Author:
Serves: 1 serving
 
Delicious vegan salted caramel, made with only four ingredients. And comes together in just about one minute!
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. almond butter (I used raw almond butter)
  • 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • ⅛ tsp vanilla extract
  • scant ⅛ tsp sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl vigorously until combined.
  2. Chill for an hour if a slightly thicker consistency is desired.
  3. Enjoy as a dip for fruit!
Notes
We like "salted caramel," so the ⅛ tsp is great. If you prefer sweeter without the saltiness, just omit the salt or add a small pinch.

 

Whether you follow the recipe to a T or just note the ingredients and throw them in a bowl without measuring (my usual), I hope you try this out and let me know what you think!

I’d love to hear from YOU! Do you have an easy, healthy, quick dessert recipe?  Leave me a comment!