Apple-Zucchini Strudel Muffins – and apologies for the total lack of a creative title.

I just don’t have it in me tonight, people!  But I took these photos of my muffin bake two days ago and I feel that if I don’t write about them tonight then they will join the numerous other very well intentioned photos that reside in the “photos for blog” file on my hard drive.  Oooooh the recipes I will never get around to sharing with you….

Anyways, I can truly claim this recipe as my own.  I found a recipe for apple strudel muffins on AllRecipes.com a while back and have modified to such an extend that I’m not going to even link to the original.  This one is truly MIIIINE!!!! So if you don’t like it, don’t tell me! I don’t want to hear it!

I have been making this for a while with just apples, but after my recent post about pumpkin, I decided to try and get vegetables into Simon in other ways than just smoothies.  So I swapped out half the apples in my recipe with zucchini and whoa-lah! Zucchini-apple strudel muffins were born!

Zucchini-Apple Strudel Muffins

  • 2c whole wheat flour
  • 1t baking bowder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1t nutmeg
  • 1/2c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c white sugar*
  • 1/2c dark brown sugar*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1t vanilla
  • 2 granny smith apples, grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 1/2c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2c brown sugar
  • 1/8t cinnamon
  • 1/2c butter

*My apologies to anyone who might have actually tried this recipe, I apparently left out the SUGAR in the original ingredients list.  Minor detail….sorry…..

I don’t think I would ever consider making this recipe if it weren’t for my handy dandy food processor. Grating apples by hand just never seems to work well for me.  It’s messy and time consuming and I would rather avoid it.  So whirl those apples – skin on, we want all that nutrition – through your grater and then push the zucchini through.  You should end up with 3c grated veg/fruit matter.  Grate some more apple or zucchini if you’re short.  If you have too much, go ahead and use it anyways, this recipe is forgiving of a little bit extra.

3-ish cups

Now we’re going to incorporate the “muffin method” so often used by Alton Brown.  Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet ingredients (including the sugar – i know, it’s not wet…but whatever) in the other.

wow. this is thrilling.

Now add wet to dry and stir until just combined.

seriously, this is so scintillating, I can’t take it.

Now make your topping.  Combine last four ingredients in the bowl of your food processor and whirl until the butter is about pea sized.

Now fill your greased muffin tins until about a half inch from the top of the pan.  Sprinkle liberally with topping.

The more topping, the better, I always say.

Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for five minutes or so and then remove to racks to cool.  This recipe made about 16-18 muffins for me. That is, I made twelve, and then made a few more with the remaining batter…and maybe ate the rest of the raw topping….don’t judge me until you’ve tried it, it’s so good.

Can you see the gorgeous green flecks of zucchini? FEED THAT BABY!!

If you don’t eat them within a few days I recommend freezing them or else they will go bad quickly.

ENJOY!


Pumpkin by another name is still…

…a vegetable!!! Yes!  Yes it is! It’s a squash.  A real, vegetable. I realized that recently when I saw a Pinterest pin for a pumpkin pie smoothie.  If your child is like mine and absolutely abhors vegetables and you have to sneak them into his food in any way possible, then you’ll understand why this was such a “Eureka!” moment for me.  A pumpkin pie smoothie? Surely you jest! So I started googling “pumpkin pie smoothie” and there are all sorts of recipes out there.

Now, if you’re like me, then you think recipes for smoothies are ridiculous.  Seriously, when is the last time you actually measured anything going into your smoothie? I don’t think I ever have.  I just throw crap in until it reaches a proper level, then make sure there is enough liquid and then turn on the blender.  So this is not a “recipe” for a pumpkin pie smoothie, it’s merely an idea for a smoothie; a combination of ingredients that you can throw together in whatever quantities you prefer.

But let’s talk about pumpkin for a second.  First, for this recipe I use canned pumpkin.  Processing your own pumpkin, for lack of a better word, is a bitch.  And seriously, why oh why would you?  It tastes exactly the same as the stuff you get in the can on the baking aisle.  I splurged and bought the $2.00 can of organic pumpkin instead of the $.98 can of the regular stuff.  I know, big spender! But whether it’s canned or homemade, pumpkin can probably be considered a superfood.  Just 1/2 cup of this stuff contains 380% of your daily value of Vitamin A.  Also, it puts a nice dent in your daily needs for iron and fiber.  I read somewhere that in children who don’t eat vegetables one of the greatest nutritional deficits is Vitamin A.  I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but hey, makes be feel even better about this smoothie.

word.

When you combine the awesomeness of pumpkin with the other ingredients in this smoothie, you’ve pretty much got a nutritional powerhouse.  Pat yourself on the back, mom, and rest easy for the remainder of the day; your kid has officially “eaten well” (and so have you).

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie 

adapted from no particular recipe whatsoever on the interwebzes

Ingredients:

  • pumpkin puree
  • milk
  • yogurt
  • frozen bananas
  • pumpkin pie spice

 Yes, I freeze my own bananas.

Least exciting food photo ever.

Combine ingredients to taste in a blender and puree.  I like to make sure there is a LOT of banana in my smoothie, because otherwise it won’t be sweet enough and it get’s a little unfrozen tasting and mealy.  This smoothie is “for two”, since I shared it with Simon, because Mommy needs her vegetables as well! It’s got about 1.5 frozen bananas, 1/2c pumpkin, 1c yogurt, milk to fill and several shakes of pumpkin pie spice.  It nicely filled this big cup and was enjoyed by all.

Oh, hey there big-assed  orange plastic cup.

Aaaaaand if you’re like me, you’ll put two different colored straws in the cup so that there is NO PEACE while drinking said smoothie because SOMEONE wants to alternate colors while drinking. “Weh-woah”…sip…sip…”Bwuuu”….sip…sip…(aaaaand repeat until smoothie is gone).

nom nom nom sluuurp…burp

There are a lot of recipes out there that call for sweetened condensed milk, vanilla yogurt or ice cream, heavy cream, actual spoons full of sugar, and other ingredients that are high in added sugar, AND THIS IS FINE, IF and only if you are cool with the added sugar.  I try to avoid adding sugar to smoothies since we add sugar to other stuff in this house.  I’m sure if I made this smoothie with BlueBell Homemade Vanilla ice cream it would be phenomenal, but it would also make it a dessert, not a smoothie.

 

Oh, and prepare yourself for orange poop (the baby’s not yours, silly). Just letting you know ahead of time…


Homemade Cheez-its!

I took the quick and easy route for tonight’s blog post.  And why not?  It’s not MY recipe!  It’s somebody else’s! Tonight I made homemade Cheez-its. A while back I tried my hand at another recipe and they were good, but not good enough.  Another Google search found me this recipe, so I whipped up a batch after the little man hit the sack. I didn’t add the cayenne, but other than that I followed it the letter. And these were gooooood.  Nice and crunchy and cheesy with that lovely toasted cheese flavor. Simon looooves crunchy crackers, so I’m hoping he’ll enjoy these as a snack tomorrow. He’s a big goldfish fan, but in general I try to avoid the processed snacks and make him my own. Hopefully this will go into our regular rotation. Next time I might try some whole wheat flour to make it healthier, but hey, it’s got cheese, so they’re meeting dietary needs already. And it’s REAL cheese, I grated 8 oz of it. I’m not just trusting a box to tell me it’s “made with real cheese”.

I won’t walk you through the process, because the recipe has all the photos you need, so I’ll just leave you with photos of the finished product to prove how yummy they look.

 

 

Oh, and don’t skimp on the salt!


Peanut Butter Balls and Date & Nut Balls: A high energy afternoon snack.

I can’t tell you how long I agonized over the somewhat straightforward and boring title of this blog.  I mean, I really tried to come up with something interesting and witty that included the words “nut”, “balls”, “date”, “afternoon snack” and “butter”.  You can see where my mind is going here and also why I’ve been singing…

“Skyrockets in flight, afternoon delight….” (a la Will Farrell in Anchorman)

But alas, creativity failed me and I decided it was time to just write the damn blog post and send it out into the world.

Both of these recipes are no-cook recipes that have the potential for endless variation.  I made the basic recipes for this post, but believe me, I have tried it many other ways and I am sure you can come up with exactly what you want to try (or really just incorporate whatever is in your pantry).  I wanted to come up with something that was an easy finger food for Simon to eat, that was also high in SOMETHING healthy, could be stored for a long time, and would be easy to make.

My first recipe was inspired for a homemade Larabar recipe I pinned onto Pinterest.  If you have been living under a rock and haven’t seen Larabars, they are these delicious date, nut and fruit bars that cost you an arm and a leg to buy.  But they are GOOD, healthy, and high energy.  Anyways, I tried the recipe and couldn’t make them form into bars, so BAM, my date balls were born.  With a few adjustments I came up with the following:

Date and Nut Balls:

1.5c pitted whole dates

1c nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts cashews, and your choice of raw or toasted, salted, sweet, etc)

1/4c shredded coconut (sweet or unsweet)

I bought the dates at Costco for $7.99.  I saw a package for half this amount at HEB today for $6.99. Score one for Costco.

Add nuts to food processor and chop the ever living hell out of them.  For more texture, chop less, but Simon tends to not chew things thoroughly, he is still learning about his molars, so the smaller the more likely he will digest it and not just pass it through.

Add dates and coconut.

Run the food processor until everything is thoroughly chopped.  It will start to stick together and rotate around the bowl as the blade is running, almost like a dough, but looser.  That’s when you know it’s ready.

Grab a handful and roll it into balls about 1″ in diameter (or whatever you feel is an appropriate size, I find this is about two bites for me).  If it sticks to your hands, spray them with a touch of Pam cooking spray, then just wash with soapy water afterwards.

Give your handy tasted tester a bite.

Or two.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in a fridge for a slightly more solid ball.  All ingredients are stable at room temp, so they should be ok on the counter.

What’s healthy? Well, dates are super high in potassium and the nuts are a good source of protein. This is a very high energy snack that will keep my little man running until dinner.

I’ve seen variations on the internet that include cocoa powder, vanilla, dried fruit and whatever else you want to throw in there like flax seed. Seriously, just use enough dates to make it all stick together and you can use whatever you want!

My second recipe is something my mother used to make for me as a child ALL THE TIME.  In fact, I still make them as an adult and was making them for myself before Simon could even eat peanuts. This is the basic recipe, but I have seen others around with variations.

Peanut Butter Balls

1c peanut butter

3T powdered milk

3T wheat germ

2T honey

optional: ground or whole flax seed, chocolate chips, raw rolled oats, raisins, etc.

The quantities vary depending on your peanut butter.  100% peanut butter tends to be runny whereas JIF or Peter Pan is more homogenized and solid.  So you will have to play with how much of the wheat germ and powdered milk you add.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.  When it reaches proper consistency you should be able to roll it into a ball in your hand without it sticking everywhere.

Taste test.

Store in an air tight container in the fridge.  Wheat germ will go rancid at room temp, so it must be refrigerated.  I sprinkled the ones above with a tiny bit of powdered sugar.
 YUM!!!
What’s healthy? Peanuts are high in protein, one of the things it’s hard to get Simon to eat.  Wheat germ is high in iron and fiber, and the powdered milk has calcium and vitamin D.  So all in all it’s a good, high energy snack for the monkey.  Or, as it turned out the day I made this, it makes a good lunch AND dinner, because he refused to eat anything else all day.

…so somebody please now hand me a Dr. Pepper 10!

Hi everyone!

I know, it’s been forever.  And for that, I apologize.  I have been telling myself for months that I need to get back into the swing of things, I just never seem to get around to it.  But here I am, finally, with a super short post just to ease me back into the blog-o-sphere.

Simon is now a miraculous 17 months old.  Where did the time go?  Where is my little baby that’s in the banner photo for this site? I now have a (almost) toddler on my hands (he is a late walker, but we’re SO CLOSE!).  I also have a VERY picky eater, despite all my best efforts.  But that’s no surprise. Simon is picky about life, and eating just goes along with the rest of things!  He’s a…trying….child, to put it nicely.  He challenges my patience and my creativity on a daily basis to keep him fed and entertained.  But by God is he beautiful, and I can’t even begin to put into words how amazing it is to see him spend his days trying to figure stuff out (he is so much like his engineer father).

One thing I have recently re-introduced into his diet is bacon.  It’s a trial getting him to eat protein, so if he wants bacon, by God I’ll make it every day if he wants!  I put up a Facebook post a few weeks ago about Maple Bacon and how incredibly amazing it is.  And I wasn’t kidding.  I never want to buy another kind of bacon ever again.  My good friend Beth told me to put it into my blog, so here it is, Beth-o:

Maple Bacon:

Buy 1 package maple bacon

Cook bacon

Bite bacon

Chew bacon

Wash it down with some milk

Smile for the camera

Repeat

I have now blogged about bacon, so somebody please hand me a Dr. Pepper 10!


What to do with all that leftover baby food…

So if you’re like me, then your son has moved on from fruit purees to finger foods but you still have several bags full of frozen fruit puree cubes that you lovingly prepared for him.  The question arises, what the hell am I going to do with all of this frozen fruit? I’ve tried a few different options that I thought I would share with you.

First and easiest, those fruit cubes melt beautifully into hot oatmeal.  Apple cinnamon oatmeal that’s not out of a bag? It’s a cinch if you just toss a few apple cubes into your hot oatmeal, add a dash of cinnamon and a spoonful of brown sugar.  Simon likes oatmeal, so we do this a lot.

Another option that sounds good on paper and I think a lot of babies out there would enjoy is to use the fruit puree like jam, spread it on toast, and feed it to baby.  Alas, Simon has this weird texture thing where he won’t pick up anything that feels wet (hence the grilled, cooled, and diced grilled cheese he eats every day).  The fruit puree is apparently way too mushy and he spends ten minutes mashing each piece into mush with his pointer finger and not a bite gets into his mouth. But I think there are a lot of babies out there that would enjoy this.

My favorite solution though is to make fruit leather.  I first got the idea from this post on Weelicious.  And actually, the first time I made it, I used fresh strawberries and agave nectar (Simon is still less than a year, so no honey). And I burned it.  Well, I burned MOST of it.  There was a 3×3 patch right in the center of the pan that was absolutely delicious! So after cleaning up that mess, I had an epiphany and went to the freezer and grabbed the big bag of blueberry and raspberry cubes that had been sitting in there for a few months.  The rest was easy.

1.  I defrosted the berries and added about a tablespoon of agave nectar.  I then poured them out onto a silicone mat on a baking sheet.

I know, it looks kind of funny.

2.  I then placed it in my 250F oven for about two hours.  Since my first batch burned I was a little obsessive and started checking it after an hour.  The edges begin to dry out first.  Maybe it’s my crappy apartment oven, or maybe it’s just how it works, but I found that the edges were actually finished before the center had even started to dry out.  So I took my trusty pizza roller and cut off the edges, pulled them off, and stuck the remainder back into the oven to finish.  This worked like a charm.  I avoided any burning and had evenly baked fruit leather.

When it was all finished I pulled it out and let it cool, then cut it into strips and rolled those up like fruit roll-ups. I think these would keep in a bag at room temperature for a long time…but I wouldn’t know.  Simon and I consumed them within a few days.

I know this photo is out of focus, but it’s the only one that had enough lighting for you to see the color.  So don’t hate me.

I see myself making a ton of this over the years to come.  It will get packed in Simon’s lunchbox in place of Fruit Roll-Ups (because that’s something Mommy just isn’t going to buy).  This is a delicious way to get a lot of good fruit into your kid, and it allows you to control the ingredients, which is rad.  For moms of babies, this is a great way to get tons of fiber into their digestive system to get things moving along, if you know what I mean.


A bit of a drinking problem…

I’ve been feeling a bit guilty lately because all of my readers (like, all four of you) have been walking around thinking I’m the parent of this awesome little eater who will try just about anything I put in front of him.  And I swear to you he was, he REALLY WAS!!!! For like…two weeks.  And then he learned how to drink from a straw and the shit hit the fan.

For a while now the only way I could get him to drink water was by holding a straw, dropper style, and letting him drink from it as the water flowed down into his mouth.He really hated any sippy cup I tried, I just don’t think he likes the feel of it in his mouth.  Some time about a week ago it finally dawned on him that if I just put the straw in his mouth and he sucked on it, wonderful water would flow UP the straw and into his mouth.

And BAM, the drinking problem began.  He started refusing ALL solid food that I offered him with the exception of Goldfish and Cheerios.  The only sustenance I could get him to eat is in the form of smoothies.  And booooy will this kid down a smoothie!  So I decided to just act naturally about this.  Whatevs.  No big deal.  I am not disturbed by this.  Inner peace.  I continued to offer to him everything I ate…and he continued to refuse. I figured he’d come back around eventually.  He’s been getting about two smoothies a day and I’ve been getting REALLY creative with the ingredients in order to get all sorts of nutrition into him.

Wheat germ, chia seeds, and Ground flax seed.  I buy the flax whole and grind it in the MB every few days.

Peanut butter.

….GASP, I know, peanut butter before the age of 1….but I took the plunge and he’s not allergic people, chill out…*

Soft tofu…be careful to not add too much, it makes it taste funny.

Did you know that a handful of spinach is undetectable in a smoothie?

Roasted beets…gotta be careful not to use too much or else the flavor gets too strong, but they’re super nutritious.

Carrot juice and OJ.

Follow up:

Thankfully this week he has STARTED to come back around on the solid thing. So I’m cutting the smoothies out slowly and reintroducing everything.   He eats grilled cheese without a fuss, and has been eating pancakes and french toast regularly for breakfast, which is good, because I’m going to start weaning him at a year so he’s going to have to learn to get sustenance from elsewhere. He’s still refusing most things that I give him, but patience is key and he’s only 11 months old and most certainly isn’t going to let himself starve! I made vegetable soup today, which was the bomb, by the way, and super easy.  AND HE ACTUALLY ATE IT!!! HUZZAH!!! BEST MOMMY EVER!! I might make it again and blog about it.

ALSO…putting pineapple in his smoothies gave him really nasty diaper rash.  Too acidic.  So take note, oh ye fellow mothers.

*Always consult your doctor before introducing new foods…yadda yadda…don’t sue me.


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