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Banana Blueberry Custard Muffins

These are delicious dairy free, gluten free on-the-go breakfasts with no added sugar. Just mix them up, bake them, freeze them, and store them in freezer bags for a fast, healthy meal. And the best part is, they’re simple to make! These are also great for baby led weaning.

Start by greasing a muffin tin and sprinkling a few blueberries in the bottom of each one.

Next, mash 3 bananas—the riper the better. I keep bananas in the freezer for healthy smoothies, banana breads, muffins, etc.

Beat 4 eggs and mix them with the bananas.

Pour the banana mixture over the blueberries in the muffin tins. It’s okay to fill them to the top because these aren’t going to rise.

Bake at 350 for about 17 minutes until the egg is firm. You can serve them immediately, or freeze them in the muffin tins. Once frozen, just pop them out of the tins and store in a freezer bag. Thaw naturally (do not microwave) before serving.

For best results, serve to a super cute baby.

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Homemade Stock–Delicious and a Money Saver!

The next time you go to throw out your meat bones or vegetable scraps, go ahead and slap yourself. Then throw them in a gallon freezer bag and save them!

When the bag is full, dump it into a slow cooker and cook it all night on low.

Or, bring it to a boil in a large stockpot, reduce heat, and simmer until it cooks down.

Then just strain it out the next day for some delicious (and free!) bone stock. Or veggie stock. Or some combination. Whatever you want.

Great for soup bases or just everyday cooking. Try cooking your green beans in a pot of homemade bone stock–so good!

I measure mine out in 2 cup portions and freeze flat in quart freezer bags. I do recommend freezing them on a lipped cookie sheet, because sometimes the bags leak a little around the zipper (I’m looking at you, Hefty).

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Apple-Carrot Muffins

These muffins are healthy and delicious! They’re baby-approved, little kid-approved, and I kinda love them myself. This is a great recipe for baby led weaning, finger foods, breakfast, toddler snacks, or after-school snacks. And bonus, they thaw nicely if you want to freeze some. I make a big batch of them and store them in freezer bags so I can just pop them out and microwave them as needed.
To start, melt 4 tbsp coconut oil and mix with 2 mashed bananas.

Add in 2 grated apples, 2 cups grated carrots, 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1 cup of milk, and 4 eggs and mix well.


I use the paddle attachment on my stand mixer for this. If you don’t have a stand mixer, I highly recommend investing in one. I love that I can just set it to mix and then move on to the next step of my recipe while it’s running.


In a separate bowl mix together 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ginger, 3 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp chia seeds (optional, but great for extra fiber, protein, and calcium) , and 1 cup ground almonds (also optional, but great for healthy fat and protein).


I use my Cuisinart Smart Stick to quickly grind whole, unsalted almonds. This thing is amazing! It grinds (fast!), and it’s a whisk and an immersion blender all in one tool. If my house was on fire, I’d save this and my Salad Shooter right after I saved my children. Like, they’re a close second. Some days they’re closer than others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pour carrot mixture into flour mixture. Stir well.

Spoon into muffin pans and bake for 35 minutes at 375. I prefer silicone pans because they’re so much easier to manipulate.

Yields 24 muffins. This recipe can easily be cut in half. I make a large batch so I can freeze some. To freeze, line a pan with wax paper and place the muffins on the pan. Cover with foil, freeze overnight, then store in freezer bags.

For best results, feed only to cute babies.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage of commission.

Lesson 95: You don’t always have to intervene

S tends to be the muscle of the twins. He weighs more, he’s further along in physical development, and he’s faster. He’s also not afraid to go after what he wants. B is pretty easy going, so it tends to set the stage for S to take whatever he wants, while B just moves on and finds something else to play with.

Both boys have recently learned to clap, but B mastered it first. It was the first thing he ever did before S, so I was really happy for him–it’s the little things, right? I cheer for him, and this tickles him, making him clap even more. S, not being one to be left behind, finally started copying B when he saw how much attention it was getting him. They both copy each other now and it’s really cute to see them clap together.

Enter the little green P.

B loves his P. It was a gift from his Occupational Therapist to help him learn to move his tongue around properly as he chews. He mostly prefers to bounce it across the floor and chase after it, but whatever.

This afternoon when he was bouncing it, it landed closer to S. Both babies looked at each other and I could see the silent challenge between the two. They both crawled madly toward the P and who do you think got to it first? S, of course. He had the home field advantage. B immediately started whining and I said, “Well take it back, B!”

But B knows his brother is stronger than he is. He’s tried to take toys back before and it doesn’t usually end well for him. So I watched in amusement as he stared at S for a few seconds and then started clapping his hands together.

And guess what S did? He dropped the P and started to clap. B quickly grabbed the P, grinned, and crawled away. That baby is no fool.

I witnessed this occur not once, but twice today. He may not have the brawn, but little dude has the brains.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage of commission.

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Veggie Quiche Cakes…and Protecting Yourself from the CIA in Your Microwave

I originally found this recipe over at BabyJake’sMom. I’m sure it’s just fine the way she has it, but I like to play with recipes as I make them because it’s fun! Here’s my edited version of her Veggie Quiche Cakes. These are great for baby led weaning, toddler finger foods, or an easy breakfast for your preschool kiddo.

Mix the following together in a large bowl:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chick pea flour
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 cans mixed veggies, drained
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
Spoon into greased muffin tins. I prefer to use silicone muffin tins because they’re easier to get out after cooking.
Mix 4 eggs and 1.5 cup plain yogurt in a blender.
 
Pour egg mixture over muffins.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until egg is fully set.
Yields 21 muffins. I freeze them in the muffin tins, pop them out and store them in freezer bags.
When you’re ready to serve them, just microwave as many servings as you need. But watch out for those sneaky cameras while using your microwave. I like to hide behind a large beach towel while using mine.
And rest easy knowing these are baby-approved!
 
 This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage of commission.

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Feed your family on the cheap!

I just found a way to buy 8 entrees, 2 salads, 2 soups, and 8 bread sticks from Olive Garden for $43.69. Since they’re so over-sized, I can feed my family with 2 of the entrees. I’ll be freezing 6 entrees, making a total of 4 dinners for my family of 5. In fairness, two members of my family are pretty small and don’t eat much, but at $10.93 per dinner that I don’t have to prepare myself, I’m happy!

If you have an Olive Garden near you, you can take advantage of the same deal anytime through April 30. Here’s how you do it!

The first thing you need to do is buy a gift card over at Raise.com. You should be able to find a $50 Olive Garden card for $46-48. If you’re a new customer, use the code NEWRAISE50 to get an additional $10 off your purchase and you’ll end up paying around $36-38 for a $50 gift card.

Now head over to Olive Garden, choose your location and time for pick-up, and select an entree from the “Buy One, Take One” menu. Two bread sticks and your choice of soup or salad come free with this entree, and you’ll also be able to choose one extra entree for free. So that’s 2 entrees, 2 bread sticks, and soup or salad for $12.99 +tax. You can stop there if you want, but I wanted to get more bang for my buck and I’m happy to freeze meals ahead of time.

If you want to stack an extra coupon, you’ll need to spend at least $30, so you’ll have to repeat the process. At this point, you can add a kid’s meal or an appetizer to your order to boost it over the $30 point. Or, you can just add meats to your entrees (that’s what I did). At checkout, use the code 5OFF30 to get an additional $5 off your already super cheap order!

My first 4 entrees, soup, salad, and 4 bread sticks were exactly $30 with taxes. That means I still have $20 on my $50 gift card that I purchased for $33.69. Next week I’ll order from Olive Garden again, using the rest of my gift card plus $10 cash, providing my family with a fresh dinner, and another to freeze for later use.

So there you have it: 4 meals for a family of 5 for a total of $43.69!

Baby-approved Smoothies

I sent this picture to my mom the other day and she commented that he was losing that baby look and starting to look like a little boy. Problem is, he’s 10 months old. He is a baby, and he’s underweight. I responded to her text with, “That’s called malnutrition.”

Of course, he’s not really malnourished. But at his last pediatrician appointment, he’d fallen off his growth curve. He’s just not a fan of eating. There are reasons for it and he’s seeing an OT to help him with his eating issues. But for now, all he wants to do is nurse, which is fine except that we don’t subscribe to “food before one is just for fun” in this house. Food before one provides extra vitamins and minerals that our babies need. Clearly, he’s healthy. But the boy needs some fat on his bones and a better variety of foods.

I discovered the other day that, while he’s not a fan of a bottle, he can manage a straw quite well. The first time I handed him a straw cup, he picked it up, sucked down the water that was in it, looked at me, and dropped it to the floor like, “mic drop, woman.”

And that’s when it occurred to me that smoothies might be a great way to sneak some extra vitamin-packed calories into his little tummy! So what I needed was some smoothie ideas and a freezer full of pre-prepped smoothie bags.

After an afternoon of Pinterest’ing (can we just make that a verb already?), I came up with 6 baby-approved recipes. I prepped my freezer bags so that I can just pull out a bag, thaw it, and blend it with milk and yogurt.

They don’t take up much room in the freezer since you can just smush them flat and stack them.

And both babies loved them!

Here are the recipes I came up with:
Peachy Carrot Smoothies

1 sliced banana, 1 cup sliced peaches (I use frozen), 1 cup fresh spinach, 1 cup of steamed baby carrots, and 1 tsp chia seeds.
Spinach Banana Smoothies
1 sliced banana, 1 cup fresh spinach, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 tsp chia seeds.
Carrot Avocado Smoothies
1 sliced banana, 1 cup steamed baby carrots, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/2 avocado, 1/4 tsp coconut extract (or vanilla if that’s all you have), and 1 tsp chia seeds.

I’m guessing you might see a theme here with the chia seeds? I like to add these to as many of their foods as possible. They’re full of protein, calcium, fiber, antioxidants, and healthy carbs.

Spinach Berry Smoothies
1 cup fresh spinach, 1 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/2 avocado, and 1 tsp chia seeds
Apple Spinach Smoothies
1 chopped apple (leave the skin on!), 1 sliced banana, 1 cup spinach, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter, and 1 tsp chia seeds
Tropical Squash Smoothies
2 small squash (sliced), 1 cup pineapple chunks, 1 sliced banana, 1/4 tsp coconut extract, and 1 tsp chia seeds
When you’re ready to make a smoothie, just thaw it and blend it with milk. I use coconut or almond milk, depending on the flavor. Whole milk is fine too! I also add a couple tablespoons of full fat yogurt for a little extra creamy texture and calories.
 
It’s really a great snack for mom too if you’re trying to add in a few extra veggies like I am!
I skipped the full fat yogurt in mine because Lord knows I don’t need any extra calories, but it’s still very good!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage of commission.

 

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Lesson 94: Start ’em young

Last night I posted this picture on Facebook:

I commented that after dinner J got up, went into the kitchen, and started washing the dishes. We didn’t ask him to do it, he just did it. And while he was washing, he told us that this was now his job. He said, “I’m going to start washing the dishes every night!”

You guys, my job is done here. I’ve completed my mission: raise a good husband. You’re welcome, future in-law.

The comments on the post praised me, wondering what I’d done to raise such a great kid. They asked me to share my words of wisdom.

Well, brace yourselves ladies and gentlemen, because I’m about to give you my secret: We got really lucky. Seriously. We’re mediocre parents, at best.

When I’m bragging on my child, it’s not a humble brag. I’m literally bragging on my child. I am so proud of him! He has the kindest heart, he’s funny, he’s pretty damn smart (I’ll go ahead and take credit for that one), he’s an amazing big brother, he’s helpful, he’s loving and affectionate. We do our best, we fail him a lot, and he keeps showing us his grace. The child is blessed with an infinite amount of grace.

But if I can give you just one tip, it’s this: Start them young. Don’t wait! Time’s a wasting, folks! Get those babies cleaning early.

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Chocolate Apple Sweet Potato Muffins

I spent today making foods and freezing them for the babies. It’s a bit of work, but it’s really one of my favorite things to do. I’m not artsy or crafty; I can’t draw, I can’t paint, and any craft I attempt is a big Pinterest Fail. But playing with ingredients and mixing up recipes is my creative outlet.
I made veggie frittatas, zucchini lentil soup, and these muffins. I love creating recipes and these are about as good as it gets! I’m having a hard time staying out of them, but I think they’re fairly guilt-free (minus the sugar…)!

Start with 3 medium sweet potatoes and 2 apples. Bake the potatoes until they’re tender.

While your potatoes are baking, wash and grate the apples. Set them aside for later.
I use my Salad Shooter to grate the apples. This is one of my most well-loved kitchen gadgets!
Next, mix together 2 1/4 cups any flour (I used 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour and 3/4 c garbanzo flour for extra protein) and 3 tbsp cacao powder. You can use cocoa powder in the place of the cacao if you want, but cacao has added health benefits.

Add in 3/4 cups white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar. You can substitute with an alternative sweetener if you want, but this is the only thing in the muffins that isn’t healthy, so I choose to overlook it. As an alternative, you may want to use honey, maple syrup, or apple sauce. But if you do that, add a little extra flour or flaxseed meal (see below).
Finally, add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder, 1/4 c flaxseed meal, and 3 tbsp chia seeds.
When the potatoes have finished cooking, scrape the meat out of the skins and dump it into a blender. Add 3/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk) and 1/4 cup melted coconut oil to the blender. Blend it all together.
Pour the sweet potato mixture into the dry ingredients and give it a good stir. Once it’s mixed well, stir in the shredded apples and pour the batter into into muffin tins. I use these silicone muffin tins and love them because it’s easy to get food out once it’s cooked.
Question of the Day: Are they called muffin “tins” if they’re made of silicone??
Bake at 400 for 16-20 minutes.
Yields 24 Muffins. Freeze these in the tins, then pop them out and store in freezer bags.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage of commission.

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