Tag Archives: baby food

Naturally Sweet Toddler Muffins (With Veggies!)

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Wow, I suddenly have a toddler.  Tantrums, and picky eating, and independence- oh my!

My sweet little baby went from goo-goo-gaa-gaa to “I want to go outside right now and nothing can stop me, not even this huge thunderstorm that’s currently over our heads!” (Which comes out as “WAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” because he is only one and he can’t actually talk like that yet.  But trust me, I got the translation loud and clear.)

So, since I’ve got no advice when it comes to tantrums and hitting and all of that fun stuff, I’ll tackle the one thing I’m good at dealing with.

Picky eating.

I’ve got a husband that thinks vegetables are poison.  Anything that isn’t a slab of beef is a snack.  Breakfast must include more bacon than an army of grown men should need.  It really amuses me that this carnivore married me, the health-conscious vegetarian.

Well, apparently my kiddo that used to eat his meal, then mine, then my husband’s, has decided that he doesn’t want to eat anything.

Until, that is, I made these tasty toddler muffins.  You’ve all seen the toddler muffin recipes all over the internet.  You know, the ones where the second ingredient is brown sugar, then the third is regular sugar.  Yeah, no thanks.  I’m not pumping THAT into my kid.

Disclaimer: I’m not one of those “NO sugar ever” moms, but I don’t see any point in putting sugar in something that’s supposed to be healthy for my kid.  So I limit it as much as possible.  If you give your kid sugar, cool.  The good news is that these muffins are pretty sweet on their own- so you don’t need any!

Naturally Sweet Toddler Muffins (With Veggies!)
(Adapted from Seeking Shade)

Ingredients: (Makes 12 muffins)
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of oatmeal, uncooked
1/4 cup of coconut oil (other oil or even butter would work, too)
1/2 cup of no sugar added applesauce
2 jars of baby bananas, or 2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp of ground ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp of salt (optional, but it helps the baking soda work)

Mix and Match additions (pick a few, or all!)
2 carrots, shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
1 cup pureed spinach or kale
1 apple, diced small or shredded
1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
1 cup strawberries, diced or sliced, fresh or frozen
or any other fruits and veggies you see fit!
(I used carrots, apple, and blueberries this time around.)

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Mix your oil, applesauce, and eggs together, then add your mix and match fruits and veggies to the wet ingredient.
4. Mix your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, careful not to over mix.  This can cause them to collapse or be tough.
5. Spoon muffin batter into greased muffin tins, fill 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.  Let muffins cool before removing them from the muffin tin.

These can be easily frozen, then popped into the microwave to defrost when you want one.  Or, if you’ve got a teether on your hands, hand them a frozen one to gnaw.  Muffin-cicle!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties

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My kid’s got an adult-sized appetite.  He’s also not into that “baby food”, thank-you-very-much.  Since we followed the baby-led weaning method of introducing foods to him, he has been pretty happy eating whatever I am eating.  In fact, he prefers to nibble off of my plate most of the time.

I’m sure you’re sensing a theme here.  Sweet potatoes.  I use them.  Always.  They are delicious, and so full of good-for-you stuff.  They are also a pretty bright orange color, and nothing makes me happier than pretty colored food.

We needed a quick and easy meal the other night, it was just the two of us and I wasn’t in the mood to spend forever cooking just to have to clean up a kitchen full of dishes.  It was the end of the week, and I didn’t have much left in the fridge.  The day before grocery day is one tough customer!

I hopped around the internet for a while and came across a recipe for Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties.  We love sweet potatoes!  We love quinoa!  We love vegetarian patties!  Score.

I was thrilled with how they came out, they were so tasty, and oh-so-easy.

No photos because, well… you try taking photos of your food before a hungry one-year-old digs in.  Next time.  Maybe.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties
Adapted from A House in the Hills

1 large sweet potato, baked or microwaved and skins removed
1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup vegetable broth or water)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small parsnip, diced
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Herbs, spices, flavoring of choice
Salt, pepper
Panko or bread crumbs
Oil or butter for cooking, I used olive oil

1) Prepare quinoa according to package instructions, or use left overs.  I used 1/2 cup dry quinoa and 1 cup of vegetable broth.
2) In a saute pan, cook onions and parsnip in olive oil over medium heat until the onions become slightly translucent.  Add garlic and herbs of choice, I used dried sage and parsley.  Add salt if desired.  I didn’t because I was cooking for Brian.  Stir a minute more.
3) Mash cooked sweet potato in a bowl.
4) Add onions, quinoa, salt, and pepper to the mashed sweet potato.  Stir until well combined.
5) Form the mixture into patties, coat with panko.
6) Cook them in oil or butter, a few minutes per side, until they are crispy and browned.  Serve hot.  I served them over a spinach salad and topped each with a few slices of avocado.

Makes about 6 patties

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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Baby food jars.  Holy crap. We have been given enough jarred baby food to last through the zombie apocalypse, and then some.  Jar, upon jar, upon jar.  It’s intense.

Normally, this would be awesome.  Except, we chose to embrace our (read: my) crunchy ways and follow the baby-led weaning method of feeding our little piggy.  This means no mush, no purees, goop, and no spoons.  Just flavor, texture, and fun (messy) times.

We started Brian on solid food at 6 months old, as recommended when following a baby-led weaning method.  He started with avocado, banana, sweet potato, and whatever else he felt like stealing directly from my plate.  We quickly upped the flavor and introduced him to some of our favorite things: curry, stir fry, frittata, pasta.  Here is Brian’s first taste of sushi.  Oh, the delicious possibilities!

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We weren’t so concerned with allergies and we aren’t afraid of flavor, so we just went for it.

But, I digress. Jarred baby food.  What the heck do you do with a ton of jarred baby food? Put it in adult food, of course! I’ve experimented with making banana bread, fruity muffins (with hidden veggies!), omelettes, and cake using the jarred foods.  It works pretty well.  Usually…

Throw part of a jar of sweet potato or carrots into your eggs the next time you scramble them.  Trust me.  it makes them kind of puffy and delicious!  Jarred banana or apple replaces sugar in a recipe fairly well, which makes it easy to give the kiddo some sugar-free treats, which means I get to let him snack guilt-free.  (Mommy guilt.  It’s something special.  Just wait, I’m sure I’ll post about it soon enough.)

I got down and dirty with the experimentation the other night, though.  We wanted gnocchi, but I didn’t have any potatoes.  So I thought I’d try sweet potato gnocchi.  Oops.  No sweet potato either. Earth’s Best to the rescue!!  I threw some jarred sweet potato in with flour, popped in some flavor, stirred, kneaded, rolled, cut, and cooked.  Easy, peasy.  And absolutely delicious.  Nobody would even be able to tell I used jars of baby food to make it.  And the mini-human and husband devoured it.  I call that a win.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
With pesto

3 (4 ounce) jars of sweet potato baby food (Or you can use real mashed sweet potato, I won’t tell!)
2 to 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/4 cup cottage or ricotta cheese
1/4 fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
Nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and pepper to taste

Beat the egg in a large bowl, then add the sweet potato, spices, and cheeses.  Mix well.

Add the flour a little at a time to your liquid.  You want it to form a soft dough that’s not too sticky.  You might not use all of your flour, or you might need more.

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface, flour your hands, and grab a chunk of dough.  Roll it out like a little play-doh snake, then chop it into little pillows of gnocchi goodness with a pastry cutter or knife.  I tend to go for about 1/2 an inch per piece, but it’s all about preference.

If you want the classic gnocchi look, press the gnocchi pillow onto the tines of a fork, then roll it up and off of the fork.  This step is not necessary, but it’s fun!  Place the finished gnocchi onto a cookie sheet with a dusting of flour or corn meal.  Continue until you’ve used up all of the dough.

If you’re not ready to cook it, put it in the fridge.  It will last this way for a while but it will dry out so I always try to cook it within 24 hours.

When you’re ready to cook the gnocchi, boil a large pot of water with some olive oil and salt, if desired. Drop the gnocchi in, boil them in small batches to make sure they don’t stick.  They are done when they float to the top; use a slotted spoon to lift them from the water and drop them into a colander to drain while you finish boiling the rest. Toss with some brown butter or pesto and cheese of choice, serve hot.  Yummy.

Serves 4

Try with Kale-Chickpea Pesto for a healthy boost. (Recipe coming  soon!)