Category: Recipes

Sneaky Veggie Recipes For Toddlers

Sigh…it’s been one of those days where I don’t think Emma had a single serving of vegetables and I feel so guilty as a parent! The past 2 weeks I gave myself a pass on cooking which included cooking for Emma. We’ve been depending on grandma a lot but most days she has been spending with us and unless I make an effort to make one of my sneaky veggie recipes…Emma doesn’t eat any. Unlike fruits which all I have to do is cut up and she will devour…she refuses to eat raw veggies and hates dips of all kinds. So I thought I would make a roundup of veggie recipes that Emma likes and also a list of recipes I’ve been meaning to try with her to get me inspired to cook for her again! BTW, you’ll notice a lot of noodle/pasta recipes because she loves those. And also anything hidden in a bread/cake/muffin.

Tried and true veggie recipes (according to Emma)
Oven baked sweet potatoes (we usually use paprika)
spinach or kale pesto with pasta
hidden veggie pizza/pasta sauce
peanut butter noodles with broccoli
spring rolls
chicken, spinach, and bow tie pasta salad
fruit and veggie muffins
cold soba noodle salad

Recipes I want to try
Carrot Snack Sticks
ham and split pea soup
spinach avocado pasta
veggie pancakes
fruit and veggie pops
fried vermicelli noodles
spinach cheddar chive scones
20 minute miso noodle bowls
kiwi spinach fruit leather
cabbage and noodles with bacon
bright green smoothie – we haven’t had much luck with green smoothies but this one seems very fruity so it might pass the Emma Test
zucchini, carrot, oatmeal cookies
korean vegetable pancakes
veggie cream cheese spread – emma loves bagels with cream cheese…wonder if she’ll notice if I sneak some veggies in there?
bacon lettuce and tomato spring rolls

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Hidden Veggie Pizza/Pasta Sauce

It seems like EVERY kid loves pizza and/or pasta. I know my little Emma does! She always wants to eat pizza! So I was very intrigued when I found this recipe called Veggie Heavy Pizza Sauce by Weelicious. I made it one day and it was pretty tasty. Tasty enough that Emma ate it! I made a big batch and stored some of it in the freezer for some quick and healthy meals for those times when I don’t know what to make for Emma.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 medium carrot
1 stalk celery
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained

Preparation
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Saute until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
2. Add the tomatoes, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
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3. Remove from heat, puree with an immersion hand blender (or in a regular blender) until almost smooth.
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4. Return sauce to the heat and simmer until thick, 10-20 minutes. The longer you simmer this sauce the thicker and more flavorful it will become. You can simmer up to 2 hours.
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Here’s a few ways we used it:

We made some english muffin pepperoni pizzas. Emma has really started to enjoy cooking with me and she LOVED making her own pizza. It’s a really easy thing for even toddlers to do and Emma could not wait for her pizza to finish cooking! She was so excited about eating this. Unfortunately, since I tried to be healthier and used whole wheat english muffins these weren’t as tasty as a normal pizza (with no fault to the sauce). I think next time I’ll try using pizza dough or pita bread.

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We also made a simple pasta with just the sauce. I discovered awhile back they made pasta out of veggies so this is like a super dose of veggies!

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Toddler Recipe Fails

Ok, so just because Emma didn’t like these recipes…doesn’t mean YOUR kid won’t! So I thought I would share them even though they were total fails for my kiddo. Every kid is seriously different!

Beet Carrot Apple Smoothie (from Hellobee)

1 c ice
1 medium beet, roasted, peeled, and roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 apple, cored and roughly chopped
1/2 c plain yogurt

Add all ingredients to blender and blend on high until smooth. Serve cold.

Makes 1 large glass or two small glasses

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I’ve tried some of the green smoothies and Emma has an aversion to green drinks usually so I thought I would try this beet smoothie. Unfortunately, I think the smell of the beet was just too great for her and she wouldn’t even try it! Boo. I thought it was pretty tasty.

Peanut Butter Cookies for baby (from Mommy Nearest)

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 heaping cup mashed sweet potato (1 large sweet potato or 2 medium, baked in the oven or microwave)
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup rolled oats

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Mash the sweet potato and peanut butter with a fork or a silicone spatula until thoroughly combined. Fold the oats into the mixture.

Use a 1.5-tablespoon ice cream scoop to divide the dough into equal portions on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Gently flatten the dough balls with a fork (the dough is sticky, so it helps to very lightly grease the back of the fork).

Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until bottoms are set and the tops of the cookies are dry. Check after 10 minutes to rotate the pan if necessary. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet before removing. If your baby is new to solid foods, break the cookies into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

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As you can see, my cookies were not as pretty as the ones in the original post. My excuse was I was running late for a DRs appt so I didn’t have time to form them correctly! But I’m not sure how I could have messed up the recipe considering how simple it is! Anyways…I didn’t really like these either and knew Emma wouldn’t after I tried them even though she LOVES cookies. I used one of those “natural” peanut butters from Trader Joe’s and it just tasted funny to me when it was in the form of this cookie for some reason.

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Starting Birthday Traditions

I can’t believe Emma is going to be TWO in less than a month!!! This year since I’m pregnant, I didn’t really want to throw a big party for Emma. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want her day to be special!! Here are a roundup of some fun ideas I’ve been saving to possibly do for Emma on her birthday.

DIY Surprise Streamer Door – This seems like an easy diy that even at a young age Emma will really enjoy waking up to! I am thinking of doing this to the door of her bedroom!

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Bday tshirt (either diy or bought)

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A homemade cake!

With a cool cake topper

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And because all little kids seem to be obsessed with balloons…fill their room with balloons!

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Lastly, if I’m feeling really ambitious I’ll make her breakfast in bed

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Spinach Banana Egg Pancakes

Emma LOVES pancakes. And these are probably her favorite breakfast food. I started out making these with just 2 ingredients – eggs and pancakes. They are super easy to make and I usually make a big batch of them to put in the freezer. I recently started trying to make them even healthier by adding spinach! She seemed to still eat them so yay!

Spinach Banana Egg Pancakes (adapted from Hellobee)

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 banana
The following are some optional things we usually add
a pinch of baking powder (I usually add this to make it fluffier)
a small handful of spinach (you might want to start with a small amount and work your way up to see how much your child will tolerate eating)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp peanut butter

Instructions
1. Blend all of the above ingredients until smooth. If you don’t already own one, I suggest buying a hand stick blender. I seriously love mine because it’s so much easier to clean than a blender (just throw into the dishwasher!) and use it all of the time to make purees and other foods for Emma.

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2. Heat a dishpan with oil, butter, or coconut oil (I actually use ghee which you can buy from Trader Joe’s) and ladle some of the batter onto the pan. Once one side is browned, flip to cook the other side. I usually make them mini size since it’s easier to flip and also easier for Emma to eat!

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Emma’s complete breakfast that morning. I don’t usually cut the pancakes into shapes but I did today just for fun. On the side are some chicken apple sausages and some grapes. See the toothpick in the sausage? I found out I can get Emma to eat pretty much anything if I use a toothpick! She loves to pick it up and eat things on a stick.

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Hidden Spinach Cake Muffins (Perfect For Toddlers!)

Emma’s pretty good about eating her veggies but she definitely loves her carbs more than anything. She LOVES breads, crackers, cakes, and muffins. So when I saw this recipe for spinach muffins I knew I wanted to make some for Emma. They were super easy to make and didn’t taste that bad! I had my husband (the veggie hater) eat them and he said they tasted “healthy” but were “not bad”…which means these were a winner!

I like to make Emma’s food in batches and freeze what she can’t eat within a few days. So happy to know these freeze well. Just reheat in the microwave for 15 seconds! I love having quick and healthy snacks like these for Emma on hand.

Spinach Cake Muffins from Weelicious
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh spinach, packed
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and puree.
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3. Place the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and combine.
4. Pour the spinach puree in a large mixing bowl.
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5. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.
6. Scoop batter into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup 2/3 of the way.

7. Bake for 12 minutes.
8. Serve.
9. If freezing, let cool all the way.

These were a lot more green in real life!

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Baby Food Recipes: Butternut Squash & Pear

Let me just start by saying I’m lazy. Most of the time we feed Emma with those fruit and vegetable pouches. I like those because you don’t even need a spoon! Ultimate convenience. Also, it’s really discouraging when you have a picky eater and you spend all of this time making her food and she won’t even have one bite. Of course every baby is different but this is one tried and true recipe that Emma loves!

First off, if you’re going to make baby purées it’s easiest if you use one of those hand stick blenders. We have this one:

Ill use it and then toss it in the dishwasher. So easy to clean!

You’ll also need an ice cube tray to hold and freeze all of the food you make.

Now if you live near a Trader Joe’s, this will even be easier. They sell butternut squash already cut up in a bag. All you have to do is snip a corner and microwave! While its microwaving, I quickly peel a pear using a peeler and then cut it up into chunks. Using the hand blender, I blend it all up. It literally takes me less then 15 mins to do all of this. I portion them into the ice cube tray and stick it in the freezer. These are good for 3 months. I just pop a few out when Emma wants to eat it and either microwave it for 45 secs or leave in the fridge to defrost.

Emma loves this purée!! It’s a great combo because butternut squash is super healthy and pears are easily digestible. I don’t know about your baby but Emma was frequently constipated when we first started solids. You can also substitute the pear for apple.

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