Beet and Black Bean Burgers

The doctor said this day would come…Turner would become a picky eater! I usually have go-to recipes on hand, but lately I’ve been SO busy that I haven’t had time to prepare. So it’s been eggs and waffles for breakfast, peanut butter sandwiches and fruit for lunch, yogurt and his favorite almond meal muffins for a snack, and whatever we are eating for dinner (or another peanut butter sandwich, don’t judge)!

Now, don’t get me wrong, this kid is CONSTANTLY hungry and could eat me under the table. But I refuse to give him junk to fill him up. I want his meals to be filled with protein and even those sneaky vegetables too! The only way I can do that is to plan ahead. I always sneak things like spinach and avocados into his smoothies. But when I have an hour to spare, I like to take whatever I have on hand and whip up “burgers” of some sort (and by burger I mean anything I mix up and shape into a patty). This week I scoured the fridge and pantry for anything I could turn into a healthy “burger”. These beet and black bean burgers are a winner!

I started by cooking some quinoa (read about the amazing benefits of quinoa HERE). While that simmered, I sautéed onions, shredded carrots, and diced ginger root. I pulsed the beets and sautéed veggies in the food processor a few times to break them up. Side note about the beets, I used the steamed and peeled baby beets in the fridge section at Trader Joe’s. I’ve seen them in several grocery stores.

Once the quinoa was finished, I added a cup of cooked quinoa and the black beans to my food processor and pulsed a few more times. I let that cool slightly so it wouldn’t cook my egg! Then I added in the bread crumbs and egg and processed for a few seconds to form a “dough”.  I used an ice cream scoop to form patties and seared them on either side until crisp on the outside and warmed through, just like a burger!


I served it up with a little BBQ sauce and a bun. He actually eats the bun separately, but for us grown ups, I took a picture of the burger and bun together! I hope you and your kiddos enjoy!


 

Beet and Black Bean Burgers
Yields 9
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup quinoa
  2. 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  3. 1 8 oz package steamed and peeled baby beets (in fridge section)
  4. 1/2 onion, rough dice
  5. 1/4 c shredded carrots
  6. 1 tsp fresh ginger, rough dice
  7. 1/2 c canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  8. 1/2 c bread crumbs
  9. 1 egg
  10. Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa in the chicken or vegetable broth according to package.
  2. Sautee onion, carrots, and ginger in 1 Tbsp olive oil until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine beets and sauteed vegetables in the food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
  4. Add 1 cup cooked quinoa and black beans to the food processor. Pulse to combine. Let cool slightly.
  5. Add bread crumbs and egg to the food processor and pulse for a few seconds, until dough forms.
  6. Heat a large sautee pan to medium-low heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of olive oil (about 1 Tbsp).
  7. Using a standard ice cream scoop, form patties in your hand and place on the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, or until crisp.
  8. Flip and cook for about 3 more minutes, until crisp and warmed through.
  9. Set patties aside to cool. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Traffic Light Ice Pops

Turner is a huge smoothie fan. We share a smoothie every day! When I make them, I ALWAYS throw some spinach and avocado in. He honestly loves it and has no clue. Gotta do it while I can, right?

I wanted to make something a little different since I had some more time over the weekend! I looked to see what sort of frozen or fresh fruit I had on hand and BOOM, traffic light ice pops! I got the idea from one of my favorite kid’s cookbooks, SuperFoods for Babies and Children. I get a TON of ideas from this book, and Turner has loved everything. I can’t say I’ve followed the recipes to a T, but they’ve definitely inspired my menus! The ice pops recipe called for strawberries, honey, peaches, and kiwi. I  didn’t have most of those things, so instead I used a mixture of frozen strawberries and raspberries, fresh pineapple, and fresh kiwi. They came out AWESOME! The perfect treat for a hot summer day.

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Traffic Light Ice Pops
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Bottom Layer
  1. 1 cup frozen mixed red berries (I used raspberries and strawberries)
  2. 3/4 cup almond milk
Middle Layer
  1. 10 chunks fresh pineapple (about 1 cup)
  2. 1/2 cup almond milk
Top Layer
  1. 2 fresh kiwi, peeled
  2. 2 Tbsp almond milk
Instructions
  1. Blend the berries and almond milk on high until completely pureed. Strain through a mesh sieve. Fill popsicle cups 1/3 of the way up with the berry mixture. Freeze until firm (about 1 hour)
  2. Repeat this process with the pineapple puree and the kiwi puree. Enjoy!
Adapted from SuperFoods for Babies and Children
Adapted from SuperFoods for Babies and Children
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Fruity Grilled Chicken Salad

I am a salad lover! I feel like salads get a bad rap because they can be boring! But, salads can be a mixture of anything. It doesn’t have to just be lettuce and vegetables! I love salads because I can just throw everything in a bowl, without measuring, and have a flavorful meal ready to go!

This salad is basically a grilled chicken salad, but with a TON of fun additions. This is the chicken recipe I use. I had some leftover quinoa, so I tossed that in. I also had a million strawberries from strawberry picking and some corn from the Farmer’s Market last weekend. I decided to saute the corn for a nice warm bite. I folded in the cooked quinoa and seasoned with salt and pepper.  

Here is the assembly: I line the bowls with some arugula, then layer on a scoop of the corn mixture, strawberries, diced turkey bacon, grilled chicken, and then top it with some sunflower seeds for texture! Here is a link to the vinaigrette I use. 

WOW, delicious.  I even scooped out some of the corn mixture to serve Turner. He can’t exactly do salads yet, but this is a bit of our dinner deconstructed so I don’t have to make him a whole separate meal! I will definitely be making this again! It was a big hit!

Fruity Grilled Chicken Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 2 marinated chicken cutlets, grilled and sliced
  2. 2 cups arugula
  3. 3 ears of corn, cut from cob (or frozen)
  4. 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  5. 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
  6. 3 slices turkey bacon, cooked and diced
  7. sunflower seeds
Instructions
  1. Grill the chicken breasts and slice (chicken recipe linked in the blog). Set aside to cool while preparing the rest of the salad.
  2. Cut the corn away from the cob (or use frozen) and saute over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in quinoa and set aside.
  4. Line two bowls with arugula. Layer the corn and quinoa mixture over the arugula.
  5. Layer strawberries, bacon, and grilled chicken on top. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Top with your favorite dressing (vinaigrette linked in the blog). Enjoy!
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Nutty Banana Bread Granola

This granola is AMAZING. I am always on the search for great granola recipes that aren’t packed with sugar! I recently found a recipe that sounded yummy. The original can be found here. I made a few changes that added some protein and were “toddler friendly” since Turner loves yogurt parfaits!

I start by combining the oats, pecans, and cinnamon in the standing mixer. I just give that a quick mix to incorporate the dry ingredients. Then, on the stove, I heat the mashed banana, maple syrup, brown sugar, coconut oil, and almond butter, just until they’re well combined.

After that’s combined, I pour it into my mixer and mix until the oats are completely coated with the wet ingredients. I spread it out on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

And, there you have it! A delicious granola recipe for everyone in the family!

Nutty Banana Bread Granola
A nutty and protein packed granola recipe for the whole family!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups quick cooking oats (or old fashioned)
  2. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  3. 1 cup chopped pecans
  4. 1 ripe banana, mashed
  5. 1/3 cup maple syrup
  6. 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  7. 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  8. 2 Tbsp almond butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the mashed banana, syrup, brown sugar, oil, and almond butter. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar and oil have melted and the mixture is combined.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine oats, cinnamon, and pecans.
  4. With the mixer on low, pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until well combined and oats are completely coated.
  5. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes (stirring halfway through) until the granola is dry and golden brown.
Notes
  1. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Adapted from The Messy Baker
Adapted from The Messy Baker
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Mini and Me Smoothie

The warm weather has gotten me in smoothie mode! And, since I don’t puree baby food for Turner anymore, I find that tucking secret ingredients into our smoothies is the perfect way to get his veggies in! I just make a big batch so I can have a full smoothie and he can have a mini one! This is our absolute favorite, as you can tell by Turner’s expression!




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Mini and Me Smoothie
Serves 1
A sneaky, yet delicious, way to pack you and your family with veggies!
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 frozen banana
  2. 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  3. 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  4. 1/2 cup frozen mango
  5. 1 cup of greens like spinach or kale, washed
  6. 1/2 avocado (flesh)
  7. One cup almond milk
  8. One heaping tablespoon almond butter
  9. 1 teaspoon maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in Vitamix (starting at low speed and slowly increasing) or a high speed blender and blend until smooth!
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Chicken and Veggie Tots

I am on a mission to create clever ways to stuff my child FULL of vegetables! So far, so good. Here’s an amazing recipe that I can almost bet your finicky child will love!! You can call them whatever you want to appeal to your little one. But, rest assured, they are chock full of VEGGIES!! 
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They are a bit labor intensive, but the recipe makes about a million so they last for quite a while! I make about 40 and freeze the majority. Turner eats 4 or 5 in one sitting, so I just take out what I know I’ll need and pop them in an airtight container in the fridge the night before!

I start by prepping all of the veggies. In a food processor, I shred the carrots. I leave half of the carrots in the food processor, and set remaining carrots aside. Then, I dice the apple, onion, celery, and red pepper. I set the veggies aside.

Then, I cut the chicken breast into chunks and add them to the carrots in the food processor fitted with blade attachment. I pulse 4 times to break the chicken into small pieces.

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, I sauté half the onion until it softens, about two minutes. I add half the shredded carrot, and all of the red pepper, apple, kale (or spinach), and celery to the sautéed onions. I season with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp dried thyme. I sautée for another 2-3 minutes until veggies soften. I turn the heat off and set that mixture aside to cool.

Meanwhile, I add the remaining raw onion to the food processor. Pulse to combine, about four times.

Then, I add the sautéed veggies to the food processor. I pulse to combine, about 10 times, scraping down the sides with a spatula.

Finally, I add the egg and breadcrumbs. I pulse to combine. Then it’s time to form the meatballs!! I use a mini ice cream scoop to make the balls and drop them onto my oiled skillet.

I cook them for about 3 minutes per side. I turn them and make sure to cook all sides until browned and cooked through. This process takes about 10-15 minutes. I cook them in batches, making sure to coat the pan with oil for each batch! Then it’s time to dig in!



As you can tell, Turner is a HUGE fan of these babies! Little does he know, he’s getting his veggies in with each and every bite!

Chicken and Veggie Tots
Yields 35
These are delicious and healthy! Perfect as a side dish or main course for you or your toddler!
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Ingredients
  1. Olive oil
  2. 1 raw boneless skinless chicken breast
  3. 2 carrots, grated
  4. 1/2 onion, diced
  5. 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  6. 1 celery stalk, diced
  7. 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  8. 1 cup frozen spinach or kale, diced
  9. 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  12. 1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  13. 1 egg
Start by preparing the veggies
  1. *In a food processor, use grating attachment to grate the carrots. Leave half of the carrots in the food processor, and set remaining carrots aside.
  2. *Dice onion, apple, celery, and red pepper. Set veggies aside.
  3. *Cut chicken breast into 1 inch chunks and add to carrots in the food processor fitted with blade attachment. Pulse 4 times to break the chicken into small pieces.
  4. *In a nonstick skillet, over medium heat, sauté half the onion until translucent about two minutes. Add the reserved 1/2 of shredded carrots, and all of the red pepper, apple, kale (or spinach), and celery to the sautéed onions. Season with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp dried thyme. Sautée for 2-3 minutes until veggies soften. Turn off heat and set aside.
  5. *Meanwhile, add remaining raw onion to the food processor. Pulse to combine, about four times.
  6. *Add sautéed veggies to food processor. Pulse to combine, about 10 times. Scrape down the sides and pulse a few more times.
  7. *Add egg and breadcrumbs. Pulse to combine, about 15 times. Scrape down the sides and pulse a few more times.
  8. *Heat about 1 tbsp olive oil (enough to coat bottom of the pan) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Use a small ice cream scoop to form meatballs. Drop them onto the heated pan. Cook on each side until browned and cooked through the center. About 3 min per side. Total cooking time about 10-15 minutes. Place on large plate to cool and repeat the cooking process for remaining meatballs, adding another Tbsp of oil before each batch. Let cool completely.
Notes
  1. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If freezing, freeze in a single layer. Then transfer to a ziplock bag and store in freezer for up to 6 months. To defrost, place in an airtight container in the fridge overnight.
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Carrot Almond Butter Snack Bites

I found a delicious recipe months ago that I’ve been meaning to try. I finally had some time to test recipes this morning and came up with a little spin on these Carrot Almond Butter Bites. I kept it pretty similar. I just changed up a few ingredients and blended it up in the food processor so it’s extra “toddler friendly”. 


Carrot Almond Butter Snack Bites
Yields 22
A delicious and healthy kid-friendly snack!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 carrots (washed, peeled, and grated)
  2. 1 cup quick cooking oats
  3. 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  4. 1 tbsp chia seeds
  5. 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  6. 1 tsp cinnamon
  7. 3/4 cup almond butter
  8. 2 Tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Using the shredding disk for the food processor, grate three carrots. Take out the shredding disk and put regular chopping blade in. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until well combined. You may need to scrape down the sides and pulse it a few more times.
  2. Use a small ice cream scoop to keep bites uniform. Roll each scoop into a ball in your hands. Place in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Freeze up to 3 months.
Adapted from New You Blog
Adapted from New You Blog
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Frittata Cups

Life has been a bit busy lately. I feel like I haven’t had time to plan a solid meal for any of us! I definitely always have frozen purees on hand for Turner, but he’s getting a bit picky when it comes to food! He LOVES peanut butter sandwiches, anything with sweet potatoes, bananas with avocado, and oatmeal. Those are pretty much the staples around here. But, in an effort to keep him NOT picky, I’m committed to making him different foods that will peak his interest.

I made a batch of Frittata Cups this morning. He loves them and they’re perfect for “make ahead” healthy meals. I keep them in the freezer and just take one out and put it in a container in the fridge the night before! They couldn’t be easier to make. I start by cooking the frozen potatoes until they’re browned, about 5 minutes. Then I add a diced zucchini, and cook one more minute until it’s softened.

I pour that onto a plate to cool while I prep the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl, I whisk together the eggs, water, yogurt, salt & pepper. Once that’s combined, I stir in the veggies and cheese.


Finally, I use a quarter cup measure to scoop the mixture into a muffin tin lined with silicone baking cups.
  I cook them for 30 minutes at 350F until they’re nice and firm. YUM!

Stew and I actually eat them too. They’re great for him because he leaves early in the morning for work. So he just pops them in the microwave and has breakfast on the go!

Frittata Cups
A yummy and healthy make-ahead breakfast!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1 cup frozen Ore-Ida Potatoes O'Brien
  3. 1 small zucchini, diced
  4. 6 eggs
  5. 2 tablespoons water
  6. 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  9. 1/2 diced feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup frozen potato mixture to the pan in an even layer. Cook for 5 minutes, turning every minute or so. Add diced zucchini to the pan. Cook one minute, stirring occasionally, until zucchini softens. Transfer vegetables to a plate to cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, water, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Stir in vegetable mixture and feta cheese. Line a muffin tin with silicone baking cups (paper liners get wet and stick to the eggs). Use a 1/4 cup scoop to fill muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes, or until firm through center.
  3. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for three days or in the freezer for three months.
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Food Prep

This was a weekend of major food prep! This is a “chemo week“, so I like to get as much done in advance as possible. We have Supper Club (Standing Rib Roast Recipe to come!) tonight, so yesterday was the big “prep day”.

The first few chemo treatments, Stew was sick for a solid 4 days, so I didn’t worry too much about food. It was mainly chicken soup and saltines all week. But since he started his acupuncture and chinese herbs, he is a hungry beast (yay)! Now I actually have to plan meals for the week! On top of that, Turner is eating me out of house and home! This kid could eat NON-STOP!!!

Needless to say, I have to have healthy snacks on hand for him AND Stew (and me, of course)! So This was what I made yesterday:


Banana Raspberry Muffins (My changes: No sugar. Half whole wheat pastry flour and half spelt flour)
Pumpkin Muffins (My changes: No sugar, no frosting, honey could be replaced with maple syrup)
Zuchinni Tots (My changes: quadrupled recipe to freeze them, used LARGE muffin cups, and added a large shredded turnip to the mix)

This morning, I made breakfast burritos to freeze so we have a quick and healthy breakfast when we’re on the go! Here is my recipe.






Freezer Breakfast Burritos:
Makes 5 burritos

5 tortillas
6 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 Applegate frozen turkey breakfast sausage links
1 cup Ore-Ida frozen potatoes, peppers and onions
2 Tbsp salsa, plus extra to top
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra to top
1 Tbsp goat cheese

Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet (I used cast iron) over medium heat. Cook potatoes and sausage according to package instructions (basically until softened and browned). Slice sausage into bite size pieces and return to pan. Whisk eggs, salt, and pepper up in a bowl. Add eggs, salsa, goat cheese, and cheddar to the pan. Let eggs set for about 1 minute. Use a rubber spatula to move eggs around the pan, about every minute, until they are cooked through.

Divide egg mixture into 5 even sections. Lay out one square of foil and lay tortilla on top. Spoon one section of filling onto the tortilla. Top with extra salsa and shredded cheese. Tuck the sides in and roll up (seam side down). Roll the foil up around it. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Place tortillas in a large ziplock bag and freeze.

To re-heat in the morning: Remove foil, wrap burrito in paper towel, microwave, using the quick defrost button, for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Time and setting will vary depending on your microwave! If you have more time, you can always keep the burrito in foil and warm in the oven.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

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Christmas Tree Obsession

This morning was a very productive morning! Every weekend, I spend about an hour prepping baby food for the week. I’ll steam veggies for a puree, or make a batch of oatmeal, or cook up some pancakes to freeze. This morning I made my go-to baby pancakes and even had time to take pictures of them! I typed up the recipe to share with you. Here it is!

I had time to play around with my new Canon Macro Lens too! I’ve been wanting this for a looooong time! The photos I shot will explain my obsession. It’s incredible, and it’s pretty inexpensive as far as lenses go!

I captured some great shots of our little man in all his snuggly glory.

This holiday season is the best I’ve ever had! I’m absolutely in love with this munchkin. Everything is so exciting to Turner. He is absolutely obsessed with our tree! He left it alone for a while, and then rediscovered it last night. All he wants to do is pull the ornaments off and play with them. Morning, noon, or night…it doesn’t matter!



We got so much done this morning, that I think we can take it easy for the rest of the day! It’s the perfect rainy day for snuggling. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

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