A Healthier “Easter Basket” & Toddler Snacks

I recently saw a blog post by Danielle Walker on building a healthier Easter basket. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am plagued by the thought of feeding sugar and candy to my kids! Not that it never happens, but when it’s within my control, I try to have healthier (and just as delicious) options for Turner and Gracie to avoid the temptation and help them build healthy habits! Enter the Easter basket…

I just can’t get down with loading a basket full of candy and handing it over to my kids! I just can’t! So, after reading Danielle’s post, I decided to take a trip with the kids so they could pick out some of their favorite snacks from the bulk aisle of Whole Foods. They were actually SUPER excited about this! This is what they picked out: pistachios, dried mango, banana chips, cacao energy bites, and some frozen berries. (I know you’re probably thinking, well your kids are freaks. My kids would never pick out pistachios. But the idea is, get them to pick what they want within the boundaries that you’ve created. And remember, you can always say NO!) So these are the goodies they’ll snack on Easter morning! We had to test it out of course…

While we’re at it, I wanted to share a recent lunch and breakfast idea. Basically, anything that is arranged in a pretty pattern will have my kids gobbling it down! So our lunches recently have been Peanut butter, honey, and Coconut Butter (this is the bomb. Warm it and spread it on bread, or drop a huge spoonful in your smoothies) with a side of fruit, cheese, and pistachios. They tear it up!

Another idea, now that it’s getting warmer, is the smoothie bowl! You can make it however you want. Here’s the deal though, it’s thicker than a smoothie, so that means more work on your blender. I use a high speed blender (like THIS) so it doesn’t explode. Another option is the food processor which works great. OR if you don’t have either of these, just add some more liquid to thin it out a bit. It’s still delicious! So in this bowl I had about (I don’t measure) 2 cups organic frozen berries, 1/2 ripe avocado, 1 cup frozen banana, heaping Tbsp Coconut Butter, 1/2 cup to 1 cup of strawberry cashew milk (use whichever liquid you like), 1/2 cup raw walnuts, 1 Tbsp Acai Powder. Start on low speed and build up to high using the tamper (if you have a Vitamix) to blend completely. Pour into bowls and top with goodies like Cacao Nibs, coconut, and fresh or frozen berries. SO GOOD!

 

Happy snacking!

Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Cookies

The countdown to fall is ON in the Watson household. I’m really fighting with everything I have to not decorate the house. My friend told me I at least have to wait until the end of September. I won’t lie though, I’ve been burning my favorite pumpkin candle for over a month now. And I’ve been baking tons of pumpkin flavored goodies. These cookies are among my favorite new fall treats. They’re incredible! I searched a few pumpkin cookie recipes on Pinterest and created a healthier spin on them so Turner and Gracie could eat them too. Now, I say healthy, but they have butter and flour. The healthy part comes with no sugar and replacing with maple syrup. They’re delicious! Fluffy, soft, and satisfying. They actually taste like a muffin top…but hopefully won’t give you one ;o) Happy almost fall!


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Healthy “Ice Cream” Sandwiches

These are Turner and my favorite summer treats. We love our ice cream over here, so I tried to think of a healthy alternative that I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating and feeding to my toddler. I even let Gracie taste them! These aren’t actually made out of ice cream. But they’re JUST as tasty. I promise! They’re made out of frozen fruit, almond milk, and a splash of agave nectar. That’s it! I use graham crackers as the “cookies”. There are a few steps, so bear with me. Once you get the hang of it, they’re really easy to make!

  1. Start off with frozen fruit of your choice (I used bananas and strawberries). Be sure to let them sit out at room temp for about 5 minutes before blending. Pulse in the food processor until the fruit looks like sand (scrape down sides as needed).
  2. Add in a splash of agave nectar and then pour in the almond milk while the processor is running. Scrape down the sides and keep processing until you have a mixture that resembles ice cream!
  3. Line a baking dish with 12 graham cracker squares and spread the ice cream over the graham crackers. This is the part that takes patience. I usually put my hand on one side of the grahams and spread the mixture towards my hand to keep the crackers in place. You end up with something like this:
  4. Top the ice cream with the remaining 12 graham cracker squares
  5. Run a sharp knife between the crackers to score the ice cream so they’re easy to cut after you freeze them.
  6. Place the dish in the freezer for up to 2 hours. Remove the dish and cut over the scored lines to separate the sandwiches.
  7. Store sandwiches in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Let me know what you think!

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Toddler Foodie Favs

Hey, Friends! I’ve been working on a post for some food ideas for toddlers! I love perusing Pinterest for food ideas for the kids. At the same time, it makes me feel like I suck at life, because who honestly has time to make these fancy colorful meals for their toddlers! Most days, lunch is a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a smoothie and various sides for Turner AND me. But occasionally, I’ll have the time and/or energy to make him a nice meal! I also have been making Gracie’s baby food, with the exception of moving week, when I bought a few jars of baby food. I actually saved the glass jars because it’s quite convenient to make a batch of baby food, fill the jars, and keep them in the fridge to grab and go (story of my life)! I’ll be posting those soon! Here are some toddler meal ideas to share.

Toddler Meals:

*Graham crackers with peanut butter, berries, yogurt with cinnamon, and a homemade Chocolate Bar.

*Chips and guacamole, berries, peanut butter and banana sandwich, a spoonful of almond butter (per Turner’s request).

*Crackers and beet hummus (from Whole Foods), re-fried black bean and cheese quesadilla, berries

*Peanut butter and banana sandwich with tons of berries.

These are just a few of our favorite things! I’ll be posting our favorite “Ice Cream” Sandwich shortly. Share some of your favorites! We’re always looking for new foodie ideas. Have a wonderful weekend!

Berry Protein Smoothie Bowl

Turner loves a good smoothie. In fact, we have a “smoothie date” every day before his nap. That means we either go to our local smoothie shop, or if we’d rather not spend an arm and a leg, we go home and make our own. Our “go-to” is some sort of variation on this one.

Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of smoothie bowls on Pinterest, and I thought that would be such a fun thing to try! So I did a similar recipe to our favorite smoothie, but made it a bit thicker to eat with a spoon. And the toppings are the best part! Do you have a favorite? I’d love to hear!

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Festive 4th of July Snacks

Turner’s favorite foods are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon, and peanut butter. He would live off them if he could. I’m always trying to come up with creative snack ideas to keep it interesting. The 4th of July is the perfect way to incorporate festive snacks into our day. I wanted to share some of our favorites with you!

  • Red White and Blue Ice Pops
    Bottom Layer: blended frozen strawberries, plain yogurt, a splash of almond milk
    Middle Layer: blended frozen bananas, plain yogurt, a splash of almond milk
    Top Layer: blended frozen blueberries, plain yogurt, a splash of almond milk. This turned out kinda purple, but it was delicious nonetheless!
    If I was patient, I would have frozen each layer before adding another, but who has time for that?!



 

  • Red White and Blue Fruit Platter
    A pretty presentation always makes food more appetizing. I use this Porcelain Egg Crate to dress up our plain old berries and bananas. I actually use this for other snacks like pretzels, gold fish, cheerios, etc. It’s a fun way to display toddler foods.

 

  • Red White and Blue Parfait Pops
    In a large bowl, combine 2 cups plain yogurt with 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp agave nectar, 1/4 C. fresh blueberries, and 1/4 C. fresh diced strawberries. Stir to combine and divide evenly between dixie cups. Cut festive straws in half and stick in the center of the cup. Top with a Tbsp of granola and freeze overnight. And, there you have, festive parfait pops!


    I hope you and your kiddos like these treats as much as we do! I’d love to hear some of your favorite holiday snacks too!

Toddler Meals

Happy Tuesday! Turner and I have both been struggling with the nasty sinus and cough bug. Lots of napless days and nebulizer treatments! But I think we’re on the mend.

As Turner gets older, it seems harder to get him to eat healthy foods. Now that the weather is warmer, it’s definitely easy to disguise greens like spinach or kale in smoothies. Here is a link to our daily green shake. I’ve also been compiling some photos of meal ideas that I wanted to share with you for your finicky toddlers!

Working from top to bottom, left to right:

1) Fish Sticks, Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas, Guacamole 2) Sliced Cheddar Cheese, Grapes, Banana with Peanut Butter 3) Grilled Cheese Squares, Roasted Butternut Squash, Grapes, Cucumber Slices 4) Honey Roasted Turkey Breast, Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Baby Carrots 5) Fresh Berries, Cottage Cheese, Chicken Nuggets 6) Spread almond butter on banana, roll in chopped granola and freeze.

Hope your kiddos enjoy these ideas! Feel free to share your favorites with us!

Baking Cookies

The other day, I invited Turner into the kitchen to help me bake his favorite cookies. Here’s the original recipe, although I’ve made a few changes over time. I’ll put an updated recipe below so you can be the judge of which is better!

Usually, Turner drags his kitchen helper into the kitchen to play in the sink or play with dried beans (he likes to fill different size containers with the beans). But this time, it was to bake! He was loving it.


I’ve been dreaming of the day I’d have my own little munchkin to cook and bake with me! I really love this age. Turner is so much fun! He’s my little buddy. We do everything together. He’s turning into such a big boy right before my eyes!

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Toddler Meal Ideas

I can’t even believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted! Life has been good, which I’m thankful for! We just started potty training two days ago (kind of), which entails Turner walking around the house naked and me following him around with his potty asking, “Do you have to go pee pee?” to which he replies “NO” and then pees on the floor. I’m not quite committed to it, because I don’t really have the time, so I don’t have an exact plan. I’m just sort of seeing if he takes an interest. If not, we might table it for a few months. I’ll keep you posted!

Turner and I have our daily routine, and a big part of that is food! I love to cook and experiment with food, so I try to come up with healthy meals and snacks for him when I have the time. As many of you know, Turner loves food. But lately, he’s gotten pickier with what he eats. I have to be extra sneaky about it. I guess he’s really becoming a toddler. I’m always searching pinterest and other blogs for toddler food ideas, so I thought it would be helpful to share a few of mine!

Breakfast Ideas:

~Scrambled egg, waffle, fruit
~Scrambled egg, breakfast cookie, fruit
~Healthy Baby Pancakes with fruit
~Plain oatmeal with a touch of Greek yogurt and cinnamon





Lunch Ideas:

~Peanut butter and honey sandwich on whole wheat bread with fruit
~Egg Salad served with whole wheat toast
~Banana topped with peanut butter served and a few graham crackers


Afternoon Snack Ideas:

~Steamed carrot sticks with ranch dressing
~”Milkshake” (unsweetened kefir with cinnamon stirred in with a straw) served with “Breakfast Cookie
~Smudgies served with freeze-dried cranberries and fruit
~Greek Yogurt mixed with 1/4 tsp turmeric (lots of health benefits. Read up) and 1/2 tsp cinnamon

For supper, Turner usually eats what we eat. But in the case that he’s not into it, here are a few of his favorites:

Supper Ideas:

~Soups (minestrone, chicken noodle, lentil)
~~Meximelts
~Refried black bean and cheddar quesadillas.
~Small noodles with butter and cooked peas and carrots

I hope this was helpful! I stick with what I know Turner likes and modify it now and then. Feel free to share your kiddo’s favorites too!

Pumpkin Spice “Donut Holes”

Usually, by the time August comes around, I’m completely over summer and already pulling out my fall decorations. This year has been a little different. I haven’t been in a rush for “what’s next” like I usually am. I’m definitely in love with the stage Turner is in right now. He’s hilarious and non-stop, so I’m not trying to wish anything away! I actually wish time could stand still.

Last night seemed to be the turning point for me. I spent the night at Starbucks while Stew hosted a poker game with his friends, and I was enjoying the cooler weather that seemed to just appear out of nowhere! I sipped on my Salted Caramel Mocha and played around on Pinterest. Everything I came across was hinting towards cooler weather: dark nail polish, chunky sweaters, and pumpkin everything! It definitely got me into the fall spirit!

This morning, we had a slow start to the day which allowed me time to bake a little fall treat. I love everything apple and pumpkin-spice! So I made a healthier version of pumpkin spice donut holes. I swapped out the flours and baked them instead of frying. They were absolutely delicious! I had to take a second to share them with you!


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