Trader Joe’s Pizza and Breadsticks

Trader Joe’s Pizza and Breadsticks

We’re back! Excuse our short break… we’ve been dreaming up new recipes that we can’t wait to share!

I don’t know about you, but Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) is life changing for us. They just know how to make life easier! Although I would love to make homemade pizza dough, TJ’s has pre-made bags of dough in the refrigerator section. Everything in this recipe is from Trader Joe’s so enjoy some one-stop shopping. pizza 2

We used TJ’s whole wheat pizza dough. They also have plain and garlic herb. We started by washing our hands, getting them extra dry and then covering them with flour. This, of course, was the cubs favorite part.

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Kneading the dough is important, and turns out, lots of fun!

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Good Job, Cub! That looks like its ready to roll out.

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Another fun tool to use – a rolling pin! The cub took this step very seriously.

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Pat, pat, pat… it’s ready for sauce!

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We grabbed a bag of pre-washed spinach leaves at TJ’s and thought it would be a great idea to chop it up and add it to the sauce. Hidden veggies is my thing.

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The cub spreads on the sauce perfectly.

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Now for the cheese!  We used a few different kinds of shredded cheese from TJ’s. We had a little extra dough so we rolled it out, sprinkled them with cheese and added them to the oven as well.  The Cub enjoyed dipping them into the sauce or ‘dip dip’ as the cub would say.

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Yummy! For added flavor, we added Everything But the Bagel seasoning to the breadsticks. If you haven’t tried Everything but the Bagel seasoning at TJ’s, go buy some now! It can be added to anything.

 

TJ’s Pizza and Breadsticks

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s pizza dough
  • 1 container of Trader Joe’s pizza sauce
  • Cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, etc – any cheese that you want)
  • 1 bag of pre washed spinach leaves
  • Any other toppings of your choice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  1. Follow the directions on bag of dough for how to prepare dough for toppings.(i.e., allow to rest outside of bag and refrigerator before handling)
  2. We cut dough into two equal parts for easy handling.
  3. Flour your work surface with 1 – 2 tbsp flour.  Knead dough until it is workable.   Roll or manipulate into shape of choice.
  4. Chop 1 cup of spinach and mix into sauce.  Spread the sauce onto the dough in an even layer.
  5. Sprinkle generously with shredded cheese
  6. Add additional toppings of your choice.
  7. Bake in the over for 12- 15 minutes or the crust is golden brown.

Ribbon Salad

Ribbon Salad

Better known as Pear, Pomegranate and Roasted Butternut Squash salad with Maple Sesame Vinaigrette from the spiralizer inspired blog Inspiralized.com. If you were to say the full name to your toddler, they may have a confused look on their face. So we toddlerized the title to simply, Ribbon Salad!

Getting kids to eat veggies has to be fun! Using tools, like a spiralizer changes the way a child thinks about eating. It’s different, creative and fun!

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Grandma DiDi peeled and spiralized the butternut squash. After tossing it with oil, salt and pepper, she popped it in the oven to roast.

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While the butternut squash roasted, we made the maple sesame vinaigrette.  Once again, the cub is mesmerized by the garlic press.

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Measuring out ingredients always makes the cub feel part of the process. At two-years-old, she’s very independent and loves to do things by herself.

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Stir, stir and look cute.

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With the dressing complete, Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to make ribbons out of an asian pear. The texture of an Asian pear is firmer than a regular pear so it holds up to the spiralizer.

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The cub is so proud of the finished product! So is Grandma.

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Time to give it a try!

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We added  all the ingredients to the bowl which has the dressing at the bottom.

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In goes the pomegranate seeds and arugula.

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Toss and get ready to enjoy!

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To add to the experience and FUN, the cub ate her salad with chopsticks. Never underestimate how creativity in the kitchen can influence your child to eat.

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Ribbon Salad

 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, noodles trimmed (flat blade)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large asian pear (noodle blade)
  • 5 oz container of arugula
  • ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and then minced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the butternut squash noodles. Coat lightly with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper and roast for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through but still al dente.
  1. While the squash cooks, combine all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
  2. Spiralize the pear and add to a large mixing bowl with the arugula and walnuts. Once butternut squash is done, add it to the large bowl, toss with vinaigrette thoroughly.
  3. Serve immediately.

Broccoli Cheese Muffins

Broccoli Cheese Muffins

Thankfully, our little cub still loves broccoli… for now. She will eat steamed brocoli dipped in yummy sauces or butter, blended in smoothies as well as mixed into baked goods. These Claire’s Little Tot’s adapted broccoli cheese muffins are an easy way to get broccoli in your little ones diet.

Not all mornings are created equal. On this particular morning, the cub wanted nothing to do with our recipe. We got creative and invited all her “friends” to cook with us. Cooking isn’t really worth it unless it’s fun! And cooking is always more fun with friends!

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We started our cooking session by lining up all our toys to watch! The cub cut the broccoli in to little pieces, and then we finished the job chopping the broccoli with a big-kid knife.

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In goes the flour and the crowd cheers!

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We added all the dry ingredients and then Anna (from Frozen) wanted to stir, too! Team effort is important around here.

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Grandma DiDi’s turn to stir! The cub says, “Say Cheese.”

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Now it’s time to add the wet ingredients. This time Olaf is coming in for the assist. You can never have enough help.

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After Grandma DiDi helped stir the ingredients well, the cub (and her baby doll) helped scoop the batter into the muffin tin. We popped them in the oven while the cub and all her friends waited patiently for the muffins to bake.

BC9Ding! Cooked to perfection.

 

Broccoli Cheese Muffins

 

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of wheat flour
  • 5 oz grated cheese (we used shredded cheddar but any cheese would be good)
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 6fl oz of milk (I use whole milk)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees
  2. Cook the broccoli until tender (boil or steam) and mash with the back of a fork
  3. In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, cooked broccoli and cheese
  4. Add the oil, beaten egg, milk and mix well
  5. Spoon the mixture into a well-greased 12 hole muffin tin  (the consistency should be a moist, sticky dough that is quite thick)
  6. Bake for around 30 minutes or until golden
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled, store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and eat cold or, if we’re at home, I reheat them for 30 seconds in the microwave. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months, just take them out when you need them and reheat once defrosted.

 

Options: Chopped kale, spinach, swiss chard, carrots grated zucchini or other types of squash can be substituted. Get creative with flavor. If your little one likes it, add onion, garlic, etc.

Emoji Ice Cubes

Emoji Ice Cubes

Who doesn’t love an Emoji?! And better yet, when they are used to add wholesome ingredients to your little one’s diet.  The cub loves juice (preferably the extra sugary kind), so we thought it would be fun to make juice ice cubes that she could add to her water that didn’t have all the added preservatives and sugar!

Engaging a child’s senses is the key to discovery. Drawing a child’s attention to the five senses and discussing them increases their understanding of, and communication about, the world around them. These ice cubes engage four of the five senses. They smell like fresh fruit, they look fun with funny faces and turn her clear water different colors, they feel cold (brrr!), and taste delicious.

We made two kinds of ice cubes. Apple cucumber and beet strawberry.

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The cub started by washing the apple and the beet.

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Next up, we started chopping and prepping all the ingredients for the blender. She soon discovered how fun an apple corer can be and pushed extra hard to finish the job.

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Surprise! Look what’s left!

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With her Curious Chef (kid safe) knife, the cub cut up the cucumber. We’ve been practicing and it shows! She’s really getting the hang of it.

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We added the cucumber and the apple to the blender to mix. Puree until smooth.

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We decided to fill half the Koji Cool Moji ice cube mold with the cucumber and apple mixture and the other half with the beet and strawberry mixture.

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The cub couldn’t wait to drink the leftover cucumber apple puree. She left Grandma DiDi to cut the strawberries.

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Back to work! After gulping down her juice, the cub is ready to do her part by cutting the strawberries. Grandma DiDi peeled and chopped the beet and added it to the blender. Emery added the strawberries and they were ready to mix.

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Into the ice cube mold it goes!

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Leftover beet and strawberry mixture didn’t stand a chance with this girl! Gulp, gulp, gone! We popped the ice cube mold into the freezer and let them set for 2 hours.

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Once frozen, the cub picked her favorite faces to add to her water. Healthy and fun water – it’s a win/win!

 

Emoji Ice Cubes

 

Ingredients

  • Apple
  • Cucumber
  • Beet
  • Strawberry
  • Water

Directions

  1. Wash all fruit and vegetables well
  2. Apple and cucumber blend:
    1. Cube equal portions of apple and cucumber and place into the blender
    2. Puree until smooth and pour into ice cube trays
    3. Add water, if necessary
    4. Note: Cute ice cube shapes and designs will enhance the taste!
  3. Strawberry and beet blend:
    1. Peel and chop beet and add to blender
    2. Slice the strawberries into quarters and add to the blender
    3. Puree until smooth and pour into ice cube trays
    4. Add water, if necessary
  4. Freeze for two hours and enjoy!

NOTES:

Use the proportion of each fruit or vegetable that you feel will entice your child to consume it. For example, we used about 1/3 of the medium-sized beet (raw) with about 1 1/2 cups of strawberries. Beet is a strong flavor and we wanted the strawberry taste to be up front. Possibilities are endless when thinking up new combinations.

Other optional additions: Honey, agave, spices or herbs of your choice

 

Soba Noodles with Veggies and Teriyaki Sauce

Soba Noodles with Veggies and Teriyaki Sauce

The Cub is a huge fan of noodles. Most nights when we ask her what she wants to eat, she replies, “Noodles.” She can’t get enough. She prefers an asian sauce on her noodles so we decided to try to make our own version of teriyaki.

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With most recipes, we let the cub measure out the ingredients. We talk about the amounts we are putting in the pot. We hope with consistency, she will eventually learn measurements. The cub helped us add water, corn starch, soy sauce and rice vinegar to a pot.

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Cultivating curiosity in a child is immeasurable.  Introduce new foods and let them play with new tools and food.  The cub is fixated on the appearance of the honey and loved that it smelled so sweet.

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We used a tool that the cub has never seen before – the garlic press. Pure joy beamed from her face when she saw the garlic squeeze out the little holes. It’s the simple things in life.

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Another fun tool is the potato masher. The cub helped us crush the pineapple chunks and tried a piece just to make sure it was sweet enough.

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Finger licking good!

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Can you say “Noodles”? Using a whisk, the cub helped us stir all the ingredients together before we put it on the stove to cook down.

While the teriyaki sauce cooked, we boiled the soba noodles. We also chopped up some broccoli and carrots and steamed them. Combine the noodles, veggies and sauce and you have a delicious meal!

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Isn’t she pretty eating her soba noodles with teriyaki? This dish is well-balanced and reduces the amount of sugar seen in most teriyaki sauces.

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Slurp, slurp, yummy noodles! Our noodle bowl is adapted from The Adventure Bite’s teriyaki sauce recipe.

 

Soba Noodles with Veggies and Teriyaki Sauce

 

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup soy sauce (I like reduced sodium)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4-5 tablespoons honey (to taste)
  • 2-4 tablespoons rice vinegar (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons crushed pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

Directions

  1. In a small pot whisk soy sauce, water, and cornstarch together until smooth. Add any of the optional additional ingredients you are using (vinegar, garlic, ginger, etc) .
  2. Heat over medium-high heat until warm and then whisk in honey until dissolved.
  3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and whisk constantly until desired thickness is reached. Do not leave unattended; it thickens quickly once it gets boiling and will rapidly burn.
  4. Taste and adjust as desired. If too thick, thin with additional water to desired consistency.
  5. Steam vegetables until tender.
  6. Boil noodles per package directions.
  7. In a bowl, add noodles, steamed vegetables and top with teriyaki sauce. Serve and enjoy.

Sweet Potato Flatbread

Sweet Potato Flatbread

The Kitchen Cub is not a huge fan of potatoes, unless it’s a french fry, so when we came across this recipe from Feasting on Fruit, we were eager to see if she would like it.  Sweet Potatoes are high in Vitamin A and C. They also fill up a growing toddler, something we try to stay on top of to avoid meltdowns. 😉

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The cub started by helping Grandma DiDi peel and chop the sweet potatoes. She then added them to the pot with a little water so Grandma DiDi could but on the stove to boil. While the potatoes cooked, we started on the dough.

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The cub added tapioca flour, quinoa flour (recipe calls for gluten free flour which we will try next time), salt and baking soda(cinnamon and sugar if you’re doing the sweet version) to a bowl. Measuring and pouring ingredients in a bowl are a fan favorite for the cub.   cub9

We added the cooked sweet potatoes after they pureed in the blender. Take turns stirring the mixture and watch as it starts to look like dough.

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The cub wanted to feel the texture and help mix it into dough.  We talked about the consistency and how bread is made from dough.

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Grandma DiDi helped form it into a perfect dough ball and the cub patted it for a finishing touch. We took a knife and cut it into 6 equal pieces.

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We laid down parchment paper and lots of flour and started to roll out each piece. Using a rolling pin was extra fun for the cub.  We also tried just patting them out in-between our palms like you’d make a tortilla. Both methods worked.

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Heat a nonstick skillet pan and cook the flatbreads for approximately two minutes.   Transfer to a bowl and cover with a dampened towel to keep warm.

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Or you can dig in right away like the cub!

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We thought the flatbreads would be more fun cut into shapes.  We grabbed a couple cookie cutters and got creative!

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It was The Kitchen Cubs’ consensus that the shapes tasted the best, especially if you dipped them in pure maple syrup.  The heart shaped peanut butter and banana sandwich was a big hit and didn’t need to be “dipped” at all!

Sweet Potato Flatbread

 

Ingredients

  • Potato Puree
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 cup water

Dough

  • 1 cup of the sweet potato puree above
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Sweet version: 2 tbsps of coconut sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Savory version: 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Potato puree: Peel and roughly chop the sweet potato.
  2. Transfer to a medium saucepan, add the water, and boil till tender. Do not drain.
  3. Puree the potato and cooking water in a blender till smooth. Transfer to another bowl (or back into the pot) and wash your blender immediately.
  4. Dough: Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  5. Add 1 cup of potato puree.
  6. Mix/knead to form a slightly stick dough. If it is too sticky, add 1/4 cup more gluten free flour.
  7. Divide into 5 – 6 balls.
  8. Roll out each ball between two piece of wax paper to about 1 cm thickness.
  9. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat.
  10. Place a flatbread in the pan and cook for 1 to 1.5 minutes or until bubbles start to show. Flip, then cook for another 1 to 1.5 minutes on the second side. There should be some brown spots on each side.
  11. Remove from heat and place in a bowl under a damp towel to keep them soft while you cook the others.
  12. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat as mentioned above.
RECIPE NOTES
For a gum free version, either use a gum-free GF blend like the King Arther Gluten Free Flour Blend or use 1 cup of brown rice flour instead of the GF all purpose. I still prefer the texture with the GF blend, but the brown rice flour version is still fairly soft and pliable.

Veggie Roll Up

Veggie Roll Up

Pinwheels, roll ups, whatever you want to call them, they are a great go-to lunch or snack option. You can pretty much throw any vegetable in them and protein for a well balanced meal. In this post, we give you a few ideas on what to add to your roll up and how to get your little one to help make it, too!

Our cub prefers asparagus, carrots and cucumber. We also tested out Trader Joe’s whole wheat lavash flatbread. It didn’t disappoint!

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We started by cooking one serving of quinoa. While it cooks and cools, cut the lavash in quarters.

The cub spread a room temp cream cheese mixture on a piece of the lavash. Grandma DiDi added green onion and parsley to our cream cheese mixture, but you can leave it out or use a different kind of spread. More options below.

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After the quinoa has cooled, have your cub scoop one heaping tablespoon of quinoa over the cream cheese. Take a fork to spread it out and press into the spread leaving approximately one inch just cream cheese.

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We julienned carrots, cucumbers and one whole slender asparagus spear and had the cub lay them over the quinoa. She is so engaged and makes sure they are just right on the lavash.

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Now it’s time to roll! The cub assists Grandma DiDi in rolling up the lavash.

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Now it’s time to eat! But first, baby gets to try!

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Voilã! Here is our version of a veggie roll up! Below are some ideas for you to create your own Veggie Roll Up.

 

Veggie Roll Up

Ingredients

  • Whole Wheat Lavash, tortilla or sandwich bread rolled thin with a rolling pin
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • Spread: Cream cheese (we added green onion and parsley), or any other spreadable cheese. (other options: tradional hummus, white bean hummus, etc., or yogurt chive spread from Trader Joes)
  • Veggies: Carrots, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, green beans, jicama, celery, sprouts, mache preferred or any tender greens.   We gently roast or blanche asparagus and green beans if we use them, although, they are delicious raw.

Directions

  1. Cook one cup of quinoa mix per package instructions.
  2. Mix green onion, parsley and cream cheese together.
  3. Spread room temperature cream cheese on lavash until it covers the whole piece.
  4. Press 1 tbsp of quinoa into the cream cheese; leaving one inch of cream cheese uncovered.
  5. Lay your vegetables down evenly over the quinoa; leaving one inch of cream cheese uncovered.
  6. Roll the lavash starting from the opposite end as the one inch of uncovered cream cheese.  Once you roll it all the way, the cream cheese will act as a glue to hold the roll together.
  7. Cut the roll into rounds; perfect for small toddler hands.
  8. Share some with your baby, then eat the rest!