Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

When we started this blog a little over a year ago, we hoped to build an online archive of new and old recipes for our family as well as make memories along the way. We’ve done just that, and this recipe is one that has been passed down through the generations in our family. You’ll even see from the directions that you just kind of need to know it to make it. From this Christmas forward, we hope to carry on the tradition of handing out these delicious Chocolate Applesauce Cakes to our dear friends and family.

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Decked out in her Christmas red, The Cub helps scoop the flour.

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“Grandma, you scoop and I’ll level,” proclaims The Cub.

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Next they added the cocoa. The Cub added, “Like the movie Coco!”

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This recipe includes all the yummy spices that make up the season. Together they sniffed the allspice.

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In goes the applesauce with a plop!

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Th cub uses her William Sonoma Lil’ Bear spatula to taste test the batter! Cub approved!

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Stir, stir, stir!

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The cub then adds in the raisins. We had half a bag left so we just let her dump them in.

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Working on her knife skills, The Cub helped chop some walnuts. She’s getting so good at chopping and enjoys it too!

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After the batter is mixed well, The Cub and Grandma DiDi added the batter to the greased mini loaf pans. The Cub is careful not to spill any.

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Cooked to perfection! With a hint of chocolate and a whole lot of Christmas spice! We hope you share our favorite holiday recipe for your loved ones! And if you do, we would love to see your finished product. Tag us #thekitchencub.

 

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • ½ cup shortening (canola oil)
  • 1 cup raisins, golden or regular
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

These are the directions that were passed down… 

  1. Mix all together and pour into greased loaf pan and bake in 350 oven for approximately 1 hour. 

 

Directions we actually used: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking soda, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg.
  3. Add applesauce and oil and mix until batter is well blended.
  4. Add raisin and walnuts.
  5. Grease each pan with cooking oil. Pour batter into loaf pan making sure not to overfill as the bread will rise.
  6. For mini loaf tins bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick runs clean.  If using whole loaf pan, bake for approximately 1 hour.
  7. Cool for 20 mins and serve! Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for a week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Making Baby Food

Making Baby Food

If you haven’t heard, The Cub was recently promoted to big sister and she’s taking the role very seriously. Among helping with her baths and changing her diaper, the cub loves to feed her a bottle and more recently, solid food.

This week the cub helped prep her little sisters food and she had a friend over to help.

Baby1The cub began by peeling the sweet potatoes. Her friend stood by to watch.

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The cub then chops the sweet potato. Once chopped Grandma DiDi cooked them in small amount of water until they are very soft to the touch.

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After the sweet potatoes had boiled and softened, the cub’s friend took a turn at pureeing the food in a blender.

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Then we poured the mixture into ice cub trays to freeze. Once frozen, pop them out for the perfect portioned meal for your baby.

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Next up, the cub’s little sister gobbled up all the yummy food she helped make for her. Bib not included.

 

Sweet Potato Baby Food

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped sweet potato
  • 2+ Tbsp water until you find the right consistency

Directions

  1. Wash sweet potatoes well
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small chunks
  3. Place chunks into a pan with just enough water to cover potato
  4. Bring to boil and cook until tender, be sure to check on the water level.
  5. Reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the sweet potatoes
  6. Place sweet potato into your blender (we use vitamix) for pureeing and blend.
  7. Add the reserved water or formula/breastmilk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency

We do this with all veggies and fruit that she can eat.  Just be sure produce is all washed well prior to cooking.

First foods include: Sweet potato, banana, pear, avocado, apple, peas, carrots, butternut squash and oatmeal. As she grows, we will get more creative with her meals and be sure to post our creations.

 

 

Lunch Box Ideas

Lunch Box Ideas

It’s that time of year! Kids are back in school and the lunch boxes are pulled out and dusted off ready to take on the school year.

The cub started 3 Day Preschool last week and it’s her first year eating lunch at school. We purchased a Planet Box and a friend from school gifted us the Omie. Both are fabulous lunch boxes!

We prepared two fun and healthy lunch box ideas that incorporate some of our old recipes! Scroll down for links to the recipes!

Box

Omie lunch box:

  • New savory pumpkin bread (Recipe to come) to make a sunbutter and apple sandwich
  • Roasted seaweed
  • Watermelon balls
  • Grapes
  • Brown Butter Pumpkin Cookies

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Planet Box

Cotton Candy Popsicles

Cotton Candy Popsicles

Summertime means sun, lots of outdoor fun and a time when you can buy the most delicious fruit! One in particular – Cotton Candy grapes! If you haven’t heard of them, ask your local grocer if they are getting any in and make sure to grab a bag before they are gone. I know when they hit the shelves in our hometown they don’t last long!  They are super sweet and taste just like cotton candy.

We grabbed a bag and decided to make popsicles with them!  And these couldn’t be easier!

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The cub started by chopping the grapes in half. We wanted to keep some of the grapes in bigger chunks.

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The rest of the grapes she dumped into the blender.

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For liquid we added one squeeze apple juice box to the blender.

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A quick stir and then it was time to blend up the ingredients.

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Time to get the Koji popsicle mold ready for the mixture.

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In goes the apple grape mixture… oh, and a little friend joined in on the fun.

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Grandma DiDi, the cub and her friend all helped put the grape halves in the popsicle mold. The bigger chunks give the popsicle more texture.

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Last step before they go in the freezer is to put the sticks and caps on.  Notice that Grandma DiDi is getting a little help from a Santa sticker strategically placed on her arm by the cub earlier that morning.

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Finally! The sweetest popsicle on a hot summer day!

 

Cotton Candy Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of cotton candy grapes; save about 1/8 cup just chopped
  • 1 7oz apple juice box

Directions

  1. Wash and prepare grapes
  2. Chop all grapes (reserve approximately 1/8 cup)
  3. Place grapes (except reserved) in blender
  4. Add 1 box of apple juice
  5. Blend for about 1 minute or pulse about 10 times
  6. Pour into popsicle mold
  7. Add reserved chopped grapes to each popsicle mold
  8. Freeze and enjoy. It should take 1 – 3 hours to fully freeze depending on the molds you use

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

When you are in a hurry, there is nothing better than having something readily available in the fridge or freezer to grab and go. These morning glory muffins are packed with fruit, veggies, fiber and protein to fuel your little cub through the morning.

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The cub began by helping add apples to the food processor.

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The cub doesn’t like loud noises so she held her ears while Grandma DiDi grated the apples and carrots.

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Time to add the dry ingredients to the bowl. This is the cubs favorite part.

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After stirring with her handy piggy spoon, she stops to smell the ingredients.

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The cub examines the grated apples and likes the texture. She takes a few handfuls and adds them to the bowl.

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But quickly realizes its easier to just dump them in.

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Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to scoop the honey out of the measuring cup. The cub is fascinated and giving the process her full attention.

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Grandma DiDi gave the cub a dried wild blueberry and had her guess what it was. The cubs first guess… a raisin!

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Such a big helper! The cub helps grease the muffin pan with avocado oil.

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And lastly scoops the muffin mixture into the greased pan. This is great for hand-eye coordination!

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Bake and you have these delicious wholesome muffins! Let them cool and eat or keep them in the refrigerator for about a week in an air tight bag. You can also wrap them well and freeze for 3 – 4 weeks.

 

Morning Glory Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup flax meal
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp each baking soda and baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk or your choice of milks
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 TBSP avocado oil
  • 2 TBSP molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (we used walnuts but choose what you want)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 medium sized apple grated (with skin)
  • 1 cup dried fruit of choice (we used Trader Joes wild dried blueberries)

Directions
(Makes 12 -15 muffins)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease regular sized cupcake tins well with butter or oil
  2. Put all dry ingredients in bowl and whisk together until well blended.
  3. Add milk, vanilla, honey, yogurt, molasses, coconut, grated carrots and grated apples and blend well by hand or in mixer.
  4. Beat egg with oil in a separate bowl and add to muffin mixture.
  5. Add chopped nuts and blend well.
  6. Pour into tins and bake 25 – 30 minutes until almost dry with toothpick test.

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Granola Bars

Apple Granola Bars

Kids are always looking for a sweet treat, so what better way to fill that craving then with one of these yummy apple bars. Low in sugar and high in nutrients! The cub thinks they are pretty great!

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But first, a cracker! Grandma DiDi recently took a trip to Boston to walk the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk that raises money for the Dana Farber center and their fight against cancer. While enjoying the city, she stopped in to the famous Eataly and couldn’t resist this cute apron for the cub. Thanks, Grandma DiDi.

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The cub helped by chopping up the apples for the apple sauce.

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Grandma DiDi showed the cub all the spices that needed to be added to the apple mixture. In went the apples, too.

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As always, we must stop and smell the ingredients. It’s part of what makes a great cook!

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Stir it up! Then, Grandma DiDi moved it to the stove to heat until the apples become mushy and soft.

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While the apple mixture heats on the stove, the cub works on the crust. To be honest, we didn’t add enough sugar to the first recipe and it was lacking in flavor, so we upped it and now it’s delicious. Nothing wrong with a little trial and error until your recipes are just right!

The cub added all the dry ingredients, plus jarred  apple sauce to form the crust. Once it forms, we transferred it to the baking dish.

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We used parchment paper under the crust to make clean up and serving easier. Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to press the crust into the bottom of the pan in a nice even layer.

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Over on the stove, Grandma DiDi mashed up the apple mixture and poured it over the crust. Spread it thin and it’s time to add the granola.

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We used Purely Elizabeth Granola, maple flavor, but you can use any granola you wish.

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After it baked for 20-25 mins, we allowed it to cool, then pulled it out of the pan with ease thanks to the parchment paper.

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Slice into squares and Voila! Easy and healthy and perfect for a grab and go breakfast or snack.

 

Apple Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 4 Gala apples
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of cardamom
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 1/2 cup jarred unsweetened apple sauce.
  • 1 c. almond flour
  • 1/2 gluten-free flour + 2 tbsp
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 c. Purely Elizabeth Granola (We used maple walnut flavor)

Directions

  1. Pre heat the oven to 325 degrees and line the 8 X 8 pan with parchment paper so the bars can be easily lifted out of pan to make it a breeze to cut.
  2. Make the applesauce by washing, peeling and cutting up the apples and placing them into a saucepan.  Add the cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. cardamom and cook over low heat until soft and mash with a potato masher.  Add the lemon juice and let cool.
  3. Make the crumb crust. Mix Almond, gluten-free flour, salt, 1/2 tsp. cardamom and sugar into a bowl and mix well with 1/2 cup of jarred applesauce.
  4.  Once mixture becomes more like a dough, press into bottom of 8 X 8 pan.
  5. Pour apple mixture from pan over the crust.
  6. Sprinkle the granola over the top and cook for approximately 20 – 25 minutes.

Cool and cut into squares. Enjoy

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