Carrot Energy Balls

Carrot Energy Balls

We are big fans of The Natural Nurturer. She loads veggies in everything she makes so when we saw her no-bake carrot balls we decided to make it our way with a little help from the cub.

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We started by cleaning the carrots. The cub really likes peeling. The safest way to teach a kid to peel a carrot is to have it flat on the counter and to peel away from their body.

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Use a grater with a handle and make sure it is on a flat non-slip surface. We also taught the cub to hold the end of the carrot and thoroughly explained why the grater could hurt her hands and fingers if they got too close. She did an excellent job completing the task.

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After the carrots were added, the cub added the oats, dates and peanut butter.

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With precision she added the chia seeds and honey.

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A colorful mix of ingredients. No baking – just mix well.

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Grandma Didi had fun teaching the cub how to roll the balls in her palms.

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So much goodness in a bite-sized energy ball.

 

Carrot Energy Balls

(adapted from https://thenaturalnurturer.com/2019/06/12/no-bake-peanut-butter-carrot-balls/)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrot (about 1 medium sized carrot)
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey or less
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 dates pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips(mini if you have them)

Directions

  1. Combine the carrots, peanut butter, honey, oats, chia seeds, dates and chocolate chips in a bowl.
  2. Mix until all ingredients are blended evenly.
  3. Chill in your freezer for 30 minutes. This helps make the batter to form into balls easier.
  4. Roll tablespoon size balls between your palms.
  5. Place the balls on a cookie sheet and chill in your freezer for about 2 hours or until firm.

Lemon Brownies

Lemon Brownies

Just in time for Easter we made a sweet and tangy lemon treat! Our uncle recently brought us a bunch of lemons from his house so we wanted to use them before they went bad.

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Is there a better smell than a freshly zested lemon? It’s a welcome sign of Spring time and we are thankful we have plenty.

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After we zested lots of lemons, it was time to juice them. We also have peace of mind that these lemons are grown without pesticides. Our uncle grows them himself, a trained arborist, and lover of all flora.

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In goes the flour. The cub makes sure it doesn’t dust up into her face.

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Next the lemon jest. She is loving all the smells.

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Measuring is her favorite! In goes the baking powder.

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The cub took a new step in her cooking journey. She was brave and helped crack an egg. The cub has always approached every new situation in her life with caution. (I’m a thankful mom for this) The sharp edges hurt her fingers but she repositioned and did it. She felt so accomplished!

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So excited to dump her first cracked egg into the bowl.

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Another first for her is using the mixer on her own. Clearly she was having a good time.

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Whipped to perfection. The cub takes so much pride with each task. She feels a part of our community when she helps in the kitchen, or around the house. We are firm believers that if she knows she’s a working member of our community, she will have greater respect and love for her home (and meals!)

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Licking the mixer… nothing better!

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Grandma DiDi quickly made the icing and the cub helped spread it over the baked, but cooled lemon brownies.

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This photo speaks for itself! Happy Easter everyone!

Lemon Brownies

(recipe from https://kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/lemon-brownies/, made with love by the cub)

Ingredients

Brownie Ingredients

  • 1 C unsalted butter softened
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Lemon Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp lemon zest

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper
  2. Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder
  3. Using a standing mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until light and fluffy
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined
  5. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until combined
  6. Pour batter into the baking pan and bake in the oven for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Make sure to not over bake.

  7. Allow to completely cool on the counter

  8. Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until combined
  9. Pour the glaze over the lemon bars and spread evenly
  10. Allow to harden overnight before enjoying  ( we couldn’t wait that long…)

Mini BBQ Meatloaf Bites

Mini BBQ Meatloaf Bites

Our little cub is growing up fast and that means we can be more creative in the kitchen for her. We love Jenna Helwig’s Real Baby Food cookbook. We used it when the cub was a baby and love it even more with our second baby. The cub helped make her mini turkey meatloaf bites.

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The Cub and Grandma DiDi got started by greasing the mini muffin tin pan. Grandma DiDi was having a little too much fun with the oil spray. ha!

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Time to make the BBQ sauce! SQUEEZE!

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One of the cubs favorite ingredients – maple syrup! It gives the meatballs a sweetness that any cub would love!

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It’s always important to taste your creations. Grandma DiDi’s signature move is to taste test with a finger lick. The cub is taking it all in.

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Now that they have perfected the sauce, it’s time to add it to the meat.

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The cub has been a little fashionista lately and insists on dressing herself. Girl moms, I know you hear me! Todays outfit is three skirts layered.

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Back to cooking… time to make the meatballs. The cub loves the texture.

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Grandma DiDi shows her how to roll them into balls. The cub is doing an excellent job.

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It’s very important to wash your hands after handling meat! Scrub, scrub, scrub!

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After she washed up, it’s time to brush the remaining BBQ sauce on the meatballs.

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Baked to perfection!

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A perfect serving size for baby cub. We break them up into tiny pieces for her to grab with her pincher finger and thumb. We store them in the freezer and pull one out to for an easy dinner option. Makes a perfect meal paired with a vegetable and some fruit.

Mini BBQ Meatloaf Bites

(adapted from Real Baby Food Cookbook )

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1/2 dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease muffin pan or generously spray the cub like Grandma DiDi!
  3. In a small bowl, make the BBQ sauce by mixing the ketchup, maple syrup, vinegar, Worcestershire and paprika.
  4. Beat the egg into large bowl and add the turkey meat, breadcrumbs, onion and  garlic powders and half the BBQ sauce. Mix well with hands.
  5. Divide the turkey mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Brush the top with the remaining BBQ sauce.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of each meatloaf reaches 165 degrees F.

Note: We store in the fridge in air tight container for 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months.  Also, you can lessen any of the spices if you feel it’s too much for your little one.

 

 

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.

 

 

Savory Pumpkin Bread

Savory Pumpkin Bread

Fall has arrived and that means everything Pumpkin! Grandma DiDi has been experimenting in the kitchen and whipped up this savory pumpkin bread!

The cub is at an age where not every morning is created equal. As she navigates her big emotions, we often invite her toys to join in on the cooking process to keep her engaged. Whatever it takes! 🙂

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The cub began by cutting the chives. She followed Grandma DiDi’s lead.

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Next up, they mixed all the wet ingredients together starting with the pumpkin.

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Followed by the yogurt. The cub is at an age where she wants to do everything by herself. We guide her with assistance when needed.

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Stir, whip, mix! The cub loves this part!

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Now the cub helps add the dry ingredients.  In goes the flour.

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Nothing better than the smell of spices! Even ones that aren’t sweet.

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A new fun activity is grinding the pepper. She can do it all be herself!

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In go the chopped chives! Sprinkle them everywhere!

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The cub takes her stirring duties seriously. With all that flour, the dough is getting really thick! “Look how strong I am,” the cub explains!

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Again, the cub is not always willing to participate. And she does want to do everything herself. Grandma DiDi has to offer help in this scenario. The cub does not approve.

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Once the dough is added to the bread pan, the cub gets to sprinkle hemp and chia seeds to the top. Now it’s time to bake!

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Ding! The bread is cooked to perfection. Perfect for a sandwich or just warm with butter or a cheese spread! Dig in!

Savory Pumpkin Bread
(Adapted from chefdehome.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup non-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • ¼ cup oil (canola, olive or oil of choice)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP fresh chives or thyme (or both if you’d like)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (more for top)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds (more for top)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 350. Grease a 5 X 9 inch pan
  2. In a medium bowl, add wet ingredients: eggs, oil, and yogurt. Whisk to break eggs and mix in yogurt. Add pumpkin puree and combine well. set aside
  3. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients: flour, spices and sugar. Mix well with fork to distribute evenly. Add wet ingredients in 3 batches and fold in until flour is moist and well blended. Add seeds and herbs.
  4. Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes then loosen sides and turn out of pan.
  5. Slice thin and toast with butter or make sandwiches. Suggested ideas are cream cheese and olive, turkey and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly actually works, too!

Watermelon Granita

Watermelon Granita

During these hot summer days, there is no better way to cool down than with a delicious cool treat, like Granita! Not only is it the perfect mix of refreshing and sweet, it’s also a ton of fun to make. Let’s get started!

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We decided to use kombucha for the base. You could use water or juice as well.

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The cub adds her favorite part…sugar!

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Next up the cub chops the watermelon. One piece in the blender, one piece in the mouth! 🙂

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Grandma DiDi zests a lime and adds it to the blender.

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Then the cub gets to squeeze the lime for its juices. SQQQUUEEEEZZEE!

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They poured the kombucha mix into the blender and it was ready to mix.

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The cub covered her ears because it was really loud!

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Once it’s all mixed together, they poured the mixture into a 9 X 13 pan (metal works best) and put it in the freezer.

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Outfit change! Every 45 minutes they pulled it from the freezer to scrape it with a fork. This process insures it breaks into little fluffy ice pieces.

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The finished product… Summer treat perfection!

 

Watermelon Granita
(Recipe adapted from Kitchn)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a small seedless watermelon(any fruit you choose)
  • 1-2 tbsp of sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)
  • 1/4 cup of ginger Kombucha (or water or other liquid you wish to use)
  • 1 lime, for zest and juice

Directions

  1. Mix together kombucha and sugar, set aside so sugar dissolves
  2. Cut the watermelon into small pieces
  3. Add all ingredients, plus lime zest and juice to blender and puree until smooth
  4. Pour into 9 X 13 pan
  5. Place pan in freezer and set timer for 30- 45 minutes
  6. Remove and scrape the granita mixture with fork and return to freezer
  7. Repeat scraping with fork 3-4 times and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving

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