Melon Popsicles

Melon Popsicles

Galai Melon is a refreshing, sweet and hydrating snack! Unlike regular popsicles that are extremely high in sugar, making your own popsicles with fresh fruit like galai melons,  can significantly cut the sugar but still have enough sweetness to satisfy any sweet tooth! Galia melon is also high in pectin and dietary fiber that help regulate glucose levels. Fresh over processed whenever possible!

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It looks very similar to honeydew melon, but with twice the flavor.

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We had a friend join us to make our melon pops. It was a good lesson for the cub to share tools, tasks, and attention with Grandma DiDi as well. The girls got started by chopping up the melon and adding it to the blender.

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Our friend helped squeeze the lime into the blender. Citrus can help bring out the natural flavor in other fruits.

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Because we wanted to make this an extra special treat, we added some raw honey. Honey is an excellent natural sweetener and substitute for sugar.

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After blending the ingredients, the girls helped pour the mixture into our Koji popsicle mold.

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Last but not least, they put the popsicle handles on top and placed them in the freezer to set. They can’t wait to try one!

melon8Baby sister enjoyed the fruit of her sisters’ labor. Yum!

 

Melon Popsicles

(Makes approximately 8 Koji popsicles)

Ingredients

2 cups fresh cut melon
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp raw honey

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix.
  2. Blend and add more liquid if necessary.
  3. Pour mixture into a popsicle mold.
  4. Drop popsicle handle in and make sure you can see the mixture lightly squish out the sides of the handle.
  5. Place in the freezer for two hours and enjoy!

*If you have extra mixture left over, serve it as a smoothie!

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.

Immune Boosting Popsicles

Immune Boosting Popsicles

Preschool germs! Yuck! They are inevitable and impossible to avoid, but our hope is that if we eat the right diet we can reduce our chances of getting sick.

“Let food be thy medicine, let medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

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The Cub loves popsicles, so what better way to get her to eat a mixture of foods that will help improve her immune system. Let’s break down the ingredients.

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We began by removing the skin from the turmeric. Warning: it stains! So this was a job for Grandma DiDi! Did you know Tumeric contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties? Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.

We used another powerful spice, ginger, which is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We peeled the ginger as well and chopped it up. The cub added it to the blender.

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We juiced Cara Cara oranges and lemons, both packed full of Vitamin C. A necessary vitamin to fight colds. Plus, they are juicy and sweet! And the Cubs personal favorite, Mangos! She chopped the meat and placed it in the blender.

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The Cub gets help from Grandma DiDi squeezing the juice of the oranges and lemon.

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And of course, she had to try the oranges for herself!

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And the mango. Yum!

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Next we add the honey. Honey is packed full of antioxidants. This powerhouse phytonutrient can have antibacterial properties and is a great sugar substitute.

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After all the ingredients were added, little cub joined to blend it up. She loves the noise and the vibration of the blender.

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After all was blended until smooth, we poured the mixture into our Tovolo popsicle molds.

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Into the freezer they go.

immune14Slurp! Delicious and a perfect afternoon snack to help us stay healthy this season!

 

Immune Boosting Popsicles (recipe from relish.com)

Ingredients

  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • cups diced mango
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece of turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (OR 2 tbsp ground turmeric)
  • 1/3 cup honey

 

Directions: 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and place in the freezer.
  2. When ready to enjoy, run pop molds under warm water to release the popsicles.

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.

 

 

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

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

In honor of the cubs birthday this week, we made DOUGHNUTS!!!

She was thrilled to say the least and it was a new experience for Grandma DiDi. As much as she’s cooked in her day, she’s never made doughnuts.  We found the recipe on Flick of a WhiskDonuts

The cub started by greasing the doughnut pan.

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Then she helped by mixing the dough ingredients.

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Watching Grandma DiDi measure the ingredients. In goes the vanilla.

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Eggs are so fun! Especially when Grandma DiDi cracks them super high and lets the egg slip out.

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“Grandma, what’s that?” The cub gets her first lesson in zesting!
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Time to add the flour. The cub was up for this task.

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The dough become too thick so Grandma DiDi took over stirring.

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Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to make a DIY pastry bag. The cub doesn’t know what to think…

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Grandma DiDI cut just one corner of the ziplock bag.

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And squeezes the dough into the doughnut baking sheet.  See Note*

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They are ready for the oven!

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While the doughnuts bake, the cub and Grandma DiDi make the icing. Of course, it’s lemon flavor! One of the cubs favorite flavors!

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After the milk and powdered sugar were added, the cub enjoyed the leftover powdered sugar. Yum, yum, extra yum!

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The doughnuts are ready and the cub dips them into the icing!

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And quickly sneaks a bite! Cub approved and such a special treat for a special girl!

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Happy Birthday, Cub!

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

Recipe from Flick of the Whisk

Ingredients

For the doughnuts:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
For the glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp lemon zest
  • 7-8 tbsp fresh lemon juice or milk(or little of each depending on taste)
  • Optional: sprinkles(Cubs favorite!)

Directions

Make the doughnuts:
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and grease your doughnut pans with butter or non-stick spray.
    2. In a large bowl, combine butter, oil and sugar and whisk until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    3. Add in eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and yogurt and whisk until smooth.
    4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and stir until combined. Stir in blueberries. Batter will be thick.
    5. Spoon batter into a large disposable piping bag or freezer bag. Cut off the end of the bag so your opening is about ½-3/4” wide (big enough for the blueberries to get through). Pipe batter once around each doughnut hole – the batter shouldn’t quite fill the hole as they’ll expand and rise.
    6. Bake for 7-8 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from the doughnut pan to cool completely.
Make the glaze:
  1. In a shallow, medium bowl, combine sugar, zest, and 6 tbsp of juice or milk. Add an additional 1-2 tbsp of liquid if needed. You want your glaze to be thin enough to evenly coat your doughnuts, but thick enough that it will set and become dry to the tough.
  2. When doughnuts are completely cool, dip tops of doughnuts into the glaze and overturn so the glaze runs down the sides. Set aside for the glaze to set.

*Note: We purchased a mini doughnut pan and found that piping the dough into the little molds was difficult and that the blueberries were almost too big for the mini doughnuts. A larger doughnut baking sheet would work better.

Pear Chips

Pear Chips

In ancient China, people believed that pears represented immortality and prosperity because pear trees live for a long time. We couldn’t think of a better post to start off 2018 than a recipe symbolizing prosperity in the new year.

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The cub started off by cutting up the pear. Her slices weren’t exactly perfect, but she was able to practice her cutting skills and she felt engaged in the process.

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Next up is her favorite part, measuring and smelling the spices! This girl loves flavor on her food.

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And we always stop to smell them.

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And snack on our ingredients…

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This particular day was special because we had G-ma in town for the holidays. The cub enjoyed showing G-ma how she brushed the maple syrup on each pear slice. Some may have had a bit too much maple syrup. 🙂

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Quick break to taste the maple syrup. Finger-licking good.

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That wasn’t enough so she decided to lick the brush. *No double dipping occurred in the process.

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After the pears had been brushed with maple syrup, we sprinkled the spices over the pears. This is the cubs best “salt bae” impression. I’m pretty sure that this could also become an internet sensation for this “spice bae” signature move.

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Dusting complete. Some more than others, but that’s ok. Embrace the imperfections of cooking with a little one.

Pear12Slow baked to perfection. Delicious, wholesome, flavorful and prosperous! The cub wishes you a happy new year filled with endless possibilities in the kitchen.

 

Pear Chips
(recipe adapted from Vegetarian Heartland)

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe, firm Bartlett pears, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 3 different toppings can be used – see note
    • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon with or without pinch of cayenne
    • 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 225ºF.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Thinly slice pears.
  4. Prepare the chosen dry spice ingredients.
  5. Arrange pear slices in a single layer on the baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Brush with maple syrup on both sides and sprinkle with spice mixture.
  6. Bake, flipping once halfway through the baking time until all moisture is removed and they are brittle and not spongy – about 3 hours.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool. They should be the consistency of a chip when cooled.
  8. Store in resealable bag at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Note: We used the cinnamon without the cayenne for the cub but the other mixes are delicious for more adult/sophisticated taste or your adventuresome cub).

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

Berry Veggie Popsicle

Berry Veggie Popsicle

Did I mention we eat a lot of popsicles? We’re definitely on a popsicle kick with this heat! The cub helped Grandma DiDi create the perfect berry (with greens) popsicle. As always, no added sugar!

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Four whole ingredients, that’s it! Strawberries, blueberries, kale and broccoli.

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First, we had the cub help us tear the kale off the stem. Drop the kale leaves in a bowl of cold water and clean the leaves thoroughly. Wash strawberries, blueberries and broccoli.

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Have your cub add all the ingredients into your blender (or Vitamix in our case).  Add water or juice if you want it to be sweeter and blend.

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The cub watches as Grandma DiDi pours the mixture into the Koji Popsicle Mold.

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Have your cub help place the holders in each mold making sure that just a tiny bit squishes out the sides. Pop in the freezer for two hours and enjoy!

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They are fruity and delicious and the perfect treat for a hot summer day. There is no easier way to get your little one to eat their veggies. Our cub has been eating these from day one and has no idea popsicles don’t usually include vegetables . Hoping to keep it this way for as long as possible!

 

Berry Veggie Popsicles

(Makes approximately 8 Koji popsicles)

Ingredients

1 cup strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup raw broccoli
1/2 cup lightly packed raw kale
3/4 cup water (or juice of choice)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix.
  2. Blend and add more liquid if necessary.
  3. Pour mixture into popsicle mold.
  4. Drop popsicle handle in and make sure you can see through mixture lightly squish out the sides of the handle.
  5. Place in the freezer for two hours and enjoy!

*If you have extra mixture left over, serve it as a smoothie!

Simply Granola (Crunchies)

Simply Granola (Crunchies)

Granola, also known as crunchies in our household, is a cub favorite. We top it on yogurt (plain Greek), a smoothie bowl, fruit or as cereal with milk.

We feel like granola has a bad rap. Many granolas in the grocery store are full of fat and calories because they are loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Making your own gives you the control to remove all the added sugar and stick to the good stuff – protein and fiber.

Grandma DiDi has been making her own granola for ages, oftentimes gifting it to friends and family. This recipe is not only great for kids, it’s also great for parents, and even better packed in a jar and given to a friend.

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We started by having Emery help measure out the dry ingredients and pouring them onto a baking sheet. This was extra exciting because we usually pour ingredients into a bowl. While she did that, we mixed together the oil, honey and vanilla and placed on the stove over low heat.

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After we poured the oats, seeds, nuts, wheat germ and dry milk on the backing sheet, we had to pause for a “Hooray” on our Learning Tower. This tower has completely changed the way we interact with the cub in the kitchen. It allows her to feel involved and in return, she’s grown confidence and a palate in our kitchen. We HIGHLY recommend you get one!

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Back to cooking… hand your little cub a spoon and have them gently stir the ingredients. While they are stirring, gather the spices to add to the mix. The Kitchen Cub takes this step very seriously.

Granola 4Children learn about the world through their senses, so don’t forget to stop and smell the spices.

Granola 5After all the dry ingredients are stirred together, stir the wet ingredients from the stove over the dry ingredients. Talk your cub through this step and remind them that what’s on the stove is hot and shouldn’t be touched. They can watch, but can’t touch. Ouch, HOT! Grandma DiDi mixes it all together and pops it in the oven to toast! Yum!

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Golden and delicious. After it has cooked for 3 mins, remove, stir and re-spread. repeat this step 3 times. It should cook approximately 10 minutes in total.

Granola 10It’s still hot, but Grandma DiDi added the dried fruit and mixed it together. Remember to tell your cub they can’t touch. They will burn their paws on the baking sheet!

Granola 11We poured it over some plain Greek yogurt and added blueberries. Bon Appetite! Speaking of Bon Appetit, this recipe was adapted from their granola recipe.

 

Simply Granola (Crunchies)

Ingredients

¼  cup canola oil/or coconut oil
¼  cup maple syrup(pure)*
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats(not instant)
1/3  cup Pepitas*
1/3  cup  walnuts chopped*
½ cup raw almonds* – sliced or slivered
¼ cup wheat germ/or flax meal
¼  cup nonfat dry milk
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cardamom
Pinch of cloves
1 cup dried fruit *

Optional add ins: sweetened or unsweetened coconut, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 325 F.  
  2. In a small saucepan combine oil, syrup, honey and vanilla.  Stir over low heat until combined, about 1 – 2 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Combine oats, seeds, nuts, wheat germ, dry milk, and spices directly on a large baking sheet.  Pour the wet mixture over the dry mix and mix until uniform.   Spread evenly in pan.
  4. Bake for 3 mins, remove, stir and re-spread. Repeat this step 3 times. It should cook approximately 10 minutes in total. WATCH it closely, it can burn easily.
  5. Remove from oven and mix in fruit and any of the other optional ingredients you’d like to add. Let cool.

*Nuts – substitute any you like  

*Fruit – I prefer orange flavored cranberries but anything works

* Sweetening agents can be changed or eliminated – experiment what works for you.   Original recipe had both honey and maple.