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.

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!

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

Strawberry Nice Cream

Strawberry Nice Cream

The cub had a friend join us this week! The wildly talented vegan blogger Sophia DeSantis of Veggies Don’t Bite stopped by with her youngest son to make some Nice Cream.

Fun facts: Sophia and I met through a moms group when the cub and her son were just a few months old and the two of them are just 5 days apart.

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The two started off by helping remove the leaves from the strawberries. Team work at its finest!

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Now time to chop the strawberries. The cub goes first while her friend watches.

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Now it’s his turn. The cub started sneaking strawberries and eating them.

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Earlier in the day, we had cut up a few bananas in 1/2 inch pieces and put them in the freezer. We added the frozen bananas to the blender, but someone thought they needed to eat a few, too.

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In go the chopped strawberries. I see you!

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I think handling two toddlers in the kitchen has Grandma DiDi a little nervous. 😉 Next up, the Califia Almond Milk. This is not a sponsored post, but we really love their unsweetened almond milk.

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Grandma DiDi helps with the blender – the nice cream is almost ready!

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After pouring the mixture into a freezer-safe dish, we served up their very own creation – “Nice” Cream! They wanted more, and more, and more!!!

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It’s as good as it looks! So easy, vegan, refined sugar-free, gluten-free and delicious! A must try! Use our combination or try your own flavor – peanut butter/chocolate; coconut/pecan; blueberry/lemon… the possibilities are endless.

Strawberry Nice Cream

Ingredients

  • 10 Strawberries, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 Bananas, cut into 1/2in pieces and frozen
  •  1 tsp good vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Directions:

  1. Cut bananas into inch pieces and freeze in a plastic bag for a few hours.
  2. Once bananas are frozen, place all ingredients into blender or food processor and blend until thoroughly mixed. Poor into a 9 X 5 bread pan and freeze about 1 hour.   Scoop and serve.

Note: If frozen too long just let it sit out for about 10 minutes until it is scoop-able.

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

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.

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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.

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.