Browsing Tag

toddler food

Food & Recipes

Double Peanut Butter Snack Bites

October 24, 2016

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I’ve gotten a fair number of questions over the last year about feeding Ainsley, and toddlers in general, and limiting their consumption of sugary snacks. Sadly, I am probably not the best person to ask. Because there’s the parent I thought I would be in my head and the parent I actually am in real life, and that parent is one who probably lets her child have one too many sugary treats on more than a few occasions.

It’s become so clear to me as Ainsley has gotten older that sugary treats for kids are everywhere! I go to the bank at 10 am and they ask if Ainsley wants a sucker, we run to the post office, grocery store and a number of other places that also offer candy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful for those treats now and again when my child really does need a distraction for me to continue on with my errands, but I’m also aware that saying “yes” every time they are offered means a steady stream of candy throughout the day – something I’m not keen about.

So what’s a mom to do?

Well, I’ve noticed that a cookie is a cookie for Ainsley, whether it’s sweetened with a little honey and made with whole wheat flour and resembles a graham cracker or it’s covered in frosting and made at the bakery. The same goes true with all other treats (except M&M’s…) that are sweet in nature. I’ve been trying to make more alternatives to sweet treats at home, in hopes that we can still enjoy an afternoon cookie or an energy bite, like these, without feeling weighed down by all the sugar and extra junk neither of us really need.

These energy bites are super tasty and actually, I think, taste better the second or third day after the peanut butter has had a chance to soften the oats a little bit and the flavors come together. I love them because they’re portable and easy to eat, too, so we can take them along in the car or to the park, etc.

Double Peanut Butter Snack Bites
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (not the natural kind)
  • 1½ cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup peanut butter powder (such as PB2 or similar)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Work together as much as possible with the spoon/spatula, then work the remaining bit with your hands to evenly combine.
  2. Scoop into 2-inch balls and roll between your hands to form. Place on a cookie sheet or tray and allow to set at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Cover remaining bites in a plastic storage container or bowl covered with plastic wrap.

 

Food & Recipes

Feeding a Toddler // Morning Glory Muffins

May 18, 2016

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This is a sponsored post written in partnership with The Women Bloggers and Kendal King Group. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #CookingWithGerber

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If you follow me on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen these muffins pop up multiple times. I share Ainsley’s meals using the #EasyBabyEats hashtag on Instagram, and it’s been fun to look back through all the different meals I’ve prepared for her when she’s off at her babysitter’s house. Her meals have changed a lot over the months, but this recipe has been a staple.

Gerber has a soft spot in my heart as a mom. I’ve always had a positive association with the brand, and when Ainsley was ready to try her first bites of food around 6 months, Gerber Oatmeal Cereal was the very first thing we tried, followed closely by sweet potato puree.

Now that Ainsley is older, we’ve moved on to a wider variety of foods, but Gerber cereals still have a place in our pantry. When Ainsley had her iron levels tested at her 1-year appointment she came back a little on the low end. Since she isn’t a huge meat eater we’ve been looking for other ways to get iron into her diet, including  fortified cereals that contain iron.

These muffins, which are both a breakfast food and snack for Ainsley (and the whole family) contain both Gerber Oatmeal Cereal and grated sweet potatoes, along with a host of other good-for-you ingredients like whole wheat pastry flour, golden raisins and rolled oats. Because these are geared toward Ainsley, I kept the sugar on the very low end, but our whole family likes them! Just keep in mind they aren’t super sweet.

PS: You probably already know this, but we buy our Gerber Oatmeal Cereal at Walmart, where we do a large portion of our grocery shopping these days!

Morning Glory Toddler Muffins
Serves: 12 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup grated raw sweet potato
  • ½ cup raisins or golden raisins
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup Gerber Oatmeal Cereal
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the milk, vanilla, egg and melted butter. Stir until well-combined. Stir in the raisins and grated sweet potato.
  3. In a second bowl, combine the flour, oat cereal, rolled oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon and stir until well-combined. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 20 to 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and tops of muffins bounce back when pressed lightly with your finger.
  5. Cool muffins completely on wire cooling rack before serving.

 

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Family, Food & Recipes

Easy Baby Eats // Banana Date “Milkshake”

March 8, 2016

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As promised, I have another recipe to share with you in my “Easy Baby Eats” series. I’m hoping to make this a more regular part of Espresso and Cream, because feeding a baby is, well, a challenge sometimes. I’m trying my very best to feed Ainsley healthy foods and encourage good eating habits as she gets older, and at the same time it can be so frustrating when you spend a lot of time making a healthy meal only to have your kid want nothing but carbs.

Smoothies have been our friend for a while now. I eat a smoothie almost every day for lunch, and Ainsley has always had fun drinking my smoothie with me. I think it makes her feel so grown up! And I love smoothies because it’s an easy way to pack nutrition, fruits and even veggies into a single sippy cup!

This recipe certainly pushes the boundaries between meal and dessert, but since it’s sweetened naturally with bananas and dates, I feel like it’s a pretty acceptable treat from time to time. Added bonus? Adults will love this recipe, too!

Easy Baby Eats // Banana Date "Milkshake"
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • Makes 2 kid-sized smoothies
  • 1 cup milk, almond milk or nut milk of choice
  • ½ of a medium banana, frozen
  • 1 medium pitted date
  • 2 to 3 ice cubes
  • Pinch of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine all the above ingredients together in the blender and blend for 1 to 2 minutes on HIGH until dates are completely broken up and mixture is smooth. Transfer to glasses or a sippy cup to serve.

 

Family, Food & Recipes

Easy Baby Eats // Cashew Cream

February 26, 2016

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Yesterday, my baby turned 1! I’ll be back with a full post about the birthday festivities (we’re having a party this weekend!) but today I wanted to share with you a recipe that I’ve been making for little Ainsley. I’ve been posting some of Ainsley’s favorite recipes on my Instagram account and have had a lot of you asking for recipes. Well, I don’t really have any intention to turn this into a baby/toddler food blog, but I do want to share what we’re loving.

Ainsley has had two teeth, and only two teeth, for almost six months. Just the last couple weeks we’ve seen four teeth coming through all at once, but figuring out what to feed a baby who likes to eat but doesn’t have many teeth has been a bit of a challenge. We stuck with purees and baby food/pouches for quite a while. Pouches are still one of Ainsley’s favorite ways to eat food, but since they can get expensive, we try to limit how many she eats.

I should be better than I am about limiting salt, but if I’m honest Ainsley eats a lot of the same foods that we eat. That said, those foods are almost always homemade, so when possible we add extra salt to our food after cooking and give Ainsley a less salty version. The good news? Perhaps we don’t need to be quite so worried about salt in baby’s diet after all. And now that she is one (!!) we don’t need to be quite as concerned about salt.

Whew! That’s a whole lot of copy about what we feed Ainsley. Today’s recipe, Cashew Cream, has been a fun way to mix up breakfast from the usual yogurt. It’s dairy-free, vegan and super delicious for both babies and moms. Make sure you have a high powered blender to make the cashew cream, which is how you get it to be super creamy rather than chunky or coarse. Ainsley eats this as a breakfast dish or an after-nap snack, usually with berries!

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Cashew Cream for Baby
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, snack
Serves: 3 to 4 servings
 
Cashew pudding (also called cashew cream) is a favorite in our house for kids and adults alike! It’s calorie dense, but it is filled with nutrients and protein and low in sugar. We use it as a breakfast item for Ainsley or an after-nap snack in the afternoon!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Fresh or frozen and thawed berries for topping
Instructions
  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover completely with water. Soak for 2 hours or until cashews are softened. Drain cashews.
  2. Place cashews and the ½ cup water in a high-powered blender or food processor along with the cinnamon. Blend or process for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary, until mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Transfer cashew pudding to a bowl and top with berries to serve. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.