Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blueberry Cinnamon Sauce

An easy and healthy alternative to top you and your child's morning pancakes or waffles!

Blueberry Cinnamon Sauce

- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract (optional)

In a small saucepan add frozen blueberries, brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, and cinnamon. Bring contents up to a simmer. As the mixture simmers, mash the blueberries with a potato masher or the back of a spoon to break them up. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. 

Mix cornstarch in 1/4 cup water and stir until smooth. Add to blueberry mixture and continue simmering while stirring continuously for about 2 minutes until it has thickened somewhat. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract, if using.

* Makes about 1 cup blueberry sauce.
* Will keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Of Birthday Parties and Small Victories

This weekend we attended a friend's daughter's first birthday party! Luc had a fun time playing and it was a lovely party. It was also one of the first times that he's been exposed to non-'healthified' cake and candy. I was unsure what his reaction would be to this traditional birthday fare, but I also don't want to be the 'out there' mom who packs alternative food to every occasion. 

All the kids were sitting around the kiddie table to eat cupcakes. The other kids pretty much just licked off the icing, but Luc examined it for a minute, then picked the whole thing up to eat. He didn't seem extra interested in the icing. He ate most of it, but I helped him finish it off. :) There were also Smarties on the table that some of the other kids were grabbing and so I put one in front of Luc to see what he would do and he played with it for a few moments and then disregarded it and continued to eat his cupcake. I think he didn't realize it was edible since he's never seen candy and it looks nothing like anything he's ever eaten! 

I know he won't always be so indifferent to junk food and sweets but I still took it as a small victory that he was largely uninterested this time.

What have done/or are planning to do when your little ones encounter junk food?

Friday, May 20, 2011

North African Snack Bites

I'm always trying to find new snack ideas and recipes to keep snack-time interesting. I adapted this recipe from on on Food.com. Not only is this snack full of energy, ultra easy and involves no cooking, but it's also a fun recipe to get young kids helping you out in the kitchen. They can press the 'on' button to make the food processor whiz and then help roll the mixture into balls and swirl them in the toppings. These snack bites are suitable for everyone in your family over the age of 1 and I would be shocked if they didn't disappear quickly into even the pickiest munchkin!

North African Snack Bites

- 1/2 cup peanut butter (or sunflower butter)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup wheat germ, toasted
- 1/2 cup powdered milk (I used whole milk, but skim would be fine) 
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

In a dry skillet, toast the wheat germ over med-low heat until golden and fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove once done to the bowl of a food processor, then add the sesame seeds to the skillet and toast similarly. When toasted, remove to a plate. 

Add peanut (or sunflower butter) to food processor bowl, along with the honey and powdered milk. Whiz until well combined. 

Place the shredded coconut on another plate. 

Form the peanut mixture into balls and roll in the topping, either both or separately, your call.

Transfer to an airtight container lined in waxed paper and chill in the fridge. They will keep for up to 4 days. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bringing Up Bebe

We've been having some behavioral issues with Luc lately and just the other day I commented to my husband that I want to know the French secret for raising well-behaved children. Every time we've been in France we've been thoroughly impressed by how well behaved kids are, especially when it comes to eating habits.

When we head out to a restaurant in France and the table beside us has children seated with them we know that we don't have to worry about food flying our way, screaming, or anything else our own child does. It seems as though children never make a scene in a restaurant no matter how leisurely the meal... and this happens with no crayons, no kiddie menus, and no portable DVD players. 

I thought I would share this interesting article on the difference between French and American attitudes to feeding babies and child-rearing. So, while I admire the amazing manners that French children display, I definitely adhere more to the American style of feeding/raising children....so I guess I shouldn't expect Luc to behave like anything other than a typical North American kid!

What strikes you as interesting/surprising about this article?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Recipe Shout Out: Baked Vegetable Samosas

These Baked Vegetable Samosas from Simply Life use ready-made wonton wrappers so they are so quick to make and the fragrance of the filling makes it difficult to wait until you stuff the wrappers before digging in! I followed the recipe exactly except to cut out the chili in order to make them toddler friendly. I have also had great success with freezing these. Just freeze uncooked samosas in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a large freezer bag. There's no need to defrost before baking, just add approximately 2 minutes to the baking time. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did! Follow this link over at Simply Life for this tasty samosa recipe.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Herbed Mushroom Sandwich Spread

Happy belated Mother's Day! We went away to visit my parents and spent much of Monday afternoon sitting in a rural hospital waiting room since Luc had a terrible ear infection -- other than that it was a good weekend out of the city!  This is the second ear infection in two months so I really hope that he isn't one of those kids that constantly have them...fingers crossed.

Onto more delicious topics, this spread is really yummy. It tastes like concentrated homemade Cream of Mushroom soup. However good it tastes, I could not make this recipe look anything other than gross in a picture and so this is a picture of Luc's lunch that featured this spread. He gets a kick out of eating shapes he knows so anything shaped like a star, heart, ball, or circle goes down well these days. Also delicious served with crackers or crispbreads, both for munchkins and adults. Suitable for babies from 8 months, just cut bread spread with this mixture into a tiny dice once baby shows interest in finger foods.

Herbed Mushroom Sandwich Spread

- 1 1/2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup softened cream cheese

In a large skillet, melt the butter over med-low heat. When bubbling slightly, add the mushrooms and diced shallots and cook, stirring occassionally, until both are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in chopped parsley.

Let mushroom mixture cool while the cream cheese is softening.

Whiz mushroom mixture with cream cheese in a food processor until fully combined and creamy.

*will keep in the fridge for 1 week

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Avocado and Apple Puree

Avocados, rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and fibre are a great food to incorporate into your child's diet. Paired with apple, it's an easy sell.This is a quick and deliciously creamy homemade puree suitable for babies from 6 months, once they've had both individually. Also makes a great breakfast alternative for toddlers and older kids...just call it pudding! 

Avocado and Apple Puree

- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1 large sweet apple (I used a Gala)

Peel and coarsely chop the apple. Lightly steam using a steamer insert over a saucepan, or microwave for on high for two minutes in a loosely covered glass container. Let cool slightly. 

Scoop out avocado flesh and add along with the apple to the bowl of a food processor. Whiz until smooth, adding water to thin is necessary. (For

* Makes 4 baby servings or 2 toddler servings
* Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days with cling wrap pressed into surface, it will discolor somewhat but it'll still taste fine.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Great Tip for Feeding Toddlers Soup

I love making soups. I love eating soups. However, I do not love trying to feed my toddler soup. But, I also don't like making separate meals if I can avoid it (exceptions are made so that we can enjoy an occasional spicy meal!) . Today there was a great tip on Parent Hacks for dribble-free soup that I'm going to try!

For those of you with toddlers, how do you tackle soup?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Turkey and Mango Quesadillas

I had some frozen leftover turkey from Easter, but you could of course always use leftover cooked chicken to make these quick and fresh tasting quesadillas.I didn't include amounts for the filling because really, you can just eyeball it - just be careful not to overfill or it will come tumbling out as you try to eat. This quesadilla was completely gobbled when I put half of it in Luc's packed lunch. 

While there is nothing in this sandwich that makes it inappropriate younger babies, it's really best for older infants and toddlers fully able to eat finger foods.  You can either cut it into little squares for younger ones or cut into 4's as below for older toddlers, kids and adults.

Turkey and Mango Quesadillas

- cooked shredded turkey meat (or chicken)
- diced ripe mango
- Monterrey Jack cheese
- black pepper, to taste
- minced cilantro
- 6 inch whole wheat tortilla

Assemble the quesadilla. Only put toppings on one half of the tortilla and then fold it over. I like to put some cheese both first and last to make sure the whole thing melds together as it melts. 

In a frying pan on med-low heat, melt a tiny pat of butter (or you can spray the the pan with cooking spray,  but it doesn't taste as good). Press the quesadilla down occasionally as it cooks to flatten to make it easier for little mouths to eat. Cook until golden, melty, and yummy. Allow to cool somewhat before cutting to keep the goodness from escaping. 

* makes 1 adult serving or 2 toddler servings

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