We make muffins a lot so I am always trying new recipes. I think with the right ingredients, they are great for a quick morning breakfast with a piece of fruit and the mini ones are perfect as a snack or to add into kid’s lunch boxes. The original recipe was from here, but of course I had to make them even better!
- 3/4 cup of unpacked light brown sugar
- 1/4 c of butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of rolled or old fashion oats
- 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (I only had about 1/2 cup of plain, so I also used vanilla. I also think blueberry would work well)
- 1 T pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1 T baking powder
1 t salt
- 1 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- 2 cups fresh blueberries, washed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray or line muffin tins.
- Cream together butter and sugar. Add in the egg and blend well, then add in the oats, yogurt, and vanilla
- In separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg. Once combined, add to the wet mixture, but do not over mix
- Toss blueberries with 1 T of flour then add blueberries into batter and mix in by hand (the batter will be VERY thick)
- Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake for about 14 minutes for mini muffins and 18-20 for regular muffins
Using fresh berries makes them ooze with blueberry goodness. Yummm!
I have wanted to make homemade chicken nuggets for a while now and when thinking of heart-shaped food to make for Valentine’s Day, I figured it would be the perfect time. They were really easy to make and can be made the night before to stick in your kids lunch box or kept in the fridge and heated up for a quick meal. While the infamous McNugget contains a whopping 38 ingredients, this much healthier version only contains 4!
- All-natural Chicken breast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 4T panko bread crumbs
- 1T parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with olive oil spray.
- Pound out chicken until about 1/2 inch thick
- Cut chicken into bit size pieces, or desired shape (I used a cookie cutter and paring knife to get heart shape)
- Dip each piece of chicken into the beaten egg
- Coat evenly in a mixture of panko and parmesan
- Lay coated nuggets on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, turn over and cook for another 5 minutes or until cooked through
As if you haven’t already been bombarded with Valentine’s Day candy temptations and jewelry ads for the past several weeks (It seems like they start earlier and earlier every year), the big (not-so-big) day is 2 weeks away. I have mixed feelings about this pseudo-Holiday. It’s not my favorite Holiday and yes, I do believe that you should demonstrate your love and appreciation to your loved ones on a regular basis not just one day a year, but I can’t help but get sucked into the cute crafty heart-shaped theme side of things. Last year I posted Naturally Sweet Valentine’s Day ideas and thought I’d add to the list of ideas this year.
Healthy Food Kids Valentines:
(I’m NUTS about you)
Non-Candy Kid’s Valentines:
Non-Food Kid’s Valentines:
(You are aMAZEing)
(My heart GLOW)
(You COLOR my world)
(You COLOR my world #2)
(Friendship bracelet Valentine)
(Have a BALL Valentine)
There are SO MANY cute & creative Valentine ideas that this post could be a mile long, but I’ll spare you and just add that there are a ton of more ideas here, here, and here. I also wanted to add that although I like the idea of doing healthy and non-candy Valentines if you are going to hand them out to friends or the whole classroom since there will already, inevitably, be so much of that going around. I’m lucky in that Cole is still in a daycare/preschool which is small and only some of the kids/parents do it so even if there are a few with candy, it’s not a ton. Also, I don’t offer candy regularly so Holidays like these are one of those special times when I do think its ok to indulge a bit as part of the “special celebration”. It’s also a good time to explain this to your little ones… Why it is ok to have special treats on Holidays and at parties but it’s not something that is good for us to eat all the time. Plus, it wouldn’t be so special if we were allowed to have them everyday!
Note: Click on the links under the photos, many of them include free printables to make your job a lot easier.
As a kid, I always loved cinnamon chip muffins and scones from the store or bakery. After a lot of searching, I finally found cinnamon chips (they were around for the holidays but may have gone away again). I have had them in my cabinet just waiting to be used for months now. A few nights ago, which oddly enough is when I do a lot of my baking. I often start projects around 9 or 10pm after Cole has gone to bed and the house is quiet. I find it relaxing. Sometimes I cook simple recipes, like muffins, in the afternoon since Cole always loves to join in and help.
Per the norm, I kind of combined two different recipes to come up with this one. I found this recipe for cinnamon chip scones and this recipe for skinny scones and created this one:
3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 t salt*
1T baking powder
3T chilled unsalted butter (must be cold), cut into small pieces
1/2 cup mounded cinnamon chips
1 egg white
1 1/2T sugar
* I only had salted butter so I omitted the salt and they came out fine
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 3 ingredients
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Once combined, cut in chilled butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal
4. Gently fold in cinnamon chips
5. Add in milk mixture, stirring just until moist.
6. Place dough onto floured surface and lightly knead into a ball
7. On lined baking sheet, form dough into a 9″ circle, about 3/4″ thick
8. Using a knife (I wet mine so it wouldn’t stick), cut dough into 12 wedges all the way through
9. Brush egg white over dough and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar
10. Bake until golden, about 18-20 minutes
11. They are delicious warm out of the oven, but can be cooled and placed in an air-tight container for a few days
“The top 10 foods that nutrition experts won’t feed their kids” is a recent article written by Registered Dietitian, Betsy Wallace, who polled 20 well-respected pediatric nutrition experts on the subject and the outcome is listed below. I stumbled across this list recently and agreed with all 10 of them so I thought it was worth sharing. In my positions as a nutrition counselor and a mom, as well as in my own diet, I try not to focus on restrictions and labeling food as good or bad, but this list depicts some of the worst offenders that are commonly served in the modern over-processed diet that I try limit in our household.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages– including soda, juice drinks, sweetened iced tea, sports drinks, and powered drink mixes. They provide no nutritional benefits, and are often the #1 source of excess calories in adolescent diets. Healthier drink alternatives: water, milk, seltzer, and 100% juice
- TV dinners and packaged lunches– these items are typically highly processed, high in sodium, fat, and have minimal nutritional value (vitamins, minerals, and whole grains).
- Packaged breakfast pastries– although, better than nothing in the morning, they are typically loaded with sugar and are low in fiber. More nutritious convenience items include granola bars made with whole grains oats, fruit, and nuts, oatmeal, or whole grain toast with peanut butter and a piece of fruit.
- Sweetened and artificially colored cereals– For obvious reasons, these sugary processed options provide little nutritional benefits. One of the dietitians interviewed for the article said “if I gave my kids the options of rainbow colored cereals with marshmallows and sprinkles, or a brown whole-grain cereal, guess which one they’d pick every time? That’s why they don’t get the choice.” Try adding blueberries or cut up strawberries to cereal for a healthy alternative to the sweetened colorful cereals.
- Canned pasta meals– refined white flour mixed with tomatoes, preservatives, and low quality canned meat is a far cry from a complete meal. If pressed for time at night, try making larger batches of sauce with meatballs and veggies and freeze for later use.
- Fruit cups in syrup– Nothing ruins the nutritional value and original texture of fruit than soaking it in sugary syrup and packaging it. Packaging in water or 100% juice are acceptable alternatives to sweetened fruit cups, but buying fruit in season and using frozen unsweetened fruit are economical alternatives to fresh fruit.
- Canned meats– highly processed and typically high in fat and sodium. Canned fish in water is an acceptable alternative.
- Chips (of all varieties)- puffed, fried, or kettle cooked, they are all full of empty calories and are easy to overeat. They are hard to avoid in many other situations, like parties but not bringing them into your own house will automatically limit your exposure.
- Hot dogs- Although they are a choking hazard to little ones, I can’t serve them more so due to their high fat, sodium, and processed content.
- Packaged desserts- store bought cookies, cupcakes, and other baked goods generally contain trans fats and loads of sugar. Making treats at home is a great alternative for many reasons, you control the ingredients, baking and bonding with your children in the kitchen, and you can limit the frequency of availability.
You may or may not agree with with some of the items on the list and may even be regularly serving some of these in your own home. This list isn’t meant to scare you or impose rules in your house, simply to share information with you and give you some insight into the households of nutrition experts. For the record, its not that we have never had these items before, I just simply do not buy them while grocery shopping as not to have them available and tempting in our house.
To read the full article, go here.
I’ve seen many similar recipes around the Internet but wasn’t a fan of many of the ingredients; cool whip, fluff, loads of sugar, cream cheese…you get the idea. I created this recipe with minimal sugar without losing that pumpkin pie dessert taste, plus you get the added benefit of protein & vitamins!
Pumpkin Pie Dip Ingredients:
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup pumpkin purée
2T brown sugar
2t pure maple syrup
1t vanilla extract
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well
2. Cut up fruit for dipping (I used apples but you could be more creative)
This dip can be enjoyed immediately or refrigerated for later.
I am always looking for new recipes for granola/oat bars that I can make and put in Cole’s daycare lunches or for him to eat at home for a snack. I like to switch things up so I’m not always making him the same ones. I found this recipe for Honey Almond Hazelnut Granola Bars. I used the basic ingredients and just switched around a few thing to adapt it to what I was looking for. They came out great! Both Cole & mumma approved. We hope your family will enjoy them as well.
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup wheat bran
1 apple, skinned & chopped (I used Macintosh)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine oats, wheat bran, cinnamon, walnuts in a bowl and stir until evenly distributed
3. Mix honey, canola oil, and vanilla together in a small bowl.
4. Pour honey mixture over dry mixture, stirring together thoroughly.
5, Add egg and stir to combine.
6. Add chopped apples and stir
7. Press mixture into the bottom of a small pan sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper
8. Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool completely.
9. Cut into bars and Enjoy!
I need to get better about my food photography, but here is a mouth-watering cinnamony close up.
These rainbow cookies were featured in Cole’s birthday lunchbox a few weeks ago. Although they look like the typical sugary store-bought cookies, they are actually much healthier.
Cookies (I used organic vanilla wafers)
Banana, sliced thin
Natural peanut (or other nut) butter
1. Place a banana slice between two cookies
2. Spread peanut butter around edges to seal in the banana
3. Dip edges in sprinkles
I love anything pumpkin and enjoy experimenting with it in recipes. These pumpkin cookies were made with whole wheat flour and were deliciously soft and lightly sweet. I didn’t change much from the inspiration recipe, but lessened the sugar and didn’t add chocolate chips, although I’m sure they would have been delicious in them.
The only photo I got of them was in Cole’s lunch box. Maybe because the were so good we ate them up so fast!
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup puréed pumpkin
2 T canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep a cookie sheet with parchment paper
2. In large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour- salt)
3. In separate mixing bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (sugar-vanilla)
4. Pour wet ingredient into dry and mix until well combined
5. Scoop small tablespoonfuls onto lines baking sheet and place in oven
6. Bake for 15 minutes
7. Let cool & Enjoy!
I seriously love this new recipe. I think it’s the best and possibly the healthiest way to make traditional macaroni & cheese and it’s so easy! It’s revolutionary! The pasta is cooked in milk, which creates the creaminess without having to make a heavy cheese sauce.
2 cup whole wheat pasta shells
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded & loosely packed
Fresh ground pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, or mustard (optional), about 1/4 tsp or to taste
1. In medium sauce pan, bring pasta and milk to a simmer
2. Reduce heat and cook 20-5 minutes, stirring frequently
3. Turn off heat and stir in cheese and fresh ground pepper (optional)
4. Cover & let stand for a couple minutes
5. Stir* & serve
*if you want it to be a little creamier, you can add a little more milk
Feel free to add in steamed broccoli or diced tomatoes. I added broccoli and sent it to school with Cole in a small thermos.