Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spooky Snacks 2

As promised more spooky snack recipes!!  Of these three recipes Bebe B enjoyed the Witch Fingers the most..smacking her lips and saying “yum” and “tasty”!  These recipes are wonderful treats that taste good, are healthy and are sure to bring smiles to the little faces in your life!

Monster Face Waffles 

What You Need:

  • Frozen Waffles (we used Van’s Organic) Homemade work too!
  • Almond Butter
  • Cheese (sliced)
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Apple Slices
  • Strawberry Slices
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • Organic Chocolate Chips

Toast the waffles until crispy.  Spread each waffle with almond butter and decorate.  I used apple slices for the mouth, pumpkin seeds for the teeth, 2 blueberries and cheese for the nose and strawberries for the eyes.  For the finishing touch and special treat I added a chocolate chip (stuck on with almond butter) for the iris of each eye.  This makes a great breakfast packed full of fiber and protein!

Witch Fingers

What You Need:

This recipe is almost as fun to make as it is to eat!  Simply dip the ends of the pretzels into the hazelnut butter and stick a sliced almond to it to create the fingernail.  Creepy looking but delicious!

Orange Mousse in Mini Jack-O-Lanterns

What You Need:

  • Vanilla Greek Yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
  • Orange (small to medium sized)
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • Pretzel Stick
  • 3 Organic Chocolate Chips (optional)

Using a sharp knife cut a top in the orange (just like you would do when carving a pumpkin...only smaller).  Pull the top off and set aside.  Using a spoon (or melon baller works too) scoop the orange “guts” from inside and reserve.  Older kids will love helping with this part.  Using a sharp knife carve a jack-o-lantern face in the orange, this will need to be done by adults.  Drain off the juice from the orange “guts”.  In a food processor combine orange “guts”, yogurt and honey, whipping just until you reach a mouse like texture.  Add the mouse to the orange jack-o-lantern and sprinkle with chocolate chip pieces (if using).  To make a lid use the top of the orange (you removed earlier) with a pretzel stick poked into it for the stem.  Kid’s will love eating out of the these tiny jack-o-lanterns!  Bebe B sure did.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's in Our Bowl?

We have been getting asked quite a bit...What are handing out for trick -or -treaters?  Or do we shut off the lights and skip that part of the holiday?  It seems often there are two schools of thought on the subject: “hey it’s one day a year...go nuts” and “avoid the evil of trick-or-treating”...both are a bit extreme for my tastes.

All of my memories of Halloween growing up are was never about the candy (really honest!) although candy was a two time a year thing in our house (Halloween and Easter).  All of my wonderful memories stem from the painstaking way my mother would help us prepare costumes (she always made/ found the items to make costumes) and the time spent together as a family.  I want to be able to give Bebe B those same type of happy memories when she thinks back on holidays growing up full of joy, fun, family and yes food.  I’m convinced that we can give our kids fun and tasty food that is still good for them.  We don’t have to sacrifice our goals and objectives simply not to feel like a wet blanket.  We can be fun and healthy...I know it!  

So what will we give out?  Well fresh fruit would be awesome but since we still get many trick-or-treaters we do not personally know the family of, I think most parents would have a hard time letting their kids eat an apple from a stranger??  I still remember getting tiny little envelops full of pennies once when I was 7 or 8, and although I thought it was cool at the time I’m guessing today’s savvy kids would be none too impressed by pennies “do people still use these” they would say!  So here is what we are giving out this year:

I purchased the pretzels, fruit snacks and lollipops from Whole Foods Market.

For some more great suggestions on healthy treats to share check out this great post over at Raising Madison!

I’d love to hear what cool things others are giving out?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spooky Snacks

Here are my favorite Spooky Snack recipes sure to please all.  Perfect for family time or even crowd pleasing at a Halloween party.  And the really cool part is...they’re HEALTHY!!  Kids love helping make these recipes, especially the decorating.  They will love eating them too...just like Bebe B did!

Spooky Eyeball Toasts

What You Need:
  • Naan bread, flat bread or other soft bread
  • Cream Cheese or yogurt cheese
  • eye shaped or round cookie cutter
  • Salsa
  • Black food paint (recipe below)

Cut eyeball shapes out of the bread with a cookie cutter (a circle cookie cutter works great too).  Spread each eye with cream cheese or yogurt cheese.  Draw a circle in the center with the black food paint to make the iris.  Spread the salsa in thin squiggles from the iris to the edge of the eye. Toast the eyeballs in a toaster oven (or 350F degree oven) for a few minutes.  Enjoy!!

Black Food Paint

What You Need:

  • 1 can of black beans (no salt added)
  • ¼ cup water
  • pinch salt
  • Clean squeeze bottle, pastry bag or sandwich bag

Drain and rinse beans.  Puree beans, water and salt in a food processor.  You may need to add a little more water depending on the thickness.  The paint should be a medium thickness that is thin enough to squeeze out of a bottle or bag.  Fill a squeeze bottle, pastry bag or sandwich bag (with a tiny bit of one corner clipped).  Use the paint to draw faces, pictures and more on food!  This paint will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Ghost Toasts

What You Need:

  • Naan bread, flat bread or other soft bread
  • Cream Cheese or yogurt cheese
  • Ghost shaped cookie cutter
  • Unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • Raisins
  • Almond slices
  • Black food paint (recipe above)

Cut ghost shapes out of the bread with the cookie cutter.  Spread each ghost with cream cheese or yogurt cheese and decorate with coconut, raisins, almonds and/or black food paint.  Toast the ghosts in a toaster oven (or 350F degree oven) for a few minutes.  Enjoy!!

Cheesy Spiders

What You Need:

  • cheese rounds (such as “Babybel” brand)
  • skinny pretzel thins
  • black food paint (recipe above)

Remove the wrappers from the cheese rounds.  Stick the pretzel thins into the cheese rounds to make spider legs, four on each side.  Draw on a spider face with food paint.  These snacks are so cute it will be hard to gobble them up…but you will be glad you did, they are delicious!

More Spooky Snack recipes and tips on a Healthy Halloween to come this week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Puree Monday - Pumpkin Swirl

What says “Autumn” more than pumpkin??  This recipe is a great first tastes...mild and easy to digest.  If you haven’t tried yogurt with your little one yet you could easily omit this in the recipe until you are ready.  The picture doesn’t even do the bright and beautiful color of this recipe justice.  Which is another one of my favorite things about homemade baby’s bright and alive with color.

Pumpkin Swirl - 6 Month+
1 small pumpkin (often called pie pumpkins)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Plain Yogurt

Slice the pumpkin in half, horizontally and scoop out the seeds, discard seeds. Lay the 2 halves on a lightly oiled (to prevent sticking) pan inside facing up, with about ¼ inch layer of water on pan.  Roast in a 350F degree oven for about 60-80 minutes (until tender).  Scoop out soft pumpkin from the skin and puree with the spices in a food processor or Beaba babycook until smooth.  You may want/ need to add some additional Breast Milk or water to this recipe to reach the desired consistency for your bebe.  Allow to cool before serving.  Once ready to serve swirl in a tbsp of the plain yogurt. This recipe will keep up to 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.  It will fill about 3 ice cube trays (15-30 servings).

This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fantastic Fall Munch

I have a fantastic new recipe just in time for fall!  This is the perfect little “trail-mix” for snack time, breakfast or even packed in a lunch!  Bebe B adores it too...she is partial to the dried cranberries and usually eats them out first.  We made this recipe in the Petit Chef: Fantastic Fall cooking class I taught today (for ages 5-12) and the recipe was huge hit.  I’m not sure what the kids liked more...making it or gobbling it up!  I am teaching a Petit Chefs: Holiday Joy class in November, so if you have any or know any petit chefs that might be interested sign up now because these classes have been filling FAST!  Nuts can be omitted too if anyone has allergies.  Enjoy!!

Fantastic Fall Munch - 12 Months+
4 cups whole grain, unsweetened cereal
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries 
½ cup pumpkin seeds 
½ cup unsweetened coconut
¼ sliced almonds
½ cup dried apple
1/4 cup coconut butter (or coconut oil)
2 tbsp apple cider
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 300 F degrees.  Melt the butter in a glass bowl, in the microwave.  Stir the cider, cinnamon and nutmeg into the melted butter until well combined.  In a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients until well mixed.  Pour the melted butter mixture over the cereal mixture and stir until well coated with the butter mixture.  Place on a baking sheet(s) in a thin layer.  Bake for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.  

This recipe is vegetarian.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Puree Monday - Creamy Cauliflower

This was one of Bebe B’s favorite vegetable purees.  She loved it way more then mashed potatoes, which was wonderful since cauliflower is full of vitamins and fiber!  I still make this recipe in our house except I no longer need the food processor...I can just mash the steamed cauliflower with a wooden spoon.  Sometimes we even sprinkle in a little cheese and voila...a healthy side dish!

Creamy Cauliflower - 6 Months
1 head of cauliflower
1 tbsp unsalted butter or non-hydrogenated spread
 such as Earth Balance
1 tsp paprika
water for steaming
Breast Milk or formula (optional)

Clean cauliflower well and cut into small to medium size florets. Steam the florets in either a steaming basket on the stove or in the Beaba babycook.  If using the babycook fill water to the 2 mark for a full basket of cauliflower florets.  If steaming on the stove use about 1-2 inch of water and steam for about 10-12 minutes.  Allow the cauliflower to cool to almost room temperature then puree with the butter and paprika till a smooth and creamy consistency is reached.  You may need to add a little Breast Milk or formula depending on the texture you desire. This recipe will keep up to 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. This recipe will fill about 3 ice cube trays (15-30 servings).   

This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free.  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Almond Joy

I recently created this tasty little snack and I think I may be in love with it!!  It such a perfect little treat but would make a good addition to any meal of the day.  Bebe liked it too but only the pieces without could be texture thing.  You could easily eat it without toasting but I love it warm and a bit crunchy.  You have to give this one a try...your taste buds will be thanking you!

Almond Joy Toast - 12 Months+
1 slice of whole grain bread
1-2 tsp almond butter
1 tsp unsweetened coconut
1-2 organic dark chocolate chips
1 tsp sliced almonds

Coat the bread with almond butter.  Next chop the chocolate chip(s) and coconut finely.  Sprinkle coconut, chocolate and almonds over the bread.  Toast in the toaster oven (or in a 350 degree oven) for a few minutes.  Serve warm.  YUM!! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Park Popcorn

A snack that Bebe B has come to adore is popcorn.  It started this summer with our weekly trips to the farmer’s market where we would share popcorn and lemonade and pick out veggies, fruit and eggs to take home.  I’m starting to feel a bit sad that our weekly trips will end soon as the weather changes and the Market we go to will be finished for the season.  But I am positive we will still have popcorn as part of our weekly adventures.  Last week I was fighting off a wicked cold that thankfully Bebe B never got (knock on wood), and we were not able to go to the market.  Once I was feeling better I made up a fun new snack for Bebe B and I to take to the park.  It was so yummy and easy and we had a wonderful afternoon.

Park Popcorn - 24 Months+
2-3 cups Air Popped Popcorn
1 tsp Coconut Oil, melted
1 tbsp of half Cinnamon, half fine organic sugar
 (I keep this pre-mixed in a jar in my pantry)

 Add the popped corn to a plain brown paper bag.  Add the oil, cinnamon and sugar, roll the top of the bag so it is sealed and shake it up.  Kids will love helping with this.  That’s it and it is ready to eat.  I love the results, a slightly sweet, slightly salty, slightly “cinnaminy” combination!

Here is Bebe B’s adventure with our park popcorn:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Washington Hotel Coffee Room: Restaurant Review

To quote Bebe B, “I’M BACK”, she likes to announce this anytime she leaves your line of sight for a moment, then returns.  I was a little burnt out on restaurant reviews but I’m feeling refreshed , revived and ready to search out the cool pockets and corners of this city till I have found all the restaurant treasures for families!!  Recently Bebe B and I checked out the Washington Hotel Coffee Room.  My mother recently discovered it attached to a cool yarn shop called  Lakeside Fibers.  To describe this place in one word is “character”...the place has oodles of it. 

According to their menu “virtually all of our food and beverages are organically grown and sustainably produced.”  The patrons were mostly people working at their computers and staring at the wonderful lake view through the huge windows.  The place was not designed with kids in mind but I did not feel out of place at all.  They even had a highchair.  They also had some beautiful areas for outdoor eating.  The menu looked great.  They didn’t have a specific kids menu but the prices seemed reasonable and there were plenty of choices.  I decided to be economical and share with Bebe B today.   I ordered the “Organic Peanut Butter Sandwich” which the menu listed as “your choice of bread with bananas and honey”.  I also ordered a side of wheatberry salad (which was one of the sides of the day).  I was a little disappointed the sandwich came with bananas, no honey.  Plus it was way too much jam.  Both Bebe B and I had trouble eating it because it was so sweet.  The wheatberry salad we polished off though and Bebe B ate out all the cranberries before I could blink!  So the moral of that story is double check things come they way you want them.  As I was leaving I asked what type of jam it was and found out it was a local blackberry jam.  Next time I think we will just ask for “no jam...bananas please”.  

Overall I was pleased and I know we will return.  I’m looking forward to trying some of the homemade soup my mother was raving about. Also they have a “Quiche of the Day” everyday.  Oh and of course let’s not forget...they have coffee!  The place it’s self has an open, eclectic yet homey feel to it.  Bebe B and I even saw a park nearby we plan to check out next time!

Footnote:  This is a completely unbiased review, I received no compensation for this review.  We paid for our meals ourselves.

Washington Hotel Coffee Room is located at 402 W Lakeside St, Madison, WI 53715

Monday, October 11, 2010

Puree Monday - Bebe Banana Pudding

This is one of those recipes that is perfect for everyone...from the bebes to the big kids (us grown-ups too)!!  It so simple yet makes the perfect healthy treat.  Bebe B adores (as she does anything with banana)  Some fun ways we have it now is sprinkle the top with some crushed graham crackers or a few organic chocolate chips.  

Bebe Banana Pudding - 6 Months+
2 ripe bananas
1/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt
a small sweet potato 
1 tsp pure vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Start by pealing and cubing the sweet potato.  Add the sweet potato to a medium saucepan and fill with water about halfway.  Add the vanilla.  Heat on medium high till boiling , then continue to cook another 10 minutes or so until the sweet potato is soft.  Drain the sweet potato cubes and allow to cool to almost room temperature.  Puree the sweet potatoes with the rest if the ingredients until a smooth pudding like texture is reached.  Serve warm.  This recipe will keep up to 2 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.  It will fill about 3 ice cube trays (15-30 servings).  

This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free. (Omit the yogurt for dairy-free/ vegan)

Bebe B's favorite is with three organic chocolate chips

PS. I have a great new restaurant review coming soon!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Bebe B!!

Well the day has come and gone and my BEBE is two!!  It really does not seem possible.  We had a sweet little party for her with the theme of her favorite book...The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle!!  What a fun time it was and so wonderful to see the fun Bebe B and her friends had coloring pictures, playing with balloons and eating some yummy food.  As always I look at special occasions as another chance to prove yummy food can be healthy too!  I wish you all could have been there but since that wasn’t possible I’m sharing some of my recipes from the day with you.  I apologize my pictures aren’t the greatest as I kind of forgot about taking pictures and was all wrapped up in Bebe B and our guests.  

The Very Hungry Fruit Bruchetta

2 Apples
2 Pears
2-3 plums
10-12 Strawberries
2 oranges
1 loaf of french bread
1-2 tbsp butter or Earth Balance
1/4 cup of vanilla bean yogurt
1 tbsp organic sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Peel oranges.  Chop the fruit into tiny pieces and mix it all together in a bowl, set aside.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, set aside.  Slices bread and toast pieces until lightly toasted.  Spread each piece with butter or Earth Balance.  Next sprinkle each piece of bread with then sugar and cinnamon mixture (you could easily reduce or exclude the sugar and simply use cinnamon).  Top each piece of bread with a spoonful of the fruit mixture then drizzle with vanilla yogurt!  This is a great crowd pleaser but doesn’t really keep for left-overs since after time the yogurt will soggy up the bread.  Makes a great snack or breakfast too!

Swiss Butterflies

10-12 slices of swiss cheese
pretzel rods
2-3 tbsp cream cheese or yogurt cheese

Use a cookie cutter to cut butterfly shapes out of the cheese slices.  Smear a strip of cream cheese (or yogurt cheese) down the middle of each butterfly and stick a pretzel rod in it to form the body of the butterfly.  It’s that easy and darn cute!  

Pistachio Pesto Tomato Tarts

1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp cold butter (cubed)
5-7 Tbsp Ice Water 
¾ cup fresh basil leaves (plus extra for garnish)
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
1 clove garlic (chopped) 
¼ cup grated Asiago or Romano cheese (plus extra for top)
½ a lemon’s juice
¼ cup olive oil
8-10 pistachio nuts (shelled)
1 small tube fresh goat cheese (about 4 oz)
1 pint cherry tomatoes (sliced)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.  Stir in the brown sugar until well mixed.  Add butter and use your fingertips or a pastry cutter to work butter into the flour until no pieces larger than peas remain.  Make sure the ice water is ice cold and add a splash of milk if desired.  Add a tablespoon at a time till a dough consistency is reached.  Mix with a spoon just until combined, careful not to over mix.  Roll the dough in to a ball with your hands, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes.  While the dough is chilling make the pesto.  To make pesto, add the basil, sage, garlic, ¼ cup Asiago or Romano, lemon juice, pistachio nuts and olive oil to a food processor and process until a pesto consistency is reached (about 1-2 minutes).  Set pesto aside.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Cut tart shaped out of the dough using cooking cutters in the shapes desired.  Bake on lightly oiled pans for about 10 minutes.   Allow tarts to cool for about 2 minutes.  Top each tart with about 1 tbsp of pesto, 2-3 slices/ clumps of goat cheese and 2-3 slices of cherry tomato.  Sprinkle with Asiago or Romano cheese.  Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.  Garnish with basil and serve warm.

I also made Key Lime Cupcakes from a fun food blog I recently discovered.  I changed the recipe just a touch by using plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in the cupcakes and reducing the butter in half in the frosting and adding an avocado instead and making them with all organic ingredients.  They were heavenly!  As you can see Bebe B adored them too!

Happy Birthday Love Bug!!