Healthy “Chocolate Milkshake”

Today my boys bombarded me with “I want a milkshake!” and since we are trying to eat healthier no ice cream has been bought at my house recently.

wp-1487976127826.jpgWhich doesn’t stop the nightly requests for it.

But today when it was requested I had a brilliant idea. Let’s make milkshakes that are good for them!  I’ve learned with kids it’s all about the terminology. If I call it a milkshake, it’s a milkshake…. And they love it. …Even if they know what is in it. So we made three ingredient, healthy chocolate milkshakes. And they helped make them. And they knew exactly what I put in. And they still loved it!

I didn’t measure at the time because we were going off consistency and what they thought tasted good but here is an approximation of what we made.

Healthy “Chocolate Milkshake”

  • 4-5 frozen banana’s
  • 3 Tablespoons Cacao powder
  • enough milk or nut milk for a vegan/dairy free version to get the milkshake consistency you want, this was about 1.5-2 cups in our case.

Add these ingredients to your blender. Blend thoroughly and Enjoy!

 

 

Advertisements

Bottle Feeding Babyfood

So it can be super hard to spoon feed a baby and it can also be difficult to get them to take their daily supplements. I can’t blame them, would you like a mouthful of slimy vitamin D oil? I think I’d spit it out,too.  I’ve used pouches but the consistency has to be just right and the child has to have a little dexterity. I find they work best for older kids. For little ones 4 months to a year it’s easier to feed from a bottle but they need more nutrition than just milk. My solution? Food bottles with a feeding cap and a thinner consistency of food.img_20170104_131922.jpg

It is critical that babies be exposed to a variety of fruits and vegetables from 4-9 months. This is not just for their nutritional needs but to help develop their taste buds and their tendencies towards desiring healthy foods as they grow up. It is also important to protect their immune systems and keep them as healthy as possible, while breast milk is amazing, making your own babyfood also allows you to add some immune system boosters as well.

Because different fruits and vegetables are different consistencies it is hard to give a precise recipe since all measurements are approximate. You will quickly learn what consistency comes through the feeding nipple at the rate that is suitable for your baby.

Approximate Recipe

  • 2 cups  – a mix of 2-3 fruits or veggies or salmon
  • 1/2-1 cup full fat, plain yogurt
  • 100-150 ml pumped breast milk

Boosts

  • 1ml -Vitamin D
  • 3 drops OnGuard essential oil
  • 1 capsule each of JuicePlus+ Red, Green & Purple (Fruits,Veggies and Berries)

Additional Resources

For info regarding what foods are safe to introduce at what times: Wholesome Baby Food

Two trusted doctors that I use for research and questions regarding best foods for baby or general health:  Dr. Sears (America’s Pediatrician) Dr. Axe (Doctor of Natural Medicine)

For more information regarding the supplements I use: JuicePlus+ and Doterra Essential Oils

 

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.

Lactation Cookies/The Best Oatmeal Cookies EVER!

I recently had my third child, a girl! Isn’t she cute? Her brothers love cuddling her.  image

Since I’ve had so much trouble with breastfeeding and had to supplement more than half of the feedings with the last baby I do anything I can to increase my production and if it tastes good so much the better, right? When one of my friends brought me lactation cookies I was intrigued. I’d never heard of such a thing. Did it really work or was it just an excuse to eat cookies? Well, since I’d been craving chocolate chip cookies I didn’t really care. I just ate them. 🙂 But then when they ran out I noticed my little one was more fussy and demanding to eat more frequently. Could they actually be making a difference? I decided to try making a batch and see if that helped. Well, finding a recipe that didn’t taste like cardboard was harder than expected so I asked my friend for her recipe. She shared the link to the ones she made. Then I couldn’t find time to make them. So my sweet husband offered to make them for me. And then because he can’t help it he made adjustments to the recipe and doubled it.

The result is a freezer stocked with several weeks worth of lactation cookies that taste AMAZING! image.jpgAnd theses are good for the whole family. They will be the best oatmeal cookies you ever ate. In case you are curious they really do make a difference in milk production. I’m in the midst of struggling with thrush and have to pump in order to keep feeding her breastmilk. I can pump 1/4 to 1/3 more milk on the days when I have two of these cookies than on the days when I don’t.

Because he loves me and our daughter my husband sets aside time once a month to make up a huge batch of these. Today I took photos of the process and got him to share his adjustments to the recipe so I could share it here.

Start by assembling all the ingredients (This is a double batch, you can cut it in half if you like but we stock our freezer so I have enough for a month.)image (15)

  • 6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat
  • 2/3 cups brewers yeast
  • 1/3 cups ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups organic unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unrefined organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1.5 cups special dark brown sugar
  • 2 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups dark chocolate chips/chunks (I like Ghirardelli) – OR use jumbo raisins instead
  • 1.5 cups nuts

Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl. image (8)

Cream the liquid ingredients.

image (6)

Then add the dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients.

image (13)

Then add the nuts and chocolate or raisins and use an ice cream scoop to scoop batter.I scoop it directly onto a shelf in my freezer covered in wax paper. Then after about an hour I can put them into a freezer bag. When I want to make them I take two-four cookies out of the oven, place them on a baking sheet and when they soften up (after about 10 minutes) I flatten them and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Nice warm cookies….
IMG_1678.jpg

Milk anyone?

 

 

 

FodMap Friendly & Toddler Approved Rainbow Salad

In our quest to learn more about nutrition we have learned that we need to eat foods in each color of the rainbow because each color contains a different nutrient that our body needs. This was also reinforced by Daniel’s new pre-school curriculum that had a lesson about rainbow salad. In the lesson a little boy helps his mom make rainbow salad. We decided to do the same thing, so I got my trusty list of FodMap friendly foods to make sure everything we got was okay for Dad to eat and we headed to the Farmers Market.

It was lots of fun finding fruits in each color of the rainbow. We found

  • Red – Raspberries
  • Orange – Seedless Oranges
  • Yellow – Pineapple
  • Green – Kiwi
  • Blue – Blueberries
  • Purple – Grapes

When we got home Daniel pulled up his step stool and climbed up to make rainbow salad. I gave him a safety/butter knife and let him cut on a slice of pineapple while I diced the rest of it into bite-sized pieces.

I peeled the orange and let him separate the segments and add them to the bowl. He pulled the grapes of the stem and added them to the bowl. He got to push down on the slicer I have that sliced the kiwi.

wpid-20150112_162528.jpg

Finally we added the raspberries and blueberries and he drizzled the tiniest bit of honey over the top.

wpid-20150112_163103.jpg

YUMMY rainbow salad, beautiful and nutritious and made almost entirely by an 18 month old!

Healthy Lunch for Toddler AND Mom

Unfortunately I didn’t learn much about nutrition or proper meal planning when I was growing up so I have been trying to teach myself all I can in order to provide nutritious meal for my family.

Recently I decided on a very simple solution for myself, a large salad. I make a killer, everything on it salad so I actually ENJOY eating just a salad at lunch. Hubby not so much but he gets leftovers from dinner the night before so he is taken care of. But since I started doing this I have worried about what Daniel was eating for lunch. He is such a “monkey see, monkey eat” little kid that if I offered him something I wasn’t eating he wouldn’t eat it either. I can’t feed him a salad for lunch, he chokes on the lettuce & doesn’t quite have the whole salad concept down. But he does like all of the elements I add to my salad.

During his nap today I stole a few quiet moments while I was nursing Joseph to read a bit of a nutrition book I am trying to work through. Since my reading time is limited to about 10 minutes a day I jumped right to the chapter on feeding your toddler. The authors (Dr. & Mrs. Sears) explained that toddlers need to have food presented differently in order to match their lifestyle.

Toddlers are always on the go (ESPECIALLY boys!) and exploring their world but their stomachs are only the size of their little fist. Because of this they need nutritionally dense food, such as eggs, cheese, olives, avocado, etc.) They also need it presented in a way that accommodates their need to explore & snack as they get hungry again. They suggested a snack tray, filled with different nutritionally dense foods as well as some “fun food” presented to the toddler at their level that they could snack on through out the day. I decided to try that today for lunch.

Since many of the nutritionally dense food they suggested are items I already put on my salad each day I started by pulling out all my salad items and then threw in a few “fun food” items that I thought he would like.

wpid-20141231_131013.jpg

Here is what I had:

  • crackers with cream cheese*
  • yogurt dip*
  • mozzarella cheese (any cheese will do, I am just using up leftovers from Christmas’ cheese plate)
  • artichokes
  • olives (I had kalamonte b/c we all like them but you might want to try black if your toddler isn’t used to such strong flavors)
  • hard boiled eggs
  • Fresh Market bacon (Fun food is OK is small quantities, for mom & toddlers)
  • lettuce* (for me not the toddler)
  • parsley (mostly for me but I did put a few leaves in his tray to see what he would do with them)
  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • peaches
  • dried blueberries
  • dried cherries
  • avocado
  • banana*

*I actually ran out spaces in my tray so I didn’t use these items for this tray but might next time I make it so he has some variety.

My little helper woke up before I had a chance to do more than cut the lettuce for my salad so he came in the kitchen to help me finish making our lunches.

wpid-20141231_131553.jpg

An he started snacking a little early.

wpid-20141231_132046.jpgt

Having him “help” actually worked out great because he saw that I was putting the same items in his tray that I was putting in my salad bowl so he was more inclined to eat them. He even started polishing off the carrots first, an item that I normally cannot get him to eat!

Here was the final tray:

wpid-20141231_132516.jpg

 

As you can see carrots and blueberries took quit the hit before it even left the kitchen.

I placed the tray on a chair at his level and allowed him to graze at his leisure.

wpid-20141231_132935.jpg

And when we got ready to go to the park or grandma’s I just slipped the snack tray into a gallon ziploc bag to go with us.

So far this has worked well for us and I can expand the list of items so he always has new foods to explore.

 

 

Oatmeal Cookies/Bars

This morning was far too cold for us to take our morning walk so we returned to the house early. Daniel is so used to his routine that he immediately asked “Nigh-Night?” since usually when we get back from our walk he goes down for a nap. Since it was about an hour to early for his nap I asked him if he would like to help make cookies with Mommy or take his nap. Of course my hungry helper choose making cookies over nap time. He learned a very good lesson during this process. There is no such thing as instant cookies. He was quite the trooper though, “helping” through the whole process. While the cookies were baking and cooling was the hardest since he doesn’t like waiting and by now it was nap time but he wanted to see the whole process through. He cuddled up on my lap while we waited and when he was finally rewarded with his cookie he went to bed a happy camper.

After that first batch of six cookies I decided that since these were so healthy and fruity they would make great bars for us to take on our morning walks so I decided to make the rest into bars. Unfortunately a 1 1/2 year old helper keeps me from being able to take many pictures of the actual process. But here is the recipe.

Oatmeal Cookies/Bars

In large bowl mix together:

1 stick of butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons sour cream

1 Tablespoon almond extract

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

In separate bowl mix together:

1 1/2 cups ground oats (grind in food processor before measuring)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients then add in:

2 cups oats

2 1/4 cups dried fruit ( I used 3/4 cups each of dried blueberries, cherries and cranberries)

Mix thoroughly and allow dough to rest for 15 minutes. This is so hard, especially for a 1 1/2 year old, but the oats need the importunity to soak up the liquid.

Either scoop the cookies and bake at 350 for 12 minutes or press batter into a 1/2 sheet cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.

I was able to grab a couple of pictures after most of the ingredients and dishes were put up.

 

Mommy's Helper

Mommy’s Helper

Long awaited bite of cookie. Will it be worth it?

Long awaited bite of cookie. Will it be worth it?

Oh, yeah! That was good, Mom!

Oh, yeah! That was good, Mom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wholesomely Delicious Whole Grain Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

I was looking for something yummy and tempting to make for Daniel a few weeks ago. I found a recipe for Peanut Butter muffins which I thought he might like but they had a jelly glaze. Anybody with a one year old knows that you don’t feed them anything glazed unless you are prepared to deal with extreme messiness afterward. Then I had a brilliant idea. Why not put the jelly inside the muffins? I decided to spice the muffins up a little as well to add a little flavor. Here is what I came up with.

Wholesomely Delicious Whole Grain Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

2 1/4 cups whole wheat, white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon almond extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cups buttermilk

Filling:

Favorite flavor of jelly

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Line a mini muffin pan with paper cups.

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Cream butter & sugar then add peanut butter, extracts, eggs & buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and mix until moistened.

Scoop one Tablespoon of batter into muffins cups.

 

 

wpid-20140912_132000.jpg

 

Put a heaping 1/4 teaspoon on top of the batter.

wpid-20140912_132339.jpg

Scoop another Tablespoon of batter on top of the jelly.

wpid-20140912_132708.jpg

Bake until golden brown 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to cool before feeding to your hungry monster.

wpid-20140912_131338.jpg wpid-20140912_131330.jpg wpid-20140912_131328.jpg wpid-20140912_130904.jpg

They must have been good. He ate 6 of them as soon as they had cooled and everyday at noon he begs for them. This batch made 3 dozen mini muffins and has lasted me several weeks of lunches and snacks.

Since they are wholegrain & a good source of protein I have no problem with him eating them as often as he wants. I’ve been told they are the perfect food for picky eaters as well. Picky eaters isn’t really an issue I have at my house  but if your kids are try these muffins. They are Daniel endorsed.

 

Make Your Own Squeezable Fruit & Yogurt Tubes

We’ve all seen and perhaps even bought these squeezable yogurt tubes for our kids. They are just so darn fun & easy, not to mention they should be a simi-healthy snack. Well if you don’t count the added sugar, gmo corn starch, artificial flavors, food dyes and other additives and preservatives. Personally I like being able to look at a ingrediant lable and be able to ponounce everything and know what it is.  I also am a BIG fan of saving money and while not the most expensive treat you can by your kids those tubes can run you $.20-$.50 per ounce.

 

Since I can make my own yogurt & we always have bits of fruit left at the end of the week that needs to get eaten or frozen before it goes bad I decided to ask my husband if he could think of a way to make the tube part of the treat & I could easily make the filling. Of course my ingenious, engineer came up with a solution immediately. Using our food saver he divided a one foot section of our food saver bags into four sections (he started with five but the bags were a bit skinny and the end tube came out really tiny.

He sealed one end of the bag and then vertically sealed each dividing line, makeing four tubes in the bag with one end open.  Then it was simple for me to blend yougurt & fruit in the blender, fill the tubes within an inch of the top & then seal the tops. Then I frozen the bags for later use.

When ready to use, just cut apart on the seal line between each tube & snip of the top & enjoy a healthy, taesty, good for you treat. These are great for a quick cool down in the summer but my favorite uses so far have been for soothing a teething little one and for a quick “ice pack” for the split lips that result from a 1 year old learning how to walk/fall without hurting himself.

Chocolate Cake like Grandma used to make.

I really like chocolate cake and over the years I have made my share. I have one recipe that is frequently requested for parties. No one ever asks me for the recipe, they just ask me to bring it. Probably because it takes three days to make…. However, I’ve never found that perfect, chocolate cake that took me back to the kind of cake Grandma would make when I was growing up.

Until I found a recipe that was created during WWII. I made it once & it was close. After a couple of adjustments and it was perfect. One of the things I found fascinating was that because this cake was invented during WWII when eggs were precious it uses no eggs at all and relies entirely on the reaction between baking soda & vinegar for it’s rise. And boy does it rise! I made a sheet cake out of it in a pan that was just an inch smaller than recommended and it rose right out of the pan! I’ve made a couple of variations on the icing, depending what type of cake you are baking I found that different icings worked better.

This is fast becoming my most requested chocolate cake, which is fine by me. With two, almost three little ones to take care of I don’t have time to spend three days making a cake!

chocolatecake

Chocolate Cake

3 cups AP flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 cups hot coffee (or water)

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. almond extract

 

Preheat oven to 350

spray 2 8-inch round cake pans; a 9×13 rectangle or a cupcake pan (makes 24) with nonstick spray.

Mix your dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Combine your liquid ingredients in a 4 cup glass measuring cup and slowly whisk into the dry ingredients.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

8-inch pan = 35-40 minutes

9×13 pan = 35-40 minutes

cupcakes = 20-25 minutes

Allow to cool completely before frosting.

 

Frosting Variations.

Best for sheet cake:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tsp vanilla.

melt butter in saucepan.

stir in sugar, cocoa & salt

combine cream, sour cream & vanilla until smooth & gradually mix into cocoa whisking until smooth. Cook until the sugar is dissolved but do not allow to boil. Cool completely before icing cake.

 

Best for cupcakes:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cups cocoa powder

1 cup chopped chocolate

Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tsp vanilla

melt butter in saucepan. Add chocolate & allow to melt.

stir in sugar & salt

combine cream, sour cream & vanilla until smooth & gradually mix into chocolate whisking until smooth. Cook until the sugar is dissolved but do not allow to boil. Cool completely before icing cake.

 

Best for icing layer cakes:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cup chopped chocolate

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups sour cream

2 tsp vanilla

melt butter in saucepan.

stir in sugar, salt and chocolate & allow to melt

combine, sour cream & vanilla until smooth & gradually mix into chocolate whisking until smooth. Cook until the sugar is dissolved but do not allow to boil. Cool completely before icing cake.

 

20140704_172303

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as he did.

20140704_172637

Oh, yeah. Good stuff, got anymore?

 

 

Dad’s Favorite Plain, No-Frills Granola (FodMap)

 

Last week I told you about the yummy Chocolate Nut Granola that I made for myself. I’ve enjoyed it so much that my hubby asked if I could make one for him. He is very picky on his cereals and likes them, very plain, none of the extra yummy stuff I like in mine, like nuts, coconut or chocolate! Also, since he is on FodMap we have to watch out for all kinds of ingredients, like gluten, fruits, sweeteners, etc. He showed me a box at our local organic store that he likes for $6.20 for 17 ounces! No way were we paying that kind of money for a box of cereal!(Remember my no more than $2 a box rule). So once again I checked the ingredients on the back of the box, bough on item that I didn’t already have at home and began experimenting.

So here was the final recipe.

Dad’s Favorite Plain, No-Frills Granola

3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

3 1/2 cups Puffed Rice

wpid-20140716_103314.jpg

 

Slightly different texture than Rice Krispies, more air, less crisp. This was my one ingredient I didn’t have that he wanted to try instead of Rice Krispies.

 

 

 

 

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup honey

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon Vanilla

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a large measuring cup whisk together the wet ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, stirring as you go. (I love my kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment for this) Continue stirring until everything is coated with the syrup mix.

Spread the granola over 2 large baking sheets. (Cleanup is much easier if you line them with parchment first!)

Bake at 250  for 2 hours, stirring after 1 hour. Remove from oven, stir again to keep from solidifying into on large mass and then allow to cool completely.

wpid-20140716_103143.jpg

Plain, simple, No-Frills but Dad loves it.

 

Cost Comparison

The original cereal  was $6.20 a box for  2 cups.

My recipe makes approx 7 cups for $2.69

To buy 7  cups of the original cereal would amount to $21.70

Homemade results in a savings of $19.01 per recipe and I know exactly what is in it, no unfamiliar or unpronounceable ingredients so I know it is safe for my hubby’s FodMap diet.  If you choose to use generic for all you ingredients (I used local, raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized organic honey) you might find your costs even lower.

page-break

I am so excited to be guest hosting Whatever Wednesday Linky Party this week!  A big thank you to Sarah at Thank You Honey. Click the image below to join the party!

WW-300x450