Toddler Happy Hour With Caramelized

A few weeks ago Cara, from the blog Caramelized, and I were out for coffee chatting about life and our blogs. I was explaining to Cara how I am trying to manage my newly independent toddler including long and challenging nights in his “new bed” (toddler bed) and only wanting to eat “peanut butter jewwy salmon” (PB&J). Like most parents we are constantly trying to figure out how to feed our children and to make sure it is somewhat healthy; low sugar, high protein. Another key pointer that I can’t leave out is that I need to enjoy the food too. One of the biggest mistakes we parents make today is offering our children a million different options for lunch and dinner because we just want them to eat. I admit, I sometimes do that. I make him what he wants even if it is after I already put a plate down because I’d rather him actually eat. More times than not I just don’t have the energy or patience to force him to eat what’s on his plate.

After I took a sip of my decaf latte I asked Cara for help. She is so creative with food and comes up with the yummiest hors d’oeuvres and snacks. The big question was could it be toddler friendly and between the two of us we nailed it! The two main things on my wish list were protein and veggies. We brainstormed a little and Cara came up with three great options.

Myles started going to “school” twice a week this year and the night before his first day of school I had no idea what to pack him for lunch. Peanut butter and jelly is a go to for me but I wasn’t sure if his class had a peanut allergy. Luckily his class has no allergies so off he went with a PB&J but I wanted to be able to pack other sandwhiches and I needed to sneak some veggies in here or there. Cara came up with 2 great choices that I can make for him and for myself. You can alter the sandwiches to your liking.

Ciabatta loaf, sliced
1 package cream cheese
Mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
Freshly cracked black pepper

1. Pull cream cheese out of the fridge about 30 minutes before preparing (to ease the spreading).

2. Lightly toast ciabatta slices until golden. Set aside to cool. While cooling, slice cucumbers.

3. Spread cream cheese atop each ciabatta slice. Then, layer cucumber slices and garnish with black pepper.

Dave’s Killer Bread, Wheat Thin-Sliced
1 green apple, thinly sliced
Brie, sliced

1. Stack sandwich with layers of brie, green apple and salami. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, cut a circle-shapped sammy. toddler snacks toddler snacks

Our snacks are always healthy to fuel us until our next meal. Sometimes we snack on the go and often times we snack while we are playing. I love idea of putting the food in a muffin because the food can’t slide around or off like it would on a plate. The muffin tin would be great for older kids too, after school each kid could have their own row to eat!

Thinly-sliced salami, rolled or folded
Pretzel Goldfish
Pretzel Thins
Cheddar cheese cubes
Gouda cubes
Nut Thins (or other thin rice cracker)
Large blueberries or grapes

1. In a muffin tin, arrange various ingredients in patterns. Allow your little ones to help!

2. Serve as a kids’ game for pattern play, simply stack your favorite slices, or pick your preferred foods to enjoy on a plate.

toddler snacks
toddler snacks toddler snacks
Photography by Christen Jones.

Live votre rêve!


Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins

healthy pumpkin muffins
It’s October and if you are headed to the grocery store you are guaranteed to see a can of pumpkin puree for sale. I always buy a few cans just to have on hand because I love baking and I never know when the feeling to bake will strike. I especially love baking specific recipes for the season, currently, it’s pumpkin everything. Pumpkin actually isn’t my favorite flavor but there are some health benefits to pumpkin and it’s also an easy substitute for banana. My banana bread and muffins are turning into pumpkin bread and healthy pumpkin muffins. When I bake for me I like the recipe to be on the healthier side since I don’t have the best self-control when it comes to desserts. Today, I am sharing this delicious healthy pumpkin muffin recipe.
healthy pumpkin muffins
Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
1/2 cup natural maple syrup
*2 eggs at room temperature
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup old fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 cup mini chocolate chips
healthy pumpkin muffins
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tin or grease with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl beat the oil and maple syrup together. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the pumpkin purée, vanilla extract, and milk. (It’s important for the eggs to be at room temperature so they don’t solidify the melted coconut oil.)
In a small bowl mix the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices if you choose. Add to the large bowl and mix well.
Add flour and oats to the bowl and mix just until combined. Add chocolate chips or nuts of your choice.
Divide the batter evenly between ten muffin cups. You can fill closer to the top than you normally would with cupcakes because these don’t rise as much. Sprinkle the top of the muffins with oats.
Bake muffins for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
healthy pumpkin muffins
This recipe came from Cookie and Kate. I googled healthy pumpkin muffins and a few recipes popped up. I didn’t want to go to the grocery store so I picked the recipe that had ingredients I already had at the house and the one from Cookie and Kate was the winner. I am so happy it was because these muffins are soooo delicious. I was afraid they were going to be too bland since they are “healthy” and made with whole wheat flour but they are plain ole scrumptious.
The original recipe calls for a few other spices but I didn’t have them. You can also use vegetable oil instead of melted coconut oil, any milk of your choice, or honey instead of natural maple syrup.
Live votre rêve!