Delicious, easy muffins using baby food purees? Yes, please!

by

Sabrina Garibian

posted in Life & Home

Do you think of baby food as just baby food? Think again.

I’m a cook and love to prepare meals for my whole family, but I also work full-time and have a lot of responsibilities on my proverbial plate. I need help! I’ve often relied on baby food pouches and jars to feed my 11-month-old daughter Valentina, but only recently figured out I could make these prepared foods do double-duty, incorporating them into recipes to add flavor and nutrition while cutting down on prep time.

earth's best

One recipe I’m making on repeat: pumpkin cranberry apple muffins. They use ingredients I usually have on hand and come together easily. Valentina loves how they taste, and I simply pull one out of the freezer for a delicious breakfast or snack. Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Cranberry Apple Muffins

Earth's Best pumpkin apple muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/4 cup Earth’s Best Whole Grain Cereal with Apple Sweet Potato
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup orange juice or milk
1 pouch Earth’s Best Pumpkin Cranberry Apple Baby Food Puree
1 banana, mashed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray. In large bowl, stir together flour, Earth’s Best Whole Grain Cereal with Apple Sweet Potato, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. In separate bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, juice or milk, Earth’s Best Pumpkin Cranberry Apple Baby Food Puree, and mashed banana until well-combined.

Fold Earth’s Best Pumpkin Cranberry Apple Baby Food Puree mixture into the flour mixture. Mix until just moistened; do not overmix (muffins will become tough). Divide evenly among cups in prepared muffin pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tester inserted into center of muffins comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

earth's best organics

Other uses for Earth’s Best Organic infant food?

    Since Earth’s Best Organic makes “better for baby” foods with yummy, healthy organic ingredients like the chicken, carrots, onions, and whole wheat pasta in Tender Chicken and Stars, I don’t even need to feel guilty about these little shortcuts.

    What are your favorite uses for Earth’s Best baby purees?

    The Earth’s Best Organic brand believes in making “better for baby” food products with organic ingredients that are safe for babies and safe for the environment. Harnessing this philosophy, we create delicious recipes featuring simple ingredients so that parents can nurture their baby’s health with the utmost confidence.

    Follow Earth’s Best on Facebook  and Instagram.

    Teach kids to sew with this adorable horse pillow

    by

    Laura Falin

    posted in Life & Home

    My 10-year old is in a major horse phase right now. Lots of girls go through this…I think I did slightly, but I wasn’t as obsessed as she is. She wants to be a vet when she grows up. She reads books about horses (Misty of Chincoteague is an awesome place to start if you have a similarly obsessed pre-teen girl). She went horseback riding with the Girl Scouts last weekend and once she got over being up really really high off the ground, she loved it and has been talking about “her” horse ever since.

    So when we tried some crafts and projects from this book: Horseplay!, she got really into it.

    Horseplay! 25 Crafts, Party Ideas & Activities for Horse-Crazy Kids

    We made a horse pillow, which was a great craft for a girl her age. She doesn’t really sew much, and this project involves some really basic sewing, so it was a good way to introduce her to it without being too frustrating and complicated.

    teach your kids to sew by making an adorable horse pillow

    Our horse is, of course, blue and orange because we live in Denver.

    Supplies:

    • a horse stencil (ours was included in the book, but you could freehand a basic one)
    • a white pillowcase
    • felt
    • yarn
    • a large embroidery needle
    • glue
    • scissors

    teach your kids to sew by making this adorable horse pillow

    Instructions:

    Trace your horse stencil onto the felt and cut it out. Lay it on the pillow, and sew the felt to the pillow along the mane area, leaving long loops in the front.

    teach your kids to sew by making this adorable horse pillow

    Glue the rest of the horse to the pillow. Snip the loops so that the yarn strands hang straight like a mane.

    teach your kids to sew by making this adorable horse pillow

    After my 10-year old and her little sister finished this project, I didn’t hear a peep out of them for another hour at least. They were busying themselves with the Horseplay! book — coloring a poster that was included, reading facts about horses, planning parties (the book includes super-cute cupcake toppers and suggestions for horse-themed parties). It really is a great book for kids her age.

    For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

    Kids in the kitchen: Frozen chocolate bananas

    by

    Lindsay Weiss

    posted in Life & Home

    School’s out and that mean my kids have time to make big messes get creative in the kitchen. Sometimes the recipes are a little more complicated and my little guy gets left out. But this one was so easy he got to be the star of the show.

    These are the BEST summer snack. They are sweet enough to be a treat. Cold enough to be refreshing. And healthy enough to be better than straight up candy. We have to triple this recipe because these go so fast at our house. The kids come in from playing outside and inhale them.

    And best of all — the kids can make them with very little help!

    Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

    frozen banana bites 2_2_small

    Frozen Chocolate Bananas

    1 large banana
    2/3 cup chocolate chips
    2/3 cup peanut butter chips
    2 Tbsp coconut oil

    Cover small sheet pan with foil. Slice the banana and place the slices on pan. Put the tray in the freezer until the bananas are frozen solid (about an hour).

    After bananas are frozen, place the chocolate & peanut butter chips and the coconut oil in a small microwave safe bowl or measuring cup. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir. Microwave for another 15 seconds and stir again, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Put it back in the microwave for another few seconds if necessary. Don’t over heat. Let cool for a few minutes.

    Dip the bananas into the chocolate/peanut butter mixture and coat on all sides. Let any excess chocolate drip off before setting the slice back on foil-line pan. Put the slices back in the freezer right away.

    You can store the slices in a zip lock freezer baggie once the chocolate has hardened.

    Makes about 18 slices.

    Try these delicious banana nutella milkshakes this summer

    by

    Laura Falin

    posted in Life & Home

    We’re milkshake maniacs around here. We do plenty of healthy smoothies for snacks and breakfast, but let’s face it. Summer deserves some bona fide, ice-creamy milkshakes. And since today’s the last day of school for us, I think it’s the perfect occasion to kick off our season of milkshake making.

    My kids love making milkshakes (and messes) so much that my brother and sister-in-law actually bought us a milkshake maker last summer. All it does is make milkshakes. Beautiful.

    Banana Nutella Milkshakes

    So these are deliciously creamy, chocolatey shakes. Almost like a banana split in a glass. You could drink them just after you make them, and they’d be nice and liquidy — but I like mine with some actual chunks of ice cream in them, so I add a few more scoops to my glass before adding the milkshake mixture.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c ice cream
    • 1/2 c nutella
    • 1 banana
    • 1/4 c milk (whole milk is best)

    Instructions:

    Combine all ingredients in a blender (or milkshake mixer if you should be so lucky) and blend until smooth. Scoop two scoops of ice cream into a glass and pour milkshake mix over the top. Add some sliced bananas to the top for garnish and serve. Makes 4.

    For more yummy summertime treats, try one of these:

     

    Do you have a special summer treat you and your kids make?

    For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

    Frozen Lemon Dessert

    by

    Kami Bigler

    posted in Life & Home

    I don’t think there is anything better than a lemon dessert. This recipe is a family favorite. It comes from my husbands grandma. “Grandma G.B.” as we call her, she was a sweet grandma, so very with it! One of my favorite things about this recipe is how it makes us think of her when we make it. That’s the great thing about food, and recipes, they always bring us together and help us recall some of the best memories.

    frozen-lemon-dessert-recipe-NoBiggie.net_

    You can find the recipe below, but here are all the ingredients to give you a visual of all you’ll need to make this dessert.

    frozen-lemon-dessert-recipe-ingredients-Nobiggie.net-001

    Once all assembled, you will freeze it up to 4 hours or overnight.

    It’s so fresh and light, just perfect for Spring and Summer.

    1 Cup graham crackers, crushed
    6 Tablespoons sugar
    3 Tablespoons butter, melted
    2 eggs, separated
    1 Can sweetened condensed milk
    1 Tablespoon lemon zest
    ½ Cup Lemon Juice
    1 Cup coconut, optional

    1. Combine the graham crackers, 2 tablespoons of sugar and melted butter. Put into a lightly greased 8×8 or 9×9 pan and chill.

    2. Beat egg yolks until thick and add the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and rind, mix together until thick. Stir in the coconut.

    3. Whip the egg whites until foamy, then add the 4 tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Pour all of over the graham crust.

    4. Finish off by topping with extra graham cracker crumbs and coconut.

    frozen-lemon-dessert-recipe-NoBiggie.net_1

    Are you a fan of lemon desserts?

    *For more craft tutorials, great recipes, free printables, fun giveaways, and real life you can follow Kami at NoBiggie.net, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


    Kids in the kitchen: Rice pudding

    by

    Lindsay Weiss

    posted in Life & Home

    If you ask me, rice pudding is a weird thing to make in the summer. But in the two days we’ve been officially out on summer break, my kids have been MACHINES in the kitchen. While their vigor translates into huge messes, I’ve love watching them pour over cookbooks, scour for ingredients and come up with some really good concoctions.

    This rice pudding was the first thing Kate made for breakfast on Monday morning. It was surprisingly delicious and a perfect breakfast. Kate is my oldest kiddo (she’s 11), so she is allowed to use the stovetop. I did not help her one bit with anything in this recipe. It’s just that easy. She especially liked it because it involved lots of stirring which made her feel very important.

    Very simple ingredients that come together as much more than the sum of their humble parts. Three cheers for Kate!

    Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

    kids in the kitchen rice pudding 3_small

    kids in the kitchen rice pudding 2_2_small

    Easy Rice Pudding
    Rice pudding is traditionally chilled but we like to eat it warm for breakfast! Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar!

    3 1/2 cups milk (whatever you have)
    1/2 cup long grain rice
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    pinch of salt
    pinch of cinnamon

    Place the milk and rice in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very thick with very little milk left. About 30 to 35 minutes. Remember to scrape the sides of the pan so nothing burns. In the last few minutes, stir very frequently.

    Use a pot holder to remove the pan from heat. Stir in vanilla, sugar, salt and cinnamon until everything is dissolved. Pour into a medium bowl and cover tightly with saran wrap (this will prevent a “skin” from forming on top). Refrigerate until chilled. (Kate likes to eat it warm!)

    Serves 4.

    Kid garden craft: Beaded gazing balls

    by

    Laura Falin

    posted in Life & Home

    I love watching kids in the garden. They get messy and dig around and pull things up and investigate worms and just have a lovely time. When my boy was two, he spent an entire morning digging small holes in my garden beds and gleefully yelling, “I planting chicken!”

    So when we can make crafts to go in the garden we love, even better.

    A fun garden craft for kids -- make beaded gazing balls!

    This is a great activity for preschoolers. Threading beads on pipe cleaners is easier than trying to manage floppy string or yarn, and there’s less danger of all the beads falling off the other end, which always results in tears. So many tears.

    A fun garden craft for kids -- make beaded gazing balls!

    We used whatever beads we had on-hand — a mish mash of pony beads and those flowery sort of plastic beads (fun fact: I’m supposed to be cleaning my basement right now because my parents are coming to visit and all I’ve managed to do so far is spill half a box of pony beads all over the carpet. Help.)

    And we used sparkly pipe cleaners. You can use any kind of pipe cleaner, of course, but I believe you can never have too much chocolate when you’re baking or too much sparkle when you’re crafting.

    Supplies:

    • three pipe cleaners per gazing ball (sparkly or not)
    • pony beads or other large plastic beads

    Instructions:

    Thread beads onto three pipe cleaners until they are full. Take your first pipe cleaner, form a circle, and twist pipe cleaner at the top to close. Take your second pipe cleaner, form a circle around the first, and twist to close. Take a third pipe cleaner and do the same, arranging your pipe cleaners so they form a globe. I also took a small piece of pipe cleaner and wrapped it criss-cross around the bottom to keep everything together.

    A fun garden craft for kids -- make beaded gazing balls!

    That’s it! Decorate your garden with sparkly, beaded gazing balls. I just love all the cheery color they add.

    For more gardening ideas, try one of these:

    magic-rock

    Spring Fairy Gardens

    seedlings

    Egg Carton Seedlings

    Do you garden with your kids?

    For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

     

     

    The ultimate guide to superfast weeknight dinner recipes

    by

    BabyCenter Guest Blogger

    posted in Life & Home

    By Stacie Billis, Managing Editor of Cool Mom Eats

    Let’s be honest: Cooking for a family is entirely different than, well, any other type of cooking. When looking for recipes that work, we parents have to consider things like how easily it can be adapted to meet our families’ tastes, whether it can be served in components so that the grownups can have a grownup meal while the kids eat at least protein and (some) veggies, and whether or not it will yield precious leftovers that are usable for either a second meal or a packed lunch. And, most importantly, whether the recipe can do all this and come together in 30 minutes or fewer.

    Over at Cool Mom Eats, we vet dinner recipes based not just on pure deliciousness and Pinterest-worthy photos, but also on real life criteria that help make the difference between a successful dinner and—if you’re like us—take out.

    These are a few of our favorite super-fast weeknight dinner recipe round-ups, with tons of recipes to get you through the next week and then some.

    What’s your go-to quick meal?

    Stacie-Billis-Headshot-nokidsStacie Billis is Managing Editor of Cool Mom Eats. She’s known for her focus on nutrition and organics, her salad-loving sons, and her non-judgy approach to feeding kids that does not preclude Nutella.

    Kids on the grill: BBQ chicken and veggie packets

    by

    Lindsay Weiss

    posted in Life & Home

    My two older kids learned how to make “campfire packs” in their respective Brownie/Cub Scout troops. I remember loving these when I was a kid because it was MAGIC to cook your entire dinner in one packet and EVEN MORE MAGIC to do it over a fire. My kids are no different, they are obsessed with cooking things in foil packets. (Is there a foil packet cookbook? If there isn’t, one of you should cash in and make that MAGIC happen.)

    We don’t have a campfire in our backyard but we do have a grill. Since today was the last full day of school, I decided to let the kids make these to celebrate. Besides the grilling, they did everything themselves. They cut the foil, arranged the chicken and veggies, sprinkled with seasoning, squirted with barbecue sauce and drizzled with olive oil. Then they wrapped everything up tightly and I threw them on the grill. One turn and 20 min later and they were perfect.

    We loved that the barbecue sauce flavors the veggies — just a touch — but it really adds to this. This would be a great thing to do with kids over Memorial Day Weekend!

    Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

    grilled chicken and veggies foil packets 1_small

    grilled chicken and veggies foil packets 3_2_small

    BBQ Chicken and Veggie Packets

    4 large sheets aluminum foil (each big enough to wrap 1 chicken breast + veggies)
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1/2 cup barbecue sauce (use your favorite)
    1 zucchini or yellow squash, sliced into thin rounds
    1 red, green or yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
    8 asparagus spears
    Montreal steak seasoning (or just regular salt and pepper is fine)
    extra virgin olive oil

    Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

    Place one chicken breast on foil sheets; season with Montreal steak seasoning. Brush each chicken breast with 1 to 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce.

    Divide veggies equally and arrange vegetables around each chicken breast; season with Montreal steak seasoning. Drizzle everything with little olive oil. Fold the sides of the foil over the chicken, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Transfer foil packets to the preheated grill rack and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until done, turning once. (Meat thermometer should read 165 when done.) Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes. Serve warm!

    Mocha Angel Food Cake

    by

    Kami Bigler

    posted in Life & Home

    Mocha Angel Food cake. It just sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Well, it tastes so heavenly too! My family loves this cake.

    It’s one of those great cakes that you can just kind of throw the frosting on all messy and it doesn’t even matter, it tastes so good, no one will care how it looks.

    I-cant-wait-to-try-this-mocha-angel-food-cake-NoBiggie.net_

    The recipe is below, but here’s a little summary of the step by step. To start, you mix in cocoa powder into the a cake mix; yes…we use a cake mix for this. It’s the easiest and best way. Angel Food cake is such a chore to make from scratch. Why mess around when there are some excellent box mixes out there. Also, if you don’t have an angel food cake pan yet, you better get one quick! You’ll want to be making this cake often.

    Once baked and cooled, you will cut the cake into three layers. Then you’ll frost between each layer and all around. It’s so good!

    mocha-angel-food-cake-directions-6-NoBiggie.net_-399x600

    Here’s the recipe:

    1 Angel Food Cake box mix – Western Family brand is the best!
    ⅓ Cup Cocoa powder
    1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
    ¾ Cup Nestle’s Quick cocoa powder mix
    ½ teaspoon instant coffee crystals (decaf if you desire)

    1. Mix the Angel Food Cake Box Mix according to directions, but add ⅓ Cup Cocoa along w/ the Flour packet of the cake mix. Bake as directed on the box, in an angel food cake pan.

    2. Remove from oven when done baking and cool inverted upside down in the pan on a bottle of some sort, holding it upside down.

    3. Once cool, carefully slice the cake into 3 layers cutting across the cake.

    4. Now start the whipped cream frosting. Beat together the 1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream. Add ¾ Cup Nestlé’s Quick and ½ teaspoon of instant coffee (decaf if desired). Until whipped together well.

    5. Spread the whipped cream between each all the layers and over the whole outside. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Wow-this-looks-amazing-mocha-angel-food-cake-NoBiggie.net_-399x600

    That’s it! I hope you try it!

    Do you have an occasion coming up that would be perfect for this cake?

    *For more craft tutorials, great recipes, free printables, fun giveaways, and real life you can follow Kami at NoBiggie.net, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.