Saturday, April 25, 2009

Giveaway Winners!

I hope you all have enjoyed Toddler Week! I know I had fun coming up with great snack and meal ideas.

We had so many entries for both the free juice and Cookbook for Dummies. Using we have our winners!

First the 5 coupons for firstjuice products:

1. Shawna Jewett
2. Crystal
3. Kendra
4. Bobbi Jo
5. Ashley Zurcher

Congrats! I will be sending out an e-mail to you to confirm and get your mailing address!

Now for the Toddler and Infant Cookbook for Dummies!

Drumroll please.......

Dana Judice is our winner!

Congrats, Dana! I will e-mail you, and wait for your response with your address to get you your cookbook!

Toddler Snack Idea: Cream Cheese and Turkey Roll Ups

Thanks to one of our readers, Jessie LaPorte for this great toddler snack idea!

I have a very picky toddler! She doesn't like much of anything unless it is mashed potatoes. However, she does enjoy this. It's easy, fast and clean.


One tortilla shell (I usually use whole wheat to make it healthier and she doesn't mind)
cream cheese (Reduced fat or even fat free).
sliced turkey
*When I don't have cream cheese, I use light ranch dressing. It tends to be a little messier though.

Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese on the tortilla, add the turkey and strips of cheese and then roll it up. To make it look more fun sometimes I cut it in little circle once it's rolled up. You can add things to these based on what your child likes. I have put black olives, turkey pepperoni, pickles, lettuce ... Always a hit at our house!

Toddler Meal Idea: Egg Salad with crunchy carrots

I love, love, LOVE egg salad. It is one of those recipes that you usually have the ingredients for, but never think to make. Egg salad can be very versatile. You can add relish, sugar, green olives, pimentos, tomatoes etc. to make it your own.

Here is what you need for a basic egg salad for a family of four:

2 TB Mayo, 1 TB mustard, 8 eggs, salt and pepper, 1 tsp. dried dill

Step 1: Place eggs in water (enough to cover 1 inch over eggs). Bring to boil over high heat then reduce heat until just simmering. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Place in a bowl of ice water to cool.

Step 2: Peel Eggs and chop. Some people divide the egg white from the egg yolk, but I just keep it all together. Anything to save a few minutes!
Step 3: Add 2 TB mayo, 1 TB mustard, salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Mix well.

Step 4: I mixed in some sliced green olives. It tasted great, kind of a sweet and salty egg salad.

Step 5: My 2 1/2 yr. old daughter, Addie, helped me make the egg salad and served herself some! She loved it! I didn't put green olives in her dish, and she didn't eat it on bread because she isn't into sandwiches quite yet. Having her just help me make it made her so much more interested in lunch and she wanted to eat it!

Step 6: Here is my sandwich topped w/ a tomato and some sliced apples.

Here is an adorable picture of my other daughter, Sophie, (11 mo.) eating some of the egg yolk. She loved it also! An important tip to remember with Egg Salad is that you can make a different type for everyone in your family just by using different mix-ins or changing the way you serve it!

Meal Serves 4
Cost of Meal: $2.00
Cost per person: $.50

Friday, April 24, 2009

Toddler Meal Idea: Build a Pasta!

This is a great recipe to use when serving a large group or picky eaters (toddlers especially!). Build a Pasta includes pasta and sauce (red, white or both!) as your base and then you add your favorite toppings to the top.

In order to keep this recipe frugal, I go to the produce department the day I am making it to find "manager special"/marked down produce. It is usually on manager special because it needs to be used within a few days. This is a great way to get marked down dairy products as well.

Here is what I used for my "base" pasta:

Bertolli crushed tomato and basil pasta sauce (I love the pouch, you just pop it in the microwave for 90 seconds. No sauce splatters all over my stove! There is a coupon available for $1 the sauce pouches. It ends up only being about $1.27 for the sauce at my Wal-Mart.) I used Rotini noodles b/c I was able to purchase the Smart Taste pasta for .57 at Wal-Mart. There was recently a coupon insert for $1 off Ronzoni pasta. The rotini noodles are also just fun!

Remember, this is your dish- you can choose to make 2 sauces: 1 tomato and 1 alfredo and 2 different types of noodles. I tried to make this dish as frugally as possibly, so I only used 1 of each.

Here is what I used for our toppings:

Sausage, cheddar cheese (shredded), parmesan cheese, mushrooms (manager's special) and a pepper from our neighbor's garden. The possibilities are really limitless for toppings. Buy as much or as little as you want to add to your pasta. Notice that most of my brands are generic. There really is not much difference in taste/quality branded or unbranded. It's a great way to save $$$ on your bill! The texas toast is for a side.

Step 1: Boil your Pasta. Add salt to the pasta water, this is the only time you can season your noodles.

Step 2: Chop your toppings, shred your cheese and prepare to build your pasta!

Step 4: Cook your pasta sauce and begin to cook your garlic bread

Step 5: Start with your base of pasta and sauce.

Step 6: Build your pasta with a few toppings. I liked to add mushrooms and peppers.

Step 7: Add shredded cheese

Step 8: Add garlic bread and a salad and you've built a pasta!

Just to show you how different each plate can be, here is my husbands' build a pasta

and my daughter's build a pasta She is 2 years old and LOVED this dish!

Cost of meal: $5.50 total (includes garlic bread and salad-also a manager's special)
Cost per person (serves 4)- $1.35

I would love to hear what your "build a pasta" toppings included.

Leave a comment and let us know what toppings your toddler would add to your build a pasta!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Giveaway and Review: first juice

First juice is "the nation's first organic, low sugar, fruit and vegetable juice for infants and toddlers." First juice has 12 g of sugar per 8 oz compared to 27 g of sugar per 8 oz serving of apple juice. First juice is also different because they have some great new flavors! They offer a 3 varieties currently: apple+carrot, banana + carrot, blueberry + purple carrot and peach + purple carrot.

The juices are offered in a 32 oz bottle, 8 oz sippy tote bottle and an 8 oz size 12 pack. Led by moms and dads in Randolph, NJ first juice has a lot to offer parents of toddlers and infants.

Here is an experts opinion on the first juice:

"It's important for parents to help teach children healthy eating patterns from the beginning. Juice has become such a staple in the daily diets of many young children these days. That said, offering them a juice that contains significantly less sugar and the nutritional benefits of 100% fruit juice is a good way to help toddlers develop an appreciation for less sweet tastes."
- Dr. Laura Jana, Pediatrician

SOURCE: Dr. Laura Jana, pediatrician and co-author of the newly released book Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor and a Bottle of Ketchup (American Academy of Pediatrics, Oct. 2007).

Alisha's (Out of the Box Mommy) Review:

I had some time so I drove out to Toys R Us yesterday with the kiddos. Going anywhere with a toddler and a baby seems like a task, but I felt like I was up for it, so we went. I was so relieved when I saw the First Juice on the shelf. YES!! Blueberry! I picked up a couple of the sippy cup (8 oz.) juices and one larger 32 oz. juice. Preston is 3 and he had no trouble drinking it. He didn't gulp it down, but he never complained, so we'll take that as a victory. ;) Keely just turned one year old a couple of weeks ago, and she had trouble getting the juice from the sippy cup. (had more to do with her developmentally capabilities than it did with her interest or disinterest in the juice).

As a mom, I love that it is chock full of nutrients that I want to get into my children. I love that it is convenient. Buying the sippy cup that is reusable saves us from having to buy more sippy cups (if you are someone still going through that phase) My biggest excitement with this juice, though, is actually because of a cookbook I just recently purchased. I bought "The Sneaky Chef" cookbook, written for moms who want to sneak nutrients into foods that their kids will eat. In it there is a suggestion to use blueberry juice in things like brownies. I will definitely be trying out this juice in some of that recipe and then I will post them with my critiques.

While First juice has great products out there in the market, it is incredibly hard to get your hands on! Meal Planning Mommies, Katie and Sarah have gone to 6 different stores that were on the list that sold first juice trying to get the product to review and were out of luck each time!

First juice products are sold in several locations for a complete list click here, but it is highly recommended that you call before you go to each store to make sure they actually have this product stocked.

Thanks to first juice we have FIVE coupons for FREE first juice to giveaway! That means there will be FIVE winners!

Leave a comment with your name and e-mail to be entered into the giveaway (end by noon on Saturday, April 25th) will choose 5 winners to each receive a FREE bottle of first juice!

Toddler Meal Idea: Creepy Crawly Tuna Sandwiches or Butterflies

If you are making lunches for your child, you could show them how to make this sandwich into a creepy crawly on a day when they are home. Then, when you pack the lunch include all the ingredients and a picture (if they are young) reminding them how to put it together. Cut and paste this picture if you need to. Your child might have fun showing his or her friends how to make a creepy crawly sandwich.

2 cans of tuna (you can see that I am not loyal to any particular brand.) ;)
green olives, black olives, or you could even cut grapes in half.
hot dog buns
pretzel sticks
a few round tortilla chips (if doing the butterfly)

1. Drain tuna and add about 1/8 cup mayo for every can of tuna used. (1/4 cup mayo if you are using two cans like I ended up doing. 2 cans made 5 sandwiches nicely)
2. Lay hot dog buns flat side up and spread tuna mixture over bottom halves of hot dog buns.
3. Shred cheddar cheese over the tuna.4. Cook in a 350 degree oven for approx. 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and buns slightly toasted.
5. Put buns tops on and decorate, turning into a butterfly or a spider, depending on what kind of child God has blessed you with. ;) Preston gets a spider and watches me eat my butterfly.

Download and print a copy of this recipe here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Toddler Meals: Creating a healthy meal plan for your little one

I found an excellent resource to guide you through the food pyramid for pre-school children ages 2-4. On the USDA's website you can find lots of helpful information. I have copied and pasted the home page for mypyramid for Preschoolers. You will need to go directly to the site ( to use the links and print out the resources, but I wanted to give you a quick overview of what was available.

MyPyramid for Preschoolers


Use MyPyramid to help your preschooler eat well, be active, and be healthy.

MyPyramid for Preschoolers is for children 2 to 5 years of age. Click on the blue button to get a customized MyPyramid Plan for your preschooler.

MyPyramid Plan

You are the most important influence on your child. You can do many things to help your children develop healthy eating habits for life.

Explore ways to help your preschooler:

Grow up healthy. Complete a growth chart especially for your child to find out more about normal development.

Develop healthy eating habits. Raise a healthy eater by setting a good example and practicing positive habits.

Try new foods. Help for picky eaters.

Play actively every day. Add physical activity into your preschooler’s day.

Follow food safety rules.

Learn more:

Sample Meals Patterns, Meals and Snacks

Find Kitchen Activities for preschoolers

*Taken from

Check this out for your toddler, for yourself and your family!

We would LOVE to hear from YOU!

Please leave a comment and share your tips/ideas about sticking to the food pyramid for your toddler/family.

Toddler Snack Ideas: Applesauce and crispy cinnamon wedges

This incredibly easy dessert was taken from my Kid's Favorites Made Healthy cookbook. It requires very few ingredients and you might just find that you have all of them on hand already.

Here it is:
2 7-to-8 inch flour tortillas
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 4-ounce cups fruit-flavored or plain applesauce

1. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges. (can be cut using a pizza cutter on a cutting board, a knife, or using kitchen shears) Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Generously coat tortilla wedges with cooking spray. In a small bowl stir together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over tortilla wedges. (while not necessary, it helps to have a flour/sugar shaker for this) Bake in a 375 degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

2. Use tortilla wedges to scoop up applesauce.

Kids will love helping with this one! Preparing it and dissapearing it. ;)

Toddler Snack Idea: Fruit Bouquets

This idea is a piggy back from the kind of bouquets that you can get from Edible Arrangements. While not nearly as elaborate, it is a fraction of the price of what you would spend at the Edible Arrangements store. If you are interested in a making a more elaborate version of this, there are several resources out there that will instruct you on how to do so.

1 pineapple
1 cantaloupe
iceberg lettuce
(tools required: flower shaped cookie cutter, skewers, and melon baller)

Cut off top of the the pineapple.

Cut slices of the pineapple. (1/2 inch slices seemed to work fine)

Use a flower shaped cookie cutter to cut flowers in the pineapple. I used my scalloped bread tube because it happened to be the perfect size.

Cut cantaloupe in half.
Scoop out seeds.

Use a melon-baller to make some nice round semi circles.

Use iceberg lettuce (I used romaine just because it is what we had on hand) and fill a pretty container or vase that is cleaned out.

Poke a pineapple flower into a skewer. Top with a cantaloupe semicircle. Stick flowers into the iceberg lettuce. Use extra lettuce to hide skewers that might still be showing.

Your toddler will not only love watching and helping you make these, but they will be happy to pull them a part and munch! Make sure you supervise your toddler while eating b/c of the skewers holding the fruit together.

Toddler Snack Idea: Peanut Butter and apple sandwiches

This recipe comes from page 289 in the Baby & Toddler Meals for Dummies book.

Check out our review of this book and don't forget to sign up for the giveaway to win your very own copy of this book!!!

Here is a very simple snack you can make with your children...

Prep time: 15 minutes
Tools: various cookie cutter
Yield: 3 servings


3 pieces of whole-wheat bread
Butter for spreading (I left this out)
2 Tbs. Peanut butter, smooth
Finely slicked apples pieces

Step One: Toast the bread in a toaster or toaster oven until lightly brown.

Step Two: Using a cookie cutter, gently press the cutter into each piece of toast to cut the desired shape. Discard the extra pieces of bread. (or use them to make some not so pretty peanut butter and apple toast for yourself...that's what I did.)

Step Three: Place each toast shape on a plate, lightly butter, and spread 1 Tbs. of peanut butter over each piece of buttered toast. Place the apple slices as desired on top of the peanut butter and serve.

What a great recipe to use as a fun snack or even a great lunch/breakfast idea! You wouldn't have to cut them out in cute shapes, but it does make the snack that much more appealing. Yummy!

This recipe comes from page 289 in the Baby & Toddler Meals for Dummies book.

Toddler Snack Idea: Wonderballs

These are a family favorite here in our house. We make them at least twice a month. The beautiful thing about Wonderballs is that they are fun to make with kids, healthy and they taste like glorified cookie dough!

Here is what you need:
One Cup Peanut Butter
One Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Milled Flax Seed (Fiber!!!)
1/4 Cup chopped nuts (This is optional, but we like to add them. We use Almonds)
1/2 Cup of dried fruit (Our favorite is raisins and cranberries)
1/2 Cup of chocolate chips (we like using dark)
2 Cups of Uncooked Oatmeal

1. Now, in a big bowl add your peanut butter and honey together. Stir!!!!

2. Add in your 2 Cups of Oatmeal and stir!!!
3. Add in your Flax Seed too!

4. Add in your chocolate, chopped nuts, and dried fruit. Stir!!!

Now, you will have a big sticky blob of goodness. Using a spoon or your hands go ahead and make cookie dough balls out of them. Next, put them into tupperware. I stack them and use wax paper in between. Place them in your freezer. As they freeze they will lose most of their sticky-ness. We like to keep them in our freezer and pull them out one by one as snacks. You can also refrigerate them for a softer wonderball.

My toddler and 1 1/2 year old (and me too!) LOVE wonderballs! We have some in our freezer right now, they will continue to be a staple- with flax seed, dried cranberries, raisins and of course some yummy chocolate, peanut butter and honey- they are a healthy treat in moderation and so easy to pull out of the freezer!

Please note that they do contain honey and peanut butter and should not be given to children under the age of 1.