Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dessert Option: Crispy Cinnamon Tortilla triangles with applesauce

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 Meal Idea: Egg Salad with Crunchy apples

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

Toddler Meal Idea: Creepy Crawly Tuna Sandwiches

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.

Toddler Meal Ideas: Build a Pasta!

This is a great recipe to use when serving a large group or picky eaters. Build a Pasta includes pasta and sauce 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!

Toddler Meal Ideas: Grilled Cheese and Homeade Tomato Soup

Hi Friends,

This is easy to do and so warm and yummy.
I know what you are thinking, why make soup when I can just open a can?
Reason #1: It taste's better.
Reason #2: It is better for you.
What you will need for the soup:

If you have gone ahead and canned any tomatoes this season this is the time to bust open a jar. If you have not and would like to see how I have a post on my other blog about it. If you are going to make this soup, but do not have time to can right now then simply purchase about five beefy tomatoes. You need to remove their skin, which is called blanching. Simply put the tomatoes one at a time in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Remove with tongs and place in a bowl of ice water. The skin will peel right off. When you have finished this boil your tomatoes for about twenty minutes. Now, you are caught up! I highly suggest adding a little bit of lemon juice. When you can tomatoes you add lemon juice and thus when I made this soup it had a hint of lemon and was delicious.

Step 1:
Take your canned tomatoes or freshly boiled tomatoes (with added lemon juice) and put them in your food processor to really dice them up into what will look like tomato juice.
Step 2:
Place the tomatoes in a pot and heat them up to a boil.
Step 3:
Add fresh basil (it is so much fun to grow your own and so easy!)
Step 4:
Add garlic

Step 5: Add a cup of milk

Stir, heat, and serve.

Meanwhile, make your grilled cheese sandwiches. You can always add some tomato to them for an extra kick.

If you already have your canned tomatoes this meal is so easy. It took me a total of FIVE minutes start to finish and it was very good. If you do not have time for canning right now and do not have fresh tomatoes you CAN USE STORE BOUGHT CANNED tomatoes. Just remember to add a bit of lemon juice!

You can freeze any leftover soup for later.


Snack Idea: Peanut Butter and apple sandwiches

This recipe comes from page 289 in the Baby & Toddler Meals for Dummies book. We will be doing a review on this book this week, and there will be a giveaway and a lucky winner will receive their 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.

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

Toddler Snack Idea: Fruit Bouquet

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.


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.


Meal Idea: Teddy Bear Spaghetti

This one comes from my mother-in-law. It is a cute idea, but I think someone came up with it back when they did not know that too many carbs could kill you. :) My son loved it, and I think most kids would, but I definitely suggest making it, sharing it, and then freezing the rest for later. I also think making just the head is a cute idea that does not make you feel like you have to eat so much bread. In the picture that came with the recipe they show a little girl eating an entire bear by herself. :) It's a hoot and a half. (but it wasn't supposed to be funny) Here is a picture of what my son's looked like when he was done attacking his:As you can see he was not able to eat that much. I am suggesting that you make just the head, and the arms and legs, and then put spaghetti in the middle as the body. I will show the end result at the bottom of this recipe. I am giving the directions for the entire bear, only because that is what I made, and that is what the recipe suggests. And now, to do the recipe any kind of justice at all, here is a picture of the cute little guy before my son got ahold of him:

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. vanilla
1/3 cup warm milk
1/2 tsp. salt
5 large eggs
About 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbs. milk
Spaghetti noodles
Spaghetti sauce

In a large bowl, using a mixer, add yeast to water; let stand about 5 minutes. Stir in butter, sugar, vanilla, milk, salt, and 5 eggs, then beat until combined. Stir in 3 cups flour; beat on high speed until smooth and stretchy, about 6 minutes. Add remaining 1-3/4 cup flour. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about an hour. (or chill until doubled, 18-24 hours)

Scrape dough onto a lightly floured board. Knead to release air; add flour as required to prevent sticking. Cut dough in 4 equal parts.

For each bear, dive dough quarter into these portions: 3 Tbs. for arms, 3 Tbs. for legs, 1/2 cup for body, and 1/4 cup for head, 1 to 1-1/2 Tbs. for ears, face features, and belly button.

You will start by putting the arms and legs down first. Flatten the middle when the body will sit. Brush some of the egg/ milk mixture onto the dough where the two pieces of dough will connect. Continue doing this with each point that you add dough onto your teddy bear. (Using balls of dough to make eyes, nose, belly button and ears) Brush egg/ milk mixture over entire bear once it is put together.

Loosely cover bear with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 25-30 minutes. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown, 16-18 minutes.
ONLY because I do not want this post to be ten pages long, I will let the picture describe what to do with the dough. If there is any confusion, just ask and I will post an answer.

Here is a picture of what a plate of spaghetti with cheese and the teddy head might look like. My husband says we should have included the arms and legs, but we did not think about it until after I took the picture. Cute anyway.
Sarah's version: I have made a snack similar to this before, but instead of making my own dough, I have bought the frozen bread dough (Rhodes is the best!). It is about $2.50 for a pack of 3 loaves.

Step 1: Defrost dough overnight (according to package directions)

Step 2: Make your teddy bears as Alisha did. Put raisins as eyes and buttons and bake.

Step 3: Eat as a breakfast with butter and honey or as a yummy snack!

When I made this with my toddler, we read the story of the 3 Little Bears and then made 3 of our own little bears! She loved it!