A great snack for kids and adults to enjoy.
It may be October, but it’s still hot in much of the world and smoothies are A-OK year round! We love featuring these each year because they’re tasty and appropriate for many allergy families too! (We aren’t dairy-free but know many of our followers are for various reasons!)
We found these fun glass Halloween milk bottles at Target again this year in the dollar spot! Worried about glass? Tuck the milk bottle in a sock before serving! It’s great to get toddlers used to handling glass (with assistance) so they can safely drink from it as they get older.
Each recipe makes about 2 cups of smoothie, but the glass bottles fit about 3/4 cup liquid each. Make them with your kids this month for a fun Halloween-themed drink that's tasty and satisfying!
Scary Berry Ingredients:
Sweet Pumpkin Spice Ingredients:
Green Goblin Ingredients:
For all recipes - throw all ingredients (liquid first) in a high powered blender like Vitamix. Blend until smooth and serve. Enjoy!
Delicious, festive pumpkin cookies!
I have always loved to bake. I started making cookies for friends and family in high school, and along the way I discovered this super simple combo: 1 can of pumpkin, 1 box of cake mix, 1 bag chocolate chips. Fortunately, I eventually learned about cake mixes with some pretty simple ingredients and not a lot of dyes or additives, and Immaculate Baking became my go-to cake mix for this recipe (not sponsored).
This is a cookie. It has sugar. It’s OK to have some - check out our post on sugar if you want more info. I like that Immaculate Baking mixes have sugar, flour, baking powder etc - the simple stuff! You could also use any store brand yellow or white cake mix. Or if you’re all fancy, I’m sure you could make the dry mix from scratch, but that makes it way less simple!
You can also make this recipe with spice cake mix, but I"m personally not a fan of cinnamon/pumpkin mixed with chocolate. Others are!
The best part about this recipe is that if made with Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips, it’s dairy- and soy-free, as well as egg free if you use an allergy-friendly cake mix! It’s a cookie everyone can enjoy that doesn’t taste like a “modified” cookie. I have also tried gluten-free mixes with success for those who need it!
Here are the specifics:
Serve with milk/milk alternative of choice for dunking!
A festive and delicious recipe full of nutrients.
Even if it's still hot where you live and enjoying fall foods hasn't quite hit yet, keep in mind that pumpkin is a crazy good source of beta carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant and supporter of eye health! Just one tablespoon of pureed pumpkin can exceed your child's needs for vitamin A (as beta carotene) for the day.
This simple, freezable recipe is adapted from Wellness Mama and is seriously tasty!
Here's what you need:
Brown beef in a large pot. When beef is almost completely cooked, add the onions and cook until soft.
Add the pureed pumpkin, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, stock, beans and spices. Simmer for 10 minutes until heated through. Top with cheese, sour cream/yogurt or avocado slices. Feel amazingly festive and satisfied (even if you could still cook an egg on the sidewalk).
Perfect for when apples are in season.
Muffins are an easy option for fast mornings, especially when paired with some protein (like a hard boiled egg) and some fruit. Veggies and Virtue has an awesome Muffin Club series, and this Healthy Apple Muffin from Cookie and Kate is one that is great for fall when apples are in season!
Here is the recipe:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. If necessary, grease all 12 cups on your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and doesn’t require any grease).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Blend well with a whisk. Add the grated and chopped apple and stir to combine.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oil and maple syrup and beat together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the yogurt, applesauce and vanilla and mix well. (If the coconut oil solidifies in contact with cold ingredients, gently warm the mixture in the microwave in 30 second bursts.)
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a big spoon, just until combined (a few lumps are ok). The batter will be thick, but don’t worry! Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with turbinado sugar.
Bake muffins for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Cool before serving!
What is gelatin, and how do you use it?
Gelatin (and collagen) are all the rage right now. How do you use them, and do you really need them?
While gelatin can have amazing culinary properties and beneficial health benefits, we don’t think most families *need* gelatin or collagen powders. However, we do like to have it on hand for homemade gummies or to throw it in popsicle and smoothie recipes for a boost of protein.
Gelatin is essentially an amino acid that comes from the collagen of animal connective tissue and bone. It is helpful when making gummies, jello and many other recipes since it dissolves in hot water and has a thick, gummy texture. Gelatin can also help promote joint, skin and gut health. Just one tablespoon has 11 grams of protein, so it’s a potent protein source for those who struggle to get enough of this essential macronutrient.
Collagen peptides are similar to gelatin in that they're made from amino acids from animal connective tissue, but they're cut into smaller peptide pieces and don't have the same gumming effect as gelatin. I like using collagen peptides for clients experiencing gut or skin issues or those who need more protein in their diet. I prefer Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides when recommending it to clients, but work with a healthcare provider if you're experiencing gut or skin issues.
Gelatin is relatively flavorless and dissolves only in hot water - in cold it’s a little clumpy. When we put it in smoothies, we keep quantities small and blend it well. Just don’t go nuts on the gelatin, friends - most toddlers only need 16-18 G protein daily (minimum).
Below is our favorite popsicle recipe using gelatin powder by Great Lakes Gelatin found on Amazon.
Blend in high speed blender and taste - if it’s not sweet enough depending on the fruit used, you may need a dash of sweetener like maple syrup or honey (no honey for babies under age 1). Pour into popsicle molds, freeze and enjoy! Makes at least 8-10 popsicles depending on mold size.
Switch up the crust.
Who likes pizza night?
Have you tried cauliflower crust pizza? Yes, it's trendy right now, and some see it as "diet-y"...but we like cauliflower crust pizza for those who need a wheat alternative or people who want to add more veggies to their life in a tasty way. Don't feel like you "have to" try it or that other crust isn't "healthy" - it's just an alternative to check out and integrate into your menu if you enjoy it!
Cauliflower crusts come as just crusts that you heat and top or as fully-topped, ready to heat and eat pizzas. You can also make it from scratch, but we usually don't have time for that on busy weekdays!
Our favorite cauliflower crust options include those from Trader Joe's and Milton's brand at Costco, but many retailers are making their own cauliflower crust.
Why try cauliflower crust pizza? Different crusts offer different flavors, textures and nutrition. We want kids to eat all sorts of foods and be comfortable with different flavors so they can have varied, flexible palates and aren't thrown off by new ingredients.
We like to top our pizza with chopped tomatoes and mushrooms cooked from frozen, but choose your favorite toppings! If you can, let your kids help top the pizzas for a fun activity that also makes them excited to eat.
To make cauliflower pizza from a frozen crust (un-topped):
Serve with veggies and/or fruit of your choice! (We did shredded carrots and quartered grapes.)
Weeknights just got easier!
Asian Grilled Salmon, Feta Lentil Salad and grilled corn on the cob make a delicious and filling summer dinner! I will be the first to admit two things:
Here’s how to make it:
Grilled corn on the cob:
Lentil feta salad (a Trader Joe's original recipe):
We served the salmon, corn and salad with cherries, but any seasonal fruit of your choice works! Be sure to modify cherries for babies and kids under age four by removing the pit and cutting it into quarters lengthwise.
Your next go-to dinner is here!
I’ll be honest - cooking a whole chicken kind of intimidates me. That’s why I love doing it in the crockpot. (I admittedly haven’t tried it in the Instant Pot, and until I get a new lid after I melted my IP lid on a hot stovetop, I won’t be able to try!) I still love my trusty crockpot and adore making this chicken recipe, even if I've made chicken recently.
I created this recipe after experimenting with various recipes online, so feel free to explore the interwebs to find various crockpot whole chicken recipe ideas. This is just what worked for us.
We serve this with fruit (optional) and Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi (2 bags because this was sure to be a hit with our family of 4).
To make the cauliflower gnocchi, add 1 T olive oil or butter to a large pan on medium heat. Heat gnocchi on oil until cooked though, and as it’s heating add another tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking. Sprinkle with Parmesan. (We altered the heating instructions from what’s on the package as suggested by an awesome follower!)
Super simple, super yummy!
A delicious dinner doesn’t have to be complicated! This dinner only needs the following ingredients:
Here’s how we made it:
You can also cook the chicken in the instant pot on high for 7 minutes. We hope this helps inspire you on busy weeknights!
Grilled cheese made even easier.
How do we make the most PERFECT grilled cheese? The secret’s in the cooking method - use a toaster (or regular) oven, people! I don’t know if I’m just not good at skillet-made grilled cheese (or if I get way too distracted when I’m supposed to be watching it brown), but I tend to burn grilled cheese made on stovetop. Perhaps you do too!
A few years ago I discovered that it is absolutely amazing in the toaster oven on convection bake setting at 350F. If you don’t have a toaster oven, use your regular oven and a baking sheet but watch it closely! Use it the next time your kids are hangry or the rain starts pouring - it pairs nicely with tomato or vegetable soup, especially when cut into strips for dipping!
Here’s how to make it:
Allergy note: use dairy-free butter alternative and dairy-free cheese + gluten-free bread if needed!
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!