I am craving peanut butter, chocolate, cookies… pretty much anything that is not necessarily good for me in large quantities at this point in my pregnancy. 30 weeks is coming up fast (our first goal to reach!), the bump has dropped, and sometimes it feels like I am carrying this child between my knees. She kicks like crazy and I love every single one of those kicks (even when they hurt). This weekend I decided to spend some time in the kitchen and work out the issue of my cravings in as healthy of a manner as possible. Keep in mind that I have no formal training as a baker (though I did date a chef once in my 20’s) and most of the time my recipes are based on a simple working knowledge of chemistry. Who knew those high school and college chemistry classes would come in handy for something as everyday as cooking?
My little helper was (of course) by my side to make certain the stirring and baking was done properly. At about 140 nutrient filled calories per (very filling) cookie I would definitely consider these a healthy treat!
Sarah’s Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup no added sugar applesauce
1/2 cup non-fat vanilla greek yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup golden raisins
- Pre-heat oven to 350
- Beat one large egg in a medium bowl.
- Add peanut butter, brown sugar, applesauce, greek yogurt, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Stir until completely mixed.
- add oats, flour, and baking soda. Stir until completely mixed
- Stir in chocolate chips and raisins
- Bake for 12-14 minutes until the bottom edges of the cookies are just turning light brown.
I use a cookie scoop (approximately 1 rounded tablespoon) to put my cookies onto the baking sheet because I find it easier… using that this recipe made about 20-24 cookies.
A few weeks ago this meal was cooked while the hubs was away on an unexpected trip for work and all of a sudden I ended up with a bunch of food in the fridge that didn’t make sense for any of our typical meals… this meal was my solution. I thought this was delicious (so did the pups). The kids still are not convinced that mushrooms are tasty. We served it over a wild rice mixture and had zucchini sticks on the side.
- 1/4 cup sherry
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 12 oz sliced mushrooms
- 3 chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Garlic powder to taste
In a large pan (that has a cover) melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium high heat. Add minced garlic and diced onion. Cook 1-2 minutes until the onion just turns clear and then add sliced mushrooms and dump the sherry on top. Stir frequently, when thoroughly browned remove to a separate bowl with all of the juices. Place 2 tbsp of olive oil into the (now empty) pan. Heat olive oil thoroughly over medium high heat and then place all 3 chicken breasts into the pan and cover. Cook chicken breasts for 10 minutes on each side, then add mushrooms and juices back into the pan, cover and cook for an additional 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken breast. Personally, I prefer to rub my spices into my meat prior to adding the meat to the pan… you can either do that or just add salt, pepper, and garlic to the pan prior to covering it for the final 10-20 minutes of cooking, which ever way makes you happier!
This meal received 3 parental thumbs up, 2 (of 4) toddler thumbs up and all 12 puppy paws up (because meat = yum!)
Today we made home made frozen yogurt… it was amazing, and has thus far received a total of two toddler thumbs up.
I found the original recipe over on Just a Taste, which is a pretty fun and very nicely organized recipe site you should totally go explore. The original recipe was for Strawberry Frozen Yogurt, and as always I started out by pretty much following the instructions completely before I started to tinker a bit…. I am really loving where this recipe tinkering is going and completely loving the fact that I can share this healthy treat with my little guy. Here are the yogurts I have made so far!
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
3 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar liquid
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups frozen strawberries, sliced
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, and turn it on for 5-8 minutes until the desired smoothness is reached. You may have to shut it off half way through to scrape the sides down. Then enjoy or freeze for later!
After the first batch came out so well I looked at my leftover two cups of frozen strawberries, remembered I had frozen rhubarb we needed to use up and decided to try out this version of the recipe.
Strawberry Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt
2/3 cup plain whole milk yogurt
4 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar liquid
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups frozen rhubarb
- 2 cups frozen strawberries, sliced
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, and turn it on for 8-10 minutes until the desired smoothness is reached. You may have to shut it off half way through to scrape the sides down. Then enjoy or freeze for later!
The strawberry rhubarb version is a little more tart and definitely needs more time in the food processor, but I actually preferred it to the plain strawberry.
I have done some further research into different home made frozen yogurt recipes at this point and I am looking forward to attempting a vanilla cherry version later this week! This might just be my new favorite thing (and Liam’s too!)
This recipe is a family favorite obtaining a stunning 4 toddler thumbs up, 12 puppy paws up, and hubs approval!
It goes through our meal rotation pretty frequently (about twice a month) all year long. As an added bonus it is super easy! It can be made on the stove top in under an hour or tossed into a crock pot for all day cooking. I will post instructions for both 🙂
The ingredients are:
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 16 ounce package of baby carrots
2 8 oz packages of whole mushrooms
1/3 cup of red wine, I prefer Cabernet.
1 cup of frozen peas
For crockpot directions:
1. Add all ingredients to the crockpot in the order listed, except the peas.
2. Turn it on low for 8 hours.
3. Let the magic work.
4. After 8 hours (or so) has past dump in the peas. Cook for an additional 15 minutes (or so) until the frozen peas have thawed
5. stir and serve.
For stovetop directions:
1. Pour yourself a glass of wine, toss on your apron, try to relax while performing a song and dance routine to entertain your toddler (I prefer singing UB40’s Red Red Wine)
2. Rinse chicken thighs, toss into a 5 quart pot cook for ten minutes on each side while sipping your wine.
3. Place all the remaining ingredients into the pot except the peas, turn down to a simmer, cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
4. Dump the frozen peas on top, cook for an additional 10 minutes while setting the table and pouring the rest of the bottle of wine into oversized glasses for you and the hubs.
Usually I serve this over my Parmesan Mash Potatoes… Sometimes when I am lazy I just serve it with grocery store bread. It is awesome both ways.
This recipe is not really toddler approved, it only gets 1 out of four toddler thumbs up, and no puppy paws up.
It is, however, Momma approved. It is that perfect little something extra to go with the endless cycle of grilled cheese sandwiches we seem to be going through and, as an added bonus, a good way to use up the last of last years tomato harvest that is in our deep freezer.
The ingredients are:
6 cups of tomatoes, you can use canned diced in juice, do not drain them… I prefer fresh (or in this case, frozen fresh)
3 cups of chicken broth
1 package of fresh baby spinach
1 large onion sliced
1/2 tsp of cloves
1/2 tsp of adobo
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
Throw everything into a 5 quart crock pot except the butter and flour. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours. I have let this go on low for up to ten hours before without a problem. Allow soup to cool. While soup is cooking melt the butter in a small sauce pan on the stove. Add the flour, one tbsp at a time, whisking until smooth and thick. Add the butter mixture to the soup and then using an immersion blender purée the soup leaving some small chunks if you prefer.
This is the perfect soup for dipping a grilled cheese sandwich into… a sort of tomato florentine purée. Occasionally Liam like it when I dip one of his grilled cheese strips into my soup too, so he can try it, but he does not like it by the spoonful yet.
Chicken, chicken, chicken.
We eat a lot of it in our house. Shredded chicken is a staple ingredient in a lot of the dishes I cook up as is often use it as a leaner substitute for hamburger in things like spaghetti and tacos (my favorite meals). There are definitely times when I look at that package of chicken an have absolutely no clue what to do with it. Those times when I feel like I have been stuck in a cooking rut and need to find a way out of it. I have been on quite the spaghetti, taco, and chicken salad kick these days and felt the need to switch it up a bit. So for this meal I threw a bunch of ingredients into a pan and what came out was pretty tasty… not only toddler approved by both my little taste testers, but also husband approved.
This creation was made using:
Approx 1lb package of chicken fillets
Monterey chicken seasoning
Really… It was that simple. Rinse the chicken breast and place them into a casserole dish that has a cover. Lightly dust with adobo, pepper, and the Monterey seasoning (to taste) and then in the center of each fillet place 1 tbsp (approx) of coconut oil. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes (longer if they are thick fillets or breasts)
I decided to keep it simple for the sides and went with steamed carrots and mashed potatoes. My husband declared this chicken perfectly cooked. It was tender and easy to cut/shred for the little ones.
It was a rainy Sunday morning and the dogs refused to let us sleep all the way in all the way to our 8am wake up call from the kiddo so I decided it was a fine morning for french toast and bacon for breakfast. Let me just note that I do not normally “cook” breakfast. Typically I toss some hot water on some oatmeal, add some applesauce for Liam and call it a day. He likes it, its pretty healthy, and I don’t have to cook before consuing my first cup of coffee for the day… as far as I am concerned that makes it an all around win. Sometimes we share a cereal bar for dessert. Now on to the french toast.
The recipe I have created and perfected (in my humble opinion) over the years (from my childless days when brunch was my favorite meal to cook) goes like this:
1 TBS of Half and Half
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Keep in mind that this is from my pre-child days. It makes enough batter to cover two pieces of bread. Since I was serving 2 adults and a toddler this morning I simply doubled the recipe and stole some of the Hubs french toast to make Liam’s sticks with, no worries, I gave him an extra piece of bacon to make up for it. If we had both toddlers this morning I would have tripled the recipe. For Liam’s sticks I simply cut his single slice of french toast into strips and gave the outer two with a lot of crust back to the Hubs (it ended up making his plate look more sad than the rest… scraps for you!). I also drizzled a little butter over Liam’s sticks (he is not allowed to have syrup), and the result was this:
Toddler sized sticks
Liam really wanted the big boy plate, but since I didn’t feel like picking up shards of plate off the floor for hours after he had to live with having the french toast in his hand instead. The really exciting thing about this morning is that we let Liam try bacon for the first time.
He thought it was pretty awesome and ate about a quarter of the piece we gave him before he was “all done” which is pretty good for a child who doesn’t really like meat.
Tonight’s meal was a bit of an adventure for the little toddler mouths in our household. It was Liam and The Bean’s first experience with pork and quinoa. I was wandering through the grocery store earlier in the week with the toddlers in the front car section of the cart happily playing with the steering wheels and horns while making “vroom” noises when I stumbled upon a package of pork sirloin steak. I thought to myself, this could be interesting and tossed it into the cart. It was something new to try my hand at cooking… An adventure in the kitchen.
After I brought my prize home I spent the toddler nap-time perusing recipes online. There really were not a lot to choose from. The one I decided to go with was from Allrecipes.com… I made a few modifications though as I was missing a few ingredients. Instead of using green onions I used a sweet onion, and instead of garlic cloves I used 1 tsp of garlic powder. The result was this:
This turned out absolutely delicious. I served it the pork with an organic brown rice and quinoa packet from the natural food section of my local grocery store and steamed broccoli. The sauce that this creates is absolutely delicious (for obvious reasons… butter!) so I spooned a teaspoon or so over the servings of rice. My husband and the toddlers all loved it (I totally judge how much of a hit the meal is with the amount of “mores” I receive from the toddlers). It was so good that Liam and the hubs even enjoyed it as leftovers. It’s safe to say that this meal is going to make it into the month repertoire.
Pasta night with a toddler (or two) in the house means many things in our house :
1. Fun shaped easy to pick up noodles.
2. More sauce for me!
3. Painting smoks turned into bibs.
4. More sauce for me!
5. A giant delicious mess.
Obviously pasta night is a house (momma) favorite 🙂
Here is our (current) favorite fast (jacked up jarred sauce) pasta night recipe… We do have a non-jarred sauce favorite too, but that is a (longer) story for a different day.
1lb. Ground Beef, browned
2 summer squash sliced into toddler appropriate thickness steamed
1 jar of Newman’s Organic Tomato and Basil sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes in juice (do not drain)
2 tbsp of tomato paste
All of the ingredients are simmered together for 20 minutes. The pasta shape that we used this week (which was a hit with both toddlers) was rotini. We boiled it up per the directions on the package (10 minutes) sans salt or oil, and then dumped it int the sauce.
This is one of the easiest meals ever, and on my short list of favorites, even with the pimped out jarred sauce.
The best part of all? Liam doesn’t love a super saucy noodle, which means more sauce for Momma! He does, however, love the sliced up summer squash, and actually will eat a little beef too which makes me happy as he usually passes on meats (too chewy).
Today I got up, we had our usual oatmeal breakfast (Liam and I are stuck in a rut with breakfasts) and I stared discontentedly at the remaining leftovers from the birthday bash this last weekend. I just couldn’t bring myself to eat or serve another sandwich. So we got creative today at lunch and this is what the result was.
A Lentil and (deli) Turkey sautee
The ingredients are:
1/2 cup of sorted and rinsed lentils
1 1/4 cups of low salt chicken broth
3 slices of deli turkey, shredded or cut up really small
1/2 cup of diced carrots (we use baby carrots leftover from the veggie platter)
1/4 cup of diced tomatoes (we used cherry tomatoes leftover from the veggie platter)
1/4 tsp of black pepper
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
Put all ingredients in a large pan with a lid, bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for 30-40 minutes until all liquid is reduced.
Drizzle a small amount of balsamic based salad dressing on top when done.
The result was delicious. Both Liam and I enjoyed it… Though I was far less messy with my eating 😉
This made approximately two mom sized servings and two toddler sized servings.
This meal received 3 of 4 toddler thumbs up (leftovers did not go over well, but they liked it when it was fresh), 2 of 4 parent thumbs up (the hubs refused to try it), and 12 of 12 puppy paws up.
Thankfully the doggie cleanup crew was on duty.