California Eatin'

Zucchini Muffins: A finger food.

Baby | January 11, 2018 | By

I’ve been reading all about finger foods for toddlers for quite some time. It wasn’t until my son turned one that he really starting to get into finger foods. Like most moms I was totally worried because he was not really liking food and it seemed later than some. He was fine. He’s a happy breast-fed baby who was happy with more breast milk longer than I thought he would be.  In fact he is still quite happy with breastmilk, but now he like foods as well.   Because of my food interests I had of course made a Pinterest board of fun foods for baby including finger foods for toddlers. Now I get to explore them.  

Today started with some zucchini muffins. Really these are zucchini, carrot and grated apple muffins and are delicious.  I followed the linked recipe almost-see notes below. Lucky for us we have a garden every year and we have plenty of zucchini so I grate and freeze up bags that I can pull out during the winter for just these sort of projects.  Carrots and apples are a staple in our house.  So with what I needed in hand I grated, poured, melted, cracked, measured, mixed, scooped out and baked.

These muffins were a hit as soon as they were out of the oven my little guy was clamoring for them.  He can eat them with this fingers the textures are appropriate and there’s a little bit of easy to chew vegetables and fruit in there and I like that. Carbohydrates are very important for children they supply most of their energy for the day and their energy needs are high.  For me the challenge is coming up with new more complex carbohydrates for him to enjoy that he can pick up with his fingers cause he’s done with me giving him a spoon. These fit the bill the veggies and fruit add fiber, vitamins and important antioxidants.  Additionally, I adjusted the recipe to include some whole wheat flour with the all-purpose flour so they have a little more nutrition and fiber.  I also kept in the spices and added more.  I have included spices in our boys diet since he was little in his puréed foods. I like warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.  They add some complex flavors that compliment kid friendly foods like apples and pears and also have their own nutritional benefits.  

I plan to pop these little muffins in the freezer and pull out as needed. It will be nice to have another great whole grain breakfast/snack item. Happy to not be always leaning on Cheerios… don’t get me wrong we love Cheerios over here. Our go to whole grain-Oatmeal has gotten tricky because it is now a finger food and that is just a mess.  He is not the biggest fan of pancakes nor waffles.  Anyone have any other tasty toddler whole grain breakfast ideas? 

So as I write we are a muffin and a half in and I should point out that I also changed the recipe to mini muffins.  They are closer to his serving size and not mine, because I knew what would happen -I would fix him half a muffin and then I would end up eating the other half-the mommy clean up trap.

Original Recipe:

ZUCCHINI CARROT APPLE MUFFINS

Thanks to Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean blog

Recipe adjustments:

I squeezed out the grated vegetables and fruits really well using a clean dish towel.  

Add in Whole Wheat flour.  I usually either go half in half or 1/3 whole wheat flour to all-purpose flour in my baking.  For this recipe I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour to 1 cup all-purpose and the texture was great.

Keep the Spices:  In addition to the cinnamon and ginger I also added 1/4 tsp of cardamom.  

Make it mini:  I used my cookie scoop and filled 24 sprayed mini muffin tins and baked for about 16 minutes.  

Freeze it:  Store in freezer bags and pull out muffins and defrost as need.

I used butter in this recipe but you can use liquid fat or coconut oil. It’s all high calorie fat none of it is a health food and it should all be included but limited in the diet.

Keep baking, keep cozy and keep feeding yourself and your family well.

Sydney

 

 

Living in the Country-Going to eat me a lot of Peaches…

Baby, Baby Foods, Summer | August 3, 2017 | By

Here in Northern California it is time for peaches!  We have them on our tree, our neighbors are sending more over, they are at the local farm stands and at the farmers market.  We are in the peaches and it is time to get in the kitchen.  I have a sweet summer dessert planed for some and baby food planed for others. 

Our sweet boy is 9 months old now and is continuing to explore some texture in his baby foods.  What I lovingly refer to as the chunky lumpy phase.  He makes great faces when he comes across those lumps…eyes wide open…his whole face wondering…What is this?  Then comes the exaggerated chewing using his tongue to smash the food against the roof of his mouth.  He has two bottom teeth, but those are for biting at foods not really for chewing them.  This months we will continue to explore texture and add in some spices.  Last week cinnamon peach blueberry was a big hit.  This week it will be chunky peach with curried carrot. 

 

The chunky peach is simply, peeled, diced and just simmered fresh peaches.  I like to cook the peaches a little to help deepen the sweet flavor and suppress the fresh tartness.  I pulse the cooked peaches with their liquid in the Vitamix until it gets to a slightly chunky texture.  You have to be careful to purée it long enough to cut through any potential stringy-ness.   I freeze them in little oxo containers and we are good to go.  Like making most baby food this one is a cinch.  

As for the sweet summer dessert, I made a family favorite Peach Blueberry Crisp.   The fun part about this crisp recipe is that is was adapted from a bar recipe so their is yummy crisp topping on the top and the bottom and we serve it with a spoon.   You can also use any summer fruit combination like peach/strawberry or strawberry/rhubarb-my family thinks peach with blueberry is the best!  I have adapted this recipe from the original and it has less fat, more whole grains with whole wheat flour and extra oats.  It is still delicious and still a treat!


Peach Blueberry Crisp
Print
Crisp crust and topping
  1. 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6oz)
  8. 1 egg, whisked
  9. 1 cup roasted sliced almonds, walnuts or pecans
  10. 1 1/4 cup thick rolled oats
Fruit filling
  1. 3 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
  2. 1 cup whole fresh blueberries
  3. 1/2 cup sugar (more or less-to taste)
  4. 4 tsp cornstarch
  5. 1/2 lemon juiced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Prepare crisp crust/topping
  1. In medium bowl combine dry ingredients. Cut butter into small cubes and add to dry ingredients. Cut in with hands or pastry blender until butter is pea sized. Crisp mix should resemble coarse cornmeal in texture. With a fork carefully mix in whisked egg until mixture is moistened. Finish by folding in nuts and oats. Split the mixture in half and press half into a 13x9x2 baking pan. Reserve remaining mix for the topping.
Prepare fruit filling
  1. Combine peach slices, blueberries, sugar cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently fold to combine. When combined and cornstarch is dissolved add peach juice and all to the top of the prepared crisp crust. Spread in an even layer. Sprinkle on the remaining crisp topping.
  2. Bake for 40-45 minutes until filling is bubbling and the crisp topping has lightly browned.
Notes
  1. Seasonal fruit changes in sugar content, always taste fruit before sweetening it and adjust as needed.
  2. Additions: Can add flax seeds or wheat bran to the topping for more fiber goodness. I like to add some cinnamon to the fruit for extra warming and for more antioxidants!
  3. Serve with pure vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or Greek yogurt.
Adapted from The Nerds With Knives: Blueberry Oat and Almond Crumble Bars
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