Snacks for a Car Trip

Over Memorial Day, we went to La Quinta (near Palm Springs) for a long weekend away. With so much time in the car ahead, I wanted to be prepared with lots of snacks - for Theo and for us, but mostly for Theo. I basically bought out Whole Foods' non-perishable snacks; while some were better than others, they definitely have great offerings. I also brought a lot of perishable snacks from home in a cooler bag with ice packs. This strategy worked out really well and it put my mind at ease knowing that we always had a variety of food on hand.

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Snacks

One of my friends (who has twins!) recently asked me to write a post about snacks. Here are some ideas for healthful snack ideas for your babies, toddlers and kids. Note that for babies and toddlers who are around one and have recently transitioned off of breast milk or formula, snacks should have dairy in order to replace what they’re no longer getting from breast milk or formula. Dairy is very important for their physical development, particularly their brain.

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Cheesy Spinach Quinoa

Without a doubt, this cheesy spinach quinoa is one of Theo's favorite dishes. He inhales it in impressive quantities! Although it is cheesy and rich, it is also full of nutrients, particularly from quinoa, an ancient grain and superfood. According to Medical News Today, "Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fiber. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids." Yay! Quinoa is such a versatile, healthful food that blends well with a variety of components. 

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Peach Smoothie

The transition to cow's milk hasn't been easy. Theo just isn't that into it and it has been a slow process! It's kind of ironic, as he has had some almond milk with meals since he was eight months old, specifically to become accustomed to drinking something other than water from a straw cup. The best-laid plans...

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Burrito Bowl Vegetables

One of my favorite quick meals to make for myself, and now for Theo, is a burrito bowl. It is delicious, comforting and satisfying. I keep it very simple, using the ingredients I have on hand. I sauté vegetables with olive oil, cumin and garlic powder; my go-to vegetables are bell peppers and spinach. I make rice and I heat up some beans, either refried or whole, in a pot. If we have ground beef or turkey in the fridge, I might sauté it with a little cumin and garlic powder until it's cooked through. I combine all of this in a bowl and top it with some sliced avocado, diced cherry tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, lactose-free sour cream and/or fresh cilantro, if I have any.

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Blackberry Banana Blender Pancakes

In honor of Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day, as well as Theo's FIRST birthday (both this past Tuesday, 2/28/17), here is a pancake recipe! Theo loves his carbs. :)

Before I had Theo, I would spend hours cooking and baking - sometimes just for fun! Until I became a busy mom, I never fully realized or appreciated how luxurious and relaxing it was. Now, I just don't have that kind of free time, nor the desire to spend my limited free time that way. I still love cooking and baking, but I prefer making things that are quick and easy. Logistically, it just makes more sense, especially with a little toddler climbing up my leg because he wants to see what I am doing. On the plus side, I hope that Theo's great interest in cooking and food will turn him into a budding chef who can help me in the kitchen!

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Banana Pumpkin Pancakes

In honor of Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day, this past Tuesday, here is another pancake recipe! These easy, tasty pancakes are an autumnal variation on my Two-Ingredient Banana Pancakes. Some canned pumpkin adds nice flavor and density to the pancakes. They are perfect for the fall season! Personally, I think they're great in any season, as I love pumpkin year-round. :) 

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Banana Applesauce Pancakes

In honor of Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day, this past Tuesday, here is another pancake recipe! These easy, yummy pancakes are another variation on my Two-Ingredient Banana Pancakes. Some unsweetened applesauce adds a delicate flavor and consistency to the pancakes.

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Spaghetti Squash with Ground Beef, Kale and Mushroom Bolognese

My friend Jamie is a vegetarian. She has made spaghetti squash for years, including countless times for me. While I’ve always enjoyed it, I had a big misconception about it; I thought that it was a ton of work to make and that I'd never want to try it myself. Well, it turns out that I was completely wrong! I recently discovered how simple and easy – and delicious! – it is to make. This new knowledge has been a game changer.

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Pea and Corn Pancakes

Truthfully, I didn’t like peas until a few years ago. I always thought that they tasted like dirty feet – weird, I know. Now, I don't mind eating peas when they’re cooked properly (firm, not mushy) and have good flavor. They’re still not one of my favorite vegetables, though, and never will be.

Despite and because of this fact, my husband and I do not want our own opinions of and preferences for certain foods to influence Theo. We have aimed to introduce him to every kind of food and give him ample opportunities to form his own preferences. So far, so good!

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Egg Muffins with Bacon, Spinach, Cauliflower and Cheddar

Sometimes a grab-and-go breakfast makes life easier, especially for busy moms. When I was pregnant with Theo, I made several variations of these egg muffins (plus a ton of other food) and froze it all for the postpartum period. My preparation paid off in spades, as having an arsenal of frozen food made my life infinitely easier while caring for a newborn. In those first few months, I ate countless many egg muffins for breakfast or as a snack! I made a few more batches when I ran out, too. ;) The muffins were satisfying, and more importantly, so easy to heat up and eat with one hand, which was quite useful while holding or nursing a baby.

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Shells and Cheese with Butternut Squash and Spinach

Who doesn't like mac and cheese? This is a healthier version of a favorite American comfort food with less dairy and more vegetables. Because Theo hasn't been that into most green vegetables for a while (sigh), I have experimented with cooking them into dishes like this one. Spinach is a super food high in nutrients, and it is one my personal favorites.

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Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Muffins

Do all babies love carbs? Theo certainly does. These exceptionally moist, delicious muffins are a recent favorite of his (and Ben’s and mine). In fact, Ben keeps requesting another batch when we run out of them. I'm sure Theo would request them too - if he could talk! ;) 

If the muffins aren't fresh from the oven, we love them warmed up a little in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. It makes them even softer and more delectable. They are great fresh or frozen; they freeze and reheat very well! They are wonderful as a part of any meal or as a snack. 

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Curry Chickpeas with Spinach

Until recently, Theo hasn’t been very interested in animal protein like chicken, beef or turkey. Although I have continued offering it, he simply hasn’t been that into it. Fortunately, he really likes fish (both cooked and raw!) as well as vegetarian proteins like beans, quinoa and dairy. This recipe, inspired by my friend Tiffany (thank you!), is a great way to combine chickpeas, a healthy vegetarian protein, with vegetables.

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Avocado Pasta

Avocado was Theo’s first food, and for a long time, his absolute favorite. While he still enjoys it, it has definitely dropped in the ranks in the last few months as he has discovered a plethora of other foods and combinations. This avocado pasta dish is a great way to serve avocado in a more interesting and substantial way.

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Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash Zig-Zags

Theo loves all of the sweeter orange vegetables like butternut squash, sweet potato and carrots; he could eat them all day. (I think he has a sweet tooth like his daddy!) While I could absolutely buy a whole butternut squash and cut it up, I always prefer to buy it pre-cut.

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Two-Ingredient Banana Pancakes

These super easy pancakes are a breeze to make and babies love them. (Confession: My husband and I love them, too!) They have been one of Theo’s favorite foods from the beginning of BLW. I love that they combine protein (eggs) and fruit (banana). They are delicious, soft, light and easy to pick up and eat. All you need is a ripe banana and two eggs!

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