Super Simple DIY Fruit Cups

My kid is picky.  It is one of the great annoyances of motherhood for me to have a toddler who is SO PICKY about food.  My hubby was a picky child, and I am a really adventurous eater, so one of my goals as a mom is to raise an adventurous eater like me.  I’ll pause here so fellow parents can laugh at that goal.

I know that I can’t control my kid’s pickiness, but I CAN control how much or how little I give in to it.  So, I’m constantly on a quest to figure out how to transition my child off of junky processed foods and onto healthier options and more variety.  Sometimes it goes well, and sometimes it doesn’t, but I want to do a better job being consistent in my efforts and in sharing them.

This switch is so simple that I hesitated to even share it with you.  My kid LOVES fruit and would eat it all day every day if he had the choice.  But, I hate buying fruit cups for him.  I don’t like all the sugar that comes in the syrup, even the “no sugar added” kinds.   Even if the fruit is in fruit juice instead of syrup, there is so much sugar in there that he just doesn’t need.  So, one day I finally realized, “Hey!  I can just make these myself!”  Duh.

His favorite fruit cups are mandarin oranges and peaches.  So I bought a bag of clementines on sale and a couple of bags of frozen sliced peaches (no sugar added, of course).  Then all I had to do was peel and cut up the clementines, and let the peaches thaw before I chopped them up.  Easy peasy.  Plus, using frozen peaches saves me a step in prepping, so I’m winning all the way around.

If your kiddos like fruit cups, try making your own fruit cups–you can even buy pre-cut fruit in the produce section to make it easy on yourself.  It’s definitely not easy to switch your kids from processed to whole foods, but it is worth it to help instill those healthy habits early on!

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Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles

I’ve been searching for a good pumpkin pancake/waffle recipe, and with the leftover pumpkin puree sitting in my fridge from Thanksgiving, this recipe was perfect for this weekend!  These waffles came out with just the right amount of crunch and pumpkin flavor.  A lot of pumpkin pancake/waffle recipes I’ve tried come out weird and hard, like clay almost–ew.  I was so happy with these!

I didn’t have coconut oil when I made these, so I used ghee instead and they turned out awesome.  I also didn’t have pre-made pumpkin pie spice, so I just threw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ground ginger.  Of course I didn’t measure any of it, but it turned out really well.  They were so good that I just ate one like it was a cookie without any toppings or anything.  I wrapped the rest of them up in plastic wrap and then in a freezer bag.  I’ll be using the toaster to thaw and heat them straight from the freezer!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles (from Fit Foodie Finds)

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Trader Joe’s Brand)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine all the wet ingredients (pumpkin, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond milk) in a small bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Combine all dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking powder, and baking soda) in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour the combined wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir to completely mix.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop batter onto heated waffle iron and cook until waffle is completely cooked through and browned, at least 4 minutes per waffle.  Enjoy with some chocolate chips, some almond butter, and/or some pure maple syrup!

Banana Oat Pancakes (make-ahead and toddler approved!)

I love breakfast, ya’ll.  It’s funny because I normally just have my super shake for my breakfast every day, but I love all things breakfast.  If it’s filling, yummy, healthy, and quick, even better!

These pancakes are so good, really easy to make, and they keep well in the freezer so I can make a big batch over the weekend and eat on them all week long.  You can easily add blueberries or chocolate chips, or just eat them plain with a drizzle of maple syrup.  My son loves these, too!  Win for everyone!

Banana Oat Pancakes (from Fixate)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 large eggs
1 large ripe banana
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 dash sea salt
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until well mixed and smooth.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with 1/2 tsp coconut oil.  Measure out 1/4 cup pancake batter and pour onto skillet, cooking for 3-4 minutes or until the top of the pancake starts to bubble.  Flip and cook for 2-3 more minutes until cooked through and golden brown.  Repeat with all remaining batter.

Top with fruit, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, and/or pure maple syrup.  If placing in freezer, let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap or put in zipper sandwich baggies, then place in a zipper freezer bag and freeze.

Each serving is 2 pancakes (1 yellow container).

#mySADexperiment

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed me posting about my current health experiment–#mySADexperiement is 11 days in and is going strong!  I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what exactly it is I’m doing, so I wanted to answer some of those questions here.

First of all, SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with depression and anxiety, and SAD is something I deal with every single winter.  When the days are shorter and the sun isn’t out as long during the day, we can’t get as much vitamin D, which is so necessary for our bodies and our sanity.  Because of this, a lot of us struggle with our moods, energy, and motivation during the winter months.  The “winter blues” can be mild to severe for different people, and for me it can get pretty intense.  Last year was the toughest winter yet for me, and I’ve been going into this winter with some anxiety.  I want to do whatever I can to alleviate and manage my SAD symptoms and enjoy this season–after all, it’s my favorite time of year!

I’ve done quite a bit of research on nutrition and depression/anxiety, and time and again studies are seeing a connection between what you put in your body and your emotional/mental health.  Now, I’m not saying that changing my diet will prevent or cure anything, but if there is a connection, it can only help, right?

The biggest culprit seems to be sugar.  Studies are showing that sugar is basically the devil–all kinds of negative consequences to our bodies, little to no nutritional benefits.  Too bad this time of year is filled with sugar, sugar EVERYWHERE.  I made chili last night with some Italian pork sausage and found corn syrup (aka sugar) in the ingredients.  WHY???

Which brings me to my experiment: during the 30 days of November, I’m being intentional about fueling my body with what it NEEDS and what will be beneficial for me, not with what I want (you know, all the bread and leftover Halloween candy).  Limiting sugar, staying away from breads and refined grains, and limiting dairy while loading up on fresh veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats.  I’m also committed to working out every single day, since exercise releases endorphins and helps with your mood.  My doctor has told me more than once that the first thing I need to do for my depression is work out, and I’m usually very consistent with my fitness.  During the winter months, however, it gets so easy for me to skip workouts and make excuses–who doesn’t want to stay in bed under the warm covers a little longer when it gets cold outside?

So far, this experiment is going really well!  I’ve gotten a workout in each day, and while I haven’t been perfect with my nutrition, I have been very intentional about what I’m eating and have been great at getting my veggies in–and I’m feeling really great!  I don’t expect to have zero SAD symptoms this winter, but I am determined to avoid the darkness I felt last year.  So far, the difference is night and day between how I’m feeling right now and how I felt in November of last year.

This time of year is notorious for being difficult for people to focus on their health, but I’m determined to be different this year.  I have committed to owning my health this season instead of letting the season own me, and I’m excited about making it happen.  I’ve got the all the tools I need between my streaming workouts and super shake, and putting them to use may not be easy, but it’s definitely simple.

If you want to join me in #mySADexperiment, click here!

Grain-Free Broccoli Crust

I’ve been seeing this particular recipe floating around for about a year, and even though I really wanted to try it, I kept procrastinating.  I knew it would be a more involved recipe, and I also knew that my husband and child probably wouldn’t even try it, so it just seemed like it might not be worth it.  But inspiration finally struck and I am SO GLAD it did!  This broccoli crust is amazing and I am so excited to use it for a pizza alternative for myself.

The original recipe calls for making one larger pizza crust, but since I’m eating it by myself I opted to make two smaller crusts and just put one in the freezer after the initial bake (once it had completely cooled).  I also used half of a 15-oz bag of riced broccoli instead of chopping 3 cups of whole broccoli.

The crust is so much more flavorful than I had anticipated, and it held up really well when I put the toppings on it (I used ricotta, tomato sauce, onions and peppers, and cheese).  It was so good and even my husband commented on how good it looked and smelled!  Maybe next time he’ll actually try a bite 😉

This will definitely be a freezer staple for me–it was simple (even if it was a little involved to make) and it tastes great.  I love being able to have pizza without feeling bloated or having tighter pants the next day!

Broccoli Crust (from Fixate)

3 cups raw broccoli florets (or 1/2 15 oz bag riced broccoli)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (part-skim)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 tbsp dried basil

 

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

If using broccoli florets, pulse in food processor until breadcrumb consistency–if using riced broccoli, this step is not necessary.  Steam broccoli for 5-7 minutes in a steamer basket over boiling water (or until tender).  Set aside to let cool completely.  Using a cheesecloth or heavy-duty paper towel, squeeze cooled broccoli to get rid of excess water.

Combine cooled and squeezed broccoli, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, garlic, and basil leaves. Mix well (I got the best results using my hands).

Transfer broccoli mixture to baking sheet (either as one crust or two smaller crusts)–use fingers to spread the mixture into a circle by pressing down and out and leave a “lip” on the crust so your toppings don’t slide off.

Bake crust in pre-heated oven for 18-20 min, until crust is set and lightly browned.

If freezing, let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and put in freezer zip-close bag. To reheat, bake frozen in a 400 F oven for 10-15 minutes until thawed and proceed to the next step.

IMG_4594

Not the most amazing food photo ever, but it’s the best I can do!

Add toppings for pizza and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let cool 2 minutes before cutting and enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I love fall!  I love the cooler weather, the warmer clothes, and the fall foods.  I don’t love how tight my pants feel when I eat the traditional fall foods, though, so I’m always on the lookout for healthier fall treats.  These pumpkin muffins are perfect for this–they fit into my food plan so there is no need to feel guilty, they don’t make my pants tighter, and they taste awesome!  Win win!

I’ve been making these muffins for the past couple of years, and they really are awesome any time of year since you can get pumpkin year round (in my area anyway), but there is nothing like making pumpkin treats when the weather cools down and the leaves start changing color.  The recipe calls to top each muffin with pumpkin seeds, which is delicious, but when I don’t have pumpkin seeds I use the same amount of chopped walnuts.  Either way is great!

For those on the same Fix eating plan, each muffin is 1 purple and 1 blue container.  That’s right, these don’t even count as a carb!!!  #winning

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (from the Fixate cookbook)

2 oz cream cheese

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1.5 cups almond flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 dash sea salt or Himalayan salt

2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds OR chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare nine muffins cups by lining a muffin tin with paper liners and coating with spray.  Set aside.

Combine cream cheese and maple syrup in a small bowl; mix well and set aside.

Combine egg and pumpkin in a medium bowl; mix well and set aside.

Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix well.

Add almond meal mixture to egg mixture and mix until just blended.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup a little less than 1/2 full.

Spoon 1 heaping tsp of cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin.  Fill muffin cups evenly, about 3/4 full, with remaining batter.

Sprinkle muffins evenly with pumpkin seeds/walnuts.

Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer muffins to a rack and cool.

Enjoy!

Can’t-Tell-The-Difference Gluten Free Banana Bread

Summer is coming to a close, fall is speedily approaching, and I am READY.  Cooler temperatures, comfy clothes, and all of my favorite yearly traditions, including some good homemade baked goods.

One of my favorite things to bake in the fall is banana bread.  It’s easy to make, it smells awesome, and it tastes amazing.  I had some very ripe bananas that I needed to use up, but I wanted to find a good gluten free banana bread–I have a lot of all-purpose GF flour and I feel better when I don’t eat wheat, so after about 3 minutes of research, I settled on this recipe.  It’s pretty similar to the recipe I normally use, it didn’t have any weird ingredients, and it includes chocolate chips!

I made this with my 3 year old who really enjoyed pouring and stirring the ingredients together, especially the chocolate chips.  He and I ate some of this almost straight out of the oven and we both loved it!  It tastes the same to me as my regular banana bread, and Little Man seemed to agree.  My husband had some the next morning and loved it, too!  I didn’t tell him it was GF, and he didn’t notice any difference at all.  Since he is notoriously picky, this is a huge win for me!  Since I prefer to eat GF, I’ll be using this recipe as my go-to banana bread!

Full disclosure–I am by no means claiming that this is “healthy” banana bread.  It’s just GF, but it still has sugar and chocolate–please don’t eat this thinking that you can eat the whole loaf with no consequences to your waistline.  You’re totally going to want to eat the whole loaf, by the way.  It’s that good.

Can’t-Tell-The-Difference GF Banana Bread (from Primavera Kitchen)

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli Dark)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray a large loaf pan to prevent sticking and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together banana, yogurt, egg, vanilla, oil, and brown sugar until completely blended and smooth.  In a separate medium bowl, mix the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and flour until completely blended.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until completely incorporated.  Using a spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips until mixed through.  Put the batter in the greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 min, until a knife/toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the bread is completely baked through.

Enjoy!