(The BEST) Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

So I do this thing where I make cookies for my husband. Being the amazing wife that I am, I always make sure they are healthy and full of good and wholesome ingredients because let's face it...For lunch he probably had a hot dog from 7/11 and that's just sad. I also remember that he's human, so I usually always throw a large helping of chocolate chips to off set the healthy-ness is hopes that he will forget that I made it with whole wheat and focus purely on the fact that I made him cookies and therefore I deserve roses or something like that. Also, that was a super long sentence.

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Anyways, most of the time I make these special cookies my husband notices rather (too) quickly that these aren't buttery-sugery cookies that really nice(r) wives make their husbands. So he kindly eats one and well...that's about as far as it goes.

After making dozens of healthier cookies I've learned that I don't have to always sacrifice taste, but texture has somewhat been a problem. Most cookies become more cake like and then after a few days, well they aren't that great. But rest assured, I've eaten every failure without even thinking because...well..let's move on shall we?

So fast forward to these cookies.

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When these cookies came out of the oven I was a little hesitant to try them because I was used to so-so tasting cookies, but as soon as I ate one, shared some with Boo, then proceeded to eat like 7 more I KNEW these were a keeper!

I've learned quickly a few things when adapting cookie recipes, and what works and what doesn't. Here are just a few of those things:

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Screen shot 2012-11-14 at 9.49.37 PM

It's amazing how coconut oil can take the sub of butter/margarine in practically any recipe! And if you are worried if it has a coconut flavor, it most definitely doesn't. It takes on a nutty butter flavor, and you MUST put it on toast...or popcorn...or rub it on your legs because that's sexy.

You know what else you MUST do?

Make these cookies...

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies-Adapted from Picky Palate

Makes 12 cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. coconut oil-solid form

1 c. maple sugar

1/2 c. pumpkin puree

2 TB. molasses

1 egg or flax/chia egg

1 TB. vanilla

1 bag chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside. In a mixing bowl add coconut oil and sugar and beat for about a minute or so until fluffy. Add in puree, egg, vanilla, and molasses. Beat until combined, then add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.

2. Using a larger ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto prepared cookie sheet. Flatten cookie just a little bit, then bake for 12-13 minutes. Once cookies are done, immediately remove from pan and place on cooling rack.

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The second the hubs got home I told him I made some cookies, and the first thing he did was make a 'Yea I am super excited, not really face...' But after his first bite, his face went from lam-o to....

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I am now going to end this post like I do many others...

Best.Wife.Ever.

Easy Simple Salmon

For as long as I can remember, I've never been a fan of eating fish.

Between the smell, the scales, and it's oogly eyes....no way. Not happening.

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I remember growing up my mom would make it occasionally, and each time I would SWEAR that the whole house smelled like a fishy ocean...I'd then proceed to whine and complain, while throwing myself on the couch in agony...Poor little me.

Nothing really changed until I went on a 6 week study abroad program through Central America, and a lot of times we had to eat the food we were given. I remember one night we ate at a little restaurant in Guatemala and our whole class was being served Salmon.

Obviously I wasn't thrilled that I had to eat it, but when my plate arrived I was pretty shocked.

My salmon was drenched in some sort of sauce that looked like gravy, and then there was a handful of fresh lemons on my plate. I proceeded to squeeze juice on the Salmon and take a bite...

I died.

I don't know exactly what that sauce was made of, but I have an idea it rhymes with nutter. All I can say is that it tasted like Christmas morning and Paula Deen was in the kitchen melting butter.

Some day I'll recreate that salmon...As soon as I figure out how to make a pound of butter healthier...

For now though I've learned to stomach salmon, just as long as it falls under certain guidlines.

It HAS to be fresh. The fresher it is, the less fishy it taste. It also has to have a little flavor. I know some people can eat it with just a squeeze of lemon, but like I said before...Not happenin'.

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Screen shot 2012-11-05 at 7.05.02 AM

Ingredients:

Filet of Salmon

melted coconut oil

salt

pepper

lemons

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil, and place salmon fillets on the dish. Coat salmon with melted coconut oil, just until fully coated. (Not too much oil.) Then liberally salt and pepper salmon. (Can do both sides if the other side isn't skin, otherwise you don't have to coat skin. Also, have salmon be skin side down.)

2. Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until salmon is light pink and flakes easily with a fork. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top and serve.

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We ate it over caramelized brussel sprouts and brown rice!

Of coarse Boo didn't touch the sprouts, but she did eat the Salmon.

I told her it was pink chicken...

Best mom advice like ever.. :)

Oh, and I never shared our Halloween costumes that we had this year! If you can guess what I am, I would be So surprised!

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I am not a hooker...

My husband was that one guy...from LMFAO...

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And no I'm not a clown hooker...wrong again. I'll give you a clue:

Kay-dollar sign-Ha.

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Boo was an owl, and she was sooo excited to flap her little wings! Except, I don't think she is going to be excited about this picture come 15 years...Her dad=wanna be gangsta=wanna be cool=totally not.

And Sweet Pea was a freaked out Pumpkin...

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Ok now onto the month of November, which came out of no where!!

Who is ready for Christmas?

Healthy On-the-Go Snacks: Kid & Baby Mama Friendly

Snack foods can be a mama's life saver.

Either because that mama is 7 months pregnant and every 30 minutes it's like she hasn't eaten in 13 years...

OR because, that mama is out at the park, taking a jog, running errands, or driving to a farther destination with a hungry child.

Hungry child=No fun.

A lot of times mom's always ask me what healthy food items I pack in my diaper bag when I am out for a day on the go. It's easy to throw in a bag of chips, packaged granola bars, cheese crackers, or fruit rollups, but obviously those aren't always the best options.

A lot of times when it comes to making choices for eating and children, parents love options that are fast, quick, and easy, and a lot of times we forget about those snacks being healthy and nutritious.

And no...I'm not talking about cheez-its made with whole grain.

Sorry hubby, that's not considered a health food.

Luckily with a little (yes just a little) planning, you can have hearty, natural, and healthy snacks ready for on the go runs whenever you need them!

Let's begin shall we!

1. No Bake Cookie Balls

I love love love raw cookie balls, or protein balls. It's basically a blend of nuts/nut butters, dates, coconut, cocoa powder, seeds, sweetener, oats, etc. Basically the combinations are endless and I consider them to be almost like a dessert.

When I make them I usually grind most of the ingredients really fine, (like the nuts), so Baby Boo can enjoy them with her little baby teeth! It's a treat any child will love! Imagine...Here baby, have a chocolate cookie ball!

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Basic No Bake Cookie Balls

Ingredients:

1/2 c. cashews

1/2 c. walnuts

1/2 c. scant raw cocoa powder

1/2 c. almond butter

1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 c. oats

1/4 c. cocoa nibs

1/2 c. dried apricots (Organic)

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. honey (scant)

1/4 c. maple syrup (scant)

Directions:

1. Using a food processor, blend nuts until fine and crumbly. Add the rest of the ingredients until well combined and the mixture is fine and can be formed into balls. Roll into 1 inch balls and store in the fridge or freezer and grab one when hungry!

Other cookie ball recipes:

Fudge Balls

Peanut Butter Balls

Citrus Cookie Dough Balls (Optional on the citrus part)

S'mores Balls (Top recipe on the blog!)

Store Bough Options: Larabars

2. Mini Sandwiches

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If I have time in the morning I'll make a quick nut butter and jelly sandwich and cut it up for Boo to have as a snack later when we are out and about. Don't limit yourself to PB&J though, try hummus and cheese or hummus mixed with thinly cut veggies like cucumbers or tomatoes.

3. Raw Veggies

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Every mom in the world might be laughing at me right now thinking that a piece of broccoli would qualify as a 'snack' to their toddler.

I understand it's different, but start your kids young on loving raw veggies (with fun dips), and pretty soon they won't mind munching a carrot in the stroller. You can also try cucumber slices, baby tomatoes chopped, celery with nut butters and etc...If you are able to, you can also pack a side cup of dip like hummus!

4. Fruits

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When it comes to fruits the options are never ending.

Banana, apples, plums, pineapple, watermelon, berries, oranges, etc. Pack them pre-chopped, (and the skin off if necessary), in a to-go bag or container with an ice pack to keep them cool and refreshing!

5. Pre-made Baked Goods (Healthy/Natural/Homemade)

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Pictured above: Chocolate Protein Breakfast Cake Bars

Usually once a week I bake some sort of muffin/cookie/sweet bread etc. I usually put half in the freezer for a quick treat in the future, and save the rest for snack time and on-the-go. The baked goods I pack are usually whole grain and made with natural ingredients and sweeteners.

Other options for healthy on-the-go baked goods:

Date Muffins

Grain Free/Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (Single Serving)

Cranberry Orange Loaf

Sugar Free Whole Wheat Banana Spice Muffins

Chocolate Chip Bean Cookies

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6. Store Bought Items:

As much as I love food and treats made at home, I'm also a realist and I know that sometimes I'm not By Golly Miss Molly whose been baking away in my kitchen all week. After all, I've got story books to read, tea parties to have, and forts to build!

My advice for purchased goods is this: shop natural, whole, and sometimes organic when it comes to buying snacks. Make sure you can read  and understand the ingredients and know what each one is.

Remember, organic Oreos are still...Oreos. :)

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Pictured above: Peanut Butter Green Bars.

Despite that the picture above looks like marijuana granola bars, they are these insanely delicious PB bars that are sold at our local farmers market. (My husband even loves them!) Every time I go by I stock up and buy a bunch because they go fast! I show these because I think it's great to take advantage of local markets and companies that sell natural and whole foods/snacks. They come in handy for those days where you don't have time to cook/cut/and prepare, and you just want something ready to go.

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Another snack we love are these applesauce packets. Baby Boo LOOOVES them! Sometimes you can buy them with veggies in them too, which is great! These can be a little pricey, so if I buy them I usually get them at Costco. Despite the price, I always buy them because they are such a yummy quick snack grab!

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As for crackers and things, I aim for products that are whole wheat and minimally processed. Here are a few of our salty favorites:

Pretzels

Kale Chips

Popcorn

Pita Chips

Crackers (Simple ingredients)

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Dried fruits are another favorite in our household. The freeze dried ones have a crispy/crunchy taste, which some kids love!

Other options include, but aren't limited too:

Dates

Appricots

Raisins

Craisins

Banana chips (Roasted)

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Last but not least, drinks.

I usually always have a water bottle, but sometimes Baby Boo loves other options. Who am I kidding, if I pulled out a cup of chocolate milk she'd be in heaven!

Here are out favorite drink options:

Coconut Water

Flavored Coconut Water

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So remember, whether your headed to Target to spend $100 or a fun day at the beach, there are always healthy options to have ready and on-the-go when you need them.

And when in doubt, chocolate is ALWAYS an acceptable snack :)!

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Toddler Food and Picky Eaters

Whew!! This post has been a long time coming due to all the info I want to share! I was this close to posting this post as a Christmas special... :-)

I've been working hard these past few weeks documenting the things my daughter eats, tracker her eating habits, and really focusing on dealing with her picky-ness.

First things first...I am a new mama, and I'm pretty sure things will change with the next baby. Of coarse, I also believe some things will stay the same, but every child is different. So what works for one child, may not work for another. Also, the more kids you have, the less time available. Things will need to be quicker, faster, and easier than they are now...

I don't really know how that's going to happen, but let's pretend for a second I've got this all under control.

Ok, so if you have missed the previous entries of Kid's Food Week/Month/Decade then here are the posts so you can catch up:

Why and Where To Begin With Kids Eating Healthy

Stocking a Healthy Pantry for your Kids

Baby Food 101: 6-12 Months

And today we will be talking about Toddler Food and Picky Eaters! 

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So, I obviously can't discuss Every.Single.Type of food that your toddler/child can eat because there are truly so many options and creative ways. But I am excited to share with you a handful of recipes and tips that I have gathered over the past few weeks, along with the trial and errors of those foods!

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Screen shot 2012-02-13 at 10.52.24 PM

I'm not going to get into statistics because I'm not a doctor and I don't want to lead you astray, but I will touch base on a few things.

This is a crucial time in your child's life, in where they are needing the right components to grow strong and healthy bodies, and they are able and willing to learn and soak up healthy eating habits. If there is one thing that I have noticed, it's that my daughter notices and copies a lot of what I do. Now is the time to truly be an example and teach your children how to treat and respect their bodies, and help them love and understand healthy eating habits.

In general you want to make sure your kids are getting enough:

-Fruits and veggies

-Calcium

-Protein

-Healthy Fats

You want them to also eat a variety of foods so they can get a variety of nutrition from different sources.

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(Want to know what NOT to do....Keep reading).

 A few months back Baby Boo would barely eat anything...I'm talking maybe a handful of foods and that was it! I tried every type of food, dance, distraction, and creative measure I could to make food seem appealing to her...But no way, she just wasn't interested.

It wasn't till a visit with Baby Boo's NEW doctor that everything changed.

When Baby Boo went in for her 12 month checkup, her old doctor told me she needed to drink more sippy's (or bottles) of milk. He told me I needed to give her lots of glasses through out the day because she wasn't eating a lot. So I did just that, even though I wasn't sure. (If you read THIS post, I want you to know that by NOW I have learned to really listen to my motherly intuition...) But, being a new mom and trying to do what the doctor said, I started increasing her liquids. She drank soy milk, and sometimes whole milk. Pretty soon, if she didn't eat a big breakfast, I would give her a bottle with milk so she would have something in her stomach. Then following lunch and dinner, I would give her a bottle again...Mainly because I was worried she didn't have any thing in her stomach.

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At this point I was a wreck. Foods to Baby Boo were on the back burner, besides a few unhealthy snacks that outside family members had introduced to her, and she loved her Ba-Ba's...I knew I was doing things wrong, and I didn't know how to break the habit. I was supposed to be someone who enforced healthy eating, yet I resorting to giving Baby Boo the foods she would eat JUST so she would have food in her belly.

But I was soo soo wrong.

Finally after switching doctors, we went to Baby Boo's 18 month checkup. The doctor kindly shared with me a lot of information, and let me know that I am like a lot of mom's out there. That was really nice to hear, especially since I felt like the worst mom in the world.

First she told me to take away the bottles...So I did.

Then she told me to stop placing so many foods on Baby Boo's plate...So I stopped.

Next she told me to introduce foods slowly, and put 1-2 foods on her plate she likes, and one new food. If she doesn't touch the new food, keep introducing it often, and eventually she will try it...So we did just that.

What happened next?

Things changed dramatically.

Within days Baby Boo started eating all the food off her plate and asking for more.  And I felt a lot better that I wasn't pumping her stomach full of 'dairy' and that she was getting SO much more essential nutrients.

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-That being a first time mom isn't easy, but it's normal to make mistakes.

-I should always trust my motherly intuition.

- Not everybody is perfect, even for people who profess a healthy lifestyle..aka me! :-)

-Don't introduce unhealthy foods to your kids, because in the end, it's all they are going to want.

- Put your foot down when it comes to your children. I know how much grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren, and that's fine...But limit the spoilage. Make sure they get a variety of foods, not just the junky ones.

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First thing I did was make a list of all the foods Baby Boo liked to eat, and then incorporated those into her meals on a daily basis.

Here are the things Baby Boo didn't have a problem eating: (P.S. I am slightly embarrassed)

-Hummus

-Berries/fruit in general

-Yogurt

-Cheese

-Crackers

-Smoothies

-Avocado

-Rice

-Macaroni and Cheese

-Spaghetti

-Rice

-Pudding

-Muffins/Baked goods

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As you can see maybe a few items are healthy, and the rest are quick snack foods that she was introduced to and fell in love with. Next, I took the foods she loved, and incorporated them with new foods too. (I also said goodbye to those bad snacks, because to me there was no need for them.)

Baby Boo LOVES avocado! I truly believe that she fell in love because my husband and I eat avocados with practically every dinner during the week. She saw that we loved it, and wanted to try it too and fell in love!

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Veggie Guacamole

1-2 small avocado mashed with shredded cucumber, zucchini puree, or pea puree. Dash of cumin and tad or salt (optional).

I love mixing greens into her guacamole. Obviously I don't want to get in the habit of hiding everything, but adding veggies or other wholesome goodies to foods that children already love is a great way to give them extra nutrition that they need.

I paired this with barley (which is similar to rice, just a little fatter and chewier) that had cut of chickpeas mixed in.

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Veggie Avocado served with Barley mixed w/ Chickpeas

With this plate, I knew I had given her two options which she was familiar with and liked. Then I threw in some diced chickpeas just to get her familiar with them.

After I introduced chickpeas, I would roast them with a little seasoning and we would snack on them during the day and she loved this!

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As the weeks went on I started to slowly introduce more beans and legumes to Baby Boo.

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Her favorites so far are chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, and lentils.

Another favorite food of Baby Boo's was yogurt. Depending on what I had on hand, which was either an organic milk yogurt that was flavored or a non dairy soy yogurt, she wouldn't have a problem eating either. I decided that I wanted to stop buying the flavored yogurt because I knew it only came with extra additives and sugars, so I stuck with simple and plain, and our favorite happens to be greek yogurt.

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Yogurt Parfait

Bottom Layer: Plain greek yogurt, non dairy yogurt, or plain yogurt

Blueberry Fruit Sauce: 2 TB. blueberries pureed with 1 TB. Maple Syrup

Next top with banana chunks and chia seeds,wheat germ, or ground flax seeds

I quickly learned that Baby Boo loved cold and easy to eat foods on weeks when she was teething, because her mouth was in so much pain that it often took away her appetite. (We will talk more about this latter.)

Another thing I tried was incorporating flavors she loved into certain foods.

I knew she loved spaghetti and avocado, so I tried combining the two.

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Creamy Avocado Spaghetti Squash

For the sauce recipe, I used THIS amazing one from Ohsheglows and added 1/3 c. of Northern Beans to it and a little more olive oil. To bake the spaghetti squash, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wipe down outside of spaghetti squash and place the whole squash on a covered cookie sheet. Place in oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until outside of squash has browned and become soft and squishy. This is a great meal the WHOLE family can enjoy!

Obviously this was completely new to Baby Boo, so I was expecting a little bit of hesitation, but once she took her first bite she was sold.

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Whether she wanted to eat with her hands or a straw I didn't care...Just as long as she was happy and eating!

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Screen shot 2012-02-13 at 11.46.47 PM

A lot of times I became so frustrated that it would completely ruin my mood, and I know that Baby Boo could tell. Eating time had become a stressful event and a lot of times it turned Baby Boo off from eating to the point where she would cry the second I placed her in her high chair.

Since then I have learned to not worry, and that if Baby Boo doesn't eat something, then I should't freak out. Simply move on and try again the next time.

I've also really focused on talking with Baby Boo about the foods she eats on a regular basis, asking her questions about what eat one is and their color. Taking interest in the food has in turn made her interested in it as well.

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When I first introduced broccoli to Baby Boo, she was not interested in it at all. After a few minutes of talking about it 's name and color (all the while remaining happy), she tried it. After her first few bites I told her how happy I was, clapped with joy, and gave her a high five.

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This may sound ridiculous but...

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Eating that broccoli become a not so scary thing!

Here is another example:

Baby Boo likes chicken, and she is familiar with it enough that she isn't scared to try it. So during dinner one night I paired chicken with broccoli, which she was becoming comfortable with, and some seasoned and baked polenta cubes.

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I allowed her to eat at her own pace, checking to see if she would try the polenta. Then after a few minutes she picked a piece up and said, "what's this?"

:-)

So we named it, talked about the color, and told her it was made of corn and then she tried it. She only took a few bites, but it didn't bother me. Now she knew what it was, and each time I give her polenta, she will become more comfortable with it.

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A lot of things can put a damper on the child's appetite, and you have to take that into account on certain occasions. Here are just a few things that can change a child's eating habits:

-Teething

-Sickness

-Grumpy/Overtired

-Unknown? :-)

I threw the last one in there because sometimes for whatever reason your child may not want to eat a lot, or anything really. Unfortunately when they are so young they can't tell you what is wrong and what they want. Just do your best to help ease whatever the baby is going through.

When Baby Boo is teething she loves smoothies. They are cold and require no eating or using her gums. We don't have one smoothie that she drinks every time, we just kind of make it to include what I have on time. I always try to incorporate some sort of protein, grain, fruits, and veggies. Here is an example of a smoothie she loves:

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Toddler Breakfast Smoothie

I posted this recipe on my Facebook page. For the recipe click HERE. For other green drink ideas check out my recipe page HERE.

Another favorite for Boo is pudding. It's another sweet and cold food that easily requires no use of teeth or gums when she is in pain.

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Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Recipe HERE.

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Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Blend the following in a blender or food processor: 1 c. silken tofu, 1/3 c chopped banana(i used frozen), 4 tsp. cocoa powder, 2 TB. maple syrup, 2 tsp. coconut flour.

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One of the biggest things that has worked for me with Baby Boo is letting her cook with me.

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It's a great learning lesson for her because she sees me cutting, stiring, pouring, mixing, cooking, and baking. On top of that, we talk about each of the ingredients and a lot of times she will see me taste them, and in return she wants to try them.

I'm not sure if your child is a fan of PB/nut butter sand whiches, but Baby Boo wasn't. That was until one day we were making nut butter cookies and she wanted to try the peanut butter, so I let her.

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She made me repeatedly dip that little spatula into the jar asking for "more" each time. Now, if I tell her there is Peanut butter (or any other nut butter) in her sand which (her favorite is Almond/sunflower butter with bananas and chia seeds) she eats it right up, and sometimes licks the bread! Whatever works right?

:-)

Actually now she prefers pancakes topped with a nut butter rather than Maple Syrup!

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Chunky Monkey Pancakes

I usually always use pre-made pancake mixes because it's a lot easier and time saving. I always buy a 100% whole wheat, buckwheat, spelt or gluten free mix. Then, depending on the amount of servings you are making, add some non dairy milk, an egg (or chia/flax egg) a little bit of cinnamon and banana chunks. Cook on stove, then top with creamy nut butter and serve.

Another benefit to cooking with your children is that they are more likely to want to try the finished product since they helped bring it together. A favorite of Baby Boo's to make is muffins, which she is constantly cooking in her own mini kitchen.

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Chocolate Chip Blueberry Banana Muffins

I originally posted this recipe on my Facebook page. For the recipe, click HERE.

And lastly, don't be afraid to give them a bite of food that you make for yourself. A lot of times Baby Boo is so curious as to what the adults are eating and would rather try our food, which has resorted in her obsession with avocados and hummus.

Recently I let her try a cereal I was making for myself quite often, and now she is addicted just like her mama!

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Popped Amaranth Cereal

Sweetened with a drizzle of Maple Syrup and Fresh Blueberries

In a medium/high heated saucepan add 1-2 TB. amaranth. Put a lid on the pan and shake the pan around on top of the heat. Soon after, you will hear a popping noise like popcorn. After 15-30 seconds, the amaranth will have been all the way popped, it will look puffed and white, and then pour it into a bowl. Continue to pop more amaranth until you have reached the amount you wish. For better instructions on popped amaranth cereal check it out HERE from edible perspective!

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Screen shot 2012-02-15 at 7.42.59 AM

Everything on this page is nearly a suggestion, not something that works for every child. I've known mom's with kids who could place anything and everything in front of their children and they would have no problem eating it, and to those mom's I say, "You are so freakin' lucky!" :-)

Whether or not your child is a picky eater or not, the main thing I want you to take from this post are these few things:

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Screen shot 2012-02-15 at 7.49.29 AM

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Screen shot 2012-02-15 at 7.57.00 AM

And more importantly....

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Screen shot 2012-02-15 at 8.07.44 AM

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I hope this post what somewhat helpful to new mom's out there. I tried to touch base on lot's of information, but I couldn't hit everything. So these are the topics I feel have stood out the most to be and worked best for Baby Boo. Talk with your doctors first before anything, and take into account your own motherly instincts and your child's needs. You can't go wrong when your trying to do what is best for your child! :-)

Now..I'm semi glad this whole post is done because I am so ready to get back to regular posting and normal food....

:-)