Quick & Healthy Toddler Meals #2: Salted Edamame with Cheese and Fruit

Salted Edamame with Cheese and Berries

Nothing in the fridge? Head to your freezer for this quick toddler meal.

This is one of my favorite quick toddler meals to throw together when I am in dire need of a trip to the food store, as I tend to always keep a bag or two of edamame in the freezer.

While I’m not a giant fan of giving soy to toddlers, edamame is such a nutritional powerhouse for a “I have nothing to feed you” kind of day, that I reserve it for those desperate times. A great balance of protein and carbs, it is also high in folate, choline, vitamin K, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese. Edamame also provides each of the essential amino acids, meaning it is a complete protein food.

Another bonus: Faye loves squishing the beans out of their pods. If you have a toddler who isn’t a fan of sitting at the table, this “activity” might help to settle them down. Continue reading

The Best “Cheezy” Kale Chips

RaisingFayeKaleChips

The best kale chips in the world.

Kale chips. You either love them, or hate them. Like with most of my food, I am fickle about kale chips. Spending close to $10 for 3 leaves of kale coated in a mild-tasting vegan concoction doesn’t have me jumping up and down the isles in the grocery store for joy.  This recipe, on the other hand, has me (and my family, and friends and their toddlers) doing backflips.

These cheezy kale chips will change your world. They are hands down, by far, my absolute favorite discovery from my vegan/raw days. Bursting with intense flavor, these chips kick all other chips’ asses. I’m not kidding–even kale/veggie haters gobble these suckers down like they are going out of style.

Whether you are trying to incorporate more greens and nutrients into your daily life, attempting to replace junk food with a healthier but phenomenal tasting alternative, or looking for a nutritional powerhouse of a snack for a toddler, I urge you to try the recipe below. You will not be disappointed.

Did I mention they are also great for your milk supply?

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Indian Jamaican Stew (baby-friendly!)

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Warning: Your house will smell incredible when making this dish.

I came across this recipe years ago when I was searching for vegan meals that didn’t suck, and even though we now eat meat it’s been a fall and winter staple ever since. Although it takes about 45 minutes to cook, the prep time is short–especially if you buy the butternut squash peeled and cubed–and clean up is quick. Leftovers taste even better as the flavors have time to meld. It’s definitely a winner in my book. It also happens to be vegan and gluten-free, so is a fabulous dish to put together for mixed diner company.  

To make future Tracy’s life easier, I like to fill up two or three small bell jars with the stew and freeze them. That way, Faye has a healthy meal when I don’t have any time or groceries in the house. Continue reading

Healthy Baby: Raspberry Protein and Probiotic Smoothie (with Dairy-Free version)

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Nutritionally dense, fabulous tasting, quick to make, and travels well. What more do you need?

We try to head out to a park or playground to burn some energy and get some fresh air twice a day: once after breakfast and once after afternoon nap. Faye is famished after running around for an hour or two, and tends to chow down on a ton of snacks on our walk back to the house.

Faye is a phenomenal eater, but I’ve been feeling more and more like she’s been filling up on these after-play snacks rather than her main meals, making it all the more important that the snacks I do provide are healthy and nutritionally dense (which is easier said than done – especially when they need to travel well). Hence, this smoothie.  Continue reading

Restaurant Style Thai Iced Tea from Scratch – No Artificial Dye

Thai Iced Tea

No petroleum based dyes for me, thanks!

Every once in a while I get hooked on something that is really, really awful for me. Hot wings, deep fried pickles, honeycomb ice cream, boba tea….The list is endless. This past week I’ve been hooked on Thai Iced Teas. Seriously hooked. I must have had at least one a day since coming home from vacation last Tuesday. And I know why I can’t stop. Sugar + caffeine is making it possible for me to stay awake.

As much as I despise my quick sugar pick-me-ups, I absolutely cannot stand that I am ingesting dye when giving into these cravings. (FYI, FD & C Yellow No. 6, the dye that gives Thai Iced Tea its orange hue is a petroleum based dye and banned or restricted as a food additive in Norway, Finland and Sweden.) So, when I awoke yesterday morning to find that there was no more milk in the fridge for a cold-brewed coffee, I did what any half crazed mother who needed a jolt and happened to have evaporated AND sweetened condensed milk on hand for an emergency such as this–I made Thai Iced Tea sans dye and congratulated myself on averting a crisis.

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Broccoli, Cheddar and Bacon Stuffed Baked Potato

Jacket Potatoes  Main

Today, as I was chatting on the phone with my mom while putting these potatoes together for ‘lunch,’ she informed me that it was ten to five at night. Exactly how much time did I spend hanging out reading stories and singing with Faye? Do babies have special Jedi-like powers? Are they in possession of a Dr. Who memory worm?

On the plus side, I like these potatoes. I like them a lot. They taste good, are easy to put together, have a giant serving of green veggies, and I’m not left with a disaster area in my kitchen afterwards.

On an even happier note, Faye has started showing immense interest in food this past month. Every time I put something in my mouth, she imitates chewing which is ridiculously adorable. These stuffed baked potatoes were no exception and she chewed intensely on air while staring at Marcus and I as we shoveled forkful upon forkful of tasty cheesy goodness down our gullets. I felt it only fair to give her a taste and she made good work of sucking the juices off a broccoli stem. I guess the kid has good taste.

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Fried Lima Beans with Feta, Spinach, & Sumac

Fried Lima Beans

It’s a little past midnight and I kid you not, we literally just finished eating dinner 10 minutes ago. Mind you, I started prepping for this dish two days ago. Don’t freak out, this dish does not take 48 hours to make. You just need a child that is willing to sleep without your lips kissing the top of her head the entire time her eyes are closed.

Aside from a little bit of super simple prep work, this dish takes only moments to put together. It tastes great warm, room temperature, or cold, so if your dog wants to go out the moment your kid decides to go nuts, don’t worry about the dish losing any of its lovely flavor or texture. It will still be there when you finally find that moment to eat.

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