Tag Archives: healthy recipes

Cheap and Easy Lentil Stew

February and March are tough months for food around here. The freezer stash from last year has dwindled down to a few bags of cherries and some odd purple beans, and the glass jars in my pantry are few (I miss you, pear sauce!) It’s not quite time to start growing yet, but Daylight Savings Time is on the horizon. This is slim pickin’s time…but the budget doesn’t care. It’s still tight, reeling from oil deliveries and missed days of work due to icy roads and snow days. Continue reading

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2-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

Imagine it:

You come home from a long, tiring day at work, not feeling well and desperate for sleep. You have to cook dinner, get your toddler bathed and tucked into bed, and get everything ready for the next early morning. Then you remember with horror: you signed up to bring muffins to school tomorrow.

It happened to me, the night before my son’s first Halloween party. Why, oh why, didn’t I just sign up to bring juice boxes!? (This is my first child, so I’m still learning…)

I knew they had to be pumpkin, and they had to be cute. So I sat down to do some quick Googling and find something I could pull off by morning. That’s when I found it: the 2-ingredient pumpkin muffin recipe (visit Sweet Verbena for the post I found.)

Is it possible that I’m the last person in the world to know about this fabulous recipe? If so, color me humbled. If not, I hope you love it as much as I do!

Here’s what you do:

2-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1 cake mix (white, yellow, spice or carrot)
  • 1 15-oz. can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix both ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well blended (batter will be thick).

Line muffin pan with paper liners; fill liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20–25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes about 18 muffins.

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That’s right – no eggs, no oil, nothing. You don’t add anything to the mix but the pumpkin. It’s ingenious, and it’s delicious. The perfect cross between a moist, dense muffin and a yummy cupcake – and you’ll still get to bed on time. ;)

I knew I had to decorate these, and lately I’ve struggled with how to make things fun for kids without using tons of awful, yucky dyes. I’ve come up with a solution that seems like a good compromise to me (at least until I find affordable, natural dyes that actually work.)

I whipped up a quick batch of cream cheese icing with real ingredients (butter, 10x sugar, almond milk, cream cheese and pure vanilla.) I piped a small rosette on the top of each cupcake, then topped each with a mini Nutter Butter/Hershey’s Kiss acorn. (Thanks to the hubby for running to the store!) …and voila! A perfect little fall accent that can be eaten or popped off, depending on dietary preferences.

 

They received a resounding thumbs up from my coworkers (who affectionately nicknamed them “muffcakes” and the kids at school loved them. The director even texted me for the recipe! Now I just have to decide if I really want her to know how easy they were… ;)

A few side notes:

  • This recipe is a great way to add a healthy dose of nutrient-rich pumpkin to a fun treat, AND it’s easy enough that your toddler can help with the mixing!
  • Depending on the price of the cake mix and pumpkin you find, these cupcakes are very affordable. (Mine were organic and worked out to .16 each before decorating.)
  • It’s the perfect time of year to cook up some fresh pumpkin to store in the freezer. Just premeasure into 15 oz containers, and you’ll have a nice stash to whip up easy muffins all year long. (This is our plan, since we try to avoid cans whenever possible.)
  • This also works with chocolate cake mix, although I haven’t tried that one yet. I hear it’s heavenly, though!
  • These are especially good for folks like me, who use few eggs and little dairy and often don’t have them on hand.
  • If you prefer to use an organic cake mix, you may have trouble finding a spice-flavored variety. If you choose to use white or yellow, add 1 Tbsp cinnamon and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice so you don’t miss out on that yummy, spicy pumpkin flavor.

Have you ever made 2-ingredient muffins?

 

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Hungry Toddler Hop: Week 1

Got a hungry toddler?


Healthy food is fun, right? Help us spread the word!

I invite you to link up your favorite toddler-food-related post (old or new) – lots of toddler moms want to hear from you! (Tell your friends, too!)

There are no real “rules” to this hop, but I do have a few small requests:

  • If you are able, please grab the code below and post it so your readers can hop from one blog to the next.
  • Please try to keep a “healthy” focus! :) If you don’t have a healthy recipe, tips and helpful hints on making mealtime easier, productive or more fun are welcome!
  • Please follow and comment freely as you hop. We all like new followers!
  • I can’t tweet or promote from work, so please hit the share buttons below so we can all get lots of fun new recipes!

Bon appetit, little ones!

Linky will remain open until midnight on Sunday, July 17th.

 

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Sweet Potato Casserole, with a Sunny Twist!

Shhhh...don’t tell the Santa. I’ve been a very naughty blogger.

I’ve been just terrible about taking photos lately, and it’s been an eternity since I’ve passed along a good recipe.

But I’d like to make it up to you with my favorite sweet potato casserole recipe!

As a kid, I love the toasted marshmallow casserole that came loaded with brown sugar. But now, I’m kind of over it. I’ve replaced the candy-fest with a casserole that’s just different enough to pique everyone’s interest at the holiday dinner table, and just traditional enough that everyone will welcome it as a familiar favorite. It has the warmth of autumn’s sweet potato harvest and the bright, sunny taste of orange, nestled under a sweet, tangy topping with just a little crunch.

Yom. :D

I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but it actually comes from Eating Well Magazine. (Brilliant folks, they are. Eating Well never lets me down!) To find the original recipe, click here.

Those familiar with my blog will know that I couldn’t just leave the recipe as is, untinkered with, so I made a few small changes to suit my tastes. (I cut the salt in half, substituted agave nectar for the honey, left out the eggs and butter, and used coconut oil rather than canola. I also added some dried cranberries for texture and a tangy kick of flavor.)

But I did leave ALL of the freshly grated orange zest. In fact, I may have gone a bit heavy on it. It’s my favorite part of this recipe, and one of my favorite ingredients in general because it adds SO much fresh flavor, eliminating (or cutting down) the need for less healthy ingredients like fat, sugar and salt.

And although I don’t have a recipe photo for you, I do have a photo of the very beginning of the taters we used to make this casserole for Thanksgiving. (A small reminder that colder weather will NOT last forever…the green will come back someday!)

Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe, with a Sunny Twist!

adapted from Eating Well Magazine

Sweet Potato Casserole:

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk (may substitute coconut milk for a vegan recipe)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Topping

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons frozen orange juice concentrate (frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:

  1. Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender, 10–15 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan. Mash with a potato masher. Measure out 3 cups. (Reserve any extra for another use.)
  2. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Coat an 8″ square (or similar 2-qt) baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk oil and agave nectar in a medium bowl. Add mashed sweet potato and mix well. Stir in milk, orange zest, vanilla and salt. Add cranberries and stir to distribute evenly throughout mixture. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish.*
  4. To prepare topping: Mix flour, brown sugar, orange juice concentrate and oil in a small bowl. Blend with a fork or your fingertips until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over the casserole.
  5. Bake casserole until heated through and the top is lightly browned, 35–45 minutes.

*A note to those with toddlers: I think this is a great toddler recipe, but there are many differing opinions on when to introduce nuts and/or tree nuts to your child. If you are concerned about reactions with the pecans in this recipe, reserve a small amount of sweet potato mixture for baby before adding the cranberries and pecan topping.

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Mommy and Me Recipe: Fall Veggie Crisp

Since returning to work full-time, I’ve learned one thing for sure: Anything I can do on the weekend to help myself out during the week makes me my own best friend when workdays kick my butt. So, Sunday has become the day to cook!

Today, I made this yumminess with some of the last garden tomatoes, to be delivered to my father-in-law…

…and these belated birthday cupcakes for my very understanding husband…

(although I do admit to using this, enhanced with some applesauce and dried cranberries:)

Also in the lineup: the filling for our favorite Quesadilla Casserole, so the huz can just layer it with tortillas in a casserole dish tomorrow night and bake. What a team we make! :D

But my favorite creation of the day was a new Mommy and Me Recipe

So many fall veggies, so little time…what to do? For some reason, fall makes me crave a crisp, crumb topping on everything, and apple crisps are so last week. So, why not a veggie crisp? 

My handy dandy food processor made quick work of 1 butternut squash, 1 large sweet potato, 3 parsnips, 5 carrots and 1/2 large sweet onion. (Nice, even slices make for nice, even baking!)

I set aside some of each veggie to be baked for little man, and added just a little water. (Hold the onions and broth, please! At least for now…) 

I poured one can of  low-sodium veggie broth into the dish until it was about 1/2″ below the level of the vegetables. 

The “cross your fingers and hope it’s good” topping consisted of: 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats, a Tbsp of amaranth (just because :) ), a light handful of chopped, fresh parsley, rosemary and thyme, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Both dishes were baked at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, covered (or until the broth bubbled up through the crumbs and veggies were soft.)

I just love filling the house with the scents of fall, and this recipe did just that. It was easy, yet satisfying and comforting, and made use of lots of different veggies. It also made lots of beautiful puree, although the orange was INTENSE, so I added a bit of applesauce to take it down a notch. (Just sounded good to me, and baby boy seemed to agree!)

Which brings me to my Bonus Tip of the Day: When baby flings a big spoonful of pure orangetasticness onto your white carpet, try a little bit of Lulu’s in the Fluff!

Good as new! ;) Let the workweek begin!

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How do you balance home and work life? Do you do anything on your days off to help yourself out on busier days?

Does the onset of fall make you crave anything specific? 

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