17 April 2014

Baby Pops!

pint-sized frozen yogurt pops for tiny tummies // healthy + loaded with veggies!

Since we spend a pretty lengthy amount of time discussing food on this blog, and since I spend just as much time feeding hurricane chickpea., the occasional venture into the great wide world of baby food was semi-inevitable. I've received oodles of requests to post my ankle-biter recipes, so when I actually come up with something unique amist the smashed avocados and pureed peas, I'll be sure to share it with you! If you don't have a miniature human to feed at home, don't fret, I have oodles of adult recipes for you up my sleeve as well. This baby food business will just be a little somethin' extra from time to time.

Back to the baby pops! They're pretty much our favorite thing in the world right now. As part of our attempt at baby led weaning, I let Mia feed herself. Whether she's using a spoon or her fingers, this little lady is in control! It's a huge confidence builder, helps her establish a fun and healthy relationship with food, and frees up my hands so I can stuff food in my own face while she smears food all over hers. It also helps build motor skills and all that jazz, or so I'm told. I think it's mainly practice for her future as an artist. This kid can paint the room broccoli in a matter of seconds. It's impressive.

Green Monster Baby Pops
pint-sized frozen yogurt for tiny tummies
32 ounces of whole milk organic yogurt [plain or vanilla]
one bunch of organic broccoli, tops only [green beans are great too!]
1 ripe avocado, pit removed
1 cup of organic applesauce, unsweetened
ground cinnamon, to taste

extras: Add a handful of fresh organic spinach to the mix if you have it! Frozen or fresh mango also makes a yummy addition!

tools needed: Mini pop molds [like Zoku or Munchkin], silicone ice cube trays with small easy-grip extra-wide sticks, or large pop molds for older kids. The Zoku mini silicone molds are our favorite for making cake pop sized frozen yogurt balls. They're the perfect serving size for a cool snack on a hot day. Haha and nope they're not paying me to say that, I just adore them and will most likely be buying a second one next time I find them on sale!

Zoku pop mold: perfect for healthy bite-sized snacks!

Have a favorite baby food or smoothie recipe?
Turn it into a pop!

optional tools: Cheesecloth and sieve/strainer to thicken plain yogurt into creamy, protein-packed greek yogurt. I use my sieve for everything from rinsing quinoa to straining pasta and the cheesecloth comes in handy for not only making your own cheeses but for thickening dairy products for thick and creamy dips! I store them inside one of my larger pots to save space.
notes: Since large containers of organic greek full-fat yogurt aren't available in my area, I simply make my own! It's actually really easy and saves me money too since plain yogurt is typically less expensive and comes in larger value-sizes! The brand we've been using is Stoneyfield and Mia adores it! She's also a huge fan of Siggi's strawberry yogurt but since it's fat-free, we only use it as a treat. As always, consult your pediatrician to see what's right for your baby!

The recipe, as written, makes around 4-5 cups of green monster magic. I barely have enough pop molds to contain it all! Alas, it's easier for me to make big batches of food all at once so I don't have to constantly make it. Leftovers green monster yogurt will keep for four days in the fridge and for a few months in the freezer. It also makes a great mix-in for smoothies, so treat yourself to a giant smoothie loaded with fresh fruit and vegetables! Parents need healthy fuel too! That being said, if you don't feel like dealing with leftovers, simply halve the recipe and you're good to go! xo

BABY POPS! // Pint-sized frozen yogurt pops for tiny tummies // healthy + loaded with veggies!

To thicken plain yogurt all you have to do is strain it! My favorite method is pretty no-fuss no-muss and involves topping a large bowl [a pot works too!] with a sieve and several layers of cheesecloth. Typically the cheesecloth comes in a giant roll so just fold it over itself a bunch of times, slap it in the sieve, and pour in your yogurt.  To make it air-tight and keep things fresh, wrap the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and place in your refrigerator for a few hours. Though it will thicken within 2-3 hours I will typically leave mine in overnight [or even 24 hours] to make ridiculously thick yogurt that, once frozen, resembles ice cream in texture. Mia goes ape over it. 

Blanch or steam your broccoli until bright green and tender and add it to a blender or food processor with the thickened yogurt, avocado, applesauce, and cinnamon. Have spinach handy? Toss it in! Blend until creamy and green and no large chunks of broccoli remain. Spoon into your pop molds and freeze.

They're pretty legit if I do say so myself... and totally worth the face and body painting that ensues. Throw down a blanket, slap on a bib, and watch your baby go nuts over this healthy treat!

Baby Green Monster Froyo Aftermath

Nothing beats a good broccoli beard =)

Here are a few recipes for the rest of us!
Salmon Fish Tacos Confetti Pasta Salad
Homemade Vegetarian SushiChocolate Chip Cherry Torte Laraball RecipeSausage, Pepper, and Onion Chipotle Grilled Cheese

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16 April 2014

What I Ate Wednesday #169

I've been photographing a few days of meals back to back now as part of a personal experiment of sorts. The first thing I've noticed so far is how positively different my weekday and weekend eats look. Today's lineup is from a lazy Sunday with a stocked fridge. My favorite!

Egg and Veggie Breakfast Burrito

b-fast: Egg and Veggie Breakfast Burritos

Hawaiian English Muffin Pizza and Soup

lunch: Hawaiian English Muffin Pizza and Noodle Soup

The Laughing Cow White Cheddar Snack Plate

disclosure: The Laughing Cow® provided me with product and a $10 gift card. Thoughts and opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the brand. Opinions are completely my own because, duh. Huge thanks to the LC peeps for sending me a care package of cheeses!

snack: White Cheddar Laughing Cow Snack Plate.

I've been eating this on repeat for a while now. Actually, this snack has been in rotation for a few years now. I'm a bit of a habitual snacker, and try to keep junk food out of the house so that I reach for whole foods instead. The grains will vary [pretzels, pita chips, triscuits, crackers] and sometimes I'll add hummus, but the other elements are always the same: cukes, carrots, and queso. Though the LC peeps actually sent me a bevvy of cheeses to try with my snack plates, the white cheddar was from my own personal stash that I literally have to hide from my husband. It's my favorite variety and he's not allowed near it. It quite literally goes with everything from a pile of veggies, to fancy multi-grain crackers to a good ole bottle glass of wine!

Sriracha Scallops

dinner: Sriracha Seared Scallops [recipe] and Creamed Spinach

So the theme so far with weekend eats? Help around the house + extra time in the kitchen = three substantial homemade meals and even a little snackage. During the week I'm struggling to get 3 a day and find myself experimenting around with weekday intermittent fasting since I'm kind of falling into that pattern anyways. The trick is getting my full daily calorie requirement in two meals during the week. Some days I rock it and other days I'm falling a big short, so I have a lot to work on nutrition-wise as I find my fitness groove as well. The goal is muscle gain and not weight loss, so I have to keep on top of my intake to make sure I'm taking in enough and not falling into the trap of spreading myself so incredibly thin activity-wise and baby-wise that I don't have time to properly eat. I'll try to show what a day of eats looks like when I'm really only able to stuff face within an 8 hour window.

Peas and Crayons

New to the party? [click here] for more info on our Wednesday shenanigans! 

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13 April 2014

Vegan and Vegetarian Sushi Rolls with Quinoa Sticky Rice

That title was a mouthful!
It's fitting though, because these rolls are a mouthful... of YUM!!!

I'll stop talking now.

Homemade Vegan and Vegetarian Sushi Rolls with Quinoa Sticky Rice
Vegan and Vegetarian Sushi Rolls
with Quinoa Sticky Rice
[recipe yields 4 crunchy, colorful sushi rolls]
1/2 cup uncooked sushi rice
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water or broth
2 TBSP rice vinegar
1/8-1/4 tsp sugar
1/8-1/4 tsp salt
4 sheets of nori
10 spears of asparagus, blanched
1/4-1/2 an English cucumber
1-2 large carrots
1/2 a large yellow bell pepper
4-8 green onions
broccoli/clover sprouts, to taste
toasted sesame seeds and chia seeds for topping
sriracha chili sauce and soy sauce [or braggs liquid aminos] for dipping

t-rex chefs sashimi-grade salmon and tuna can absolutely be added.
brontosaurus chefs feel free to add cream cheese or sliced avocado; adding a bit of fat to vegetables actually helps your body absorb their antioxidants!

You'll also want to pick up a bamboo mat to roll your sushi with. They're extremely affordable and can be found in nearly any grocery store!

On your stove top, heat a small pot to medium-high heat. Rinse your quinoa. drain it of all liquid, then add it to the pot, stirring constantly as you lightly toast it for extra nutty flavor. Add two cups of water as well as the rice and turn to highest heat setting.  Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for twenty minutes. Once its hot and fluffy, season with vinegar, salt, and sugar.  Fluff with a fork and allow to cool in a separate bowl.

Prep your veggies while the rice and quinoa simmer away!

Sushi Veggies

Cut the ends from the asparagus and blanch it briefly in boiling water to tenderize. Next julienne the carrots, and cut the bell pepper and cucumber into thin strips. Snip as many strips of green onion as you'd like and grab a big fistful of sprouts too! I like to lay out all my veggies, toppings, and sauces, so that once the rice and quinoa are ready, I can quickly roll everything together and start chowing down.

Cover a bamboo mat with plastic wrap and top with a sheet of nori. Using a large spoon, spread quinoa and rice in a thin layer atop the seaweed sheet.  At the very end of the sheet, arrange your veggies in three compact rows. If you're adding fish or cream cheese you'll add it here as well. First time rolling sushi? [click here] for a photo tutorial of the entire process.  Roll, slice, and sprinkle with sesame seeds!

Homemade Vegan and Vegetarian Sushi Rolls with Quinoa Sticky Rice

Serve with a side of low sodium or gluten-free soy sauce and top with a hearty drizzle of sriracha chili sauce.

Homemade Vegan and Vegetarian Sushi Rolls with Quinoa Sticky Rice

so... how were they!?
Hello! It's sushi! It rocked! But seriously: I adored the addition of the quinoa to my usual sticky rice sushi rolls. It added a burst of whole grain goodness and a bit of nuttiness flavor wise; a perfect pairing for the crisp, refreshing vegetables. I was out of avocados [the baby eats them all! gah!] but added cream cheese to two of the rolls for a bit of creamy indulgence. They were fantastic!

Big thanks to my husband the hand model and to the crazy chickpea for taking at least one of her naps so mama could blog. It's a luxury I'll never, ever take for granted!

So what are you waiting for? Go make some sushi!

Homemade Sushi JB RollHomemade Sushi Volcano RollAvocado Topped Sushi Recipe and Instructions
Homemade Shrimp Tempura RollHomemade Chia Sesame SushiHomemade Cucumber Roll Sushi

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