Healthy Homemade Snack Ideas Both You and Your Toddler Will Love

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healthy homemade snack ideas
 
A couple of months ago, I set out on a mission.  It seemed whenever Gv and I were out and about, we were both getting hungry.  I realized I needed to come up with some healthy homemade snack ideas for things I could keep on hand to just grab and bring along with us as we headed out the door.

I thought about the variety of nibbles that I saw other moms bringing for their toddlers:  pretzel sticks, cheese crackers, cheese sticks, and fruit...

Pumpkin Seed Squash Muffins

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Like my banana bread bites, these muffins are another one of our standard portable snacks that I try to always keep on hand since they're filling, yummy, and nutritious.

Project Snapshot Week 68

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and purchase something, I'll receive a small affiliate
commission at no cost to you. Thanks so much for supporting my efforts with this blog!


The goal of this post is to capture a memory from the past week, either with a camera, words, or both.  Time passes in the blink of an eye and this will create a collection of treasured memories from throughout the year.

My Snapshot(s)

Our local science museum opened a new addition to their "All About the Body" exhibit that focused on breastfeeding, so since we have free teacher passes, Gv and I joined some La Leche League friends there to check it out.




We wandered around the rest of the museum afterwards and Gv was determined to play this tug‐o‐war game by herself.

What was your favorite memory from this past week?  I'd love to hear about it!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Banana Bread Brownies with Browned Butter Icing

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I was looking for another way to use bananas that was just a little bit different.  We get them from our awesome churchy‐music produce market when they're overripe and dirt cheap (less than $1 for a bunch or two!)  G likes his bananas overripe, but I'll only eat them if they've just turned from green to yellow, which means that I'm usually looking for things I can dump a bunch of mushed bananas into.

I'm always sticking them in smoothies or using them to replace the oil ‐ or even sometimes sugar and eggs ‐ in baking.  I try to make my banana‐bread‐loving husband happy and whip up a loaf fairly regularly, but more often than not, I'm using them for my yummy banana bread bites.

But what I was really after this day was a dessert that still tasted delicious, but was just a tad healthier than the cheesecake recipe that had been calling my name ever since our recent strawberry‐picking adventure.

I thought about the banana cake I made for Gv's birthday last year, and then I thought about how much I wanted some brownies, so what resulted was kind of an amalgam of the two.

G thought they were fabulous, but he said he wouldn't call them brownies.  I guess that's because he just thinks all brownies are plain and chocolateflavored.  He also likes brownies that are more like cake than the moist, gooey squares I usually pull out of the oven, so I declared we'd just have to agree to disagree, because these were moist and delicious and just like how I like my brownies to be!

What You Need (Brownies):

1 cup plain yogurt

1 stick softened butter (or 1/2 cup oil of your choice)

2 eggs

45 mashed bananas (you could use a few more, or less, depending on how many bananas you need to get rid of)

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I don't always like nuts in my banana bread or brownies, but if you do, then add them)

** I did not add any sugar into the brownies because I knew I wanted to ice them and also that the bananas would probably make this dessert sweet enough for us.  But if you're not used to desserts without sugar, then you might want to add in a 1/2 to full cup to this list.

What You Need (Browned Butter Icing):

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 to full cup powdered sugar (I used half)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons milk


What You Do (Brownies):

1.  Cream butter, yogurt and eggs in your stand mixer. (If you're adding sugar, throw that in here, as well)

2.  Blend in bananas and vanilla.

3.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt, then add it to your wet mixture. (The nuts, too, if you're adding them)

4.  Spread the mixture into a 15" x 10" pan and bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

5.  Allow these to cool just a bit while you make your icing...

What You Do (Browned Butter Icing):

1.  Heat and stir butter until it boils and begins to brown.

2.  Add in the rest of the icing ingredients and then spread onto the stillabitwarm brownies.

3.  Feel free to fiddle with the ingredient amounts in this icing.  You might want to add in more butter and sugar to make it thicker and sweeter.  If you do, you'll probably also want to add just a bit more milk to help it get to the consistency you want.  I wanted just a thin glaze of sweetness to make this feel more like a dessert, so that's what my amounts will give you.  I suggest adding 2 Tablespoons of butter for every 1/2 to full cup of powdered sugar you add.

4.  Try not to eat the entire pan at once, like I almost did.  I mean, seriously, this is baked in my largest lasagna pan, and there is just absolutely no reason a person should consume five or six of these things at once, no matter how delicious and semihealthy they are! {wink}

What do you think?  Are you on my side, and agree that these tasty treats should be called brownies, or do you fall into the same camp as G, and think they should get a different name?  I'd love to hear - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Also, if you don't want to miss a single minute of great tips like this and all the fun around here, be sure to sign up for free updates and then look forward to having each post delivered right to your inbox.  





Linked up with:  Merry Monday, Thoughtful Spot, Motivation Monday, Mom 2 Mom Monday, What'd You Do This Weekend, Happiness is Homemade Link PartyGood Tips Tuesday, Totally Terrific TuesdayTuesday Tutorials, Two Uses Tuesday, The Mommy Club, WFMW, A Little Bird Told Me, Homestead Blog Hop, Not So Wordless Wednesday, Fluster's Creative Muster, Thrifty Thursday, Creative Ways, Hearts for Home, Frugal Family Linky, This is How We Roll, Ladies Collective,Creative Exchange, I'm Lovin It, Kitchen Fun & Crafty, Inspiration Spotlight, Awesome Life Friday, Home Matters, Pretty Pintastic, Front Porch Friday, Weekend Potluck,  

Spinach Artichoke Dip Pasta

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We have kind of a weekly menu routine around here (look for a post on this soon) and Sunday is pasta night.  The whole idea behind choosing that meal for that day is that pasta should be an easy, no‐brainer meal that can just be thrown together in minutes and without much thought.

I suppose, if we ate pasta sauce from a jar, this would merely involve grabbing two items from the pantry and heating it all up, easy‐peasy.

But we make our sauce from scratch and, while not difficult, this involves some thought ahead of time, regardless of whether it's time to make a new batch or we just have to pull some out of the freezer to thaw.

And since we're usually busy or away from the house on Sundays, this seemingly simple step becomes a bit more complicated than it has to be.

So that leaves me with the situation of coming up with some amazing pasta dish on the fly, with whatever ingredients we have on hand, that don't have to be considered ahead of time.  Sometimes this goes really, really well and I come up with a new favorite dish.

And sometimes, we eat spaghetti with oil and pepper.

But the other night, I came up with a creation that turned out to be delicious, look fancy, and was even super simple:  spinach artichoke dip pasta!

This seriously could not have been any easier.  You may remember from my post on spinach artichoke dip that we love the stuff, but I didn't want to just recreate my dip and dump it all over the pasta.  Besides, we were out of almonds, so I had to get creative and think of a new way to make this dish be all dairyfree.

I just took a large jar of artichokes, a bag of frozen spinach, some pressed garlic, and added in some coconut milk to my cooked pasta and it was delicious.  I even sprinkled some crushed red pepper on top, just to make it look fancy.

This really doesn't even warrant a "recipe," but I'll make an attempt at it, just so all of you concrete sequentials out there are happy:

What You Need:

Artichokes  How many?  Um, I actually used half of a ginormous can, which was about 2 pounds, dry weight, but it really depends on how many artichokes you want and what you have available.

Spinach  I used a bag of frozen spinach, because we were out of fresh.  Heck, even if we'd had the fresh stuff, I probably would've been too lazy to wilt it all, even though it's not that much of a pain to do.  I would use a pound of the stuff, either way, but it probably depends on how much spinach you want and what you have available.

Garlic  You know, I don't even pay attention to how many cloves I use.  I just grab a handful from my bag of peeled garlic in the freezer, and go.  But we like garlic.  A lot of garlic.  You might want to start with 2 or 3 cloves and work up from there.

Coconut Milk  To make pasta creamy without using cream, we use this.  It doesn't have an overwhelming coconut flavor and really does work just like thick cream in most recipes.

Crushed Red Pepper  Because we like things with a little kick and it also makes everything look fancy.

What You Do:

1.  Drain the artichokes, then coarsely chop them up and add them to a large bowl.

2.  Thaw your frozen spinach, or wilt your fresh stuff, then add it to the artichokes.

3.  Use one of these to press your garlic into the bowl.

4.  Add in your cooked pasta (the heat from it warms everything else up).

5.  Squeeze out some coconut milk, a little at a time, and stir.  Stop adding coconut milk when the pasta concoction has reached the consistency you like.  I probably used about half of the box of milk, because I wanted just enough to make all the yummy flavors to bind to the pasta.

6.  Sprinkle a little crushed red pepper on top and don't tell anyone that this fancy dish was really so easy!



Do you like spinach artichoke dip?  Have you thought about making it into a pasta dish like this?  I'd love to hear - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Also, if you don't want to miss a single minute of great tips like this and all the fun around here, be sure to sign up for free updates and then look forward to having each post delivered right to your inbox.

Linked up with:  Merry Monday, Thoughtful Spot, Motivation Monday, Mom 2 Mom Monday, What'd You Do This Weekend, Happiness is Homemade Link Party, Good Tips Tuesday, Totally Terrific TuesdayTuesday Tutorials, Two Uses Tuesday, The Mommy Club, WFMW, A Little Bird Told Me, Homestead Blog Hop, Not So Wordless Wednesday, Fluster's Creative Muster, Thrifty Thursday, Creative Ways, Hearts for Home, Frugal Family Linky, This is How We Roll, Ladies Collective, Creative Exchange I'm Lovin It, Kitchen Fun & Crafty, Inspiration Spotlight, Awesome Life Friday, Home Matters, Pretty Pintastic, Front Porch Friday, Weekend Potluck,

Project Snapshot Week 67

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and purchase something, I'll receive a small affiliate
commission at no cost to you. Thanks so much for supporting my efforts with this blog!


The goal of this post is to capture a memory from the past week, either with a camera, words, or both.  Time passes in the blink of an eye and this will create a collection of treasured memories from throughout the year.

My Snapshot(s)

My mom and I always say that with weekend events, when it rains, it pours!  Weeks can go by without anything on the schedule, but then suddenly a day will pop up with a zillion events and not enough time to attend all of them!

Well...maybe not a zillion, but this past Saturday, we had three on our calendar, all taking place between the same four hours and all free!  We decided to see if we could make two of them, despite the fact that they were an hour's drive apart.

Needless to say, the three of us were very exhausted by the time the second one drew to a close (which meant an easy nap for Gv!)  We were also very hot, and realized that we have already reached the point in the year when outdoor activities (which we love) become off‐limits due to the miserable Florida heat.

We reached the second event when the vendors were already beginning to pack things away for the day, and when we spied this pile of ice dumped upon the ground, we realized it would provide the perfect plaything for Gv to cool off with:



She picked apart the pieces in this pile for quite a while, then G introduced the idea of stomping all over the ice chips.

This fun lasted for a good half an hour, at least.

Sometimes, it's the little unexpected things that can be the most fun.

What was your favorite memory from this past week?  I'd love to hear about it!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Carrot Cake Cookies

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"Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie." ~ Jim Davis (creator of Garfield)

If carrot cake counts as a serving of vegetables, then these cookies should be consumed as often as possible!

Seriously, I don't know about how healthy this food choice might be, but they sure are a yummy treat.  Somehow I always think it's much easier to eat just two cookies rather than cut myself a tiny piece of cake.

I did manage to make these a little bit healthier than the average cake, so you don't have to feel too terribly guilty for chomping on a few after dinner tonight...

What You Need:

6 Tablespoons softened butter

1/4 cup honey

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder (see how to make your own!)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup grated carrots

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

What You Do:

1.  Cream butter and honey in your stand mixer.

2.  Add in egg and vanilla.

3.  Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together and add to mixer bowl.

4.  Add carrots, raisins, and pecans until combined.

5.  Drop rounded Tablespoons onto a silicone baking sheet liner and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.


6.  Allow cookies to cool and enjoy crossing vegetables off your list for today. {wink}

Do you enjoy carrot cake?  Have you thought about making it into cookies for a different dessert option?  I'd love to hear - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Also, if you don't want to miss a single minute of great tips like this and all the fun around here, be sure to sign up for free updates and then look forward to having each post delivered right to your inbox.  

Linked up with:  Merry Monday, Thoughtful Spot, Motivation Monday, What'd You Do This Weekend, Mom 2 Mom Monday, Two Uses Tuesday, Totally Terrific Tuesday, Good Tips Tuesday, Tuesday Tutorials, The Mommy Club, WFMW, Not So Wordless Wednesday, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, A Little Bird Told Me, Homestead Blog Hop, Fluster's Creative Muster, Thrifty Thursday, Creative Ways, Creative Exchange, Hearts for Home, Frugal Family Linky, Ladies Collective, This is How We Roll, I'm Lovin It, Kitchen Fun & Crafty, Inspiration Spotlight, Awesome Life Friday, Home Matters, Pretty Pintastic Party, Front Porch Friday, Weekend Potluck,

Threading Noodler

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I am always on the lookout for things I can repurpose and use to create new thrifty toys for Gv (see posts here, here, and here for more ideas), but usually I find my supplies from stuff already lying around the house.  But last fall I came across an idea that used pool noodles to practice patterning and fine motor skills and the idea stuck.

I couldn't remember where I'd seen it or the details behind making it, but I knew it wasn't a complicated idea and I'd be able to figure it all out when the dollar store started stocking pool noodles again in the spring.

To start with, I bought 3 different‐colored pool noodles and a 10‐pack of Wiffle golf balls from the dollar store.  I used a shoelace that I'd already had around the house, although it had originally come in an 8‐pack from the dollar store.

I knew I wanted to go ahead and make a few extras of this toy to have on hand for birthday gifts (like these and these), and I was able to make 4 sets total from that one collection of supplies.

For each set, I cut 4 rings out of each color of pool noodle in both 1" and 2" widths.  I used a plain old bread knife to cut them, which worked great.  Next, I threaded a Wiffle ball with a shoelace and tied a knot (really several knots, one on top of the other) on either side.  I tucked the stub of the shoelace on the knot end back through its hole, just to keep it from flopping around and being all pokey: 


That was the hard part (and it wasn't hard, at all!) because all that was left was to thread the noodle pieces onto the shoelace.  I went with an ABC pattern, alternating the wide and narrow pieces:


I'd cut both wide and narrow pieces to create two "levels" of this toy.  Gv's little fingers can easily thread the narrow pieces right now, but the wide pieces present her with a bit of a challengewhich is a good thing in terms of helping to develop her fine motor skills.

At the moment, Gv just threads the noodle pieces on willy‐nilly, but as time goes on, she'll be able to work on all sorts of other patterns (you'll have tons of possibilities for different patterns if you keep all the noodle pieces for yourself.)

Store everything in a small bucket, basket, or box (which you can also get from the dollar store, if you don't have something on hand already).  As a bonus, your child can dump everything out and even stack the pieces like blocks, when not lacing them onto the shoelace.

You can't beat this for a great thrifty toy ideayou'll wind up with several sets that cost less than a dollar a piece.  Do you prefer homemade toys, or storebought?  I'd love to hear - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

Also, if you don't want to miss a single minute of great tips like this and all the fun around here, be sure to sign up for free updates and then look forward to having each post delivered right to your inbox.  

Linked up with:  Merry Monday, Thoughtful Spot, Motivation Monday, What'd You Do This Weekend, Mom 2 Mom Monday, Two Uses Tuesday, Totally Terrific Tuesday, Good Tips Tuesday, Tuesday Tutorials, The Mommy Club, WFMW, Not So Wordless Wednesday, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, A Little Bird Told Me, Homestead Blog Hop, Fluster's Creative Muster, Thrifty Thursday, Creative Ways, Creative Exchange, Hearts for Home, Frugal Family Linky, Ladies Collective, This is How We Roll, I'm Lovin It, Kitchen Fun & Crafty, Inspiration Spotlight, Awesome Life Friday, Home Matters, Pretty Pintastic Party, Front Porch Friday

Project Snapshot Week 66

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and purchase something, I'll receive a small affiliate
commission at no cost to you. Thanks so much for supporting my efforts with this blog!


The goal of this post is to capture a memory from the past week, either with a camera, words, or both.  Time passes in the blink of an eye and this will create a collection of treasured memories from throughout the year.

My Snapshot(s)

This weekend was all about Easter, and besides celebrating the empty tomb and enjoying the adorable artwork adorning our walls, it was an occasion to really see what a difference a year makes in the life of our little one.

We knew we wanted to keep Gv's few Easter basket treats under $5, especially when we discovered that Grammy and Grandpa Bunny had left behind a small surprise for our little chick after their last visit.  I dyed half a dozen eggs with onion skins to turn them a brilliant rusty red color and then we hid those along with a few plastic eggs we'd gotten from our co‐op's hunt earlier that week.  Gv is really into puzzles at the moment, so we picked up these foam letters and numbers for a small gift.




So we tell Gv that we're heading outside to hunt for eggs and what's the first thing she does?  Race over to our citrus trees and start collecting all the "eggs" that had fallen off!


She was quite proud of all her "finds," but we couldn't stop laughing at how she stumbled about under the weight of all those oranges and grapefruit!



She finally  moved on to discovering the actual eggs we'd hidden around the yard didn't I tell you the rusty red eggs I dyed were gorgeous?  All I did was boil the papery onion skins (Gv peeled them) for about 15 minutes, then I added 3 Tablespoons of plain old vinegar and let the eggs sit in the pot in the fridge overnight.  So easy!

I hope you all enjoyed a blessed day and beautiful weather like we did.  Happy Easter!

What was your favorite memory from this past week?  I'd love to hear about it!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.