Category Archives: toddler approved

Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread

You know when you buy a carton of buttermilk but you only use one or two cups and you don’t want the rest to go to waste? Well-now you have your answer! This quick bread is so delicious. We have been eating it plain, smeared with butter, topped with peanut butter and toasted with honey.

The original recipe calls for white sugar and white flour.  I easily replaced the white flour with white whole wheat flour but wasn’t sure what to use to replace the sugar.  I have been using honey a lot and that would probably have been delicious as well, but instead I wanted to try something with a slightly different flavor profile.  Jaggery! Jaggery is also known as coconut palm sugar.  Read more about jaggery here (thanks Wikipedia!).  This specific brand of jaggery I buy  is a very damp sugar, which is why I feel that you could easily replace it in the recipe with honey or even maple syrup.

feeding brian: cinnamon raisin quick bread

Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread

Adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients:

1 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1/4 cup salted butter, melted

1/2 cup jaggery (palm sugar) or honey

2 cups white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 325º.

2.Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan with butter or spray with cooking spray.

3. Whisk together buttermilk, egg,  melted butter, and jaggery or honey.

4. Add in remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.

6. Let bread cool in pan for a few minutes before turning it out on a wire rack to cool.

7. Slice and enjoy!

Makes 1 loaf, but recipe easily doubles (then freeze your extra loaf)

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Filed under bread, breakfast, nut free, snack, toddler approved, vegetarian

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

I typically make stock right after I cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker. After we have eaten and I have taken the rest of the meat off the chicken bones I put the bones and skin back into the slow cooker with the liquid that was leftover after cooking.  Yes, this is mainly fat, but it will add flavor to the stock and then it will be skimmed away later.  Next, add all those carrot peels and onions skins you have been saving.* This is also the time to add in the giblets you saved from inside the chicken.  Next, cover all this yummy goodness with about 8 cups of water.  I like to let my slow cooker cook on low for 10-12 hours.

In the morning, I turn the slow cooker off when I get up to allow the stock to cool a bit.  I then strain the stock, allow it to cool some more and put it in the fridge.

When I get home at night, I skim the fat off the top of the stock, then I put it into mason jars to store in the freezer.  That it, unless I plan on using it for another recipe later in the week.  Then I just store what I need in the fridge!

This chicken stock tastes a million times better than store bought and it is SO EASY to make. Enjoy!

cooking brian: slow cooker chicken stock

*Tip: any time you cut onions, celery, garlic, or peel carrots or parsnips, save all the skins and ends and peels in a bag in the freezer.  That way, when you are ready to make homemade stock, you won’t have to waste any vegetables, you will be able to use all these odds and ends.  You’re stock won’t taste exactly the same each time you make it, but it will still be delicious!

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Filed under dairy free, egg free, gluten free, grain free, low sugar, nut free, paleo, slow cooker, soup, toddler approved

Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker

I LOVE my slow cooker and I am super excited because I just got this new Crock-Pot Slow Cooker after my old one died.  Slow cookers are amazing tools for busy cooks, and I love that I can set mine up in the morning and come home to an incredible meal after being at work all day.

Just about once a week, I cook up a whole organic chicken in the slow cooker.  Not only does that mean we have a delicious roast chicken dinner once a week but it also means that I can make sandwiches with the chicken for the rest of the week or use the chicken in another meal.  I love doing whole chickens in the slow cooker because it is easy and it gives me control over what I put on my chicken (as opposed to buying a rotisserie chicken at the store). I also have control over the type of meat I purchase.  The final reason why I LOVE roasting chickens in the slow cooker is because I then get to use all the bones and skin and other little non-edible bits to make my own chicken stock in the slow cooker.  Not only is homemade chicken stock better for you than the stuff in the cans or boxes, but it tastes a million times better too!

Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker

This is more of a method rather than a recipe.  Please feel free to play around with it, add spices of your choosing and most importantly, have fun!

Ingredients:

1 5-6 lb chicken (preferably organic)

kosher salt

white pepper

garlic powder

onion powder

Directions:

1. In a clean sink, rinse chicken thoroughly.  Make sure to remove the giblets for a later use (chicken stock!). If you are not using the giblets right away, you can freeze them.

2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

3. Place the chicken breast side down in the slow cooker.  I have done the chicken both ways, breast up and down.  I think that breast down keeps the breast more moist, but then the skin from the breast side will not get crisp.  It’s your call!

4. Generously sprinkle the chicken with seasonings.

5. Cover and cook your chicken for about 8 hours on low.  It is done when juices run clear.

6. Remove from slow cooker and enjoy! Mine usually falls apart a bit because it has been sitting on the warm setting for a while after it finishes cooking.  The presentation isn’t the most amazing but the taste is outrageous! 

DO NOT throw away the liquid in the bottom of the slow cooker or your bones, skin and other little bits of the chicken you are not going to eat once it is cooked.  This will all be a part of the slow cooker chicken stock.

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Filed under dairy free, egg free, gluten free, grain free, low sugar, main dish, nut free, paleo, slow cooker, toddler approved

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Bars

Hello there! It has been quite some time since I last posted but I am excited to be back! A lot has happened in the past year and a half.  I gave birth (yeah-thats him up there…all 14 amazing months of him!), we moved to Massachusetts, and both Brian and I got new jobs.  But, enough about me…on to the new recipe!

I have always made most of our food from scratch, but recently, I have become more committed to a clean eating lifestyle.  For the past few months I have been baking homemade granola bars for Brian to take with him to work and the baby loves them.  The problem is, the daycare the little monkey attends is a nut free zone and these granola bars are made with peanut butter.  So I set out to create a nut-free granola bar that the monkey and the rest of the family would enjoy and could take to school/daycare.  Well-the little man highly approves of these bars and so does Brian!

While technically these are granola bars, we all think they taste like oatmeal raisin cookies! Enjoy!

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Bars

 Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup raw honey

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats

scant 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup raisins

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 °F and line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix all wet ingredients together.

3. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Do not worry about over mixing.

4. Press mixture into lined pan and bake for 25 minutes.

5. Allow bars to cool completely before cutting (makes 16-24 bars…I usually cut it into 20 which lasts the three of us about a week!)

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Filed under dairy free, egg free, nut free, snack, toddler approved, vegetarian

Homemade Apple Sauce

Apple sauce is one of those amazing comfort foods that not many people make at home anymore.  I remember when I was younger my grandma making applesauce for all the special occasions we would celebrate together as a family.  She would make one that was sugar free for me and another with sugar for the rest of the family.  I personally see no need to add sugar to applesauce if you buy apples that are not too tart.  Homemade apple sauce is good for you (an apple a day, right?), it is delicious, and most importantly it is easy!  I use one special piece of equipment, a Food Mill, but with the method I am going to show you, if you don’t want to buy a food mill or don’t own one already, there is a slightly more time consuming way to make it as well.

Apple sauce is GREAT for canning.  I do not know how to can (although I wish I did) and there are many people who make HUGE quantities of apple sauce and then can it. Check out these links if you are interested:

*Pick Your Own

*Make it Do

*Simply Canning

Homemade Apple Sauce

This is one of those recipes that is more of a method than a “I must stick exactly by the quantities to make this recipe work” recipe.

1. Gather apples.  The sweeter the apples, the sweeter the sauce.  Gala, Jonathan, Fuji and Pink Lady work well.  For this batch I used 10 apples that were getting a little mushy.  The texture was not great for eating, but that doesn’t matter for saucing.  However, as you can see from the picture, the skins of the apples are reddish/pinkish in color.  This will add a beautiful pink hue to the sauce.

2. Use either an Apple Corer and Slicer or a sharp knife to slice and core the apples.  DO NOT remove the apple peel.

3. Place apples in a large pot and add about an inch of water.  The apples will start to break down, so you don’t want to add too much water.

4. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  When the water has been boiling for a bit, reduce heat to medium-high and cook until all the apples are cooked through.

5. Let the apples cool a bit and then if you do have a handy food mill, pass the mixture through the food mill.  If you don’t have a food mill you have two choices: 1. Cook the apples with no skins to begin with and mash them with a potato masher when done (the sauce will not have a pinkish hue) OR 2. Spend some time pick out all the skins once the sauce is cool, then you can mash with a potato masher.

6. At this point, when all my glorious apple sauce is in a large bowl, I add cinnamon to taste.  For the 10 apples I added about 1 Tablespoon.

7. EAT! YUM!

Note: you can eat this apple sauce warm or cool it off in the fridge.  Either way it is amazing.  I suggest either eating it as a snack, over latkes or with pork chops.

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Filed under breakfast, dairy free, dessert, egg free, gluten free, grain free, low sugar, nut free, paleo, side dish, snack, toddler approved, vegan, vegetarian

Sloppy Toms

When I think of Sloppy Toms (the ground turkey version of a sloppy Joe) I can’t help thinking of the Adam Sandler song Lunch Lady Land!

I love Sloppy Joes and Sloppy Toms and wanted to create a recipe that reflected my eating habits.  That means using organic ketchup and not putting the meat on bread.  Unlike others, I don’t have fond memories of eating Sloppy Joes all that often as a child.  We didn’t EVER have canned Sloppy Joe meat like Manwich or anything like that (Thank you mom! And if my memory is not serving me correctly, please don’t tell me the truth!)

Since I choose not to eat gluten filled bread at the moment, Brian and I ate this deliciously sloppy meat over a mixture of sweet potatoes and cauliflower (note the orangey color of the mixture-kind of fun!).  It all worked well together-but feel free to serve this meat over buns of your choosing!

Sloppy Toms

Ingredients:

20 oz. lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup canned tomato sauce
3 oz. tomato paste
½ c. organic ketchup (NO HFCS in this house!)
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Spray a large nonstick sauté pan with cooking spray.  Cook ground turkey, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is cooked through. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, red wine vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire, paprika, salt and pepper, mix well. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until mixture has reached desired thickness.

Serve over mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, mashed sweet potatoes, (or a combination of the previously mentioned), or hamburger buns.  Enjoy!


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Filed under egg free, gluten free, main dish, nut free, toddler approved

Garlic Roasted Broccoli

I LOVE BROCCOLI! It is one of my favorite vegetables and there are many, many ways to prepare it.  (My favorite part of the the broccoli is the woody stem-so if you plan to throw yours away, send them my way instead!)  One of my favorite and easiest and TASTIEST ways to prepare broccoli is to roast it.  Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and roasting broccoli is no exception.  I made this dish for our family’s Chanukkah party alongside a few other roasted veggies and I love it so much, I made it again tonight!  Just as a side note-our almost 3 year old niece LOVED this broccoli, so it is very kid-friendly as well.

This recipe is inherently vegan and gluten free so those with restrictive diets, rejoice!  For those who do not have restrictive diets, roasted broccoli still makes an incredible vegetable side dish, so do not despair.  We ate this broccoli alongside mango chicken sausage and smashed potatoes.

What is so wonderful about this recipe (more of a method, really) is that you can toss the broccoli with whatever your heart desires…cumin, basil, oregano, curry powder, anything!  You can also adapt this recipe for cauliflower.  When I roasted cauliflower for Chanukkah, I tossed it with Penzey‘s Turkish seasoning, a blend of salt, garlic, cumin, Tellicherry black pepper, Turkish oregano, paprika, sumac, cayenne red pepper and cilantro. It was delicious!

Garlic Roasted Broccoli

1 large head broccoli
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped-if you like less garlic, use less!
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 425°F

Cut broccoli into florets and cut down the stem into bite size pieces.  You can discard the stem if you wish-but I advice against it.  Toss broccoli with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread broccoli on baking sheet or in a large pyrex dish.  Roast for 25-30 minutes until browned. EAT! Yum!

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Filed under dairy free, egg free, gluten free, grain free, low sugar, nut free, side dish, toddler approved, vegan, vegetarian