Sssh until last weekend I was a savoury muffin virgin! Why had no-one introduced me to these lovelies before? I made them on a whim. My kids are really not fans of sandwiches, in fact I’m wondering about just doing away with bread altogether in our house (my husband may have something to say about that one). So I’m always on the lookout for new lunch combos. Otherwise my kids will turn into crackers….. well they are already a bit crackers to be honest 😉
This little stunner of a recipe hits a bonus point. It is a great way to get extra vegetables in.
I cooked these up and had to actually stop the small people from eating them all. 4 of them went as a bedtime snack!
On Monday I send them with a packed lunch to a playgroup with my husband and this week EVERYTHING in their packed lunch was eaten. So my new theory is muffins make the world a better place.
We’ve just had a wonderful week away in France, where all the food was cooked for us. I love being cooked for. One of the days we had rhubarb crumble. Rhubarb is one of those fruits that I adore but don’t cook very often as the rest of the family are not as keen on it as I am. I love the tart flavour and the way it perfectly compliments custard, another of my favourite foods!
On coming back home we have all felt pretty exhausted. Such is the joy of a holiday and travelling with small children (one of whom did not sleep at all well all week). However after a week out of the kitchen and a week of no flapjack, my creative side was itching to get going. So instead of sitting on the sofa and dozing, like I should have done, I remembered a neglected bag of rhubarb in my freezer. It was literally shouting out to me cooked up into an oaty, crunchy, crispsy, chewy delight. I took inspiration from crumble, a rhubarb crisp recipe that came to me from childhood and my beloved flapjack.
This isn’t any ordinary flapjack. This is rhubarb cooked to a jam consistency, layered ontop of a soft oaty base, topped with crispy oaty bits. I’ll admit I was unsure about the peanut butter, but you know what? It works! Both my kids are instant fans, rhubarb is back on the menu!
A few shots of baking in action:
The rhubarb layer goes on.
The finished product:
Rhubarb Crumble Squares
Naturally sweetened rhubarb on a soft oaty base with a crunchy oat crumble on top. No added sugars. Plenty of natural sweetness and wholegrain goodness.
My afternoons often consist of “Mummy my tummy’s hungry” from Miss K (age 4) and “Mor Mor” with a sign for “Eat” from J-boy (17 months). I swear the toddler boy could graze all afternoon if allowed! I’m constantly on the look out for tasty, healthy snacks for my kids. Generally I prefer to have some savoury snacks around – with some veggies involved when I can sneak them in. However this week, after spending time talking to clients about malt loaf, I was fancying a chewy, sweet but healthy loaf cake that is dense to keep hungry tums full.
This one was knocked up in about 20 minutes with J-boy helping me. He ate some of the apricots, tipped out the flour and licked the spatula clean! I cooked at the same time as our chicken tray bake was in the oven too. That meant both the kids sneaked a piece with their yoghurt after tea 🙂 Let’s just say it was devoured pretty quickly.
Mis K: “It’s the goodest cake Mummy, its the goodest cake with fruit in it”
Although I made this for the kids, I made it wheat and gluten free so that I can join in the fun too!
Healthy Apricot Fruit Loaf
This is a healthy, no added sugar, low fat, gluten free recipe… completely suitable for toddlers and adults alike.
I’m constantly on the look out for quick, easy, healthy snacks. Life with a toddler and baby with 2 businesses to run means I’m constantly on the go running from the kids to a Pilates class to cooking dinner or to a clinic. So with some baking time on my hands the toddler and I experimented with oats, fruit, peanut butter and seeds to make an easy to eat, healthy, nutritious snack. These are wheat free, dairy free and gluten free if you use gluten free oats.
This was a lot of fun for the toddler, she did later get her hands stuck in and loved squidging it all. Perfect for textures, messy play and all round fun for her. I’ve found these great for eating between Pilates classes or for grabbing as a snack between meals when I’m feeding the baby.
Perfect for a post-exercise snack due to the protein content and great for mums on the run!
Oaty Peanut Balls
Great for healthy snacking on the run, for post-workouts and for toddlers/children.
Birthdays. I love them. Having a toddler makes them even more fun. The sheer slight on her face when she opens presents and cards is amazing. When there is a 3 year old in the house there has to be a party!
We kept things very low key this year and had a little party at home. Having a studio in the house means we have the luxury of a room without furniture that kids can run around in so we made full use of it having a few little friends over for party games.
Now my toddler, as most do, enjoys cakes and biscuits. However I limit these. Firstly because its just not good to be having them everyday and secondly because she reacts to the sugar and I end up with a hyperactive toddler! So I planned the party food carefully. I also got the toddler involved asking her what she would
Like. She chose melon, grapes and hummus. Strange child!
So here is the spread we ended up with:
Large sausages sliced up
Cheese and pineapple
Mini eggy muffins
Carrots, cucumber sticks and celery
Pom Bear crisps
Ham and tuna sandwiches cut into star and rabbit shapes
Plus of course the birthday cake which was a sugar fest!
What are your top children’s party foods? I’d love to know.
Recently the husband and the toddler have been have a bit of a “snack-off”. She asks for “pink biscuits”, “sweeties” and snacks that generally she knows are not for everyday eating and Daddy finds it hard to negotiate. She is a highly skilled negotiator (may get that skill from me), watch out for her later in life!
So my mummy mind leapt into action and to save the day, we made up a pile of more suitable snacks. Here is our vlog of making cheesy courgette biscuits, we made 3 batches of these and froze them in freezer bags ready to get out when needed. Written recipe here.
I’d love to hear your favourite snack ideas. Here are some more of mine.
My toddler has got to the age where she is well aware about the delights of cakes and biscuits. Being a dietitian I’m not keen on her eating lots of bought and sugary snacks, so most weeks we have a baking session. I’m also pregnant at the moment so keen to find myself healthy treats to snack on too.
This week toddler girl asked to make some cakes, so I popped over to Mamcook’s blog for some inspiration. She has these lovely looking Fruity Prune Muffins on her blog which I’ve adapted to make them gluten and wheat free, plus we used apricots (toddler’s choice).
The whole family was pretty pleased with them, in fact these are likely to be adapted and cooked quite regularly as they were easy for the toddler to get involved with too.
100g, 3.5 oz Gluten Free Self Raising flour or 50g rice flour, 30g cornmeal and 20g tapioca starch
40g, 1.5oz Porridge oats
1 tsp Gluten Free Baking powder
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
140g, 5oz Natural yoghurt
1 tbsp Apple juice
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
3 tbsp of Vegetable oil
140g, 5oz Chopped Dried Apricots
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4.
Mix the flours, oats, apricots, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together.
Now mix the yoghurt, apple juice, vanilla extract, oil, egg together.
Next mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones.
Spoon into a muffin tin and bake for 12-14 minutes, they should be risen and golden.
Holidays, what do they mean to you? To me it’s usually about relaxing, enjoying great food, seeing amazing sights and making special memories. My parents live out in Spain, which means we have to go out and visit them from time to time…..all that sun, sea and Sangria…. it’s a hard life 😉
This holiday has involved having the joys of a toddler…and I really do mean the joys. Today I loved hearing “Wow, horses” at horse drawn carriages and watching her sheer delight on the beach has been amazing, plus being in a hot place has meant the treat of an ice lolly.
Being pregnant and having a toddler has meant things are slightly different… no going out in the evenings for dinners and drinks, no long lazy lunches as toddler needs a nap, the constant need to find toilets (for me) and carry snacks (for us both) and definitely no Sangria (major BOO).
However, I do have a toddler who is also loves food, trying new places to eat and new experiences. So we have been treated by my parents to some super yummy meals cooked at home and have enjoyed snacking out and about. Being wheat free makes it slightly more complicated but not impossible.
I’ve been having giant amazing strawberries with breakfast, lots of different cheeses, my mum has cooked steak for my hubby (his favourite) and prawn for me (one of my favourites).
What are your favourite holiday foods?
Here are some of our favourite food moments so far:
Yesterday I decided to take the plunge and try out a vlog. It’s a bit long so next time I’ll remember to keep it short and sweet….but I’m quite suprised with the end result….not too bad 😉 Personally I think that’s all due to my glamourous assisstant!
Please do take a look and let me know what you think…..and feel free to share too.
Feeding a little one is such a responsibility and every parent wants to do the best they can. However a hectic life and a mobile, becoming ever more independant yet constantly hungry can mean you constantly have to carry snacks around with you. Well it does for me. My change bag has been overtaken with pots, bags and wrappers.
Here are my top tips on healthy snacks for your baby/toddler:
Grapes, blueberries or strawberries in pots.
Cubes of cheese (cheaper and better than cheese strings). Try different types of cheese too.
Raw veggie sticks and breadsticks with a dip our favourites are homemade hummous or try mixing greek yoghurt with mint and cumin.
Cream cheese pinwheels – spread it in a wrap, roll and slice.
Rice cakes, there are so many flavours out there for little ones
Potato wedges – peel, slice and baked in the oven, use sweet potato and normal whites.
Steamed veggies. My little one loves cooked broccoli 🙂
Sliced avocardo, cucumber and tomato
Pancakes either thick or thin
Fruity small plain scones
Pitta bread stuffed with cottage cheese and grated carrot, sliced up.
Pasta twists, cooked.
As you can see these are all easy to prepare foods showing you don’t have to buy lots of specialist baby snacks to keep your little ones happily munching (although those can be useful at times also). Now go enjoy the mess!!
Any other ideas or top tips? Please do share, I’d love to hear.
Freelance Dietitian specialising in helping those with Eating Disorders and a Media Spokesperson for the profession.