Monday, March 23, 2015

Smoothie Cubes

So I have a child who doesn't like milk. It's always been this way...when she was a year old and stopped nursing, I would literally follow her around with a four ounce bottle of whole milk, trying to get her to drink it. Other children would suck down 24 ounces of the stuff a day; on a good day she'd drink six.

At age 11, she still needs a lot of calcium, so we've found some workarounds. Every morning I save a splash of coffee to add to her morning beverage and she finds that flavor much more appealing. She adores cheese, so that helps, but hates yogurt. Luckily, we finally found a lasting solution that makes everyone happy: Smoothie Cubes!

About every two weeks, my daughter and I gather 'round the blender and toss in whatever floats her boat. We always include some yogurt, a frozen banana, and milk, and beyond that it varies. (Ironically she hates bananas too, but doesn't mind them in a smoothie, and they add the best texture.)

So far we've tried:

  • peanut butter & banana
  • strawberry, banana and honey
  • pumpkin pie (we use this recipe as inspiration but do not follow exactly)
  • mango, banana and raspberry
  • and today's flavor, blueberry, pear and banana

After blending we pour the mixture into ice cube trays, cover with wax paper and freeze. The next day I pop the cubes into a ziploc. This process is much like the one I did when making baby food a million years ago and it still works.

In the morning, I put three or four cubes into a small drink container and add a couple ounces of milk. By the time lunchtime rolls around, the cubes have melted enough that when shaken, she has a smoothie ready to enjoy.

Milk, yogurt, lots of fruit and no fighting? I'll take it!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Post-vacation coffee cake

We just returned from five days’ vacation, where a pickle was the closest approximation to produce on my kids’ plates. While I can make myself choose salad over a burrito to detox, my kids are a harder sell. 
When I got home from work yesterday I had the urge to whip up something they could grab before the bus while saving myself a battle to get nutrients into their growing bodies. A transition was needed - a bowl of cereal with fresh fruit is something of a let-down after freshly made donuts or french toast casserole for breakfast. 
I paged through my recipe binder while doing a mental inventory of my freezer and settled on this wonderful coffee cake, which is my son’s favorite. I love it because in addition to being delicious, it is relatively low in fat as well as sugar, and it includes fruit. This time around, though, sneaky mom made some modifications. (Insert evil laugh here.)
Was the difference noticeable? A bit. Was it still special and yummy? Absolutely. And it took all of ten minutes to assemble.
Very Berry Coffee Cake, from The Lodge in Vail, CO
Original recipe found here
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar – I used 1/4 cup
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup plain yogurt – had strawberry in the house, so used that and cut back on sugar
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil – I used applesauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour – I used 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose, and added 3 t flaxmeal
    • 1/2 cup sugar – I used 1/4 cup
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 cups mixed berries – you can use anything you have on hand. I had frozen blackberries and raspberries and they were great.
  1. In a small bowl, add the first 3 ingredients; stir to combine and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the egg, milk, yogurt, oil, and vanilla; stir until blended.
  3. In another bowl, add in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir to mix.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Fold in berries and pour into a greased 8x8 inch baking pan.
  6. Sprinkle with reserved brown sugar-pecan topping and lightly press into the batter.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes, cut into squares and serve.