Pancake Cupcakes!

Most days it’s just me and E for breakfast. I don’t want to make a big mess for just me and her. Not to mention I’m pretty lazy in the mornings. I don’t wake up bursting with energy. Luckily, I came across this pin:

Pancake Cupcakes

The link doesn’t work for me but luckily the pinner wrote the instructions when she pinned it. So simple!

Mix a pancake mix, spray a cupcake pan, fill with mix, add toppings, bake for 12-14 min at 350.

I ended up with 11 after preparing 2 cups of mix, but I filled mine really full. I also used a “just add water” pancake mix because the goal of this it to be fast and easy.

20130313-083848.jpg

For toppings, I used chocolate chips, bacon, and cinnamon. I also made them with bananas last week. The chocolate chips were my favorite and Michael liked the cinnamon. We both agreed that the bacon ones were gross! I really wanted blueberries, but my grocery store didn’t have any.

20130313-083858.jpg

Best part, they freeze wonderfully! It’s so easy to make a bunch on day 1, then throw one in the microwave each morning! This could make the life of a working mom SO much easier. My toddler and I just finished eating some. Banana and cinnamon seem to be her favorites!

The topping possibilities are endless. Try it out and see what variations are favorites in your family!

Advertisements

Better than Sex Chex Mix – Recipe

Better Than Sex Chex Mix

20130305-213153.jpg

Excuse the yucky cell shots.  I was way too excited to actually eat this to drag the big camera out!  I came across this AMAZING recipe from tablespoon.com.  I instantly decided I had to make it.  I’ve been entirely too much of a sugaraholic lately.  Plus I love salt.  This lovely creation mixes the best of both worlds!

20130305-213211.jpg

Better than Sex Chex Mix is all over the internet, but the recipe seems to be pretty consistent.  It is SO easy to make and would make the perfect party food.

Ingredients

  • 8  cups Chocolate Chex® cereal
  • 3/4  cup packed brown sugar
  • 6  tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3  tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  cup Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, MINI size
  • 1 cup MINIATURE marshmallows
  • 1/2  cup caramel bits (found by the chocolate chips in the baking aisle — or chop up regular caramels)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2  cup MILK chocolate baking chips (or more if you’re a huge chocolate fan)
  • 1/2  cup vanilla (white) chocolate baking chips
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

Directions

  1. In a large microwavable bowl, measure cereal; set aside. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper or foil.
  2. In a two cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave brown sugar, butter and corn syrup uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until melted and smooth. Stir in baking soda until dissolved. Pour caramel mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Microwave on High 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Spread on cookie sheet. Cool 10 minutes. Break into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Make sure Chex mixture is cool to the touch (so candy doesn’t melt.) Evenly sprinkle mini peanut butter cups candy and miniature marshmallows over Chex mixture.
  4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave caramel baking bits and cream uncovered on High about 1 minute or until chips can be stirred smooth. Use a spoon or fork to drizzle over snack. Microwave the milk chocolate baking chips next, starting with 20-seconds and stirring, then at 20 second intervals until the mixture is completely smooth (microwave temps vary, so watch the chocolate and stir frequently until it’s of drizzling consistency). Drizzle over the snack mixture. Then microwave the vanilla (white) baking chips in 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth, and drizzle that over the snack mixture. (Note: The vanilla and milk chocolate chips should not need cream added.) Quickly sprinkle coarse salt over all while candy drizzles are still wet.
  5. Refrigerate until set. Break apart and store in tightly covered container.

The only variation I made was to add more salt.  I have a salt addiction though, so 1 tsp may very well be enough for you!  When I make it again, I will probably greatly decrease or eliminate the mini Reese Cups.  They made it a little too sweet and chocolatey for me!  Head on over to tablespoon.com and check them out.  They have tons of yummy recipes!

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day with Elise! (Recipe inside!)

I didn’t go crazy and plaster her walls with hearts, buy her an expensive gift, or plan 475 Valentine’s activities.  There were only a few small melt downs.  Mostly on my part when I went to pick up her Valentine’s Day cards Wednesday evening and they never received the order which I had already paid for.  But that’s okay, the world went on without Valentine’s day cards, and I slapped a little online card together last minute.  Visit yesterday’s post to see it.  My husband and I didn’t go on a date, nor did we exchange gifts, but I had the best Valentine’s day ever.  Why?  Because I have the best little Valentine.  She’s sweeter than chocolate and prettier than roses!

We started our morning off with pink white chocolate and strawberry pancakes!    I made these from scratch, and I must say, I am quite proud of myself.  They were DELICIOUS!  My husband even gave rave reviews, and he can be a tough critic!  Elise’s of course were heart shaped!

fb-1480

fb-1482

Recipe (I don’t really measure much, so some of the measurements are slightly guestimated):

  • red/pink food coloring (I used neon pink)
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • about a cup of diced strawberries
  • a couple handfuls of white chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar
  • strawberry syrup

Preheat griddle or skillet.  Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar in a large bowl.  Mix the eggs, honey, butter, vanilla, milk in a separate bowl.  Combine the mixtures slowly and stir slightly.  Mixture should be lumpy.  Add food coloring until you achieve the desired color.  Stir in the diced strawberries and white chocolate chips.  Save some strawberries to go on top if desired.  Pour approx 1/4 cup of mix for each pancake and flip when they start to bubble.  The color will brown slightly when you cook them, that is inevitable, but the inside will still be nice and bright!  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and diced strawberries after removing from griddle and then pour on the yummy strawberry syrup!  I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts out for Elise.

fb-1494

fb-1502

These were awesome.  Typing this out is making me wish I had them right now!  It’s like dessert for breakfast!

After breakfast, Elise and I cuddled and watched the Valentine’s day episode of Doc Mcstuffins (for the 80th time).  I never get tired of seeing how excited she gets when Lambie starts singing the “I feel better” song after Doc cures her little broken heart.

Miss Kylie was due to come over for a photo session, and luckily we were finishing up right when the princess started waking up from her nap.  That meant it was time for her play date!  They had a blast and both wore each other out.  Elise adores her and smiles the entire time she is here.

fb-1922

They snacked on fruit plates while they were here, but after her play date was over, Elise had a special heart shaped turkey sandwich!

fb-2011

You can really tell how tired she was from playing so hard.  Surprisingly, she didn’t take a nap for hours later.

66970_606111299405698_1758326437_n

So instead, we had more cuddling!

Finally when her daddy got up to get ready for work (boo night shift!), she agreed to take a nap for him.  She slept for the longest time.  When she got up, she had a special dinner of steak, steamed carrots, and steamed potatoes.  For dessert, she has a sweet little heart shaped brownie.  Mississippi Mud to be exact, which was totally made from a box mix, so no fancy recipe with that!  Everyone has to take a few shortcuts from time to time!  Overall, it was definitely a wonderful day and my sweet angel’s cuddles were by far, the best possible gift!  I couldn’t ask for a more precious valentine!

A Week of Toddler Meals/Snacks

A week of Toddler Meals and Snacks

Toddler food is always being discussed in my mom’s group, so I thought I would share a sample of what Elise eats. It can be hard to come up with different ideas and not get stuck into easy (and often unhealthy) foods and snacks.

I work on the weekends, so I’m not with E and not the one preparing her food on those days, so I am including all of her food for Monday through Friday this week.

Monday:
Breakfast – Mommy was at work, so daddy fed her. She had a banana, Cheerios, and milk.
Snack – Animal cracker cookie and part of a cutie (those little oranges) and milk
Lunch – honey breaded chicken finger, Mac and cheese, steamed veggies with water
Snacks – apple slices, 1/2 a graham cracker, milk
Dinner – French toast (I gave her a tiny amount of syrup) and pineapple chunks, water.
Bedtime – Milk

Here she is enjoying her lunch!

20130204-142059.jpg

20130204-142133.jpg

I still have to cut up her food pretty small for her.  Poor baby still only has two teeth (two bottom ones).  However, we have 6 top teeth poking through all at the same time!

Tuesday was a sleepy day with lots of naps because the princess was up most of the night.
Breakfast – peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk
Snack – she partied all night and woke up late, so breakfast was later than normal. She did have an animal cracker and a couple yogurt melts though, milk with nap time.
Lunch – She insisted on having a Gerber pouch. It was sweet potatoes mixed with some fruit, so to add something a little heavier with it, she had one of her favorite snacks for lunch, what I call snack pizzas. Crackers, a stick of cheese (mozzarella and cheddar), and pepperoni. She had water to drink.
Snack – Milk (Snack idea to make up for her lack of snack though – YOGURT!)
Dinner – Alfredo bow tie pasta with ham and broccoli with water.
Bedtime – milk

Wednesday
Breakfast – grapefruit and Cheerios, milk
Snack – chocolate chip cookie (this was a big treat), milk
Lunch – fruit plate (bananas and blueberries), water.
Snack – 1/2 graham cracker, milk
Dinner – Pork chops, steamed carrots and potatoes, and water
Another snack – part of a cutie, yogurt melts
Bedtime – milk

Thursday
Breakfast – Blueberry muffin with fresh blueberries, water.
Snack – animal cracker cookie, milk.
Lunch – a banana, rotini pasta, 1/4 a cheesy breadstick (we were out to eat), water
Snack – frozen yogurt with assorted fruit as toppings (on her play date with Miss Kylie!), milk.
Dinner – baked chicken, garlic rice, corn, peas, water.
Bedtime – milk

Friday
Breakfast – Fruit plate (banana and apple slices), milk.
Snack – milk (took an early nap, but she was going to have fresh kiwi).
Lunch – turkey and cheese sandwich, peas, fresh pineapple, water.
Snack – apple cinnamon oatmeal, milk
Dinner – roast beef and scalloped potatoes.
Bedtime – milk

Another fun lunchtime:

20130208-121409.jpg

Bonus! Saturday(I’m including even though I wasn’t there)
Breakfast – mini pancakes, apple slices, water.
Snack – Gerber fruit pouch, milk
Lunch – meatloaf and carrots, water
Snack – banana, milk
Dinner – grilled cheese and diced strawberries, water
Bedtime – milk

Sunday– I was at work and she was with her Grammie.  I’m not sure what her meals consisted of, but I know that she did have pineapple, grilled cheese, peas, and shredded cheese. 

My child LOVES to eat.  Here are a couple of photos of her enjoying a few favorites, even though they aren’t from this week!

20130211-102727.jpg

Chicken Cordon Bleu pizza with spinach!  YUM!

20130211-102740.jpg

Honey breaded chicken finger with broccoli!  Baby likes her veggies!

20130211-102753.jpg

Elise loves it when I give her baby trail mix as a snack!

20130211-102813.jpg

Spaghetti is always a fun and very messy dinner!

20130211-102708.jpg

As soon as you open the refrigerator, she is climbing in it and pulling whatever looks yummy (or colorful) out.  She currently has a obsession with getting the mustard bottle out and carrying it around the house.  I let her taste it once.  She wasn’t a fan!

Other ideas and tips to promote healthy toddler eating:

  • Eggs – This is such a great breakfast for a toddler and it is packed with protein.  You can make an omelet and add veggies to get in more nutrition!  Unfortunately, Elise will not touch eggs with a ten foot pole no matter how much I try to disguise them!
  • Shredded Cheese – Elise LOVES shredded cheese.  It makes for such an easy addition to a snack!
  • Any kind of fresh fruit – Kiwi, watermelon, berries (be careful with possible choking), grapes (always cut in half!), cantaloupe, mango, etc.  Fruit is nature’s candy!
  • PEAS.  Elise loves peas.  They are easy for her to pick up and healthy, so I love them for her!  She eats peas a lot, so I have no idea how we made it through a week of meals without me serving them to her!  They require no prep and can go great with dinner or be a great snack.
  • Yogurt is packed full of nutrition and also satisfies a little sweet tooth in a healthy way!  Elise loves yogurt, but is having an independent streak of not wanting mommy and daddy to feed her with a spoon, so she hasn’t been getting as much of it lately.
  • Pasta is a great way to work on fine motor skills and great for little ones like Elise who are still lacking in the teeth department!  Not to mention it is a family friendly dinner that takes minimal prep time!
  • Oatmeal is your friend!  Again, Elise isn’t in to being fed right now so we’ve held off on it for a couple of weeks, but it is such a healthy and easy breakfast.  Try buying oats in bulk and making your own instant oatmeal in ziplock bags to quickly make!  The flavor possibilities are endless and it is so much healthier and cheaper than buying premade instant oatmeal!
  • Peanut butter!  It goes great on everything!  Toast, bananas, crackers, apples, and so much more!  I recommend speaking with your pediatrician about when it is right to introduce it to your baby though.  We gave it to Elise a couple of days before her one year birthday.
  • Always make extra for dinner and save the left overs!  They make for great toddler lunches the next day!  Did you make baked chicken for dinner?  Try revamping it tomorrow and making a yummy quesadilla with veggies insides as a toddler lunch!
  • We always try to make things for dinner that are baby friendly.  Elise seems to eat more of her food if we are eating the same thing.  If we are eating something different, she is interested to know what we have!
  • This is a given, but sit down at the table together and turn the TV off.  I am always so tempted to do the dishes or wipe down the kitchen quickly while she is eating in the highchair.  I have to stop and remind myself that meal time is family time!
  • I try to offer water at meals instead of milk so that she doesn’t just fill up on milk.  We do often allow her to have milk at breakfast though.
  • We do not do juice at all.  I know a lot of people have to use it for constipation issues once they switch to whole cow’s milk, but I would still encourage it to be with snacks and not meal time.
  • We keep water available to Elise all day.  She always has a sippy full of water close by.
  • Don’t be afraid to give them a treat every now and then!  No hiding in the kitchen eating cookies while they aren’t looking.  Let them share in the snack, and teach them moderation and self control.  Model good eating habits for them.  I think it is absolutely okay for a toddler to have a cookie or other dessert/treat every now and then if they ate their healthy foods first.
  • Keep healthy snacks with you.  When we are going out with others, I will pack a banana or other easy fruit just in case there’s not a healthy option for her.  We also keep yogurt melts, cheerios, and animal crackers in the diaper bag to help with those screaming fits in the car seat or while waiting on meals at restaurants!
  • Depending on what Elise is having, I sometimes offer the healthiest option first.  For example, if we are having steamed broccoli and mac and cheese for lunch (this is a common lunch for us), then I offer the broccoli first.  Elise LOVES mac and cheese, so she will devour that and fill up if they are both offered together.
  • Food is for eating, not for playing.  I know a lot of people say that throwing food off the highchair is a learning process and to just ignore it, but we do not.  If she starts throwing her food instead of eating, then we take it away.  Normally by that point she is full anyway, but if it happens to be a time where she didn’t eat, I will save it and offer it again a little later.
  • I very much believe that a baby with no underlying health problems will not let themselves starve.  If they go a couple of days without really eating much food, don’t stress.  Maybe they are teething or just more interested in exploring the world, but they will come around.  Just keep offering and ensuring they are getting enough milk!

Do you have any other toddler meal or snack ideas?  Any healthy eating tips?  Please feel free to share!

Hot Chocolate Mousse – YUM!

We have tons of hot chocolate mix left over from Elise’s Minnie Mouse birthday party.  Way more than we could ever think about drinking.  I had no idea what to do with it, until I came across this pin on pinterest.  This Betty Crocker Hot Cocoa Mousse Recipe is to die for!  It was so easy to make.  I was eating it with in 10 minutes!

20130117-001002.jpg

Ingredients:

-1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream

– 1/2 cup powdered sugar

-2 packages (1.25 oz each) hot cocoa mix

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Whipped cream, if desired.

In a medium bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high until cream begins to thicken.  On medium, beat in powdered sugar and cocoa mix until blended.  Add 1/4 tsp cinnamon and the vanilla; beat on high speed until soft peaks form.

It is that easy.  I didn’t have any vanilla extract so I skipped that and it still turned out great.  I also never measure anything, so I just threw it all together.  It was so yummy.  I may have ate almost all of it by myself.  I plan to make more, as I still have lots of hot cocoa left over.  My mom gave me the great idea of making cupcakes and adding it to the center.  I also want to make a pretty truffle with oreos and chocolate cake.  This may be dangerous for my sweet tooth!

Rewind to Christmas – Celebrating the Birthday of Baby Jesus!

I know that Elise is too little this year to understand the real meaning of Christmas, but I still told her the story anyway.  It is so important to me that although we will do Santa, that she realizes Santa is not what Christmas is about.  As I mentioned in another Christmas post, our tradition will be that she asks Santa for one present, and Santa only brings that one present.  Mommy and daddy bring a few more, but Santa only brings one special present.  My hope is that this will help to cut down on her writing a 45 page letter to Santa telling him 6034 things that she thinks she just “has to have.”

Another Christmas tradition we started this year, is that every year on Christmas day we will have a birthday party for baby Jesus.  Nothing huge or over the top, but just a cake/cupcakes and we will read about the birth of Jesus.  When she is a little bit older we will blow out a birthday candle and instead of making a wish, we will figure out a small act of charity that either she can do or we can do as a family to help others.  Whether it be donating a toy, helping a neighbor, or volunteering, we will help her come up with something age appropriate.

This year Elise helped me make pumpkin cupcakes using this recipe.

fb-0132

fb-0156 fb-0162 fb-0165  fb-0167 

Birthday Morning Pancakes!

On Elise’s actual birthday, we fixed a special breakfast!  Birthday Cake Pancakes!  I plan to make this a fun yearly tradition for her actual birthday morning.  I used the recipe from this blog post from how sweet it is.  Be sure to check out her blog, because she has all kinds of yummy recipes!  The only thing I changed was that I like tripled the glaze recipe and I added a ring of bananas to decorate her pancakes (which is also one of her FAVORITE fruits!)

Anyway, back to my sweet birthday girl!  Here she is waiting on mommy to hurry up and deliver her surprise birthday breakfast!

FB-0324

FB-0326

I forgot to put her birthday candle on her cake at her Minnie Mouse birthday party (and we forgot to sing her Happy Birthday – mom fail).  So instead, I put it on her birthday candles and mommy and daddy sang the birthday song to her.   I think that was better anyway, since this was on her actual birthday.

FB-0328

She thought we were slightly crazy, or our singing voices are horrible.  Probably both.  I can’t say that I blame her though!

FB-0332

She thought mommy and daddy helping her blow out the candle was quite silly!

FB-0335

She was hesitant to dig in, but she was curious about the colorful sprinkles!

FB-0336

FB-0340

FB-0341

FB-0344 FB-0345

FB-0347

FB-0348

FB-0350

After a few bites, I cut up her pancakes and bananas so that she could really go to town.  She did eat some on the pancakes, but she was much more excited about the sliced bananas that had now just been soaking in sugary glaze!  She devoured the bananas!

My husband and I shared in the birthday cake pancake breakfast with her.  They were pretty good.  I liked the actual pancake, and it did taste like cake, but I wasn’t a big fan of the glaze.  It tasted like straight powdered sugar to me (probably why Elise loved it) but it was overkill in my opinion.  I think next year I will whip up some other kind of topping to put on them.  The glaze and colorful sprinkles are super pretty, so I may still do a little of that, but I think I will add strawberry syrup, or better yet, maybe chocolate syrup!

The recipe says that it makes 12, but I make pretty huge pancakes, and I came out with 8.

Cake Batter Pancakes

makes about 12 pancakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup yellow cake mix

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 cups milk (I used vanilla almond milk)

assorted sprinkles

Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Add 1 cup of milk, egg and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. You want the batter to look like regular pancake batter; not too thin, not too thick. This will vary greatly on the brand of cake mix you use. Start with 1 cup of milk and add more if needed. I suggest a small taste test as well to see if the pancakes are flavored enough.

Preheat a skillet on medium heat (I use an electric grilled and turn it to 250 degrees). Fold desired amount of sprinkles into batter. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto skillet and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve with vanilla glaze.
Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

assorted sprinkles

Mix milk, extract and powdered sugar until glaze forms. You may need to add a little more sugar or water/milk to reach desired consistency. Mix into glaze and drizzle on pancakes

FB-0350

Please feel free to share your birthday traditions!  I love hearing them and am always looking for new things to add to our family fun!  Also again be sure to hop over to how sweet it is and take a peak at all of her yummy recipes!!

Check out more of birthday related posts:

Meeska Mooska Minnie Mouse

Minnie & Mickey Hat Tutorial

Minnie Mouse Car Tutorial

Happy Birthday Elise!