Monday, November 26, 2012

{kitchen adventures} Sneaky Veggie Yogurt Pops

With the terrible twos quickly approaching and incisors growing in, I'm 100% serious when I say the healthiest thing I can currently get my toddler to eat is a popsicle. Before you go clicking the little x in the corner, you should know that these yummy yogurt pops have about 5 grams of protein. They're also packed with fiber, tons of potassium and vitamin C, and lots of iron, because each one contains about 3 TBSP of spinach. These also contain around 4g of sugar from fresh fruit, as opposed to a store bought popsicle, which can contain around 12g of sugar from high fructose corn syrup.

Even with winter approaching, these continue to be such a hit around here that I wanted to share the recipe. 

For the fruit/veggie portion, you could use any of the other puree recipes I have here, but I usually make my yogurt pops in strawberry banana flavor.

You'll need:
3 ripe bananas
2 heaping cups fresh spinach, rinsed
3/4 pint fresh strawberries, rinsed and stemmed
1.5 cups plain greek yogurt 

Since fat is such a key component to brain development in children and my child rarely eats enough of it, I like to get full fat greek yogurt when I can find it. However, you can also choose fat free or 2% depending on your needs. Just be sure to choose a brand that contains at least 24g of protein in a 1 cup serving.

Optionally, you can add a little honey, agave, or orange juice if you don't think these are sweet enough, but my little guy devours them just the way they are! Another great way to sweeten the recipe is to simply add an extra banana.

Start by sauteing the spinach in a little bit of olive or coconut oil. Again, I want to increase the healthy fat content of these as much as a I can, so I was really generous with the amount of olive oil I used. While the spinach is cooking, break the bananas in quarters and toss them in your food processor, along with your stemmed strawberries.

You'll want to saute the spinach just long enough that it starts to wilt.

Once the spinach is finished cooking, toss it into the food processor with your fruit. Pulse and puree until smooth. 
Or let a little helper do the blending.

Add your yogurt and mix again until blended. 

At this point, you or your child can do a taste test. If the spinach flavor is too strong, you can add more strawberries. If you want it a bit sweeter, toss in an extra banana. You can also opt to sweeten with honey, agave, or orange juice if you'd like. Once the puree is to your kiddo's liking, pour into popsicle molds. I found these great ones for $1 at Ikea. This recipe made 12 pops of this size, so I needed to use 2 molds. 

Freeze at least 4 hours, and enjoy!

Just don't serve too cold.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Melissa And Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway!

Let me start by saying how much we love Melissa and Doug toys up in here. Almost a year ago, we gave our one year old this Frolicking Frog Pull Toy, and he still plays with it every day. Whether he and "Froggy" are running circles in the kitchen...

 Waiting at the front door for daddy to come home...

Or exchanging a little kiss before naptime, "Froggy" is always close by. 

November has snuck up on me suddenly, but this means holiday gift shopping is right around the corner! It also means the little guy has a birthday in just a few weeks (four weeks if you're counting, but I don't want to talk about it). I've always loved educational toys, but with a new baby on the way, we decided this year's gifts need to not only be educational, but QUIET and engaging. I can't think of a better place to look than Melissa and Doug, who recently released their top 20 holiday gift picks, or the Terrific Twenty, as they call it. Our holiday wishlist for the little one already includes their Latches Board, Wooden Play Food, and Wooden Big Rig Trucks Set, so I was excited for the chance to check out the Terrific Twenty list and to give you two different ways to win a toy from this list!

The first way to win is to visit Melissa and Doug's Facebook page where you can enter daily to win a different item from their Terrific Twenty list.

The second way is to participate in my rafflecopter giveaway. My Z loves to stash all his "treasures" and bring them with him all around the house. Combine this with his love of "horse ride" -ing anything that he can sit on, and I think he would absolutely LOVE to get his hands on a Trunki. What's more, I think your little one would too!

To win the Trunki, simply follow the directions in the rafflecopter. Good luck and happy holiday shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway