Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


Healthy Toddler Breakfast

What is your typically breakfast?  For me, breakfast is the most challenging meal of the today.  My toddler (21 months) has inspired me to rethink breakfast.  B does not like to eat first thing in the morning and he can often eat slowly.  This means it’s better if we get up early and don’t rush breakfast – NOT EASY!  I also want to make sure he gets protein in the morning to last him until lunchtime at school.  My little guy goes to a Montessori school three days a week.  I have more flexibility when he’s home with me because I can give him snacks and we don’t need to get to school on time.  I say all that to show, as most parents know, that breakfast is the most challenging and important meal of the day.

My goal for the New Year is to make more hot, healthy breakfast meals!  To me this means the breakfast must contain: 1) protein 2) a green veggie 3) whole grains and 4) fruit.  This does not happen every day but I’m getting better!  Here is B’s favorite breakfast so far that meets all my requirements and is pretty quick to prepare.  Oh yeah, it’s good for me too!

B’s favorite hot, healthy breakfast:

Scrambled eggs with cheese and chopped up kale;

almond/wheat bread with PB;

smoothie with variety of frozen fruits and either spinach or kale;

although not in the picture we almost always have berries or banana in the morning (B loves blueberries!)

and I always serve water with meals too.


We don’t usually serve B juice but I will give him smoothies sometimes.  I use about 1:4 ratio of smoothie with water.  It’s really all about getting him more greens.

Since B was born and even during pregnancy, I have determined that diets don’t work.  It’s much for effective for me to focus on what I can and want to eat instead of what I can’t eat.  I try to eat at least one green veggie a day (kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, parsley, etc.) and two veggie at dinner.  I also try to drink as much water as I can.  Sticking to just a few goals makes things much easy.  And these goals fit perfectly with my hot, healthy breakfast goal!

Do you have food goals for 2014?  What is your toddler’s favorite, healthy breakfast?  How do you manage the stress of the morning rush to school?



Classic Fall Favorites

Baby B reading








Baby Bear reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle!

What do you like best about fall?  The colors, the crisp, the change?  It’s a time to get creative.  The cool air brings on creativity.  And cravings for pumpkin spice lattes.  I don’t get it but I go with it!  Here are some of my fall favorites.  What are yours?  Do you get in the mood to cook or decorate a fall wreath?  Maybe you have the urge to read a new book or try running in a 5k race.  I’m curious how fall or the change of seasons affects people.  Although I get pretty excited about fall, in the back of my mind is the lurking, shadow of an idea that WINTER is coming.  And I don’t like winter.  Well, I get tired of it after two weeks.  But I love fall none the less.  I remember when I was young, summer and winter (really Christmas time) were my favorite seasons.  My mother preferred spring and fall.  Now I get it!  We’ll combat winter blues later, let’s enjoy the FALL!


Veggie chili in the crock pot and healthy too!

Betty Crocker apple crisp because it’s the easiest version I’ve found!


Check out this blog all about wreaths!


I’m making this button snake from Money Saving Mom for a busy bag swap next week!  Here’s another example from Activity Mom!

Also, love these free printables from Making Learning Fun about The Very Hungry Caterpillar – one by Baby B’s favorite books!  In the picture above, he’s ogling the food.  We like to count the food and find the caterpillar on each page.  During snack, we put Cheerios on the caterpillar printout and count out loud.





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Toddler Recipes: Quinoa Cakes and Chocolate Date Bites

Tonight I made Quinoa Cakes and some sort of Chocolate Date Bite thing.  Both these little recipes were simple modifications of prior recipe ideas.  Once you get the hang of it you can experiment with other nutritional enhancers.  The Quinoa Cakes were a dinner gone wrong and an understanding that toddlers like finger foods.  I made up a dish of quinoa (1/2 cup dry quinoa with 1 cup veggie broth and a dash of curry).  I added about a cup and 1/2 of mixed frozen veggies (pea, green beans, carrots and lima beans) and a cup of chickpeas.  Baby B served it to the dogs, which was sweet and a nice gesture since he has been ramming them with his cart all week.  With the leftovers, I decided to try making baked cakes.  I added about 2 T of olive oil and another cup of chickpeas and mashed it all up with a fork until it was nice and mushy and easy to patty.  I spooned out the patties about the size of half dollars and baked them for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  After I pulled them out of the oven I had to let them sit for awhile so they would not fall apart.  Result: little toddler finger food.  Whatdoyathink?  🙂

Quinoa Cakes











I also continued to experiment with my date bar recipe.  This time I did not have very much rolled oats and I used chocolate chips instead of dried fruit.  In place of rolled oats I used extra wheat germ.  Like, alot of wheat germ!  It’s good for you, right?!  So I mashed together: about 4 or 5 T of baking dates (pitted and mashed), 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1 cup wheat germ, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 T cinnamon, 1 t pumpkin spice, 1 t nutmeg.  It took awhile to mashed it together evenly.  I spooned out and formed little cookies and dehydrated them for about 5 hours.  You can also bake them at a low temperature until they harden.  The chocolate chips melted and mixed with the dates to create a dark, rich color.  Yum.  🙂

Chocolate Date Bites

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PB Crackers

Who needs Lance or Ritz when you have Mom?  Mom stuff is almost always better anyway.  I’m pretty proud of my PB crackers idea although I would not be surprised if I stole it inadvertently for another brilliant mom.  I would also not be surprise if you have already tried this 🙂  This week I made a new toddler snack – PB crackers – and it was one of those rare moments when I felt like a truly wise and creative mom.  I felt on top of the world!  Then my dog ate the poopy diaper I left in the bathroom and brought me back down to earth.  Ah yes, that’s more like it – chaotic, crazy, messy mom 🙂  So, my PB crackers are basically a homemade nut butter with tahini (which is a “complete protein” according to Super Baby Food book) and a little maple syrup mixed together and smeared between two crackers.  Let them sit in the freezer or frig until they harden and stick together.  In the end you have a great snack for toddlers.  Other options: graham crackers, honey or Nutella.  Any other ideas?  Stick a bag of them in the frig for the week and grab on the go.  It’s good to acknowledge the little successes in life.  And this was one of mine.  🙂


PB Crackers

IMG_0541 IMG_0543


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Greens Puree Pasta & Chia Seasoned Sweet Potatoes

I made a few interesting meals this week that I thought I’d share.  I’m always looking for new ways to serve healthy food.  Quick and easy is very better.  Since my little guy is 13 months, I try to find foods that he can pick up and aren’t even close to resembling a choking hazard.  I have enough things to think about.  A one pot meal I made this week was a tortellini dish with pureed greens as the sauce.  I boiled 1/2 a bag of tortellini.  To the cooked pasta I added 3 cubes of frozen pureed greens (kale and broccoli mix – but you can use any greens), a cup of peas, a cup of corn and about 3 tablespoons of pine nuts.  I cut of the cooked pasta for Baby B but he probably would have been fine chewing on his own.  I, of course, always watch him when he eats.  I found the pine nuts soft and easy to eat but every baby is different so you may want consider leaving those out.  Also, you want to monitor possible allergic reactions when nuts are involved.  (Only do what you feel comfortable with).  I seasoned the dish with garlic salt and olive oil but most any seasoning will work.  And you can decide not to season it at all.  My little guy loved it!  I appreciate a one pot meal that we can both eat and is great as a leftover meal.  This meal was especially appealing because of the “hidden” greens in place of a sauce.

Green Puree Pasta

Green Puree Pasta

Green Puree Pasta

Green Puree Pasta










In addition to the hidden greens pasta dish, I also found a new way to hide some chia seeds in a side dish this week.  Just to back up a moment for some further explanation.  I try to follow most of the healthy baby food ideas from Super Baby Food Book.  In this book the author, Yaron, highly recommended trying to eat seeds ever day.  I always find this challenging.  So I usually pick a seeds in the morning – chia, alfalfa, sesame, flax, pumpkin, etc. – and grind it up in my coffee grinder.  I don’t actually drink coffee I just use the grinder.  Sometimes I add brewer’s yeast or some legumes into the grinder.  I put the grinds in a cup and leave it sitting by the stove during the day as a reminder to sprinkling it into different things, like smoothies, hot cereal, rice, etc.  This week I sprinkled ground chia seeds over my diced, baked sweet potatoes.  I also added some basil and a little salt and pepper.  Both my husband and 13 month old loved it!  They were none the wiser about the hidden, healthy addition – ground chia seeds!

Chia Seasoned Sweet Potatoes

Chia Seasoned Sweet Potatoes


Dehydrating Queen

My “homemade” project this week is figuring out my dehydrator.  🙂  I borrowed one from my in-laws a few months ago but since then it has just been sitting there staring at me.  You see I hate to read manuals and this contraption appeared to require manual-reading.  I decided to pick a pumping session and flip through the manual.  No pressure.  Maybe I could figure it out through the pictures.  It’s pretty easy.  You basically plug it in and pick a temperature.  Fruit dries at about 130 – 140 degrees according to my manual.  When I got the dehydrator cleaned and ready to go, I started having fun.  Luckily, I did read that I could not submerge the base in water.  So no electric shocks.  Good thing.  I first did a round of apples, bananas and cantaloupe slices.  They turned out great!  The dehydrator is pretty loud and it takes most of the day so you should plan accordingly.  Just think, dried fruit or veggies without extra sugar or chemicals!  I also tried dried oranges for some sweet-smelling decorations.  Can’t wait to try some fruit leather!  Who needs fruit roll-ups?!



Granola Brownies

What do you do with over-cooked brownies?  Try Aunt Karen’s new recipe!  🙂  Yum!

Hi Adrienne, here is a good story.  I made a batch of brownie, except I accidentally over-cooked them.  They were definitely dried out! 😦 , but instead of pitching them, I crumbled them up in a bowl and added 8 oz of date paste and oatmeal, some flax-seed, wheat germ and 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce.  I mixed them all up and smashed them onto a baking mat and froze them for 1/2 hour.  Then I could cut them easily into bars and dehydrated them for 5 hours!  They worked !  Energy bars!  or GRANOLA BROWNIES! 🙂