Zucchini & Apple Oat Muffins

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I made these today on a whim after looking for zucchini muffin recipes at the beginning of the week. I came up with my own based on what I had on hand and wanted to use. These are quite delicious and really very easy to make. Preheat oven to 350 and get your mini muffin pan out and ready. Spray so they don’t stick if not using silicone.

In a large bowl combine:

1/3 cup whole fat yogurt (good for babies and toddlers)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup oats

1 egg

1 small to medium sized grated zucchini (I left some skin on and took some off)

1 small to medium apple grated of your choice (I left some skin on and took some off)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp mini or full-size chocolate chips optional but recommended by me because I have a sweet tooth that can’t be tamed & I bet you do too!

Gently mix all ingredients together with a spoon and then fill muffin tin mostly all the way full as they will grow a bit in the oven but not overly.

Bake 18 min for mini style and I am guessing based on past baking of such muffins that a full size will take about 22 min so just check with a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean. Cool completely and then store in the fridge or freezer.  (This amount made 20 minis)

 

I like this combo because they were super moist and full of mostly the good stuff! I know you and your little ones will like them too!

 

My Charlotte had two for a snack with her milk today and she liked them very much!

zucc and apple muffin

 

xo-Adrienne

 

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Charlotte’s UNICORN 1st Birthday Party

Wow, what a fast year that was! Charlotte turned one and I think I am just now recovering two weeks later! I promised some friends I would share how I made the gummies for her party that I then used to put on the tables as well as gave to the kids who attended in goodie bags. The kid’s ages ranged from 2 to 9 so they were good for them, not for Charlotte. The thing about these gummies though is that they are hit or miss taste-wise as the younger kids loved the gummies and the older kids preferred the chocolates. My son, Max, wanted nothing to do with them-lol, go figure. I made a lot and tried to pawn them off on everyone everywhere we went for a week leading up to her party because I had so many. I even made some in a Lego shape because I had that mold too and the amount of Jell-O and gelatin I used was more than enough to fill my two whimsical molds with the rainbows, shooting stars and unicorns! Her shirt was ordered off of Etsy and her headband from Posh Peanuts.

Here are some unicorn pictures that my good friend took of her on her actual birthday. This was completely DIY and I brought the fake wrapped presents and balloons and then we just went for it, crossed our fingers and got these gems!

 

Here is a slideshow of her cakes and cookies from a fabulous local bakery here in Bakerstown, called Sweet b’s Sweet Shop…also some rainbow fruit kabobs and decorations as well as my colorful gummies & chocolates! I bought the molds at JoAnn Fabrics. I used a few extra invites that I had to make her unicorn highchair decoration as well as some leftover tule that we bought that my mom used to make her perfectly cute tutu! Giant Eagle for the balloons and all other decorations from Target. Of course, I did the monthly pics for the first year and bought cardstock or scrapbooking paper from JoAnn’s as well. I then took samples of those colors to the bakery and they matched the cakes as close as they could to that for me. They did an amazing job all around!

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unicorn g and c sunday fundayI spent a few Sundays leading up to her party making these in five different colors. I also did a few batches of chocolates too in four different colors! It was fun and they were SUPER cute but man was I over it by the time I did nine batches! Here is what you need and how you do it:

For every color that you want to make you need one box of that flavor/color Jell-O and 6 packets of unflavored gelatin. That is one and a half boxes or 6 oz of the unflavored and 1 package or 3 oz of the flavored which is a standard Jello-O packet. I did strawberry, lime, lemon, blue raspberry and orange. The orange and strawberry were an off-brand from Aldi actually. I also used a squeezable condiment bottle to make it easier to get the mixture into the molds.

unicorn gummies and chocolates

Make sure your molds are clean and dry and spray with a bit of cooking non-stick spray then place them on a cookie sheet to be placed in the fridge to form later

Take one packet of Jell-O and 6 small packets of the unflavored gelatin and 1/2 cup water and stir it together well in a small pot or saucepan

Then over medium heat on the stove whisk it all together continuously until it turns into a pourable liquid

Once it is all liquid (after a few minutes) pour it into a measuring cup with a spout or a squeezable bottle like the one pictured above

Fill each mold carefully and quickly because it will start to solidify rather fast

Once they are filled chill them in the fridge for about an hour or so then pop each out and in my case repeat a million more times….ha ha

Be sure to wash out the pot and container quickly after too! This stuff really does turn into a gummy mold in whatever it sticks too

You can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge or on the counter for about 3 weeks so you can definitely do some ahead of time like I did

I hope this inspires you to make something fun or just to do something out of your comfort zone for your loved ones. That is the main reason I did this for her party. I wanted to follow through and do something special for that day. I didn’t want to take the easy way out and let my anxiety take over and tell me I couldn’t, that I couldn’t handle or didn’t deserve to give Charlotte a cute Pinterest worthy but still budget friendly (if you ask my husband he will say we spent $1,000 but we didn’t)  birthday party. For the first time, I set my mind to it and just did everything that I wanted. I just made it happen and that probably doesn’t make much sense to most of you but for me and others with anxiety, it is sometimes debilitating and stops you from just doing the things you really want to do-like make little rediculous gummies and chocolates in the shapes of unicorns and rainbows. I’ll leave it at that and hope this helps those that think similar to me or how I used to, I suppose.

 

xo, Adrienne

 

Spinach & Turkey Mini Pasta Muffins

ground turkey mini muffins

Sharing a new mini muffin recipe with you today! I know I am a little obsessed with these mini muffins especially in the meat form or the veggie form but they are just so easy and so great to have on hand for Charlotte and myself for the week. It’s a great way to have her experience many flavors in one meal too. I usually give her one or two for lunch or dinner a few times a week and now in the freezer, I currently have these, the chickpea veggie version and the spinach, oat, banana version. For these, I used up some spinach and mushrooms that I had from the week before so they wouldn’t go to waste. I also added a bit of red onion, egg and feta cheese, as well as garlic and orzo pasta which I had on hand already too. So all I had to buy for these was the ground turkey. I bet you have a lot of that stuff in your fridge too!

Here is what you need:

1 egg

1 lb ground turkey (or any other ground meat)

2 cups spinach leaves

1 cup mushrooms

1/4 cup red onion

1 clove of garlic

1/2 cup uncooked orzo noodles (mine were whole wheat) you will cook them and then add to the mixture

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

How to:

Cook the pasta according to the directions

Take the onion, garlic, mushrooms and spinach and chop in food processor until evenly finely chopped and then add to a large bowl

In the large bowl mix in the cheese, egg and the ground meat and combine with a spoon, spatula or your hands until all ingredients are evenly distributed

Pre-heat oven to 350

Spoon in and press down the mixture into mini muffin tray (or a full size one) to the top as these won’t rise

This made enough for 4 regular size muffins and 24 mini’s

Bake on 350 for about 28 to 30 minutes for the mini’s and 35 minutes for the full size

Let cool and then store some for now and some for later! These would even be great for a bite-size party food /appetizer for the holidays coming up (especially if there is going to be little ones there). Also, I didn’t season these with anything because Charlotte doesn’t need it and they are pretty flavorful on their own anyway but you certainly could!  I hope you can see these are really versatile and can be made with just about anything.

Happy baking! Happy feeding! Happy eating!

 

xo-Adrienne

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken & Veggie Mini Muffins

chicken m 2

Yesterday I made a trip to Trader Joe’s….my favorite grocery store! I limit my visits because I spend way too much money there. I mean way, way, way too much! I knew I wanted to use my mini muffin pan for some type of meat muffin so I chose ground chicken and this riced veggie pack to work with.

 

 

 

I haven’t given Charlotte many chances to try meat so far and I knew I needed to start ASAP to get her used to the texture and flavor. For this recipe, I took the pound of ground chicken and 1 and a half cups of the riced veggies which includes: onions, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. I also added 1/4 c panko breadcrumbs and 2 eggs. For just a bit of flavor, I added 1/4 tsp of thyme and 1/4 tsp of basil as well.

 

 

This made 24 mini muffins. The mix was pretty moist and wet. This was great though because these came out super juicy and not dry at all.

I baked them at 350 for 30 minutes and I ate a bunch as well as giving them to Charlotte over the next few days to try. I also froze some.

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Feeding these little humans can be quite tricky, messy & fun while also being frustrating. Thank goodness for my anxiety medicine! I didn’t have the time to devote to my older child as I wasn’t a stay at home mom with him. He is quite picky still when it comes to food but since I have the opportunity to work with Charlotte more I always keep that in the back of my head. She may not eat something today but I bet someday she will! She tries everything I give her and that is winning as far as I’m concerned! 

 

**I also tried these with chickpeas instead of ground chicken and they came out great! I used a 15.5 oz can of chickpeas that I rinsed and chopped in the food processor for 10 to 15 seconds. I did everything else the same except I used 2 cups of the chopped veggies instead of 1.5 cups and I baked them for 15 min instead of 30.

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Enjoy this recipe! xo-Adrienne

Broccoli & cheese pasta muffins for the whole family

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In the world of green veggies, broccoli is my #1 enemy. Not so fond memories of childhood dinners where I would cry and sit at the table until 9 at night because I absolutely was afraid to death of it. I tried to feed it to the dog or put it back in the bowl when no one was looking. Fast forward 30 years and I have come to my senses somewhat. I can still gag at the smell of it. 😦 Anyway, I don’t want to pass along my fear and hatred towards this unique green veg to my kids so I introduced it to Charlotte this week who just turned 10 months old. I am obsessed with my new silicone mini and full-size muffin trays that I just got so I knew the fresh beautiful broccoli I made myself buy from the market on Monday had to take a turn in them. I also knew that Max, my 9 yr. old, might like these as well because surprising the kid loves broccoli in a weird way that I don’t really understand.

So, I thought what better way to have it than to mix in small orzo noodles which are the perfect size for the baby and Max happens to like this particular noodle as well. I am accommodating if nothing else. I added some shredded cheddar cheese, which Charlotte is also familiar with, as well as Greek yogurt, panko breadcrumbs and eggs. Nutritionally packed mini “muffins” for sure!

Here is what I did:

Roasted about 3 stalks of broccoli in some coconut oil for 20 min on 375. Looking back I don’t think I even needed to do this but thought it would make it more enjoyable tasting.

Then I chopped it up and looking back again for Charlotte’s sake I wish I would have chopped it up just a bit finer and took off more of the trunk or stalk and just kept more of the flowery floret part. Trust me I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to broccoli so I had to google “broccoli parts” to even tell you this which was weird.

Boil 1/2 cup orzo noodles while the broccoli is roasting or while it cools before you cut it up.

Here it is roasted and chopped which I estimated was about 2 cups

broc cheese pasta muffins 1

Mix the following into the chopped broccoli:

2 eggs

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup of the cooked orzo noodles

broc cheese pasta muff 2

(note-I didn’t really season them with anything since they are mostly for Charlotte and her taste buds don’t know any better but feel free to jazz them up a bit)

Then scoop out and press into mini or full muffin tray like this:

broc cheese pasta muffin 3

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes for mini size or 20 minutes for full size.

This recipe made 24 mini’s and 2 full size. They won’t rise so go ahead and fill them up all the way. I can’t say enough about the silicone baking trays. No spray needed and they pop right out once cool. It is really easy and not messy to clean.

 

I originally had these in mind for Charlotte but I actually ate quite a few that day and liked them! I froze some and have some in the fridge for this week’s meals for both of us and Max too!

 

Enjoy friends!

xo, Adrienne

Baby Blender Mini Muffins

 

 

I am so excited to share these with you! I was searching for a really easy muffin recipe for Charlotte and none of them were appealing to me. She (and I) love spinach and banana so I knew I wanted those to be two of the ingredients. I also wanted to be able to put all of the ingredients quickly into my Ninja Blender that I make my smoothies in. So I have been experimenting and came up with this super-duper easy mini muffin baby recipe that is perfect for baby led weaning/table foods because the texture is spongy so not dry and crumbly. She can hold onto it easily. It sticks to her little fingers and it has big flavors that she is already used to like spinach & banana. 

What you need:

1 egg

2 handfuls of fresh spinach

1/2 cup oats

1 ripe banana

4 oz unsweetened applesauce or another fruit puree of your choice

1/2 tsp  baking powder

That’s it-I repeat-That’s it. Just 6 simple things to throw in

  • place all ingredients into the blender or Ninja and pulse until smooth

This will look like a smoothie when you are done blending

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  • pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • pour batter into mini muffin baking pan pretty much all the way up as these are not going to rise (I sprayed with coconut oil spray first) 
  • set timer for 18 min 
  • Check them with a toothpick for it to come out clean
  • Let them cool for a half hour and then store in the fridge or freeze-I warmed Charlotte’s once refrigerated for 5 sec in the microwave before she ate some the next day 

cc mini green muffin

 

 

Try this version also by just swapping the spinach for 1/2 cup of roasted butternut squash. It is delightful!

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Roasted butternut squash version on blender mini muffins

Enjoy! xo-Adrienne & Charlotte

Charlotte’s favorite veggie rice & fruity oatmeal

 

Charlotte has loved rice and oats from the beginning so I ground up brown rice and oats for her and began adding different fruits to the oats and veggies to the rice. I usually add a bit of butter and sometimes cinnamon too when making the oatmeal.

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Charlotte’s fav veggie rice-this one is with cauliflower

I have mixed black beans, cauliflower, corn, peas, green beans, zucchini (to name a few) and spinach in with her rice and it’s a great way to add new flavors and texture to it.

 

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Charlotte’s favorite oatmeal with fruit

I have added peaches, bananas, cherries (especially loves that one) and blueberries and strawberries to her oats to name a few.

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Rice with butter & spinach

 

The basic recipe for the fruity oatmeal or the veggie rice goes like this:

Boil 1 cup of water

Add the fruit or veggie and boil for 3 min (about a 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen)-honestly this doesn’t matter that much, just a little will do, for example when I added the zucchini I just grated some in so I have no idea how much

Turn the water down to a simmer and add in 3 TBSP of oats or rice cereal or ones that you ground up yourself. I did mine in the Ninja-easy peasy

Whisk continuously for 5 min taking an occasional break-smash the fruit or veggie to the acceptable thickness your baby can handle if need be but it will naturally get smaller and break apart during the heating and whisking process

Add a touch of butter or cinnamon and stir once the baby is getting used to more complex flavors

 

I usually serve whatever it is right away (after it cools a bit) and then store the rest to use over the next 3 days.

***This is a thicker recipe and probably best once your babe has mastered purees and ready for more texture.

 

xo-Adrienne & Charlotte

charlotte eating
yum!

Charlotte’s favorite baby hummus

Today we went to the market and bought some fresh ingredients to make a mild baby hummus that Charlotte tried for the 1st time. Her 9 month old birthday occurred yesterday and we are in full swing with new foods and especially working on finger foods and spoon feeding herself. I made a simple yet delicious hummus for her that I enjoyed as well. All I needed was a can of chick peas or garbanzo beans and a little bit of help from garlic, basil and a sweet pepper.

 

I used my Ninja that I make my smoothies and her baby purees in for this too.

1 can chick peas or garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)

1 basil leaf

1 small sweet pepper (I used yellow)

1/4 tsp minced garlic (mine was in olive oil)

1/2 c water

Blend until smooth

Jar and enjoy!

 

Baby feeding tips:

Let her do it herself whether that is with her hand, spoon or dipping a carrot or celery in to lick and suck on.

Life is messy and feeding your baby is especially messy…embrace, let go and enjoy!

 

xo-Adrienne

 

…a few of my faves from her 9 month photos40100586_10217438815100101_4134586847730860032_n(1)

 

Banana, spinach & kiwi for baby

Let’s talk healthy first foods for baby. I started Charlotte on purees at 6 months and she has now tasted about 28 different foods in the past almost 3 months. Everything from mango to avocado and basics like oats, rice and berries. She is so far a really good eater. She likes it and is eager to try new things and play with her food. Here is a simple puree that she loves that has a banana as a base.

 

Spinach + kiwi + banana:

2 kiwis peeled

1 ripe banana

1 handful of fresh or frozen spinach

Makes approx five 2 oz. servings

Blend until smooth {you will see the black specs of the kiwi and the little bits of the spinach and that’s ok} Also, I didn’t add any water to this one as it has no problem creating its own with the juice from the kiwi. Kiwi is so power packed and good for you and that’s why I love this particular blend! Freeze some and have some now and the next day…

I also made her another banana combo with strawberries +cantaloupe (pictured below) that she adored as well! For this combo I used:

1 ripe banana

2 TBSP water

3/4 c strawberries

3/4 c cantaloupe

Makes approx nine 2 oz servings

 

 

Remember, this phase is about having them try different foods and textures to set them up with good eating habits in the future as well as wean them off of breastmilk or formula eventually. So 1 bite or 10 consider your effort worth it! Have fun with it and they will too!

 

xo, Adrienne

 

Anxiety ruled my life…but not anymore

I have been kind of quiet over here because I have been doing a lot of work on myself. Not my body but rather my mind. I’m celebrating two months sober from anxiety. Anxiety- is an incredibly powerful thing, more than I ever knew. I finally took steps to get help with it and I never imagined a life like this was possible. The life I’m having right now. Meditation & medication is the formula that works for me. It took me forever to figure this out but I am beyond excited that I finally did. This is a huge deal for me. The calming of my mind is greater than any bikini body or any size 2 or 4 I ever was. You guys, I was drowning in anxiety. It was spinning around in my head every minute of every day. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I experienced life the opposite way. I write this so that you too may ask for help if you feel the same way that I felt. I felt this way for years and it kept getting worse. I never wanted to admit that I may need an anti-depressant. I am astonished by the trickle-down effect anxiety can cause. I can see it so clearly now that I have it under control. All the times I let anxiety rule me…too many to count or recall.

That term, depressed, never felt like it fit me. Depression though is a result of anxiety and I knew I had bad anxiety. Self-diagnosed but I was sure of it. I didn’t realize there was a drug that could help my anxiety because I refused to acknowledge that I was depressed and never considered taking a drug for it. I thought I could calm my mind with healthy food and exercise and it worked sometimes but after having the baby, the shift was too great. I could not handle this on my own anymore. I needed help.  Had I known it would have worked this well I would have gotten on something sooner for sure! The stigma around mental health is that of mind over matter or just be happy and grateful for what you have and you will be fine. But it is just not the case. Something was going on chemically in my brain. Guess what? There is a pill for that and it is totally working for me. I am not ashamed. I am honest and feel great for being so.

depression

Do you have these thoughts: What’s wrong with me? What’s going to happen next? Why is this happening this way? I can’t manage. I can’t handle this. I feel overwhelmed. It’s all my fault. I can’t do anything right. Everything seems off, wrong, not quite right. These among other thoughts were on constant rotation in my brain before I had Charlotte but about 3 months after having her they went into high gear. I couldn’t escape them. I was exhausted- not from having a new baby but rather from having a battle in my own head every second of every day. My anxiety was taking over and I was crying, I was feeling defeated in every way. I just didn’t feel right. Was it postpartum? Was it hormonal and it would eventually go away? Maybe but I tried to think of how I felt prior to having her and I always came to the same conclusion. I just have never felt RIGHT.

I was foggy, moody, defeated, unmotivated, full of worry and confusion. Things would get better but they were never ok. I never felt ok. Finally, when school was ending I knew I couldn’t have a summer feeling like this. I wanted desperately to feel better. I had a particularly emotional and high stress few days which led me to call my OB and ask for help. I also talked to a few friends who have friends that take something or do themselves and that really drove me to realize that I may just be one of those people that need this. I was ready for help. I was scared. But I knew I needed it. They saw me the next day. I went into that appointment with the baby and spilled my guts to the Dr. I didn’t cry. I was just COMPLETELY HONEST with her and it was refreshing. I told her the warmer weather, the smoothies, the walks, the meditation, the positive vibes, the prayers…just wasn’t cutting it. I still feel like chaos rules my life and nothing is ever ok or ever going to be. I needed more help and I was ready to try an anti-depressant. I am so thankful that my OB was able to prescribe this for me and I didn’t have to wait months to get in with a different type of doctor. Help was literally one phone call away. I had no idea…..

It took so many guts to admit that I might be a depressed person but I had hit beyond rock bottom and it was the only choice left. You wouldn’t think that about me if you met me because this was something I battled inside. That is a huge part of this that not everyone can relate to or understand. I was good at hiding it maybe but inside it was destroying me. I refused to see myself that way because I have EVERYTHING I have ever wanted and more. My life is a cakewalk compared to others. I quit my part-time job at the end of May to try to ease the stress of everything. The sheer weight of my own thoughts racing in my head was enough to cripple me. Then throw in the baby and the rest of actual life and I was a mess. A hot, hot mess. I was scared and wanted to run away, I was not good enough, I was a bad mom. Every bad thought you can have about yourself I was having. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was ready to admit there must be something that could help me fill the worrisome feelings I was having all day every day.

depression and anxiety quotes Example depression and anxiety quotes my art journal pinterest anxiety

The Doctor put me on a very low dose of Zoloft and I was eager to see if this would work for me. I was desperate for it to work for me. I read the side effects and cried hard that night and hesitated even going through with taking it. What if this made everything worse? What if this didn’t work for me? I was doomed. I was losing it and I needed this to work and not make me feel more “crazy” or make me sick. I wanted it all. I wanted the thoughts to stop in my head and I wanted to experience and enjoy my kids, family & myself. I wanted to enjoy my life!

I took that first pill and I almost instantly felt better. I couldn’t believe it. The doom and the gloom weren’t there. I could breathe again and have clear balanced thoughts for the first time ever it felt like. I felt a huge weight lift off me. That weight was my destructive thoughts. They were gone. I had the exact same life and circumstances. Everything was the same but my mind became calm and I was able to handle things. Charlotte cried & I smiled. Max was rambunctious and asking me for a million things and I handled it. I felt safe and right. I felt more confident and self-assured. My self-esteem is at an all-time high because my anxiety is at an all-time low. I felt all of the things I had been trying to feel for so long. From a little green pill. A pill that was filling an imbalance in my brain. Adding to my brain what was missing. It was amazing! I was able to have a good time. I was present. I wasn’t worried quite frankly about anything. I sort of felt numb at first but in a good way. It felt like a much-needed break.

The first week was rough-we were on vacation and the pill was making me sick but I knew that could happen for the first week or two so I stuck it out. I wanted this to work for me. I wanted a life filled with gratitude and happiness. The fact was, I was happy. I was filled with blessings and I knew it but those feelings were getting buried by the anxiety I was experiencing every day. I then began to fear the what if I feel too numb. What if I stop caring about things and this works too much the opposite way for me. That would not be good either. I am happy to report that after just two weeks of taking it the sick feeling stopped and the numbness/robotic feeling went away. I was turning into me. The best version of me. As the weeks went on it just kept getting better and more balanced. My thoughts about myself and life are good and happy now. I handle life even though it isn’t perfect or easy. I see the joy in it and look forward to each new day. I am more motivated and active. I have even lost weight.

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I am so thankful that I was brave enough to try the Zoloft. I share this with you in hope that this can help even just one of you if you need it. I hope my honesty will encourage you to seek more help if the “natural” ways of coping with anxiety and depression are not working for you. I want this feeling for you all too. Anxiety and depression have a terrible stigma but the more open we are to talking about it the more we can normalize it.

I would love to hear from you if this something you want to talk about. Wishing you all the best life has to offer….drug or no drugs. I celebrate this drug and the fact that it is helping me. I am not ashamed and I hope you aren’t either.
Image may contain: 2 people, including Adrienne Lefcakis Carey, people smiling, child, eyeglasses and outdoorImage may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup

Charlotte is almost 9 months old and doing great! Happy baby, happy mom, happy boy, happy husband, happy life! Happy for me is the opposite of anxiety. It used to rule me but not anymore.

xo, Adrienne