Friday, June 27, 2014

Rhubarb Oatmeal Muffins

Rhubarb is overflowing in my parents' garden right now and one of my fondest memories as a kid is walking around eating stalks of raw rhubarb with a little bowl of sugar to dip it in! It's pretty tough to beat fresh produce straight from the garden. My parents gave me a bunch last weekend when we were there visiting and I decided to make it into some muffins to see if the boy-o would like the tangy tartness or not. They were definitely a success! Hubby likes them a lot too.

Note: These also freeze really well, and make a delicious breakfast muffin! And your little toddler will loving being able to feed themselves, and you know you can feel good about what they're eating!

Rhubarb Oatmeal Muffins:


- 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup strawberry greek yoghurt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups rhubarb, chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix the oatmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg well in a large bowl.
3. Mix the brown sugar, greek yoghurt, egg, applesauce, and vanilla well in a medium bowl.
4. Pour the wet into the dry and fold until about halfway mixed.
5. Add the rhubarb and fold until just combined.
6. Portion into a greased muffin tin and bake for about 22 minutes.
7. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. This is important!! As the rhubarb cooks it will make extra moisture, and allowing it to sit in the hot pan for a while helps to remove some of that extra moisture.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fireworks Craft: Canada Day Art

With Canada Day coming up this weekend I decided to make some festive art today with the kiddos. We made did some "Firework" paintings! These were super easy to make and they don't require very many materials. All you need is some black paper; some paint: red, orange and yellow; 3 pipe cleaners per child; and some sparkles and glue which are optional.

To make this craft you need to fold the group of three pipe cleaners over in half and about two inches from the bottom twist them all together and then fan out the ends into a star shape. You can open up the loop at the other end a little bit to make a nice handle. This will be your paint brush!

Once you have your pipe cleaner brush made you're all set! Simply pour out some paint on a tray and dip the fanned out end of the pipe cleaner into the paint. Press it down on the paper, turn a little bit sideways and press again, and if you want a fuller look you can turn and press a third time. Do this with each of the colours! I just used the same brush for all of them. Behold your fireworks!

For a little bit of added flair if you'd like, you can also add some sparkles to the fireworks. Simply spread a small amount of glue in the center of each firework with a few lines out into the edges of the fireworks and shake on your sparkles. 

Although we made these firework pictures to celebrate Canada Day, you can make them for any holiday or festival where you live. This craft is especially fun for little ones who might be afraid of real fireworks but who don't want to miss out on the party.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Banana Oat Muffins

The Zucchini Applesauce Muffins that I've shared with you before are still a huge hit in our household, but I wanted to make up a second kind of muffin so that we can have a bit of a rotation with them. Following the same principle as the zucchini ones, I wanted to make a muffin that was both healthy for the boy-o AND delicious! These Banana Oat Muffins meet both of those criteria and they also freeze really well, which is certainly an additional perk.

Note: These muffins call for a little bit of honey, which is high on the allergen list for infants. So if you haven't tested out honey previously, you may want to leave it out of this recipe!

Banana Oat Muffins


  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, not packed
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup  milk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 TBSP honey 
  • 1 1/2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 2 TSP baking powder
  • 1/2 TSP salt
  • 1 TSP cinnamon
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg and brown sugar. Add in the yogurt, milk, applesauce, honey, and vanilla. Beat until combined.
  3. Mash the bananas until there are no chunks left and stir in the mashed bananas with the yogurt and milk mixture.
  4. In another medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and oats.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over-mix or the muffins become more dense.
  6. Pour the mixture into the muffin cups and fill almost to the top.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 13-15 minutes.

These muffins turn out nice and fluffy and they make an excellent breakfast choice with the oats, banana, applesauce, and greek youghurt for a bit of protein. These muffins freeze great and are totally boy-o approved!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Father's Day Craft Idea #3 : I Love You THIS Much!

The third and last Father's Day craft idea that I'd like to share with you is for those who don't like to get dirty, but would still like to include their little one's hand print somehow to make it a little more personalized.

All you need is some construction paper, a pencil, some scissors and a marker!

Simply trace your little ones hands on the construction paper and cut them out. On the front hand write "I Love You." Then cut out a long strip and fold it back and forth like an accordion. Then, on each little square of the accordion write a single letter from the phrase, "This Much," and trim off any excess. Glue your phrase onto each of the hands and you're done!

You can make this one as colourful as you'd like and the handprints will make a nice keepsake! Show Dad how much you love him with a personalized card.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Father's Day Craft #2

Yesterday we looked at a fun footprint craft for Dad in the shape of a Bee and Butterfly. Here's another cute and simple idea for making a Father's Day Craft that your little one can get involved with. This one works especially well for the littler little ones who aren't going to be able to make a solid handprint very well since the point is to intentionally make a "muddled up" handprint!

One you've printed your three handprints you can glue on some googly eyes, draw on extra facial features, and write on your message for Dad! Older kids can write their own names on too for an added personal touch.

Stay tuned tomorrow for another simple and fun craft idea for Dad's Father's Day gift!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Father's Day Craft Ideas #1

If you're like me, you have no real idea what to give your husband/partner for Father's Day. Last year I had a little photo shoot done with our then 7 week old son, and this year I'd like him to be a little more actively involved in the gift making process.

One of the best ways to have young kids participate in artwork making is to do hand/footprints with paint! So we hosted a craft making party for all of the boy-o's little friends and made some awesome artwork for Dad.

The first example of what we came up with is the Bee/Butterfly combo.

To start with I drew a long skinny oval for each of the bodies, which helped to line up where to print the footprint onto the paper. We did the footprints so that the smaller edge of the foot was against the bug's body (big toe on the outside) to make the wings as big as we could. For the bee we just stamped in yellow and I painted on the stripes afterwards. For the butterfly I applied all three colours to the boy-o's foot at once. 

Once the paint was dried we added a bit of glue and stuck on some googly eyes, and presto--footprint bugs are complete! It was a lot of fun to make, and they turned out super cute. You could add a sweet message to the page or personalize however you'd like. Just make sure you remember to add the date so if you keep it you can remember what year it's from.

More examples to come of Father's Day craft ideas in the next few stay tuned!

#TestKitchen: Mixed Bean Nuggets

In order to try and provide the boy-o with a variety of proteins we try and include beans whenever we can into his diet, which usually ends up being black beans in things like quesadillas, or brown beans in chili. I stumbled across an interesting recipe the other day for making meatless nuggets which I really liked the idea of since I hate the thought of feeding the boy-o actual chicken nuggets too often. I adjusted the recipe to make it work better for us and the result was a delicious nugget with a crispy outside and soft inside that I can feel good about serving to the boy-o any day of the week!

Mixed Bean Nuggets:


  • 1 can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup Stove Top Stuffing Mix
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TSP Montreal Steak Spice
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese


  1. Drain and rinse beans.  In food processor/blender, combine all ingredients until mostly smooth.
  2. Remove from food processor, and form into small balls, using about a TSP of the mixture. 
  3. Place balls onto oiled frying pan and flatten gently with a spoon into a nugget shape. Cook on medium heat until each side is browned.

Serve with some fruit and cut up veggies for a deliciously healthy and kid-approved lunch! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

#TestKitchen Adventures: Spinach Pancakes

We've been trying really hard the last little while to find some more recipes for the boy-o that incorporate veggies into them to make sure he's getting enough of the good stuff. I want to feed him delicious food as well, so finding recipes that meet both criteria is important. The latest success story, which has been totally boy-o approved, is Spinach Pancakes! I think they taste pretty awesome too.

Spinach Pancakes:


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (or 1 mashed banana)
  • 1/2 cup cooked spinach, drained


1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
3. Heat a large pan or griddle over medium heat and grease with oil.
4. Pour about 2 tablespoon of the pancake mixture onto the griddle, cook 2 minutes or until bubbles start forming on the surface and the bottom is golden brown.
5. Flip the pancakes and cook for 2 minutes longer.

To Freeze: Allow to cool, place in a ziploc bag, label and freeze for up to 4 months. When ready, place in toaster or oven to reheat. 

Not only are these pancakes super healthy, they freeze well, and they're delicious! The boy-o is more than happy to fill his tummy with them, and they make a great option for mom too.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Baby's 1st Birthday (a little late..)

Easter weekend was a crazy one in our household this year because it was also the boy-o's 1st Birthday! We tried to keep his b-day fun on Saturday and then do the egg hunt stuff on Sunday, so that he got to distinctly celebrate both rather than having them mushed together. (As a kid whose birthday was always Thanksgiving weekend, I know that pain all too well!)

Like many parents I was a little concerned about giving him a super sugary birthday cake, but I didn't want him to miss out on the fun. Carrot cake is a bit of a birthday tradition in my family, since it's both my Dad's and my favourite cake. My Dad's Mum used to make the BEST carrot cake ever, so there was no question that I wanted to use her recipe--it just needed a little tweaking to make it a bit healthier for the boy-o. So a few quick substitutions and we were on our way.

It's amazing how much of that cake he managed to shove in his mouth! I'd say he liked it!

Here's the recipe I used to make his cake:

Baby's 1st Carrot Cake


- 2 cups whole wheat flour (you could do half and half to make it a bit lighter)
- 2 TSP baking soda
- 1 1/2 TSP baking powder
- 1 TSP salt
- 2 TSP cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar (down from 2)
- 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce (applesauce instead of oil)
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 1/4 cup drained, crushed pineapple


1. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl.
2. Now add the sugar, applesauce, and eggs. Beat hard by hand for one minute.
3. Add carrot, and pineapple to the mix. The batter should be quite moist.
4. Grease bottom of 9X13 inch pan (or something of similar dimensions), and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until center is set.
5. Cool and frost as desired.

It's pretty traditional in our family to add cream cheese icing to our carrot cake, and because he mostly just smeared the icing all over the place I used regular cream cheesing frosting. (The cream cheese part is actually quite good for him) If you wanted to keep the cream cheese taste without the sugar that goes with it, you can easily mix up some regular cream cheese with some pureed fruit and use that as your icing instead.

Because his birthday was PIRATE themed, I wanted to make him a pirate cake, a well as a carrot cake. So he got his own little "Smash Cake" and the adults got to eat the Pirate Cake. I think it turned out pretty good--and it was certainly delicious!

The Pirate Themed cake, made in a large number ONE pan!

The boy-o had a great time celebrating his birthday with family and friends and I was super excited to make up all the pirate themed stuff for his party. I've already posted about the chalkboard sneak peak, but here's a quick look at some of the other "pirate themed" ideas we came up with.

Seaweed Wraps, Fish and Chips, Sea Water, Canon Balls, etc. Delicious! 

Thanks to the Rabbit Hole that is Pinterest, I found all sorts of ideas for naming foods pirate related things and came up with some simple and delicious snack ideas, like Fish and Chips--combining regular chips with some goldfish in a large blue bowl. My personal favourite though were the Canon Balls--hot meatballs thrown into the crockpot. Zero effort, but always delicious!

Monthly Photos-Day 1 through till 11 Months

Similar to the chalkboard, I love making crafty things, and I knew from the get-go of the party planning that I wanted to make a month-by-month banner to show the changes in him over a specific period of time. It was so hard choosing which photos to include, but it was a lovely trip down memory lane looking at them all, and it really is amazing to see the differences when they're all compared side by side like that.

Pirate Cupcakes. Arrrrrgh!
Because we ended up having two parties (one for immediate family, and one for baby friends) we decided on cupcakes for the friends party and had the pirate cake for the family party. Dollarama, God I love that place, actually had pirate themed cupcake holders which was amazingly perfect, and a few pirate themed picks stuck into the cupcakes completed the decorating.

In any case, we had a wonderful time celebrating, I didn't get all sad and weepy--honest!-- and the baby boy was spoiled by everyone. We are so very lucky to have such amazing family and friends, you made the boy-o's 1st Birthday extra special.