Deluxe Pumpkin Oatmeal

Thanksgiving was a couple of days ago, but I’m not quite ready to let go of pumpkin season.  Heck, I might just keep indulging my pumpkin-lovin’ heart all winter long.  Especially when it’s something that the toddler will pretty reliably gobble up, why would I stop? 🙂

We love this oatmeal – it’s a favorite.  I made it for the umpteenth time this morning and Mister 21 Month Old happily ate his entire serving and started to eye mine.  I gave him a little more and he polished that off too.

In case you need more enticing, this oatmeal is:

hearty
creamy
pumpkin-y
warming
full of delicious toppings
fast
easy

Need I say more?

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Deluxe Pumpkin Oatmeal

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A hearty, pumpkin-y oatmeal to enjoy all fall and winter long - the perfect filling, warming breakfast on a chilly morn.


Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients


For the oatmeal:
– 1 15oz. can lite coconut milk
– 1 c. pumpkin puree
– 1 heaping tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
– 1 c. oats
– 2 tbs. chia seeds
– 2 tbs. pure maple syrup
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the topping:
– pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
– pecans
– hemp seeds
– raisins
– flax meal
– banana chunks
– maple syrup

Directions


1. Preheat small saucepan over medium heat. Add coconut milk and pumpkin and whisk until smooth. Add pumpkin pie spice and whisk again.
2. Add oats and chia seeds and stir to combine. Cook oat mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until hot and creamy.
3. Stir in maple syrup. Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla.
4. Portion oatmeal into bowls and pile on the toppings. Drizzle a little more maple syrup over top if desired (highly recommend).

Happy Food Making, Mamas!

Pumpkin Pie Green Smoothie

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In the fall, there’s rarely a time when there isn’t an open can of pumpkin puree hanging out in our fridge.  I figure during September, October, and November anything and everything pumpkin is fair game – and let’s face it – we all kind of love it.

Last week I shared our current favorite pancake recipe for Banana Pumpkin Oat Pancakes that you can find here.  And as far as I’m concerned, there are still a solid 5 weeks of pumpkin season, so I may not be done yet!

So, this recipe – Pumpkin Pie Green Smoothie – it seriously tastes like liquid pumpkin pie!  The taste of the kale is undetectable, although if green smoothies are new for your little one(s) and family, spinach is more mild and might be a better place to start.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know I put chia and hemp seeds on and in almost everything.  Naturally, this smoothie is no exception!  If these superfoods are also new to you, putting them into smoothies is a great jumping off point as their texture is completely unnoticeable.

A couple of notes about this smoothie recipe:  it tastes best with chilled pumpkin puree, so if you know you are going to make this, put a can in the fridge for a few hours beforehand (nobody likes a warmish smoothie!)  Also, the sweetness of this smoothie will depend a lot on how ripe your frozen bananas are.  I found that one tablespoon of maple syrup made our smoothie slightly sweet, which is what I prefer.  Mr. Mama Makes Food (Daddy Makes Food?! 😉 ) would have liked his to be a little sweeter, so be sure to taste your smoothie after adding one tablespoon of syrup and adjust to your liking.

If you have leftovers, they keep in the fridge for a few hours, although the banana will shorten the “shelf life”.  If I make a smoothie for breakfast and have extra, I try to use it up for our afternoon snack.  You can also freeze the leftovers into a freezer pop mold (we use this one – the pops are tiny, which makes them perfect for toddlers).

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Pumpkin Pie Green Smoothie

  • Servings: Family Size - 5 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
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All the classic pumpkin pie flavor in green smoothie form, with undetectable super food boosts from chia & hemp seeds!



Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients


– 1 1/2 c. milk of choice (we used almond)
– 1 1/2 frozen bananas
– 6 to 8 ice cubes (a big handful)
– 1 c. pumpkin puree, chilled (see note above)
– 1 tbs. pure maple syrup (or to taste)
– 1 tsp. vanila
– 1/2 c. pecans
– 1 tbs. chia seeds
– 1 tbs. hemp seeds
– 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
– pinch sea salt
– 1 packed cup of greens (we used kale, but spinach or chard would work too)

Directions


1. Add all ingredients to a high speed or sturdy blender (a Vitamix, Blendtec or similar type of blender works best to get the hemp seeds and kale super smooth).
2. Blend from low to high speed until smooth and creamy.

Happy Food Making, Mamas!

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Banana Pumpkin Oat Pancakes

img_2448It’s October and that means we can put pumpkin into everything and eat it with reckless abandon, right?!  I think so.  There’s no doubt it’s delicious, but the kicker is that it’s super healthy too! Pumpkin packs a trove of nutritional benefits, such as high levels of vitamins A & C, a hefty dose of fiber and potassium, as well as antioxidants like beta carotene.  Want to know more about the benefits of eating pumpkin? I encourage you to do your own search and read all about it.

We’ve been enjoying these Banana Oat Pumpkin Pancakes pretty often the last couple of weeks as I’ve been tweaking the recipe to get it just right.  They’re naturally sweetened only with ripe banana and pumpkin puree.  They can easily be made gluten free by using gluten free oats and oat flour.

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I’ve found that this recipe will yield between 12 to 16 three inch pancakes (I use a 1/8 cup measuring spoon to pour the batter). You may want to double the recipe, especially if you have a larger family.  Plus, these pancakes freeze well and can also be stored for a few days in the fridge.  I pop them into the toaster and they thaw beautifully.  As an added bonus, toasting them makes the edges a little crispy! We eat them for breakfast and as easy, on-the-go snacks.

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Banana Pumpkin Oat Pancakes

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Naturally sweetened pancakes with all the fall flavors your heart desires! Easily made gluten free by using gluten free oats. Great for breakfast & snacks.


Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients


– 1 ripe, spotty banana
– 2/3 c. pumpkin puree
– 2 eggs
– 3/4 c. oat flour
– 1/4 c. rolled oats
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
– butter, ghee, or coconut oil – for frying
Toppings Suggestions:
plain yogurt or coconut whipped cream, pepitas, hemp seeds, raisins, ground flax, maple syrup

Directions


1. Mash banana in a medium bowl.  Add pumpkin and eggs and stir to combine.
2. Add oat flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon and stir again until just combined. Let batter rest while pan is preheating.
3. Preheat large skillet or griddle over medium low (I find that halfway between medium low and medium worked perfectly on my stovetop).
4. Once pan is hot, add butter (or fat of choice) and coat the bottom.
5. Drop batter by the heaping 1/8 cupfuls (2 tablespoons) into hot skillet and fry until golden, 3-5 minutes.
6. Once golden, flip each pancake and flatten slightly with the back of the spatula and fry until golden, another 3-4 minutes.
7. Set finished pancakes on a cooling rack and repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter between batches.
8. Load up with toppings and enjoy!

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Happy Food Making, Mamas!

Gluten Free Chickpea Nuggets

A few months ago I was eager to find a homemade, soy-free chik’n nugget (that’s a vegetarian “chicken” nugget) recipe to broaden my repertoire of wholesome finger foods for my son (who I refer to as Mister on my Instagram account). The first one I tried was from The Happy Herbivore and to say it was a huge flop would be an understatement. Those nuggets were stringy and flavorless and I KNEW I could find better.

A fellow Instagram mama, Terita, told me about her recipe (find hers here) and I knew I had to try it. Simple, approachable ingredients – game on. I couldn’t wait to try them. These nuggets were a snap to prep and came out of the oven crispy and golden and full of flavor. Better yet, Mister LOVED them. Bingo!

These have been in regular rotation in our household for months, and after baking up dozens of batches, I continued to tweak the recipe over time, finally changing it enough to make it my own.

What’s even more appealing than just making a plain ol’ wholesome nugget recipe (my toddler is quite content being served these as you would a traditional nugget – with ketchup for dipping), is that these are SO adaptable! They can be made into sliders or even crumbled and served in a tortilla taco style.  I’ve even added crumbled nuggets to pasta!  The seasoning can be switched out to suite your kiddos taste or to simply change it up and different kinds of cheeses work too (think mozzarella, monterrey jack, gouda, etc).


Gluten Free Chickpea Nuggets

  • Servings: approx. 20 nuggets
  • Difficulty: easy
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These protein packed chickpea nuggets are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and have great flavor from the addition of fresh garlic and onion and shredded cheddar cheese.


Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked chickpeas (either homemade or from 1 15oz. can, drained & rinsed
  • 3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. quinoa flakes (I use Ancient Harvest brand; although bread crumbs or oat flour work too)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning (or seasoning blend of choice)
  • 1 c. roughly chopped baby greens* (spinach, chard, beet greens, kale or a mixture of all)
  • *optional but totally recommended

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place garlic clove into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until minced. Now, add the onion and pulse again until finely chopped.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and process on high until incorporated, stopping to scrap down the sides as needed. The texture will be similar to hummus.
  4. Spoon heaping tablespoonfuls (or larger if you like) onto lined baking sheet about an inch apart. One batch usually yields roughly 20 nuggets for me.
  5. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, turn nuggets over and flatten slightly with a wooden spoon or spatula. Return to the oven and bake 10 minutes more.
  6. Store baked nuggets in the fridge for about 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months (they freeze great!).

Happy Food Making, Mamas!

Tortilla Pizza with Homemade Sauce

We eat pizza often – usually once a week.  I love making tortilla pizzas because they’re easy, quick to prepare, and small enough so that each person can have their own just the way they like it.  Tortilla pizzas are super thin too, which makes them an ideal first pizza for older babies and toddlers.  I just started offering my 16 month old son whole slices to take bites out of himself.  He has been eating these for a few months now though – I just used the pizza cutter to cut up the pizza into bite-sized pieces and he always gobbled them up.

Have you read the ingredient list on store bought pizza sauce?  Yuck! I like to make my own sauce, but simple and no fuss is key.  I feel like I’m already in the kitchen A LOT, so these kinds of things have to be easy.  This sauce is quick and super easy using pantry ingredients.  It’s also no-cook.  Everything gets thrown in the blender and then it’s pizza making time!

Whenever I find a recipe I want to make on a blog, I almost always find myself scrolling down to the bottom to get right to the recipe.  I hardly ever take the time to read all the musings that the blogger took the time to write because – let’s face it – life is busy and I don’t have time for all that.  😉

So, I’m going to make it a point on my blog to be concise.  Without further ado, here’s the recipe:

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Tortilla Pizza with Homemade Sauce

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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A super simple, highly adaptable thin crust pizza with a flavorful sauce that's great for toddlers, older kids, and adults alike! If there's any sauce leftover, freeze it to make your next pizza party even easier!


Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

    For the pizza:
  • 3 8″ flour or gluten free tortillas
  • toppings of choice (we go for sautéed veggies and mozzarella cheese, but the possibilities are endless!)
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained (I prefer Muir Glen Organic)
  • heaping 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbs. honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. Italian or Herbes de Provence seasoning
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add all sauce ingredients to blender and blend from low to high speed until smooth. The sauce should be thick so it spreads on your pizzas well. Add more tomato paste if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
  3. Spoon about 1/3 cup of sauce over a tortilla, leaving some room around the edges for the “crust”.
  4. Add toppings. You’ll want a total of about half a cup of veggies and/or meat per tortilla. After that, add the cheese.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and tortilla is crispy around the edges.

Happy Food Making, Mamas!

Superfood Prune Puree 

Whether your kiddo is just starting out with solids or he’s well into toddlerhood (or beyond!), sometimes his digestive system needs a little help – um, keeping things moving.  I’ve found that when that happens, I can often help relieve constipation with a few simple dietary changes.  For starters, I make sure Little Mister is drinking plenty of water.  Next, I try to eliminate the following from my son’s diet (these foods can often exacerbate the problem if they are not the outright cause):

  • bananas
  • rice
  • apples
  • toast

A great food to add INTO his diet is prunes.  I like to make my own prune puree and store ice cube sized portions in the freezer so that I always have some on hand when the need arises.  I’ve made several variations, but this one with its superfood additions is my favorite.  Don’t get me wrong – it still looks like prunes.  It still tastes like prunes.  The extras are there mainly for their added nutritional benefit and to make the prunes go farther.

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Spinach adds folate, iron, and a slew of other vitamins and minerals.  Blueberries have loads of antioxidants and are a good source of Vitamin C.  Chia seeds are protein rich and chock full of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Prunes – as well as being packed with fiber – are also full of vitamins and minerals.

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This puree is super simple to make. Fill a medium sized saucepan with about an inch of water and fit a steaming basket inside.  Add the prunes, blueberries, and spinach.  Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce heat to medium.  Steam for 10 minutes.

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Let cool slightly and add contents to a blender or food processor (I use a Vitamix).  Add the chia seeds.  Pour in a little of the steaming liquid to help get things blending.  If it’s too thick, add a little more liquid (but try not to add too much!).

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Blend until a smooth puree forms.  Depending on how long the ingredients were allowed to cool, you may need to stop the blender and vent a time or two to let the steam out.

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At this point, I like to fill ice cube trays with my puree and freeze them overnight.  After that, I remove the cubes from the tray and store in labeled zip-top bags in the freezer.  Because of the high prune content, the puree doesn’t freeze into rock solid blocks.  Sometimes I use a butter knife to gently lift them out of the ice cube tray so that they stay intact.

How to Use the Puree

Depending on the age of your little one, you may only need one ice cube’s worth per serving (about an ounce or two tablespoons).  When my son was younger (less than a year), one cube was plenty.  Now that he’s older (almost 16 months), I usually give him two cubes per serving.  I simply microwave however much I need for about thirty seconds – and viola – perfectly thawed!  If microwaving isn’t your thing, you could thaw in the fridge over night or use a LillyPot on the stovetop.

My son will eat prune puree straight up, but most often I stir it into either yogurt or oatmeal.  I’ve noticed one “dose” seems to do the trick and it usually takes effect in a few hours.

Now for the Disclaimer

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway.  I am not a healthcare professional.  You know your baby/toddler best.  Always consult your pediatrician and trust your instincts.  In my experience, if my son gets constipated, it’s usually a result of too much dairy, bananas, rice, apples, or bread – or a combination of all of these.  For us, a relatively simple change in his diet is all it takes to help things along.  Constipation can of course have a totally different underlying cause, so I’ll say it again – if you think something’s off – talk to your doc!

Happy Food Making, Mamas!

Superfood Prune Puree

  • Difficulty: easy
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An easy, homemade prune puree with extra superfood power!


Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz. package prunes
  • 1.5 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • handful of spinach (kale or another dark, leafy green will work too)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with an inch of water and fit with a steamer basket.
  2. Add the prunes, blueberries, and spinach to the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium, and steam for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  5. Transfer to blender or food processor, add chia seeds, and pour in a little steaming liquid to help with the blending process.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Portion into ice cube trays or similar containers and freeze. Once frozen, the puree will keep for about 3 months. If refrigerated, puree will keep about a week.

My Review of Replay Recycled

One look at my Instagram account will show you that I like Replay Recycled. I use their products for feeding my 14 month old at almost every meal. I was recently given the opportunity to trial their Solid Set in exchange for my honest review. Here is what I received:

This set includes their widely popular divided plate, a bowl, one fork and one spoon, a no-spill cup, one tumbler, and a snack pod with lid.

Full disclosure – I love this stuff.  Many of these I had already purchased at my local grocery store and use often.  New-to-me items were the no-spill cup, the tumbler, and the snack pod with lid.  Here’s a shot of most of our personal Replay stash (and our Fiesta Ware – I guess I love color!):

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Apart from the Solid Set I received from Replay, I have purchased 6 divided plates, 3 bowls, 3 flat plates, a utensil pack (4 forks and 4 spoons), and two soft spout cups.  Since we make most of our meals at home, this amount of feeding gear works for us for one kiddo (without having to wash dishes after every meal – who has time for that?).

On to the Review

Overall, I love Replay’s products.  The divided plates are, in my opinion, an absolute staple and I plan to use them well into toddlerhood and Baby Boy’s preschool years.  The size is just right for little ones and the fact that the plates are divided helps to remind us frazzled mamas to make sure to offer a variety of foods at each meal.  I also really like the bowls for oatmeal, snacks, soups, and any other obvious purpose for a bowl – again, it is sized perfectly for the wee ones. I was a little skeptical of the fork and spoon at first, thinking that they were going to be too bulky for my one-year-old.  I was wrong.  They work great and we’ve actually come to prefer them over the other brands we have.  Baby Boy seems to have an easier time using them too.

Okay, just in case you thought I was going to keep gushing about my love of Replay, here is a reality check.  The no-spill cup: not my favorite.  The no-spill part seems to be true, but I’m not a huge fan of hard-spouted cups and as far as I can tell, neither is my son.  He prefers Replay’s soft spout cups over this one, but more than those even, we use straw cups day to day.  Maybe Replay will make their own version of a straw sippy at some point, but in the meantime Munchkin and Tommee Tippee are our go-to.  They completely disassemble (no gross mold!) and pop into the dishwasher.

Next up is the tumbler (AKA a regular ol’ cup with no lid).  I like this one.  Again, it’s sized just right.  Even for a 14 month old, it’s easy to hold and use.  The next trip I make to Whole Foods will likely result in a purchase of a 3 pack of these.  One just won’t do.  We practice with water with this tumbler while Little Mister is seated in his highchair and sometimes, if I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll put his afternoon smoothie snack in it too. The only way he’ll learn to drink properly out of an ordinary cup is to practice, right? #EmbraceTheMess

Lastly – the snack pod.  Surprise! I love this too!  I plan to buy more.  If you have more than one they screw together – how neat is that?  We have only tried dry snacks in these so far – Cheerios, puffs, cheddar crackers, and so on.  They stay nice and fresh and do not go stale. I can quickly add some goodies to the snack pod as we’re rushing out the door and throw it in the diaper bag.  Viola! An easy way to keep snacks close at hand for when those hunger grumpies happen.  Little Mister gets super excited when I get this out of his bag – he knows something tasty is coming.

In a Nutshell

  • They’re made from recycled milk jugs – cool!
  • Manufactured right here in the U.S.
  • Reasonably priced – regular retail for a 3-pack of plates is around $6.99.  As much as I love our EZPZ Fun Happy Mat, I can really only justify having one (they’re $24.99 each – yikes!).  Replay is MUCH more affordable.
  • Dishwasher safe on the top rack
  • Widely available – many grocery stores have them, Target recently started offering them, you can buy them directly from Replay online, or even get them on Amazon (although they are more expensive purchased from Amazon I’ve noticed)
  • Come in a rainbow of colors, helping to make mealtime fun!

Now for the Fun Part

Check out my Instagram account in the next couple of days, where I’ll be hosting my very first giveaway! Replay has so kindly offered to send a Starter Set (a divided plate, a no-spill cup, and a fork & spoon) at one of my followers, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!  I hope to start posting our weekly meal plans, as well as a few recipes (I have already started a couple of different drafts – let’s hope Little Mister takes good naps the next few days and maybe I’ll actually have time to finish one!).