Category Archives: Kid Friendly

Healthy Mini Muffins for Kids (or Anyone!)

Back in the fall when I was looking for more ways to use up the overload of squash from my CSA, I started baking with it. Using an old recipe of my mom’s for Pumpkin Apple Streusel muffins as a base, I thought I would swap the pumpkin for squash. But why stop there? So I started subbing ingredients to see how I could sneak in more veggies and make the muffins healthier. Some carrots here, some flax seeds there, some raisins for even more texture.

Every time I made them my 2 1/2 year old, who can be hit-or-miss on squash and carrots, gobbled them up. This weekend, he told me he wanted to make muffins so I took on the final frontier – reducing the amount of refined sugar. In my first attempt at messing with a staple baking ingredient, I cut the original amount of sugar in half and replaced the other cup with unsweetened applesauce and added an extra 1/2 C of flour to balance out the extra moisture.

Results? Success. The texture was exactly the same as the original version and although the muffins themselves are less sweet, I actually prefer it that way. Plus, it still passed the toddler test of requesting seconds.

Fruit & Veggie Packed Mini Muffins
makes 4 1/2 dozen mini muffins
2 eggs
1 C sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 C applesauce (unsweetened/no sugar added kind)
1 C steamed and pureed winter squash (butternut or acorn work well)
3 C flour
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 C shredded carrots
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and shredded
2/3 C raisins

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, beat together oil, eggs and pureed squash until combined. Beat in sugar and applesauce. Beat in pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and flax seeds. Add flour, one cup at a time, mixing well for even texture. Fold in carrots, apples and raisins.

Lightly spray mini muffin baking tin with cooking spray. Spoon batter into baking tin so that each cup is 3/4 or slightly more full of batter. Bake for 12 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.




Filed under Breakfast, Healthy, Kid Friendly

Valentine Cake Balls

I’ve been Valentine’s nostalgic this year after signing up to bring the sweet treat for my little guy’s Valentine’s Day party at school. Nothing says Valentine’s Day more than Conversation Hearts. While these little heart-shaped sugar messages have evolved over the years – TXT ME, TWEET ME – the taste still brings back memories of stuffing little homemade mailboxes full of loving messages and treats.


I knew these three and four-year-olds would be hopped up on lots of sugary treats, so I wanted to make a bite sized treat to share. I put together these funfetti conversation heart cake balls that are as tasty as they are cute!

Valentine Cake Balls
Yields approx. 30
1 box Funfetti cake mix (w ingredients included on box directions)
6 oz whipped vanilla frosting (1/2 can)
2 12 oz. packages pink candy melts
1 small box conversation hearts

Bake cake mix according to directions on box. Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, crumble cake. Add frosting and mush cake and frosting together with hands, working frosting through cake to mold together. Using a tablespoon or cookie dough scoop, scoop out 1-2 inch balls of dough and roll. Place onto foil lined baking sheet. Continue until all dough is used up. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

In microwave, melt candy melts according to directions. Using a teaspoon, drop balls, one at a time into candy melt mix. Full coat and slowly drop balls back onto foil lined sheet. Place one conversation heart on the top of each ball, pressing in. Put in a cool place to dry, at least one hour. Cover for up to one week or freeze for three months.

Valentine's Cake Balls

Looking for another comforting Valentine dessert? Try any of these from our friend’s around the web!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Quinoa Fudge Brownies
Feed Me Phoebe: Salted Caramel Budino with Whipped Cream
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Milk Chocolate Brownies
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: A Chocolate Fondue Party
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Blood Orange Bars
Dishing with Divya: Carrot Halwa
Virtually Homemade: Raspberry Grand Marnier Mascarpone Hand Pies 
Devour: 5 Bread Pudding Recipes for Valentine’s Day
Weelicious: Puff Pastry Berry Hearts
Red or Green: Hot Chocolate, New Mexican Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chocolate Cake Brownies (Refined Sugar-Free)
The Sensitive Epicure: Nutella Panna Cotta
Food for 7 Stages of Life: S’mores on a Stick
Tasting With The Eyes: Puff au Chocolat avec Fraises, Basilic, Fleur de Sel
FN Dish: DIY Chocolate Desserts for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!



Filed under Cook, Kid Friendly, Treats, Valentine's Day

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Reindeer Fudge

If you are looking for an easy treat to get crafty with this Christmas, try this simple white chocolate peanut butter fudge recipe and wrap it in Rudolph! I have a small obsession for Rudolph crafts and treats as seen in my posts of Christmas’ past: Rudolph the Reindeer Treat Bags and Reindeer Peanut Butter Cookies. This year, we were asked to bring something to a cookie exchange for a kid’s holiday party and I thought these would be the perfect addition. They take about ten minutes of prep and cooking, 2 hours of cooling and a little extra time for decorating (which can be done with or without a little one).

reindeer fudge

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
2 C sugar
1/2 2% milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 C creamy peanut butter
1/2 C white chocolate chips

Line a 9 inch glass pie pan with non-stick foil or wax paper. Spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and milk. Heat and whisk until dissolved. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until mixture becomes thickened. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, spread mixture into pie pan. Sprinkle white chocolate chips generously over the top, patting down with the spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

When chilled, remove foil from pie pan and cut into triangles. One pie pan will make approximately 10-12 triangles, depending on the size.


To decorate, you will need:
Cellophane bags
Brown pipe cleaners
Self-stick google eyes
Red construction paper

Place triangle fudge into bags. Fit bag tightly over fudge and pull together at the top. Secure with pipe cleaner, twisting to create a seal (you could always place a small rubber band to secure the bag first if you’d like). Fashion pipe cleaners into antlers, bending to your liking. Cut small circle with construction paper. Glue at tip of bag. Stick eyes above. Repeat until complete.

You can also use your favorite brownie or blondie recipe with this wrapping to create the same effect.

Happy Holiday baking!



Filed under Christmas, Kid Friendly, Quick & Easy, Treats

Simple Roasted Vegetables

My 1 year old daughter is a true veggie lover.  She especially loves anything that is roasted.  After making her many batches of roasted veggies I realized that I almost forgot just how good a simply roasted vegetables can be.  Sometimes we get so consumed by making a recipe unique, adding all kinds of sauces or spices, that we forget that a vegetable in its truest form is actually very delicious, and good for you!  I have found that using coconut oil helps to bring out the sweetness.  I understand that this recipe is not necessary earth shattering, but hopefully it will inspire you to rediscover the simplicity of roasted vegetables.


Roasted Carrots and Zucchini

4 large carrots, pealed and sliced into even sized pieces.
1 medium sized zucchini sliced into evenly sized pieces
2-3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
Sea Salt

Preheat your oven to 400 deegrees.  Place your cut up veggies in a bowl and drizzle with the melted coconut oil.  Toss until all of the veggies are coated.  The coconut oil will probably harden slightly onto the carrots and zucchini and that is ok.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

carrots and zuchini pre baking

Lay out on parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes turning every 10 minutes.

Remove when brown around the edges and tender.


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Filed under Cook, Kid Friendly, Sides

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

With the holidays just around the corner, I’m still hanging onto the last little bits of fall. Let’s face it, as soon as it slips away it’s going to be awhile before us cold climate people see signs of outdoor life again without freezing our fingers off.

As an homage to all the best fall flavors, I’m sharing these Pumpkin Apple Streusel muffins that my mom used to make for us as kids. Consider them tasty little bites of autumn that you can bust out when the winter blues set in…or just for every weekend prior.

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins
2 1/2 C flour
2 C sugar
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 C pumpkin
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 C peeled, finely chopped apples

Preheat over to 350. In a large bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin and oil. Beat in dry ingredients, working in flour and sugar one cup at a time. Stir until batter is fully mixed. Using a spatula, fold in apples. Spoon batter into paper lined muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full.

Streusel Topping
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 C sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
5 Tbsp butter

In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle on top of batter in each muffin cup. Bake for 25-30 minutes.


Filed under Breakfast, Kid Friendly

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins

It is no secret that I love to bake muffins. Who doesn’t love a fresh warm muffin with their morning coffee? Adding veggies to muffins is a great way to get those required veggies into your diet (or your toddler).

I decided to mix it up this time and make it an inside out piece of carrot cake. It is a lightened up recipe, using a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, golden raisins, oats, carrots, yogurt and applesauce. Using substitutes like applesauce and yogurt creates gives the muffins a nice, sweetened taste and moist texture. However, the consistency of these muffins will be a little chewier than a fluffy oil, flour and butter muffin.

These muffins would be just fine without the frosting middle, but for a little extra fun and a tiny bit of effort (and calories) it is well worth it!

Carrot Cake Muffins
1 C shredded carrot (about 2-3 medium-sized carrots)
1/2 C rolled oats
1/2 golden raisins, chopped
1/2 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 C applesauce
1/2 C plain yogurt (regular or Greek-style)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest
1 8 oz package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
2/3 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add oats and raisins until combined. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, whisk eggs, applesauce, yogurt and vanilla. By hand, add carrots and lemon zest. Mix until combined.

Fold wet mixture into dry mixture until just combined.

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy.

In a greased muffin pan, add one tablespoon of batter to each cup. Top with about one teaspoon of cream cheese frosting. Top with another tablespoon of batter. You will likely have a little bit of frosting left over.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes, turning pan half way through. Remove from oven and cool slightly on cooling rack.

Go ahead and sneak one right out of the oven, they are delicious warm!

Enjoy some more sweet and savory carrot recipes from these fabulous bloggers as part of Food Network’s Fall Fest!

Feed Me PhoebeRoot Vegetable and Black Bean Chili
Napa Farmhouse 1885Roasted Carrots With Chile and Agave
And Love It TooVegan Carrot Cake Coconut Macaroons
Virtually HomemadeThe Silver Palate’s Carrot Orange Soup
From My Corner of SaratogaCopper Pennies aka Glazed Carrots
The Heritage CookMaple Roasted Carrots, Apples and Onions
Made By MichelleCarrots and Caramelized Onions
Thursday Night DinnerBraised Carrots
HGTV GardensGarden-to-Table: Carrots
FN DishBest Carrot Sides for Thanksgiving



Filed under Breakfast, Healthy, Kid Friendly, Treats

Green Smoothie

I often find myself eating breakfast on the run which usually results in me downing a granola bar, a handful of cereal or some kind of cookie.  Great way to start the day, huh?  I needed a better option so I started to experiment with smoothies after my inlaws so generously gave us a vitamix.  This thing is amazing and makes some of the best smoothies because it literally pulverizes anything you put inside.  We have tried a ton of different combinations, but this green smoothie is, by far, my favorite.  The best part is that the spinach and carrots are almost undetectable and you would never know by the taste that they are even in there.  My husband and my daughter drink this without hesitation.  I love it because I can start my day off with a good dose of fruits and veggies and it is incredibly filling.

Green Smoothie

Serves 2 adults 

2 bananas, peeled
1/4 pineapple, chopped
1 fresh peach or 8 slices of bagged frozen peaches
1-2 cups of spinach
2 whole carrots, peeled and chopped
3 TBSP Chia Seeds
1/4 – 1/4 cup coconut water or regular water

Place the ingredients in your blender and blend until combined.  Add ice if you like your smoothies chilled.  We pour ours into to-go cups with straws so they are the perfect breakfast on the go!

I had mentioned before that we used a vitamix for this smoothie.  It is an incredibly powerful blender that pulverizes anything you put inside.  That is why the carrots are undetectable.  If you are using a blender that is not as powerful, you might want to leave the carrots out.

I also feel the need to mention that this post was not paid for by vitamix.  I just really love my blender!

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Filed under Healthy, Kid Friendly

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato & Fennel Soup

I have a serious thing for butternut squash. I would call it a problem if it weren’t for the fact that it’s a healthy obsession to have.  Last weekend I made this butternut squash soup that tastes so rich and satisfying that it sets a new standard for “health food”.

As a bonus, my one year old also gobbled it up and, besides the tedious vegetable chopping, the rest of the process is pretty hands-off – perfect for a weekend afternoon.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato & Fennel Soup
2 medium buttnernut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 small or 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 bulb fennel, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
4 C low sodium vegetable stock
2 Tbsp sherry
1/2 C half & half (optional)
2 sprigs thyme
kosher salt, to taste
cracked black pepper

Optional toppings:
dried cherries

Trim and chop squash, sweet potato, fennel and onion. Place vegetables, plus peeled garlic and thyme sprigs, on cookie sheets and toss with olive, salt and pepper until lightly and evenly coated. Roast vegetables at 400 for 40 minutes, removing part way through to flip for even browning.

Transfer half of roasted vegetables to a food processor or blender.  Begin pulsing the food processor and slowly incorporate two cups of vegetable stock, processing until mixture is smooth. Scrape into a Dutch oven or stock pot. Move the other half of vegetables into the food processor and repeat process of incorporating stock.  Add in sherry and puree until smooth.  Transfer second batch to the Dutch oven.

Heat puree over medium-low heat.  Season with salt to taste and stir in half and half if desired. Let soup simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Serve with pepitas, dried cherries and pancetta if desired.


Filed under Healthy, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal

Honey Sesame Chicken

Lately it has been a battle to get my 4 year old to eat dinner.  She used to eat anything but suddenly she has become stubborn and turns up her nose at everything except boxed Macaroni and Cheese.  It is almost impossible to get her to eat any form of meat, unless I make it sweet.  All I need to do is tell her this is “Honey Chicken” with lots of honey in it and she eats it no problem.

If the dinner table struggles about food are any indication of what the teenage years will be like, then I’m in trouble!

Honey Sesame Chicken

5 chicken breasts
¾ C. honey
¼ C. light soy sauce
¼ C. ketchup
2 t  olive oil

4 teaspoons cornstarch
6 Tablespoons  water
3 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Grease the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.  Add the chicken and cover with a mixture of the honey, soy sauce, ketchup and olive oil.

Cover and cook on low for about 5 hours or until the chicken is cooked and falls apart easily.  Be careful not to over cook.

Remove the chicken and shred, leaving the juices in the pan.  Mix the cornstarch and water and add the mixture to the juices left in the slow cooker.  Place shredded chicken back into the slow cooker, cover and cook for an additional 15-30 minutes.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

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Filed under Cook, Kid Friendly, Main Dish

Chicken Fingers

As one of the writers of HAP, I love to cook and cook often. However, as the mother of a preschooler and a newborn, my life can become somewhat hectic and I find myself turning to to convenicne foods. That’s right, chicken fingers, tatertots and sweet potato fries right out of the freezer. I know these foods aren’t bad occasionally, but lately I have been reaching into my freezer more often that I would like in order to get dinner on the table fast.

In an effort to break this habit, I wanted to make my own chicken fingers that would be quick to make and taste great, but would also be something I felt good about serving to my family. I coated chicken fingers with panco breadcrumbs and seasoning, then individually froze them before putting them in ziploc bags. With minimal effort, I have created chicken fingers that I can grab in a hurry that are homemade and still taste great.

Chicken Fingers for your freezer

3lbs chicken tenders
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups panco bread crumbs
1 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Salt

Ziplock Bags

In a large bowl, mix together the panco bread crumbs with the cumin, garlic and salt. Dip each chicken tender into the beaten eggs, then into the bread crumb mixture. Place on a large cookie sheet. Continue until you have used up all of your chicken tenders.

Place the cookie sheet into your freezer for about 45 minutes or until the tenders are mostly frozen. Then place into freezer safe ziplock bags. This will ensure that the chicken fingers will not stick together when you go to grab a certain number.

I like to try and slightly thaw the chicken before I bake it by putting it in the fridge in the morning if I am going to have it for dinner that night. If you are cooking from thawed, bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. If you are cooking from frozen, you will want to add 10-20 minutes to your cooking time.

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Filed under Cook, Kid Friendly, Main Dish