No Cook Veggie Marinara Dip

The art of dipping. I think my three-year old could win a medal if dipping t was a sport. He, like so many other kids,  loves to dip everything and anything into anything and everything. Why not make their dipping sauce a bit more healthy and veggie packed? This no cook veggie marinara is especially great for picky eaters.

The sauce is homemade, and doesn’t need cooking. It doesn’t get easier than that!

We paired it with one of our favorite breads, Brazi Bites. It’s a cheesy bread made  with simple wholesome ingredients. It’s also gluten free. Best of all, it tastes great. and goes from freezer to your table in 20 minutes. Huge disclaimer friends, you can’t eat just one! It’s that good.

Veggie Packed Marinara Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 grated zucchini
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 slice bell pepper (add more to taste if desired)
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 pitted date

Instructions

  1. Prepare all ingredients
  2. Blend and serve
  3. Enjoy!
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/05/no-cook-veggie-marinara-dip/

*If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you Brazi Bites for sponsoring this post. 

 

Healthy Chocolate Ice Cream

I love chocolate. I’m not going to lie, to me it’s the best thing since sliced bread. While we do have the occasional real ice cream treat, it’s always nice to eat something guilt free. It’s also nice to be able to share something with both my kids without thinking about the sugar content and what’s in it. That said, I’m all about balance! So do what you do.

This has a lot of healthy fat including avocado and coconut oil. The hardest part about this recipe is remembering to put some ripe bananas in the freezer the night before. That’s it super easy and clean.

Healthy Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 3 frozen bananas (sliced)
  • 1 tbs. Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbs. agave
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla

Instructions

  1. Slice bananas and freeze in a ziplock bag
  2. In a food processor combine all ingredients, and blend until desired consistency
  3. You can either freeze it for later or enjoy immediately
  4. If you freeze it for later, let it sit in room temperature for a a few minutes before serving for easy scooping, and a little bit creamier texture
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/03/healthy-chocolate-ice-cream/

Also, if you are ready for self feeding, or do Baby Led Weaning like us, you have to try out these Num Num spoons! There’s no wrong way to use because it’s flat. The innovative design requires no scooping or balancing.  My baby gets so excited to use it because it gives him independence. Better yet, you my friend, can eat YOUR food and not tend to your baby for at least 5 minutes. Now you know that’s priceless.  The non slip bowl is also top notch. The No-Slip,  No-Tip Design, facilitates learning to self=feed.

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the product for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.**If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

Lakeshore Learning Toys

If you’ve followed us for a while on Instagram stories, you know I do a lot of activities besides cooking. By popular demand, I’ll be posting more of our activities on my blog.

Finding toys that are both fun and educational are hard to find.I recently discovered the store Lakeshore Learning, and boy will you find great toys there! You all can thank me later. It’s seriously one of my favorite stores ever. Every toy I’ve seen sold there has a purpose and is really enjoyable for the kids as well.

I’m not homeschooling my son, but I do try to teach them the basics before he starts school in the fall. We recently started playing with the scented play dough pack.

It’s a great, fun, and creative type of play dough. Growing up I loved anything that smelled sweet like a treat. Do you remember scratch and sniff stickers? Those were totally my favorite. This play dough set brings me back to those days. I mean who doesn’t love the smell of blueberries? Or strawberries? We first played with the dough making fruit shapes and food.

Since I always try to incorporate some education into our play at least a few times a day, we continued on with phonics and letters.   I’ve found making our lessons fun and play based is much more effective.   We used these cards also from LakeShore Learning.

First I ask him what letter is on the card. I then asked him what sound the letter makes. Lastly, I pointed out the objects on the picture. Fore example, B is for balloon.

We do about 2-3 letters a day. He’s 3 years old and loves change. We bring out this activity a few times a week, eventually finishing the alphabet. You can also have him trace the letter with his fingers. Furthermore, for any of you who have kids with allergies, the non toxic dough does not contain corn, dairy/casein, egg, gelatin, latex or nuts.

Some of you ask what toys we use for my one year old. At this age, we do a lot of reading and sensory toys. These stars are great.  They are colorful and each one has a different texture. Babies love to learn and explore and this is a great safe way for them to do that. We also teach colors by pointing out each different hue of the rainbow. It also builds gross motor skills.

Yes, you guessed it. Lots of this happened.

But, not to worry, these are machine, or surface washable. I hope you enjoyed this post!

Here’s some fun clips of my kids playing with the toys!

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the product for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.**If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

French Toast Roll Ups

I’ve made something like these French toast roll ups in the past with other ingredients. This version this includes ones that are more ready available. You’ll probably find what you need in your refrigerator now. It’s a great way to make a meal more fun for the kids and packs in protein and fruit. The fillings are endless!

French Toast Roll Ups

Ingredients

  • Bread
  • Cream Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs. milk
  • Sliced fruit of choice (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwis, etc.)
  • Butter

Instructions

  1. Flatten bread with a rolling pin or glass
  2. Remove ends of bread (optional)
  3. Spread cream cheese on one end of bread
  4. Top with sliced fruit, roll tightly
  5. Tip: Do not overfill!
  6. In a bowl, combine one egg and milk
  7. Dip filled roll ups into egg mixture, removing excess
  8. In a pan, on medium heat, add butter and brown rollups on all sides until brown
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/03/french-toast-roll-ups/

Hidden Veggie Egg Salad

Veggies. These fiber rich foods are oh so good for you, but oh so hard to get your kids to eat it. At least that’s what I gather from the dozens of messages I get from all of you. If you’ve followed my blog or social media you’ll see I try to offer my kids veggies at every meal.  I came up with this hidden veggie egg salad recipe while trying to fulfill this goal. It was one of those days where I knew we would be home late for lunch and I had to prepare something quickly. I boiled some eggs in the morning with the plan of making egg salad. Then, as expected when I got home, had not much time before nap time. I looked in the refrigerator, combined a few things and voilà, almost all the food groups in one bite.

Tip: You can also just steam some cauliflower and smash it, or cook some rice cauliflower with a little olive oil.

Hidden Veggie Egg Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 egg, boiled
  • 1 tbs. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs. avocado
  • 1-2 tsp. riced cauliflower, steamed
  • Paprika to taste
  • Bread
  • .

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mash the boiled egg
  2. Add mayo, avocado, cauliflower and mix
  3. Sprinkle paprika and combine
  4. Top on bread and serve with chips and fruit
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/02/hidden-veggie-egg-salad/

P.S. If you have a super picky toddler with texture issues, you can cut the cauliflower amount to 1/2 tsp., but honestly you can’t hardly taste it! You can also just use avocado only, that in itself has much more nutrients than just mayonnaise.

Educational Toys and Books

Hi everyone! If you are an Instagram follower, you know I do a lot of activities besides cooking with my toddler. Since I get so many messages about the different educational toys and books I use, I thought I’d write-up a blog post about it.  I showcase them on my IG stories almost daily. f you’re not familiar with stories go to my page and press the red ring around my profile name. I also post these items when they go on sale on my deals page. Go here if you want to be added.

Ps: I don’t have a formal background in education, but I do try to make it fun and educational for my kids. We don’t do much television or screen time, so I have to keep my son entertained in other ways. And frankly, I have to entertain myself too!

Just a tip: every kid is different! Some enjoy some activities more than others. Make it fun! Go back to it on another day if he or she is not interested.

Click on the RED links (affl.) for direct purchasing.

TOYS

Tweezer Tongs Color Sorting Kit 

  • Kids strengthen the fine motor skills they’ll need to start writing–while sorting by color!
  • Children use the easy-grip tweezer tongs to sort colored balls into the tubes
  • Builds color recognition, fine motor strength and eye/hand coordination–and develops pre-writing skills
  • Includes a color sorting tray with removable tubes, tweezer tongs and 50 rubber balls
  • For ages 3-6 years

Alpha Pops

  • 2-piece pops strengthen hand muscles and increase coordination while promoting imaginative play
  • Reinforce upper and lowercase letter recognition through matching
  • Set includes: 26 double-sided pops
  • Winner of 2 awards

Snap-and-Learn Alphabet Alligators 

  • Match upper and lowercase letters with these two-piece gators
  • Reinforce letter recognition and color matching
  • Each alligator is color-coded for self-checking
  • Includes 13 heads and tails marked on both sides to include all 26 letters

Magformers

Imaginative Development: Allow your child to build and create, expanding your child’s imaginative horizons and allowing them to develop their mind in new ways. 

Lincoln Logs

LINCOLN LOGS supports key areas of a child’s development growth. As the stack the different part together and discover how the building system works, they’re strengthening hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, spatial awareness and exercising their imagination!

Practice Shoe Tying

  • 4 chunky foam shoes to lace and learn how to tie
  • Bright, fun color foam shoes and real decorated shoe laces
  • iParenting Media Award winner
  • Includes 4 lacing shoes, 4 printed laces and a shoe tying lesson card

Talking Microscope 

  • Slip in one of the included slides to study some serious amazing scientific images!
  • Explore 12 fascinating bugs up close, learn cool bug facts, and test your knowledge of each creepy critter in fun quiz games!
  • Includes Talking Microscope with 5x focusing magnifier and light for easy viewing and 12 slides.
  • Fun facts and questions, such as “Ground beetles give off a stinky smell!” and “How far can a jumping spider jump?”
  • Winner of 10+ awards including Family Fun Toy of the Year Finalist, Parents Magazine Toy Test Finalist, Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products, and Parent’s Choice Recommended.
  • Supports STEM learning via hands-on experience with a key scientific tool.
  • The perfect first microscope for preschoolers; makes a great birthday gift!

Butterfly Growing Kit

Self Correcting Puzzles

  • Beautifully detailed pictures encourage interest in all things A-B-C and beyond
  • Practice letter recognition and matching skills
  • Wooden storage box with slide-in lid
  • 52 wooden pieces

Ready Set School

  • Skill building set for pre-school children
  • Learn to cut, tie your shoe, and write the alphabet and so much more
  • Parents’ Choice Recommended Award winner
  • Includes 4 wipe away books with marker, 8 finger crayons, safety scissors, 2 stencils, 15 activity pages, 75 stickers, shoelace, and instructions

Magnetic Board and Chalkboard

Pattern Puzzles

BOOKS AND WRITING

Reusable Sticker Book

 

Wipeable Flash Cards – Upper Case

Wipeable Flash Cards – Lower Case

Wipeable Numbers – 1-30

Water Wow

  • Three fun activity/coloring board books, each with refillable water pen
  • Engaging and entertaining animal, alphabet, and number themes
  • Reusable white pages feature simple line drawings when dry; filled with color when wet
  • Chunky-size water pen for easy filling, easy gripping
  • Compact, spiral-bound format that’s great for travel

Let’s Sticker and Paste 

Let’s Sticker and Paste

Let’s Sticker and Paste

Tracing

Tracing

Cut & Paste

Let’s Cut Paper

Kid’s Scissors

 

Rock Crayons

Dot Markers

  • Thirty-two (32) Non-toxic, all natural soy wax crayons in 32 colors: red, green, blue, egg yolk yellow, black, brown, orange, purple, pink, grass green, sky blue, sunshine yellow, gray, tan, peach, white, strawberry cream, honey wheat, gold, pumpkin spice, coffee, tree bark, cranberry, rose red, magenta, periwinkle, turquoise, aqua, spruce, autumn green, silver in a cotton muslin bag.
  • Designed to strengthen the tripod grip muscles in young children and improve motor coordination.
  • Allows small fingers to color easily in large, wide strokes.
  • Crayon size is 1 1/4 x ¾ inch (Images may appear larger) Long lasting and durable. Although appearing smaller, volume is actually greater than major brand stick crayons. Size was carefully selected for the hands of young children!

Dot Coloring Books (girls)

Dot Coloring Books (boys)

Magnetic Calendar 

Learning Clock 

This one isn’t educational, but I’m trying to limit my messages on social media so I can spend time with my kids. Since you asked here is the link to these cars and tracks.

Cars and Tracks 


**If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

Chickpea Veggie Patties

We live on patties around my house. It’s fast and easy to make and always a hit with my two boys. Best of all these bites are jammed packed with veggies. It also includes added protein from the garbanzo beans and cheese in the recipe. I don’t have to worry about making other dishes, because it has carbohydrates, protein, veggies, and even some fat. I serve it with a side of fruit and I consider it a well-balanced meal.

I make a variation of these weekly.  Since I’ve received so many messages on social media about how I make them, I finally got around to writing a recipe blog post.  This is super for baby led weaning! Sometimes I add a little sour cream, marinara, or hummus on top to make it easier to chew. Ps: If you’re not already watching my stories, check it out! It’s the red ring around my profile name. I post kids activities and day to day mom life stuff. We have fun over there !

Chickpea Veggie Patties

Ingredients

  • 1 c. sweet potato (steamed) about 3/4 of a large
  • 1/4 c. peas (steamed)
  • 1/4 c. garbanzo beans (canned)
  • 1/4 c. shredded cheese
  • 1/4 c. bread crumbs
  • 2-3 tbs. flour (see tip)
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Steam sweet potato and peas
  2. In a blender blend potato, peas, garbanzo beans,and cheese
  3. Add bread crumbs, flour and egg
  4. Blend until combined, do not over mix
  5. The mixture should be a thick pasty mixture
  6. In a pan, add 2-3 tbs olive oil
  7. Using a scooper scoop out the mixture and place on pan. Smash with a spatula or spoon to form a patty
  8. Brown both sides
  9. Serve with sour cream, ketchup, marinara, hummus, or yogurt sauce
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/01/chickpea-veggie-patties/

UppaBaby GLink

UPPAbaby G-LINK Review

I have always been a fan of the UPPAbaby brand. When our first son was a few months old, we began using the UPPAbaby G-LUXE. I absolutely love it, and so does my husband. 0167_GLINK_JakeNaturally, we were thrilled to hear about the release of the double version, the UPPAbaby G-LINK.

I’m a no frills type of gal when it comes to strollers. I look for practicality and ease of use. Now that I have two kiddos to haul around, it’s even more important to me. Actually, it’s vital to my survival. Having two kids is no joke, and I need to make life “on the go” as easy as possible.

From the minute I opened the box, I knew this stroller would not disappoint.  First, it’s only 24.5 pounds! That’s super light for a double stroller. Don’t let the light weight fool you, it is very well built and sturdy. Similar to its sibling the G-LUXE, it stands on its own when folded. That means I can be hands free when taking it out of my trunk or when I need to store it like at restaurants or commuting on a train. This is a huge plus when I’m unloading my car. Especially now that I need both hands; one for my toddler and one for my newborn. I don’t have to find a wall to lean it on.

0167_GLINK_Folded

A huge reason why this stroller works for me is because I wanted to accommodate both my newborn and toddler without any fancy attachments. My oldest son is 2.5 years old and his little brother is 2 months old.  The G-LINK is suitable from birth up to 50 lbs. It comes with a handy infant insert so I don’t need a car seat or any other attachment for the stroller.0167_GLINK_Flexible

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know my oldest son eats like a teenage boy. At two, he’s already almost 40 pounds, so I needed to find a stroller with a high weight limit. The maximum weight limit for the stroller is 100 lbs.combined.

Accommodating my kids sleep and nap schedules is very important to me. The side-by-side seats can recline in four positions, independent of each other. It allows for a full recline. You heard me right folks, a full recline! That in itself is amazing! This means when my toddler wants to look at sights and scenes, he can sit upright while my newborn dreams about his next meal. Rest assured, my infant is secure because the stroller comes with an infant head support and mesh foot barrier. So back to napping, there is a peekaboo window in the back of the stroller so I can peek in to see if the kiddos are still sleeping. That may not sound like a big deal to you, since you can just go to the front and see, but convenience is key in my book. I’m usually rushed these days, saving just a few minutes is super helpful for me, especially since my newborn sleeps best when moving. Below the peekaboo window is a handy pocket for your cell phone or any items you might want to store, like keys or a wipes for a quick cleanup.

A big plus to the G-LINK is its large canopy shade.  It especially comes in handy on hot summer days. The canopy offers generous coverage and includes an extended SPF 50+ UV shade. I have yet to see a canopy this big for a stroller! That means no blankets to drape over when the newborn is sleeping. One less thing to carry, right? Speaking of carrying, there is a ton of storage space in this stroller! Check out the video below, I was able to fit a large ball AND more in the bottom two storage compartments. 

Last but not least, every mom’s dream. It’s easy to open and fold back! I despise strollers that are not easy to put away or fold open. If there are too many levers, buttons or strings to pull, I go mad!  With just a few clicks it folds nicely. For you tech folks the dimensions are:

Unfolded: 30”W x 29”L x 42”H

Folded: 18”W x 18”L x 41”H

The only con I see to this stroller is its price. It ain’t cheap. In my humble opinion, you get what you pay for. It’s worth every penny, especially since it has such a high weight limit. So if you’re on the market for a high quality, long-lasting stroller, this stroller is for you. Another plus if you register your stroller within 3 months with proof of purchase there is a FREE extended warranty for 3 years.

Here’s a video I shot for you to see how fun and easy the G-LINK is:

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the product for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.**If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Rollups

Tis the season for pumpkin! Every fall, I make pumpkin rolls. You know the one that involves a lot of work., but is so yummy that you end up making it regardless? This year however, I have my hands full with two kids. Nevertheless, my pumpkin roll cravings are still going strong. One afternoon, I improvised, and that day, I bit into the best pumpkin cream cheese rollups I’ve ever tasted.

pumpkin-rollup-

Pumpkin Roll Ups

 

This is a such a great, easy fix to my cravings.  It has the perfect crunch with a creamy warm filling. Best of all, you can make just one or two rollups, instead of baking a whole roll. You also don’t need an oven or mixer.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Rollups

Ingredients

  • 5 slices bread (fresh is best)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs. milk
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin puree
  • 2-3 tbs. butter
  • 3 tbs. cream cheese

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix pumpkin puree and 1 tbs. brown sugar, set aside
  2. Using a rolling pin or glass, flatten bread by rolling. Cut ends of bread if desired
  3. Spread cream cheese on one end of the bread
  4. Top with pumpkin puree mixture
  5. Roll like a tube
  6. In a pan, add butter
  7. Brown all sides
  8. Dip and roll in remaining brown sugar
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/10/pumpkin-cream-cheese-rollups/

Zucchini Broccoli Tater Tots

When I talk to moms about food and picky eating, veggies are always a struggle. There’s no surprise there! Halloween is fast approaching. This holiday is a great time to introduce green foods.Many kids won’t touch anything green let alone eat it. Sometimes it’s a little more convincing to call things green monsters, incredible hulk juice, etc.  If you make your meals a little fun and festive, they may just give it a try. Once they’ve tasted it they just might realize it’s not that bad. These zucchini broccoli tater tots recipe is super tasty, even my husband and I enjoyed them.

I made these tots just a little more fun by putting candy eyes on them. I called them little green monsters. Fortunately, my son eats broccoli on its own, but no more than three or four stalks. He gobbled up about 10 of these. Dipped it in some “blood” (ketchup) and he thought it was so cool. Kinda gross to me, but hey.. we aim to please.

I packed it in a  Yumbox for a quick lunch while we went to an indoor playground. It was a perfect complete healthy meal. Also a quick tip: coat your avocado slices in olive oil and it will stay nice and green, no browning.

broccoli-tot-box-final-photo

zucchini-broccoli-tots-1

Give this a whirl, it has protein, grains, and veggies all in one.

 

Zucchini Broccoli Tater Tots

Ingredients

  • 1.5 C. steamed broccoli
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 small zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. cheddar cheese/Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 tsp. 21 seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Steam broccoli
  2. In a blender, add all ingredients and blend until pasty
  3. Form tater tot shapes
  4. In a pan, cook in a little olive oil, flip so all sides are brown
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/10/zucchini-broccoli-tater-tots/

*Thank you Yumbox for sponsoring this post. If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!