Treats/Desserts

Everyone’s favorite page!  We’re still going for healthy, though this page will have slightly more indulgent recipes (maybe a little cocoa, some chocolate chips, some honey to sweeten things…).  If you have found any healthier versions of desserts or any special treats that have healthy overtones, please don’t hesitate to share them in the comments section, below!

NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE (OR CAROB) AND ORANGE TREATS, from LLLI publication, Whole Foods for Kids to Cook
Makes 48 treats

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Ingredients: 1/4 C carob or cocoa powder
2 C finely crushed graham crackers or whole grain cookies
1.5 C finely chopped walnuts or other nuts
1/4 C honey
1/3 C orange juice or apple juice
Wheat germ or flax seed meal, if desired/ needed for consistency

1. Combine carob or cocoa powder, graham cracker crumbs and half the nuts in a bowl and mix well with a spoon.
2. Add honey and juice and mix well.
3. Shape into balls, adding some wheat germ or flax meal to cut stickiness a bit, if needed
4. Sprinkle remaining nuts on waxed paper, with some wheat germ, if desired, and roll balls in nuts, coating well. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

For those of us with dairy sensitive nurslings, here are some sweet treat ideas!  Also see the post, “Dairy Free Me”.

DAIRY-FREE CHOCO-NANA PUDDING, from Beth

Blend:  1 avocado, 1 banana, 1 T honey, 1/4 C cocoa powder, 1/4 C coconut milk

Eat!  You can also freeze into popsicles.

DAIRY-FREE RHUBARB CUSTARD PIE, from Kate

Make a dairy-free graham cracker crust.

Combine about 12 oz chopped rhubarb with 1/4 C honey (or sugar or maple syrup).  Let sit for an hour or so to release some juices from the rhubarb.  (If you don’t have enough rhubarb, you can use strawberries to get the right amount of fruit– even frozen will work, just defrost a bit in the microwave first.)

Beat together 1 C coconut milk, 2 eggs, a bit of vanilla and salt.

Drain the rhubarb and mix the juices in with the custard mixture.  Arrange the rhubarb in the bottom of the pie crust and pour the custard on top.  Bake at 375 degrees F until custard is set, about 35 minutes.

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Breads

This page covers all breads: yeast breads, quick breads, muffins, breakfast breads like scones and popovers, biscuits, pizza dough, etc.  Here is a great article on baking bread.  You can also do most breads in the bread machine, if you have one.  Check the bread machine’s instruction booklet and it will probably have ideas for how you can adapt recipes.  Let’s share ideas–Add any bread recipes your family likes below, in the comments section.

LA LECHE LEAGUE BAKING MIX— This mix can be used as you would use bisquick, as well as in any other recipes for muffins, etc. calling for LLL baking mix.  You can also find this recipe (the whole wheat version) in a recent cookbook from LLLI, Feed Yourself, Feed Your Family (our local group can get you a discounted version if you buy it through us).  I store mine in a gallon ziploc bag inside an empty oatmeal container– it takes up very little space in the refrigerator that way.  This is good for one week, so if you do it on the weekend, you can make fresh muffins, pancakes, waffles, etc. quickly anytime.  Search online for other recipes calling for LLL baking mix, and post them below if you find any you like!

MUFFINS FROM LLL BAKING MIX–A basic muffin recipe to which you can add any fruits/nuts/seeds you like or have on hand.  If you’re like us, the kiddos are always leaving half a banana or some apple slices behind.  Take a hint from Cynthia, one of our members, and stick them in the freezer right away and use them in recipes like this (cut off any portion that has been bitten or chewed).  Cynthia uses these leftover fruits for smoothies too!

Here’s another link to a quick homemade hamburger or hot dog bun you can have done within an hour. We use this recipe if we realize we are out of bread and need some for dinner too! I’m going to give it a try with half whole wheat, half all-purpose flour to see if that will work. If you try it with all whole wheat, let us know how it works for you!

Beverages

Any healthy drinks you’ve found that help fit in key nutritional elements during the day?  Maybe you are a fan of smoothies, in which case, there are some ideas on the snack page.  There are lots of ways to get your vitamins and minerals, and for some kids (and adults!) drinking your nutrition is easier than stopping to eat it.  Of course, no one can live on a liquid diet, but this is a good way to supplement, say PB&J, or whatever your toddler has adopted as the only thing they will eat now!  I will start this off with a recipe we just tried for the first time this week, and I will add more as I find things.  Please post any beverage ideas in the comments section below.  Smoothie recipes are welcome on this page, since many Moms have found it’s an easy way to get protein, vitamins, veggies, and fruits into their child’s meal.

  • Carrot Lemonade: Really tastes like lemonade, yet super healthy with the carrots!  Make sure you stir before pouring each time, and you should omit the ice cubes for young children unless they are in a sippy cup.  They could pose a choking hazard.  I took the recipe’s advice and doubled it, and it made two pitchers of the lemonade.  I made some into ice pops and we are having it with our lunches and dinners to make sure we drink it in time.  Next time, I will try freezing half of  it in smaller portions to defrost in the fridge when we need a veggie boost.  (posted by Jen, Local LLL Leader in Meadville)

Meals

Please post any quick, easy, healthful recipes in our comments section that you have found work for families with small children.

EASY QUICHE:  Abby shared this recipe that she says is ” a good way to sneak in vegetables, and you can improvise on the recipe based on what you have laying around. It calls for bisquick mix, so I am sure you can sub the LLL baking mix.”  Here is the recipe (adapted from All Recipes Easy Quiche):

This recipe makes one quiche (which fits in either an 8″ square pan or a pie dish). This is a no-crust quiche (much healthier, much easier).

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup baking mix
1/8 cup butter (very optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese (or any grated cheese you like)
Cooked Vegetables: Approximately 1 cup. You can use whatever you like –  peppers, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, etc (my favorite is spinach/broccoli sauteed together until soft)
Other: you could add some cubed ham, feta cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta, etc to the mix

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375
Spray dish with non stick spray
Combine all ingredients into one bowl & mix (batter will be lumpy)
Pour into prepared dish
Bake for 50 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Recipes

In our family, we are always on the lookout for quick, easy, and healthful recipes that taste good and will appeal to small children.  Click below to find or share a recipe from one of the categories.  I am kicking it off with some of our snack ideas, and I will add to the other categories gradually.  Feel free to add your own ideas to any of the categories below.

Snacks

Meals

Breads

Treats/Desserts

Beverages

Snacks

On this page, we can all contribute any snack ideas that work for our children.  Please keep in mind that the Moms at our meetings have children of many different ages, so you can decide for yourself if your child is old enough for each snack.  Many of the ideas are for young children, since this is the age most of us have at home with us.  These early years are very important for establishing food likes and dislikes, so if we can find ways to get the children to eat a variety of foods, they will be healthier eaters for their entire lives.

These are ideas from the Leaders’ recipe files, as well as from files of Moms who have attended our meetings.  We would love to have new ideas, so feel free to contribute your own snack ideas and recipes in the “comments” section, below and we will add it to the page.

There were only three of us at that first meeting, when Jen started the group in August 2011, and now look how we’ve grown!  Nearly twenty moms come to each meeting, and our group has helped dozens (and dozens, and dozens!)!  We often discuss children’s eating habits and nutrition at our meetings.  Here are some ideas from the founding members of our chapter of LLL.

  • Beth says, “Here’s a link to a great recipe for roasted chick peas.  The only difference is that I “dry roast” mine, without the olive oil.  I’ve done with and without and they are good both ways, just a little crispier without!  Curry and garlic powder is a spice combo Brady (at age 3) really likes them.”
  • Beth also gives Brady frozen veggies (right from the freezer– still frozen) as a snack!  She says he loves spinach this way.
  • Natalie makes a wonderful winter squash recipe in the microwave.  She says you can use acorn or butternut squash, and she adds some brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice to the mixture.  Both her husband and son love it, and she started serving it when her little one was about 15 months old.

Here are some more ideas that many moms have found helpful for encouraging healthy eating for the whole family:

  • You have probably heard of the trick of turning fruits and vegetables into funny faces and animals using raisins, currants, and peanut butter.  It is a great way to make a snack more enticing and convince little ones to eat more fruits and vegetables.  If you need ideas, a quick search online for “Creative fruit and vegetable snacks for kids” will yield lots of recipes and images.  Also try searching for “Healthy snacks for kids.”  If you find anything that works for you, post it here!
  • Cookie Dough Dip: This is my (Jen’s) little guy’s all-time favorite snack.  We had it at Beth’s house once, and she had us try it and then guess what the ingredients were.  The only thing I could figure out was peanut butter, but it also has garbanzo beans and dates, believe it or not!  We serve this with apple slices at our house, and we skip adding the chocolate chips.  My son often requests it just with a spoon, which is fine with me, since he is getting tons of good stuff in every bite!
  • Snickerdoodle Dip:  Combine plain yogurt (Greek works great, but regular would work too) and sprinkle a bunch of cinnamon in it.  It doesn’t taste like cookies, but I (Jen) found that if I give any dip a fun name, it makes most toddlers dip and eat lots more fruit than they normally would.
  • Dill Dip: Here’s one for the veggies. Again, take some greek yogurt (or regular plain yogurt( and add as much dill as you want.  I (Jen) use dried dill all the time, and it tastes like fresh in this dip.  For babies just starting solids and those unable to chew hard vegetables, steam things like sticks of carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes for a few minutes until tender enough for them to eat.  Spears of avocado work great too, and we have also done cheddar and other hard cheeses cut into sticks or shapes (use any cookie cutters you want).
  • Smoothies!  Combine plain yogurt, frozen fruit, and as much milk as you need to get the right consistency.  Sometimes we make it thicker and eat it with a spoon, like frozen yogurt or ice cream!  Our favorite fruits to use are bananas (slice after freezing), strawberries (add a touch of honey, if desired), mangoes, and cherries (again, a little honey is great).  Lots of Moms have found ways to really boost their smoothies by adding things like Kale (steamed or fresh), wheat germ, and flax seeds.  Once it’s blended in, you don’t taste these add-ins, though the Kale does turn the smoothie green.  Come up with a fun name for it for kids who don’t embrace green foods.  Something like “Froggy smoothie” or “Caterpillar Cooler” might just work!

Please share any snack ideas you have used and loved in your own house.

Mothering through breastfeeding

When you’re expecting a new baby, the to-do list seems endless:  decide on colors for the nursery, choose and buy diapers, pick out items for the baby registry.  It is easy to get caught up in these details because they are fun preparations for us to make.  We want to welcome our new baby to the world in the most comfortable setting we can imagine.

One of the most important decisions expectant parents face is whether or not to breastfeed.  La Leche League of Meadville is here to help you make a positive decision for your baby.

Why Breastfeed?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

  • Human milk is species-specific. It is the perfect food for your baby.
  • Breastfeeding your baby helps to protect him or her from a wide range of infectious diseases.
  • Mothers who breastfeed are at a lower risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • Breastfeeding is usually less expensive than formula feeding, especially when considering the health care savings to both mothers and babies.
  • Breastfeeding is better for the environment, since it doesn’t require the production or disposal of packaging materials.

How long will I breastfeed?
When you have a newborn, just focus on feeding your new baby and getting help if you need it.  Then, when breastfeeding is going smoothly, you’ll be able to make decisions about when you want to stop from a position of strength, instead of stopping because you had no choice.      -Advice from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Published by La Leche League International in 2010

I need help!
Many nursing moms have challenges to overcome. . .

  • learning how to encourage a baby to latch on effectively.
  • finding ideas for how to relieve engorgement.
  • looking for ways to continue to breastfeed once returning to work.
  • establishing a strong milk supply

It is completely normal to have concerns such as these in your new life, so try not to let it discourage you. Successful breastfeeding often means overcoming small and large challenges; the key is knowing where to find support.
Speak to someone who is knowledgeable about breastfeeding, such as a La Leche League leader.  Any normal part of life, such as breastfeeding a baby, will have little glitches that need to be ironed out along the way.  Having accurate information will enable you to continue breastfeeding, smoothing out any “bumps in the road” as you travel your own mothering journey.