Quick Baking Tip: Freeze your extra muffins

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It seems like I am always baking muffins. In fact, I think I bake about twice a week, and all for my toddler.  The thing is, he only eats about half of the batch before they go bad. I hate throwing away leftovers, especially because they are made of quality ingredients. I feel I am throwing away money. So, I started freezing half of the batch of baked muffins. This has become a big time and money saver.  I just take my extra muffins once they have cooled, place them in a freezer bag, and throw them in the freezer. To reheat a muffin, I microwave it on the defrost setting for about 2 minutes and the muffin transforms from a hard rock into what tastes like a freshly baked muffin. So, next time you have extra muffins, don’t throw then away, freeze them for later!

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Thanksgiving Turkey Craft for kids

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I wanted to do a fall/ Thanksgiving craft with my 18 month old. I didn’t want it to be messy though, and so I searched the web for ideas. I found a way for him to paint without the mess (Pinterest – toddlerapproved.com).  It’s a pretty simple method– just place everything is a zip bag. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to to create a turkey out of our painted shapes?

Here’s how I created the turkey:

I drew three types of leaves (2 of each type) on construction paper and cut them out.

Then I placed tape on the back of each (to make sure the leaves would stay in place) and put the leaves in large zip bags.

I added in two dots of paint (two different colors for each dot, it’s a nice touch to coordinate with the construction paper) and a few teaspoons of water to each bag and made sure to seal them tight.

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Then I taped the bags to my kitchen table and let my son use his hands to mix the colors. To try to make this a learning experience, I talked to him about fall and the leaves and how they come in different shapes and colors.

Once he was done, I took the leaves out of the bags (the messy part) and placed them on wax paper to dry overnight.

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The next day, I used construction paper to create a turkey, and then taped the leaves to the back of the turkey for the “feathers.” It turned out great and my son laughs with delight at his handiwork every time he looks at the turkey. This is a great craft for young kids!

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Pumpkin Printables

This October I wanted to do some type of Halloween project with my toddler son. He is just learning to use crayons, so I wanted to keep it simple. I created pumpkin coloring pages on my computer with the word pumpkin on them. I introduced him to what a pumpkin was by showing him a small pumpkin and let me hold it and touch it. I told him about the color orange, then colored the coloring pages with orange crayons. I went over the different shapes within the pumpkin faces in addition to the letters in the work pumpkin. He had a good time and it was easy for me to put together. I have provides the coloring pages below so you can join in the fun.

Click here to download free printables
pumpkinprintables

Tofu Meatless Balls

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As I might have said before, I like to use tofu in my weekly menu at least once. So I am always on the lookout for different ways to use tofu. I decided to try out a tofu meatless ball recipe, but then realized that I didn’t have any eggs on hand to use as a binder. I quickly searched the web trying to find a substitute for eggs, and decided to try using moistened bread crumbs. They worked wonderfully and the tofu meatless balls turned out great! My one year old son, who can be a picky eater at times, loved the meatless balls. This recipe is definitely one that I will be adding to my cookbook.

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Tofu Meatless balls

Makes: 28 tofu meatless balls

Ingredients
12oz extra firm tofu
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
13 whole wheat saltine crackers, crushed
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp oregano

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, break tofu down into coarse crumbs. I used a butter cutter to do this, but you can use a blender (whatever works!)
  2. Place crackers and Panko in a small bowl and add milk and water. Stir to moisten mixture.
  3. Add moist crumb mixture to large bowl, along with Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, and oregano. Mix to combine.
  4. Using your hand, compress mixture into small balls and place on baking sheet. Spray tops with a vegetable or canola oil spray.
  5. Cook at 350F for 20 minutes, then flip meatless balls and cook for 5 more minutes. Once cooked, you can add them to a spaghetti sauce and they are ready to eat. You could also try making tofu meatless ball subs; that might be nice.

Inspired by: SparkPeople user VANDEMON – Tofu Meatballs

Spinach Banana‬ Mini‪ Muffins‬

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It is so hard to get my little boy to eat his veggies. He says yes to sweets, but when it comes to vegetables, one taste and he is done. So, I decided to try something new. I am going to start adding veggies into baked goods. To start, I found this recipe for Spinach Banana Muffins, and decided to try it out. I made a few changes to the original, but the result was delicious and kid approved.

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Spinach Banana‬ Mini‪ Muffins‬

Servings: 16 mini muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg
1/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
zest of one small lemon

1/8 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/8 cup mashed banana (1/2 medium banana)
1/2 cup or 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease or line mini muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Place baby spinach, yogurt and banana into a food processor or a blender and puree.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together, sugar and egg until creamy. Stir in oil, lemon zest and spinach mixture.
  5. Place batter into prepared mini muffin tin, about 1 tablespoon per mini muffin cup. Bake for 7 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Note: If doubling recipe keep 1 egg and not two.

Original Recipe: Anja’ Food 4 Thought – Spinach Banana Muffins

Easy Kale Garlic Chips

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I was looking for a quick, easy and healthy snack the other day, and happened to have some leftover kale from dinner. I remembered seeing my sister make some kale chips once during a holiday visit, and decided that would be a good cure for my snack attack! I am not sure why it took me so long to finally make these, but I am definitely going to make them more often. Kale chips are a healthy alternative to tortilla chips, which I love to eat all the time.

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Easy Kale Garlic Chips

Ingredients

1 bunch of kale, washed with stems removed and torn into small pieces
salt
garlic powder
olive oil or canola oil cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place washed and prepared kale on parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Spray kale with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until kale has crisped.
  5. Once cooled the chips are ready to eat.

Original Recipe: Smitten KitchenBaked Kale Chips

Applesauce Snacking Cake

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Applesauce is a great ingredient to use if you are trying to cut the fat in a recipe. You can either make it yourself, which I love to do, or buy it pre-made, which I also do when I’m feeling lazy.

I’ve had a jar of applesauce sitting in the back of my fridge for a while, and decided it was time to use it to make an apple cake. I stumbled onto this great recipe on Allrecipes.com and made a few modifications. The cake turned out great! It was moist and super flavorful! It reminds me of Fall. This would be great cake to serve your kids as an after school snack, or with tea when you you have visitors. See the recipe below.

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Applesauce Snacking Cake

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp molasses
1 egg
1 cup applesauce
Juice from 1/2 of 1 small lemon
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup powdered sugar and extra for pan preparation

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan and dust with powdered sugar.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, molasses and egg until smooth. Stir in applesauce and lemon juice.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices; stir into the applesauce mixture until well blended. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Cool in the pan over a wire rack.
  5. Dust powdered sugar over cooled cake before cutting into squares.

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Original Recipe: Allrecipes.com – Applesauce Bars – submitted by: Debbi Borsick

Cherry Fruit Leather

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When I was a little girl, my mom would often take my siblings and I with her to the local health food store. Sometimes, she would buy us fruit leathers. I absolutely love them!

If you’ve never had a fruit leather, it is like a thicker Fruit Roll-Up, with less sugar and more actual fruit. Even today I enjoy a good fruit leather now and again. But I had no idea until now that they were so easy to make. You just need three ingredients: fruit, water and sugar. That’s it!

I made my first set a few weeks ago using some leftover cherries I had in my refrigerator that needed to be eaten ASAP. I figured the fruit leathers would be a great on the go snack.  The recipe I used is below, with a few of my own modifications. I cut the original recipe in half and added lemon juice so that the leathers wouldn’t be too sweet-  I like a little sour with my sweet.

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Cherry Fruit Leather

Makes 7 fruit rolls (or more, depending on how you slice them)
Ingredients:
2 cups cherries
1/8 cup water
2 tbl + 2 tsp sugar
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  2. Remove stems and pits from cherries.
  3. If you do not have a cherry pitter you can use the plastic icing bag adapter that you place into your icing bag (see image below). That worked great for me. Or anything else that has a hole the size of a cherry pit will also work well.
    piping tube icing nozzle bag adaptor
  4. Place cherries and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a low boil, stirring and cooking until all cherries have broken down.
  5. Transfer to a blender (a food processor or hand blender will also work). Blend until completely smooth. Return to pan. Add sugar and lemon juice and cook until thickened, roughly 10 minutes.
  6. Place mixture on baking sheet. Spread out the cherry mixture as evenly as possible.
  7. Bake in oven, rotating pan half way through the baking for 4 hours or until just slightly tacky. Let cool.
  8. Place a sheet of wax paper on top of fruit leather. Flip pan onto a cutter board, so that the fruit leather is now laying on top of the wax paper over the cutting board. Remove the pan and silicone baking sheet.
  9. Cut into long strips. Roll up each strip in wax paper and tie with ribbon to secure. Store in an airtight container or bag.

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Original Recipe: Baked by Rachel – Cherry Fruit Leather
Image Source: Icing Bag Adapter – The Little Cake Shop

Cherry Crumble For Two

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In the summertime, you get a lot of yummy fruit. I love it!  So I bought a few pounds of dark cherries and decided to make a cherry dessert. But what to make, what to make? I settled on a crumble. Try my recipe for a cherry crumble -  it’s quick and easy and helps use up leftover cherries. This is the perfect quick summer treat!

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Cherry Crumble For Two

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

Crumb Topping
1/4 cup 5 min oats
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbls cold unsalted butter, cubed
dash of cinnamon

Cherry Filling
10 cherries, pitted and diced
1/8 cup brown sugar
zest from 1 small lemon
juice from 1/2 small lemon
dash of cinnamon

Hardware
2 small ramekins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl mix together oats, 1/8 cup brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Evenly distribute the cherry filling ingredients between the ramekins and mix to combine. Or, you can mix ingredients in a bowl first and then evenly distribute between ramekins. (The first option uses less dishes!)
  4. Divide crumb mixture between ramekins, pouring on top of cherry mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Zucchini Cakownies (cake-brownies)

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I love zucchini,  and I absolutely love chocolate,  so whoever invented chocolate zucchini brownies was right on the money! The recipe I used made something not quite cake, not quite brownies,  so I renamed it Cakownies. These Cakownies are the best of both worlds! Not the mention that having a vegetable in your dessert takes away some of the guilt from eating it.   I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

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Zucchini Cakownies (cake-brownies)

Makes 1 9×13 inch pan

Ingredients
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups finely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture.
  3. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.

Original Recipe: Allrecipes.com – Marian – Zucchini Brownies

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