Toddler-Friendly Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

Eureka! I have stumbled upon a vegan pumpkin muffin recipe that’s crumb-resistant, dairy-free, low-sugar and toddler-approved. It’s the unicorn that will make serving up healthy breakfast on weekday mornings that much easier.

I say resistant because just like sunscreen, there’s no truly crumb-proof muffin; however, even my spirited toddler couldn’t take these down in a crumbly blaze of glory. I attribute the “glue” that binds these together to my food processor. I’d imagine a blender would produce the same result.

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Combine the following in a food processor or blender:

  • 2 1/4 cups oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (equals about 8g coconut sugar per muffin, so I might half this next time around)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice

While blending, add the following:

Bake at 350 degrees until a fork comes out clean from the middle of each muffin.

Makes 12 muffins.

Note: I started with the foundational elements of Healthy Helper’s Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes (who adapted the original recipe from the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook – as featured on Blissful Basil) and subbed out or modified some of the ingredients to make low-sugar muffins for breakfast.

Breakfast bars of champions

In search of a toddler-friendly breakfast option for busy mornings that’s not too crumbly or sugary, I went to good old Pinterest for inspiration. 

Unfortunately a lot of the easy recipe options called for honey or other sweeteners. So I took a cue from the deliciously simple, classic combo of oats and smashed bananas. 

(Plus peanut butter, but any nut or seed butter will work just fine.)

I hand mixed the following ingredients and then baked it in a muffin tin at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

You can also cut down on dishes by folding the ingredients together over parchment paper in a baking dish and then cut it into bars afterwards.

1 cup oatmeal

1 banana

1/2 cup peanut butter


Hacking Sun Basket for Leftovers

I recently started ordering the family plan from Sun Basket, which provides enough ingredients to make dinner twice for two adults and two children.

This was helpful for providing bigger portions (we nearly eat it all between the two of us) and only having to cook twice was more realistic for my schedule than three times a week.

Even better, I started ordering two of the same recipe and now only have to cook once! We have plenty of leftovers, saving me from cooking or wracking up dishes on another busy weeknight.

(See below for the 8 servings of fajitas we’ll have for dinner two nights this week, and maybe even lunch.)

Use this code to get up to $35 off your first order.





Designing Better Baby Products

American Made Baby Brands

When moms and dads design baby products together, you get the best of both worlds: intuition to create better products for their own children, and determination to bring their innovation to families around the world.

This is especially the case at Nenu Family where two sets of parents set out to create well made, well designed baby products that didn’t smell like chemicals. Using 3D printing and industrial design, the Nenu team is intent on perfecting products for each stage of their children’s development.


Nenu’s commitment to high quality, locally sourced materials means their spoons, forks and silicone teethers (and soon bowls and plates) are designed and manufactured all within a 200-mile stretch of the Pacific Northwest. Even their packaging is made in the USA.


With precision focus, the team produced 40 prototypes using a 3D printer to create the perfect geometry and meet rigorous safety requirements. It shows in…

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Pajama Jam

American Made Baby Brands

After a season of sleeping in fleece pajamas that aren’t made anywhere near here, it was refreshing to find organic cotton two piece sets that are made right here in California.



Brian the Pekingese earns bonus points for having a memorable brand name. These pajamas are perfect for the transition to warmer weather and have the retro look of a Hannah Barbara cartoon, featuring their namesake canine in a boat and rocket ship.

As a plus, their pajama tops are nice and long; perfect for long torsos and big bellies! The organic cotton fabric is nice and soft, and holds up wash after wash.

The company even offers garment recycling, which is both environmentally responsible and smart, considering how quickly babies and toddlers move through sizes.

Available directly on their website:brianthepekingese.com

Or on Amazon: Brian the Pekingese Boys 100% Organic Cotton Pajamas (2T, Blue Rocket)

(I purchased the long…

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Mamas Making Moments: Sarah from Piperoos

When I spoke with Sarah, founder of Piperoos, she was navigating the kind of day that any of us working mamas are all too familiar with. Work meetings, childcare musical chairs, and a little one that’s down for the count (meaning extra snuggles are in order – the silver lining of it all).

As if she wasn’t busy enough, Sarah is on an admirable mission to create environmentally conscious baby products with the ultimate goal of carving out more quality time with her daughter Piper.


Sarah set out to create all-purpose pads similar to cloth diapers and the homemade flannel pads she received as a gift before Piper was born. Her “environmental compass” was to make Piperoos with all organic cotton, recycled packaging, low impact dyes — and locally made to cut down on transportation impact. She even pays to offset the carbon footprint of shipping.

Sarah and I share a desire to help other “corporate” mama-to-be’s prepare for and return from maternity leave. While that’s a whole other topic in itself, it was a pleasant surprise to find someone else from the “made in the USA” community with similar experiences and passions. 

Get the full scoop on Piperoos here: Mama Maker: Sarah from Piperoos

Finger Food

Mealtime is an adventure when toddler hands get involved, so here’s a perfect plate for divvying up finger food whose eventual fate is on the floor.

Re-Play Made In USA 3pk Divided Plates

I’ve become a fan of Re-Play’s products, which are made in the US from recycled milk jugs.

Like little soldiers, they come in packs, hold up well to battle and clean up nice.

Source: Stepping Up to the Plate

How Sun Basket & Postmates Saved Weeknights

Commuting, daycare pick up, dinner and bedtime for a squirmy toddler was making it hard to feed ourselves before 9 p.m. on weeknights. So we did what every parent quickly learns to do – bring in reinforcements!

After trying Blue Apron and Sun Basket this spring, I ended up going with Sun Basket because they focus on regionally sourced, seasonal ingredients and have a Paleo option.

It worked out well for several months; Emmett would go to bed and I would unwind in the kitchen. It was a win-win to fuel my joy of cooking and our desire to eat healthy, while preserving some of the energy that goes into finding recipes and getting groceries accordingly.

The only challenge was that as Emmett’s bedtime crept later this summer, we found it harder to get dinner on the “table” (aka our couch, in front of Netflix or HBO’s latest) and get ourselves to bed at a reasonable hour – a necessity when your toddler wakes up anywhere between 5:30-6:30 a.m.

It was David’s idea to start ordering Postmates deliveries using some healthy dishes he stumbled upon during the workweek in our neighborhood. Enter Tri-tip with broccoli, Greek souvlaki, and other meat & veggie combos from local restaurants.

Now, we’re typically able to conjure one home-cooked meal per week (our go-to taco salad or burritos). The other nights, we lean heavily on Postmates to keep our sanity, make the most of our evenings with Emmett, and get a little couch-time after he goes to bed.

I’ve temporarily paused Sunbasket because the three recipes per week option was a little too much for us to handle. But, I hear they’re coming out with a two recipe plan, which I can get on board with!

What do you do to make it through the week?

P.S. If you want to try Postmates, use code 44MG to get free delivery. And here’s my 3 free meal discount on Sun Basket: http://sunbasket.com/3free/Amy57124.

 

 

How Pregnant Foodies Can Still Have Fun at Restaurants

My blogging took the back burner during my pregnancy and first 6 months of motherhood, so I will be playing a lot of catch up in the next few posts…

I never wanted my pregnancy to prevent us from enjoying one of our favorite activities: going out for dinner. But I quickly learned that most menus don’t cater to pregnant women (especially farm-to-fork). 

Here are some tips and tricks for ordering at restaurants while preggo:

  • Ask for a mocktail, even if it’s not on the menu; most bartenders will happily create something special, and seasonally inspired, for you

  
 

  • If they carry soft cheeses, ask if they’re pasteurized because in many cases they are (Humboldt Fog is one of my favorites for this reason!)

 

  • If you see a dish that’s normally served raw or rare, ask if they can cook it thoroughly or leave it out (like scrambled eggs instead of runny) 

 

  • At the deli, ask if they can heat up the sandwich (this was one of my biggest cravings, along with fruit) 

  • At the end of a meal when everyone else is a couple of wine glasses deep, treat yourself to dessert 😉 


Soon enough you will toggle between barely having time to get a full meal in and ordering takeout after baby’s bedtime, so enjoy the extra leisurely meals and pampering. Bon appetit!

It Takes a Village to Make Dinner

I finally caved. For some silly reason, I’ve been resisting food delivery services like Blue Apron or Sun Basket. But taking care of a baby and working full time makes trying to get healthy dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes really taxing on my already tapped out brain. 

Hearing friends who had tried it and loved it convinced me to give it a try. Once I surrendered, I finally realized that someone else’s recipe with the ingredients ready to go was not something to be ashamed of. (I think maybe I thought it was like cheating or not being original enough to come up with my own recipe. But the reality was, I was already using Pinterest for recipe ideas.)

As I prepared my first Blue Apron recipe, I quickly learned that the meditative experience of cutting and mixing ingredients is still very much intact. I felt relaxed knowing that the recipe was full proof — I used to love experimenting, but ain’t no one got time for that during the week. 

 

Sun Basket offers a Paleo option and our first delivery arrived with Niman Ranch steaks and seasonal organic produce. Convenient, yet farm fresh.

The bottom line is that we should seek out help wherever we can. Friends, family, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram… Whatever it takes to get something easy and healthy on the table.