Cheesy Mini Muffins – Good for the Whole Family!

I was pursuing one of my favorite baking sites this morning for ideas for things to do with the kids. One of their featured recipes was for jalapeno-cheddar mini muffins. Sounds yummy to me but I was missing several of the ingredients. And I wasn’t sure how well the spice from jalapenos would go over with the kids, no problem, those were some of the ingredients I was missing. I decided the idea of mini muffins was a good one an the kids love cheese so I dug through my cabinets and came up with these super cheesy mini muffins.

Super Cheesy Mini Muffins

Super Cheesy Mini Muffins

CHEESY MINI MUFFINS

1/2 tablespoon dried deiced onion (for Fod map sub in the green parts of green onion about a ¼ cup.)

2 teaspoons ground paprika

1 Tablespoon Vermont Cheddar Cheese powder (The only place I know to get this is King Arthur Flour but you can use the powder from Kraft Mac’n cheese if you don’t have cheese powder)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup  Self-Rising Flour (Fod-map sub in GF AP flour & 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder & 1/4 teaspoon salt)

Add your diced onion, paprika & cheese powder to the milk and let sit for a few minutes to “bloom”. This softens up your died onions and brings your died spices to life increasing their flavor. After a few minutes mix in the sour cream

Add the eggs & cheese to your mixing bowl and blend with wet ingredients. Mix in the flour

Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and fill cups nearly full (I love my tablespoon cookie scoop for this.)

Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Watching the muffins rise. 20 minutes is such a long time for such a little boy!

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First muffin is finally cool enough. Really, for me, Mom?!

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First tentative bite. This is a whole new food category.

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Must have been good. This is all that was left just a few minutes later!

 

Love

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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1 Corinthians 13 – this passage is so familiar even unbelievers and unchurched can probably quote it, without even realizing they are quoting scripture. This beautiful passage is frequently read at weddings, has been set to music, reproduced on to millions of refrigerator magnets, and is probably hanging on a plaque somewhere in most of your homes.

However, have you ever pondered the true message of this passage? Or have you heard it so often you no longer think about what the words actually mean?

Paul is actually stating that love is and action, not a feeling. This kind of love is seen, experienced, & demonstrated. How counter-cultural in a society that elevates feelings above everything else. In this culture if it feels good, do it. If if feels bad don’t. But this passage never mentions feeling love. Instead it talks about doing love, living love, acting love. So what does love look like when it is acted out?Woman reading bible

Love is sticking with my husband and fighting for our marriage even when the going gets tough. Ok, lets get really personal & transparent; love is having sex with my husband even though I’m sleep deprived, have a headache, a million and one things still to do around the house, just finally got the teething baby down to sleep and the only thing I  feel like doing is crawling into bed between cool sheets by myself and sleeping for 15 hours straight, or at least until the baby wakes up crying in the night for Mama. Yep, not what I feel like doing but that is love!

Love is getting up in the middle of the night, over and over and over with a crying baby. Even though everyone says he should be sleeping through the night by now. Comforting & soothing away the fears of his nightmares when I really just feel like going back to sleep.

Love is disciplining my children and training them up to be Godly men & women. Not letting them get away with poor choices or behavior just because it is “cute” right now while they are little. Love is teaching them modesty and appropriateness while they are tiny instead of waiting until they are teens or young adults and it is too late.

Love is setting aside my continuing education to focus on raising and educating my little ones now while they need me the most. Love is dropping out of some outside commitments activities to be a better, more present wife & mother. Even though it feels unfair at the time.

Love is a million little everyday things, cooking, cleaning, washing, mending, comforting, nursing. In short, love is putting myself last and putting others first; because love is an Action

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1 John 3:18

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

What’s Baby Eating? | Homemade Chicken Nuggets

While my little ones are still fruit & veggie eating machines I am just not able to fill them up on fruits & veggies alone any longer.  I is time to start introducing proteins into Daniel’s diet so I looked into the best starter meat for baby. It seems that chicken nuggets are highly recommended as a first protein because they are easy for baby to eat since they are made from ground meat then shaped into nuggets.  Well, I wasn’t about to waste my money on store bought nuggets, nor did I want to introduce many of the “non-real food” ingredients that they contain. So I decided to make them myself.  I further controlled the ingredients by grinding my own meat (since I already owned the food mill this was not too hard.) and using bread crumbs from homemade bread. However, you can buy already ground chicken & store bought bread crumbs and still turn out a healthier product than store bought chicken nuggets are.

My kids  have never seen store bought nuggets so I didn’t bother with shaping them this time, however, if they ever start asking me for shaped nuggets I have a plentiful supply of cookie cutters to make my own shapes from as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4  lb ground chicken (This was the result of grinding one chicken breast and four thighs)
  •  1/4 cup ground old-fashioned oats
  • 1/8 cup grated cheese (I used a mix of hard grated cheeses I had on hand)
  •  1/2 tsp  paprika
  •  1/2 tsp garlic powder
  •  1/4 tsp black pepper
  •  3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I made my own from homemade herb bread which added a little more flavor)
  • 1/8 cup Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, combine chicken, oatmeal, grated cheese, paprika, garlic powder and pepper.
  2. Stir dry ingredients into ground chicken.
  3. In small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with paprika & Parmesan
  4. Use a spoon or a teaspoon cookie scoop form chicken mixture into a balls.
  5. Press into a cookie cutter for shaped nuggets or flatten with fingers for a basic nugget shape.
  6. Drop nuggets into bread crumb mixture and turn over, patting crumbs into surface to coat evenly.

*At this point you can freeze or…
To bake

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Arrange nuggets on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.
  3. Lightly spray nuggets themselves with cooking spray or olive oil for a crispier coating (optional).
  4. Bake 15-20 minutes, turning once, and checking – don’t overcook!

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Doesn’t this look like a better lunch than….

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This…

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This…

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Or even this?

And you should have seen the grins on my little ones faces when they took their first bite! Unfortunately, I was too busy passing them more food to catch it on camera.

Teething Baby

I haven’t been on the blog much lately because my hubby has a huge test coming up & I am trying to give him more time to study by not asking him to watch the baby so I can write. I can’t wait to get back, I have sooo many blogs all composed in my head when I have time to write them down!

I just dropped in for a quick note about a teething remedy I found. Daniel’s front four teeth all came in relatively easily but the back teeth are giving him more trouble. So much so he doesn’t even want to eat sometimes, even tough he is hungry.  I’ve tried teething rings, many, many many different teething rings, none of them work for him. I’ve tried frozen wash cloths, Origel, Hyland’s tabs and last night he even gnawed on hard pizza crust. That actually worked the best but daddy was afraid he might chock on it.

Well today I was getting lunch and I saw I had frozen a tub of small chunks of cheese. When my farmers market has “bits” of cheese left they chop it into small chunks and sell it for snacks. I used to buy it when I was pregnant to have a quick protein snack. I got some a few weeks ago and froze it thinking I would thaw out little bits at a time for the kids to snack on. It occurred to me that the cold might sooth his gums and it would be hard initially so I tried a piece. He loved it! He could work the cheese as much as his aching gums would allow and as he did it would slowly fall apart and melt in his mouth. He made a cheese mess but for a little while he was a very happy baby! He actually just finished his last piece as I was writing this post so I need to get back to him.

Anyone else have suggestions for teething?

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MOM, I’m out of cheese!

What is Baby Eating? | Applesauce Oatmeal

Daniel is nearly seven months now & still doesn’t consistently sleep through the night.  Everyone told me that as soon as their child started solid foods they immediately started sleeping 10 hours at night. Well, that hasn’t been the case for us. I thought that perhaps it had something to do with the fact that many people introduce cereals first, whereas we had introduced fruits and vegetables first.  I decided to introduce the healthiest of grains, oatmeal, and see if it helped us get some sleep. I wasn’t about to pay the outrageous prices for baby cereal when I could make my own. I  took a box of regular Oatmeal and processed it in my food processor until it was a fine powder. Took a quarter cup of that powder

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and whisked it with three-quarters of a cup water over medium heat

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continued whisking until it began to thicken

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Once it had thickened I added a half cup of applesauce

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Put it into his pouch and tried it out.

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He loved it. It didn’t help with getting him to sleep through the night. I guess he just isn’t ready yet. But the second day I feed it to him he fell asleep right after breakfast.

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So cute, I guess the oatmeal worked just not the right time to fall asleep.

Applesauce Oatmeal

1/4 cup finely ground oats

3/4 cups water

1/2 cup applesauce

Whisk water & oatmeal together over medium heat until thickened, add applesauce. Feed to baby

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Rainy Day Fun

Today was too cold and rainy for our normal morning walk so we were all coped up inside which means fussy kids, extra energy and shorter naps unless Mama comes up with some new fun activities.

So, we made animals out of pipe-cleaners and pompoms

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We turned this butterfly into a hair clip.

We played Legos

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Our friendly neighborhood duck dropped by for a visit and Mama put some food out to keep him entertaining the kids for a little while:

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We played trains with the laundry hamper

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In the afternoon it was still raining but had warmed up a little. I needed something new so we decided to make moon sand.

This is really easy & provides lots of fun. Just mix one cup oil

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If you want color you can add a few drops of food color at this point. I used about 6 drops and it barely tinged the sand yellow but it did add a bit of color. If you want more increase the food color.

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Mix this into 6 cups of flour

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Blend well

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The sand should hold together when squeezed like this

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I spread a picnic cover on the covered porch and set them up with the moon sand, cookie cutters and spoons and cups.  I found this is better than play dough at this age because inevitably everything they play with gets tasted at this age. This way I know exactly what was making it’s way into their mouths.

Hmm, wonder what this tastes like?

Hmm, wonder what this tastes like?

Tastes different...

Tastes different…

...but not too bad.

…but not too bad.

It provided hours of fun.

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Dirty but happy baby

Afterwards everyone needs baths but it was so much fun!

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Baby Food Reusable Pouch Reviews – Part Three

This is the final post in the Baby Food Reusable Pouch Review. Here I try to provide you with information regarding each individual pouch. I have tried to provide information that I wanted to know when I was shopping for pouches. In my area the only place to buy these pouches is online & sometimes the online descriptions did not include information about features I wanted to know before purchasing. I have tried to cover all of the features that I felt were important for me to know before purchasing pouches online.

For items such as ease of use I have used a five heart system, where five hearts is outstanding and one heart was barely passable.


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Squishy Snak Pak

Size: 1/2 cup

Fill location: bottom

Dishwasher Safe: only to sanitize

Fits fill Station: yes

Fits disposable caps:yes

Fits spoons: yes

Content viewing window: yes

Ease of filling with spoon: ♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with a funnel:♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with Station:♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with cubes:♥♥♥♥♥

Quantity in Pack: 1

Price per pack: $5.99

Price per unit: $5.99

Max thickness of puree:medium-thin

Type of closer: single zip-lock

Additional Notes: Basic pouch with bottom closer, because of the zipper you can only fill it with thin to medium thin purees or the bottom bursts when your child squeezes.  If you are feeding the child you can get around this by rolling the pouch up from the bottom but you have to start out with a partial full pouch.

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BooginHead Squeez’Ems w/new screw tops

Size: 4.2 oz

Fill location: top

Dishwasher Safe: only to sanitize

Fits fill Station: no

Fits disposable caps: n/a

Fits spoons: no

Content viewing window: yes

Ease of filling with spoon: ♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with a funnel: ♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with Station: n/a

Ease of filling with cubes: ♥

Quantity in Pack: 2

Price per pack: $9.98

Price per unit: $4.99

Max thickness of puree: Thick

Type of closer: screw top

Additional Notes: Revolutionary screw top made these the best for thick purees! The down side is that you have a little waste in the top, you can scoop this out with a spoon if you want I found it equates to about 4-5 bites. This pouch does not work with any spoon accessories or fit disposable caps but since they have also made the screw top one piece the cap stays attached to the top. Unfortunately, the opening was too small for my one ounce ice cubes so I hand to cut the ice cubes with a hot knife before I could fill it with cubes. Since I usually make extra large amounts of items like sweet potatoes, with are best feed from this pouch I have to make some into ice cubes and this was a minor inconvenience.

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Nourish with Style Pouches

Size: 5 oz

Fill location: bottom

Dishwasher Safe: only to sanitize

Fits fill Station: yes

Fits disposable caps: yes

Fits spoons: yes

Content viewing window: no

Ease of filling with spoon: ♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with a funnel: ♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with Station: ♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with cubes: ♥♥♥♥

Quantity in Pack: 5

Price per pack: $9.99

Price per unit: $1.99

Max thickness of puree: medium-thin

Type of closer: single zipper

Additional Notes: The most cost effective but the single zipper means that you can only fill with thin to medium thin purees or it will bust out the bottom when your child squeezes. If you are feeding the child you can get around this by rolling the pouch up from the bottom but you have to start out with a partial full pouch.

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Little Green Pouch

Size: 7 oz

Fill location: top

Dishwasher Safe: only to sanitize

Fits fill Station: yes

Fits disposable caps: yes

Fits spoons: yes

Content viewing window: clear bottom

Ease of filling with spoon: ♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with a funnel:♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with Station: ♥♥♥

Ease of filling with cubes: ♥♥♥♥♥

Quantity in Pack: 4

Price per pack: $19.99

Price per unit: $4.99

Max thickness of puree: medium-thick

Type of closer: double zipper

Additional Notes: Very nice thick durable pouch. Can be filled up to medium thick  but a very thick puree like sweet potatoes will burst out the zipper. This pouch has a nice feature of an expandable base which allows it to stand up in the refrigerator.

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ReSqueeze Reusable Food Pouch

Size: 6 oz

Fill location: bottom

Dishwasher Safe: only to sanitize

Fits fill Station: yes

Fits disposable caps: yes

Fits spoons: yes

Content viewing window: no

Ease of filling with spoon: ♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with a funnel: ♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with Station: ♥♥♥♥♥

Ease of filling with cubes: ♥♥♥♥♥

Quantity in Pack: 4

Price per pack: $14.99

Price per unit: $4.99

Max thickness of puree: medium-thick

Type of closer: double zipper

Additional Notes: Very cute designed pouch, the only bottom closure with a double zipper. Can be filled up to medium thick  but a very thick puree like sweet potatoes will burst out the zipper. This pouch is also 100% designed and manufactured in the US.

For more information on this pouch review project check out Part One & Part Two

Baby Food Reusable Pouch Reviews – Part Two

Part Two of the Reusable pouch review. Some of the additional things I tested where how easy it was to clean the pouches and what pouches would work with various accessories.

For cleaning the pouches I found the best method was to use my bottle brush.

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Mine has both the standard large end and the small nipple brush that gets into the little spouts and threads. Many of the pouches say they are dishwasher safe but I tried dishwashing them after a normal rinse without bottle brushing them out and they all came out with food particles left behind.

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I now bottle brush all of the pouches and only use the dishwasher to sanitize them.  When they come out of the dishwasher I hang them on my drying rack to make sure they are fully dry before I put them up in the cupboard.

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I already had the Infantino fill station so I tested them to see if I could use it for filling. It worked fine for most of them but  I found it equally easy to fill with a funnel, measure cup with spout or even a spoon. I also would put frozen cubes of food into them when I needed to fill one quickly for a trip and that worked just as well but I usually couldn’t get more than 3 one ounce cubes in any of the pouches so I tend to only do that in an emergency.

I also owned the Infantino spoon attachments and the Munchkin spoons. The spoons fit the pouches fine but I could not use them for anything beyond as very thin puree because the pressure needed to force the food through the smaller opening would break the zipper seals and food would burst out.

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I have tested these pouches for about a month and a half and they are all holding up fine. I have heard some people say the life of a pouch is only about two months but we use pouches at nearly every meal, I roll them up towards the spout opening, let the kids feed themselves with them and in general have given them a pretty hard work out. So far I have had no problems with any of them wearing down. Once I wash & dry them they seem good as new again. I will up date the reviews should I notice that I have a problem with longevity of any of them.

For additional information on this test project check out Part One & Part Three.

Baby Food Reusable Pouch Reviews – Part One

I promised that I would publish a review of all the reusable baby food pouches that I’ve tested. I have been really pleased with the responses to my inquires. I’ve been introduced to some new companies & products that I have not heard of before and met some really wonderful people thorough this project. Since this first project also centers around two of my favorite things, cooking & my son, it has been especially enjoyable for me.

Because this was such an extensive project, and I’ve tried to provide as much information as I possible could in order to enable you to make an informed decision I have broken this post into three parts.

I tested all of the pouches with various thicknesses of purees in them to see how easy they were to fill and feed from. Each of the recipes I used are published on this site so you can reproduce them as well. I also tested some of the pouches with jarred baby food, a friend of mine has a 14 month old who spends a lot of time at my house and they always drop her off with jarred food to eat. Since it is difficult to feed two babies at once I use the reusable pouches and put her food into them so she can feed herself.  She thinks it is more fun to eat from the pouch and it works quit well. She is on to advanced stages of purees so some of her food even has pieces of pasta etc, and I’ve had no problems with her getting the food out. You can’t use an attachable spoon if there are solid pieces, obviously, but she has no problem sucking right out of the pouches. So if you are a mom with your hands full with multiples or you babysit multiple children and need a solution to feeding everyone at once, you can use the pouches even if you aren’t making all your own baby food.

I rate the thickness of the purees that each pouch can hold as follows:

Thin – a very liquid puree like Pumpkin Yogurt Smoothies or Banana Yogurt

Medium-Thin – slightly thicker but more solid such as Banana & Avocado

Medium-Thick – thick puree with very little liquid such as Minty Green Peas or Applesauce

Thick – Very thick no liquid at all such as Sweet Potatoes

Thickness is important with the reusable  pouches because if your puree is too thick for that type of pouch then you will have problems with the puree bursting out of the closure.

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I have tried to provide as much information as possible on each item tested so that you can decide which one will fit your needs the best. A few items I might mention in the reviews I owned previous to starting this project but I want to thank the follow companies and people for providing me with items to test in exchange for this honest review:

Michelle with Squishy Snak Pak

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Squish Snack Pak

Ali with BooginHead

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Squeeze’Ems with new screw top design

Maggie with Little Green Pouch

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little green pouch

Laura with ReSqueeze Reusable Food Pouch

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ReSqueeze Pouches

And Nourish with Style Pouches

Nourish with Style Pouches

Nourish with Style Pouches

Additional information about this product test is provided in Part Two & Three of this review.