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Kitchen Mania Monday: Cinnamon Carrot Sweet Potato Bites

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If your little one is like mine, then he most likely insists on feeding himself. This can be a challenge, especially when trying to get him to eat foods packed full of nutrients. Joey loves pureed vegetables, but he can’t feed them to himself. However, when I give him cut up pieces of some of his favorite vegetables, he tends to stick them in his mouth, suck on them, and then pull them back out (very gross I know!). Most likely he does this since he isn’t fond of the texture of these foods.

 

To help him get in more vegetables and fruits, I have been wracking my brain to come up with healthy finger food recipes that he will like and eat up. One that has been a success is this easy to make recipe. In fact, the whole family really enjoys it! It’s packed full of vitamin A, fiber, and even protein. Give it a try and see if your little one is a fan as well.

 

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes

1 cup fresh or frozen carrots

1 ½ TBS cinnamon

½ cup cottage cheese

¼ cup butter, softened

1/3 cup all purpose flour

2 large eggs

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Clean sweet potatoes, puncture with a fork, and wrap in foil. Place your sweet potatoes in the over for 45-60 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven, remove skin, and place insides into a large bowl. Using a fork, mash the sweet potatoes until all the large clumps have been removed.

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Steam carrots until soft. Once soft, place into a food processor and blend until smooth.

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Add the mashed carrots into the sweet potatoes and mix to blend evenly. Add in eggs and mix thoroughly.

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In a food processor or blended, mix together softened butter, cottage cheese, flour, and 1 Tbs cinnamon and blend until smooth. 

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Add blended mixture into vegetables and mix until all ingredients have been evenly distributed.

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Lightly grease a large baking pan. Pour mixture onto pan and using a spatula, evenly spread mixture over the pan. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon on top.

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Bake at 400 F for 35-40 minutes or until edges are light brown and crispy. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and cut into small bite size pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

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Refreshing Spinach Berry Salad

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Since it’s about zero degrees outside and the ground is covered with snow, I wanted to make a meal that reminds me of warmer weather days and sunshine! And what better way to do that than with an easy spinach berry salad!

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This salad is so simple to make, tastes great, and is packed full of iron, folic acid, and calcium- all nutrients essential to new moms (and pregnant moms too!). It’s originally my sister’s recipe and has always been a huge hit at parties, so I figured why not scale it down a bit in portion to make it for just my family today.

To make it, you need the following ingredients (makes 4 servings):

1 large bag pre-washed organic spinach leaves
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup feta cheese
¼ cup slivered almonds
Dressing of your choice (I love using a light raspberry vinaigrette with this or a poppy seed dressing pairs really well with this salad too).

Directions:
Toss together spinach, strawberries, almonds, and feta. Top with your favorite dressing (or leave the dressing on the side and dip each bite to help cut additional calories). And serve! It’s that easy!

Slow Cooker Veggie Strata

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Joey and my husband love egg dishes. Whether it’s for breakfast or dinner, egg-based dishes tend to be a hit with them. I love them because they are also a great way to squeeze in more vegetables to their diets. One dish they both love is an egg strata, however, typically with this, you need to prepare it in advance, let it sit overnight in the fridge, and then bake it. I usually don’t think to make it that far in advance, which often leads to me opting to make something else. But, I just discovered something groundbreaking! You can make a strata in the slow cooker! I adore slow cooker recipes (because they are perfect for the time-crunched day!)

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Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. I found this recipe on the Kraft.com website, but I have adjusted it to match my family’s needs. However, the slow-cooker idea for the strata was theirs (as much as I wish I thought of this myself).

Once assembled, it cooks on low in the slow cooker in just 4 hours. Here’s what you need (I am also listing ways to lighten up my version below for those looking to lose weight/take in less calories. I made the higher fat/calorie version since this was mainly for Joey and he needs saturated fats for brain development):

Ingredients:
10 large eggs
2 ½ cups low fat milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 large semolina rolls, cut into 1 inch cubes (you can either toast the bread or use stale bread for this)
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 ½ cups button mushrooms, chopped
10 slices of bacon, cooked, crumbled

To make, first slice your bread into 1 inch cubes
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In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.
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Next, in a small food processor, chop the onions, mushrooms, and bacon.

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Add these ingredients along with one cup of cheese to the eggs. Mix evenly and then fold in the cubed bread.

Line crock pot with foil to create a “foil spatula” so it’s easy to remove your strata from the slow cooker (thanks for this idea Kraft website!). Take two long pieces of foil, fold over 3 times and crisscross them over the bottom of the slow cooker. Take a third piece of folded foil and use it to line the back end of the slow cooker, which can have a “hot spot” that may burn the egg dish.

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Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray and pour in the egg mixture. Use a fork to press the mixture down so that all of the bread is moistened. Place the lid on the slow cooker, set it on low, and let it cook for 4 hours. During the last hour, top the strata with the remaining cheese.

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After your strata has cooked, you can loosen it and remove it using the foil “handles.”

This recipe was adapted from one I found on the Kraft website (disclosure- I have no relationship with Kraft, I just enjoyed this recipe).

Here is my lighten-up version for those aiming to lose weight or reduce the fat content of the recipe:

5 large eggs
10 egg whites (or 1.5 cup egg substitute)
2 ½ cups skim milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 large 100% whole grain rolls, cut into 1 inch cubes (you can either toast the bread or use stale bread for this)
1 ½ cups shredded part-skim cheddar cheese
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 ½ cups button mushrooms, chopped

Follow the same directions as above for a great tasting, lower calorie option.

Quick Breadless Quiche

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If you need to get back on track after a holiday full of eating rich, and possibly less-than-healthy meals and snacks, start fresh today with this easy recipe.

Eggs are a delicious meal option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But sometimes, finding the time to prepare them can be a challenge. These easy breadless quiche is not only a whiz to prepare, but it’s great for reheating for a quick meal anytime during the week. You can also vary it by selecting any vegetable, meat, cheese, or seasoning you would like to toss in for a different taste each time you make it. Here’s a simple ham, egg, and cheese recipe that you can alter depending on your taste:

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