Yogurt… Have it Your Way

If you’ve been reading the labels on the yogurt options at the grocery store, you might be as frustrated as me. It seems impossible to find yogurt without tons of added sugar! It hard to even find yogurt that has more protein than sugar, and even harder to find any options in full fat yogurt. I’m pregnant and feeding…

If you’ve been reading the labels on the yogurt options at the grocery store, you might be as frustrated as me. It seems impossible to find yogurt without tons of added sugar! It hard to even find yogurt that has more protein than sugar, and even harder to find any options in full fat yogurt. I’m pregnant and feeding a toddler, so if we’re going to do yogurt, full fat is a priority for me… and we avoid refined sugar like the plague.  My son is 19 months and yogurt is his first real exposure to dairy products. We first started thinking we might give it a whirl after reading about the impact of probiotics on eczema. We like the idea of him getting some of those live cultures regularly, but could do without the sugar… and I’m not up for “making” my own yogurt. Not yet at least!

 

Here’s what we’ve tried: We’ve been buying the best plain, full fat yogurt we can find and flavoring it ourselves. We experimented with adding raw fruit first, and found that the sour flavor of the plain yogurt was still too overpowering. Next, we tried topping the yogurt with a fruit reduction. We just simmered some sweet fruits with a little water on the stove and mashed them up a bit. Once cool, we topped our baby food jars that were 2/3 full of plain yogurt. This looked beautiful- like a fancy parfait! What we discovered though… was that it was hard to mix up in the jar when we were ready to serve it, so while my little guy liked the fruity bites, he made the fish face pucker for a whole bunch of plain bites in between. Last week, I think I found the best solution so far. I reduced a medley of fruits on the stove- just adding a little water. I mashed it up a bit and let it cool, leaving some chunky bits of pineapple and mango for texture. Next, I poured the whole 32 ounce container of plain yogurt into a big mixing bowl and added the fruit. I mixed it together with a rubber spatula until all of the yogurt had changed color and seemed to be blended evenly. Then, I poured and stored the new mix- and saw no fish face puckers when serving it! We’ve also introduced this crispy cereal as an occasional topping, which my little guy LOVES! He points to the cabinet we keep it in and signs, “more more” whenever we serve him something that he thinks needs some crunch these days…  

 For this mixture, I reduced about a cup and a half of frozen fruit from the giant Dole Fruit Medley bag that we keep on hand for smoothies and added a handful of frozen raspberries. I was able to pour and store 18 individual servings of the yogurt mixture in my Kiddo Feedo freezer containers.
For this mixture, I reduced about a cup and a half of frozen fruit from the giant Dole Fruit Medley bag that we keep on hand for smoothies and added a handful of frozen raspberries. I was able to pour and store 18 individual servings of the yogurt mixture in my Kiddo Feedo freezer containers.

Let Him Eat Cake

We have been really particular about what foods we feed our one year old. He loves to eat! He doesn’t turn anything down (unless he can see that watermelon is available, and not being shared with him). It just happens that none of the foods we’ve fed him (yet) include wheat or dairy, are made with sugar or are made by not us. It’s worked for us so far. It’s been fine.

As his first birthday approached though, I started to second guess what we’ve been doing. I mean every kid needs a cake to smash- right? A couple of weeks ago, my stomach started twisting a little as the question, “he’s going to have cake though, right?” was posed to me almost daily. In my mind, I started thinking maybe yes… Maybe we’ll just give him cake that day. Because… well, how could we not?

As the big day was approaching though, it occurred to me that we had not introduced ANY of the soon to be new ingredients to our little man yet… and we are usually quite purposeful about introducing new foods in isolation. There wasn’t enough time now, and honestly- I felt relieved.  It turns out I wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of feeding him cake after all. At my house we talk a lot about the addictive nature of added sugar, and how precious this time is before our little guy is exposed. He will have sugar. He’s not going to live under a rock. But for now, I don’t want the taste of a sweet plum or a juicy piece of watermelon to have to compete with cake.

Here’s how I successfully avoided mom guilt- both the guilt I would have felt if I gave in to pressure to ‘let him eat cake’ and the guilt I would have felt if we sang Happy Birthday over a smoothie pop (which would have also been delicious;)! There was just something important about putting a candle in a kid-sized cake and singing. 

I followed my regular Moon Cake recipe and poured the batter into my (greased) two smallest round Corningware baking dishes. One is a 7oz. and the other 16oz. I baked them at 300 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.  After letting them cool, the Moon Cakes shrunk down a bit and pulled themselves away from the perimeter of the baking dishes.  I stacked them like cake, stuck a candle in them and voila! Baby friendly cake!

I whipped this the night before the big day… but would have liked to think up some kind of frosting. I toyed with our yummy avocado smash, but thought it would brown. What would you use to frost it?

 

 

Moon Cakes

Pancakes, crepes, muffins… You can make all of those things with this recipe. Warning: Make more than you need because you will munch while you cook. Last night I had the idea that I might want to see just how crepe-like these could be. I made a really thin, giant moon cake and wrapped it around raspberries and dark chocolate chips. I lost about half the batter to that experiment. Also, we’re suddenly out of raspberries…

These are currently our favorite food. That’s actually been true for a few months now. At first I was comfortable giving these to my little guy because they really did melt and dissolve. Now I’m hooked on the variety of flavors that I can so easily introduce. (And how cute his little fingers are feeding himself!)

These moon cakes happen tofreeze really well. So if you love make ahead food that you can fill your freezer with- you will be in love. I always have a giant zipper freezer bag full of them, in a variety of flavors, ready to go. I pack 2 frozen muffin shaped moon cakes with finger food fruit and a frozen oatmeal for breakfast when I work. Easy to make ahead!

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • Optional: blueberries, strawberries, veggies… (the sky’s the limit!)

Directions

Mix the banana and eggs using an immersion blender, a fork or any other mixer. The texture will change depending on how you mix- but they are all delicious. You can add your flavorings before mixing or when cooking. Again- anything goes. When I am adding blueberries I like to do it before using the immersion blender- for some reason I think they look more muffin like that way.

 

Stove Top: Spoon batter onto a hot griddle. Add cut up strawberries (or other topping). When bubbles cover most of batter, carefully flip like a pancake!

Bake: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Fill greased mini-muffin trays with batter. [Tip- if you mixed using a blender, let the batter sit for a few minutes before baking. The blending sometimes whips in air, and I’ve baked ’empty’ moon cakes before. #fail] Add toppings. Bake for around 15 minutes.

Yields 18 pancake like moon cakes or 12 mini muffin moon cakes. Double the recipe to allow for the munching you’ll do. It’s unavoidable!