Whole Grain Pumpkin Pancakes

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A truly yummy fall breakfast with a little less guilt. We went to a pumpkin farm a few weeks ago. If you live in the Chicago area, go to Kroll’s in Waukegan, IL. It’s a nice family run farm with a $7.00 corn maze, a short $3.00 educational hayrack ride and plenty of very reasonably priced pumpkins and gourds. No exotic animals, no admission fee and plenty of spots to take photos of the family!

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I roasted my pumpkins. You can used canned, but I like roasting my own. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut your pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and place the cut pumpkin cut side down into a baking dish. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the pan and roast for 40-60 minutes or into the pumpkin gives when you poke it.

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I like to scoop my pumpkin out with an ice cream scoop. It’s much quicker and easier than a spoon.
When the pumpkin has cooled a bit, scoop out the flesh and mash or purée.
Now for the pancakes!!!

~Pumpkin pancakes~
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oats
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
One egg
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup milk
One cup puréed pumpkin

Mix together dry ingredient in a bowl. Stir together wet ingredients in a small bowl, I actually do this in my 2 Cup measuring cup…why dirty another bowl. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Pour about a 1/4 cup at a time onto a preheated skillet over medium low heat. Cook for about 3 minutes per side. You can tell that the 1st side is done when bubbles for and pop in the center of the pancake.

This recipe makes about a dozen 5 inch pancakes.

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Top with butter and maple syrup. Enjoy!
For Squishy I leave the syrup off and cut the with a pizza cutter into bite size pieces. Pancakes are one thing I know he’ll eat, even when he’s cutting 1st year molars. It’s nice to be able to sneak in the whole grains and milk.

Have a great weekend! I hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy a bit of the fall colors.

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Fruit & Whole Grain Bar Recipe

I should probably rename my blog to How to Feed Squishy. Lately all of my posts seem to be new recipes, but when you have a toddler who is into food, well… So, anyways. We had some of those store bought Nutrigrain bars that someone brought us. I was grabbing one for myself to snarf first thing in the morning because when I wake up I’m starving!
Advantage of breastfeeding? I can eat like a teenage boy and not worry about my weight. Disadvantage of breastfeeding? I want to constantly eat like a teenage boy.
So, back to the bars. Just recently Squishy has decided that he should get to eat my bar with me when we get up in the morning. I had never thought too much about what was in them until he wanted a bite.
High fructose corn syrup? Mono-what? Poly saturated-huh? Somethingluten-whatta? No, not ok.
So the other day during nap time I went into the kitchen to figure something out that he would like & I would not wince if he ate it. I used a can of Oregon blueberries for the fruit because 1. I had them on hand and 2. The ingredients in them are blueberries, sugar and water. That’s it! You can use any fruit flavor you like or even preserves of your choice. You just won’t have to reduce your preserves to thicken them. If you have fresh fruit you could cook them with a little sugar and water and follow my canned directions.

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Fruit & Whole Grain Bars

1 can Oregon blueberries
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup oats
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tbs flax meal
6 tbs wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8x8x2 inch pan with no stick spray.
Pour can of blueberries into a medium sauce pan and simmer, stirring every couple minutes, for about 10 minutes or reduced by half. Set aside to cool. The syrup will be thicker once cooled.
Meanwhile mix the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, egg and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl until soft and creamy consistency. Add in remaining dry ingredients and stir. Once combined your mixture with resemble a cookie batter.

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Press half of the batter into the bottom of your 8×8 pan. Pour the cooled blueberries over and spread evenly with a spatula. Next take the remaining batter and flatten small amounts with your hands and place on top until it is covered. This won’t look pretty and may even look like a mistake, but it works. 😉
Place dish in the center of your oven and bake 20-25 minutes until the berries are bubbly at the edges and the topping is golden brown around the edges too.

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Allow to cool completely and cut into bars. I cut ours into about 1.5×4 inch bars. I wrapped 6 of them individually to freeze. Four of the bars were stored in an airtight container. Two bars were eaten as soon as they were cool enough to taste.
These passed the Squishy test right away! I should have waited until he was finished with lunch before letting him try a nibble. Oh well, at least I know exactly what is in them. No words we can’t pronounce and no high fructose corn syrup!

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Nectarine Muffins

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A lot has been going on around here for the past weeks. Squishy turned 1 year old, but that’s another story, and he has begun walking!!! Its like watching a tiny drunken old man stumble around the house! The cutest, most hilarious and oh so frightening thing all at once!
Fall is coming quickly and it has me itching to bake. The heat kicked on last night! Yay, fall! Yes, I’ll be complaining that I’m freezing in just a couple of weeks, but oh, I love fall!
Squishy loves food, especially muffins when it comes to breakfast foods. Last weekend we had some beautiful nectarines from the farmer’s market and a craving for muffins. So we got into the kitchen and whipped these up!

Nectarine Muffins
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 Tbs flax meal *
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup + 1 tbs milk
2 nectarines finely diced
1/2 cup granola
2 Tbs brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 and grease a muffin tin or line with paper liners. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir in moist ingredients including your diced nectarine. Stir in about 1/2 of your granola. (our granola has slivered almonds in it, so i stir it in after filling 1/2 of the muffin liners. No nuts for squishy yet, choking hazard.) Fill your muffin cups 2/3’s full. Sprinkle tops with what’s left of the granola mixed with the brown sugar. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until nicely brown and a toothpick come out with just a tad bit of crumb.
Squishy devoured these, so I hope you love them too! If you try them please let me know what you think!

*I know the pre packaged flax meal can be expensive. I buy flax seeds in bulk at the natural food store, whole foods may have them too. Our Baby Bullet that we received for a shower gift has a milling blade so we grind them with that and store them in a jar in the refrigerator. If you don’t want to bother with it at all, just leave it out. A small handful of oats might be good in its place.

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Lentil Meatballs

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Lentil meatballs

1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small celery stalk, finely diced
1/4 C shredded carrot
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/4 C rinsed lentils
2 1/4 C stock
Salt & pepper
1/2 C nutritional yeast
1/3 C flax meal
1 C breadcrumb
1 beaten egg

In a sauce pan, sauté the vegetables until tender. Add Italian seasoning, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook just until you smell the garlic. Stir in the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, cover with lid and cook for 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender.
In a separate bowl mix the flax meal and bread crumbs with the nutritional yeast. (I grind my flax seeds with the milling blade on the Baby Bullet.)
When your lentil mixture is tender stir them into the nutritional yeast and flax in the bowl. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
At this point if you are vegan or have egg sensitivities, you could leave it out and start forming your balls.
If you are adding egg…beat it in a separate bowl ow measuring cup and stir in a little of the lentil mixture to temper it. The lentil mixture is still warm at this point, so you don’t want to stir your egg in without tempering, you could scramble it. Stir in your egg and season with salt & pepper.
Grease a baking sheet. The mixture is very sticky! If you grease your hands with a little olive oil now and then it will help. Form your lentil mixture into about 1.5 inch balls and arrange on your baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. This recipe made 40 “meat” balls. We stirred a bakers dozen into homemade sauce for pasta and froze the rest for another day.
I hope you enjoy them! Squishy loved them!

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Life is messy

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This is the current state of our living room. I could have picked up toys and put away books, vacuumed the rug and hung up the diaper bag…but that wouldn’t be real. Life is messy!
I think I’ve had a hard time coming here and posting because of all of these lifestyle blogs that make everything look so perfect all the time. I start thinking if that I must not be good enough if my life doesn’t look perfect. I have an awesome kid who’s happy most of the time. Hey, he’s 11 months old and teething so yeah he screams when he frustrated or in pain. That’s just how life is. We had a fun time this morning eating apple muffins, watching Thomas and playing with toys. He’s down for his nap now. I could pick up all the toys and clean but you know what? It’s Saturday and I’m going to sit here for just a few more minutes.
As a challenge this week I want you all to take a picture of your “real” life, not the perfect clean and edited blog life photos. If you don’t have a blog, post it to twitter, facespace, instagram or where ever. Because life is real and life is messy!
I hope you all enjoy your weekend. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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Limade

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Summer is here so let’s make a favorite beverage of mine.

6 fresh limes
1/2 fresh lemon
2Tbs light agave nectar
6 cups cold water
1 cup ice

Squeeze your limes and lemon into a pitcher. I have an old press that we picked in a Mexican grocery years ago, it’s my favorite.
Add water and agave nectar, stir in ice. I like mine pretty tart, that’s how I roll.

This would probably be awesome with a splash of orange liquor and tequila. I know it’s perfect with a batch of guacamole and some chips!

Enjoy and stay cool!

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Farmer’s Market Season

I’ve been waiting for 7 months for the local farmer’s market to begin again. Last night was the 1st of the season. We loaded Squishy into his stroller, leashed up Bean and went!

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There wasn’t a huge selection yet, but we found some beautiful veggies and bread! I can’t wait for more fruits to be ready. Oh, and corn!!!
It was a gorgeous evening for a walk!


Today we have Squishy’s 9 month wellness check and we need to go to the grocery store. Hopefully we’ll be able to fit in an afternoon walk too!
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