It’s the spring 2018 edition! But first, just a quick recap of what I’ve been up to during my absence from the blog. From my lack of posting, you may think I haven’t been up to much writing, but I have been slogging through posts (about our house, toddler life, and motivational tips) in stolen minutes here and there. Mostly, I have just been enjoying the spring without the same sense of franticness I had in the winter. It does mean that I haven’t been that motivated to get anything finished and posted. I’m going to work on that. 😉
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Just the general concept of it… Ha! We try to go to the park or spend some time in nature a couple times a week. I appreciate the green spaces around Modesto so much now that I have a small child. We explored the biggest park in town a few weekends ago and Rory had so much fun running down all the little hills. I don’t remember loving hikes or nature walks when I was a kid, but I find myself loving them more now.
I’m in the season of life where I have the best intentions but things very rarely go to plan. I got home from an appointment this morning feeling like a total queen. I got up earlier than my husband and my kid, and showered! I had time to do my makeup and eat breakfast before heading out the door. On time! I did some much needed self-care (dermatology appointment I’d been putting off for ages), and ran two quick errands. I arrive home ten minutes before my promised time.
Rory seemed hungry and a little whiny, so I told him to hop in the high chair for a snack. Homemade banana walnut mini muffins. You heard me, I baked them myself. From scratch. I even used half whole wheat flour (fine, it was one-third). I filled up Rory’s water cup half way so he could practice sipping from it like a big boy, strapped on his bib with the plastic catch-all thingamabob, and let him independently snack away. I had pep in my step, everything was great at ten o’clock.
I asked Nick if he wanted a cup of tea. I thought I had enough time to make us some and I’d drink it leisurely while my kid snacked on a wholesome treat. I filled up the electric kettle and went to back to the table to stare fondly at my kiddo. When I got to the table it was just in time to see him stuff the entire mini muffin into his mouth. He said, “Mama,” and gesticulated wildly. We are still working on the signs for “more” and “all done.” I’m pretty sure he was demanding more muffin. So much for getting to sit and drink my tea and have a muffin with him.
I got up and poured water over the bags to steep and grabbed the bowl of grapes from the fridge and started doling them out two at a time in the hopes of getting the hungry little hippo before me to slow down. No such luck. He signed “more” repeatedly until he had stashes of grapes in the hollows of his cheeks. I fixed the tea and brought a mug to Nick who was working at his desk just a foot away from the snacking monster. I went to grab mine next, but in the moment I had my back turned Rory poured the contents of his water cup on his tray and was splashing away like it was bath time.
I’ve personally deforested an entire rain forest with my paper towel usage yesterday during The Great Cat Vomit Explosion, so I selected a kitchen towel and sopped up the mess. I thought Rory was done so I took off his bib, only to have him flail about and threaten to topple the high chair. More, he signed. So I gave him ten more grapes. I signed, all done, to which he replied, “Mama,” and threw up his hands.
I took the sticky little toddler to get dressed at 10:25, where a war ensued over his comb (he wouldn’t let it go to undress or get dressed), his toothbrush (he thinks he know how to brush his teeth, but the mess between them says otherwise), and his itchy eczema (he wants to scratch until he bleeds and I want to put topical ointment on it). Finally, I wrestled him down for a nap.
At 10:45 I found my tea right where I had left it. It was lukewarm. I updated my Instagram with a post I wrote over the weekend. I cleared off a spot to work at my desk. I typed as quickly as the story would come out. It’s 11:10 now and my tea is cold and I still have not eaten my muffin.
Mini banana walnut muffins with a crunchy nut top.
Author: Christina at Invented Charm
Recipe type: Snack
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup milk
2 TBSP melted butter
2 TBSP canola oil
1 cup unbleached flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup chopped walnuts (or walnut pieces for baking) plus more for topping
turbinado sugar, for topping
Heat oven to 425ºF. Line 24 mini-size muffin cups with a muffin liner. Spray the liners with cooking spray or brush on oil with a pastry or silicone baking brush.
In large bowl, mix bananas, sugar, milk, butter, oil and egg with a spatula or wooden spoon. Gently mix in flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla just until flour is moistened. Fold nuts into batter. Do not over mix.
Divide batter evenly among 24 muffin cups. I used about a cookie scoop of batter for each. Top with additional nuts and raw sugar.
Bake 5 minutes at 425ºF then reduce heat to 375ºF for an additional 5 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick. Changing the temperature mid-way helped keep the dome shape to these muffins.
Let cool in the pan for a minute or two and then transfer to a wire baking rack.
I had enough batter left over for four regular sized muffins, but you could probably get about six to eight more mini muffins from this recipe.
A few weeks ago I became totally distraught when my kid protested against any smooth textured baby foods. I had just made an enormous batch of pureed butternut squash, sweet potato, broccoli, apple, and pear sauce. They were sitting in my freezer in their cute silicone ice cube molds, but Rory wouldn’t touch them.
I started giving him more foods cut up for his little baby teeth, but some foods were still too hard for him to chew. After a near choking incident, I decided to try cooking pears down like I did for the sauce. OMG. I am jealous of my son because these pears are incredible. They’re syrupy sweet without any added sugar, perfect for a grown-up dessert or snack, and great for a toddler.
Wash, peel, and cut pears into baby bite-sized chunks.
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add pears, spices, lemon peel, and water. Using a spoon, mix thoroughly to coat pears in spices.
Bring to a boil, then place the lid on top and lower the heat to simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Check for doneness by piercing with a fork. Cook until tender.
Let cool and enjoy.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s First Applesauce. If you’re looking for a pear sauce recipe, you can follow these instructions (you can leave the pears in larger chunks), and toss the cooked mixture into the food processor for a few good pulses until it’s a smooth puree.
In case you’re wondering, I was able to use the already pureed veggies with ground turkey and tomato sauce for what I call baby bolognese. But that’s a recipe for another day…