Toddler-Friendly Foods: Spinach, Zucchini and Carrot Muffins

FW is a picky eater. He won’t touch any vegetables or meat*, and there are even just a few fruits he enjoys. His favorite food groups are: bread, bananas, plain Greek yogurt and cheese.

FW does, however, LOVE muffins. And anything remotely sweet. So, I’ve been making a lot of muffins lately, and trying to hide in as many veggies as I can. These muffins are a go-to in our house. You could probably omit some of the honey if you wanted them even lower sugar, but each muffin has about 9 g. of sugar, which is less than is in most non-plain yogurts.

These are easy, a fun color, and I enjoy eating them too! Try them out for yourself. They’re also FW (aka picky eater)-approved 🙂 AND, with their bright green color, they’d be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Spinach, Zucchini and Carrot Muffins - i crashed the web - toddler friendly food and breakfast

Spinach, Zucchini and Carrot Muffins
Makes 18-20 muffins

Here’s what you need:

  • 6 ounces raw spinach
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large banana
  • 1/2 cup milk (I’ve used unsweetened almond milk as well as whole milk, it depends on what I have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, beaten (I’ve also used .25 c Egg Beaters)
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, or use silicone muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray (I have green and pink ones which FW loves to eat out of, so that’s what I tend to use).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In your blender or food processor (I put mine in my Vitamix), mix first 7 ingredients (spinach through butter) until completely pureed. Add in egg.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Mix together until just combined. Do not over-mix or muffins will be tough!
  5. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into muffins comes out clean.

Spinach, Zucchini and Carrot Muffins - i crashed the web - toddler friendly food and breakfast

*Confession – FW did eat some meat somewhat recently – I snuck some ham into (you guessed it) a corn muffin!

Some questions for you:

  • Any tips for picky eaters?
  • Any favorite lower sugar muffin recipe?

Homemade Gingersnaps

I know, I know. When was the last time I posted a recipe?! This blog used to be all about recipes – but suddenly it’s become about eating, weekends, relaxing, being a mom and running. In all honesty, I haven’t had much time to bake lately. And when I do find time to bake, finding time to write down the recipe is waaaay last on my list.

BUT when I made these gingersnaps, I knew I had to share them. They were easy and so perfect to make now – right before the holidays – and any time of year! They’re quick to make, make enough to share (mine made about 33) and the best part – they taste great! I’d never tried to make gingersnaps before because I know I can always buy them if I want; but I highly recommend you make these. I’m so excited to bake them again and try different add-ins next time – candied ginger, dried cranberries, etc.

homemade-gingersnaps-cookies-recipe

Homemade Gingersnaps

Here’s what you need:

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 3 Tablespoons for rolling
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet. (Or use a nonstick surface, I like to use my silat and they don’t need greasing)
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream shortening and 1 c. sugar. Add in egg, molasses and honey and continue to mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add in flour mixture to sugar mixture.
  5. Roll dough into small, Tablespoon-ish size balls. Dip balls into the 3 Tbs. granulated sugar and place onto baking sheet. Bake until light brown, 12-14 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.
  6. Enjoy! Makes about 30-36 cookies.

homemade gingersnaps cookies

Some questions for you:

  • Are you a ginger fan? Yes! I love everything ginger. ginger tea. pickled ginger. gingersnaps. gingerbread. ginger candy. yum yum yum!
  • What’s on your holiday baking list?

The BEST Soft Sugar Cookies With Buttercream Frosting

I have a sweet tooth. That should come as no surprise to you. I prefer sweet to salty typically (though I do love sweet AND salty a la peanut M&Ms and chocolate covered pretzels) and believe that there is ALWAYS room for dessert. So I typically like almost all dessert recipes. But – let me tell you – this cookie recipe is AMAZING. If you like soft sugar cookies with frosting, this recipe is for you.

icrashedtheweb-sugar cookies with buttercream frosting

Seriously. I typically have a hard time eating my baked goods after I bake them. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll have a cookie a little bit later, but these … these, I ate 3 of these in one day – that’s how good they were. Even B, a non-sugar cookie lover, who was hesitant to try them out, really liked these cookies.

I made mine with Halloween-theme and cut them out with pumpkin and other cookie cutters – you can just roll them with your hand into a ball and flatten them out so that they’re even easier to make. Make these cookies now. They are soft and the frosting is so good. You won’t regret it.

sugar cookies with buttercream frosting

The BEST Soft Sugar Cookies With Buttercream Frosting

Here’s what you need:

For the cookie dough

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 5 1/4 c flour

For the amazing buttercream frosting (from this recipe)

  • 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ÂĽ tsp almond extract
  • 2 ½ to 3 Tablespoons half-and-half

Here’s what you do:

For the cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and set aside.
  • In a large bowl of a standing mixer, cream together butter, oil, sugars, water, eggs and vanilla.
  • Add in flour mixture about 1 cup at a time, mixing as you add it to the wet mixture. Mix until everything is combined.
  • If you’re making regular (not cookie-cutter) cookies, use your hands to roll about healthy size (a.k.a not exact) round Tablespoon of dough and place it on a cookie sheet. Flatten dough to about ÂĽ inch tall. If you’re using cookie cutters, you can roll out the dough at this step. Dough should be about ÂĽ inch tall when you use the cookie cutter. Then place dough on cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  The cookies should be just browning when you take them out. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Once they are cooled, store them in the fridge and cool completely before frosting

For the vanilla buttercream frosting

  • Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whip until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  • Frost and decorate cooled cookies. If decorating with sprinkles, add immediately after frosting each cookie so that they stick. I added orange food coloring to make the pumpkins. After frosting was dry I also decorated with black gel icing to make jack-0-lanterns.

sugar cookies with buttercream frosting

 

Graham cracker M&M cookies {{in time for Valentine’s Day!}}

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing with you a dessert recipe you can share with your friends … or save them for yourself. I won’t tell anyone!

OR you could just eat the batter ... who am I to judge?

OR you could just eat the batter … who am I to judge?

I had bought  Valentine’s colored M&Ms at Target (I can’t resist anything when I’m at Target – especially seasonal items … thus the Red Velvet Oreos – which I’m also baking with!) and because I’m not a big fan of traditional M&Ms, I decided to scour my pantry to find something to bake them with. I found an unused sleeve of graham crackers and realized that was it – graham cracker, chocolate chip cookies with M&Ms would be perfect!

Graham cracker M&M cookies for valentines day

So here you go – make these any time of year (just swap out the M&M colors – or try a different candy or more chips) and enjoy the buttery and crunchy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside texture.

Graham cracker M&M cookies for valentines day

Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs (about a whole sleeve)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup M&Ms

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a parchment paper or spray with Pam.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until mixed thoroughly.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, graham cracker crumbs and mix well. Use a spatula to make sure it’s all mixed throughout before finished. Stir in the chocolate chips and about half the M&Ms.
  5. Using a spoon (or ice cream scoop!), scoop dough into rounded tablespoons and place on prepared baking sheet.* Place a few M&Ms on top of each cookie before putting in the oven – this will make them look nicer as not all M&Ms are hidden inside the batter.
  6. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges start to brown. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for about a minute before removing and letting finish cool on wire rack.
  7. Enjoy!

*I’ve tried this recipe keeping the dough in the fridge for about 30 min- 1 hour and just baking as is – they are slightly more plump if you chill first, but it didn’t seem necessary. They didn’t spread out too much if they’re not chilled.

Graham cracker M&M cookies for valentines day

What are you baking for Valentine’s Day? I’ve pinned quite a few recipes that I’d love to make – too bad there’s not enough time!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite kind of M&M? I’m a fan of peanut or peanut butter or pretzel! Not as much for the regular ones. 
  • Do you like graham crackers? I ate them with peanut butter as a snack growing up – so yes! Also froze cool whip in two crackers as a sandwich to make an ice cream sandwich type snack (try it with the cinnamon and chocolate ones!)

 

Pumpkin Bread

As you may realize, I haven’t had enough time this fall to get in all the pumpkin baking I typically do. Right now, all I’ve done is make pumpkin snickerdoodles – they were the bomb by the way if you haven’t made them, it isn’t too late! But knowing that the unofficial end of pumpkin season is coming to an end soon, I knew I had to have one last pumpkin baking hurrah.

It was a cold evening so I was in the mood for some baking (who am I kidding .. it could’ve been 90 degrees and I’d be in the mood for baking…). I opened my refrigerator and my freezer – and I had only 1/2 stick of butter left for baking. Half of a stick! That narrowed down my baking choices. Thankfully, I remembered I had torn out a few (and pinned of course) pumpkin bread recipes that called for little-to-no butter. And that’s what I decided to make.

Oh yeah- this turned out SO good that I made it twice. TWICE. That’s four loaves! Get on it before pumpkin season ends!

pumpkin bread - i crashed the web

Pumpkin Bread 

(Recipe is slightly modified from a few recipes I had on hand)

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 c. granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 2/3 c. water

For the glaze:

  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl – flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and sugar. Place a well in the middle, this is where you’ll insert your wet ingredients.
  3. Mix together wet ingredients – 4 eggs, beaten, with canned pumpkin, oil and water. When mixed well, pour into the well of the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix everything together with a spatula or wooden spoon – do not overmix. Mix until all ingredients are just combined and dry ingredients are wet.
  5. Pour into to greased loaf pans – I used two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 sized pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool done loaves from the oven for about 5 minutes. While still warm, pour glaze over top and use a spatula to spread evenly if you want the top to by shiny. To make glaze, whisk together melted butter, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Variations – I made two loaves as normal. With the next batch, I added white chocolate chips (not too many- maybe about 3/4 c) to one loaf and then finely chopped pecans to the other loaf. Yum!

Some questions for you:

  • When do you think pumpkin baking/coffee/spice/etc. season ends? Is it already over for you?
  • What’s your favorite kind of quick bread? This may be a new favorite! Though my mom’s zucchini bread is still on top for year-round goodness.
  • What are you in the mood to bake these days? If you don’t bake – what dessert is on your mind?

pumpkin bread

Semi-Homemade Buckeye Brownies!

I know I’ve expressed my love for peanut butter and chocolate before. There’s just something SO perfect about the way the two flavors combine and the creaminess of peanut butter mixing with the creaminess of chocolate (don’t get me started on white chocolate and peanut butter — that’s amazing in my opinion).  So, naturally since stumbling upon this recipe, I’ve now made this three times. Once, for a Cleveland-themed party (thus the Cleveland beer), once for B’s birthday, and once for … hmm … I don’t remember but I’m sure there was a good reason.

Anyway, this recipe is super easy but SUPER delicious. A coworker told me these were the best brownies she had ever had! AND – shh – I even use a brownie mix. It may be a little time consuming (hey, I only said it was easy) because you have to make three separate layers and let them cool  – but it’s worth the wait. Try this IMMEDIATELY.

For my non-Ohio friends – Buckeyes are peanut butter chocolate candy. They’re like an amazing peanut butter cup, shaped like a nut from a local tree (the Buckeye!). I wrote about them once before .. or twice.

three layer buckeye brownie bars - peanut bar + Brownie + chocolate OMG! - I CRASHED THE WEB

Three-Layer Buckeye Brownies

Here’s what you need:

For the Brownie Layer:

  • Brownie Mix
  • Beer! – You can replace the water quantity with a stout-like beer (so my brownie mix called for 1/3 c. water – instead, I used 1/3 c. Great Lakes beer to continue with the Buckeye/Cleveland theme)

For the Peanut Butter Layer:

  • Âľ cup peanut butter (creamy)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Topping:

  • 1½ cups semi-sweetened chocolate chips
  • â…“ cup creamy peanut butter

Here’s what you do:

  1. First, make the brownies! I did it the easy way and just doctored up a brownie mix. Feel free to make your own brownies or beer brownies if you choose – really any work. I went with the beer-themed brownies to keep with the Ohio theme. If you want to do that too, make brownies and cook them according to directions in a 13×9 in. pan – but instead of adding water, replace that same quantity with a dark, stout-like beer. After cooked, cool completely (at least 1 hour).
  2. Then, make the peanut butter layer. Try not to drool! Beat together peanut butter, butter and vanilla on medium high until smooth and creamy. Then, turn your mixer on low and alternate adding a little powdered sugar and then adding a little milk/cream. Mix well between each addition and keep mixer on low until both ingredients are added. Then, increase the speed and beat until super smooth and spreadable. NOTE: If it’s too dry, add a little more cream – if it’s too thin, you may need a little more sugar. Using a spatula, spread the peanut butter layer evenly on top of the brownies.
  3. Make the chocolate peanut butter topping. Melt together the chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave. Keep an eye on this – you DON’T want it to burn! I stirred mine about every 20-30 seconds for a few minutes until it was melted and combined. Pour over the peanut butter layer and spread evenly with a spatula.  Let set for at least 1 hour.  Or put it in the fridge if you can’t wait that long 🙂

I’ve made this a few times now and each time I cut them differently – sometimes I cut them into 1 1/2-2 inch squares, other times I make them smaller and more bite-sized and put them in mini cupcake papers (like I did for B’s birthday).

Enjoy!

three layer buckeye brownie bars - peanut bar + Brownie + chocolate OMG! - I CRASHED THE WEB buckeye brownies - i crashed the web

Lemon Blueberry Bread

B and I have gotten a plethora of blueberries the past few weeks in our CSA. Two weeks in a row, therefore, we’ve had extra and I’ve gotten to bake with them! A few weeks ago (and then again this weekend) it was blueberry buttermilk scones. The newest recipe I have to share with you? Lemon blueberry bread!

lemon blueberry bread - i crashed the web

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries carefully tossed in 1/8 c. flour

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a loaf pan (mine was 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch).
  2. Beat together melted butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture. Add ½ of this dry ingredient mixture to the batter. Add in milk and mix in remaining flour mixture.
  4. Using a spatula, carefully fold in lemon zest and blueberries (coated in 1/8 c flour). Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 65-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

This recipe is a keeper. The bread was cakelike, and could be enjoyed for breakfast (as I may have done), as well as dessert. If you like lemony desserts (and I do! My next favorite lemon recipe? These lemon bars.) you’ll like this bread.

 

fresh from the oven

fresh from the oven