Oatmeal Pumpkin Mini Muffins

Pumpkin season is the best season. Because I can make pumpkin biscuits like these and mini pumpkin muffins like these.

Mini Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

What a perfect little healthy bite-sized muffin for tots and kids.

Toddler Muffins: Mini Oatmeal Pumpkin. Made with unsweetened applesauce.

Instead of butter or oil, I opted to use unsweetened applesauce.

Toddler Muffins: Mini Oatmeal Pumpkin. Made with unsweetened applesauce.

Whole wheat flour. And old fashioned rolled oats.

Toddler Muffins: Mini Oatmeal Pumpkin. Made with unsweetened applesauce.

And almond milk with brown sugar.

Toddler Muffins: Mini Oatmeal Pumpkin. Made with unsweetened applesauce.

Can’t forget the pumpkin, and I also added some unsweetened coconut flakes for added taste and texture.

Toddler Muffins: Mini Oatmeal Pumpkin. Made with unsweetened applesauce.

Overall, it came out quite moist and tasty! Just a tad sweet, which is perfect for me. These are a great grab n’ go snack and a nice little lunchbox treat for my little one. Let me know how yours turn out! Tag me @bebeandbear on Insta with your pics!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of Whole wheat flour
1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup of organic pumpkin
1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce (but if you want it more moist, you can use 1/3 cup of canola or coconut oil) *I chose to just use applesauce
1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
1 large egg
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of vanilla extract
dash of salt

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line your mini muffin pans with liners.
Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt)  together in one bowl. And the wet ingredients (pumpkin, applesauce, almond milk, brown sugar, vanilla, egg)  together in another bowl.

Pour the wet ingredients with the dry and stir until combined. Scoop into muffin liners 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Then let cool and enjoy!

Recipe altered and adapted from: Kateinthekitchen.com

For more toddler muffin ideas check out my most popular post: No sugar, no butter. Healthy muffins for toddlers. 

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The Perfect Little Granola Bites

There are two things I never buy. One, is Granola. And the other, is Granola bars. I’d much prefer to make my own. Here’s my go-to healthy granola recipe. And here’s a new super healthy granola bite recipe that I just discovered!

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

They look and taste AMAZING.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

And they just happen to be vegan. No bake. Full of healthy seeds and grains. And only sweetened with honey.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

The key to these amazing bites is, in my opinion, the brown rice crisps and the chia seeds. It gives it a really nice crunchy, popping consistency.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

It is super easy to make, takes very little time, delicieux, and ready to eat.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

I found the easiest way to mix all the ingredients together was to just get in there and use my hands.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

And then scoop with a tablespoon and form into little balls.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

My 5 yr old daughter helped make these. This is a really good recipe to have your little one help out in the kitchen.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

See all the yummy healthy goodness?

I usually just use half chia seeds and half golden flax seeds, but for this batch I used this ancient grain and seed medley from Tj’s.

perfect little granola bites

Both ways are equally as good.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

I have my mother-in-law and brother-in-law visiting, so you can imagine these went pretty fast in our house.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

I like the idea of easy, healthy, grab n’ go. Whether it be in the morning, midday or after school.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

I even packaged some up for my husband’s co-workers. As a fun little healthy work treat.

The Perfect Healthy Granola Bite. No bake. Great for toddlers and Kids.

And – here’s Els enjoying her own too…

Perfect little Granola bites. Healthy snack for toddlers and kids.

Enjoy! Please tag @bebeandbear on insta if you try them out!

Perfect Little Granola Bites Recipe:

INGREDIENTS: 
1 cup of quick oats
3/4 cup of brown rice crisps
1/2 cup of all natural peanut butter
1/2 cup of Tj’s ancient grain and seed medley
BUT if you don’t have that 1/4 cup of chia seeds and 1/4 cup of golden flax seeds is good
1/3 cup of honey
1/4 cup of mini dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tsp of vanilla extract
pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients together. Mix well. Take a tablespoon and form into little balls. Place on parchment paper and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Freezes well up to 3 months.

Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

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Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Ice Pops

When I was in the hospital last summer, where I underwent unexpected emergency brain surgery, I spent my days recovering ordering only pudding and popsicles from the hospital menu. Little did I know that everything that I was ordering was being tracked and recorded, which then led to a frantic nutritionist coming down to pay me a visit.

I laughed out loud.

My mother was actually making me gourmet meals so I was eating just fine. Pudding and popsicles were what kept me going. And in that instant, even when I had no idea if I was going to live or die, I still had these kind of moments.

What I call – the pudding and popsicle moments.

And for this Halloween, in ode to that time, I made these!

Jack-O-Lantern Ice pops

Jack-O-Lantern ice pops.

Jack-O-Lantern Ice pops

I used frozen organic peaches, water and organic mango nectar. Organic apple slices for the eyes and mouth.

To make them, I used the Zoku ice pop maker.

Jack-O-Lantern Ice pops

One of the best gifts I have ever received. I highly recommend. And fear not, you can buy it here.

Jack-O-Lantern Ice pops

It also came with a cute little character making kit.

Just thinly slice an apple or a pear and cut out shapes like so. Then follow the directions they give you by soaking the apple cut outs in water and then placing them on to the green silicone stick. Slowly insert stick into the popsicle mold machine and press to the top and hold for 15 seconds. Once that’s done place the sticks in the molds and pour in the fruit puree. It takes about 10 minutes to freeze and then you just pop them out.

Jack-O-Lantern Ice pops

Els snacked on these afterwards. Waste not, want not!

I even tried making Ghost pops with Greek yogurt, honey and chocolate.

Jack-O-Lantern Ice pops

And here’s Els.

Jack-O-Lantern Ice pops

And Bear sneaking a lick or two.

Jack-O-Lantern Ice pops

So delicious, healthy, refreshing and fun.

Peaches and Nectar Jack-O-lantern Ice Pops Recipe:

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup of organic frozen peaches
1/4 cup of organic mango nectar
1/4 cup of water

DIRECTIONS:
Blend in a blender until smooth. Pour into ice molds and remove when frozen. *Makes 3 ice pops.

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10 Simple Tips to get your Child to Eat Veggies

Do you offer your child 5 fruits and vegetables daily?  UM… Check. [?]

Key word: Offer.

Since my 3-year-old’s toddler days, she’s come a long way with veggies. She went from a very strong and adamant: not going to have anything to do with greens. To: ok, I think I like these greens after all. Which is nice. But not without effort. And today, I am going to share some of my little tidbits on how I got my 3 year old to meet her 5 a day and eat some freaking veggies already. *Disclaimer: You’re not about to read some ingenious rocket science stuff – which at one point I thought it just might be. But it’s quite the opposite actually. It’s always the simple things…

PS. This also isn’t a sneaky smoothie post if that’s what you’re thinking. This is an actual, getting them to hold, look at and eat some real freaking veggies post. Fruits too. But fruits are easy.

1. Have your child watch other kids eating veggies. Els has a friend a few years older than herself, who she completely loves and admires. This friend just so happens to LOVE broccoli. So I’m sure you can guess who now also loves broccoli.

2. When packing snacks for short outings, only pack fruits or vegetables. No alternatives. I used to pack all kinds of things – crackers, cheese, popcorn… Guess what never got eaten? The veggies. Sometimes limiting the choices makes it easier for them to eat what’s there.

3. Add spinach or kale into all your soups. I add spinach or kale into almost all my daughter’s soups. I just cut it up with my fingers into small pieces. For example, with a classic miso soup, I always add some spinach or kale. It kind of just mixes in with the seaweed, and you can’t even taste it. But you’re still not hiding it.

4. Just put it on display. Meaning, cut up some fruits or veggies and put it out on the table or wherever they are playing. Eventually, they dabble with a bite or two. Like I said, fruits are easy. But once they eat that cauliflower, you’re laughing.

5. Add some peanut or almond butter and raisins. Nothing beats good ol’ fashioned ants on a log. But don’t limit it with just celery. It works with apples, carrots, almost anything if you want them to.

6. Alternatively, add hummus. Hummus works wonders.

7. Make veggies into baked chips. Kale chips are amazing. But so are parsnip chips, carrot chips and beet chips. All it takes is a little olive oil and pinch of salt.

8. Change things up. For example, when steaming veggies, try adding a little bit of salt, sesame oil and sesame seeds. It gives a great nutty flavor. Sometimes all it takes is a change from the everyday.

9. Experiment with unusual concoctions that work. Putting edamame beans inside raspberries. Scooping cantaloupe with a teaspoon and placing it on top of sliced cucumbers. Wrapping carrot sticks with seaweed. Sounds kind of weird, but it’s not. As a kid, I loved eating apples with salt and vinegar chips. People thought it was so weird, but I loved it. Still do! I’m actually still a huge fan of unusual conglomerating. Like kimchi and pasta. Grapes and almonds. Mac and cheese with fish and radish. Brown rice with cheese and pickles. I could go on and on…

10. And last but not least, just cut it up differently. Dice, chop, long strips, thin strips, shapes (if you can), it makes a difference. Kids get excited with the simplest things… Seriously, I once gave Els a whole carrot and she went nuts. It was like the greatest thing ever for her.

*Carrots are choking hazards. Always supervise small children and chop into smaller pieces. As are grapes.*

Also don’t forget to check out your local farmer’s market. Buying seasonal and local fruits are so tasty. And there’s so much to sample… I love samples. As does Els.

Goooooooooood luck!!!

10 Simple Tips to get your Child to Eat Veggies

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Memories of Pink Popcorn…

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.

Once in a while, I come across a person, who by ways of off-tangent, or trigger-reference, will suddenly shift their eyes past my shoulders, gaze longingly, and then speak out loud about their grandmother’s homemade cherry pie, or their mother’s fresh baked chocolate chip cookies warmly greeting them as they come home from school. Their look lingers, even in afterthought.

I have those moments too.

For… THIS:

Lucky Elephant Pink Popcorn
Picture Courtesy Of: pacificcandywhsle.com


Lucky Elephant Pink Candy Popcorn.

I didn’t grow up with a mother who baked cookies. But who needed homemade cookies when I had an entire grocery store filled with every kind of candy you can imagine, owned by my parents, all for my taking?

My go-to sweets: Sour Keys. Bubble Gum. Popsicles. And Pink Popcorn.

 

So naturally, for this Valentine’s I wanted to recreate this magical popcorn of my past for Els and her friends. However, after looking up a few recipes online, I decided to forgo using red food coloring, sacrifice the original taste and like my strawberry buttercream frosting, use freeze dried strawberries instead. So instead of Pink Elephant, we have strawberry pink popcorn. But it tastes just as good, if not (dare I say it?) better.

I used:

1/2 cup of un-popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups of marshmallows
2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of ground freeze dried strawberries

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.I wanted to do a very light coat, with subtle pink and subtle taste. I suggest if you wanted a heavier coat with more strawberry flavor to use:

1/2 cup of un-popped popcorn
2 cups of marshmallows
3 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of ground freeze dried strawberries

To grind the strawberries, I thew a handful of strawberries into my food processor and ground until a very fine texture.

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.

It should look like this.

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.

To pop the popcorn, I added 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot. On high, I moved the pot back and forth rapidly holding down the lid until all the popcorn popped.

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.

You can add a little salt if you wish. I then melted the butter on low. Added the marshmallows stirring slowly. Once the marshmallows were almost melted, I added the ground strawberry.

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.

It came out a nice pink color.

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.

I then swirled it onto the popcorn in a tray.

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.

Carefully mixed it together while the mixture was still hot.

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.

And tada! Pink strawberry popcorn.

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.

All packaged and ready to go.

Valentine's: Dye-Free Pink Strawberry Popcorn. Made with real strawberries.

What do you think? We thought it tasted mighty good. I hope Els’ friends think so too.
Happy Valentine’s Day! (soon.)

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Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Valentine’s day is coming up. So naturally, I busted out my heart shaped muffin pans, and made these delicious – ness’.

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal muffins. No sugar. Just sweetened with bananas.

Oatmeal muffins. Sweetened with just bananas and strawberries. I found this recipe on greenlitebites, except she doesn’t add strawberries and instead uses chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are obviously so good, but strawberries are too! These muffins are so easy and quick to make and the best part is, they are super healthy, really tasty and a great snack or grab n’ go breakfast for toddlers and kids.

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal muffins. No sugar. Just sweetened with bananas.

I used:

3 cups of rolled oats. (Trader Joe’s has a wonderful gluten-free kind if you want to make it 100% gluten-free)
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup of chopped frozen strawberries
3 RIPE mashed bananas
1 tbsp of baking powder
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal muffins. No sugar. Just sweetened with bananas.

I bought the silicone heart shaped muffin mold from Michael’s. It’s 10 dollars but with a Michael’s 40% off online coupon, it’s a steal. And I love these molds so much more than the old fashioned muffin tins.

Directions: 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Mash the bananas with the rolled oats. Add and mix in all the rest of the ingredients, leaving the strawberries for last. Scoop into your muffin mold about 2/3 full and bake for 25 minutes. This recipe makes 12 muffins.

I didn’t need to grease the mold at all. Since it’s silicone, I find they just pop out really nicely once cooled. See?

Strawberry banana oatmeal muffins. No sugar. Just sweetened with bananas.

This is my favorite way to eat oatmeal right now. It is so light and moist with just enough natural sweetness. I’ve made these with blueberries, raisins, carob chips, coconut you name it. It can be done.

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal muffins. No sugar. Just sweetened with bananas.

But this Valentine’s, will be a strawberry kind of Valentine’s.

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal muffins. No sugar. Just sweetened with bananas.

Next up, strawberry popcorn! Can you tell I’m so excited that Els finally likes strawberries now?

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Pumpkin Biscuits

Voila. Voila. Voila.

Grandma’s warm, flaky, pumpkin-y, biscuit-y goodness.

Pumpkin Biscuits.

I actually attempted to replicate my mother-in-law’s pumpkin biscuits for Thanksgiving today. And I must say, if I do say so myself, they were actually quite good. Delicious even. Truly made us think of home. The farm. And cold, Canadian winters.

Here’s what I used:

Pumpkin Biscuits.

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour (you can use whole wheat as well)
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 cup of cold butter
3/4 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of buttermilk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. (If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use 2 butter knives and cut the butter into pea size amounts.) Combine the buttermilk and pumpkin puree into the dry mixture until moistened. Take the mixture on to a floured surface and knead only 8-10 times. Do not over-knead. Finally, roll out the dough to a one inch thickness. Cut out with a small round cookie cutter. (I used a small 2 inch diameter glass). Place on a greased baking sheet, placed one inch apart. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.  (Should make approximately 16 small biscuits.)

Pumpkin Biscuits.

Els making her own batch. She had so much fun.

Pumpkin Biscuits.

Ready to go in the oven.

Pumpkin Biscuits.

Aren’t they just… oh, what’s the word… darling?

Pumpkin Biscuits.

I am definitely going to be making another batch of these for Christmas. They were so so so good. And went perfectly with our turkey feast.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

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Iron-Packed Homemade Granola

Ok, so I admit it, I can be pretty neurotic at times. Especially when it comes to worrying about things, that I probably don’t need to worry about. Nevertheless, I still worry about my child’s iron intake – more often than not.

But in defense, we don’t eat meat and I have the most peculiar eater, ever.

So naturally, I googled ‘foods high in iron’ and found tons of ways to easily get it into her diet. At first, I decided to make these cute little grab n’ go bags full of nuts, seeds and raisins for whenever Els wanted a snack. But that ended up being a total fail as she ended up just picking out all the raisins and tossing the rest. Literally.

So then I thought, I’d try making this:

Iron Packed Homemade Granola.

Homemade granola packed with goodness.

Iron Packed Homemade Granola

Every single one of these items above are full of iron! Oats, raisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, dried apricots and coconut. (Sesame seeds as well, not pictured).

Iron Packed Homemade Granola

I chopped up the cashews and cut the dried apricots into quarters. I left the almonds whole, but it might be nice to cut them in half or use slivered almonds instead.

Iron Packed Homemade Granola

Total Ingredients Used:

Rolled Oats – 4 cups
Unsalted Cashews – 1/3 cup
Raw almonds – 1/3 cup
Pumpkin seeds – 1/2 cup
Sunflower seeds – 1/3 cup
Dried Apricots quartered – 1/4 cup
Organic Raisins – 1/3 cup
Unsweetened Coconut – 1/2 cup
Sesame Seeds – Sprinkled on top
Maple Syrup – 2 tbsp (If you want sweeter go for 1/4 cup)
Cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
Olive oil – Just to coat the tray (more generously than not)

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 325 degrees. Pour oats, seeds and nuts into a large mixing bowl. (Leave out the apricots, raisins and coconut.) Add in the maple syrup and cinnamon and mix well. Coat a tray with olive oil, pour the mixture into the tray. Distribute well. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Add in the apricots, raisins and coconut at the end of the 30 minutes and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Cool and Serve!

Iron Packed Homemade Granola

It came out quite nicely. Not clumpy, but still a perfect snack consistency. Els gobbled it up entirely, nuts, seeds and all.

Iron Packed Homemade Granola

What’s great about this granola, is that it’s the exact opposite of what you will find in a store. It’s only a tad sweet without all the sugar and unnecessary ingredients. I like to eat mine plain – just grab and go. Same with my 2 and a 1/2 year old. My husband likes his over fruit and yogurt. So many ways, it doesn’t matter. What matters, is that I worry less. I guess.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Breakfast Animal Cookies

Easy to make Peanut butter Oatmeal Animal Cookies.

I wish I could take credit for these genius, easy to make cookies, but I can’t. You have to check out The Burlap Bag for her 2 step, 2 ingredient cookie. She does a great step-by- step picture tutorial with it.

They are freaking delicious as far as a 2 ingredient cookie goes. We made a batch and after 15 minutes of baking, they were all eaten. Here’s how I made mine. A little different than the original, couple more ingredients, cut into animal shapes, but same concept: LESS IS MORE.

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Quick Oats
2 ripe bananas
2 Tablespoons of All Natural (no sugar added) peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon of molasses (great source of iron for toddlers/kids)

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Mash bananas in a mixing bowl. Add the oats. Add the peanut butter and molasses. Grease a cookie sheet. Lay mixture flat on top evenly. Bake for 15 minutes.
Once done, quickly press animal cookie cutters to cut out shapes.

Look who helped.

Easy to make Peanut butter Oatmeal Animal Cookies.

These cookies are so easy, my 2 year old, pretty much made them. And I never had to worry about the batter. She dipped in and ate some the whole way.

Easy to make Peanut butter Oatmeal Animal Cookies.

The finished product.

Easy to make Peanut butter Oatmeal Animal Cookies.Three words. Easy. Healthy. Tasty.

And I don’t feel bad giving Els a cookie for breakfast when she asks for one anymore. Or rather… I don’t feel so guilty eating a cookie for breakfast anymore…

* Quick steel cut oats can be used for a crunchier consistency. Or half and half for a chewy/crunchy consistency.

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Mommy and Me Valentine Breakfast

Right now, I’m on a major health kick. Trying to shed the last of my baby weight. (I know, 2 years later, right?) And stay true to my new year’s resolutions, which is to eat clean, eat right and eat proper portions.

So far, I’m doing great. I forgot how good it felt to eat healthy. And the better I eat, the less I crave. The less I crave, the better I eat!

But let’s face it. Being a busy mom, to an even busier toddler, makes eating, let alone eating healthy, challenging.

But take a look at these! Our Valentine’s morning breakfast.

Valentine Heart Shaped Egg Frittatas.

These egg frittatas or as Els likes to call them, egg muffins, are so easy to make. So healthy. A great source of essential morning nutrients. And perfect as a grab and go breakfast for you and your toddler.

Here’s what I used to make them:

Valentine Heart Shaped Egg Muffins.

Ingredients: (Yields 6 egg muffins)
6 eggs
Frozen veggie mix (I used: edamame, carrots, corn, red peppers and carrots.)
Diced onion
Diced tomato
Handful of kale – Superfood!
Low fat Shredded Mozzarella (Optional)
3 tsp of water

Valentine Heart Shaped Egg Muffins. 1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Beat the eggs. Add water. Add cracked black pepper. A pinch of salt if desired.
3. Choose and put in your fillings. I did a little bit of each.
4. Pour egg close to the top. Leave a little room for it to rise and puff up.
5. Add cheese on top if desired. I did half with cheese, and half without.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

eggmuffin4So easy!

Easy Heart shaped Egg Muffins.

So cute!

Valentine Heart Shaped Egg Muffins.

So yummy.

Valentine Heart Shaped Egg Muffins.

And top it off with a healthy smoothie for yourself and your little tot.

Smoothie Ingredients: Banana, frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, frozen mango, water and a touch of unsweetened almond milk until desired thickness, and SPINACH. (they will never know…) Put in as much as desired. I put a little bit of each. And blend!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine Heart Shaped Egg Muffins.

Els and I will be munching on these all day! Because they taste just as good cold. And even better when you eat them with your hands.

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