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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And… I’m BaaaaaaAACk!

So it’s been a while, I know. And no excuses. But, I guess you can say, it’s been quite a year.

Els completed a successful year of PRE-K. My husband is as busy as ever with a huge slate of movies/tv shows in development. We rescued a tiny little puppy, named, Bear. And oh, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Like I said, it’s been quite a year!

But now, I’m back into the groove of things and excited to get this blog back up and running. So many new recipes, crafts and mommy-isms to write about. And not to mention hilarious puppy anecdotes and musings.

My brain, thankfully is fine and healthy! It was shocking for sure. Extremely rare. And also benign. And with successful surgery and radiation, completely on the right track.

I look back and am so thankful to my friends and family that supported me. Without them, I don’t think I would have been the same smiling, laughing patient that I was. I remember my friend staying up all night and hand feeding me pudding. My mother cooking me every meal so that I could avoid hospital food while she ate nothing. My brother shedding a tear when receiving the phone call. And my husband and daughter being so brave and strong even when things felt so scary and alone.

And through all the poking and prodding, going through major brain surgery, being bedridden, and rehabilitating… I can’t help but look back and think, (as cliché as it may sound) I wouldn’t change a thing.

I learned that kids are resilient. And with the proper words, actions and guidance they can get through anything. Els, never spent a day without me let alone a night. And she went 2 weeks, strong. She went 2 weeks being a 4-year-old that showed support and understanding. And seeing that, made me strong.

I never shed a tear for myself during that time. Only for her. This, I guess is parenthood.

img_5966
Little Bear. Rescue. Poodle Mix.

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All I want for Thanksgiving

All I want for Thanksgiving is my – i-n-s-p-i-r-a-t-i-o-n-s.

Here’s what’s inspiring me at the moment.

Thanksgiving Inspirations and ideas
Image courtesy of: betterrecipes.com

Chalkboard menu pumpkins.

Thanksgiving Inspirations and ideas
Image Courtesy of: spoonforkbacon.com

Rosemary Sprig place cards.

Thanksgiving Inspirations and ideas
Image Courtesy Of: countryliving.com

Kids thanksgiving table with craft paper.

Thanksgiving Inspirations and ideas
Image Courtesy Of: acountryfarmhouse.blogspot.com

Mini pumpkin mantel.

Thanksgiving Inspirations and ideas
Image Courtesy Of: makeandtakes.com

Mini pumpkin pies.

Thanksgiving Inspirations and ideas

Homemade pumpkin biscuits.

Thanksgiving Inspirations and ideas
Image Courtesy Of: foodandwine.com

Roasted baby carrots.

Thanksgiving inspirations and ideas
Image Courtesy Of: anthropologie.com

Leola Dress with beige booties.

And of course being thankful for family and friends!

What’s inspiring you this Thanksgiving? Please share.

My First Day

So someone officially started her first day of preschool.

First Day of Preschool Free Printable

And of course, I took that as an invitation for a photo op.

First Day of Preschool Free Printable

I found this free printable chalkboard sign from Classyclutter.com. Just downloaded, printed and stuck it in an old frame I had lying around.

First Day of Preschool Free Printable

Ta-da! First day memories in the making.

First Day of Preschool Free PrintableOf course she was fine because I stayed with her the whole time. We shall see how it goes when it’s finally time for me to leave. Somehow, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. She was checking on me every 2 minutes to see if I was still there. It was hilarious, but not all at the same time. Sigh. Like I said, we shall see… One step at a time.

Day Adventure: Echo Park Lake

So this past Father’s day, after a nice family brunch in Silver Lake, we decided to go on a little detour around the corner and venture into Echo Park. I really wanted to see what all the  hype was about. It seemed like everyone I ran into, had just gone, or were about to go, or was curious if I had seen this newly renovated park.

Echo Park Lake

Echo Park Lake. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.

Echo Park Lake

And since it was Father’s Day, we thought we’d do something out of the ordinary and do a little pedal boating. Yippee!

Echo Park Lake

We all put on our life jackets. Els sat in the middle. And my hubby pedaled. I thought I was pedaling too, but apparently I wasn’t. I was just doing the motions with my feet like a bike on the easiest setting. I was wondering why my husband was sweating so much.

Echo Park Lake

The lake was beautiful. The view on one side with downtown LA in the backdrop was nice to see. And the fountain was very … cold. Yes, we got sprayed. A few times…

Echo Park Lake

Thank goodness for the cute family of geese.

Echo Park Lake

The little cafe at the lake was a bonus too. It’s the sister to Square One Dining in Silver Lake. It’s actual real yummy food. Not french fries and burgers. Although I do like that too. Ha.

Echo Park Lake

And of course the playground was nice for Els with new climbing structures for her to tumble and climb on. But best of all, there is so much grass and shade for you to sit and relax on.

Echo Park Lake

It was the perfect Father’s Day. Even with all the pedaling, my hubby said!

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Summer in LA? 10 Must-Go Places in LA with Kids.

I can’t believe the winter months have already come and gone. Spring flew right by me. And lo and behold, summer is right around the corner. I must say, I dread LA summers. Not so much the heat — but the bright, ferocious, incessant, unyielding sun…

But alas!

It looks as though we are here to stay this summer and why not make the most of it? I thought I’d put together a list of fun, must-go, must-see places to bring your tots and kids this summer in Los Angeles. Whether you are local, or visiting, here are some of our favorite spots that make our summer’s most memorable.

1. Griffith Park.
Pony rides. Trains. Carousels. Playgrounds. Picnics in the park. What better place than this? Not to mention, there are 2 golf courses, a nine hole, a kids course and a driving range.

Must Go places in LA with KidsAnd can’t forget Travel Town. Old trains and engines for the little ones to climb and see. And photo op moments like these…

10 must go places in la with kids

2. Trails Cafe

Must Go places in LA with Kids

By far one of our favorite places to go. Also in Griffith Park. The hidden gem of the gems. With haystacks and tree stumps. Coffee and scones. The best avocado sandwiches ever. And picnic tables. More reason to love it so? It sits so quietly and unassumingly … it just is. And it’s peaceful that way.

3. Kidspace Children’s Museum

Must Go places to go in LA with Kids

Three words: Non Stop Fun. 

4. The Los Angeles Zoo.

Must Go Places to go in LA with Kids

How lucky are we that we have a year long pass? And with a year long pass, here’s, well — just another day at the zoo

5. The Aquarium of the Pacific

10 must go places in LA with Kids

This is a nice reason to trek it all the way to Long Beach. The harbor is beautiful, the Queen Mary sits prettily for you to gaze and see, and the aquarium is pure joy for the little ones. This is definitely a summer tradition for us.

6.  The Annenberg Community Beach House – Santa Monica Beach

10 must go places in LA with Kids

I can’t say enough good things about this place. We discovered it kind of by accident, and then were wondering how we never heard of this place. It’s that amazing. The pool is big, clean and never packed. There are plenty of umbrella’s and nooks for shade. The splash pond is free and so much fun for the kids. There’s also a shaded kids playground with sand and swings. And a cute beach restaurant where you can sit with your feet literally buried in the sand. The boardwalk is just a few feet away and just steps to the ocean. Els LOVES this place. As soon as we hit the coast while driving she starts screaming – ‘beeeeeeeeeeeeach!’ ‘beeeeeeeeeeeeeeach!’

7. Peekaboo Playland

10 must go places in LA with Kids

As far as indoor playgrounds go… this is the best. That I’ve seen anyway. Els loves this place because, well what’s not to love? There’s a bouncy house. Tons of current and cool toys. Imagination play areas. And lots of space to run and play. I love this place because it’s clean, super cutely decorated, never too full and great for play dates. There’s also a separate play area upstairs for 2 and under’s which is nice for them and smart. We love coming here on rainy days, but in the summer, it’s nice to beat the heat and come in here for some cool air conditioning.

8. The Americana at Brand

10 must go places in LA with kidsThe sister to the infamous Grove Shopping Center in LA. We love coming here because it’s like having everything you want and need in one lovely outdoor experience. There’s tons of food and shops for me, and tons of grass for Els to run and play in. Not to mention they give you clean blankets to use to picnic and every Tuesday they celebrate kids club with fun musical acts and arts and crafts. Kids also eat free in most places on those days too.

9. Lacma

Nothing wrong with enriching your child with some art and culture! I was very surprised at how kid-friendly this place is. Must check out. MUST.

10. The California Science Center

10 must go places in LA with kids

Our new favorite place to go. First of all it’s free. And it’s such a great overall, fun, educating experience for both adults and kids alike. Els never wants to leave. And seeing the space shuttle Endeavor was amazing. You have to see it to believe it.

At last! I’m done. What a lengthy post! But just looking at this list makes me appreciate living in LA all the more. Go summer.

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10 Places to go in LA with Kids

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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It’s Going To Be A White Christmas, After All…

This Christmas, in LA, I can’t help but think of a movie I watched a long time ago, called Castaway on the Moon. It was about a man stranded on an island, who with increasing hunger, began to become obsessed with the idea of eating black bean noodles. In one scene, you watch a montage of his memories of all the times he’s turned down black bean noodles, or left them half-eaten, or not eaten at all. And he’s kicking himself in retrospect, like – Eat the black bean noodles, you fool!

I kind of feel like that with white Christmas’. Being born and raised in Canada, and now living in LA, I could see how I may have taken it all for granted.

So this year, I was determined to have a white Christmas, after all. Hence my white Christmas bottle brush tree, snow globes.

DIY white bottle brush, mason jar snow globes.

These DIY, Anthropologie-inspired globes are all over Pinterest and the internet now. But I remember a couple years ago when I first saw them in the Anthropologie store, I was thinking – I could make these! And I did. For my daughter’s first birthday party, I made them and dyed the trees pink.

DIY white bottle brush, mason jar snow globes.

This year, I decided to make them again, but dye them white, for my white Christmas theme. I used 50/50 water and bleach. I soaked them until they turned an off-white color. To get them whiter, I painted the ends of the trees with white acrylic paint.  A great idea I learned from The Decorated House.

DIY white bottle brush, mason jar snow globes.

I also got some silver and brown pinecones to add to the jars, from Michael’s. 

DIY white bottle brush, mason jar snow globes.

Mason jars of different sizes.

DIY white bottle brush, mason jar snow globes.

White glue. And glitter. Just dipped and rolled.

DIY white bottle brush tree snow globes.

And voila. Very white Christmassy right?

DIY white bottle brush, mason jar snow globes.

 I hot glue-gunned the trees and pine cone to the jar lid.

DIY white bottle brush, mason jar snow globes.

 Filled the jar with some white glitter.

DIY white bottle brush, mason jar snow globes.

 And that’s it. So simple. So pretty.

DIY white bottle brush, mason jar snow globes.

I made enough this year to give away as gifts, as well. Along with my peppermint bark, of course.

DIY white bottle brush, mason jar snow globes.

One more day to go, before Christmas!

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