Category: Recipes

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (no churn!)

Hey! You didn’t think I gave up on this, did you? I just had to take a long hiatus because life. Namely, this is literally the first weekend since March or April where I haven’t had some kind of plans (actually Ryan is out of the state for a few days but I have no social obligations). Our paper calendar is filled with black ink. We’ve had weddings, showers, holidays, work trips. I also stopped pumping, which was when I did most of my writing. Now that I don’t have to be tied to a machine during my 30 minute break and it’s over 25 degrees outside, I like to walk during lunch. And I’m also running more (kind of goes along with the warmer weather and not being pregnant or breastfeeding for the first time in over four years), which on top of everything else leaves me with virtually no free time. If you want to know what it sounds like when I keep my kids out running past 6pm, here’s mile 7 of 8 the other day: IMG_4146

But the real reason I’m back at this exact moment is because I am currently eating the best bowl of ice cream I have ever had. With Ryan out of town I decided to use my free time to strip the diapers (for the first time ever), wash the floors, and whip up some frozen dairy (YOLO). If you know me, you know ice cream is my weakness. I have an ice cream maker and I usually use it a few times a year. One of the best things about making ice cream is that if you can dream up a flavor, you can make it.

When I was in Denver I made a blueberry cheesecake ice cream recipe from the book that came with my ice cream maker, and since then most of the blends I’ve made have had some sort of a cheesecake base. A few weeks ago I came across a much simpler recipe than I normally use, and tonight I perfected it. Bonus: you don’t actually need an ice cream maker for this one.

During the summer I always end up with a bunch of berries we can’t manage to eat, and it’s easy to throw them in some cheesecake ice cream. I usually boil them down with some sugar first but this time I just threw the raspberries in and it was perfect.

Can I also just mention that I made an incredibly delicious, easy dinner before eating this and no one complained or refused to eat part of it? Lily actually asked for seconds. I’m not sure she’s ever asked for more of non-pasta entree. I practically ran to the kitchen when she said, “Can I please have another pita?” (I didn’t clarify for her the fact that it was actually a bean and cheese quesadilla, because she’s just started eating combo foods). For mine I just did sauteed Swiss chard, black beans I didn’t have time to heat up, queso fresco, and corn tortillas. Keeping it simple these days.

Anyway, go and make this ice cream now. You can switch up the berries and cookies (I actually usually use gluten-free gingersnaps) and add some hot fudge (you know I did), and eat it after the kids are in bed like I do because I don’t share my ice cream with anyone.

A pic of Maggie because she’s cute. Comments on my birth plan for her coming up next!

Print Recipe
Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
I used an ice cream maker, but you don't really need one. You could whip the cream for a minute before adding in the other ingredients if you don't have an ice cream maker and want it to be airy.
Course Dessert
Course Dessert
  1. In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until combined. Add the milk, cream, and vanilla and beat until well combined. It's okay if a few chunks remain--they'll just taste like cheesecake (which no one can complain about).
  2. Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturers instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, add the melted butter to the crushed graham crackers. When the ice cream mixture is finished, add to a freezer-safe tupperware container. add the raspberries and graham cracker recipe and gently fold in.
  4. The ice cream will be really soft, so put in the freezer for a few hours before serving.
Share this Recipe

What my kids are (and aren’t) eating: Part 2

Before Lily was even born I knew what her first food would be (sweet potatoes). I read everything I could find about introducing vegetables first and bypassing baby cereals. As she inched toward that 6-month mark I filled my Pinterest board with baby-led weaning (BLW) recipes and guides. I read all about how babies are physiologically prepared to eat real food once they can hold themselves up properly, and asserted to my husband and our moms that gagging was okay–it’s not really choking!

When Lily hit 5 months, I grabbed a spoon and gave her some sweet potatoes. I could have waited until 6 months, but you know moms: we love milestones. She loved the sweet potatoes, so I continued on with more purées until she was about 6 months old, at which time I decided to give baby-led weaning a go. It’s pretty mainstream now, but for those of you who don’t know, with baby-led weaning you allow your little one to eat real food (versus purées). This article for some reason had me convinced only an uninformed parent wouldn’t do BLW, and that purees were a relic of the past.

If you’re already a parent then you know how ridiculous your pre-child self was. I don’t know why, but for some reason most soon-to-be moms (myself included) seem to have a lot of convictions about how we’ll do various things and what baby products are best, and it feels like a personal affront when someone suggests something otherwise while you’re still pregnant or haven’t reached a certain stage (even if they’re a fellow mom). And when our moms hinted BLW might not be going so great for Lily, it felt just like that (and I thought Lily was marred for life when my MIL gave her rice cereal. If you’re reading this, my apologies again.). It wasn’t until months later when I finally recognized that okay, maybe I should have paid more attention to the physical readiness signs for BLW (like being able to sit up unassisted, loss of the tongue-thrust reflex, etc) rather than using her age as an indication. Because she totally wasn’t ready and it was stressful and scary when she would gag and choke. After a week or so I broke out the blender and did purées until she was about 8 months old.

Maggie on the other hand was a peanut in comparison to Lily, despite being more physically advanced. She was sitting unassisted by 5-6 months, enough so that we could leave her there and not be scared she would fall over. We were still putting pillows around Lily when she was 7 months old. Maggie was also a bigger sleeper, and didn’t drink as much. I tried sweet potatoes when she was just over 5 months and she wasn’t interested. We tried different homemade purées and store-bought pouches (wait, what? store-bought?! I’m sorry, but there’s just no way I can compare with the combinations they come up with these days. Quinoa-amaranth-kale? Buckwheat-apple-beet?) with varying success, but she just didn’t have a voracious appetite. Then suddenly at 7 months she ate some small pieces of something cut up (I can’t remember what), and we realized she just wanted to feed herself. I hadn’t considered letting her do this for another month, what with the whole Lily experience. But once we started letting her feed herself, she didn’t stop.

While Maggie eats most things, it of course still has to be soft enough and cut into bite-sized pieces. Her intro to solids coincided really nicely with winter, when we were (are) eating lots of soups, most of which Lily also likes. I love soups for new eaters because they’re usually chock full of veggies and different proteins that I otherwise find difficult to cook into that perfectly smushy, baby-friendly texture. So below I have my basic list of go-to items for breakfast and lunch, and some of my favorite soup recipes that Ryan, Lily, Maggie, and I all really like. Also, muffins! I love making mini-muffins for babies and little kids because they are tasty, nutritious, and easy when you’re packing a lunch.

baby girl eating
I love her little feet crossed at the ankle.


Our least creative meal. Usually toast or a waffle, and a fruit. If we have time she also gets yogurt (Siggs 4%, or half plain/half flavored Greek yogurt) or a smoothie. If we have muffins she gets a little.



All the soft fruits. There isn’t one she doesn’t like, and like most kids, berries are her favorite. Something we do give Maggie that I didn’t give Lily is fruit cups (in their own juice or other 100% fruit juice), because Lily was learning to eat during the summer when things like peaches were readily available. We also didn’t really give Lily citrus fruits until she was a year old, but Maggie’s had her fair share of clementines.


The only veggie Maggie doesn’t really like is asparagus. Sometimes she’ll eat it if it’s cooked up with something else, like eggs. Here are some of her typical veggies:

  • Peas – from frozen. We definitely give her these the most frequently as they’re so easy.
  • Broccoli – from fresh. I can never get frozen broccoli to cook nicely.
  • Peppers – if the rest of us are eating raw peppers, I’ll cut some up into little pieces for her, cover in a little water, and cook into the microwave until they’re soft enough. If I’m roasting peppers (slice, toss in olive oil, roast for 20-25 minutes at 425), she’ll hoover them down.
  • Mixed frozen veggies – steamed on the stove, otherwise the carrots never get soft enough
  • Green beans – steamed or roasted
  • Carrots – steamed or roasted. Lily just started eating carrots again a few days ago, and I pumped to roast carrots again. They take kind of a long time so I like to roast a big bag of baby carrots on a weekend (this hasn’t actually happened in a while…)
  • Squash – roasted. I only get those pre-chopped containers of squash that Wegman’s sells because, no joke, peeling, seeding, and chopping a butternut squash is way too overwhelming for me right now (and yes, I know the microwave trick).
  • Edamame – from frozen. I just microwave, peel the skin off, and pop them in half.
  • Toast – with peanut or almond butter. Disclaimer: the old peanut butter avoidance guidance made no sense to me so I introduced it around 6-7 months with both kids (it’s since been changed to recommend early introduction).
  • Sweet potato –  mashed or baked.
  • Little pieces of wrap – this isn’t the most nutritious thing, and I only do it occasionally (whole wheat)
  • Pasta – again, a whole grain

Muffins – These muffins are lunch items. If I pack them for daycare, I break them into bite-sized pieces pieces.

  • Flourless Sweet Potato Blender Muffins – by far my favorite muffin recipe. I’ve made them with both almond butter and peanut butter, and they were great both times. Unlike other muffin recipes, you can’t double this batch because it’s too much for a blender to handle, but if Maggie’s the only one eating these they last a while.
  • Spinach Quinoa Egg Muffins – I don’t actually follow an exact recipe for these, but this recipe is pretty close to what I do (minus the ham). We always seem to have a lot of leftover quinoa so other than just freezing it for later, this is a great way to use it. I’ve made these with a few varieties of quinoa, and you can swap spinach for grated broccoli, kale, etc. I’ve been making these for Maggie since she started solids and she never had a problem with the egg or cheese and we weren’t very concerned as we don’t have food allergies in our family, but they do recommend holding off on egg whites as a potential allergen.
  • Peanut Butter Banana Cookies – So these aren’t technically a muffin and I haven’t made them yet for Maggie, but Lily loved these. I usually packed them as a snack, but they’d be fine as part of a meal in my book (I don’t use the chocolate chis). Plus they are tasty! I occasionally used raisins, and then I’d have to hide them so Ryan wouldn’t eat them because they’re basically dessert.
Sweet potato muffin, cheese, peas, blueberries, and raspberries
Ditto the above. Let’s not talk about how awful the lighting in my kitchen is in the dark of the morning.
Peas, peaches and pears from a fruit cup, cheese, hard-boiled egg.


Maggie eats whatever we do. I love this stage.


  • Roasted Eggplant Soup – This soup is perfect as is, but I like to mix it up every time. My favorite way to do it is to follow the roasting directions but swap out the eggplant for a container of that Wegman’s squash I love so much, 4 tomatoes, one onion, garlic, and some baby carrots, and to cook some sweet potatoes in the microwave (they take way too long to roast). The rest of the directions are the same (including the encouragement to play with the spices). You could say a downside with this soup is that it has to be fed to little ones since it’s pureed, but right now Lily’s at this stage where she likes to feed bits of food to Maggie so she’ll sop up some soup with her roll and feed it to her which is just as cute as it sounds.
  • Garlicky Kale and White Bean Stew – Other than always using an entire bag of Wegmans pre-washed/cut kale, I keep everything the same. I like my soup to be more on the stewy side than brothy side, so this works nicely. Sometimes I use another recipe similar to this if I want to include potatoes or carrots. Maggie ate every single thing in this soup, from the kale to the onions, and her favorite was the white beans.
  • Detox Immune Boosting Chicken Soup – I used this as a guide to make chicken soup for the first time (versus following the recipe exactly), and it was the best soup I’ve ever made.  I also liked being able to have Maggie eat such a variety of ingredients at one meal. I had tried this crock pot chicken, potato, carrot, and green bean meal that was awful so I threw most of that into the soup and it was so. good. I’ve made chicken soup using chicken that I way over-seasoned and over-cooked and it also worked really well.
  • Veggie Tortellini Soup – I meant to make this once and accidentally made something else that ended up being more just like tortellini with sauce, with spinach added. The good thing about that accident is that I found out Maggie can eat spinach when it’s cooked. This would definitely be good though because, well, The Pioneer Woman.
  • Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup – I’ve never been a tomato soup fan but this recipe paired with  this Spinach and Ricotta Grilled Cheese was worthy of being served up at Elm Street Bakery. I’d eat this for days. It is again another recipe that needs to be fed to a baby.
So excited to be eating her first outdoor dinner!


What my kids are (and aren’t) eating – Part 1

I feel like as parents we spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about three things:

  1. Poop
  2. Sleep
  3. Eating

You can’t avoid poop* (once you stop obsessing over if they’re pooping and what it looks like, they start talking about it constantly), and sleep is always evading you. Kids can be really picky eaters, and we spend so much time trying to figure out what they can and should be eating when they’re just starting out, and then what they’ll actually accept as palatable when they get a little bigger. But the thing about eating is that we at least have some modicum of control over it.

I know some parents get really frustrated or concerned about what their kids are eating, but just try to keep in mind that as long as you’re offering them healthy options, you’re doing everything you can. Kids will be picky, and they might go a week without touching a vegetable. But don’t freak out. They’re not going to get scurvy. We definitely do some bribing sometimes (“If you eat two bites of chicken, you can have dessert.”), and the main reason behind buying the little table was that Lily would not sit through a meal at the big one. (She ate all her meals at the little table for months. She eats with us at dinner now, but still prefers breakfast and lunch at the pint size one.)

My kids like to eat a ton and are pretty healthy eaters, but Lily can be suuuuper particular. I end up giving her really simple foods much of the time, and try to get the biggest bang for my buck out of something like a PB and J by making some easy tweaks. Working moms just don’t have the time to experiment with new recipes, so having go-to options like these is really important.

Lily couldn’t wait for me to finish making her lunch so she took things into her own hands.

*This post is just about what Lily eats. I’m doing a separate one about Maggie because we started table foods very early. We didn’t intend to do baby-led weaning but that’s what it ended up being, so stay tuned for more on that!

While we eat generally healthy we aren’t super crunchy granola. I think we’re pretty middle of the road. I’d love to cut sugars out of my diet and serve Buddha bowls for dinner and smoothies topped with chia for breakfast every day but I just don’t have time to do that right now. As a family we’re in this really busy stage in our lives where I need to have a handful of meals on rotation because I don’t have the mental energy to handle thinking of new ideas every week. And while the meals/items below are generally healthy, Lily does eat some snacks of questionable nutrition (mainly fueled by my own animal cracker obsession) and I have a mean sweet tooth.

A few other little things that guide the way our kids eat:

  1. We don’t do “kid foods.” If I wouldn’t make it for myself, I don’t buy it. The only things we’ve gotten that fall into the kid food category are mac and cheese (but we get Annie’s Whole Wheat Shells and Cheddar or their other grainy blend, mix it with peas, and I take the leftovers for lunch), and yogurt pouches between the ages of about 18 months-2.5 years to reduce mess during the morning rush. I might actually be able to avoid yogurt pouches with Maggie because she seems to like Kefir in a cup.
  2. I make sure to include a fruit at breakfast, and a fruit and vegetable at lunch and dinner.
  3. We don’t restrict them from eating what’s offered at other people’s houses and we occasionally order pizza or go out to eat, so obviously they’re getting less than favorable foods then, which I’m fine with.

My plug for whole grains: If you aren’t eating very well and want to make an easy change that has a big impact, switch to whole grains. Unlike trying to get more vegetables in your diet, by switching to whole grains you’re just tweaking something you’re already eating versus trying to add something new. A lot of people have a misconception that kids won’t eat whole grains, but if you don’t start them off with white bread, white rice, refined pasta, plain waffles etc. they won’t know the difference. So any time I mention bread, toast, pasta, etc. below it’s 100% whole wheat/grain. Also, grown-ups don’t eat white bread.

Lily’s Typical Meals

For a good week Lily asked for Teddy Grahams before breakfast every single day. She also had a screaming tantrum everytime when I said no. She also tried to get around it by asking for lunch, so then they would be a snack, or claiming she just at dinner.  Nice try, kid.

Peanut butter and jelly banana – this is her concoction. Banana slices, half of them topped with peanut butter and the other with jelly. Sometimes I used almond butter if we have it. Sometimes she has something else with it, like “frozen toast” (below), or peas (I’m not going complain about that odd request).

Smoothie – I say something like “Do you want a frozen yogurt smoothie?” but it’s really made with banana, frozen fruit, greens, plain Greek yogurt, milk, juice, and ground flax seeds. She doesn’t know the difference.

Oatmeal – Oatmeal with milk. She always eats a lot of fruit on the side.

Frozen toast – quite literally frozen bread. Recently I’ve been getting whole grain variations that also include spelt or other grains just to get more of a hearty variety. We of course pair this with something else (Kefir, yogurt, fruit, milk, etc.)

Bagels – cold or toasted, plain or with cream cheese, peanut butter, or almond butter. Wegmans sells these super spelty, grain-filled bagels in the frozen aisle of the health food section. Something I’ve been trying to do with grains since Lily eats so many of them is to only buy things I would eat for breakfast. I wouldn’t eat a regular bagel, but I feel pretty good about these ones. Again, served with fruit.

Muffins, pancakes (homemade): I’m not a huge fan of sneaking veggies, but I am a proponent of boosting whatever other foods you’re eating by adding veggies to them. I like to include a veg in baked goods whenever possible. By making them at home I can both add a veggie, and reduce the sugar.

I find it hard to offer veggies at breakfast, but because Lily likes her veggies plain I’ll give her some tomatoes or peppers if I’m making lunches.

Beverages: milk (whole milk), juice (100% without no sugar added, watered down, maybe once or twice a week), or water. Lily always wakes up looking super thirsty (read: her lips are cracked) but doesn’t often want to drink water in the morning so I try to get her to drink whatever I can. I always offer water first but man, this girl loves milk. I’m not a big supporter of drinking milk from the nutrition end, so this is hard for me to swallow (ha). She does a pretty good job of drinking water throughout the rest of the day so I’m not super concerned.


I offer fruit, veggies, a starch or grain, and a dairy or protein at lunch. Here are some of our go-to options from each group.

Fruit: basically any fruit. She’s not a big fan of mango, kiwi, or blackberries but eats everything else.

Veggies: Lily recently started refusing broccoli. It used to be one of her favorites so this is tough. She has a very limited vegetable palette which doesn’t include any leafy greens (except in the summer when she challenges us to kale eating contests).

  • Cherry tomatoes – every kid’s favorite veg. So easy to pop in their mouth. Lily has been known to consume an entire pint of tomatoes in a sitting. Okay, she’ll leave two so I’ll see them and get more (no joke, she said this to my mom).
  • Bell peppers – uncooked slices
  • Carrots – baby carrots, uncooked (she just told me a few days ago she doesn’t like them anymore so this may be nixed from our list soon)
  • Peas – from frozen

That’s it. *sigh*


  • Whole grain bread, pasta, rolls, etc. As often as possible the pasta is a quinoa amaranth blend (my mom introduced us to this–she’s gluten-intolerant) or Banza (chickpea). These both have more protein than whole wheat pasta.
  • Sweet potatoes (baked, plain or with butter)
  • Corn on the cob (summer only)

Dairy/Protein: I don’t get very creative with lunch when I pack it during the week because I want to be sure it’s something she will actually eat since I won’t be with her when she gets it. I actually don’t usually make her lunch during the week…my mom makes it on Thursday, sometimes my MIL does on Tuesday, and unless school lunch is weird (Salisbury steak) I let her eat it. She won’t eat many proteins for me, but she always eats what they offer at school. I’m not thrilled she’s eating non-organic meat and poultry but you win some, you lose some.

  • Cheese – only sharp cheddar
  • Peanut or almond butter – on a whole grain
  • Turkey – lunch meat
  • Meatballs – usually turkey or chicken
  • Black beans – only at home since she sometimes refuses it
  • Yogurt – only at home, ditto the above
  • Tuna salad

Combo foods: usually leftovers of a dinner

  • Some form of a whole grain pasta with sauce (sometimes with ground turkey or chopped carrots mixed in)
  • Macaroni and cheese with peas
  • Wrap with peanut/almond butter or cream cheese

By far the hardest meal, and we don’t get creative. If we make something like stir fry, we keep elements of it separate and without sauce or else she won’t eat it. Lily is also required to taste everything on her plate, even if she just touches it with her tongue. Here are some common dinners at our house:

  • Tuna, bread/roll, vegetable, fruit
  • Salmon, rice/grain/sweet potatoes, vegetable, fruit
  • Homemade pizza: whole-grain flatbread, pita, Naan, or pizza crust; sauce; cheese. Lily no longer likes veggies on top so gets hers on the side.
  • Soup with a roll (pureed soup is best)
  • Wegman’s turkey or salmon burgers (summer only), corn on the cob or sweet potato fries, vegetable, fruit
  • Chicken (but only if my mom or MIL makes it), rice/grain/sweet potatoes, vegetable, fruit
  • Eggs (scrambled, or an omelet but only if she’s stealing it off someone else’s plate), toast, vegetable, fruit
  • Chili, bread/roll, fruit (vegetable if needed)
  • Tortellini soup, fruit
  • Burritos: wrap, cheese, ground meat or chicken (she usually doesn’t eat it), tomatoes, peppers. This is one of those meals she eats only parts of.

I really like to cook, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that for the next few years at least I won’t really have the time or the audience to prep creative meals.

Sometimes kids would rather eat chapstick than whatever you put on the table.


*I feel like ever since Lily became obsessed, I talk about poop with other moms all the time. At work last week one of my coworkers who has an 8 year old was recounting for another coworker who has a 3 month old how I had been laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face while she told me about a time she had to remove her daughter’s arm-length poop from a public space by rolling it with a stick. The new mom was totally horrified.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

Do you have a favorite kids’ movie? There are plenty of kids shows and movies I can’t stand. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ranks #1 on that list. Lily was probably 18 months old when she started watching this incessantly. I considered Little Einsteins, with its plot lines and dash of cultural exposure in the form of classical music and sometimes discordant art choices, a refreshing change from MMC’s vapid characters and gender stereotypes. Also, you can’t even spell “Mickey Mouse” instead of saying it in front of your kids because it’s in the theme song.

Before Sunday morning there were only three children’s movies/shows I actually enjoyed watching: The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, and Room on the Broom. I’ve even let Lily watch all three in sequence because I wanted to watch all three. Anyway, Sunday morning Lily woke up at 5:45am. Usually she’ll just stay in her room reading or go back there after using the bathroom until I say she can get up. This morning she was complaining her stomach hurt and she didn’t eat either snack I brought her in bed so I knew it was real. We went downstairs and I asked if she wanted to finish watching The Snowy Day which we’d started last night. I’d sort of tricked her into watching a show of my choosing by coercing her with a new app because I couldn’t deal with 15 minutes of Paw Patrol. Anyway, I set her up with the iPad and covered my head with a blanket in an attempt to fall back asleep. It wasn’t long before I discovered it was another Gruffalo’s Child and I couldn’t stop sneaking peeks. It was a snowy day out here in WNY and those snowman pancakes looked so darn cute so…this happened:

Snowman pancake
Snowman pancake

I enjoyed making these pancakes way more than Lily enjoyed eating them. Pretty sure she didn’t appreciate the connection to the movie. This is the second time in my life I’ve made something cute out of food, and the second time Lily didn’t quite get it. Last time it was flag toast on the 4th of July. She doesn’t even know what a flag is.

I love Sally’s Baking Addiction for everything baked-goods. When I Pinterested “whole wheat oatmeal pancakes” and saw this recipe pinned, I knew it would be good. I never think twice about baking something from her site because it always comes out well. Thanks Sally’s Baking Addiction!

I always try to have pancakes in the freezer because they are so easy to pop in the microwave and serve up. This recipe is packed with whole grains, and the Greek yogurt provides some protein. I actually cut the sugar down so I wouldn’t feel so bad about feeding them to Maggie, and no one noticed the difference. You could cut it out completely, but just make sure to replace it with a little bit of something dry like ground flax.

PS: Do you have an electric griddle? You can get a good one for under $30 and it is so worth being able to quickly cook pancakes and French toast in big batches. Also, if you’re like me and burn everything, it’s well worth the investment.

Print Recipe
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Muffins
Course Breakfast
Course Breakfast
  1. Toss flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and spices together. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together. Add sugar and yogurt and whisk until no lumps remain, then add vanilla and mix until well combined.
  2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don't overmix or beat! Fold in add-ins until just combined.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Generously coat with cooking spray. Add batter and flip after bubbles start to appear. Make sure to re-coat pan before adding more batter, or if you're like me and burn everything, use an electric griddle.
  4. Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup, or your preferred toppings. These freeze great!
Share this Recipe

Banana Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Sometimes I’m taken aback by the extent to which Lily and I are on the same wavelength. It’s rarely anything existential, and is usually more along the lines of both wanting to go get ice cream. I say rarely existential because we had this one car ride a few months ago where Lily said something like, “Mom, do you feel like the moon?” and then proceeded to go through things like “a star,” “an owl,” “a bear,” and it turned into this whole experience where we talked about what it would feel like to be each of those things. Anywho…

Last Thursday I gave up all hope of waking up early to run, and let Lily come in my bed after Ryan left for work at 6am. I couldn’t remember the last time I didn’t wake up to an alarm on a weekday morning, and it was just so relaxing and warm in bed. Lily was semi-asleep, and the thought of getting up and making banana muffins crossed my mind. Of course this was a Thursday and already an hour later than my normal wake up and I was on my own with both kids, but I had a feeling the morning was going to go more smoothly than most. That’s when Lily looked at me and said, “I want a muffin.” I swear we share brain waves.

I’ve been using the same basic banana oatmeal muffin recipe for a few years. I look at recipes more as suggestions, and also never seem to have the right ingredients on hand or have others I want to use up, so I’ve adapted this recipe many times. This version was by far the best, so I actually wrote down what I ended up using because I might even make the exact same recipe again.

I know I mentioned in my lactation cookie recipe that I always double baked good recipes, because if a recipe doesn’t make enough to freeze, I don’t have time for it. But did I mention that to do this, I have to use a massive salad bowl? It’s kind of ridiculous.

I happened to only have 2 really ripe bananas, but I had a can of pumpkin I had been wanting to use up. So glad I decided to try this. I was also out of regular sugar and didn’t have quite enough brown sugar, so I added some maple syrup. The batter was a little wet at the end, but a healthy heap of ground flax brought it to just the right consistency.

Have you discovered how much you can get done in 10 minutes yet? I went upstairs to take a shower while the first batch was in the oven, with just over 10 minutes until the timer would go off. I figured they’d be a little overlooked, but when I ran back downstairs there were still 3 minutes left on the clock. I had this weird Twilight Zone experience and had to check that yes, Lily was still alive in the living room, and yes, I had managed to wash my hair and put lotion on in 7 minutes.

Somehow Maggie, Lily, and I all managed to eat breakfast together. Did I just admit giving a muffin with added sugar to my 9 month old? I considered using honey but chose maple syrup because botulism, so it cancels out.

Lily warming up with a muffin after a smoothie “freeze attack.”

BTW, Lily asked, “Do these muffins have wheat?” So considerate of her gluten-intolerant relatives.

Of course, less than a week after making this double batch of muffins there is only one left so we’ll be making some more this weekend.

I know this is a weird pic of Mags, but look at her mouth: she chews her food with her teeny tiny front teeth!

Print Recipe
Banana Pumpkin Oat Muffins
This super hearty muffin recipe is already doubled, so you can toss some in the freezer for an on-the-go breakfast.
Course Baked Goods
Course Baked Goods
  1. Combine flour, oats, flax, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. Set aside.
  2. In a very large bowl. beat the eggs lightly. Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla, and maple syrup. Add the mashed banana and pumpkin, and combine thoroughly. Stir in the dry mixture until just combined.
  3. Coat muffin tins with cooking spray, and fill 3/4.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes.
Share this Recipe

Lactation Cookies

  1. Ladies, it has been an exhausting few weeks.

While I’ve been sticking to a 42.5 hour work week, Ryan has been putting in some really long hours. He’s been getting home after 8 three days a week and then working from home in the evening, and has also been working several hours every Saturday, and sometimes a few hours on Sunday. I’m an exempt employee, so working more hours doesn’t translate to more pay. Ryan, on the other hand, is self-employed and technically a business owner, so the more he works, the more he makes. When you have 2 kids, student loans (all mine), a mortgage, a garage door and hot water heater that need to be replaced, and five weddings coming up, that ends up translating to a lot more hours worked.

Maggie is still waking up to nurse three times a night. I fell asleep in the rocker while feeding her twice the other night. We’ve sort of tried to sleep train her, but she also keeps getting sick, and when she’s not sick she’s teething, so it’s been a nightmare. She also doesn’t respond well to us going in at increased time intervals–she doesn’t calm down at all in between, and we’re too exhausted to listen to her crying for an hour. Last night, I slept in the basement after 2:58am because I can’t sleep through her crying.

Maggie of course isn’t the only one who’s been sick. Ryan has been since Christmas, and ended up with strep. He can’t seem to kick whatever he has. I used to stay late at work sometimes and put in a few hours on the weekend, but I’ve gotten to a point where 1) I want to spend that time with my kids and 2) I don’t have time because laundry/grocery shopping/cleaning/meal prep/etc.

Lily has been battling cold after cold and a nasty cough since before her birthday that also have her up at night, and I ended up in urgent care with her last Friday night. She officially has “reactive airways” (asthma, but they don’t call it that until age 4), so is now on treatments for that which make her super wound up and aggressive. I’ll do a post on RSV and her respiratory issues at another time, but let me just say she is a trooper. With her and Maggie waking up through the night though, and both of them only wanting me, I. am. EXHAUSTED.

I was craving cookies last week, and decided I needed to do some baking before I went broke buying one every other day, or Lily started wondering where all her animal crackers were going. Turned out I was getting my period, which meant not only cravings, but a plummet in my milk supply. I see a direct correlation between my sleep and my milk supply, and at this point I was only producing 7 or 8 oz. while I was at work.

I had tried making lactation cookies when Maggie was a month or two old, but they didn’t do anything for me. They were SO delicious though (read: my husband wouldn’t stop eating them until I told him how expensive the ingredients were), and I had all these lactogenic ingredients lying around, so I figured if I was going to make cookies I may as well make them with a purpose.

The boob-juice inducing ingredients.

And guess what? They worked! For the first time in weeks I was able to pump enough milk that I didn’t have to supplement with formula. We finished them in just a few days, so I’m going to make some more this week (and hide them so no one else can eat them).

I used the same recipe that didn’t originally work for me, which I had originally chosen for its trifecta of lactogenic ingredients (maybe quadfecta? oats, brewers yeast, fenugreek, and flax seed). I don’t know about you, but when I make cookies I always double the recipe because who has time for 18 cookies. This recipe is already doubled! Extra bonus: the dough smells and tastes pretty unappetizing, so no little hands trying to sneak a taste while you’re whipping them up.

The only dough you’ll never be tempted to eat.

These are pretty hearty and they freeze really well, so I just microwave them for 30 seconds when I want one. So tasty all warmed up. I hope they work as well for you as they did for me!

I’m not the only one who makes giant cookies so I don’t have to feel bad about eating three, right?

Print Recipe
Lactation Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix flaxseed meal and water; set aside.
  3. Stir together flour, brewers yeast, salt, baking soda, and fenugreek. Set aside. (this is the stinky stuff)
  4. In a standing mixer or bowl, beat butter, coconut oil, and sugars until well-combined. Blend in eggs. Add flaxseed mixture and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add dry mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop 2 Tbsp dough (eh, mine were 1/4 cup) onto baking sheet, an inch apart.
  7. Bake for 10-13 minutes (if they're big like mine), or until matte on top.
  8. After they're cooled, store in a freezer bag in the freezer. Microwave 30 seconds before enjoying!
Share this Recipe