I love to get into my kitchen and create! You can find some of my favorite recipes below.
Baking used to relax me. I stress-baked. I joy-baked. Then the kids came along. Between the endless loads of laundry and all the vacuuming (how did crumbs get there?!), I never seem to have time to bake. So I found a shortcut. It’s somewhere between buying cupcakes to pass off as your own and making cupcakes from scratch. It’s for the mom who loves to bake but needs a little extra time. My secret? Boxed cake mix. You can dress it up as your own and no one knows the difference. Enter, Mint Mocha Cupcakes.
The real secret to disguising a box of cake mix as something you’ve made from scratch is making a small change. A simple swap of coffee instead of water adds just enough, “How did she do that?!”
Prepare according to the directions on the box, substituting coffee for water. No one will ever know it’s a store-bought cake mix! And you know I’m not telling.
While the cupcakes are baking according to the package instructions, prepare your Mint Cream Cheese Frosting. For dye-free dietary needs, simply omit the green dye; for dairy-free frosting, use almond milk, vegan butter and vegan cream cheese. I promise it will still be minty. Once your cupcakes are cooled, spoon your frosting into a pastry bag or make like MacGyver and create your own. I use a gallon-sized storage bag, spoon in the frosting, then cut a small tip in the corner. Easy peasy.
Frost, sprinkle, and serve! It really is possible to make something delicious even with kids cramping your style. 😉 These Mint Mocha Cupcakes are a new favorite.
1 Chocolate Cake Box Mix
- Prepare box mix according to directions, substituting water with prepared coffee.
- Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- Bake cupcakes according to package directions, filling liners 2/3 full with batter.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Mint Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp pure mint extract
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tsp milk
Green food coloring
- Place butter in mixing bowl and whip slightly with a hand mixer.
- Add cream cheese and mix until well blended, about 1 minute.
- Add mint and vanilla extracts and mix, about 30 seconds.
- Slowly add powdered sugar. I added one cup at a time, blending after each cup.
- Mix until whipped texture appears, about 3 minutes.
- Add milk and mix, about 1 minute.
- Add drops of green food coloring, blending until you achieve the red color you’re looking for. I added about 8 drops.
- Spoon frosting into a pastry bag and frost your cupcakes!
- Serve immediately or refrigerate.
I’m linking up with Blog With Friends for our March theme, “Green!” I encourage you to check out these fabulous places of the internet and see their creativity this month:
Karen (Baking in a Tornado) wrote, “Green, Egg and Ham”
Dawn (Spatulas on Parade) wrote, “Green Bunny Poop”
Melissa (My Heartfelt Sentiments) wrote, “DIY – Nuggets of Fun!”
Kia (Think in English) wrote, “Green: What Does It Really Mean in English?”
Eileen (Eileen’s Perpetually Busy) wrote, “Green Graduation Ice Cream Cake”
Lydia (Cluttered Genius) wrote, “What to do with all those old crayons?”
Tamara (Confessions of a part-time working mom) wrote, “How to make a cute leprechaun craft using TP rolls”
Rabia (The Lieber Family) wrote, “10 Ways to Add More Green to Your Pot”
This content is sponsored by Festival Foods. The thoughts below are entirely my own. I am not a medical professional and the following is our experience.
Our son was two years old when his g-tube was placed. He was dangerously underweight and started with formula. He experienced sugar highs and lows, which resulted in behavioral problems. When he was no longer dangerously underweight, we transitioned to a blended diet. He needed feedings high in nutritional value, calories, protein and fat. Within a week of starting on real food, we noticed improvements in him. Within a month, his cognition improved, his vocabulary expanded, his hair and nails grew rapidly, and his behavioral problems were not as intense.
I try to use organic ingredients whenever possible, but it’s not necessary – real food is what matters! The produce section at Festival Foods offers an excellent array of options for fresh produce. Festival Foods’ produce is sourced from local growers so it is days fresher. Items that are Peak This Week are the freshest in-season items. Supporting local businesses is important to me, and I trust the quality of ingredients sold at Festival Foods. Here are 3 recipes for g-tube blends that we use*:
Recipe 1: Coconut Milk, Quinoa, Pear, Pineapple, PB2, Kale
Our Blendtec can make five servings at one time. Pro tip: be sure you have approximately 20 ounces of liquid in your jar before adding solid ingredients and blending. Add water if necessary.
For each set of five 8-10 ounce servings, I used:
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked and cooled
2 pears, sliced
1.5 cups pineapple, diced
2 Tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter
1/2 flowering kale, cooked and cooled
Each 8-10 ounce feeding contains approximately 295 calories, 15.6 g fat, and 6.1 g protein.
Recipe 2: Coconut Milk, Chicken Breasts, Quinoa, Kale, Apples, Acorn Squash
With a package of chicken breasts, I can make 10 tube feedings! Since my Blendtec makes five servings at a time, I blended the following ingredients twice to make 10 total feedings.
1 can coconut milk
1-2 chicken breasts, cooked, cooled and diced
1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked and cooled
1/2 flowering kale, cooked and cooled
3 apples, diced
1 acorn squash, cooked, cooled and peeled
Each 8-10 ounce feeding contains approximately 256 calories, 15 g fat, and 11 g protein.
Recipe 3: Coconut Milk, Bananas, Amaranth
This recipe doesn’t contain vegetables, but it was one of my go-to’s when we were desperate for my son to gain weight. Amaranth is an ancient grain that packs a surprising caloric punch! You can easily adjust this recipe to include some vegetables (toss in some spinach!), or add more protein with cow’s milk if your tubie can handle dairy.
1 can coconut milk
3 bananas, peeled
1 cup dry amaranth, cooked and cooled
Each 8-10 ounce feeding contains approximately 346 calories, 17 g fat, and 7 g protein.
For 21 tips about the g-tube blended diet, see this post.
*Each individual may have different needs when it comes to volume. Our son was used to 8-ounce feedings of formula, so we transitioned to 8-ounce feedings with whole food blends that were comparable in caloric content. I suggest starting slowly and working your way up. Consult your doctor as well.
This post includes affiliate links.
When I looked at the ingredients on my son’s g-tube formula, my heart sank. Real food was missing. I researched a blended diet – also termed blenderized diet – for my tubie, acquired a blender, and never looked back. That was more than three years ago and it was the right decision for our son. Switching from formula to a blended whole foods diet can be daunting! Here are 21 tips for a g-tube blended diet to help you through the process.
How to Get Started:
Purchase a professional-grade blender. Our amazing blender is going strong after 3+ years of heavy use (you can purchase it here)!
Assess your goals. Do you need a diet low in sodium, high in calories, high in protein, etc.?
Figure out your caloric goal for each feeding.
Remember that taste is important. Although tube-fed people eat differently, they can still experience taste! Don’t put together a blend of items you would never eat together orally.
Variety is key! Offer different combinations of fruits, vegetables, grains and meat, as your tubie’s needs allow. Provide them with varied nutritional content and flavor.
Tips to add more calories:
Prepare grains with broth, organic apple juice or coconut milk.
Use full fat coconut milk – the super thick milk that you purchase in a can.
Sautée vegetables in oil before blending.
Add a tiny splash of grapeseed oil for extra calories.
Flax, hemp and chia seeds all offer extra fiber, protein and calories without taking up much space.
Amaranth is an ancient grain that is surprisingly high in calories (purchase it here)!
Things to Avoid:
Blueberries will coagulate in a blend that is not used immediately.
Chia seeds also thicken a feeding, so use in moderation.
Seeded items may not blend entirely and can clog a g-tube or extension (i.e. strawberries, raspberries).
Ground beef is extremely high in fat, even when drained and rinsed, and may clog tubes or extensions.
Make feedings in bulk and freeze in individual portions.
Defrost overnight the night before.
Portion out medications or vitamins ahead of time.
How to Store Feedings:
Quart-size freezer bags lie flat in your freezer.
Squeasy collapsible silicone food storage is easy to transport and 60 mL syringes fit in these bottles (click here to purchase).
Stackable glass containers offer great alternative to those avoiding plastics.
Moving from formula to a blended diet may be overwhelming in the beginning. It takes time and a little planning, but soon becomes a new routine! When you’re short on time and low on feedings, you may be able to blend what the rest of the family is eating. Our son has had bacon and eggs for breakfast on numerous occasions – through his g-tube, that is!
Interested in some of the blends that we make? Stop by later this week for a few of our recipes!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! When I pulled back the curtains this morning, the neighborhood was bright with this season’s first snowfall. What is it about a light snowfall that is so magical? It fills me with hope and excitement, like I’m a kid again.
Jo and I cuddled on the couch this morning while we enjoyed a quiet morning at home. The lights of the Christmas tree danced in her eyes. I followed her gaze to the Christmas tree and our homemade keepsake ornaments overwhelmed me with nostalgia.
It’s hard to imagine four years have passed since C was that small. Five years ago, I made fingerprint reindeer ornaments with my baby C. Four years ago, that picture was snapped at his one year photo session. Time flies, doesn’t it?
Food is an important component of our holiday traditions. Rich comfort food and decadent desserts. I use Kemps Eggnog and ice cream novelties to add seasonal indulgence to our menu. For easy, delicious Eggnog Shakes, blend equal parts of Kemps Eggnog and vanilla ice cream.
Top the Eggnog Shakes with a little whipped cream before serving. Present them on a tray with these adorable Kemps Snowmen Ice Cream Treats. Gaze at the snow while staying cozy indoors with family, tradition and treats. It’s the perfect way to spend your winter day.
Will you reach for an Eggnog Shake or a Kemps Snowmen Ice Cream Treat? Try it for yourself! For a chance to be one of five winners to receive a $5 Kemps coupon, click here to view Kemps recipes and comment on this post to tell me which one you’d like to try! Enter the giveaway by Friday, December 16th at 11:59pm EST.*
*Winners will be notified via email and must reply to claim their prize within 48 hours. Little Mama Jama is not responsible for prize fulfillment.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DairyFree4All #CollectiveBias
“Try removing dairy from her diet for two weeks and see what happens.” I met the sage advice of my daughter’s pediatrician with a pang of fear in my stomach. I wanted to tell him that all of her favorite foods contained dairy! We managed those two weeks without dairy and quickly realized that we would need to continue Baby Jo’s dairy free diet. Finding new foods for her was easier than I anticipated, but a birthday party made me realize I had to find an alternative treat for her. Many suggested So Delicious Dairy Free® and I was so excited to see the variety in their product line. I selected two flavors to create a Dairy Free Frozen Sandwich Cookie Cake. This is going to be my go-to recipe for her next birthday!
You can find So Delicious Dairy Free® frozen treats in the frozen novelties section of Walmart. I selected Coconut Vanilla Bean and Coconut Milk Chocolate for the layers in this cake. While you’re at Walmart, you can also purchase the chocolate syrup and sandwich cookies for this recipe. Remember to double check your extra ingredients to make sure they are dairy free. So Delicious Dairy Free® has a world-class allergen-testing program. Their products are cholesterol-free, plant-based, Certified Vegan, Certified Kosher and Non-GMO Project Verified with no artificial flavors, colors, trans-fats, or hydrogenated oils.
Baby Jo was so excited about her cake that she started saying, “It’s my bir-day! Cake for my bir-day!” I didn’t have the heart to tell her it wasn’t her birthday. Maybe if I give her a piece of cake, she won’t notice that there aren’t any presents…
Take your So Delicious Dairy Free® pints out of the freezer to let them soften. While you wait, you can crush your sandwich cookies. I used a gallon-sized plastic bag and a potato masher for this job. If you’re stressed out, you will really enjoy this step. Crush away!
Put your first layer into your pan. I used about 1.5 pints of So Delicious Dairy Free® Coconut Milk Chocolate. Tip: run hot water over a large spoon or spatula before using it to even out the frozen treat in the pan.
Generously sprinkle crushed sandwich cookies on top of the layer of Coconut Milk Chocolate. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the crumbled cookies. This layer will be gooey, crunchy, chocolatey bliss!
Layer Coconut Vanilla Bean on top of the gooey, crunchy goodness. Sprinkle sandwich cookies on top for good measure. Put in the freezer for at least one hour.
My kids were so excited about this Frozen Sandwich Cookie Cake that we had to get them out of the house while it set! A little time outdoors did the trick. Pull the frozen cake out of the freezer about 15 minutes before you’d like to serve. Run hot water over your knife to easily cut the cake into squares. Serve and enjoy! Even though Baby Jo can no longer have dairy, I love that she still has so many options available to her. She loves her new, “bir-day cake!”
With the variety of the So Delicious Dairy Free® frozen treats line, there are a bunch of cake combinations you can dream up. Choose from: Cashew Salted Caramel Cluster, Cashew Dark Chocolate Truffle, Coconut Vanilla Bean, Coconut Milk Almond Bar, Almond Mocha Almond Fudge Bar, Coconut Milk Chocolate, or Almond Milk Mocha Almond Fudge!
Which combination of So Delicious Dairy Free® flavors would you use in your cake? Who will you enjoy it with?
- 1.5 pints So Delicious Dairy Free® Coconut Vanilla Bean
- 1.5 pints So Delicious Dairy Free® Coconut Milk Chocolate
- 1 package sandwich cookies
- 1 bottle chocolate syrup
- Soften So Delicious Dairy Free® frozen treats.
- Crush sandwich cookies.
- Using an 8x8 pan, add So Delicious Dairy Free® Coconut Milk Chocolate, creating a bottom layer.
- Add ¾ of your sandwich cookie crumbles.
- Drizzle chocolate syrup over layer of sandwich cookies.
- Create another layer using So Delicious Dairy Free® Coconut Vanilla Bean.
- Sprinkle top of cake with the remaining ¼ of your sandwich cookies.
- Freeze for 1 hour or more before serving.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PureLifeRippleEffect #CollectiveBias
My kids never stop moving. Before the Wisconsin weather gets cold, we have been spending as much time as we can enjoying the outdoors. C and Baby Jo are always running, jumping, diving, climbing, dancing or leaping. Their pre-bedtime ritual includes running laps around the apartment. Do you have littles like that, too? My kids don’t drink enough to keep up with their activity level, so I always have water with me and regularly remind them to drink it.
In a survey recently conducted by Nestlé® Pure Life®,* just over half of moms (52%) regularly remind their kids to drink water. But, 97% of moms believe that making one healthy choice leads to making other healthy choices. You can keep cups, straws, lids and other drinking “equipment” available to provide to your kids to make drinking water more fun. Try to empower them to fill their own cups of water and praise them when they do! We find our Nestlé® Pure Life® Water at Walmart. Here’s one way our family likes to make drinking water more fun:
We create fun-shaped fruit juice ice cubes to put in the kids’ water! Add a crazy straw and they will be more interested in that cup of water you’re offering. We purchased Nestlé® Pure Life® Water and fresh fruit at Walmart to create our ice cubes. Our flavors of choice are mixed berry and pineapple-orange.
Create your fruit blends in a blender or food processor and pour into your ice cube trays. A few hours later, they will be ready to use!
With C being primarily tube-fed, I find that he needs to consume even more water than Baby Jo. I don’t know why that is, but he seems to digest his tube feedings better when he is well hydrated. I need to be even more vigilant about reminding him to drink water – and sometimes that means making it visually appealing to entice him to stay hydrated. I always have a bottle of Nestlé® Pure Life® Water with us when we’re on the go.
He likes the vibrant colors of these fruit juice ice cubes, and I like that they don’t contain food dyes that we avoid in his diet. He feels empowered when I let him pick his choice of shape or color ice cubes and the type of straw he wants. When he’s hydrated, he is happier and healthier. It’s a win for both of us!
Nestlé® Pure Life® is a proud supporter of the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Drink Up initiative, which is committed to helping families make healthier choices, starting with hydration. Establishing healthy habits in childhood has lifelong benefits. They call this The Ripple Effect, and they are encouraging moms and kids to reach for water first. To ignite The Ripple Effect and encourage kids to stay hydrated throughout the day, Nestlé® Pure Life® is providing water to kids this school year through After School All-Stars, an organization that strives to keep children safe and healthy through after-school programming. Nestlé® Pure Life® has enlisted mom ambassadors across America to share their tips for making healthy changes in an effort to inspire other moms to join The Ripple Effect. Nestlé® Pure Life® has committed to provide nearly one million 8 ounce servings of water to kids this school year through After-School All-Stars. Information source – At over 20 participating schools in select markets across the country
To be part of The Ripple Effect – a movement to keep kids hydrated – visit pureliferippleeffect.com and share your tips and tricks for healthy hydration using #pureliferippleeffect on Facebook. I’ve shared our favorite way to dress up our Nestlé® Pure Life® Water, now share your tips for getting your kids to stay hydrated!
*Online survey conducted in June 2015 of 1,077 moms of kids ages 6-12 overall, including 254 Hispanic moms of kids ages 6-12. 1,077 kids ages 6-12 from the same household were also surveyed, including 254 Hispanic kids ages 6-12. © 2015 Nestlé® Waters North America Inc.