San Diego Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

https://www.sandiegofamily.com/dining-and-recipes/kids-eat-free/552-kids-eat-free

This list is godsend considering that my kids are approaching the age where they can’t just share one kids meal.

I was totally digging Cocos… They were having this limited time “kids eat free every day” deal. Bring it back!

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Toddler Breakfast Eating: Banana Raisin Granola Porridge

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I feel like breakfast is the one meal that I have struggled the most with in terms of finding things that are healthy and with variety to feed my children in the morning. Let’s not forget that it should be quick too – because 1) I’m not a morning person and 2) I don’t cook. This comes from a person who usually just grabs a protein shake to-go as I’m running out the door to go do a gazillion things… Or I turn to caffeine for myself to wake me up and suppress my appetite. Sigh. But of course, I wouldn’t do that to my kids! So here’s the thing…. My daughter doesn’t like eggs. My son dabbles with it. Both will do the pancake thing but I’m not too enthusiastic about how much they soak it with syrup. Plus, if they do eat pancakes, I’d prefer it be some healthy homemade version I’ve seen a recipe for on Pinterest. But… remember I’m not a morning person and I don’t cook… so therefore, it is unlikely that I’d be up every morning making pancakes for my little people.

Surprisingly enough… my kids have been eating nearly the SAME breakfast (variation) since they were both 15 months old? (Around there). Its crazy that they are ok with eating similar breakfast day in and day out. Its basically a toddler variation of of the rice cereal that they at as babies. To be honest, its like softer version of adult oatmeal in my opinion, which is why I titled it “porridge”. I’ve actually bought some Steel Oats to try and make other variations of oatmeal, but the kids are still happy with this breakfast, so I’m not one to try and fix something that isn’t broken. This post is specifically about Banana Raisin Granola…. but – I’ll list some other fruit variations we do at the bottom. The base – the cereal is all the same. The variation is all in the fruit that’s mixed.

Nonetheless, my kids like it, and its healthy, organic, and its a great way for them to start the day. Here’s how it goes:

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So what’s not pictured here: Horizon 2% DHA Milk (or whatever milk you want to use) and an organic Banana.

Directions – Warm up about 2-3oz of milk in the microwave. Mix in about 3 tablespoons of the baby cereal (I alternate between the HappyBellies multi-grain, rice, and oatmeal) or as much to get the consistency you like. Then I mash/dice in 1/2 a banana. My daughter likes a 1.5 tablespoons of the granola and dumps a box of the organic raisins in.  Mix…… and she kills it!

This is my daughter’s favorite variation.

Other fruit variations that we rotate through: (Note – my kids like the granola added in no matter what fruit it is. This started more recently – I’d only do it for experienced eaters because they are really crunchy with some big pieces)

– Applesauce – You can buy the 4oz snack packages in organic apple flavor and non-organic I have found a berry flavor as well. I usually add cinnamon sometimes instead of buying the cinnamon flavored applesauce.

– Pear – Trader Joes sells the 4oz snack packages of pear sauce – this is great for the younger kids. My kids are older now, so I usually get a can of diced pears or use the Dole’s diced Pears 4oz snack packages that are come in 100% juice – not syrup! My kids like to drink the juice after I’ve put all the diced pieces into their bowl.  Don’t forget fresh pears are always good!

– Passion Fruit – My daughter likes the passion fruit that comes from the Dole’s Tropical Fruit cups – again – the one in 100% juice!

– Mango or Peach Mango – For this one, I usually buy frozen organic peaches and Trader Joes has frozen organic mangoes. I put enough to fill a small sauce pan and boil it with some water until its pretty soft. Then I drain the fruit and toss it in the Magic Bullet and smooth it out a bit. These end up in small 2oz containers in the fridge – or freezer if you make a lot. Each breakfast serving usually requires about 2oz of fruit.

-Blueberry or Blueberry/Raspberry – Similar to Mango, buy the frozen organic fruit and boil it in a saucepan. For the berries, no need to puree – just spoon it into the bowl and/or containers.

 

P.S. If you are wondering what happens when we aren’t home and are traveling? Well…. for the most part, if you are staying at a house or somewhere with a microwave and fridge, then just bring a can of the rice cereal. You can buy milk and bananas anywhere to make a simple breakfast version. On days when I’m just doing a quick overnighter somewhere or staying at someone’s house – I usually grab the Gerber Graduates Breakfast – apple cinnamon oatmeal. The kids like it. 🙂

Toddler Eating: Organic Udon Stir-fry

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My nanny recently starting making this stir-fry for the kids and they love it! We use all organic products and low-sodium soy sauce. mhmmm

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I found these organic Udon noodles (they have other yummy Asian noodles as well, like Soba) on Amazon, so I usually buy a large box and have it stocked up in our pantry.

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Boil and drain udon noodles.

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Thaw and chop one cup of frozen broccoli
Shred one carrot
Thaw 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach

1/2 cup of diced tofu

Mince one clove of garlic. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil add garlic, cook until light brown then add all the veggies. Cook until the broccoli is tender. Add the noodles and mix. Add 1-2 tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Add the tofu at the end, mix and serve.

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Still using the same organic tofu from Trader Joes – you see it in most of my recipes on here! 🙂

 

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This was a double batch made for a potluck. But the kids were loving it. For my little guy, I use scissors to cut up the long noodles a bit. Even as a finger food, the noodles and tofu bits would be fun!

Toddler Eating: Healthier than Hamburger-Helper

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Seriously… this is as simple as mac n’ cheese. And the kids LOVE it.

Ingredients:

  • Veggie Pasta – I usually use about a 5th of the box and it yields 6 small servings for my kids.
  • Pasta Sauce – I’ve been using Ragu Chunky Garden – but looking for an organic sauce that I like still.
  • Organic Ground Beef – Trader Joes – I usually use about a 5th of the package for this recipe
  • Cheddar Cheese

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How much to cook depends on your needs in terms of servings. I usually start with boiling the pasta and based on how much of it I have once cooked, then I’ll add in the ground beef and sauce until it thoroughly covers all the pasta. I add in cheddar cheese at the end – either small cubes or shredded and stir until it melts into it. This is a personal preference because I think it take the edge off the “tomato-y” taste of pasta. mhmmmmm. Easy peasy!

Xylitol and a Successful Dentist Visit!

 

 

 

 

Yay! I’m a proud mama today. Got both kids in to see the dentist and they both did great! My kids have been brushing AND flossing for the longest. I think we started flossing them right before they turned 2. Of course, their teeth are so spaced apart still that they don’t truly need to floss, but it was much easier to start building the habit early when its really nothing to them. Once my daughter turned 4, her teeth started to get closer so I’m glad that she was comfortable getting that floss with fluoride in between her teeth. There are lots of the little floss pick kinds for kids that are colorful and have fluoride.

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My daughter (who is almost 5) definitely tried to fight sitting in the chair at first… ugh. But with some bribing and coaxing by the dentist and I, she did end up sitting through the exam and even got a full polish. Whew!

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My son on the other hand was all smiles and open to the experience this time around. HUGE change from the last two times we came when he was crying his head off just for being on his backside. It was almost intrigued by what was going on and seemed like he was just soaking in the experience. I guess it also helped that his sister went first… so of course, he wanted to do the same. Love his smile!

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And yes! He sat through the polishing as well. Whoo hoo!  I got both kids in and out of the dentist in less than 40 mins. Only one tiny tantrum from my oldest. No cavities and no plaque. See you in 6 months!

P.S. Our dentist gave the kids these lollipops for doing so well. I was like, why is she giving out candy. Well, turns out they are these pretty cool xylitol lollipops. Apparently, recent research shows xylitol is a natural enemy of bacteria. WHAT?

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YES! Read up about the dental benefits of xylitol! Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used in place of conventional sugar. Unlike conventional sugar, it does not cause tooth decay and is produced from natural sources – making it an ideal replacement for sugar or artificial sweeteners. I’m going to start looking into these types of candies when needed as rewards or treats for the kids. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Toddler Eating: Spinach & Turkey Quesadillas

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Mhmm mhmmm mhmmm… Even I enjoy one of these for lunch! Much more healthy than what you can pick up for your child at the taco shop!

Ingredients are simple:

  • Tortillas ( your choice flour or corn, organic or not) I always try to get the whole wheat ones. The one below is from Trader Joes and soooo good. Best store-bought corn tortillas in my opinion.
  • Organic frozen chopped Spinach
  • Cheese of your choice
  • Turkey deli slices

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I usually put a chunk of the frozen spinach in a mug with some water and zap it in the microwave for 25 seconds. Then I spread it out on the cheese. I ran out of shredded cheese today (my preferred type for quesadillas) so I had to use sliced cheese. It all melts in the end anyways!

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I spray the the pan with a little olive oil spray, then plop my quesadilla in, flipping it back and forth until the cheese is melted through and the tortilla gets toasty.

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Simple, right!?! Simple. Healthy. Toddler-approved. Add some guacamole and we’re set!

Toddler Eating: Mini Pizzas (with tofu)

There are many different variations for making this simple toddler meal. Here is my take on it:

Ingredients:

*Multigrain or Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin (I prefer these just because they are thin and not so overly carb-filling)

*Pasta Sauce – Preggo used to make a Veggie Smart one, but I can’t find it on the shelves anymore. So I’ve been experimenting with various organic ones – anything that I can find that has SOME veggies in the sauce.

*Organic Tofu

*Organic Shredded or thin sliced cheese.

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I usually start by toasting the bread so that its already hot. I mash a thin slice of the tofu into the pasta sauce. When I have time, I cook the sauce over the stove – when I’m on a time crunch, then I’ll admit that I zap it in the microwave for 45 seconds. Spread the pasta sauce over the bread and slap on the cheese. Then pop it in the toaster oven at 250 degrees until the cheese has melted.
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Emergency Toddler Meals

Ok… We’ve all been there. Its okay. You don’t have to be ashamed. I don’t look at you any differently!

I’m talking about those days when you are either too tired, too busy, or just plan ran out of ideas for cooking something fresh and nutritious for your child. We ALL have those days. And on those days…. you find yourself reaching for the nearest microwavable meal. And you know what? IT’S OK. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Goodness – I know in my freezer I got some Banquet TV dinners and Celeste Pizzas on hand for my “emergency adult meals”. Shoot… who doesn’t have some ramen or Cup o’ Noodles on stock either? You know… starving college meal days… translates into emergency working adult meals too. Its all good.

Anyhow… Of all the things that you could be giving your child in those moments… here’s my roundup of favorites. Enjoy!

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I’d have to say that there are a lot of pretty good Frozen Meals from the Earth’s Best line. I’m pretty impressed. I typically like to make my own mini pizzas for my son… but every once in while… a quick 3 minute meal is needed.

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I don’t feel as guilty if I get my kids the Whole Grain Chef Boyardee at least. hehe

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My kids have been eating the Graduates Pasta Pick-ups just fine. I like that there is some veggies in them as well. I haven’t tried the Organic ones yet. but I like the sound of Organic and the fact that its in a sauce is a nice transition for them to start eating some adult ravioli versions in the future.

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Trader Joe’s has a lot of great options for quick meals. The chicken drumettes are really yummy but take a little longer if you are using the oven to make them more crispy. The organic tofu veggie burgers are great! I usually just wrap them in a paper towel and zap it in the microwave for a minute. When my kids were younger, I would dice them as finger foods because its really soft. But now, I actually can slap it between some Oroweat Sandwich Thins and make a quick sandwich.

Overall, I try to do my best to feed my kids. I’m just a mom. I can’t slave away at an intricate, healthy, organic meal all the time. So I admit it. These emergency items save my ass.

Simple Hot Apple Cider Bar

Yesterday we had a Holiday Dessert Potluck at work. When I saw the sign up sheet I saw an endless list of sweets so I thought it would be a nice addition to go the holiday beverage route.

After combing Pinterest at hot apple cider recipes via slow cooker….I opted for something a little more low maintenance since I was short on time. Saw this pin for a hot apple cider bar and I was sold.
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I got pretty much everything I needed right at the grocery store. Easy to find yummy store – bought cider around this time of year as well (got my big jug for $5!). I found the Caramel Bits where the cooking chocolates were. I actually liked it better than full caramel candies since the bits were small and melted faster in the hot drink. I also opted not to put out the rosemary after I had bought it… just kept it with three main toppings. I loved the insulated cups I found. Pack of 20 for $3.99.
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Fortunately, I had this nifty Rubios serving tray from some other catering purchase.  It was perfect to separate the toppings and my cups also fit right in the center.
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I found the printable food tents here.

Once I got to work, I dumped the cider in my crockpot and turned it up high. It took a while to get to the right temperature ( even though I had already had it plugged in at home empty so it would have a head start on being hot during the commute).
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It was a total hit! Everyone enjoyed it. The presentation of it was simple but cute. The office smelled delightful. And amongst all the cookies and cakes… my hot apple cider bar definitely stood out. This will definitely be a repeat holiday potluck menu item!

A cupcake kinda morning

Who doesn’t love baking cupcakes after breakfast?!

The kids were totally excited and took part in all phases of the process. We baked just for fun this morning so we used boxed mix and canister frosting. We even used applesauce in place of oil in the recipe. My attempt at making them a little less guilty. 🙂
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Cooking is such a fun activity to do with the kiddies. I prefer baking…. but as long as it’s something you like to eat and the kids are having a good time – do it!
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My daughter’s favorite part: decorating with sprinkles galore!
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Yummy!