Feeding The Toddler

Toddler Tacos

Since Liam and The Bean have entered the finger foods stage I have been working hard to find ways to make mealtime into more of a family experience. In other words; Momma isn’t making two separate meals. The toddlers eat what the parents eat, though sometimes with some slight variations.

This first meal we toddlerized (oh yeah, totally made that word up) is tacos. Taco night is probably my favorite night, and it absolutely cycles through our meal planning on a biweekly basis. I have an extreme obsession with fondness for moderately spicy Mexican food. Obviously with toddlers involved we had to tone down the spice action, so this is how I solved that problem and still created a tasty meal for everyone involved.

This meal received 4 of 4 toddler thumbs up, 6 of 12 puppy paws up, and 3 of 4 parent thumbs up (the hubs isn’t as big of a Mexican food fan as I am)

Chicken Taco Meat:
1 cup of shredded chicken
1/4 cup of McCormick Taco Seasoning
1/3 cup of water
1 – 15oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

Dump it all in a pan and simmer for at least 15 minutes (until it is reduced to the amount of liquid you prefer).

I personally tend to keep things like shredded chicken on hand because it is so easy to make and so useful in many different recipes, especially toddler friendly ones. Liam will not eat cut up chicken (too much effort to chew, he prefers a more instant gratification) but he loves shredded as long as it is flavorful.

I quartered all my veggies (tomatoes and peppers) so they were toddler sized… I figured that also meant we could for more vegetables in each taco shell, which makes me feel like the meal is healthier 😉

I swapped our usual Mexican cheese blend out for a plain shredded cheddar (spiciness sacrifices). My husband (an acid reflux sufferer) and the toddlers both appreciated this. My token nod to adding some life to my meal was to purchase a spicy salsa for myself. This allowed me to not really feel like I was sacrificing my meal for theirs (with the added bonus of only cooking one meal). I also gave the kids a single tortilla chip rather than an overwhelming large (for them) and splintery taco shell. The last substitute I made for the kid’s meal was yogurt (one split between the two of then) instead of sour cream.

The results:


They loved the meal and the yogurt “dessert”, and I had my first toddler/parent combo meal win. Now let’s hope for many more!

Need an easy recipe for shredded chicken? Love your crockpot as much as I adore mine? Try this!

Place 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 6-8 boneless skinless thighs) in a 5 quart crockpot. Dump a 32oz box of low sodium chicken broth into the pot. Add spices as you see fit, I typically toss in 1/2 tsp of sage and call it a day. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Cool in fridge overnight, then remove chicken from the pot and shred with two forks.

Circus Cupcakes

I am going to have a little bit of a brag here tonight, but first let me start with a slight explanation.
I love Pinterest. I love researching ideas and even occasionally attempting to execute them. I especially love the recipes. That said, I am very very far from the worlds way crafter or baker. I am not a horrific crafter, but would certainly scale myself towards the lower end of mediocre. Crafting just isn’t where my talents lie. Baking and cooking I feel like I am simply average. There are definitely some hits and a lot of misses on our household’s menus. So to say I am proud of how the circus themed cupcakes came out for Liam’s first birthday bash is a bit of an understatement. I am beyond thrilled, though I can’t take all the credit for myself. My handy assistant and BFF Dahlia came over to help (and spend some quality time with Liam who cried when she left).

So the first thing I did was cheat. After searching the local grocery store for an organic all natural cake mix (because I knew I wasn’t going to have time or the inclination to do this from scratch). After not finding one in a reasonable amount of time I gave in and purchased 2 boxes of Betty Crocker super moist French Vanilla cake mix. I also purchased a couple of bags of powdered sugar and a box of salt free butter for homemade frosting. The two boxes of cake mix made us 36 normal size cupcakes and 4 extra large ones which were used in the creation of Liam’s smash cake. After allowing the cake to cool overnight, dahlia came over and we whipped up a couple of bowls of frosting. The frosting recipe we used was:

2 sticks of softened salt free butter
3 cups of lightly packed powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
2 tablespoons of whole milk

Blend all ingredients until well mixed, add food coloring if desired. If you are adding food coloring you may also need to add more sugar to maintain your desired frosting firmness for decorating purposes.

Then the fun part happened, the decorating of 36 cupcakes and a smash cake.

For the cupcakes we spiced up an idea that I had found on Pinterest which was to stick animal cracker in your cupcakes to decorate for a circus theme. We added sprinkles for some pizzazz.
For the smash cake we used three slices from the extra large cupcakes to make the layers. We frosted them and then mirrored the cupcakes on the top. We added a candle (of course)… and then put a parade of animals crackers circling the mini cake.

And now for the pictures 🙂


I can’t wait to get this party started!

Saturday Evening Update…. the cake was a hit (and Liam had his first sugar high)