Food

Recipe: Muddy Buddies/Puppy Chow

how to make the perfect muddy buddies

Hi, friends!

I know we don’t have a food blog here, but I thought I’d share one of all-time favorite treat recipes: MUDDY BUDDIES! (Or Puppy Chow, whatever you want to call it!)

This treat is classic and is derived from the original Rice Chex Muddy Buddy recipe. My husband and I literally make this almost once a month, at least!

Get the printable recipe here!

 

Muddy Buddies

9 cups Rice Chex cereal

-1 cup milk chocolate chips

-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

-1/4 cup butter

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-2-ish cups powdered sugar

 

1.  Put cereal into into a large bowl.

2. Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter together in a small, microwave-safe bowl. The best way to do this is to microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 15-30 seconds.

3. Add vanilla to melted mixture.

4. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal in the bowl. Using a spatula, stir to completely coat the cereal with the chocolate mixture.

5. Pour the coated cereal into a gallon sized Ziplock bag (keep your bowl out), then add the powdered sugar to it. Seal the bag, then shake until the cereal is completely coated with powdered sugar. (The powdered sugar amount you will need can vary, so start with 2 cups and add more if your cereal isn’t coated enough.)

6. Pour the cereal back into your bowl, and enjoy!

 

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cooking, Food

My Family’s Favorite Recipes

If you’re like me, you’re probably always looking for yummy, simple, healthy meal ideas for your family. I’ve comprised a list of some of my family’s all-time favorite recipes!

Pinterest Ready Fave Recipes

Photo from Pixabay.com

Dinners

-Tacos

-French Dip Sandwiches

Spaghetti and Meatballs (Our Best Bites)

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese (The Pioneer Woman)

Taco Salad (Six Sisters’ Stuff)

Chicken and Biscuit Casserole (Blog Chef)

Slow Cooker Hamburger and Potato Casserole (Get Crocked)

Shepherd’s Pie (Six Sisters’ Stuff)

Black Bean Burritos (Gimme Delicious Food)

Mexican Quinoa (Damn Delicious)

Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken Tacos (Carlsbad Cravings)

Cheesesteak Sandwiches (Our Best Bites)

Easy Weeknight Chili (Our Best Bites)

Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken (Creme De La Crumb) *I’m obsessed with this!*

 

Sides

Quinoa Fried “Rice” (Gimme Some Oven)

 

Desserts

Monster Cookies (Betty Crocker)

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie (Two Twenty One)

Butterfinger Muddy Buddies (High Heels and Grills)

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake (Six Sisters’ Stuff)

Apple Streusel Bars (Our Best Bites)

One Bowl Chocolate Cake (Six Sisters’ Stuff)

 

Breakfasts

Easy and Fluffy Belgian Waffles (Something Swanky)

German Pancakes (High Heels and Grills)

-Breakfast Smoothies (My favorite: skim milk, peanut butter, banana, and one Nestle Breakfast Essentials Drink Mix

 

Lunches

-Chicken Snack Wraps… Heated chicken nuggets or chicken strips wrapped in a tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and ranch dressing

 

Snacks

Fruit and Veggie Muffins (Super Healthy Kids) *My kids GOBBLED these up!*

 

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Baby, Food, toddlers

Understanding FPIES Food Allergies

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Before having kids, the phrase “food allergies” brought to mind images of peanuts, swelling, and Epi-Pens. But after discovering that our son had Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES), food allergies meant something quite different. In our case, “food allergies” meant oats, vomiting, and potentially a hospital visit.

This article will explain our experience with FPIES and hopefully provide some tips and resources to parents with children who have FPIES. When I first googled FPIES, I was horrified with the stories I read. If you are looking for a less horrifying but still educational article about FPIES, I would read this Q&A, which I will be quoting throughout the rest of this article.

What is FPIES?

FPIES is an intestinal allergy to foods, where the stomach rejects proteins in the food it is allergic to and expels them. The tricky thing about FPIES is that the symptoms don’t set in until 1.5 to 2 hours after the food is digested. This means it is hard to figure out what food triggered the allergy since the reaction occurs hours later.

What foods are common triggers?

“The most common FPIES triggers are traditional first foods, such as dairy and soy. Other common triggers are rice, oat, barley, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, squash, chicken and turkey.” This was true with our experience- we had our first clue to our son’s allergies when he was five months old. Our pediatrician recommended introducing infant cereal, and we chose to introduce oat cereal first. Our baby happened to be sick with a cold at the time, and so when he vomited several hours later, we assumed it was from the congestion. Two weeks later, when we tried the oats again, he had the same reaction. This time, we caught on to the pattern and didn’t introduce oats again.

What are the symptoms?

“Symptoms typically only involve the gastrointestinal system, and other body organs are not involved. FPIES reactions almost always begin with delayed onset vomiting (usually two hours after ingestion, sometimes as late as eight hours after). Symptoms can range from mild (an increase in reflux and several days of runny stools) to life threatening (shock).” This makes FPIES tricky because the vomiting could be confused with food poisoning or the flu. With our son, he would vomit until everything had been expelled from his stomach (sometimes lasting up to an hour) and then he would have diarrhea. The good news was that after a few hours, he was able to eat and drink again so he wouldn’t get too dehydrated.

How is FPIES diagnosed?

“FPIES is difficult to diagnose, unless the reaction has happened more than once, as it is diagnosed by symptom presentation.” This means that the skin prick test that they do for other allergies doesn’t work for FPIES, as the allergy is digestive based. In our case, the doctor still performed a skin test to see if our son had any other types of food allergies. What helped the doctor diagnose our son was the fact that after his reactions to infant cereal, we later introduced Cheerios (which contain oats) and it produced the same affect.

How is FPIES treated?

Since FPIES is an intestinal allergy, that means that Epi-Pens won’t help. Generally treatment is to avoid the triggering food at all costs. In the event that your child does react, the worst case scenario is that you have to take your child to Urgent Care or the ER for IV fluids. In our case, once we knew the trigger food, we were able to successfully keep him from eating oats until he outgrew his allergy.

How do I know if my child has outgrown FPIES?

“Together with your child’s doctor, you should determine if/when it is likely that your child may have outgrown any triggers.” After diagnosing our son at 11 months, our doctor advised that we come back when he had turned 3 and they would do an office food test. This meant that we would come back and feed him oats at the doctor’s office and wait to see if he had a reaction. We never had a chance to do this option as someone accidentally fed our son oats without our knowledge when he was 19 months old and he did not have a reaction. While I wouldn’t recommend doing a home test for outgrowing allergies, it produced the same result.

How do I help my child avoid trigger foods?

1. Check all food labels! Especially with grains, milk, and soy, you would be amazed with how many foods contain these ingredients. We discovered that about 75% of cereals contained oats. Not to mention breads, crackers, and cookies.

2. Tell all caregivers. We created a short letter that we gave to all babysitters, relatives, and caregivers so they would be aware of our son’s allergy. If you would like to print it off, you can download it here. Along with the letter we provided safe snacks for our son to eat while we were gone.

3. Segregate foods. We continued to eat foods with oats even though our son could not. While we tried to keep cereals with oats out of reach, I wish we had been more vigilant about segregating foods. My recommendation is to create specific spot in a cupboard or pantry shelf for all foods that can trigger your child’s allergies. Label it “Not for [Child’s Name]” so there is no confusion. Even friends and family that knew about our child’s allergy would forget to check labels or just plain forget about the allergy all together. While this was frustrating, I had to remind myself that these caregivers had never seen my son’s allergic symptoms. I’m sure if anyone had seen him vomit repeatedly until he was dry heaving, they would remember from then on about his allergy.

4. Be vigilant. I have now become one of those parents who will not give food to other children without checking with their parents first. After living with a child with allergies, I can’t tell you how stressful it is for a parent to find out someone gave their child food without their knowing. A common toddler snack like Cheerios led to devastating consequences for my son, even when parents assumed that it would “be fine.”

While food allergies are stressful, they can be accommodated and even outgrown! Our son now loves eating foods with oats, and we love not having to worry about his allergy.

Why I Needed a Mom Vacation

Food, Tips, toddlers

Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters

Pinterest Ready Picky Eaters

Photo from Pixabay.com

Here’s a little glimpse into my family’s daily conversation around dinnertime:

ME: “Who wants dinner? I’m hungry!”

C: “Not me!”

HUSBAND: “Mmmm C, do you want ________ ?”*insert menu item for that night*

C: “No. I don’t like dinner. I want breakfast!”

 

Now I know we’re not the only family with littles who have reservations about the foods served at mealtime. And for us, it is our oldest who has the pickiest palate. It’s hard for me to relate to him on this, because I don’t recall ever being a truly picky eater. Sure, there were some foods I would whine about, but as far as I can recall, I have always loved to eat! My oldest son: Now, I KNOW that he loves to eat. He’s human! And there are some foods that he goes gaga over. But it has definitely been a struggle to help him establish good eating habits.

 

The most prevalent characteristics of my son’s pickiness are:

  1. Not enjoying the concept of dinnertime (we have to stop playing, it’s more formal than other meals, it usually has foods that are less familiar than the other meals’ foods)
  2. Being wary about trying new foods
  3. Feeling pressured by eating with Mom and Dad (he seems to feel more comfortable when he eats alone)

 

It can be an extremely frustrating thing having a picky eater. As parents, we want to teach our kids healthy habits- we want them to have a healthy relationship with food. So what can we do, those of us who have kids who would almost rather starve themselves than eat vegetables?

1. Remain calm and assert your authority

 

This sounds intense, but as a parent, YOU are in control of how things go in your house: If you want to have nightly family dinner, make it a rule that everyone has to sit down and eat together; if you want your child to eat healthy foods, offer them healthy foods most of the time; if you don’t want your child to fill up on snacks before meals, don’t provide more than one snack between meals.

2. Don’t allow your child to eat snacks after dinner

In our house we don’t allow our kids to eat after dinner because we want them to actually eat their dinner. We feel that if they know they can always snack on something after dinner, then they’ll rely on that and just choose to not eat dinner if they don’t like what’s being offered. The exception here is when we have dessert after dinner. Once my oldest consistently eats a decent amount of dinner every night, then I can see us providing healthy snacks before bed if he gets hungry late at night.

3. Keep offering plenty of options

I’ve been told that it can take 10-20 times of a food being offered before a kid actually eats that food. Therefore, just because your kid rejects a food you give them doesn’t mean you should stop offering it to them! Keep putting it on their plate, and eventually they may decide that they like it. 🙂

4. Don’t force your kid to eat

Here is a little secret every parent learns pretty early-on: You can’t force a child to eat or sleep. For some reason, kids sometimes seem to fight their natural instincts! It drives us parents crazy, because we know what’s best for them!!! Nevertheless, we must let our kids make choices for themselves, even when the choices are simple. You can put food on your kid’s plate, but you can’t MAKE them eat it. Plus, allowing them this little bit of freedom may help prevent unhealthy relationships with food later on.

5. Involve your child in decisions about food

Little ones love being independent and learning how to do things for themselves. Involve your child with cooking (this is something my son has been interested in lately!). Also, let your child make choices about food sometimes. For example, you can offer a few different options at snack time and allow him or her to choose which snack they want. You can even go further if your child isn’t too excited about what’s being served at dinner; you can let them choose one food item on their plate that they will eat all of.

6. . Be optimistic

Our kids can sense when we are stressed. Try to speak positively about food and bodies. And set a positive example! If your kid sees you enjoying and trying a variety of foods, they will be more likely to try the foods as well. And remember: Your child won’t starve himself/herself! Even though at times it may seem like they’ll try…. They won’t let themselves starve, so consistently offer them a variety of healthy foods!

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