Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Big baking theory: Life with a toddler + recipe

My mothering skill have taken a hit lately.

Quite literally.

My cute and precocious toddler has gone from cute and precocious to temperamental and physical. Or, as Kim said this weekend, a boy of many opinions. He will tell you what he wants, what he doesn't want, what he likes and what he doesn't like. If you dare cross him, which I do often, his response is a bossy "I told you not to {insert action here}" - at best - or tears or ... a bop in the nose, kick in the shins, slap on the hand.

It's a bit disconcerting to say the least. Not only is it embarrassing to have your 2-year-old hit you in front of your friend or have your kid kick you in the grocery, I don't want to be that mom - the one who raises a bully.

I shared my frustrations with my grandma, whom I think was slightly amused by at all. She listened and then I listened, waiting for a grand piece of advice. I was sure after seven kids that she would have insight on how to curb hitting. And maybe she did but what she said surprised me.

Maybe Miles wasn't being a bully. Rather, it's possible he was trying to vie for my attention. It might help, she said, if I gave him a bit more focus.

I wanted to gaffe. I spend my mornings with him, I come home from work and spend time with him. We read at night and hang out on the weekend. The thing is, though, that much of my time is spent in a flurry - doing dishes, packing lunch, switching laundry, trying to get a quiet moment to myself in the bath. I might be with him but I'm not spending time with him.

So yesterday, I took my grandma on and came up with an activity that I was sure we'd both like and might bring us together.

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I thought it might be a nice treat to make some muffins for my mother-in-law, and Miles would be motivated knowing that we were doing it for Nana.

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To make things easier - for Miles and my patience - I measured out all of the ingredients and prepped a few others before I brought him into the kitchen.

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I got him set up on a chair and gave him directions on what to add and when but he really did a lot of the work. To be honest, I was surprised at how well he did. He didn't stir too vigorously, swishing flour everywhere, or completely miss the bowl when dumping in baking powder. Our only close call was when he wanted to dump the entire thing of salt in the bowl.

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I gave him a mini muffin pan to scoop batter on his own while I tackled bigger pans for Nana and my freezer stash.

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While the morning wasn't picture perfect, we did end up with some delicious muffins and a nice gift basket for Nana. Miles was more than proud to deliver it at dinner, and Nana loved having the gift. As for me, I felt better that I could say exactly what we did - together - that day.

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Tangerine-Cranberry Yogurt Muffins

Makes 2 dozen

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 containers Yoplait Blended Greek Yogurt, Tangerine flavor
1/3 to 1/2 cup orange juice or unsweetened almond milk
1 cup reduced sugar dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place liners in muffin pan or prepare with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine oil, applesauce, eggs, vanilla and yogurt. Add the wet ingredients to dry, stirring gently to combine. Add juice or milk to reach desired consistency. Fold in cranberries. 

Scoop batter into prepared pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes clean.

Disclosure: I was provided with yogurt from Yoplait Greek but all opinions and words are my own.


  1. I had a really great comment typed and blogger ate it. Love that you cooked with Miles & he's obviously having fun. As for the hitting, it may be frustration if his communication skills aren't quite as high as his thinking skills. It's easier to show frustration by smacking you than explaining what's bothering him. Just a thought from the speech pathologist.

    1. Blogger needs to stop eating comments. I have some muffins for it!

      I would so love to pick your brain as a speech pathologist, let me tell you. We don't have too many issues (that we know of) language-wise. He likes to tell you that he's mad and then hit you. I think you are right, though, that he doesn't know what to do after he tells you he's mad. He's certainly not going to go for a run or drink a beer. I hope.

    2. Running & beer drinking are certainly my ways of coping with frustration - both may happen tonight. You might want to pick my brain before the beer drinking :)

  2. I wrote a big reply to this and then it got deleted. Crap. I'm too lazy to redo it so it's basically this:

    1) I should let Leo add stuff while we cook/bake. Normally he just watches.
    2) Miles is awesome.
    3) You are awesome.
    4) Mark is awesome.

    1. Blogger is not my friend today. Come have a muffin and tell me all about it. And we can bake together.

      It's the first time (in a while, at least) that I've let him do so much but he does seem interested in cooking - wanting to stir and such. I should try it more to see if it eases dinner time stress.

  3. Oh my goodness--he is just as cute as they come! My son was a little towhead like that until about age 3, then it got darker. And he sounds perfectly normal to me-they go through so many little stages as they get older. You'll forget this one as you move onto the next, trust me!

  4. 1) those muffins look awesome!
    2) LOVE that you are cooking with miles!
    3) toddlers seem to have their own methods of communication - i'm sure there is a reason for his hitting, etc, but even if you don't figure it out, you've managed to turn something challenging into a positive situation.
    4) you are one awesome mama!
    5) miles is one lucky kid

  5. These look so yummy! I'm totally pinning these right now! Can't wait to try. xo