toddlers + greens + popsicle molds, oh my!

i’m still figuring a lot of stuff out when it comes to mothering. but one thing that’s evident after the last nine years of raising my five children is — there is not one specific parenting method/approach/style/book that fits all children. you’re in big trouble if you assume it’s a one-glove-fits-all sort of situation. which is why i always get a little weary when someone says, “this worked for my kid. so this is how you do it.”  the same concept rings true when it comes to feeding your children.  taste buds will be taste buds, and they’ll differ from one sibling to the next in the most fascinating of ways.  i have one child who requests a kale salad every day and another who has refused to go near a kale salad for years. it doesn’t mean you don’t keep trying to introduce the things you hope your child might eventually take a liking to and benefit from (in fact, we are finally SO CLOSE to having all the kids eat kale salad!), it just means you might have to be extra patient and take different approaches with each of them. today i’m sharing one of the approaches we have tried for getting some much needed extra nutrients into our family diet with the hope that it helps one of you out there.

while at times some of our household hasn’t cared for anything green beyond green peas and edamame (i mean!), every single one of them has always gone bonkers for green smoothies and green popsicles. i don’t deliberately hide the green stuff in there, either.  my big kids are usually the ones who make their own smoothies now in the morning and they’ll happily throw piles of kale into the blender faster than they can put coins into an arcade game. i think some of this has come from doing it since they were beatrice’s and madalena’s age, and also from the green stuff tasting so sweet thanks to bananas and other fruit we might use.

my kids like to make “chunkies” as they’ve named them, which is a green smoothie, but at the end they throw a few extra pieces of frozen fruit and pulse the blender two or three times so they’ll get big chunks of fruit in their final cup. i don’t understand the appeal and to be totally candid, it grosses me out considerably, but they are drinking kale smoothies so… i go with it.

ANYWAY! green smoothie recipes are all over the internet, and we don’t measure or pour exact ingredients every time since we prefer to eye ball it, but here is our go-to recipe:

  1. start with lots of kale leaves pulled off the stem (we do about 4-5 large leaves of green curly kale – or more)
  2. add 2-3 frozen or fresh bananas
  3. add about 10-16 ounces of frozen fruit (we tend to favor a 50.50 split of pineapple and mango over here for green smoothies since the color stays green and it tastes super fresh and go so well together)
  4. pour 1-3 cups of unsweetened unflavored almond milk (do more or less to get the consistency you want…start with less…you can always add more later)
  5. add in any of your favorite vitamin or protein or probiotic or whatever powders for your kids if you want
  6. mix on high in a blender for 30-45 seconds until completely smooth

and you have yourself something really delicious that somehow no one over here can deny!

pro tip – starting first with the kale on the bottom under the heavier ingredients pushes it down in the blender with the milk so nothing gets stuck and you don’t have to stop and push anything down either!

josh also shared his version of a green smoothie HERE when eleanor and samson were like, beatrice and madalen’s size?!  it might not work in your home with your littles, but somehow it’s working over here and i feel relief that a few of my kids are getting some nutrients from more than just their vitamins.

i’m linking to the MINI POP MOLDS we use to throw some of our smoothie into popsicles for later. i like this one especially because the size of the popsicle molds are perfect for toddlers, since by the time it’s beginning to melt into a mess, they’ve pretty much devoured it. we’ve used these same molds for years, too. you can make any sort of smoothie concoction and turn it into a fun treat with the molds. (for the record, this is not sponsored.)

lots of photos below because i miss this blogging space and i’m determined to pull out my big camera more often this spring. :)

snuggles from my madalena! poor girl has a chin boo-boo right now we’re trying to nurse back to health (hard when you can’t keep a band-aid on a chin very well with a toddler. if anyone has ideas of how to encourage a band-aid on a chin, I’M LISTENING!)

i don’t think a smile will ever melt me the way beatrice’s beautiful smile does. :)

teeny tiny helpers!

a little thing i’ve learned when it comes to kids helping with things like blenders or mixers, is to keep everything unplugged until you’re ready to blend or mix. most of these kitchen tools have a safety switch in the back as well which is really great.

into the popsicle molds it goes! and in a few hours, GREEEEEEN TREATS!

would love to hear different approaches and ways you’ve conquered vegetables in your home with little ones. happy smoothie-popsicle making!

also, yep. taking these photos reminded me today we’ve been missing a kitchen cabinet knob for moooooonths and should probably do something about that. lol.

ps. thowback to this time last year when we made PASTA in florence italy! and when josh and i made bagels at orwashers together a few years ago!

  1. Jes

    Definitely doing this for my littles. Thanks for the recipe and the cuteness!

  2. Steph

    I love making smoothies but loathe cleaning the blender. Any tips (other than hoping my spouse does it for me?)

  3. LL

    Yummy smoothies! My daughters like banana, berry smoothies and I put frozen riced cauliflower in. They love it!

  4. Jess.

    We have been extremely lucky to have vegetable eaters. BUT, as far as getting children of all ages to eat kale (and carrots and cabbage), this recipe has never failed:

    https://smittenkitchen.com/2013/05/japanese-cabbage-and-vegetable-pancakes

    I’ve used yam flour. I’ve used all purpose flour. I’ve used scallions and (when I forget) just finely diced onion. Sometimes we make them small (6 to a griddle pan). Sometimes we make them big (one to a frying pan. We mix regular US mayo, bbq sauce & sriracha as they only condiment. It’s always delicious.

    I almost always put 1/2 piece of turkey bacon down, cook one side, flip it, add a handful of the “batter,”cook 3-4 minutes, gently flip, cook another 3-4 and serve! Definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

    Have you tried pb&j sandwich smoothies? The slimy chunks of fruit your kids like made me think of it. Kale, peanut butter, frozen bananas, [some kind of] milk + DRIED fruit, which then stays kind of chewy and gives you the little bursts of “jelly.”

  5. yum! these look great and i will definitely be giving them a go in my home. i love how you’ve mentioned how every child is different and therefore so is the parenting of each child. it is annoying when someone tries to impart their supreme knowledge of parenting as though they have the holy grail information :’). anywho, thanks for sharing this, i reckon my one year old will love these! happy saturday x

  6. kim

    hi! we love aquaphor on boo boos, especially ones that are hard to keep a band-aid on.

  7. Your tins have gotten so big! I can’t believe it! We’ve tried everything to get kids to eat veggies, our most successful approach when things are real bad is to give our kids the V-8 V-Fusion Strawberry Banana Juice that counts as 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of veggies. It might be all lies but makes me feel better as a mom haha!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  8. Kelly

    Such a fun thing to do with kids and they get their veggies in!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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  10. Dear taza
    I love your blog for many reasons. First, it is informative and entertaining. Our family is a smoothie family too. Now I am the only one who will put bananas in my smoothie, My teenage kids only appreciate them when they’re made in ice cream form. Of course there, not the healthiest so that does happen often. Second, your blog is kind of inspiration for what to do with my blog. I have only done a few posts but trying to find ideas since this quarantine started
    The third is the fact your blog is always s source of laughs and enjoyment with following you and your family