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“Mom Alert: New Snacks and a New Cookbook (worth buying!)”

I haven’t written about the Mom thing in a while, probably because I have been busy being one to Emily who is about to turn three (!). And it’s just a lot harder than I thought to find the time to reflect and write about the process. But it’s on my list of things to do!

In any case, I did have a few food-related pieces of Mom news that I thought I would share. First, one of my favorite brands, HappyFamily, has launched a new line of organic treats and meals for babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages. I first found this brand when Emily was just starting on solids, and loved their puffs—they are organic, made from fruits and veggies and melt in kids mouths so there’s no real choking hazard for kids who aren’t used to eating. But I stayed with the brand after that because all HappyFamily offerings are made with no preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, trans fats or GMOs, and are certified organic by the USDA.

I love their new line of snacks (more importantly, so does Emily), perfect for preschool snack time and elementary school lunchboxes, which includes Veggie Pals, Sunny Buddies, Yummy Yogis, Mixed Fruit Yogis and Crazy Crunchies. With a variety of textures and flavor combinations, each bite-size snack is made with only the best ingredients such as real fruit, whole grains and organic yogurt.

I always try to make Emily’s meals from scratch, but once in a while you need (or I need) a quick one-two-three healthy premade meal. That’s when I turn to HAPPYTOT Toddler Meal Bowls. Now, I know it's not ideal to serve food not made by you, but it's the reality of my life. Judge me, its okay, you won’t be the first, but they are packed with nutrients essential to toddlers' growth and developing bodies, and offer an excellent source of protein and vitamin A, and they taste great. The bowls are available in four delicious varieties: Chicken, Vegetables and Quinoa; Super Beefy Pasta; Vegetable Ravioli and Vegetables, Brown Rice and Turkey. HAPPYTOT Toddler Meal Bowls are sold individually for a suggested retail price of $2.99 to $3.79 per bowl.

Their new HAPPYMUNCHIES include Apple Rice Cakes (made only with whole grain brown rice and lightly sweetened with fruit juice), and the fun Apple and Kale Croc Shaped Puffed Corn Snacks, which offer whole grains and choline for babies' healthy brain development. The new HAPPYMUNCHIES are sold in individual bags for a suggested retail price of $2.99 to $3.49 each.

All the new HAPPYFAMILY products are sold in BPA-free packaging and will be available in stores by April 2012. The products are also
available for purchase at Amazon, Diapers.com, and happyfamilybrands.com.

One more thing to know, with every product sold, the company supports Project Peanut Butterr, a nonprofit that feeds starving children in Malawi and Sierra Leone. For more information, visit www.happyfamilybrands.com.

Now, speaking of making every meal for my kid, when I do cook for my family, one of my favorite new resources is a terrific new cookbook written by food writer Debbie Koenig. Just out this month, “Parents Need to Eat Too” provides over 100 nap-friendly recipes, one-handed meals, and time saving kitchen tricks for new parents. My particular favorites are The Cottage Pie, Overnight French Onion Chicken, Moroccan Red Lentil Stew, but there are so many choices for make-ahead meals, slow-cooker stand-bys, and nap-time cooking recipes for vegetarians and omnivores alike.

The book is a surprisingly honest reflection from a mom who has a career and a kid and really takes you through the cooking process with a sure hand. I loved her writing and her recipes and I think this is not only a good book to have in your kitchen but if you know any new parents, a great gift. Better yet, make a few of the recipes for them too. Those first few weeks are so hard.

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