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Unwrapped Recipe: Chocolate Strawberry Cookies

Our Unwrapped Recipes feature ingredients that can frequently be found in grocery stores without excess packaging. Have one to share? We'd love to hear it!

Iconnected with Katie Blauser of Eat Pretty Darling not long after I joined Instagram. I was immediately drawn to her bright photos of beautiful and easy-to-assemble meals. Clean, nutritious food presented in a fun and inviting way. She’s a mom of three boys, foodie, and professional photographer. Meet Katie!

So which came first for you: the food or the photography? Professionally, the photography came first! But I started a major love of food as a young girl. Many of my favorite childhood memories revolve around a recipe or a meal shared with loved ones. I also plan all vacations around where to eat. I never pursued cooking as a career until I started blogging, although I was taking pictures of my food before it was "cool". I got my college degree in Commercial Photography, and went on to photograph weddings, families, and events for 10 years. I’ve since moved on to branding photography and content creation, and get to do a mashup of photography and recipe development! It's really a dream come true.

What kinds of things do you have in store for us this year? At the end of 2020 we were hit with the news that my oldest son ( 5 ) has celiac disease. He's also my pickiest eater, so it has been a huge learning process for us. I hope to share more about the disease and how we handle it in our house. Luckily we live in a time that there are a ton of amazing gluten free companies making food that is safe and yummy for my kiddo to eat. So expect to see gluten free recipes, more picky eater tips, new Darling Delivery kits, and maybe even a book ;)

What’s the most recent thing you’ve learned about eco-conscious living? Those milk and beverage cartons are recyclable!! I recently had the opportunity to spread awareness on carton recycling. Working with the Carton Council taught me a lot, and I love getting to work with brands to share more about these topics!

Although Katie isn’t making her amazing 4-ingredient cookies these days (many celiacs can have a reaction to oats), they remain a staple in our house. They’re nutritious, quick to make, and extremely versatile. And with oats (a very common bulk bin item) as a key ingredient, this recipe is a win on so many levels!

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY COOKIES

1 ripe banana, mashed

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup diced strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients together and spoon out onto a silicone baking mat liner cookie sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Makes around 6-8 cookies!

You can find more of Katie’s pretty healthy, pretty yummy, and pretty fun recipes on IG @eatprettydarling and at eastprettydarling.com!

How to Pack Your Diaper Bag: Toddler Edition

Back when our kiddos were toddlers, my friends and I used to do regular outings all together. We’d go to various parks, indoor play places, pumpkin patches, strawberry picking, music classes, and pretty much any class or event we could find in our community magazine. The Easter Bunny’s stopping by the park? Sign us up. Fake snow is falling at the outdoor mall? We were there. (Yes, I know it sounds like we were going overboard trying to create millions of magical moments for our kids, but the truth is that we just liked being together. My friends are awesome. The magical moments were a lovely bonus though!)

The activities were always different, but there was one thing that absolutely never changed: my friends would be prepared for whatever could possibly occur, and I would not. Yes, I carried around the cute bag, always had my phone (photos!), and usually had a water bottle. But when my daughter looked at me and said she was hungry, there were one too many occasions that found me staring shamefully into the blank space that filled my empty bag. In the next moment, you may (or may not) have seen me sheepishly pull out a bag of goldfish, smashed beyond an inch of its poor life, then look to my friends with hope-filled eyes.

Without fail, out came the sandwiches, string cheese, strawberries, granola bars—take your pick. They saved me every time. I kid you not, there was one time we showed up for my daughter’s dance class and when I looked in her little bag, I found that her tap shoe had broken. When my friend saw what was going on she said, “I have an extra pair!” I mean, who has an extra pair of tap shoes?! My hero, that’s who.

Now while there’s definitely such a thing as having too little (me), there’s also such a thing as having too much. We’ve all seen those parents in the airport carrying their baby’s entire nursery while running through the terminal, right? Nobody envies them at that moment! And yes, “stuff” can certainly be helpful, but too much can be harmful (to your back and your sanity). So what’s the right way to go?

Clearly, I’m not the best person to ask, so I'll do everyone a favor and share the advice of the experts over at The Bump:

Diapers (one diaper for every couple of hours you plan to be out…plus an extra for good measure)

Wipes (Bets & Emy are the best ones!)

Diaper cream (if you use it)

Hand sanitizer (alcohol-free for little ones who stick their fingers in their mouths, and um, they pretty much all do, right?)

Changing pad (SnoofyBee has the best one!)

Washable placemat (Busy Baby has the best one! )

Sunscreen (chemical-free with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide)

Sippy cup (the spill-proof kind for sure)

Snacks (pack what you think you’ll need and then multiply that by 10…just kidding…sort of)

Toys (like a little doll or sidewalk chalk)

Bib (the easy-clean kind)

Pacifiers (if you use them)

Clean Bees (Ok fine, The Bump didn’t actually say that. They suggested bringing a burp cloth to wipe up spills, but a Clean Bee will do that better in my [completely unbiased, wink, wink] opinion.)

If you’re traveling, they suggest adding the following:

More diapers (5-7 per day)

Basic first aid kit

Blanket

Travel utensils

Laundry detergent

Socket protectors

Change of clothes

Extra little things to keep your kiddo entertained

While I think this list above is truly excellent and comprehensive (without going overboard), if there's anything I've learned through this journey of motherhood, it's this: one, trust your gut, and two, the other parents in your life often have the greatest advice. So while this list is awesome, why not ask your trusted parent friends their thoughts on the matter? 

Back when I was choosing a preschool for the Little Bee, I consulted my friend (a stellar elementary teacher who lives in my area) where she sent her child. I then set up a tour of that school and went for it. Turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made along this parenting adventure. That school was truly stellar. 

If you've read this to the end, then you're probably a parent. I would love to hear what you put in your diaper bags. I hope you'll share your suggestions below!

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