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Blueberry, Avocado and Banana Muffins

Blueberry, Avocado and Banana Muffins

October 11, 2021 | 12:22 PM

Blueberry, Avocado and Banana Muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Servings: 12

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium banana (about 1/3 cup), peeled

1 large avocado (about 3/4 cup), peeled and pitted

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 large egg

1/4 cup milk

1 cup blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare standard muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In bowl, whisk flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In separate bowl, mash banana and avocado together. Add applesauce, egg and milk. Stir to combine then stir into flour mixture. Fold in blueberries and divide batter into prepared muffin tins.

4. Bake 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Store leftovers in airtight container up to 3 days.
Roasted Chickpea Cauliflower Sandwiches

Roasted Chickpea Cauliflower Sandwiches

Dinner is healthy and delicious

September 14, 2021 | 03:58 PM

Go Plant Based for Healthy School Days

Filling the kitchen with plant-based ingredients is an easy way to nudge kids toward nutritious after-school snacks and make busy weeknight dinners as healthy as they are delicious. Get inspired to create a family-friendly, plant-based dish with this recipe for Roasted Chickpea Cauliflower Sandwiches.

Roasted Chickpea Cauliflower Sandwiches

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6

1 can chickpeas, roasted

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste, divided

1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus additional, to taste, divided

garlic salt, to taste

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 cup plant-based yogurt or sour cream

1/2 cup red pepper, diced

1/3 cup shredded carrots

1 cup corn kernels (optional)

1/4 teaspoon dill

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

3 Toufayan Bakeries Multi Grain Pitas, halved

Parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Season chickpeas with salt, pepper and garlic salt, to taste. Roast chickpeas 40-45 minutes.

In bowl, mix chopped cauliflower; yogurt or sour cream, diced pepper; shredded carrots; corn, if desired; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1/8 teaspoon pepper; dill; garlic powder and paprika.

Once chickpeas are roasted, add to bowl and mix well. Spoon mixture into six pitas and garnish with parsley.
Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies:

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies:

Fall flavors shine in a chewy cookie

September 13, 2021 | 01:59 PM

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Fall is a season of cooler temperatures and changing leaves, and it also marks the return of autumn flavor profiles. Root vegetables, roasts and heartier fare are prime cooking ingredients this time of year. In terms of baking, treats spiced with ginger and cinnamon are in demand each fall.

Carrot cake and oatmeal cookies are familiar favorites this time of year. In this recipe for "Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies" from "Live Well Bake Cookies" (Quarto Group) by Danielle Rye, delicious spiced carrot cake is transformed into a soft and chewy cookie.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 22 cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

11/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup lightly packed freshly grated carrots

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground ginger until well combined. Stir in the old-fashioned rolled oats and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together for 1 to 2 minutes, or until well combined.

4. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined, making sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

5. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined, then fold in the grated carrots, raisins and chopped walnuts until fully incorporated.

6. Using a 11/2-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Gently press each ball of cookie dough down to slightly flatten it.

7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are set and the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven, and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Live Well Bake Cookies
Apple Cinnamon French Toast  Overnight Casserole

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Overnight Casserole

A Wonderful Breakfast Worth Waking Up For

August 25, 2021 | 09:47 AM

A Wonderful Breakfast Worth Waking Up For

Waking up, no matter how late, can be such a drag. You're moving slow and cuddled up warm under the blankets. However, your stomach is growling which means eventually you are going to have to arise.

When you do stumble out of bed, it's time to get the day started with a delicious casserole on your plate. It's a warm, freshly baked Overnight Apple Cinnamon Fresh Toast Casserole.

Prepared the day before and chilled overnight, this casserole is ready to throw in the oven once you're up. It's gooey on the inside and baked to a perfect crisp on the outside, plus it's filled with mouthwatering apples and ground cinnamon, not to mention the sweet glaze drizzled on top at the end.

It's perfect for any breakfast or brunch occasion and the little ones will enjoy the sweet crunch, as well.

To start, add cubed French bread to a glass baking dish. Add apple pie filling on top of the bread and smooth it out over the entire dish. Then add more cubed French bread on top.

In a mixing bowl, whisk nine eggs, half-and-half and cinnamon. Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients in the baking dish.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and chill overnight.

Remove the foil and bake for about an hour. Let cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and milk to form a sweet glaze. Drizzle the glaze over your warm casserole and enjoy.

Whether you are waking up on an early Monday morning or lounging around in your pajamas for an hour (or two) over the weekend, this breakfast casserole is worth the wait.

Find more breakfast and brunch recipes at

If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

Overnight Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

Servings: 12

Nonstick cooking spray

1 package (20 ounces) French bread, cubed, divided

1 can (20 ounces) apple pie filling

9 eggs

1 cup half-and-half

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar, plus additional (optional)

2 tablespoons milk, plus additional (optional)

Spray 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In baking dish, add 10 ounces cubed French bread in bottom of dish. Pour apple filling over bread. Top with remaining cubed French bread. Set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half and cinnamon. Pour evenly over bread.

Cover with aluminum foil and chill overnight.

Heat oven to 325 F.

Remove foil and bake 50-60 minutes.

Let cool 10-15 minutes.

In small bowl, whisk powdered sugar and milk. Add additional, if needed, until pourable glaze is reached. Drizzle over casserole before serving.
Peanut Butter Grape Bites

Peanut Butter Grape Bites

Kid-Friendly Brain Food

August 09, 2021 | 05:07 PM

Starting a new school year, whether in the classroom or online brings excitement for kids of all ages. Opportunities to see friends, make new acquaintances and explore new areas of interest abound.

Along with the exciting times can also come early mornings with hectic moments getting ready, including making sure that lunches and snacks are packed for the day ahead. Keep fresh grapes from California on hand as an easy, fresh staple ready to drop into lunches and pack as a portable snack. No need to peel, cut or slice.

Heart-healthy grapes are brain food too, and a healthy choice any time of day to help fuel young minds in the classroom or after school.

Grapes also pair well with other healthy ingredients to create fun and tasty snacks such as these Peanut Butter Grape Bites. Involving your kids in the process can be beneficial, and is as simple as asking them to complete one of several child-friendly tasks: rinsing grapes, measuring ingredients or, perhaps the most fun part, dipping grapes in peanut butter, coconut, dark chocolate or almonds.

Providing children with ways to help in the kitchen can give them a sense of accomplishment while teaching those important skills like math and how to follow instructions.

To find more back-to-school recipes for kids and families, visit .

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 5 minutes

Yield: 12 pieces

Peanut Butter Grape Bites

12 California grapes, any color, chilled

1/3 cup natural peanut or almond butter

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1. Place wax paper sheet on baking sheet. Dip each grape in peanut butter or almond butter to coat half then dip in coconut, dark chocolate or almonds, alternating with each grape.

2. Transfer grapes to baking sheet then chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 2 g protein; 4 g carbohydrates; 5 g fat (64% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (19% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 25 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Family Features
Watermelon Ice Cream Bars

Watermelon Ice Cream Bars

August 3rd is National Watermelon Day

August 02, 2021 | 04:00 PM

Watermelon Ice Cream Bars

Decadent and delicious, these ice cream bars are sweetened with watermelon juice and honey. Like all ice cream, these bars need to be served and consumed immediately. Enjoy this sweet and creamy treat any time of the year.

Makes 8 servings.



cup watermelon juice

2 tablespoons lime juice

cup honey

Pinch of salt

3 eggs, lightly beaten

cup butter (1 stick), cut into small cubes


1 cup heavy whipping cream


8 graham crackers, crushed

2 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Pinch of salt

Varied amount basil leaves for garnish


1. Make the watermelon curd by combining the watermelon juice, lime juice, honey and salt in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir to combine, then add the lightly beaten eggs.

2. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, adding the cubed butter to the pan, and stir constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Immediately remove from the heat and carefully pour through a fine mesh sieve. Allow the mixture to cool completely in the refrigerator. While the curd cools, make the crust.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until rough crumbs form. Add the honey, salt, and melted butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.

4. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper, then press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Allow the crust to cool completely.

5. When the crust and curd are completely cooled, whip the cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently push the cream to one side of the bowl and pour in the watermelon curd. Using a spatula, gently fold the cream and watermelon curd together until no streaks are visible.

6. Pour the creamy watermelon mixture over the graham cracker crust. Place the loaf pan in the freezer and let the dessert freeze completely, 4-6 hours or overnight.

7. When ready to serve, loosen the sides with a small spatula or butter knife. Turn the bars out onto a cutting board and use a large spatula to flip so the graham cracker crust is on the bottom. Cut into 8 bars and top each bar with a basil leaf. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Facts

Serving size 1Calories per serving 380Fat per serving 30gSaturated fat per serving 18gTrans fat per serving 1gCholesterol per serving 150mgSodium per serving 85mgCarbohydrates per serving 28gSugar per serving 25gProtein per serving 4g

Western Watermelon Association
Grilled peaches with cottage cheese & balsamic

Grilled peaches with cottage cheese & balsamic

August is national Peach Month

July 19, 2021 | 01:30 PM


Delicious, nutritious and CA grown! Peach pie, peach cobbler, peach smoothie, peach sherbet, canned peaches at lunch, a peach cup for snack, a fresh, juicy peach on a hot summer day. If you are eating peaches, rest assured, they are home-grown right here in CA!

California grows more peaches than the other 32 peach-growing states combined! So basically they're all local.

California clingstone (canned or frozen-type) peaches are harvested from mid-July to mid-September, while the California freestone (fresh-type) varieties are harvested from April through October. That's why August is national Peach Month and it's the heart of peach harvest!

Peaches are an important crop for the Central Valley because of our Mediterranean climate and excellent soils. Peaches for fresh market, sold in the grocery store or farmer's market, are grown mainly in Madera, Fresno and Tulare counties. Processing peaches are found in the Yuba City region, southern San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County, Merced County and the Kingsburg area of Fresno County. Fresh market peaches are always freestone. Processing peaches are mostly clingstone and sometimes freestone. Processing peaches can be canned, frozen or used for some other processed use. For example, the Dole processing plant in Atwater, Merced County, makes instant quick-freeze sliced peaches that are prized for making pies and other naturally sweet, delectable dishes.


Grilled peaches with cottage cheese & balsamic

1. Slice peaches in half and remove pit

2. Grill over high heat for about 5 minutes, flat side down

3. Stuff each peach with cottage cheese, 2-4TBSP depending on the size of the peach

4. Drizzle with traditional balsamic (the thick, real stuff) or a reduction of the more readily available, thin balsamic vinegar

Serve immediately
Red, White and Blueberry Frozen Pops

Red, White and Blueberry Frozen Pops

Cool and Patriotic

June 29, 2021 | 02:20 PM

Cool Down with Patriotic Frozen Pops

The perfect treat to celebrate and escape the heat this summer

With backyard barbecues, pool parties and patriotic celebrations in full swing leading up to the Fourth of July, kids are constantly on the go with summertime activities. For long summer days in the sun, a cool treat is the perfect way to help keep kids energized for all of their summertime activities.

These homemade red, white and blueberry frozen pops are the perfect patriotic summer snack for active kids. Made with wholesome ingredients like fruit and milk, they're a great way for moms to add quality nutrition to snack time with flavors their kids already love. Plus, with milk as an ingredient, this delicious recipe is a creative way to help the whole family get added nutrients they need, like calcium and protein.

Whether celebrating Independence Day or relaxing following an afternoon in the sun, this tasty and nutritious summertime snack is one the whole family can enjoy together. For more inspiration and recipes to serve up summer fun, visit

Red, White and Blueberry Frozen Pops

Servings: 10


1/2 cup granola

2 teaspoons brown rice syrup

3/4 cup reduced fat milk

6 ounces fat free vanilla Greek yogurt

1 cup whole strawberries, tops removed


1 1/4 cup blueberries, divided


1. In small bowl, stir granola and brown rice syrup until combined. Using end of wooden spoon, press approximately 3/4 tablespoon granola into each frozen pop mold. Granola should be packed tightly into bottom of molds.

2. In another small bowl, stir together milk and yogurt; set aside.

3. Using small food processor or high-powered blender, puree strawberries until smooth. Stir water into each puree so they are pourable, about 2 tablespoons each, more if necessary.

4. Set aside 30 blueberries and puree remainder. Add water, as needed, to make pourable.

5. To layer pops, start by pouring, piping or syringing 1 tablespoon milk and yogurt mixture into each mold, covering granola layer. Put each mold in freezer until firm, at least 1 hour.

6. Layer 1 tablespoon strawberry puree on top of frozen yogurt layer in each mold. Cover top of molds with foil, insert sticks and freeze again until solid. Remove foil, add another layer of yogurt and freeze again.

7. For final layer, add 1 tablespoon blueberry puree and 3 blueberries to each mold. Freeze until solid. Keep frozen pops in molds until ready to eat. Run each mold under lukewarm water for approximately 10 seconds to loosen and remove frozen pops. Pops can be made 1 day in advance.

Tip: For clean lines between frozen yogurt layers, use small syringe.

Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 2 g fat; 0.5 g saturated fat; 3 g protein; 11 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 20 mg sodium; 48 mg calcium (4% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using reduced fat milk.

Family Features
Coconut Key Lime Cream Pie

Coconut Key Lime Cream Pie

Enjoy a cool, creamy and absolutely divine dessert

June 22, 2021 | 02:05 PM

Coconut Key Lime Cream Pie

Summer is the time to relax, refresh and indulge in sweet and heavenly treats. While you're lounging poolside and watching the kids play, enjoy a cool, creamy and absolutely divine dessert that's perfect on a hot day.

This luscious Coconut Key Lime Cream Pie has a smooth texture with toasted shredded coconut on top. It's sweet, but not too sweet, and will leave your taste buds wanting more as soon as you take your first bite.

Fresh out of the refrigerator, it's ideal for everyone to share on those days when it's just too warm outside to not have a chilled snack.

Also topped with lime zest and maraschino cherries, visually this pie is a winner with fun pops of color that will leave your mouth watering.

To make this cool, creamy creation, add vanilla wafers to a blender to make crumbs. Add melted butter and blend. Add crumb mixture to the bottom of a pie pan and press against the sides. Refrigerate to make crust.

In another large bowl, beat cream cheese, condensed milk and coconut extract.

In a different large bowl, beat whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Add powdered sugar and lime juice. Reserve 1 cup of the whipped topping.

Add lime juice, coconut flakes and the reserved whipped topping to the cream cheese mixture then stir to combine.

Add cream cheese mixture to the pie crust and smooth it out. Top with whipped topping then garnish with toasted coconut, lime zest and maraschino cherries.

It's the perfect pie to enjoy whether you're outside enjoying some sunshine or inside, taking a break from the summer fun. After being chilled, all of the flavors combine to leave you with a delicious, one of a kind treat.

Find more summer recipes at

If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

Coconut Key Lime Cream Pie

Servings: 6-8

1 package (11 ounces) vanilla wafers

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup Key lime juice, divided

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup toasted shredded coconut

lime zest

maraschino cherries

1. In blender, pulse vanilla wafers into crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until combined. Press crumbs into bottom and up sides of greased 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. In large bowl, beat whipping cream until it thickens. Add confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon lime juice; beat until stiff peaks form. Remove 1 cup; set aside.

3. In separate large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk and coconut extract; beat until blended. Add remaining lime juice and shredded coconut; stir until combined. Add reserved whipped cream. Stir until combined. Pour into crust.

4. Refrigerate 4 hours.

5. Before serving, garnish with toasted coconut, lime zest and maraschino cherries.
Tart Kiwi Lime Smoothie

Tart Kiwi Lime Smoothie

A Luscious Lime Smoothie for Hot Days

June 14, 2021 | 10:26 AM

During summer months, it's common for many people to want to spend as much time outside enjoying the weather as possible. From the minute they wake up to when the sun goes down (and beyond), nearly everyone wants to take advantage of the warm summer heat. Especially kids, who often want to enjoy their break from school for the year.

From beach towels and sunglasses to swimsuits and flip flops, almost everything you need to enjoy some fun in the sun is likely already on-hand. However, summer can be so much sweeter with a fresh and fruity drink in your hand. Made with fresh ingredients, this drink is a perfect addition to any poolside party.

Next time you are looking to relax outdoors all day, try this Tart Lime Smoothie, which is filled with fresh fruit and cool enough to wash away that summer warmth. This chilled, tart drink will have everyone in the family ready to go for round two down the water slide.

To make this smoothie, in a blender, blend two kiwis, two ripe bananas, some fresh mint, lime juice, orange juice and 2 cups of crushed ice until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Light, fresh and a little bit frothy, this smoothie has a unique texture that may leave you wishing for a second cup the moment you take your first sip. Find more fun summer recipes at

If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

Tart Kiwi Lime Smoothie

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

2 kiwis, peeled and halved

2 ripe bananas

3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

2 limes, juice only

1 cup orange juice

2 cups ice, crushed

In blender, blend kiwis, bananas, mint, lime juice, orange juice and ice until smooth.

Pour into glasses to serve.
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