One of the things I love about fall is the return of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Muffin. While that may not be the healthiest of breakfast options on a daily basis, it’s a fabulous once-in-a-while treat! Here are a few ways to sneak fall’s bounty into your kids’ meals…

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese: This super-easy recipe from Martha Stewart is both creamy and delicious. It combines butternut squash puree with your kids’ favorite mac ‘n cheese type noodle. Yes, “simple” and “Martha” don’t usually wind up in the same sentence. Sounds like it should be an oxymoron. It’s not. This recipe does not require a PhD in Stewarteese. It really is simple. And Bug-approved. I did, however, skip the bread crumbs (Bug calls it ‘dirt’) and the cayenne.

Homemade Applesauce (the cheater method): Apples, apples, and more apples! We {{love}} apples in this house. With the abundance of apples in local orchards and at the market, it’s the perfect time to get saucy. But if time isn’t on your side for the time-tested slow cooker method, do what I do. I peel, core and slice apples into quarters (whatever I have on hand — the more variety, the better!). Throw them in a pot on the stove. Add a little bit of water and a few hearty shakes of the Cinnamon spice jar. I cook the apples on medium-high heat until they are soft enough to mash. Then I throw the whole pot (water included) in the blender. Keeps the apples from turning brown and makes the sauce super smooth — which the Bug appreciates.

Pumpkin Muffins: Pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin A and beta-carotenes, and it’s a good source of vitamins C, K, and E, magnesium, potassium, and iron. While the Starbucks’ muffin I mentioned earlier might not be great for a daily standard, this recipe from A Life Less Sweet is an amazing way to get your tot’s day started!

Sweet Potato Pancakes: Add a shot of beta-carotene to your tot’s favorite breakfast food. This quick recipe from Whole Foods combines pureed sweet potato with buttermilk and your favorite box pancake mix. Did you know that it’s important to have some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable? That means top with a bit of butter, right?

Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla: A delicious way to get a jump on Thanksgiving (flavors, that is). Cranberry sauce (fresh if you’ve got it!),  sliced turkey and a little cheese between two tortillas and voila! Dinner is served. The Real Mom Kitchen recipe suggests using swiss cheese, but that tends to be a turn-off with my toddler. White cheddar or a more mild muenster works better for us. Add a side of greek yogurt for your tot to ‘dunk’ in if you’d like!

What fall flavors are cooking in your kitchen?