3 Ingredient Banana Baby-cakes

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We are well into the adventure of solid food feeding with my sweet little one and I am pleased to say that he is VERY enthusiastic about eating. ¬†His excitement when I put him in his highchair is pretty infectious. ūüôā

Being a dietitian, I of course put some thought into ensuring I offer highly nutritious foods for my baby to explore (and usually eat).

Food before one is just for fun.  Where did that tagline even come from?  Why would food suddenly become important after one but is not important before?  

I’ve heard that a lot lately that “food before one is just for fun”. ¬†It IS true that most of the nutrition for babies under 1 year should come from breast milk or formula. ¬†However solid food does have an important role too. ¬†The reason why solid food is recommended to start at around 6 months is because of a increased need for iron. In fact, the most important nutrient for babies to get from their solid food is iron!

Did you know that a baby over the age of 6 months has a higher iron requirement than an adult man?

Whoa. ¬†A baby requires 11 mg of iron in a day. ¬†That’s a lot! That’s why you might hear that it is wise to start a baby with iron rich foods and ensure they are offered those foods daily.

  • well-cooked, finely minced or shredded meat, poultry, or fish, including beef, pork, chicken, turkey, cod, and halibut
  • mashed cooked egg, lentils, beans or cooked tofu
  • iron-fortified infant cereal

Why so important?

A huge amount of brain development occurs during the first 2 years of life. Iron is vital in brain development by carrying oxygen in the blood.  Iron deficiency anemia is a real problem for babies with a recent study reporting iron deficiency anemia prevalence at between 12 and 64%.  This can have life long effects on brain development and function.

For more information on foods high in iron check out:  https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/babys-first-foods

Anyway back to the recipe. ¬†These pancakes are a serious hit on our household. ¬†My little bean ate SIX of these pancakes the other day for lunch! ¬†Whoa. They are soft, warm, easy to hold and chew. ¬†For added iron I add in 2-3 tablespoons of iron fortified infant cereal. ¬†Some people aren’t huge fans of infant cereal. I get it, it’s not a natural food….it’s definitely a food product. ¬†However it is an easy way to get some iron into your baby so I do use it in addition to other foods naturally high in iron.

These baby cakes are delicious for adults too!  I just swap out the infant cereal for some quick oats or oat flour and they are very yummy!  Very easily doubled, tripled, etc.

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Ingredients:

1 banana, very ripe, mashed

2 large eggs, beaten

2-3 tablespoons iron fortified rice or oatmeal infant cereal (oatmeal or oat flour)

Directions:

  1. Peel and mash banana in a medium sized bowl until smooth.  Add in eggs and beat until well mixed.
  2. Sprinkle in infant cereal and mix.
  3. Preheat griddle or pan on medium heat, add oil or butter to grease the surface.  Ladle about 1/4 cup amounts into pan and cook until bottom size is lightly browned.  Flip and cook other side until done.
  4. Cool and cut into fingers or small pieces for your baby.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Paska (Easter Bread)

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Paska, or Easter Bread, is a serious staple in my family around this time of year! ¬†Particularly on the Mennonite side of my family. ¬†If you don’t have Eastern European roots and¬†aren’t familiar with it, paska is a delicious slightly sweet, rich bread made with eggs and is delicately flavoured with citrus peel and some lemon and/or orange juice. ¬†At least that’s how my family makes it.

Also in the style of Eastern Europeans, my family paska recipe makes enough for about 20 (if not more) loaves of bread. ¬†I’m serious. ¬†It’s an all day affair of kneading (by hand!) and waiting for the dough to rise. ¬†My recipe? ¬†I made enough for one loaf of bread. ¬†And it only took me about 30 minutes of prep time. ¬†I was happy with that.

Paska can also have raisins or candied fruit added to it. ¬†My family calls paska with raisins hot cross buns…but my husband’s family, Ukrainian background, insists that it should have raisins. ¬†So I’ll leave that important decision up to you!

Paska is always eaten on Easter morning and usually served as a dessert as well with Easter dinner. ¬†In my family it’s usually smothered in a simple white icing sugar glaze with sprinkles and served with a sweet cottage cheese, egg, whipped cream spread called glums. ¬†Believe me, glums is delicious but definitely a “once-a-year-kind-of-food”. ¬†If you are interested here is the recipe. ¬†Paska also tastes amazing slightly warmed with butter melted over it….mmmmh.

Enjoy the recipe and the wonderful smell that fills your house while you are baking this special bread!  Happy Easter to you!

This recipe adapted from Mennonite Girls Can Cook recipe and my family recipe.

This recipe makes enough dough for 2  small loaves of bread in a standard bread pan or 8 mini loaves.  It can easily be doubled or tripled to suite your needs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp unflavoured gelatin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp regular/traditional yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk or milk substitute if needed
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 – 1 whole lemon – juice and zest (depending on how citrus-y you like it, I use the whole fruit for zest)
  • 1/2 – 1 whole orange – juice and zest (same as above)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum* if your flour mix doesn’t include it
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups gluten free flour mix (such as my Essential Mix) or (Better than Cup 4 Cup)

paska doughDirections:

  1. Mix sugar, gelatin and yeast in a medium sized bowl.  Heat milk in the microwave for about 1 minute or until just barely steaming but not too hot. Whisk into yeast mixture and let proof (bubble up) until about doubled in size.
  2. Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, butter, lemon and orange juice and zest in a medium sized bowl.  Add into mixer if you have one.
  3. Add proofed yeast.
  4. Blend together all the dry ingredients until well combined.
  5. Add dry ingredients all at once to liquid ingredients in the mixer and beat on high for a couple of minutes.  The gluten free bread dough should look like cake batter and not typical bread dough, as seen in the picture above.
  6. Spoon into desired well greased pans or tins (smooth tops with wet fingers) and let rise in warm place for about 60 minutes until doubled in bulk.  I used mini bread loaf pans but muffin tins or bread loaf pans would work fine.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
  8. Let sit in pan for a few minutes before removing to cool on rack.
  9. Let cool completely and then ice with white icing and decorate with sprinkles – coloured or chocolate if desired.
*If you are not eating it the same day, freeze until needed. Thaw on the counter at room temperature before eating.

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My favourite zucchini muffins

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Why I’ve taken so long to post this recipe I don’t know.¬† And I’m sorry.¬† You need to make these muffins if you are living in the gluten free world.¬† Or even if you aren’t, just make them with regular flour.¬† My non-gluten-free-friends I have offered these to give them a big thumbs up.

I make these muffins every couple of weeks and freeze them.¬† Every morning I pull out a muffin for my husbands and my lunch.¬† Hubby actually told me the other day that one of the best parts of his morning is his morning muffin with coffee as his desk.¬† Awwww now that’s love! ‚̧

The fear with making a new GF recipe is that it will come out dry, tasteless and boring.¬† This muffin is none of those things, in fact it’s just dang delicious.¬† And since it has 3 1/2 cups of grated zucchini, it has a third of a serving of veggies in 1 muffin.¬† I consider that pretty substantial.¬† I also love that it doesn’t use up a ton of my precious, and very expensive, stash of gluten free flour.¬† The oat flour adds a bunch of soluble fibre and nutritious energy to these beauties.

I use chocolate chips because, again, they are dang tasty.¬† If you prefer you may use raisins or chopped nuts instead.¬† The chocolate is good though….trust me.

Recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

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Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups grated fresh zucchini and/or yellow squash (I used almost 4 small zucchini)

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (or quinoa flour)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

2/3 cup certified gluten free oat flour (or just grind up certified gluten free rolled oats into a powder)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar or palm sugar

1 cup raisins (can replace with chopped nuts, chocolate chips or another small dried fruit)

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled or other liquid oil

4 eggs at room temperature, beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (can replace with 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, soured with 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar which is what I did)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350¬įF. Grease or line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins and set them aside.

  • Prepare the zucchini/squash. Place the grated zucchini and/or yellow squash in the center of a large clean tea towel, gather the towel around the zucchini, and twist tightly to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set the zucchini aside.

  • Make the batter. In a large bowl, place the all purpose flour, xanthan gum, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar and whisk again to combine, breaking up any lumps. Add the grated zucchini and mix to combine, breaking up any clumps in the grated zucchini. Add the chocolate chips or raisins, mix.

  • Mix together in a separate bowl, coconut oil, eggs and buttermilk. Mix into the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. The batter will be thick but not stiff.

  • Bake the muffins. Fill the prepared wells of the muffin tins about 2/3 of the way full with batter. Place them in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when pressed gently and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Freeze for later.¬†These muffins freeze very well in a freezer-safe container.¬† They can be refreshed in the toaster oven before serving.

 

Cinnamon Bun Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Sometimes you need a cinnamon flavoured goodie in your life.

For those of us that must have a gluten free diet, making cinnamon buns is a daunting task. ¬†The sticky dough….the screams of frustration as you try in vain to roll it out and then roll it up again to make the swirls…the sad looking cinnamon buns that look nothing like what a conventional one would look like.

Fortunately there are ways to get the flavour of a cinnamon bun without all the fuss.

Muffins.  Yup.  Swirl in a hearty amount of cinnamon sugar and frost these babies with some cream cheese frosting and you will be left smiling for the rest of the day!

Valentine’s Day is coming up, why no surprise your sweetie with a lovely breakfast!

Recipe adapted from Bob’s Red Mill, Everyday Gluten Free Cookbook

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/4 cup potato starch

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil

Cinnamon swirl – 1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar

1-2 tbsp cinnamon

Icing

1/2 block Cream cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tbsp of milk or as needed

Directions

1. In a large bowl, whisk together buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, flax seeds, potato starch, baking soda and salt.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, applesauce, maple syrup and coconut oil until well blended.

3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended.

4. Divide batter equally among 12 paper lined muffin cups.

5. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon….divide and spoon over top of ¬†batter. ¬†Swirl into batter of each muffin with a spoon.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 375F and bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops are golden and a test inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

6. Mix together icing ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Spoon over cooled muffins before serving.

 

Smoothie Bowls!

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Smoothie bowls!¬† How hipster!¬† I’ve been seeing these pop up quite often over the past year or so in online blogs and in raw vegan restaurants.¬† I thought I better get into the trend and try one out!

No need to be scared….smoothie bowls are just a smoothie…in a bowl…with some toppings.

I don’t know where you live but where I live it’s been HOT!¬† I’ve not been in the mood for oatmeal the past few weeks…it’s definitely smoothie time. ¬†Have fun, experiment and get in the kitchen!

Directions:

1. Take your favourite smoothie recipe.  Blend it up and pour it into a bowl.

2. Top it with more of your smoothie ingredients or different ones entirely.

Toppings like:

Seeds (hemp, flax, chia, sunflower or pumpkin)

Nuts (walnut, toasted pecans, cashews or a drizzle of almond butter)

Fresh berries

Sliced banana or other fruit

Dried berries (goji, dates, cranberry)

Granola

Raw buckwheat groats or quick oats

 

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Whole Grain Buckwheat Pancakes (Naturally gluten free)

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I haven’t made buckwheat pancakes for AGES! ¬†Why did I wait so long, I do not know. ¬†I just received an order of a bunch a gluten free flours, including buckwheat flour. ¬†Despite the name, buckwheat is actually gluten free. ¬†It’s actually not a grain but a grass!

What I love about buckwheat flour, aside from the nutritional benefits, is that you seem to be able to use it in the same way as flour.  I can make buckwheat muffins and buckwheat pancakes without having to use other flours or starches to make the texture or flavour acceptable.

Do you have berries glore? ¬†I sure do, since it’s that time of year. ¬†Hubby and I recently went berry picking and got 14 cups of saskatoon berries in only an hour! ¬†I love free food.

I adapted the recipe from the Simple Veganista.  I also used her recipe for delicious maple nut butter syrup!  Nutritious food sure can be nutritious!

Oh and did I mention they were chocolate pancakes? ¬†ūüôā

Waffles

  • 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, or milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup light flavored olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, optional

Maple Nut Butter Syrup (serves 2)

  • 4 tablespoons almond¬†or nut butter of choice
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water + more as needed

Directions

1. Mix your nut butter syrup. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth. For thinner syrup use more water. Set aside.
2. In medium size bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt. Add nut milk, oil and vanilla, mix until combined.
3. Pour batter (about 1/3 cup per pancake) onto preheated skillet, cook until bubbles for one the first side and until the pancake is set on the second side. Keep waffles warm in a preheated oven at 200 degrees F., keep waffles on a cookie sheet until all waffles are ready.
Serve with the maple nut butter syrup and fresh berries!
 
Notes:
If using coconut oil, be sure to warm the milk or use room temp milk. Cold milk will solidify the coconut oil making it lumpy. For best results, warm the milk and coconut oil together.

Blueberry Buckwheat Muffins (Naturally gluten free)

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Happy summer everyone!¬† I don’t think I love anything better than fresh summer fruit in July and August.

Here in Northern BC summer is short but beautiful and something we look forward to all year long.  The other day on a lunchtime stroll I found (and devoured) fresh and wild saskatoon berries, strawberries and raspberries.  Bliss.

Right now there are TONS of saskatoon berries ripe for the picking in the bush.  If you have some of those on hand, by all means through them into this delicious muffin.

This recipe was taken from Bob’s Red Mill:¬† Everyday Gluten Free Cookbook.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup potato starch

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk (or dairy-free alternative mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice)

1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, oil and vanilla until well blended.  Whisk in yogurt until blended.

3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Gently fold in blueberries.

4. Divide batter equally among 12 prepared muffin cups.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 375F for 25-30 minutes.  Store at room temperature in air tight container for up to two days or freeze and thaw at room temperature.

Apricot Amaranth Bread, Whole Grain!

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Amy:

Did you know?

Amaranth is a tiny seed that dates back hundreds of years to the Aztecs in Mexico.  It offers a particularly high-quality protein and is high in fiber.  The flavour is toasty and nutty which makes it a nice alternative to nuts in a wide range of baking recipes! РCamilla V. Saulsbury, Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook

This recipe is from the cookbook Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook. ¬†I was drawn to this recipe because I have had amaranth sitting in my pantry for about a year….and I didn’t know how to use it and wasn’t inspired to figure out how! ¬†This recipe looked so easy and delicious I was excited to try it out! ¬†I love the earthy, nutty flavour that the amaranth gives this bread.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup amaranth

1/3 cup ground flax seeds

1 cup boiling water

1 2/3 cup amaranth flour

1/3 cup potato starch

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup liquid honey

1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

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Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine apricots, amaranth, flax seeds and boiling water. Let stand for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350¬įF (180¬įC).

3. In a large bowl, whisk together amaranth flour, potato starch, ginger, baking powder and salt.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, coconut oil and vanilla until well blended.

5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended.  Stir in the apricot mixture until just blended.

6. Spread batter evenly in a greased 9X5 inch metal loaf pan.

7. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool completely.

Store tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months.

Banana Quinoa Muffins, Whole Grain

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Amy:

This recipe is one that I tried from my new cookbook Bob’s Red Mill: Everyday Whole Grain Cookbook.

I’ve never tried to bake with quinoa flour before! ¬†It’s a wonder flour to use because it is mild tasting, is high in protein and gives the muffins a nice richness and earthy flavour without tasting “off” like some other flour mixtures.

I’m pleased that I don’t have have to use a mixture of starches, rice flours or use refined grains! ¬†I chose to take out the sugar in this recipe and rely on the sweetness of the bananas and added some chocolate chips because….why not?

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups quinoa flour

1/3 cup ground flax seeds

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed very ripe bananas

1/2 cup milk or plain non-dairy milk

1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil or olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup chocolate chips

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Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, flax seeds, baking powder and salt.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, bananas, milk, coconut oil and vanilla until well blended.

3. Add the egg mixtures to the flour mixture and stir until just blended.

4. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups.  Grease muffins tin or spray muffin papers.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 400¬įF (200¬įC)¬†for 18 to 23 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. ¬†Let cool in pan on wire rack for 3 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Or wrap them in plastic wrap, then foil in the freezer for up to 6 months.