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!

Groaning Cake (Postpartum Muffins)

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Our family is in the middle of a baby boom right now.

My sister and brother-in-law just welcomed their first baby into our family two weeks ago, she’s the sweetest little girl! She’s the first grand-baby in our family. My sister-in-law and brother will be welcoming their first baby around the middle of July! ¬†I’ll be adding to the group around the beginning of August with our first baby as well!

Three babies in 11 weeks. And no, we didn’t plan it that way. ¬†Life has a funny way about it sometimes but needless to say there are fun times ahead!

With all the babies arriving soon, you can very well imagine what most conversations revolve around. ¬†Babies, babies, babies and everything to do with babies. ¬†Since Tabitha and I are both dietitians, we talk about nutrition a lot too. ¬†Nutrition during pregnancy, how to prevent stretch marks and prepare our bodies for birth, nutrition in breastfeeding….you get the idea.

One wonderful book that influenced my thoughts around birth is called The Birth House by Ami McKay. ¬†It follows a young woman as she learned the skills needed as a midwife and serves the woman of a Nova Scotia town in the early 1900’s. ¬†This was a pivotal time in midwifery history during which women were struggling to maintain control of their bodies with the advancement of modern medicine.

One of the traditions mentioned in this book is the “groaning cake”. ¬†I’ve added the excerpt from the book below (see more here):

Groaning Cake
The tradition of the groaning cake, or kimbly at (or following) a birth is an ancient one. Wives‚Äô tales say that the scent of a groaning cake being baked in the birth house helps to ease the mother‚Äôs pain. Some say if a mother breaks the eggs while she‚Äôs aching, her labour won‚Äôt last as long. Others say that if a family wants prosperity and fertility, the father must pass pieces of the cake to friends and family the first time the mother and baby are ‚Äúchurched‚ÄĚ (or the first time they go to a public gathering) after a birth. Many cultures share similar traditions‚Ķa special dish, bread, or drink, spiced with cinnamon, all spice, and/or ginger. At one time there was even a ‚Äúgroaning ale‚ÄĚ made to go with it‚Ķ

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If time allows during my early labour, I plan on making a groaning cake to eat before and after birth and to offer to my wonderful birth team. ¬†I’ll also have some in the freezer ready to go if my plan doesn’t work out.

Of course I had to tweak the recipe to amp up the nutrition. ¬†Let me tell you why it’s a good choice for pregnancy and postpartum:

  • Fiber – a pregnant and postpartum mom’s best friend. ¬†I’ve added oat bran and flax seed to really pump this up. The grated apple helps with this as well.
  • Protein – 3 eggs and ground nuts make this higher in protein than typical muffin recipes. ¬†This is important for development of your baby and also recovery after birth.
  • Iron – black strap molasses is a source of iron, helpful for preventing anemia in pregnancy and boosting iron stores after birth. ¬†The orange juice helps you absorb this iron as well.
  • Oils – one effective way to help prevent stretch marks and tearing during birth is to boost the amount of healthy fats in your diet. ¬†This improves the integrity of your skin to allow for better stretching. ¬†These muffins are quite moist with oil both from the grape seed oil as well as the fats from the ground nuts.
  • Energy – during the last few months there doesn’t seem to be a lot of room left for the stomach but energy needs are high. ¬†These muffins pack in a lot of energy and nutrition in a small package. ¬†After birth these are a perfect snack to fill you up.

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat bran, certified wheat free
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats, wheat free
  • 1 cup gluten free flour mixture (such as this one)….or use regular flour if you don’t need to eat gluten free
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pecans, walnuts or other nuts, ground
  • 1 1/2 cup apple (around 2 apples worth), peeled and grated

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup black strap molasses
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar or honey


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare 2 9X5 inch loaf pans by lining with parchment paper or line 18 muffin tins.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Coarsely grind up nuts in the food processor, add into bowl. Grate apple or roughly chop in the food processor as well.  Add apple to the dry ingredients and mix to coat well.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, beat eggs. Add oil, orange juice, molasses, sugar and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until set.
  5. As with any gluten free baking, if not eating that day, freeze in an airtight container until ready to eat.  Defrost on the counter for a couple hours.

Enjoy!

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Chipas! South American Cheese Bread (naturally GF)

1934383_252833860547_4494028_nMyself (right) and a friend eating authentic chipas on a bus in Asuncion, Paraguay in 2009! This was six year ago but I can still remember how amazing they tasted!¬† It’s a common and expected occurrence for street vendors to climb aboard tour buses and sell chipas out of giant baskets.

Chipas (pronounced chee – pahs) are cheese flavoured rolls that are a cheap street food in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. ¬†Chipas are made with cassava/tapioca starch which is a common root grown and eaten in Paraguay. ¬†They also call this root ¬†“manioc” and we were served it boiled a few times for a meal, like a potato. ¬†Manioc or cassava is what is used to make tapioca.

Chipas are really easy to make. ¬†I actually saw them in the store frozen selling for $10 for a dozen! ¬†Like anything you make in your kitchen, these are going to be a fraction of the cost and will taste far better.¬† My uncle actually e-mailed me yesterday saying he saw another company selling this product on Shark Tank for distribution to grocery stores in Canada.¬† It’s catching on!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 egg (preferably at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup olive or grape seed oil
  • 2/3 cup milk or unflavored milk alternative
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup (packed) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400¬įF. Grease a mini-muffin tins very well with oil.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a blender to combine well.  The batter comes out very watery looking.  Divide among muffin cups.
  3. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until all puffy and  lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes.
  4. Pop them out of the muffin cups with a spoon.

Note:  These are best when you eat them warm (you can reheat them later in the microwave)

This recipe makes enough batter for 24 mini muffin size chipas.

 

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Millet, a whole grain side dish

Millet

When I shared with my co-worker that I tried cooking millet the other day for dinner, her reaction was….”Isn’t that what they put in bird seed?”.¬† Ummm….yes actually.¬† In North America anyway.

Millet is technically a “seed” not a grain which happens to be gluten free and quite nutritious.¬† This crop is very popular in Africa and tropical parts of Asia due to it’s short growing season and that¬†it needs hot and dry climate.

Did you know that different types of¬†millet have been cultivated for over 10,000 years?¬† I also learned that sorghum (another grain I’ve been using) is¬†in the millet family as well!

Millet is popular in African countries, China, India and even in Russia.  Millet can be enjoyed as a sweet dish such as porridge or savory along with meat or bean dishes.

I cooked it up like rice, served it with a nice “saucy” dish and then had it for lunch the next day.¬† Hubby liked it too, it’s a nice change from our starch staples and helps diversify out nutrition too!¬† Millet is a “thirsty” grain though, and continues to absorb water as it sits.¬† Having it with a sauce for leftovers helps to ensure it’s moist and delicious.

Ingredients:

1 cup millet

2 cups water

Dash of salt

Directions:

1. Bring the water to a boil in a small pot with a tight fitting lid.

2. Add millet (rinsed), stir briefly and then cover.  Turn down to simmer or low.

3. Allow millet to steam on the stove for about 20 minutes or until moisture is absorbed.

4. Fluff with a fork and allow to sit for 5 minutes, covered.

Tender Sweet Potato Crumpets

Sweet Potato Crumpets

Tea and crumpets, how cheerful that sounds!  My Mom used to buy crumpets from the store when we were kids, usually blueberry ones and we would have them for lunch sometimes.

These technically aren’t crumpets but they taste very similar to the ones I’ve had. ¬†Traditionally they are made like a pancake in a frying pan and held in the shape of a circle by a ring as it cooks. ¬†I made these like a biscuit and they turned out wonderfully, especially with the nice moist and sweet hint of sweet potato in every bite!

These go with a cream based soup very well or can be a nice brunch accompaniment.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cups of gluten free flour mixture

Dash of salt

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup cold butter

3/4 cup milk or substitute

3/4 cup mashed and cooled sweet potato (leftovers work great)

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Mix together dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until pea sized.  Mix in mashed sweet potato.

4. Mix in milk and stir until just moistened.

5. Using a ice cream scoop, portion batter onto baking sheet making approximately 16, spaced an inch apart.  Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until slightly browned.

Serve warm.  For leftovers, reheat gently in the oven/toaster oven for 5 minutes or in the microwave until warm.

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.

Nut Butter Apple-wich

Applewich

Here is another super quick and easy breakfast or snack idea to add to your routine. ¬†So quick, easy and kid friendly! ¬†Grab an apple, your favourite choice of nut butter and munch away! ūüôā

Ingredients:

Apple cut horizontally into thick slices, remove any big core pieces

Nut or seed butter of your choice

Directions:

Slice, spread, devour!

 

 

Afternoon Snacks at Work

Tabitha:

Did you know that March is Nutrition Month in Canada?¬† This year – the theme is “Eating 9 to 5” – which addresses eating at the workplace.¬† Most Canadians admit that eating at work can be a challenge.¬† Yesterday – to celebrate National Dietitians Day – my colleague and I created a taste test of some healthy snacks for our work mates.¬† Of course it went over well – who doesn’t like free food?¬† But the point was to offer some suggestions for alternatives to typical unhealthy snacks.

Here is what we served:

Instead of coffee – Lime and Cucumber infused water

Instead of fat and sugar filled muffins – Pumpkin, Cranberry, Oatmeal cookies

Energy boosting snacks: Greek Salad on a Stick and Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

Fibre boosting snack: Black Bean Salsa

 

Healthy afternoon snacks
Healthy afternoon snacks

The water is simple to make – simply add slices of lime and cucumber to your water bottle for a fresh twist. Dehydration can cause you to be sluggish in the afternoon and can sometimes be mistaken as hunger.

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The kabobs were also very simple.

Greek salad on a stick Рwe put a cherry tomato, piece of feta cheese, a slice of cucumber and a black pitted olive.  Add a drizzle of Greek salad dressing if you desire.

Fruit and cheese kabobs Рwe put pineapple, cheddar cheese, raspberry and a red and green grape on a skewer.  The colours looked very appealing!

I will add the recipe for black bean salsa and the cookies in a following post.