baby banana blueberry pancakes

ok, where have i been… i get it. well in the last 8 months, i have lived in 4 different homes in 3 different cities, raised an almost walking baby, quit my job, gotten rid of my chickens and 3 cats… i’ve just been busy. leave me alone!!

so now that we have bought the home that we will be in for a loooong time, i’m ready to use a kitchen again, and call it mine.

juniper is now eating like a sweet little piglet. at 6 months or so, we started giving her purees like avocado, banana, sweet potato… things i would all make in my baby magic bullet. i started really having a blast making her baby food., getting creative with combos like peas, spinach, and parmesan cheese, or sweet potato with cinnamon and coconut butter…. then it happened. we took her to a greek restaurant where we let her lick humus off of a carrot chip, taste our lamb, suck on the buttery broccoli….. and that was it.

she quit eating baby food that day. THAT DAY.

now she will only eat what she can pick up on her own.. meatloaf, meatballs, cheese, sausage, eggs, cut up fruit, gluten-free pasta,… it is sooo much fun, but really hard to remember that she needs different nutrients than we do. extra iron is a big concern of mine, along with extra fiber.

anyway, i decided to start making her quick, easy pancakes in the morning that didn’t have a lot of baking ingredients, to make it easy for her cute little belly to digest. these pancakes are delicious. i make a batch on sunday, then heath them through the week.
juniper loves loves loves them. she gobbles them up faster than i can dish them out!

these are a little more delicate in the pan than “flour” based pancakes, so be ginger with them when you flip. they do set up very nicely, but are a little jiggly before cooked through. adding about a tsp or arrowroot or tapioca starch will help these hold up MUCH better for flipping, but it is not necessary. coconut flour should also do the trick, but i have not tried yet!!

ingredients

1 small/medium ripe banana

2 eggs

2 tbsp flax meal

1-2 tsp arrowroot or tapioca starch (optional)

3 tbsp blueberries

dash of cinnamon

dash of vanilla

method: using a blender, magic bullet, or baby bullet, combine all ingredients EXCEPT for the blueberries until frothy and smoothly mixed.

allow batter to sit for 5 minutes so the flax soaks up a little liquid.

heat a skillet over medium heat. spread a little high heat oil, such as safflower, to the pan to get hot.

pour a little batter into the oiled skillet. sprinkle blueberries over pancake. allow it to set up, bubbles coming through to show it is cooked through.

flip!

cook other side until cooked., maybe a minute or so. continue until batter is gone. store in container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

now enjoy this picture of little juniper at the beach!

sweet potato waffles, nut free

someone i know… ok, myself… i love sweet potatoes so much. i eat them most mornings for breakfast with dippy eggs and bacon.

i love sweet potatoes in sweet applications, too. just ask my mom. between dad’s cranberries and mom’s buttery cinnamon sweet potatoes over thanksgiving, i was a happy, full-bellied eater.

this waffle recipe follows the same guidelines as my banana waffles recipe, swapping the pureed banana for half a cup of sweet potato puree. the same thing can happen with pumpkin puree. just follow the ratios!

i don’t like a soggy, rubbery waffle. i want my waffles super crisp on the outside, moist and stretchy on the inside. i want them to taste like real waffles. these waffles are exactly that, and have such a crisp, light crust on the outside, they almost seem yeasted. the tapioca flour is what is responsible for those textures. i like to use whey protein powder instead of coconut flour because i like extra protein in the morning, but coconut flour works the exact same in this recipe and produces a wonderful flavor. if you use coconut flour, think of adding a tablespoon of maple syrup to sweeten the deal.

schmear of warm cream cheese or neufchatel cheese, and drizzle of warmed, real maple syrup.. i insist. … -don’t skip it! melted coconut butter, toasted pecans, and whatever else you can dream up would be acceptable to have with these waffles. bacon on the side balances out the sweetness with salty protein., and a little sausage wouldn’t be a bad idea either!

just look at how orange the inside of these things are. such a yummy, healthy treat. one serving of sweet potato (1/4 cup) contains an entire day’s worth of vitamin A for your eyes and for your immune system. learn more about the magic of the sweet potato by clicking here.

this would make a wonderful addition to the holiday breakfast table.

whatever you do, don’t skip the cream cheese and syrup. i’m warning you..

sweet potato waffles

1/2 cup sweet potato puree (fresh or canned)

2 eggs, beaten

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp whey protein powder or coconut flour

4 tbsp tapioca flour

2 tbsp flax meal

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

method: plug your waffle maker in and coat the surface with oil. allow to heat up for at least 5 minutes, or according to the manufacture’s instructions.

combine all wet ingredients in a medium bowl.

separately, combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

combine the 2 in a bowl or pyrex with a pouring spout, if you have it. stir well to form a runny batter. allow to set for 5 minutes to let all of the wet soak into the dry.

pour batter into waffle maker, close the lid, and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. i like to wait until the steam slows to check the waffles.

carefully remove waffles and serve with desired toppings.

*note* while the batter is setting up, i like to place a hunk of cream cheese or neufchatel cheese in the microwave on super low setting for a few seconds to soften it. additionally, i like to place my cold bottle of maple syrup in a bowl of hot water to warm the syrup. this takes 20 minutes or so, so start doing this before you prepare the batter.

spectacular cranberries

my favorite, and my dad’s favorite, cranberries over plain yogurt and bananas

my dad made cranberries for thanks giving this year, and boy, were they something special. i don’t normally think  that cranberries are something to brag about, just a repeat condiment at the holiday table. i can’t believe i doubted my dad in this manner! i couldn’t stop pawing at these little jewels. i took home a half-gallon or so, and it took all of 3 days for me to polish them off. i had eaten them every single day until the jar was sadly empty. they are warmly spiced with freshly ground cloves and cinnamon, and sweetened with honey. there is some surprise flavor combination lurking in there, but i just can’t put my finger on it. i just know it draws me in to more. they are pleasantly tart, but sweet enough to eat as a light dessert. i have been enjoying them on chicken, in salads, on sandwiches with gluten-free bread, stirred into plain yogurt, and eaten straight out of the jar.

cranberries over pork tenderloin salad

do yourself a favor and make these cranberries for your holiday dinners, or even just to have sitting around to use up throughout the week. they are a healthy way to feel like you are indulging, and a welcome leftover to have in the house afterward!

this is a really big recipe, so if you are not making these for a party, i recommend cutting the recipe in half, or making the large batch and keeping a reserve in the freezer.

note, too, that juniper just LOVED these cranberries. i don’t let her eat sugar, but this was special. plus, it was brown sugar, so it has some antioxidants in it!

in my dad’s own words, here is the magic recipe!

large recipe:
3- 12 oz. bags of cranberries
3- 8 oz. cups of orange juice (any kind)
1- 8 oz. cup of packed unrefined brown sugar
1- tbsp. ground cloves
1- tbsp. ground cinnamon
Add cranberries and orange juice together and bring to a simmer.
Add remaining ingredients.
Simmer and stir occasionally until berries have all popped open.
Cool in refrigerator overnight or longer.  
Will keep in refrigerator 3 weeks.

*personal favorite: serve on top of whole-bean vanilla ice cream!
**other personal favorite: serve with yogurt!

my dad has always been a great cook. he can find a few random things lying around and turn it into a treat.

i learned to make frozen grapes from dad.

i learned to make rhubarb crumble from dad.

i learned how you can grill anything. ANYTHING.

i learned that, “hey, no time to bake the french fries? BROIL them!” actually works in a pinch.

i learned how amazing peanut butter and honey are when swirled around on a warm piece of toast.

i learned what a joy a cup of hot coffee, tanned with a splash of cream, can really be on a sunday morning, spread out with the news paper.

so the message is, people, listen to your dad. he’s got all kinds of tricks up his sleeve.

loaded baked potato soup

potatoes, broccoli, ham, bacon… thank you, fall. i never crave soup during the warm seasons. does anyone? i love to feel the heat coming from the kitchen when the stove is piping in the afternoon, warm smells billowing their way through all rooms of the house. everyone knows soup is warming, comforting, and a handshake into the cold weather. we must give in. it is fall and it is cold. the wind is blustering around the corners of our house, whisteling in the morning and howling in the evening. our toes are cold on the hardwood floors, and my hands have burns on them from stirring the pot.

soup.

soup for the soul.

i didn’t need to buy many things to make this belly-warming meal. i could add things like cream cheese if i wanted, or take out things like ham if i needed to. i could omit the broccoli if i wanted, and use cooked leeks instead. i have made variations on this soup, and as long as you taste, taste, taste as you go, you can’t go wrong with the recipe i am giving you.

i like to make a big pot on sunday to have leftovers during our busy, cold week.

this recipe makes 6 large bowls of soup.

loaded baked potato soup

ingredients:

8 medium red-skinned potatoes

8 strips of bacon, plus more for garnish if you wish

1 small yellow onion

10 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced

1 cup broccoli florets

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup stock

8 oz uncured, cooked ham steak, diced

fresh herbs- rosemary, thyme or sage work really well here

1 tbsp salt + more to taste

1/2 cup greek yogurt- 0%, 2%, or full fat is fine

cheddar cheese, shredded

method: in a very large pot, boil potatoes whole until tender. they do not have to be completely cooked.

meanwhile, chop onion into smallish bits and mince garlic.

once potatoes are cooked, drain them.

use the same pot to fry bacon until crispy. remove cooked bacon and transfer to paper towels. reserve fat from bacon. sautee onions until clear. add half of the salt to the onions.

add garlic the cooked onions. cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.

add broccoli, salt, and cooked potatoes to onions and garlic. use a potato masher or other blunt object to smash up potatoes. add broth and stock. stir and cook for 15 minutes or so. smash up big bits of potato and broccoli as you go along.

once soup is heated through and broccoli is cooked until very tender, add ham. allow to cook for 5 minutes, then add herbs, salt, crumbled bacon, cream cheese and yogurt. stir well, allow to heat through.

taste the soup, add salt as you see fit. i like this soup pretty salty, but be careful. the magic is in tasting as you go, gradually.

serve soup with shredded cheddar and bacon on top. i also like to stir a small cube of cream cheese into my bowl!

save leftovers for warm lunches throughout the week.

banana waffles, nut free

i have been trying to rely less on nuts these days. don’t get me wrong, i think that almond cakes and walnut muffins are just about where it’s at, but it turns out that heating them up can make them inflammatory to the body when we consume them. i will still use them in many of my recipes, but it is time to venture out a little past the nut.

these banana waffles use tapioca and coconut flour as the base, which soak up lots of liquid and provide a light, crispy result. i have used both coconut flour or whey protein powder in this recipe, so feel free to swap them 1:1. the tapioca flour, however, can not be subbed out unless with another compatible starch, like arrowroot flour, or maybe even potato flour. flax meal provides a little more structure to these waffles, and gives them a wonderful texture without letting them feel wet.

if the finished batter seems a little thin, you can add an extra tsp or so of either flour. if it seems very thick, it can be thinned out with a little milk or yogurt. it should be similar to a slightly thin cake batter.

these have the perfect banana flavor, aroma, and sweetness. fluffy and light banana waffles like these deserve lots and lots of butter. i also piled on peanut butter and buckwheat honey. i know i have before professed my love for honey, but this is special honey. my dad gave me what might be a quarter gallon of buckwheat honey he bought on a vacation in michigan at a road side stand. i believe he may have purchased several gallons of it, because since said vacation, he has had a peanut butter and honey sandwich 5 days a week. really and truly, i’m not sure that this is exaggeration at all. when my sis and i were kiddos, if my dad didn’t have enough time to fry us a dippy egg in the morning, he would make us peanut butter and honey sandwiches for the road. we would climb into the car with our runny sandwiches and slop up the car upholstery with our clumsy, sticky fingers. really, pb & h is a flavor combination that will always remind me of dad. anyhow, thanks dad, for the honey. it was AMAZING with these waffles. let my days of pb & h sandwiches live on in memory through this grain free weekend treat!
banana waffles

serves 2

ingredients:

1 super ripe banana, worked over in the food processor or otherwise pureed

2 eggs, beaten

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp coconut flour or whey protein powder

4 tbsp tapioca starch

2 tbsp flax meal

method: plug  your waffle iron in and allow it to heat properly. generally, 5 minutes or so does the trick. it must be piping hot before you pour the batter in. brush it with oil.

combine all dry ingredients together.

separately, combine all wet ingredients together.

now combine wet with dry. whisk well. allow batter to rest for 5 minutes before using. this allows the flours to soak up the liquid, and the flax to expand and get spongy.

pour batter into hot waffle maker. cook for 2-3 minutes. no peeking. opening the waffle maker while the magic is happening makes for a sloppy mess. you can wait.

remove cooked waffles from waffle maker, serve while hot and crispy with melty butter, peanut butter, and buckwheat honey.. or whatever your pleasure!

these waffles are an awesome blank canvas to be topped with nuts, chocolate chips, almond butter, coconut butter.. whatever tickles your fancy!

Pumpkin Bread

we are all settled in at our new (temporary) home in cleveland! finally, i’ve made time to do a little baking, and started with something seasonal. i had been craving pumpkin bread since the chill in the air hit a few weeks ago, and it seemed that everyone around me was indulging. i have been unable to avoid the sights of people eating their pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin spice lattes, and all other goodies that are a major “no-no” for me.

i took my loaf pan out of the cardboard box it was packed in and got to work.

i was so excited to find a recipe using no nut flour. i am trying to cut down a little on baking with nuts, since they can be inflammatory when heated. coconut flour is so easy to digest, and is really a health-bomb all the way around. i found this beautiful recipe that the lovely coconut mama had conjured up. since i wasn’t about to dig for my smaller loaf pans, i doubled the recipe and made a few adjustments.

i am thrilled to say that this recipe was a total win. this bread is unlike other gluten-free or grain free quick breads. the texture is much more like a wheat based bread than an eggy or crumbly loaf that sometimes results from coconut flour or almond flour. it is simply perfect. i think the amount of sweetener used here is just right, so i would wait until you try it as-is before adjusting the levels of sugar added.

this is my little ramekin tester.

TIPS:

*just follow the instructions. the step using tin foil to cover the loaf is essential, don’t even think about skipping it. you would end up with a hard-as-a-rock top on your bread.

*since i doubled the recipe, i was able to pour a little extra into a medium-sized ramekin. it took 1 hour to bake. i immediately poured whole milk over it and ate the whole thing.

*use parchment paper to line the bottom of your loaf pan. trust me, your loaf will rip in half if you don’t line the pan. i don’t care how much oil you use. coconut flour sticks.

*you may wish to sweeten with something other than coconut sugar. in that case, i would just use cane or turbanado sugar. don’t attempt a liquid sweetener here. it could be fun, however, to experiment with using a few drops of stevia in place of 1/4 of the sugar.

*yes, 14 eggs.

*yes, 315f.

*as always, i would love to encourage comments regarding substitutions, adjustments, failures, and success! this is a give and take blog, so please let the readers know what this bread is really about!

pumpkin bread

(adapted from the coconut mama)

approx 12 servings

ingredients

1 cup coconut flour, sifted

1/4 cup tapioca flour (tapioca starch)

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup + 2 tbsp coconut sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

14 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 tbsp vanilla

method: grease up and line a standard loaf pan (8.5 x 3, roughly) with parchment to cover at least the bottom.

preheat oven to 315f.

begin with beating the egg whites in a large, dry bowl, until stiff peaks form. set aside while you complete the next steps.

combine the melted oil with the egg yolks, pumpkin, and vanilla. stir well.

mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

combine the dry with the wet. you will get a paste.

now fold in the egg whites.

pour into your loaf pan, then make a tent out of tinfoil to go over the loaf. this is where you may also wish to pour some batter into a ramekin, or a few muffin cups.

bake covered loaf (and other portion) for 45 minutes. remove ramekin portion, it is likely done.

remove tinfoil from loaf and continue to bake for 15 more minutes.

turn heat off after 15 minutes, and allow loaf to set up in oven, about 20 additional minutes.

loaf may now be cooled on countertop. allow a bit before removing from pan.

i love warm pumpkin bread served with cold milk poured over it. that, or a chunk of melty butter and sometimes a drizzle of maple syrup. this would be such a phenomenal treat with vanilla ice cream, also!

yes, this is a treat. enjoy a slice slowly and occasionally! the carbs, although high, are much less than most snacks are.. heck, lower than a large banana!

here are the facts per 1/12 of the loaf:

calories: 300g

carbs: 32g

protein: 9g

savory zucchini fritters

these grain-free fritters were an awesome way to start a really long day at our local amusement park. we knew we would be gone all day with nothing but junk food to rely on for filling our bellies, so i wanted to kick it off the right way. we had a zucchini lying around in the refrigerator from the farmer’s market, and didn’t want it to go to waste… viola! big, healthy, hearty breakfast for 4! we had a little sausage on the side and were fulled up all morning.

these fritters don’t need butter or gravy, they are quite moist and flavorful on their own. i really wanted a sweet zucchini bread type fritter with walnuts and maple syrup, but boy, am i glad brian talked me into savory. the cheese crisped up so nicely in the skillet, and the onions made great friends with the zucchini. trust me on this one, don’t differ from the recipe. just stick with it and modify it after you try it just once! i’d be willing, though, to say that these would probably be pretty great with mushrooms and sausage in the batter… oh yum!

garbanzo bean flour, chickpea flour, or besan is quite easy to find in most any grocery store. i use bob’s red mill brand. letting the batter sit for the initial 30 minutes or so is essential for keeping the beany flavor from overpowering the recipe and turning it into more of a savory, cheesy flavor. with a little preparation, you’ll find this to be a quick prep, easy breakfast to make. i really can’t wait to have it again next weekend! and no, these are not primal  due to the use of a bean flour, but they are very healthy, nonetheless, so i don’t feel guilty about gobbling them up every once in a while.

savory zucchini fritters

ingredients:

1 medium zucchini, shredded

1/2 small yellow or white onion, shredded

3 eggs

1/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved

2 tsp tapioca starch

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

fresh cracked pepper

method: combine milk and garbanzo bean flour and let sit for 30 minutes, up to 3 hours at room temperature and covered.

combine all ingredients together with batter.

allow batter to sit for a few minutes to thicken slightly. batter is a little thin, so don’t be alarmed, but it should not be watery. if it is watery, add a tbsp or more garbanzo bean flour until you are satisfied.

get a skillet good and hot over medium heat. pour in a glug of olive oil and allow it to get hot. you want quite a bit of oil here so the fritters crisp up.

use a 1/3 measure cup to pour batter into prepared skillet. cook until bubbles come through the top and bottom is set and golden brown. edges should be crisp, but not burnt.

flip the fritter and cook for another few minutes. keep cooked fritters in warm oven until it is time to serve.

this was the perfect amount for 4 people to have 2 fritters each, with a side of sausage.