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!

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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!

tropical tease yonanas

have you guys seen this thing yet?

it makes what this primal crowd of mine calls “bananas ice cream”. yes, it makes nearly the same product that we do in our blender, but with a superior result. also, i don’t like to waste the use of my blender (which is old, yucky, hard to clean, and limited on its final days) on frozen bananas. at times, it takes my blender 5 or so minutes just to make one serving of bananas ice cream, stopping the blender frequently to mash the bananas into the blade.

flash to yonanas. this thing is awesome. i’m not normally impressed with single item specific devices, but i love this. what a healthy way to push non-dairy treats into our ice cream heavy diets. let’s not forget how wonderful this could be with a waffle breakfast! -i’m just sayin!

it comes with a recipe book, though every “recipe” is flexible, and making your own up is totally legit.

blend cocoa sprinkled frozen bananas for chocolate yonanas.

blend it with any other favorite fruit that is frozen for a sorbet.

spread into the bottom of a pie tin lined with your favorite crust for ice cream pie.

between 2 grain free cookies or brownies for a sandwich.

throw in fresh mint for mint ice cream.

pour booze over it like grandma did for “kahlua ice cream”. (she has the good ideas!)

visit the website to learn more about this wonderful little gadget!

the recipe we enjoyed tonight was tropical tease. really simple, and super tasty. this was incredibly refreshing on a hot night, i think it would be a relief on a super hot afternoon playing out in the sun. oh, and don’t skip the coconut!

this recipe is taken directly from the yonanas recipe page. there is a wealth of simple, delicious, and incredibly nutritious recipes on that site. enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 frozen ripe bananas, 1⁄2 cup frozen pineapple chunks, 1⁄2 cup frozen mango chunks, 1⁄4 cup shredded coconut

Directions:
1. Insert one frozen banana
2. Add 1⁄2 cup frozen pineapple
3. Add 1⁄2 cup frozen mango
4. Insert second frozen banana
5. Stir pineapple mango Yonanas into bowl to combine
6. Sprinkle shredded coconut on top of Yonanas

if you’re feeling a little wacky, put your yonanas into your favorite gluten free/grain free cone!

why whole 30?

whole 30 is everywhere these days. everyone is doing a whole 30 challenge, people who started out primal, paleo, gluten-free, just plain ‘ol clean eaters… everyone from everywhere! just surf the blogs and you’ll see an endless supply of people challenging themselves. i think it is a great trend! i’m proud i was a part of the challenge.

why, though, the sudden popularity? after all, the “quest” has been around for sometime. i can’t even speculate why now. i have no idea why. i do, however, like to look at how people are applying it to their lives, and if they stick with it. also, what kind of changes are they making in their kitchen AFTER the 30 days are up?

personally, as i publicized on my blog, my journey was pretty typical. i didn’t paleofy foods. i didn’t make paleo cereals and granola for myself. i didn’t make exceptions. i didn’t plan on slip-ups. i did need some extra carbs because i am nursing, so i had some homemade tapioca flat bread every once in a while. also, i allowed myself coffee, but never used a drop of dairy.

this was all part of the challenge. i was far too dependant on sweet fruits, dairy, and other primal, but not so healthy treats. -gluten free & fruit sweetened protein muffins, grain free, date sweetened granola, a piece of fruit after every meal for a sweet ending, cheese on my burgers, eggs, salads, and just plain cheese chunks to chow on…

why? my body doesn’t need these things (treats) i began to depend on. it was time to simplify my diet. time to eat earth foods, and not in excess. no paleofying. the whole point of my whole 30 was to cleanse my body of the habits of treats. that is why grain-free granola was a no-no for me. yes, all of the ingredients were whole 30 approved, but put all of those ingredients together and it becomes a treat. the idea of depending on a “treat”, regardless of the ingredients, was training myself to depend on treats! this is why i was very strict with myself on sweets, even fruits. yeah, tapioca flat bread is pushing it, but i’ll stand by it. mommies who breastfeed need carbs.

this is my reasoning for whole 30. everyone has their own reason, everyone has something to cleanse from their plate. something that they have become dependent on, even if we don’t want to admit it. maybe we’ve never said it out loud. maybe you are just thinking, “this food doesn’t seem like real food..” .. if that sounds like something you have pondered before, consider a change. remove it. replace it with something real. something that came from the earth, and doesn’t come in a package.

whole 30 is a SELF INFLICTED CHALLENGE. if i diverted from the plan, i was cheating myself. there were no diet police who would catch me. i could sneak a piece of cheese any time i was left alone in the kitchen. i never even considered it, though. honest to goodness!

cheating comes in many forms, though. maybe all of the ingredients are real: nuts, dates, coconut.. mix it all together, and it is cereal. but the end product is an idea of the standard american diet. cereal is cereal is cereal. a muffin is a muffin is a muffin. treats are just that. and yes, vegetarians would have a difficult time on whole 30. the only thing i can think of for protein, aside from just eating meat, is nuts and seeds. but hey, have you ever read the ingredients for “meatless ground”? what the hell is all that stuff? is it even food? no offense, veggies, but i wouldn’t even feed that stuff to my chickens! be careful! read labels! consider a whole 30 challenge, and figure out a way to make it work for you!

read about whole 30 by clicking this link: WHOLE 30

read more about cheating on WHOLE 30 here: swpo

to make things easier for you, there is a free meal planning template on the site. you have almost a full month until the next whole 30 starts, so you can start planning now and get moving on your self-challenge!

here are a few habits i have changed since my whole 30 ended:

i drink coffee slowly, with only 2/3 the caffine that i used to have.

i drink coffee with coconut milk, not dairy.

i eat carbs in moderation.

i eat a small bit of rice now, i did realize that my body does better with a little rice in my diet.

i eat cheese on cheeseburgers, not on everything that i eat.

i don’t use fruit as a reward, or any food for that matter. i stick with a “food is fuel” policy, though at special occasion will have a healthy treat. -anyone try yonanas yet?! holy toledo!!

lost after Whole 30?

no way.

banging my way around in the dark, figuring out which room to enter next?

yes.

yes.

yes.

now that i’ve completed my challenge successfully, i don’t want to mess too much with a good thing. i have developed wonderful eating and snacking habits. now, if the only snack around at work is an old jar of sweetened almond butter, i just don’t snack. i have learned to dismiss light acts of hunger and wait for a real wave of it before i eat mindlessly. i wish to grow that habit.

but i missed some things.

i missed gf pretzels. so what did i eat tonight with my big salad for dinner? some gf pretzels.

i missed out on grain free brownies yesterday made for me by my coworker. so what did i snack on at work all day? grain free brownies. ok, i may have overdone the brownies.

my point is, i’m still figuring out how tightly i wish to incorporate my new self-knowledge into my lifestyle.

for sure, i will be WAY less reliant on dairy. no cheese on salads. cheese is for cheese burgers. no more 3 days a week of yogurt for lunch. more like if i’m in a pinch. i will make ice cream from coconut milk instead of dairy, unless it is a special occasion. i will not be eating pancakes every weekend, maybe just stick to a monthly routine.

i will still eat copious amounts of sweet potatoes.

i will still fry eggs in ghee.

i will make plantains more often instead of tortillas.

i will not make gluten-free pasta any more. seriously.

i will not eat chebe every day. maybe i’ll make it every 2 weeks or so, but i don’t need to make a weekly batch (even though i love it so much).

this change could not have come at a better time. we are moving this weekend. this calls for a pantry clean-out. big stuff! should i throw away my collection of rice noodles, or finish them off ceremoniously? should i throw away my gf pretzels and grain-free cheesy crackers, or enjoy them till the bottom of the bag? what am i supposed to do with this stuff? snuggle it until it’s time to let go, or get it out now, cold turkey?

this reminds me of when i decided to quit smoking.

that is sad, and means i need to make a change, and i need to make decisions quick so i keep my momentum going strong!

any advice on what to do with the vices that are already in the pantry?

Whole 30, day 30!

last day.

i just finished my last meal.

it was a successful journey, unless, that is, i give up at 11pm and have a G&T. no, i’m not going to, but funny to think how something so tiny and screwball would negate my whole month! today was my going away party at work, they made grain-free brownies for me, and almost ruined my 30 day challenge. i will eat some tomorrow at lunch!

anyhow, i wish i could be more speechy about the whole thing, but i’ll give it all to you in a matter of short detail.

i missed gluten-free pretzels, which are my one and only non-primal treat that i ever eat. i plan on finishing the half-bag in the pantry, then being done with it. now i know i can get rid of them. now i know that i don’t need snacks that aren’t real food. i love them, i do. crunchy, snappy, salty, filling…  they do digest very well for me, but it is time to get rid of this unnecessary carbohydrate.

i missed gin, and i missed it fierce. alcohol, in general, i missed. but really, gin is so sweet in my soul, i am thrilled to have one soon. what a delight, the bright, piney flavor, crystal clear in a glass with sparkly tonic. citrus wedge off to the side for palate cleanse, and to sweeten the deal. relaxing after a hard work day, refreshing on a hot summer day. what a mild crutch i have.
GIN!

i love lean meats now. i used to really dislike them, but as much steak, pork loin, and chicken we’ve had was a great reminder of how well it can come out when cooked properly. also, lean meats digest better, it turns out!

i miss pancake breakfasts sundays. maybe this should be more of a monthly thing for our family, i really don’t think i need all that maple syrup. i can’t believe i’m saying that.

i don’t need yogurt any more. i like it, but in perspective, it is what i missed the least, along with dairy cream.

i need to eat cheese now, though. sharp, stinky cheddar at warm temperature on a hot burger.. need soon.

i am loving coconut milk/cream in my coffee. i may keep this tradition. we’ll see.

breakfast: sweet potato hash, 2 eggs, 2 bacons. coffee with coconut milk.

snack: banana with macadamia nuts.

lunch: salad with a chicken breast, a peach, dressed with leftover MOJO.

dinner: steak stir-fry and kelp noodles.

snack: fist of sunnyseeds (brian was eating brownies in front of me, so something in my brain triggered an “eat” signal.. it was strange)

results: i didn’t eat brownies, ok.. that’s a great day. they were in front of me. they were chocolatey. they were loaded with almonds.. i was so close to calling it the 29 day challenge, but what the heck would that be? uncool.

other than the fist of sunnyseeds, it was a proud day. and so far as the BIG PICTURE goes, i have completed my challenge. amazing. i never thought i could do it until i spontaneously decided to do it!

special thanks to matt for lighting the fire with a passing comment a month or so ago! i now know that i can do this, easy.

another special thanks to brian, my husband. although he refused (REFUSED) to do whole 30 (even though i know he could do it), he supported me. he asked questions and kept me interested, and kept my on track that one time we went to the wine bar. he didn’t allow me one peck at a glass. -and it’s hard to keep me away from wine!

thanks to all who put up with my pouting, sighing, eye-rolling, and bad attitude whilst in presence of you eating ice cream. why you did that in front of me? i have no idea. but thanks for not telling me to shut up when i talked about how sweet nuts taste to me now, and how “fruit is too sugary, just imagine how sugary and bad for you ICE CREAM is”. i was jealous.

MOJO

this recipe goes out to my good buddy, whom we had over last night for cuban pork and plantain. he loved the meal, but i think it was the dipping sauce, MOJO, that really stood out to him! i promised i would post the recipe asap, so here it is, scott!

this tart, spicy sauce will knock the socks off of your next batch of plantains. i also think it would be amazing poured over a hamburger or baked potato. it would also make the PERFECT dressing for any steak or fine cut of grilled, smoky meat.

it is one of the best things to come out of cuba, so add it to your “awesome sauce’em” list, and pull it out for guests, or even just sunday night spice-ups. i’m having it to dress my salad for lunch this afternoon!

you can add as much or as little spice as you’d like here, but a lot is the way to go!!

this recipe makes about 8 servings for dipping, or enough to marinate a giant pork butt if you choose to use it as a marinade.

MOJO

1/3 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced finely

2/3 cup sour orange juice, if you can’t locate this juice in your store, equal parts OJ:fresh squeezed lime juice.

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp pepper flakes

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup chopped cilantro, to serve

method: get oil warm/hot over medium heat. do not let it roll!

add garlic and let it cook for 20 seconds before stirring the juice in, along with the spices. do not let garlic brown, you only need to cook it briefly or it will turn bitter.

cook for 5 minutes or so, allowing it roll gently & keeping it stirred well. taste and add more juice or spices as you see fit.

chill.

stir cilantro into cooled MOJO and serve cold.

seriously, people. this stuff is CRAZY good!