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Hearty Breakfast Cookies

breakfast cookies 231

My boys are addicted to Kashi bars, as in a nearly 3 box a week habit.  This spells challenge to me, I had to see if I could make something comparable at home.  I wanted a variety of grains and to keep the sugar 8g or lower, similar to the Kashi bars.  I scoured the internet and found this recipe from Once a Month Mom.   I am partial to oat flour and I really loved her idea of using a muffin tin, such a great solution for the fruit filled bars!

We are dairy free, so I switched the butter for coconut oil, mashed banana and chia seed gel.  I wanted to get the fat down closer to the kashi bars the kids we used to, plus adding in some Omega 3’s is always a good thing!  I also reduced the sugar and varied the grains a bit, adding in some quinoa flakes and almond flour – my son has been outgrowing some of his tree nut allergies (YAY!) and his allergist wants us to incorporate these new nuts into his diet.  The almond flour adds, some protein but it also adds a good amount of fat – if you want to reduce the fat you can use another flour of your liking.

The kids really love them!  SCORE! I haven’t worked out if they cost any less with all of the specialty ingredients but I always prefer feeding the kids something from my kitchen rather than from a box.  So here we go….

Ingredients:

1.5 cups oat flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 medium banana
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
and for the simple jam:

1 cup mixed berries – fresh or thawed frozen
2 tablespoons chis seeds

 Procedure:

Start by preparing the chia seed gel, Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 1/4 cup of water and let sit for about 10 minutes or until it “gels”.   The chia seed gel is great, it can be used as an egg replacer or an oil replacer – I have read that replacing up to 1/4 of the total oil with chia gel yields no difference in taste or texture.

preparing the chia seed gel

preparing the chia seed gel

Next in a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients (oat flour, whole wheat flour, almond flour,  quinoa flakes and cinnamon.

blend the dry ingredients

blend the dry ingredients

In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, mashed banana, melted coconut oil, vanilla, honey, and chia seed gel.  Stir until combined.

Stir until combined well.

Stir until combined well.

Mix the wet into the dry.  I use a wooden spoon to get it started and then switch to my hands to get that last bit mixed in.

This is about when I switch to using my hands.  At this point I use a motion similar to kneading bread until all of the flours are combined.

This is about when I switch to using my hands. At this point I use a motion similar to kneading bread until all of the flours are combined.

I apologize for a sudden lack of pictures, I got involved in what I was doing and forgot to capture each step!

Continue mixing until you have a large ball of dough, the dough will be a bit sticky.  Place the dough ball in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up.

While the dough is firming up, puree the cup of berries and then stir in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.  Allow this to sit until it resembles the consistency of jam.

Chia Seed Jam

Chia Seed Jam

Remove the dough and divide into 36 balls, again put the dough in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.  This part is more necessary in a warm kitchen, if the dough feels workable, just keep going 🙂

Take 18 of the balls and smoosh into the bottom of a muffin cup – there is no need to grease the cups, the cookies will pop out of an un-greased pan with ease!   Fill the cups similar to how you would make a crumb pie crust, you want the sides to be higher than the center so there is a place to put the jam.

Place about 1/2 of a tablespoon (1.5 teaspoons) of jam in each depression.

Add jam to the cookie bases

Add jam to the cookie bases

Next, take the remaining 18 balls and flatten into a disc shape. Place this disc on top of the cookie base and gently press around the edges to seal.  Now is also a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees

place the disc on top

place the disc on top

press around the edge to seal

press around the edge to seal

When you have completed assembling all of the cookies, bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven when the edges begin to turn golden brown.  Let the cookie cool in the muffin pans for about 10 minutes and then pop out and enjoy!

NI - If you would like to reduce the fat, swap another grain for the almond flour.

NI – If you would like to reduce the fat, swap another grain for the almond flour.

breakfast cookies 231

A Simple Cold Rise Bread

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I started making our daily bread a few months ago, I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to the food my kids eat – especially my older son.  It can be difficult to find foods safe for his multiple allergies, so I make most things from scratch.  I have made bread in the past, but usually as a special occasion.  I enjoy the process, but it was long, involved and required me to plan my day around bread making.  A daily sandwich bread was one of the few things I bought ready-made, however it was difficult to find a bread without HFCS that was not made in a facility with tree nuts, peanuts, eggs (and our newest addition to the allergy list) dairy.   Our local grocer carried one brand of wheat bread safe for my son, but at $5 a loaf I knew I could do better.

Not only is this bread easy, but it really is delightful to walk into a kitchen smelling of warm bread – so much more satisfying than opening a plastic sleeve 🙂  An unexpected positive was that we now make smaller sandwiches .  The bread we had been buying had huge slices about 4″tall and 6″ wide, my pans are smaller resulting in a more reasonably sized slice.

I started with the basic white bread recipe in my Kitchenaid manual.  Up until now it had been stuffed in a drawer with all of the other appliance manuals I never look at,.  What me me check I have no idea, but I am glad it did because the recipe is simple, quick and I have been able to adjust it to our tastes very easily.  This recipe calls for a cold rise, you knead the dough in the kitchenaid, let it rest for 20 minutes, form it into a loaf and then set it in the fridge for 2-12 hours to rise.  All, I need is a 1/2 hour and then I can pop the uncooked loaves in the fridge until I am ready to bake, easy-peasy!

The original recipe called for all-purpose flour, sugar and butter; I replaced them with a mix of all-purpose wheat and bread flour, honey and coconut oil.

Here are the ingredients:

3.5 cups Bread Flour

2-4 cups All-Purpose Wheat Flour

3.5 tsp salt

3 packets or 2 tablespoons + 3/4 teaspoon Active Rise Yeast

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons honey

2 cups very warm water (between 120 and 130 degrees)

Procedure:

Add the bread flour and 2.5 cups of the all-purpose flour, salt and yeast to your mixing bowl.  Mix on a low speed until combined.

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Add the honey to your melted coconut oil.  It help to dip the measuring spoon in the oil before measuring out the honey.  Rather than waiting around as your honey slowly drips off the spoon, it will slide off of the oil coated spoon with ease.

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Add the honey and oil mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing at a slow speed.

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Mix at a slow speed and then, very slowly, add the hot water.

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Continue to mix at a low speed until the dough forms into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If you need to add additional flour, do so 1/2 cup at a time.  I rarely have to add anymore flour to the mix.  Knead with the dough hook for about 3-4 minutes.

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Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel, then let it rest for 20 minutes.  The dough will rise slightly.

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Divide the dough into two balls.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a rectangle shape.

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Roll up each rectangle, as you would a jelly roll.  Tuck under the ends and place seam side down into a prepared bread pan.

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Lightly brush the tops with the oil of your choice (I use coconut), cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rise for 2-12 hours.

Remove the uncooked loaves from the fridge and let rest for 10 minutes before cooking.  I turn the oven on to 400 as soon as I take the loaves out, it takes just about 10 minutes for it to pre-heat.

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Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes and transfer immediately to wire racks to cool.

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A word of caution:

You may not want to leave the cooling bread within reach of a 4 year old as you go to nurse a baby ….or you may end up with the perfect loaf of bread for making croutons.

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At first, I thought the damage was minimal, but his little fingers tunneled to both ends!  Ah well, the croutons were a nice treat 🙂

Egg Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Egg-free Chocolate Cupcake

It has been awhile since I posted to this blog, I have been focusing on my other blog, A Day in the Eats, I really wish I could incorporate the two into one!  Is there such thing as blog merges?

Anyway… we had a birthday party to attend a few weeks ago; since my son has life threatening allergies I always bring a cupcake for him.  I don’t want him to feel left-out when the other kids are elbows deep in a sugar frenzy!  It did take a few tries before coming up with a recipe for an eggless cake that rose well and tasted divine!  I wanted to use all “normal” ingredients, but in the end I had to break down and buy the Ener-G Egg replacer.  When I bought it and saw how well it worked I was a bit annoyed with myself for waiting so long!  The stuff is awesome!

These cupcakes are moist, dense and delicious!  The base recipe is the chocolate cake my Mother always made growing up, I make a few tweaks, but in essence it is the same.

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup Hershey Special Dark baking cocoa (this is safe for my peanut/tree nut/egg allergic son – always check ingredients first!  Food manufacturers do change recipes and facilities often!)

1 tsp salt

1 cup boiling water

1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 2 tbsp water

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 stick of unsalted butter

Procedure:

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt.

Sift together dry ingredients

Push the dry ingredients to the sides of the bowl, forming a well in the center.  Cut up butter and place in the center well.

Make “well” and add butter to the well.

Add boiling water over butter and mix with wire whisk, scraping the sides as you go.

Whisk Ener-G Egg Replacer and warm water together until foamy, then add to batter with vanilla, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until combined.

Mix until combined, batter will be thin.

Scoop into paper lined or greased muffin tins. filling about 3/4 of the way.  I like to use an ice cream scoop to keep things neat.

Fill muffing tins about 3/4 of the way full

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, if you wish to make this as a cake pour into a prepared 8″ pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Egg Free Cupcakes

Frost as desired and enjoy!  I like to use a basic chocolate frosting (using Hershey Regular Baking Cocoa), my Mother always made a Mocha Frosting.

Egg Free Chocolate Cake

 

I should probably mention here that I am not paid to endorse any of the products I use, they are just the ones that work for us! 🙂

Savory Key Lime Time

Key Lime Chickpeas with Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato over Quinoa

On a recent shopping trip, I fell in love with a bag of key limes.  They were so cute and tiny and only $1.99 for the pound, I had to have them!  I had visions of a key lime pie – one of my favorites, although I have never made one myself!  I came home and showed my husband my prize, when he informed me that he didn’t like key lime pie.  Hrmph.  I thought about making the pie and eating it all myself, but that would be a bad idea since then I would have to own up to it on my other blog, A Day in the Eats . Soooo, I had to come up with a savory key lime dish.  I still had a bunch of chickpeas in the fridge and a Butternut squash threatening to turn on me, it was time to experiment!

I decided to marinate and cook the chickpeas in a mix of lime juice, soy sauce and garlic, then tossed them with some sauted veggies and ate it all over some quinoa.  It was so good!  I love when a kitchen scramble of random ingredients is a success!

Ingredients:

3.5 cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup key lime juice

3/4 cup low sodium stock (chicken or veggie)

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp coconut oil (or oil of your choice)

3/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

2.5 cups butternut squash, cubed

2 cups sweet potato, cubed

Procedure:

I juiced the fresh key limes with a fork – the little cone shaped juicer I have was too big for the limes.

Juicing these babies took some time…

Combine chickpeas, lime juice, soy sauce and garlic in a pot and allow to marinate for an hour or so.

Marinating Chickpeas

Add the chicken stock and simmer together wile you prepare the veggies.

Heat a large frying pan and add the coconut oil.  Saute onion, until lightly browned.

Onions in coconut oil, one of my favorite scents!

Add the cubed sweet potatoes and butternut squash, and cook, covered over medium low heat, stirring often.

Cook until fork tender.

Combine the chickpeas and liquid with the veggies.

Add the chickpeas and liquid to the pan

Simmer until the liquid cooks away.

Get ready to eat!

Add pepper to taste!

ENJOY!

Here is the Nutritional Information, based on 6 servings:

Egg free, gluten free carrot cake

Egg free, gluten free, carrot oatmeal cake

Recently, my son watched an episode of Curious George where George makes a carrot cake.  He has been asking for carrot cake ever since!  It was a rainy and icky weekend in Upstate, NY – seemed like the perfect time to experiment! I have mentioned before that my son has several food allergies, his egg allergy is improving and as part of the “therapy” , we are supposed to give him baked goods with a small amount of egg in it.  I started out this recipe with egg, but was having difficulty with getting the baking time just right, as a result one of the test cakes resulted in a small allergic reaction.  He had one bite of a cake that contained one egg and ended up with hives on his back.  He didn’t seem to mind because it meant he got to hang out with Mom past his bedtime watching Shrek, while Mom made sure the benedryl was enough and the reaction didn’t get worse.  After that little episode I decided, no eggs in this cake!

Well, for this one it seems the third time was the charm!  We had a nice moist (and thoroughly cooked!) cake!  To top it off I added a lightened up cream cheese frosting, I reduced the sugar a bit and cut the cream cheese with nonfat greek yogurt.  My 3 year old happily licked the beaters, he didn’t seem to notice the change at all 🙂

So, here goes:

This cake can also be gluten free if you buy the proper oats.  Many oats are mixed with flour during processing there are some oats certified to be gluten free.

Ingredients:

1.25 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup nonfat, plain greek yogurt

2/3 cups milk (I use 2%)

1.5 cups oat flour (it takes about 2 cups of rolled oats to make the oat flour)

2 tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp baking soda

0.5 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup finely grated carrots, packed (3-4 average sized carrots)

1 8oz can crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup mashed banana

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the 1.25 cups rolled oats, yogurt and milk in a bowl and set aside to soak.

Mix them up and let them soak!

In another bowl, or large measuring cup, combine the oat flour (to make oat flour process rolled oats in a food processor or blender until they resemble a coarse flour), baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Grate your carrots, using a fine grater.

In a third bowl combine the carrots, pineapple, banana, brown sugar, coconut oil and vanilla extract.  Add the carrot mixture to the soaking oat mixture and combine well. Next, add the oat flour mixture and combine.  The batter will be very thick.  Divide the batter between two greased 9″ round cake pans and bake for 20-23 minutes.

When the cake pans are cool enough to handle, turn the cakes out and cook completely on wire racks.

cooling cakes

Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting is lighter and softer than your traditional cream cheese frosting.  To keep calories down, I chose to only frost the top and between the layers.  If you like more frosting on your cake you will want to double the recipe.

Ingredients:

4 oz cream cheese at room temperature (you could probably use Neufchâtel  to lighten it up even further)

3 oz nonfat, plain greek yogurt

2.5 oz powdered sugar, sifted

Procedure:

I apologize for the lack of pictures here, just as we got to making the frosting my son heard his friend playing outside ….the baking pace had to be picked up a bit to get out and play!  Mixer shots, really aren’t all that exciting anyway 🙂

Add the cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until smooth.  Add the yogurt and continue to whip until well combined and smooth. Sift the sugar into the mixer bowl, starting out on a slow speed incorporate the sugar into the cream cheese mixture.  Once incorporated whip the frosting to desired texture.

Frost as desired!

Egg free, gluten free carrot oatmeal cake.

Here is the nutritional info for 1/12 of the cake:

and for 1/12 of the frosting recipe:

Crunchy Granola bars – peanut free!

Crunchy, yummy granola bars!

My husband loves those Nature Valley Oats and Honey granola bars, unfortunately they are not safe to keep in the house because or our son’s allergies.  I have been trying to find a replacement for him but, I haven’t found any granola bars, crunchy or chewy, which are safe for us!  Luckily, I enjoy playing around in the kitchen!   I have been playing with different ideas for a few months, usually the bars are pretty good, good enough for the 3 y/o at least, but not the sweet granola my dear husband is craving!  These ones came together beautifully!  My husband, who is not impressed by much,  refused to share his granola bar with our 14 month old.  Who can say “no” to a little blonde, dimpled boy who is turning on the charm????  Apparently, the granola bars are that good!

These bars are peanut free, egg free and could easily be tree nut (sub out another oil for the coconut oil, or talk to your allergist, not all consider coconut to be a tree nut) and gluten free (you can buy certified gluten free oats and oat cereal).

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats, toasted

1/3 cup rolled oats, untoasted

1/3 cup quinoa flakes (if you cannot find quinoa flakes, double the oats)

2/3 Cheerio type cereal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

Procedure:

To toast your oats, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the oats out on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring them around every few minutes.

Spreading the oats out to be toasted

While the oats are toasting, add the untoasted oats and quinoa flakes to a food processor or blender and process until they become a course flour.  Next, add the oat cereal in the processor to break them up, just a bit.

Quinoa and oat flour mix with broken cereal bits

Combine the flour and cereal mixture with the toasted oats.

In a separate bowl, combine honey, brown sugar, coconut oil and vanilla.  Mix well.

Mix the wet ingredients in to the dry and combine.

Line a 9×13 pan with a sheet of parchment, press the granola mixture into the pan.   I like to use the smooth side of a meat mallet to really compress the mixture!

Compress those oats!

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until nicely golden brown.

Let the granola cool for about 10 minutes before cutting them into bars.

ENJOY!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Waffles

Pumpkin Oatmeal Waffles with mixed berries

My 3 year old, Wilson, has been on a waffle kick; every morning he wants waffles and milk for breakfast.  Perhaps it was our recent addition of eggs into the waffles, making them far more yummy, but the same old waffle gets boring and is rather nutritionally lame!  I started looking at the recipe I use, from the yellow gourmet cookbook, it calls for 1.5 sticks of butter – that is a lot of butter!  In the past I have used applesauce as a sub for oil, so I thought, “why not pumpkin”?  We are major pumpkin lovers in this house, maybe even pumpkin worshipers.  It is such a yummy squash, savory or sweet, it is awesome.  I ended up dropping the butter completely and replaced it with 1/3 cup of coconut oil and 1 cup of pumpkin puree, I also replaced some of the wheat flour with oat flour.  After making this batch of waffles, I have been on a waffle kick right along with my son!

Here is what you do:

Ingredients:

1.5 cups flour

1.5 cups oat flour (use a food processor to maker flour from rolled oats, it takes about 2 cups of rolled oats to make 1.5 cups of oat flour)

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon vanilla

3.5 cups nonfat buttermilk, shaken

3 eggs lightly beaten

Procedure:

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl

Dry ingredients

In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients

Mix the wet into the dry and allow to rest for a minute.  The batter will be slightly thick.  Scoop batter in a heated and greased waffle iron, I like to use an ice cream scoop!  Allow the waffles to cook for a minute or two beyond when the waffle iron stops steaming.

Enjoy your waffles with syrup, berries or on their own!  These waffles freeze very well!  I let them cool on a wire rack and then put in a ziplock bag to freeze.  Reheat in the toaster!

Pumpkin Oatmeal waffles with butter and maple syrup

..and the berries again, this is my favorite way to eat them!

Each waffle has about:

110 calories, 4 grams of fat (3 saturated), 24 mg cholesterol, 180mg of Sodium, 1g of fiber, 3g of sugars, 4 g of protein, 32% of Vit A, 8% of calcium, 1% of Vit C and 6% of iron.

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