I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember and it’s a wonderful tradition that I now love to share with my children. Both my children love it – the measuring out of ingredients, the mixing and the licking of the bowl after everything is in the oven. Think baking needs to be just sugary chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles on the top? Think again. There are so many ways to bake with lowering the sugar content and adding in nutritious ingredients like fruit or vegetables.
I’ve posted on my blog many times about some really great alternatives to traditional baked goods. Try my delicious sweet potato brownies or chocolate ginger beet and pear muffins with chocolate gaze or my apple and oatmeal bars. These all make perfect after school snacks or weekend teatime treats.
These simple muffins came about because we belong to a winter CSA where we get a weekly share of apples and pears (cue the cockney rhyming slang) and I was looking for a recipe that used fruit as a sweetener. There’s only a little but of sugar in this recipe but I think you could probably omit it entirely (except for the honey) and not notice it at all. These are easy and quick to make and taste delicious hot and fresh from the oven and keep for a couple of days in a cookie/biscuit tin too.
Apple – Banana – Oat – Raisin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup of butter)
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2 medium eggs
2 tablespoons of local honey
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup raisins
1 apple, cored and cut into very small fine pieces
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup of oats (I like jumbo oats but instant will do too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a good pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Cream together the butter and sugar and then mix in the eggs.
- Add the mashed banana and apple and honey. Mix well.
- Add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix very well. Mix in the raisins. The mixture will be fairly moist.
- Spoon into muffin liners in your muffin tin.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top is brown. Leave in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes to cool.
My kids love pancakes and they beg me to make them most mornings of the week – even though I generally end up making oatmeal and smoothies and reserve pancake eating to the weekends. I try to make whole grain or buckwheat pancakes for them with bananas or other fruit but I recently found this super easy recipe that gets its natural sweetness from just a few bananas.
Well hello, September where did you come from?
The days are cooling off, everyone is back to school and back to our work routines. After a very busy summer packing up our apartment, moving to a new home as well as traveling to Europe too, I’m definitely ready for the kids to be in school and for my regular routine to start up again.
I think the long summer holiday had done something to my brain though and I had (almost) forgotten what my kids normally eat for breakfast and packed lunch.
Healthy Mama tip: Then I remembered how useful it is to bake something and to have it handy at home.
Move over energy bars and candy: these little bites of energy are the perfect afternoon snack and pick-me-up. They are so simple to make and if you make a generous batch, you can keep them in your fridge and snack on them throughout the week. My spring and early summer detox group have been enjoying them so much, I think they are addicted to these already! I recommend eating two or three as a snack.
Chocolate Power Balls
(Makes about 10 1-inch balls. Double or triple recipe to make more)
¼ cup organic, dried figs
5 Medjool dates, pits and stems removed
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon plain ground flax meal
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
Put all ingredients except for the shredded coconut into a food processor. Blend until well-combined, about 1-2 minutes. Add in shredded coconut and process for another 30 seconds.
You can roll the balls in cocoa powder or shredded coconut to make them look pretty too! Adding a walnut or almond on the top is also delicious and nutritious.
Here’s an easy breakfast for your little sweeties for Valentine’s morning: strawberry heart pancakes. My kids loved helping me make them this weekend. The strawberry slices look just like hearts and cook up beautifully in the pan in the pancake batter. Serve with fresh strawberry slices and a pink smoothie and everyone will love you.
This morning, I was faced with six beautiful bosc pears sitting on my new kitchen counter top. They had been there for a few days and were still not ripe. I didn’t want them to get to that stage where they just shrivel or turn out to have deep black spots so I can’t even enjoy them. What’s the secret to ripening pears? I don’t know.
Anyway, I remembered how my mum loves to make compotes throughout the year with different fruit she has and how delicious they are. I thought a compote would be the ideal recipe for these pears. So I grabbed some fresh ginger, lemon, dates and a pinch of cinnamon and this compote was born. It’s pretty simple to make, takes 10-20 minutes and you can make a big batch to last all week in your fridge. And the ginger and lemon flavors blend perfectly with the pear. Great chilled or warm for breakfast with a side of granola or greek yogurt; for a morning snack; or for dessert with a tad of vanilla ice cream. Kids love it too and it’s a delicious alternative to sugary yogurts or sickly sweet desserts.
Weeknights in my house with my two children often end with the simple plea: what’s for dessert?
During the holiday season, we got stuck in a bit of a rut. With the house full of chocolate, cookies and ice-cream, I suddenly realized that my two little ones were munching their way through a lot of sugar every night. I needed to find a healthier option. My kids adore ice cream so I knew that frozen fruit popsicles would be a big hit. I also wanted to be in control of the ingredients for dessert: no more artificial additives or sweeteners!
Determined to get some healthier dessert options for our weeknight meals, I bought some bright colored popsicle molds and pulled out my blender to make some delicious flavor combinations. First up: pineapple and spinach which was a huge hit with my son who doesn’t even eat green vegetables. Score!