Baby Food: Banana Pancakes

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I mentioned in my New Year’s post that I wanted to be more meaningful with my writing and honestly, I have no idea what I mean by that, I just know I want things to be different around here. I want to shed some of this armor of upbeat nonchalance that I’ve built and it’s proving to be incredibly difficult. It’s comfortable for me to keep things light, and I think this blog will still be a casual, easy place, but I’m going to try to share a little bit more here and there. Baby steps.

I’m going to try to start sharing a little more about Casper in this space. What I’m feeding him, what life has been like, and things like that. Because, really, I’ve been hesitant to mention him too much. For fear that I’ll be deemed a “mommy-blogger”, as if that’s somehow a terrible thing to be. It’s not and I AM a mom and a blogger, and I feel like I should share some of that here. Casper is currently the center of my universe, he sets the rhythm of my days and I am so incredibly thankful that he’s here and he’s mine. I feel silly even writing that because, really, the words just escape me. The road to motherhood was a little rough for me. There were really dark days, a lot of disappointment, crushing fear and doubt. I kept all my feels pretty close–of course Sean had a front row seat to my emotion showdown and a few close friends, too–but, my 28th and 29th years were just a mess of trying to keep my head up while grappling with fertility issues. There were times that I felt totally lost, without purpose, and I really questioned myself. I know that’s a controversial thing to say these days when we are leaning in–that motherhood gave me purpose–but it did and it is honestly what I have always wanted. I may talk about this in more depth sometime–someday when I can gather my thoughts on Casper’s birth and my pregnancy  and everything that led up to it without it being a billion words long. But, in short, it was at once more difficult and more easy than a lot of people have it–and, seriously, I feel so lucky.

Whew, that felt heavy and weird. So, let’s get comfortable and get our carb on, baby style.

Casper has been eating solids for a few months now. He’s crawling around the house like a madman, can climb the stairs, pulls himself up and uses our dining chairs as walkers now. Needless to say, he’s a busy boy and is totally working up an appetite. At first food was mostly an exploratory thing, introducing him to something else besides breast milk and just kind of letting him taste and touch. We’ve done a mix of soft foods he can pick up and purees. We only recently began to introduce some dairy into his diet in the forms of yogurt and cheese, but we still aren’t giving him milk yet. Since dairy and eggs can be a problem for a lot of babies, I made these pancakes free of both. At nearly 8 months old he eats a variety of foods now and pancakes are one of his absolute favorites. He loves to feed himself–he always tries to grab the spoon when I feed him purees–and these pancakes are perfect for little hands and don’t make a huge mess. I usually tear these up into small (pea-sized) pieces, but he handles whole pancakes really well lately. I like to freeze these on a sheet pan and pop them into a freezer bag once frozen. A frozen pancake is perfect for soothing sore gums when teething. He gets a little snack, plus a bit of relief from the teething pain.*

*There are a lot of ways to feed your baby, we did a mash-up of baby led weaning ideas and purees. We also consulted our pediatrician about how and when to introduce Casper to solids–definitely do what works for you and whatever your pediatrician recommends.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Baby Banana Pancakes

Adapted from Buona Papa

Makes about 30 mini pancakes.

I have made these with just ground oat flour–it makes for a crumblier, denser pancake, but he seems to like them that way just fine. I make the oat flour by grinding regular rolled oats in a food processor until fairly fine. Using just oat flour makes these gluten free. I prefer to make them with a mixture of both oats and wheat flour.

1/2 cup finely ground oats

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup mashed banana (or other fruit puree like apple or pear)

coconut oil for the pan

In a mixing bowl whisk together the oat flour, wheat flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Fold in the coconut milk and mashed banana until just combined. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and coat lightly with coconut oil. Drop tablespoons of batter onto the pan, cooking until bubbles begin to form around the edges of each pancake, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes and flip. Cook on the other side an additional minute or so until each pancake is golden. Remove from the skillet and let the pancakes cool off a bit before feeding your baby. Place the extra pancakes on a baking sheet lined with parchment and freeze for a few hours, until solid, then place in a plastic freezer bag and freeze. I like to use all of the frozen pancakes within a month. [/recipe]

Butter Pecan Granola

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I cannot even believe there’s only about 1 week left until Christmas. My house has been decorated for a while and I have been wrapping way too many gifts (note to self, next year needs less gifts). The thing is…I have baked exactly zero cookies. I don’t know what’s going on, but I need to make some cookies happen asap. BUT, I have baked 2 batches of this granola for gifting and it is pretty much the equivalent of a cookie in granola form.

A buttery, oat-y, pecan studded, and maple soaked cookie in a granola outfit.

I usually go the coconut or olive oil route with granola, but since tis’ the season and all that jingle-jangley-Christmas-jazz, I went with butter. OH, MAN. Granola game changer. The butter gets that browned flavor from the long, low bake in the oven and mingles with the maple syrup that sweetens the granola in the most perfect, amazing, way. It’ll make your kitchen smell like butter and maple drenched heaven. It’s definitely not you’re health-conscious-crunchy-granola. More like your butter-drenched-sweet-and-decadent type of granola. I couldn’t help but eat a handful (okay, maybe 2) right off the sheet pan, still warm. I mean, the oats make it healthy-ish and the buttery, maple-y, pecan and coconut studded bits make it special and oh-so holiday appropriate. I packed it into jars and added a little tag for a super-easy, super-delicious gift.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Butter Pecan Granola

Adapted from my Coconut Oil Granola recipe.

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup pecans

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 325ºF and lightly grease a baking sheet (I love to use coconut oil spray for this).

In a large mixing bow, combine the oats, pecans, coconut, salt, and cinnamon.

In a small saucepan combine the maple syrup and butter. Heat over medium-high until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Add the maple-butter mixture to the oats mixture and stir to coat completely. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in 15 minute intervals, stirring between each, for about 1 hour or until the granola is golden and starting to crisp. It will become more crisp as it cools.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

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So, I have never been a fan of oatmeal, it’s always been a little mushy-mushy for me. However, these days, I’ve been eating it a lot lately because I know oats are super good for you and it’s a hot, easy breakfast to make on these chilly Michigan mornings. Since I’ve been forcing myself to embrace oatmeal, I usually have it with a little maple syrup and maybe a few pecans or walnuts mixed in, for a bit of sweetness and texture. The other day, though, I was out of my usual mix-ins and opted for a spoonful of peanut butter…and it was so good! So, it got me thinking that peanut butter might just be a great addition to my favorite granola.

And, surprise, it totes was.

I mean, you can’t really go wrong with nutty, creamy peanut butter, crunchy oats, and little chocolate chips. Can you? I don’t think so.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

I use both honey and maple in this recipe, though you could use just one sweetener if you like. The coconut oil can be subbed for olive oil, if you prefer. Also, chia seeds can be substituted with flax and the mini chips can be replace with whatever chip or chopped bar you like. 

3 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons chia seeds

scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Pour the oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon into a bowl.

On the stovetop in a saucepan heat the maple syrup, honey, peanut butter and coconut oil until the peanut butter and oil are melted and the mixture is nicely combined. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the oat mixture and stir to coat evenly. Scrape the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes so the peanut butter does not burn, until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool completely before mixing in the mini chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container for well over a week. [/recipe]