Banana Hemp Pancakes

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Every morning, first thing upon rising, Berlin asks for pancakes. Originally I was using a simple store-bought gluten free pancake mix, but then as time went on, I realized how creative you can be with pancakes. The best part being, that you can basically sneak anything into them, and your little one will be none the wiser. In our house, Ryan has owned the title of pancake master, making delicious, buttery, Danish pancakes.  But I now own the title for most creative pancakes, ones that Berlin will scarf up without hesitation (no matter how much healthy crap I load into them).

I’ve been experimenting with various pancake recipes for the past year now (I can’t believe I’ve only posted one). I should just change this blog to a pancake blog and post nothing but pancakes from here on out. But I’ll save you the despair, and post only this one (for now…).

Banana Hemp Pancakes
1 1/2 medium bananas
3 pasture-raised organic eggs
1 tablespoon Organic Hemp seeds
Splash of Pure Vanilla extract
Organic Coconut oil

Whisk eggs in a medium mixing bowl, then add the bananas and mash slightly (don’t over mash the bananas, leave kind of chunky). Next add all other ingredients (except the coconut oil) and mix well. Heat the griddle, add a spoonful of coconut oil and pour the mix onto the grill.

I make small dollar size pancakes for Berlin, but do any size you choose. To serve, I either put a small smathering of jam on them or serve them plain. The bananas already add sweetness, so there is no need for syrup.

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In my post last week, I mentioned why I believe you should only buy grass-fed cheese and butter. I’m going to stress how important it is again, and why you should only buy pasture-raised, organic eggs. Yes, they are expensive (from $7-10 a dozen), but they are well worth the investment (especially if you’re feeding them to your children).

First I’ll quickly explain the difference between all the different labels you see on egg cartons these days (mostly all advertising BS). Cage-free & Free-range are popular labels used lately, and both labels are far from what you think they mean. Neither of the chickens for either labels are truly “cage-free.” In fact, there are no regulations on either, so the hens that are supposedly “free” to roam and eat insects in there natural habitat, could in fact, only be outside for one minute a day. This is the same for eggs labeled “organic” as well (unless pasture-raised organic).

So you are wondering, why is this such a big deal? Well, for one, its inhumane. These hens are subject to forced molting (starving the hens to lay more eggs), beak trimming, and overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. Plus, the non-organic hens are given antibiotics and fed a diet based on GMO soy and corn. Furthermore, hens that are not allowed to forage in their natural habitat, and peck for bugs (their natural diet), will produce substantially less nutritious eggs (organic or not).

If that is not enough to convince you, here is an image of how “cage-free” chickens live. This is how a chicken should live. I know pasture-raised eggs are expensive, but unfortunately so is the cost of our health. When eggs are eaten properly (mostly raw), they provide a substantial amount of nutrients. One more thing to note, eggs get a bad rap for being unhealthy or causing high cholesterol. But its not the egg itself, its the quality of the egg, and how its prepared. So consider buying your eggs from a local farm (or the farmers market) next time you shop, and ask the merchants how the hens are raised. Or you can always raise a chicken yourself, I’m considering this idea for our family. I think it would be great fun for Berlin!



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Raw Cheddar Crackers

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When Berlin first started eating solids, I swore I was not going to feed her the typical toddler snacks; Cheerios, Goldfish crackers, Juice boxes…I stuck with most of my promises, but I eventually caved on the cheddar cracker snacks, opting for Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies rather than the typical Goldfish. I foolishly tricked myself into thinking Annie’s was the healthier option for Berlin, but it turns out they aren’t much better than the alternative (consisting of saturated oils and hidden MSG). But since it only took one taste for Berlin to be hooked, I was forced to come up with a healthier option-one that didn’t leave me feeling guilt ridden after the bag was polished off.

So I did a little research and came across this recipe for Homemade Cheddar Cheese Crackers. I then did some tweaking of the ingredients, making it a protein packed, gluten free option. Then voila! With very little effort, I had a tasty, healthy replacement for a favorite toddler snack!

Raw Cheddar Crackers
1 cup Quinoa Flour
1 tablespoon ground flax
Dash of Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon sodium free Herbamare
2 1/2 cups Organic {Grass Fed} Raw Cheddar Cheese (I use Organic Valley)
5 tablespoons Organic {Grass Fed} Raw Butter
Approx 1 tablespoon Olive Oil for dough

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all ingredients (minus the butter and oil) in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Then add the butter and blend until a dough forms. Add a little olive oil, until a firm pastry dough is formed.

Next rollout out dough on parchment paper and use a cookie cutter of choice to form crackers. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet and bake for approx 10-13 minutes. Watch closely, as they burn quickly.

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You may be wondering why I substituted raw cheddar cheese and butter for your standard organic options. As you already know, I myself, don’t eat any dairy, and haven’t for years. I originally planned on doing the same with Berlin, but quickly realized it was going to be a challenging promise to keep (while possible, I wasn’t up for the challenge with a toddler). I eventually gave into serving her dairy, but since then have done extensive research, and found that raw, grass-fed sources are absolutely the best option when it comes to eating dairy (or meats, or eggs for that matter). In general, most dairy (even the organic options) are from grain-fed cows, mostly consisting of the grain corn. If you know anything about cows, you will know that cows aren’t grain-eating animals, they are naturally grass-feeding animals. As with other animals, when given an abnormal diet, their system is disrupted, and their natural pH levels are changed. Leaving you, the consumer, with severely, unhealthy milk and other cow provided food options. Cows that are only served a natural, grass-fed diet, on the other hand, are happy, healthy cows (ha! that is a commercial isn’t it!?) and produce cheese that is naturally higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, D, and E. Plus they are free from all antibiotics and growth hormones that are causing mass destruction in our bodies these days.

I will get off my nutrition soapbox and just go ahead and say that you should give these a try for your sweet, little ones. But I will warn you in advance, due to using quinoa flour, they are quite crumbly. I had quite a mess of crumbs that followed Berlin everywhere she went (kid can’t sit still while she eats!). If you want to enjoy them for yourself, I would suggest adding some more spices, perhaps some onion or garlic powder to give it some kick. Enjoy!




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Homemade Antibiotic

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It seems everyone around me has been sick lately; various flu viruses, runny noses, and constant coughing. Both Berlin and Ryan fell victim to the hacking cough and were battling with it for weeks. Ryan’s immunity was down, no doubt, to his continuous stress at work, and Berlin…well, seeing as nap time is like World War III around here, I blame lack of sleep for her compromised immune system. Luckily for me, I remained the healthy one in the family. But with both of them being ill, I knew I had to step up my game and figure out a way to quickly boost their immunity.

I’m a firm believer in the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to ward off illness and disease, and I try to avoid medications and antibiotics at all cost, especially for Berlin. So when illness strikes, I look to the kitchen first for means of healing our family.

Generally my go to when fighting off sickness, is by making large amounts of fresh, homemade juices. I pack them with green vegetables; kale, spinach and parsley, then add lots of ginger and lemon. But a few months ago, Ryan forwarded me a link with an amazing recipe for a homemade antibiotic that I was immediately sold on, and have been drinking on a daily basis since.

This “master cleansing tonic” (as they call it) is powerful stuff. It helps fight off illness; both viral and bacterial, and helps strengthen the immune system. Its chalked full of natural, healthful ingredients that are known to boost immunity: apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Its simple to make, and takes very little to provide you with crucial, infection fighting benefits. If you need any further motivation, apple cider vinegar is known to help reduce fat, so if you’re trying to lose weight, this will only further benefit your health.

Master Cleansing Tonic:
24 ounces Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 fresh peppers (I used one Serrano and one Thai Chili)
1/4 grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons horseradish
1/4 cup grated fresh turmeric

Place all ingredients in a large mason jar (or separate into two smaller ones) and fill the jars with apple cider vinegar. Shake well to mix the ingredients. Then place in a cool place and allow to ferment for two weeks (shaking frequently). Once the two weeks are up, strain the liquid and place back in mason jar. You can then store in a cool place again (no need to refrigerate) and enjoy on a daily basis.

I suggest beginning with a tablespoon or less until you get used to the taste, then increase to about a shot size every morning-more if you are feeling under the weather. I give Berlin a teaspoon with some honey and she takes it down just fine.

Whip some up right away, you don’t want to wait until you are coming down with something, since it takes two weeks to brew.

Here’s to being healthy!



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Sugar and Toddlers

Sugar

Admittedly, prior to having Berlin, I paid little, to no attention to the amount of sugar in my food. I would look at the fat or protein content rather than check out the possibly high amount of sugar lurking in my food. Honestly, I figured, since I didn’t eat candy bars or drink soda, my daily sugar intake must be at a healthy level. But once I began the journey of feeding solids to Berlin, I realized I was sorely mistaken and the amount of sugar I was ingesting as a relatively healthy individual was shocking.

It wasn’t until I began reading nutrition labels more closely and understanding the amount of sugar in my food,  that I discovered, by noon on any given day, I was easily downing nearly 35 grams (or 9 teaspoons) of sugar (and that only included eating one Clif Bar and drinking a homemade fruit smoothie). I sadly assumed that companies, like Clif Bar, that touted healthy living, with a belief in organic and sustainable living, were making products that were nutritious and low on simple sugars. But reality is, these bars are no healthier than a chocolate bar. In fact, the Carrot Cake bar I tricked myself into thinking was healthy, was giving me a whopping 25 grams of sugar in one serving. That is more than a Hershey’s chocolate bar by a surprising 6 grams. Shocking, right?!

Once I made this realization, I really started investigating the amount of sugar in the everyday food items I was buying for Berlin. I also began researching the scary truth about sugar’s effect on toddlers, and the actual amount of sugar that is healthy for a toddler to be ingesting per a daily basis. What I discovered was that although I am one of the more strict parents when it comes to Berlin’s diet, she too, was eating far too much sugar.

So what is a healthy amount of sugar for our toddlers to be ingesting? According to the American Heart Association, preschool age children eating a 1000 calorie diet, should be eating no more than 3 teaspoons, or 12 grams of sugar per day. The shocking reality is that toddlers are far surpassing that number, and according to the AHA are eating on average nearly 12 teaspoons (or 48 grams) of sugar daily. If you stop to think about it, that is really rather gross. Imagine taking 12 teaspoons and pouring it into your toddlers food each day, doubt you could do it with a good conscience.

So now that you know what the recommended intake is, lets look at the sugar content per serving in some of the foods toddlers are eating on a daily basis:

Stonyfield’s yoBaby organic yogurt: 13 grams
GoGo Applesauce Squeeze: 12 grams
Trader Joe’s Organic Probiotic Yogurt Smoothie: 23 grams
Happy Tot Organic fruit packets: 15-20 grams
Earth’s Best Instant Oatmeal: 8 grams
Sprout Organic Fruit Snacks: 13 grams
Nature’s Path Organic Koala Crip Cereal: 11 grams
Nature’s Path Organic Chocolate Crisp Bars: 8 grams
Plum Organics Jammy Sammy cereal bar: 11 grams

What is really sad, is that all of the above mentioned foods are organic and supposedly “healthy” brands. If you’re like me, you assume that organic products, made specifically for children, are nutritious options for your toddler. But most of these options supply your toddler with a full day’s amount of recommended sugar in just one serving.

Now lets discuss one of the biggest culprits of “through the roof” sugar levels, that are touted as a healthy option for our children, 100% juice boxes. I would say its safe to say that nearly half of children drink these on a daily basis, and I would assume that most parents think that its providing their children with the healthy nutrients that are needed each day. But in actuality, its like handing them a glass full of sugar with a bunch of unnecessary calories. To better understand this, let’s look at how juice is made. On average, it takes 3-4 medium apples to make one 8 ounce box of apple juice. Each apple has approximately 25 grams of sugar and 5 grams of healthy, much-needed fiber. The issue is, in the process of juicing, the cell walls are broken down and the fiber is eliminated, and fiber is what is needed to slow the metabolization of sugar and make you feel full. Therefore the body metabolizes the juice just the same as a sugar laden soda, wrecking havoc on your liver, and leaving you feeling hungry.

So now that you are throughly frightened, you should understand what to look for when purchasing foods for your little one. Here are the few names that sugar is hidden in:

  • High Fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Cane sugar
  • Rice syrup
  • Anything with an “so” ending; dextrose, fructose, glucose

So how do we keep the sugar content down when its lurking everywhere? My best suggestion is to be mindful of food labels, anything with less than 5 grams of sugar is a safe bet. Serve plain, whole fat yogurt instead of fruit flavored (you can always jazz it up with some granola or whole fruit), serve whole foods; fruits, veggies and whole grains. Eliminate all empty calorie food options; juice boxes, high sugar cereals, fruit bars…and offer only water, milk or a homemade smoothie as a beverage option. Lastly, never buy anything with sugar being the number one ingredient listed on the package.

Of course, we can’t be perfect all the time. So just remember moderation is key. If your chid enjoys a high sugar fruit bar that day, watch what they eat the rest of the day. Be completley mindful of your child’s diet, you are in control of their health and are setting up their eating habits for life.



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Weekend Cleanse

I generally do a couple intense cleanses each year; one in the summer and one in the new year. They are usually month long cleanses that are meant to reboot my eating habits and get me on a healthy track again. For the most part I maintain a healthy diet, but at times I allow eating meals out to get out of control or I binge a bit too often on my favorite junk food; chips and salsa.

With the start of the new year this year, I thankfully haven’t feel too far off track from my healthy habits, and have only felt the need for a light cleanse to detox my body. I feel, even if one maintains a healthy lifestyle, its still important to do a cleanse every so often to flush the body of toxins created by food and environmental dangers.  A cleanse is not only a great way to flush toxins and boost liver’s effectiveness, but its a great way to refresh yourself and build a path for a healthier lifestyle.

The actual cleanse I created is only two days long, and since its a short cleanse I suggest focusing on yourself for the entire weekend. Doing yoga or stretching to get your body moving and stimulating digestion, enjoying a sauna, and getting lots of rest. This is not a time for intense exercise, its a time to restore the body. I also suggest drinking a glass of warm water with squeezed lemon in it every morning and dry brushing your body to stimulate the lymphatic system and help remove toxins.

There are only two recipes involved with this cleanse, the first being a smoothie that you can enjoy throughout the day; breakfast, snacks and dinner. The second is a soup that can be eaten for lunch and dinner, or as you like. They are both simple to make and can be made in large batches so you only have to prep your food once each day.

DetoxSmoothie

Winter Green Detox Smoothie
1 apple
1 pear
Handful of frozen cranberries
1 knob of ginger
1/2 cup of kale
1/2 cup of spinach or collard greens
1/2 cup of cabbage
Handful of parsley
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Approx 1 cup of filtered water

Place all ingredients in a Vitamix (or high powered blender) and mix on high until smooth. Add more water as necessary.

This recipe is from my all time favorite cleanse, created by Ali and Tom of Whole Life Nutrition. This is my go to smoothie whenever I feel under the weather, need a pick me up, or when I’m embarking on their amazing Elimination Diet.

Again, if you would like to double or triple the recipe, you can store in the fridge and enjoy throughout the day. However I always feel its best to make a new batch each time and enjoy immediately.

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Green Detox Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 knob of ginger
2 cups of chopped broccoli
2 cups of spinach
1 chopped turnip
Handful of parsley
Approx 2 cups of water
Dash of Turmeric
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot, add garlic, onion and ginger and cook for approx 5 minutes. Add turmeric, salt and pepper, then all other ingredients. Add water to cover vegetables and bring to a high simmer. Lower heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Place in Vitamix and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary and add more seasonings to taste.

Soup can be made in large batches and stored in the fridge for 2 days, can be enjoyed hot or cold.

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Remember to only use organic ingredients for both recipes, you don’t want to be ingesting pesticides while your cleansing your body. Once the cleanse is complete do not return to eating processed foods, sugar, alcohol or drinking coffee (if you can abstain) for at least a month-or longer if you can do so. The whole idea is to detox the body and get your liver in tip top shape. So throughout the month, be kind to your liver and enjoy foods that enable it to perform at a high function. These foods include:

Lemons
Turmeric
Garlic
Ginger
Cabbage
Grapefruit
Beets
Avocados
Walnuts
Almonds
Apples
Brussel Sprouts
Spinach
Kale
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Asparagus
Flax & Hemp Seeds
Green Tea

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These foods will not only help detox your liver, but will have you feeling energetic and and healthy. As an added bonus, these super foods boost your immune system as well, so they are great for fighting off the common winter flu and cold that usually occur this time of year.

Hope you all find the time to rejuvenate yourselves and make healthy foods and exercise a part of your year. Cheers to a new year!

If you would like a more in-depth cleanse, I posted one last year here and here.


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Uses for Pumpkin

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We spent the energy carting our little ones to the pumpkin patch (no matter how far), picking the perfect pumpkin, carving it and then displaying it. But then what? Seems like such a waste to discard it after all that effort.

As you know from my previous post, I’m a big fan of pumpkin recipes, so I say use up that pumpkin. There are so many nutritious and delicious recipes that can be made with leftover pumpkins.

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The most obvious use of your pumpkin is roasting the seeds. Its so simple and highly nutritious.

Once you have opened the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and rinse under cold water (removing all pumpkin strings). Then place in a large pot, add water and salt and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for approx 10 minutes.

Next take your drained pumpkin seeds and toss in a bowl with seasoning of choice. I prefer mine spicy so I coat with olive oil and add cayenne, chili powder, salt and pepper.

Place seeds on a greased baking dish and place in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Bake for approx 10 minutes, or until puffed.

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Another great idea for using your pumpkins is making your own pumpkin puree. Now I don’t suggest doing so on pumpkins you carved or large Jack O’ Lanterns, but small sugar pie pumpkins are perfect for making puree.

The quickest way to make puree is by cutting open the pumpkin, cutting into chunks (discarding the stringy pieces), peeling and placing in a large pot with enough water to cover. You then bring to a boil and cook until pumpkin is tender.

Once the pumpkin has cooled, blend or mash until smooth. You can then use for any recipe calling for pumpkin puree. The puree can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months (but I’m sure you’ll find a use for it before then, think Thanksgiving…).

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Lastly, you can make pumpkin flour (once again I advise using the smaller sugar pie pumpkins). Just remove the seeds and strings again, slice the pumpkin into chunks and peel. Then set out to dry. Once fully dried (may take more than 24 hours), process the slices in a food processor until you have a flour-like texture. Store in an air-tight jar and use for any recipe that calls for flour (muffins, homemade pancakes and breads are all great with pumpkin flour).

If this all seems like to much hassle, then simply bury it in your garden. Pumpkins make great fertilizer. Happy Pumpkin Making!



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Vegan Pumpkin Banana Pancakes

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Fall is my favorite time of year for so many reasons; I love the weather (especially in San Francisco when we finally get some heat), I love the change of the seasonal colors, and I love that its my birthday season. But more importantly I love the  autumn vegetables that come with this time of year; squash, brussels sprouts, yam and pumpkins. I could sustain on these vegetables alone, especially pumpkin. There are so many mouth-watering and nutritious meals that can be made with pumpkin, everything from sweet to savory, the possibilities are endless. For children, preparing recipes with pumpkin is ideal, it gives the food an added sweetness (and we all know they love that!) and it provides them with a wealth of nutrients including, Vitamins A, C and E, while being rich in dietary fiber. How can you go wrong, really?

As you know from previous posts, I frequently make large batches of waffles and pancakes and freeze them for own-the-go breakfast meals and snacks. I make them so often, that I’m continually trying to mix up the recipes so Berlin doesn’t get bored, each time sneaking in various vegetables that she otherwise wouldn’t eat. For this pancake recipe I knew I wanted to add pumpkin (tis the season) and wanted it to be vegan, hence why it evolved into a pumpkin banana recipe. Bananas are a great alternative to eggs when baking, and most kids love bananas, so its a perfect choice. However if you are not vegan and don’t care for banana, then you can just use one egg instead.

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Vegan Pumpkin Banana Pancakes

3/4 whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons ground flax
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger & nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
1 ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl (flours, baking powder, and spices).

Then blend wet ingredients in another bowl. Its best to mash the banana a bit, then blend with a hand blender for best results.

Next combine the wet and dry ingredients together, getting out all the lumps (feel free to add more milk if needed).

Next spoon batter onto a lightly greased, pre-heated pan, and cook for approx five minutes each. Then serve with toppings of choice.

I have found that the more banana in the batter, the longer it takes to cook through , so it may take longer than five minutes.

Remember these are perfect for freezing, so if you like to have a bunch on-hand I would suggest doubling the recipe. Enjoy.

 


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Healthy & Quick Toddler Snacks

Coming up with healthy snack options for Berlin is a never ending quest in our home. Seeing as she eats non-stop, I have to be prepared to feed her around the clock. I whole heartedly believe in the grazing mentality for a child; allowing them to eat as they please, and eat several small portions, rather than sit down to a full meal. I trust a child’s natural intuition to eat when they are hungry, and its our job to provide them nutritious food options. But as easy as it sounds, its not so easy to come up with healthy options when your toddler is suddenly demanding food, or when you are busy out and about running errands. While the simple solution is to reach for a box of crackers or cheddar bunnies (believe me, I know!), its not providing our active toddler with the nutrients they need to sustain their ever so rapidly growing little bodies and brains.

I was recently in this snack snack rut; it was bananas, yogurt, and cheese for every meal. So I sat down and jotted a quick list of all my snack ideas so I could be better prepared. I have found it most helpful to review the list and prep her snacks in the evening. Then there is no full on toddler meltdown the next day when hunger strikes. It means less tantrums from her and fewer times being caught off guard for me. All in all, it has made our days go smoother.

Here is a roundup of my latest snack list. Please feel free to jump in and add your favorites, always loving to hear new ideas!

FruitSkewers

Apple Pizzas: Core an apple, slice, and top with almond butter and toppings of choice (granola, coconut flakes, slivered nuts, goji berries…)

Roasted fruit: top fruit of choice (peaches, plums bananas…) with butter and honey and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, top with yogurt and nuts

Steamed Veggies: boil an inch of water in a small pan, add veggies and steam for 5 minutes, top with butter and unsalted Herbamare

Ants on a log: cut celery sticks in half and top with sunflower butter and raisins

Veggie chips: slice any veggie (kale, carrots, sweet potatoes or zucchini) into thin slices, top with olive oil and parmesan cheese, and bake for approx 15 mins at 350 degrees

Frozen banana: dip banana in yogurt, roll in ground flax seed or blended walnuts and freeze

Almond butter banana: spread almond butter on banana and sprinkle with coconut flakes

Tomato surprise: slice cherry tomato in half, fill with cream cheese and top with small slice of avocado

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Fruit skewers: alternate fruit with cheese on a wooden skewer

Frozen yogurt: mix yogurt with flax or chia or drizzle with honey and freeze (I freeze in reusable toddler snack packs)

Canned salmon topped with avocado (buy only wild Alaskan canned salmon)

Boiled Eggs: great to make a batch ahead and have on hand all week

Handful of sliced, organic, raw nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts…

Raw Seeds: pumpkin, sesame, hemp…

Fresh figs topped with goat cheese or dried figs in off-season

Dried fruits: cranberries, mango, goji berries…(use sparingly as the sugar content is high and can damage toddler teeth)

Poached chicken: boil organic chicken with some bay leaves and garlic for approx 10 minutes

Frozen homemade waffles: here is a great buckwheat spinach recipe I make for Berlin all the time

Frozen homemade pancakes

Edamame

Seaweed snax

Smoothies: here is a link to one of Berlin’s favs

Hopefully this list helps you prepare for your toddler’s never ending hunger. Once again, please feel free to add any snacks you and your little one love.



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Vegan Almond Quinoa Cake

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Here it is again; one of my famous {not so famous} sugar-free birthday cakes. Some might find a sugarless cake a disgrace, but I find them quite delicious.

I cheated a bit by adding a sugary frosting, which of course ended up being Berlin’s favorite part. But this cake is delicious without the frosting and is perfect as a morning treat to dip into your coffee-yum!

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Almond Quinoa Cake
2 cups Almond Flour
1 cup Quinoa Flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
Flaxseed Egg Replacer (or 3 eggs)
3/4 cup Pure Organic Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Coconut Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk (from can)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Prepare flax eggs by combining 9 tablespoons of water with 3 tablespoons ground flax and letting sit for approx five minutes (until gelatinous).

Mix flax eggs with coconut oil, syrup, and vanilla, then add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and bake for approx 30-40 minutes.

While the cake is cooking, prepare the frosting by mixing all the ingredients until the frosting is smooth and creamy. You may need to play with the ratio of sugar to coconut milk.

Then simply frost the cake and enjoy.

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I’m off to Los Angeles this weekend with the hubby and a few friends. This will be my first ever extended getaway without Berlin. While I’m crazy excited for a solo weekend, I have to admit I get a little teary eyed just thinking about being away from my little one. But its been two years, so the time has come for us to separate a bit.

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend! I know I will be enjoying every minute of it.



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Vegan Grilled Pizza

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While I can’t claim to be an expert on the grill, I can claim to have become quite creative in just two short weeks. While its not the typical summer weather here in San Francisco, the climates are mild and still perfect for grilling.

Prior to the kitchen renovation, I had absolutely no clue with regard to the grill. But with one quick lesson from the hubby, I’ve caught on quickly and have made some killer meals. I mean, did you even know you could grill pizza?! Obviously I had no idea. But have since discovered its a brilliant way to prepare pizza. It tastes fresh out of a brick pizza oven, and it takes very little time to cook. Even if you are aren’t undergoing a gutted kitchen, I would highly suggest saving yourself the hassle of heating up the stove and throwing a pizza on the grill instead.

I chose to keep things simple (as I have no kitchen surface to work with), so for this recipe I went with a store bought corn meal crust (it compliments the okra nicely). But once I have access to a countertop again I plan on experimenting with a cauliflower crust-yum! Recipe to follow…

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Vegan Grilled Pizza
Frozen Corn Meal Pizza Crust
Olive Oil
Red  Bell Pepper
Golden Cherry tomatoes
Zucchini
Okra
Kale
Artichoke Pesto Sauce
Black Olives
Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes

Heat grill to medium high heat. Prepare veggies by cutting stems off the okra, slicing zucchini in half, and cutting red pepper in half. Then toss all veggies (including the cherry tomatoes and a stem of kale) in olive oil, then salt and pepper. Place all veggies on the grill (I put the tomatoes and kale on a stainless steel grilling plate) and grill for approx 5-7 minutes, turning over once mid-way. Watch the vegetables closely, as you don’t want them to charred.
Once the veggies are fully cooked, put aside to cool while you prepare the crust. Brush the crust with olive oil on both sides and cook the top side of the crust for approx 2-3 minutes, until there are light grill marks. Then place the pizza down and layer all the veggies and spices and grill for another 3-5 minutes (watching very closely). Remove from the grill and allow to cool down. Voila, grilled pizza in no time!

KitchenRemodel

Here’s a glimpse into our renovation thus far. More pictures to follow soon.



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