Vegan Banana Bread with Chia Seeds

Vegan Banana Bread
When you look at your colourful fruit bowl and see the blackened, old bananas, which no-one wants to eat, hidden away at the bottom, don’t feel bad about throwing them away; they have a purpose! Banana Bread; It’s a win-win on all fronts.

Brilliant for kids as you can pass if off as cake
A substantial and healthy snack
Saves the old banana wastage
A great home-made on-the-go food (I actually bake a whole loaf and take it on holidays with me for occasions where we may struggle for decent vegetarian food)

You can add raisins, alternative dried fruits or nuts and whatever takes your fancy. I add chia seeds these days as I am recently exploring the benefits of this amazing seed!

 
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Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 3 overipe bananas
  • 75g vegetable/sunflower oil
  • 225g all purpose flour
  • 2 heaped tspn baking powder
  • 50g brown or raw sugar
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1 handful of raisins
  • 1 tbspn chia seeds
  • 1 heaped tbspn soya yogurt (use normal yogurt if not vegan)
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degree C
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the bananas, oil and sugar. Mash together with a fork.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix together.
  4. Finally add in the yogurt, chia seeds, raisins and mix together.
  5. Transfer into a non-stick or silicon 2lb loaf tin or cake molds
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, cover with foil of the top is browning and bake for a further 10-15 minutes.

 

Hummus Trio

Hide the vegetables and tickle the taste buds with a trio of hummus. With our time in Dubai, we have been surrounded by hummus. K loves dips in general and I love bringing fun to mealtimes. With three types of hummus flavours, we practiced colours, counting, role-playing and had a blast.

Flavoured vegetable hummus

Flavoured hummus’ are also a great way to secretly sneak in vegetables and various herbs as it all gets blended up, so your little ones can’t tell the difference.

It is a fun way to pack goodness into a nutritious snack, which can be served as a side dish, dip or sandwich filling.

 
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Serves: 1 small bowl per flavour
Ingredients
Basic Hummus
  • ½ can chickpeas, drained
  • 4 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 tbspn lemon juice
  • ½ clove garlic
  • Salt to taste

Red Hummus
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 3 tbspn olive oil

Yellow Hummus
  • Approx 250g butternut squash
  • 3 tbspn olive oil

Green Hummus
  • ½ cup fresh coriander (leaves)
  • 1 tbspn lemon juice
  • 1 tbpsn olive oil
  1. For the basic hummus, crush the garlic and add all ingredients together in a food processor and blend to a smooth consistency. Add salt to taste and top up with extra olive oil or lemon juice if required.
Red Hummus
  1. Deseed and chop the red pepper into medium sized chunks. Roast with the olive oil at 180 degrees C for approximately 20-25 minutes until the peppers have softened. Stir on occassion to avoid the peppers blackening.
  2. Once softened, add (with the love oil) to the bowl of basic hummus ingredients and blend with it until your hummus becomes red and to a smooth consistency.
Yellow Hummus
  1. Peel, deseed and chop the butternut squash into medium sized chunks. Follow the same process as with the red peppers, blending the roasted butternut squash with the basic hummus until you get a smooth, yellow pasty hummus.
Green Hummus
  1. Remove the coriander stalks, wash and finely chop the leaves. Add to the basic hummus, along with the additional lemon juice and olive oil. Blend together until a smooth, green colour is obtained.

 

Toddler Approved Tuesday

5 food myths passed down through the generations

If you swallow a watermelon seed, a watermelon will start growing in your stomach.

Seriously, come on..I mean how could that EVER be possible! If you are anything like me (i.e. completely gullible), you may well have fallen for many of these gastronomic urban legends. From the absolute ridiculous (see above) to those with a degree of plausibility, kids must grow up thinking they will be the next generation of superheroes.

  • Almonds make you clever Almonds make you clever If only it were that easy! Unfortunately, there are no foods, which will transform you or your kids into child geniuses. Almonds do however, contain essential fatty acids like Omega-3 along with Vitamin E, which provides nourishment for the nervous system and can delay cognitive decline with age.
  • Carrots help you see in the dark Carrots help you see in the dark A glass of carrot juice a day will help you see in the dark. Hmm...although carrot night vision is a little far fetched, carrots are linked to better eye health. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is essential for making Vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is linked to eye health issues from dryness to macular degeneration, a leading source of blindness. So, you will not get 20-20 vision by pumping carrots into your system, but they do promote good eye health, through the formation of Vitamin A.
  • Microwaving zaps nutrients Microwaving zaps nutrients A total myth designed to make us feel guilty for taking shortcuts in the kitchen! In fact, microwaving cooking is said to be one of the best ways to minimize nutrient loss. The most effective way to preserve nutrients, when cooking vegetables is to use a method, which exposes heat to food for the smallest time, uses minimal liquid and cooks quickly. Microwaving does this. Just ensure not to overcook and use microwave safe containers.
  • Organic foods are more nutritious than regular foods Organic foods are more nutritious than regular foods Organic foods were developed for environmental reasons to promote sustainable farming. Nutritionally, the difference is negligible, with the exception of certain fatty acids in organic milk. Organic food is said to have 30% less pesticide contamination but remember, pesticide levels in conventional produce also have to meet food standard regulations and are therefore not deemed unsafe to eat.
  • Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar Brown sugar and white sugar is made from the refinement process of raw sugar. Brown sugar is basically white sugar, but with molasses having been reintroduced to it. All granulated sugars contain more or less the same nutritional value, so I hate too burst the bubble, but brown or white, it makes little difference.

     

Eggless Banoffee Pancake

Eggless Banoffee PancakeI L-O-V-E banoffee pie. To me it is a little taste of heaven and a naughty indulgence. Saying this, in all honesty, I am not too keen on serving something so sweet to my two and a half year old! So, for pancake day this year, I thought I would try a less sweet and more fruit-focused version of my favourite dessert in pancake form! I used digestives for the biscuit base, freshly whipped cream (without the sugar), freshly cut bananas and just a drizzle of caramel syrup. K enjoyed eating it, I felt better serving it and I actually prefer it. A banoffee flavoured pancake with a hint of sweetness and a lot of freshness! Happy Pancake Day!

 
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Serves: 6 pancakes
Ingredients
For the pancake
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbspn coconut oil (or an alternative cooking oil)
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

For the rest
  • 3 bananas
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • ½ tspn vanilla essence
  • 5 Biscuits (I used digestives)
  • Caramel Syrup (I used Hersheys)
  • Bit of Butter
For the pancakes
  1. Put all the ingredients together into a large bowl and whisk thoroughly until you have a smooth, lump-free batter.
  2. Place a large non-stick frying pan or crepe pan on a medium flame and wait for one to two minutes for the pan to heat up.
  3. For each pancake, spoon a ladle of pancake mixture onto the frying pan and swirl the pan around to distribute and thin out the pancake to an even, round layer.
  4. Once the bottom side is cooked, flip over and cook the other side.
  5. Remove from the pan and place on a plate.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Depending on your size of ladle, you should be able to make approximately 6 pancakes.
Preparing the Banoffee filling:
  1. For the cream, add a few drops of vanilla essence to the cream and whisk thoroughly until your cream is thick and whipped.
  2. Crush the biscuits and slice the bananas.
Preparing each pancake:
  1. Spread a little butter on one side of the pancake and place back on the frying pan, buttered side down. This adds crispiness to the outer layer.
  2. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the crushed biscuit down the middle of the pancake and place the banana slices on top.
  3. Then once the filling is warm and the bottom of the pancake has crisped, fold each side of the pancake in towards the centre.
  4. Drizzle some caramel syrup over the top and serve with whipped cream.

 

Gluten Free Lemon Shortbread Biscuits with Raspberry Glaze

Gluten Free Valentines ShortbreadK and I have decided to make a little treat for Papa for Valentines Day! Requirements? We need something gluten free and vegan. I actually made these a while ago, when experimenting with gluten free flour, but had used orange zest instead of lemon and they had turned out pretty good. This time, I thought i’d try with lemons and in the name of Valentines Day, I wanted to go for something pinky, red – hence the raspberry glaze.

 
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Serves: 20
Ingredients
For the shortbread
  • 100g vegan margarine (I use Nuttelex)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 175g gluten-free flour
  • ½ tsp gluten-free baking powder

For the glaze
  • 80g raspberries
  • 50g icing sugar
For the shortbread
  1. Preheat oven to 190degrees C / gas mark 5
  2. Beat the margarine, sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy.
  3. Then sift in the flour, baking powder and bring it all together to form a dough.
  4. As gluten free dough can be difficult to handle, split it into quarters.
  5. Take each quarter and roll it out to about 1cm thickness and cut out your desired shape, using a knife or biscuit cutter of your choice.
  6. Place the shapes on a non-stick baking tray
  7. Bring together any remaining dough and repeat the roll and cut process so you have minimum wastage.
  8. Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of dough and finally, bring all remaining scraps together, reroll and repeat.
  9. Chill the uncooked biscuits in the fridge for 15-20 minutes and bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden.
  10. Remove from the baking tray and allow to cool.
For the glaze
  1. Wash the raspberries and cook on a low flame for 2-3 minutes until the juices start to ooze out.
  2. Mash with a fork and run the mixture through a sieve 1-2 times until you have a smooth liquid.
  3. Slowly mix together the icing sugar with 1 tablespoon of the raspberry liquid to make your glaze mixture.
  4. Spread approximately ½ teaspoon of the glaze on the surface of each biscuit.

 

Eggless Spinach and Mushroom Pancakes

Eggless Spinach & Mushroom PancakesSavoury pancakes make a great meal and well received by kids, especially when a yummy dessert pancake often follows them. They are cunning way to pack in vegetables for your little one and serve them under the pretense of ‘fun food’. I like substantial, warm fillings like Spinach and Mushroom or Ratatouille and Cheese. The fresh spinach in this recipe does taste much better, however you could use frozen spinach if you have time pressure or it has just been one of those days.

 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
For the pancake
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 tbspn sunflower oil (or any cooking oil)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1 tspn herb paste (I use Bart Infusions Mixed Herbs paste)

For the filling
  • 1 bag fresh spinach (or 3 cups chopped spinach)
  • 1 small onion
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 3 tbspn double cream/ cooking cream
  • 1 tbspn ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
For the pancakes
  1. Put all the ingredients together into a large bowl and whisk thoroughly until you have a smooth and lump-free batter.
  2. Place a large non-stick frying pan or crepe pan on a medium flame and wait for one to two minutes for the pan to heat up.
  3. For each pancake, spoon a ladle of pancake mixture onto the frying pan and swirl the pan around to distribute and thin out the pancake to an even, round layer.
  4. Once the bottom side is cooked, flip over and cook the other side.
  5. Remove from the pan and place on a plate.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Depending on your size of ladle, you should be able to make approximately 6 pancakes.
For the Spinach and Mushroom filling
  1. Wash and chop the spinach finely, dice the onion and slice the mushrooms. In a medium sized frying pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions. After about 2 minutes, add the mushrooms and spinach and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes until the spinach has wilted down. Then add in the cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Heat the mixture and keep aside.
Preparing the pancakes
  1. Fold the pancake in half and spread some butter on one side of the folded pancake. Place back on the frying pan, buttered side down and cook until the bottom side becomes crisp.
  2. Place on a plate and spoon some creamy spinach mixture on half of the semi-circular-shaped pancake. Fold in half again so it is now a quarter of the size of the original and serve hot.

 

Nutrition Guidelines for Kids

How do you know you are giving your kids a healthy diet? How much protein is enough protein? How much Iron is enough?

Over the last 5 years, I would say I have become more and more focused on healthy eating. However, since becoming a parent, I tend to think even more about the foods I am offering to my little one.

The most recent GDAs (Guideline Daily Amount) for children are published by the FSA (Food Standards Agency) and are summarized as below.

Recommended Daily Nutrition Allowances Kids

 

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Take all the healthy bits of porridge, pack it into a pancake, give a load of topping choices and if your family is anything like mine, you’ll see fun, smiles and full tummies at your breakfast table.

I have tried this with gluten free flour and alternative milks (like lactose free milk and almond milk) and they come out exactly the same – you wouldn’t even notice the difference.

 
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Serves: 6-8 pancakes
Ingredients
  • 100g oats (quick cook or rolled oats)
  • 45g wholewheat flour
  • 1 tbspn caster sugar (optional as bananas add sweetness)
  • 1 tbspn ground flax seeds
  • ½ tspn baking powder
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 tbspn coconut oil
  • ½ banana
  1. Using a hand blender, mix all ingredients together to form a liquid batter for the pancakes.
  2. Stir with a spoon to collect any remaining loose flour or oats and blend again.
  3. Pour about 2 tablespoons of mixture onto a very hot non-stick frying pan.
  4. Once the bottom is cooked, flip over and cook the other side.
  5. Serve hot with any topping your child likes.
Notes
The pancake recipe is just a basis for oatmeal pancakes. Feel free to experiment by adding cinnamon powder, vanilla essence, orange essence or even lemon zest.
Replace the bananas with alternative fruits such as blueberries
Or even make gluten free or dairy free by substituting the flour with gluten free flour or the milk with soy or almond milk.
If you use gluten free flour, you need to increase your quantity of oats.

 

Baked Quinoa & Potato Patties

Coconut & Chickpea CurryI have always pan-fried patties in the past, so this was my first efforts at baking them and in all honesty, not only is it healthier, but they taste a lot better too. They are also great for little ones as you can make them any shape or size you like, serve them with curry or pack them as a snack. Although it does take a bit of effort in the preparation stage, they are really easy to cook as you simply pop them in the oven.

 
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Serves: 12-15 patties
Ingredients
  • ½ cup quinoa, cooked
  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • ½ cup coriander, finely chpped
  • ¼ tspn turmeric powder
  • ½ tspn garam masala powder
  • ½ lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbspn plain flour
  • 2 tbspn sunflower or vegetable oil
  1. Halve and steam the potatoes until you can easily put a knife through them. I used a pressure cooker for two whistles. You could alternatively use the jacket potato setting in your microwave.
  2. Once cooked, peel and mash with a fork until you have a dough like consistency (If potatoes are overcooked, add 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs or corn flour if required)
  3. Add the cooked Quinoa, coriander, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt.
  4. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and add it into the mixture.
  5. Mix and knead with your hand until all ingredients are mixed together, forming a sticky dough.
  6. Preheat oven at 180 degrees C.
  7. Flour your hands and your work surface to make the dough more manageable. Create round patty shapes about ½ inch deep and 3 inches wide and place on a baking tray.
  8. Brush both sides of the patties with the oil and bake for approximately 15 minutes, turning half way. The patties should be golden brown on both sides.
  9. Great as a snack with homemade tomato ketchup or serve as a meal with Chickpea Coconut Curry.
Notes
Your potatoes should be just about soft enough to mash but not overcooked or else you will have the wrong consistency. If you find the mixture it is too soft, try adding some cornflour or breadcrumbs to form more of a dough-like mixture.

 

Coconut & Chickpea Curry

This was a bit hit with K and hubby. It is mild, rich and full of flavour. The chickpeas cook in the tangy coconut broth, softening them so they become easy enough to eat for toddler teeth. I made it completely mild as we don’t eat spicy in our household, but some red chilli powder or chopped red chillies would heat it up.

We ate it with quinoa & potato patties but it goes just as well with steamed rice.

 
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Serves: 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 medium sized tomatoes
  • ¼ butternut squash
  • 2 tbspn sunflower/vegetable oil
  • ½ tspn turmeric powder
  • ¼ tspn asafoetida powder (optional)
  • ½ tspn cumin seeds
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1 tspn minced ginger
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • ½ tspn cumin/coriander powder
  • ½ tspn garam masala
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ cup chopped coriander
  • Salt to taste
  • Serve with quinoa & potato patties or a portion of steamed rice.
  1. Finely chop & dice the tomatoes and butternut into small pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the curry leaves, cumin seeds, turmeric and asafoedita.
  3. After about 1 minute, add the minced ginger, tomatoes and butternut squash. Cook on a high flame for 5 minutes.
  4. Now add the cumin/coriander powder, garam masala, salt and stir in.
  5. Pour in the cocounut milk and chickpeas and then cook for 15-20 minutes until the chickpeas are soft and tender. The butternut squash should also be soft by this point.
  6. Add the chopped coriander, cook for a further 2 minutes and serve.
Notes
Serve with quinoa & potato patties or a portion of steamed rice.