Molasses as a sweetener


If you want to make 1 1/2 loaves of banana bread (one large, one small) here’s the recipe.  Alternatively, you could make one loaf and some muffins.  Not sure how the cooking time would vary for those but I’m just throwing it out there because I made this recipe and it had too much for one loaf but was still perfect and definitely worth sharing.

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Rather than applesauce as a sweetener, I used molasses.  It’s subtly sweet but the body treats it way different than sugar.  Almost everything I bake I make suitable for pacman and while I don’t mind giving him natural sugars, I’d like to keep his palate free from the sweet stuff as long as possible.  He eats HEAPS of fruit so I’m sure he’s getting enough glucose to run his engine all day long.  Best avoid him turning into his mama (I don’t know when the last time I decided to forgo dessert was, but it wasn’t in 2014).


Anyway, the bananas are (obviously) sweet too, so there’s really no need to add any sugar to the recipe.  It’s delicious as is.

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Gluten Free Molasses Banana Bread [nut free, soy free, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free]


  • 5 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (packed) coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose GF flour (I used TJ’s)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt


In a large bowl, combine wet ingredients (bananas, eggs, oil, molasses, vanilla), until uniformly mixed.  Then add in dry ingredients (cinnamon, coconut flour, GF flour, baking powder, salt).  Again, stir to combine.  Pour into greased baking dish (large loaf and small loaf/muffin tins).

Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).  Muffins may not take as long.

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Enjoy 🙂

Chickpea smuggler

Here are some updates on how it’s going feeding a toddler with allergies (since I know several mamas like these posts) and he seems to be thriving.


I snuck beans into my child’s diet and they weren’t even baked or blended into something making them unrecognizable.  Nope.  I simply changed the texture by roasting them and voila!

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The kid eats beans.

For now. 😛  (there are a few ways to roast them but I did 450 degrees F x 25 minutes just tossed in a little olive oil)

Like I mentioned in a previous post, this is very exciting for me because it is a possible gateway drug bean to many others.  And now that we have successfully introduced a few seeds safely, I’m feeling pretty good about the plant based protein options in his diet.  Fingers crossed this continues and we can keep adding in more vegan items.


This is an average spread.  He is still going through ravenous phases and I swear he grew overnight last week.  And while teething slows his appetite down, he’s still a pretty good eater even as his grill fills in.

Plums are a big favorite at the moment, and he’ll eat blueberries by the pint.  Pending his mood, there’s not many fruits he will turn down.  Veggies are hit and miss.  He doesn’t like greens in his eggs anymore (and picks around them) so I’m thinking I’ll blend them and make it impossible for him to avoid them.  Hopefully he doesn’t turn up his nose at green eggs altogether.

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I made this banana pancake a while ago which looked awesome to me, but he wanted none of it.  I happily devoured it with sunbutter on top.

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It was just mashed banana and eggs – two things he loves – but nope.  No interest.

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Still making pouches weekly.

The best thing about these is that appearances don’t matter so I have a tupperware that I keep in the fridge specifically for fruit discards.  So those last few grape halves or banana slices he doesn’t want (etc)…collect over the week and then I blend them all together (with frozen broccoli or something else green) and have a big smoothie puree that I add to pouches as we need them out and about.  No waste, no how.

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Still making hemp milk weekly, too.

The only thing I’ve changed in my technique since this post is I bought a nut milk bag.  It makes the process even faster and it literally takes me no time to do it now.

I will say, though, that hemp milk doesn’t hold his appetite very well so I mix it with (canned) coconut milk to get in extra fat and calories.  That way he gets the protein from the hemp and the other macros of the coconut milk.  And still no gums, thickeners, stabilizers, etc. because the coconut milk I use is only coconut and water.

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And last but not least, a new snack option!  I had written previously about these 2 ingredient bars, but they since got a new flavor and it’s also a winner.

And regarding the “may contain seeds” label on the package.  Here’s the reply I got from Trader Joe’s:

 Hi Elise,

Thank you for contacting us! The “May contain seeds” statement you are inquiring about that is printed on our Trader Joe’s Apple Banana Fruit Bars, is a warning for possible seeds that are in the fruit used. It is not referring to allergens.

There are no chia, sesame or hemp seeds in the facility that manufactures this product.

Thanks again,

Nicki K.
Trader Joe’s
Customer Relations

Allergy friendly yellow cake

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I know (I think?) what you’re thinking.  Yellow cake?  What’s the point?  Chocolate is where it’s AT!  I agree with you, but every once in a while you need some quality yellow cake in your life.  Like on the 4th of July.

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Because it just feels right.  Is #merica just so 2013?

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Since I wanted P to be able to eat some, I made it allergen friendly.  As in, no wheat, gluten, dairy, nuts, or soy.  The batter does contain eggs and I’m not sure if it would turn out without them but if anyone wants to give it a shot with flax meal or chia seeds, by all means please do.  I realize there are boxed cake mixes out there, but I wanted a cake free of gums and stuff, so I made my own.

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I made both the cake and frosting a few days in advance and stored them in the fridge.  Before frosting the cake, I let the icing sit on the counter to get closer to room temp – not too warm though, just enough to spread more easily.  Then it went back in the fridge until the 4th.  I took it out of the fridge ~15 minutes in advance of serving.

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Both the cake and frosting involve coconut oil so we all know the solid state that reaches in cooler temps.

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Frosted and berried and BAM!  Land of the free, home of the brave.

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Turns out I have some crafty inclinations in me after all.  🙂  I used this recipe as my guide but made lots of changes to make it both allergen friendly and able to fit a (9X13) baking pan, so here’s my version:

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Yellow Cake [gluten free, dairy free, nut free, soy free]


  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used TJ’s – it doesn’t have guar or xanthan gum)
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, softened (or almost all the way melted)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can light coconut milk (~1 2/3 cups)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder, salt) until uniformly mixed.  Add in wet ingredients and mix thoroughly, whipping it til it’s silky smooth.

Pour into greased baking pan (I used a 9×13 pyrex).  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

Let cool on counter before frosting.

For the frosting I had to make a hack version of what I normally do.  Ordinarily, I would use the solid portion of a can of full fat coconut milk (chilled in the fridge over night so it’s separated and easy to scoop apart from the coconut water), but I was all out.  So instead I combined coconut milk and oil to create a “cream”.  It’s not a whipped frosting, but rather, a thin sweet layer that nicely accompanies the cake.  I thought it was good enough to share the recipe.

Vanilla Coconut Frosting [vegan, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, soy free]


  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar


Whip everything together until no lumps remain (I used a hand mixer).  Refrigerate for >2 hours.  Remove from fridge and give it a quick stir a few minutes before frosting.

Top with berries for the American flag look.  Or go crazy with sprinkles.

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This cake is humble enough to be an everyday cake, but can be fancied up for special occasions too.  And even though it’s not from a box, it’s still not terribly labor intensive.  It’s not quite as fluffy as traditional cake – it’s a bit more dense (although I hesitate to use that word since it implies a heaviness, which was definitely not present).  I’d say it’s more like a shortcake.  It gets softer the warmer it gets – thanks to the coconut oil.  And everyone seemed to like it, so I think it’s a winner.

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Notes: For a white (not yellow) cake, you could use 8 egg whites instead of 4 eggs.  If you’re anal (cough, cough) you may consider buying extra berries so you can find ones that are uniform in size.  Don’t be alarmed by the liquid-y nature of the batter (I was) – I promise it will be okay.

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I hope this is helpful for all the allergy peeps, but honestly, it’s a delicious cake that I would eat it over and over, even though I tolerate many things my son cannot.

Birthday weekend for mom

I realize it’s pretty late to be recapping last weekend but I’m going to do it anyway because (a) these are my favorite posts to read and write and (b) my sister loves feeling in the loop with the family goings-on.  So.  This past weekend we went to visit my parents to celebrate my mom’s birthday.  I thought we were going to have to cancel because P got a GI bug last week that was annihilating him but he turned a corner on Saturday.  Thank goodness.  Poor baby was trying his best to be happy but it wasn’t pretty.  In true “when it rains it pours” fashion, he also took a big spill and got a goose egg unlike any other I’ve seen on his head.  Sometimes life is a doozy packman.  Might as well learn it when you’re young.


Annnyway, we made it to their place in time for lunch, so I threw their fridge contents in a bowl. Spinach, strawberries, avocado, and fried eggs.  Topped in EVOO and TJ’s balsamic glaze.

P grubbed too.


Blueberry goatee.

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We were supposed to head into the city (SF) for dinner on Saturday night but I cancelled the reservations on Friday because (at the time) P was still ailing.  He had 3 am wake-ups the two nights prior and lots of blow outs that required full baths so I wasn’t really in the mood to make a big fuss for a date night.  Still, we took advantage of my parents staying home to watch him and went out for a bite at Roam (it’s minutes from my parents’ house).  We’ve gotten take-out from this place before but it’s more fun being in the scene.


In addition to the sweet potato fries I got a bison burger with a fried egg on a GF bun.  I also got extra herb mayo on the side.


Kyle got the “French & Fried” which has fries IN the burger!

It was an early night for us though, and I’m glad it was because P woke up (again) in the middle of the night.  As much as I’d love to have a nice full night of rest, I really and truly love snuggling with him in the dark.  He’s such a love bug and it melts my heart that I get to share those precious moments with him.

Per our Sunday tradition, we went for a family run around the neighborhood.

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After everyone else got up and I fed P his breakfast, we all walked to La Boulange for breakfast.

I got an egg scramble and fried potatoes with a decaf soy cafe au lait.


Pattycakes ate a second breakfast (making up for lost time after that GI bug!) and swiped much of the fruit on the table.


The fountain outside was a big hit for the water baby.

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Think he gets enough love and attention?


After his morning nap my parents worked on the yard and the rest of us supervised.  My mom showed P her garden which is a way more massive version of ours and not long after it was

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Eventually we lunched.


And then dipped in the pool!

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The pool was 78 degrees!! It took patty-cakes some time to warm to the situation but he was into it once he started splashing.

Just a nice lazy Sunday.

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Little man boycotted his afternoon nap so he and Kyle played with the dogs while I made my mom’s birthday brownies.

I used coconut oil and 2 eggs, but when I poured it into the pan it didn’t seem like very much batter.  Hmmm…

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Afternoon apps!

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My dad BBQ-ed for dinner.  The dogs helped.

Then we sang happy birthday!

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And about those brownies…

Ummmm…”crunchy” is how I’d describe them.  It was impossible to cut and serve out of the pan (without a chainsaw that would ruin the pan), but after I pried the first bit out, I was able to grab the entire thing in one piece.  The edges were hard (but still edible), while the middles were soft.  I don’t think I’d make glutino brownies again, but we all went back for seconds so that says something, right?

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Breakfast: a man with a hat (aka eggs with spinach and Canyon Bakehouse toast with avo)

Lunch: salad with leftovers

My sister stopped by to play with her ‘phew for a bit before his nap so she got to see his walking skills in person.  I spent the afternoon running very important errands (See’s candy and WF) and shopping (Old Navy).

Kyle was away for a business dinner and my dad was spending the night at the vineyard (my grandpa just got out of the hospital) so it was just the girls for dinner.


Melon is soooo summer.

P devoured 1/4 of the melon in 3 seconds flat before doing a complete 180 and shunning it like I was trying to poison him.  Such a bizarre thing to watch.  But it left the rest for our salad.


Yup, it’s the butter lettuce, avocado, cantaloupe salad with poppyseed dressing.


With chicken to call it a meal.  My sister joined us after she got off work and we all had a nice relaxing time chatting over fresh summer fare.  Mmmm…

I waited til Kyle got back to dig into the brownies for dessert.  Naturally we finished them all off.

Tuesday morning we hit the road early (P woke up at 4 am anyway) and it was back to the grind.

But now it’s already another weekend and we have big plans to soak up this 100 degree weather.  🙂

What I ate…a long time ago

Last week I took photos of my whole day of eats – something I rarely do anymore – and then I just forgot about it.

But they were good meals worth sharing so I’m posting them now because it’s food related and this is a food blog!


It’s pretty atypical for me to have oats in the mornings nowadays, so this creation is more of an anomaly than the norm.  I was in the mood for peanut butter but I used sunbutter instead because I’m still nervous about eating nuts when I’m around P.  Even though I’m super careful it’s still scary.  It also had coconut and cinnamon for days.

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My lunch featured Quorn chik’n tenders which are easy to have in the freezer for random protein emergencies (because we all have those?!?! what??).  Anyway, I was in the mood for a salad with some oomph so I thawed some chunks and kinda worried they’d be weird.


They looked like chicken with freezer burn, but tasted shockingly good!  The ingredients list isn’t short, but despite appearances, it’s all decent.  It’s actually mostly egg protein, and yet it doesn’t taste eggy at all.  I liked it more than gardein and many other mock meats.


I tossed it with steamed kale, coconut chips, and tamari – a quickie take on this salad (again).


My afternoon boost was green – thanks to the frozen spinach.  The rest of the smoothie had coconut milk, frozen banana, nutribiotic vanilla rice protein powder, and ice.

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Dinner was more kale (I can’t get enough lately) with salmon.


I definitely phoned it in with this meal, but sometimes you need simple ones to balance out the more time consuming ones.  I know which days are going to be busier in advance so those days are the ones that I bust out the crock pot or turn to big salads.  Kyle loves kale salads too so it’s a win win.


This one had kale (massaged with olive oil and avocado), quinoa, and white beans.  I used canned salmon from TJs so it was ready in minutes.

P still refuses to have anything to do with beans.  It’s breaking my hippie heart.  🙁  I’ll just keep trying…


Kyle and I finished off his birthday cake while watching Girls.  We flew through all 3 seasons in a matter of days.  Now it’s on to the next season of Mad Men that I saw just popped onto our Netflix queue.  Woo hoo.