Sugar Free Banana Pops

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I made sugar free banana bread, which is just about as gross as it sounds. My belief that very ripe bananas would lend the loaf all the sweetness it needs was as deceiving as pretending that microwavable turkey bacon is the same as bacon. Sugar free banana bread is just… guh, nasty. I couldn’t pass it off to the toddler either, who despite his forgiving love of all food, loudly declared “I don’t like it, mommy, I don’t like it.”

Problem is that I doubled the recipe. Now I’ve got 2 giant loafs of cake-y, moist, healthy, yet utterly inedible banana bread. I tried to convince myself that I would just eat it without subjecting my family to it, but I couldn’t – not without dousing it with a generous helping of peanut butter and honey.

Inspired by Chopped and its emphasis on re-purposing nasty food, and by Bakerella’s Cake Pops (see video here), I turned these bland breads into yummy bites that are at once deceptively healthy and delectably yum.  I’ve concluded that this is a good alternative to banana bread (or, I donno, just something “new”) – it retains its qualities of high nutrition low sugar, but is in both form and flavour something that my little man would enjoy. And, like all other things on this blah-g of mine, took 20 minutes or less.

Here’s how

1. Crumble the unfortunate loaf whilst assuring it that not all is lost, that it will be reborn

2. Add a Tbsp each of (100%) peanut butter and honey

3. Mix and form into balls

4. Roll balls in crushed walnuts

5, Present to happy child and relish in your motherly cunningness

These mini balls have just the right amount of sweetness, a slight nuttiness from the peanut butter and a little enjoyable crunch from the crushed walnuts. They are cute too which always helps, and they “look” special, which wins them the coveted title of “treat” rather than “snack”. Hurrah.

I also present you the original recipe for Banana Muffins that I used. It’s a staple in my kitchen – it is actually a parent’s dream – moist, lightly sweet, customizable, and healthy. I usually never omit the (rather modest) sugar requirement and they turn out fabulous. The recipe comes from my friend’s mother, who owns a Bed & Breakfast by the beach and who bakes these regularly for her guests.

Bowl 1 – Dry Ingredients

1 cup of cooked quinoa

1 cup of spelt (or all purpose) flour

3/4 cup of oats

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 Tbsp baking sode

1/4 tsp salt

Bowl 2 – Wet Ingredients

2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar (or granulated sugar, or organic cane sugar, or maple sugar, or… you get the point)

1/4 cup oil

2 very ripe, mashed bananas

Add Bowl 2 to Bowl 1. At this point you have the option of adding your favourite accents – my friend’s mother adds 1 cup rhubard or cranberries for a sour effect and 1 cup walnuts for a nutty/seedy crunch. I usually use whatever I have around the house, or omit these additives all together if the pantry is running low.

Spoon into large muffin trays and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until done. If you are making this into a loaf, extend the baking time to 40-50 minutes.

If you make them, let me know how it goes. I appreciate your ingenuity as much I as fool myself into trusting my own :).


Unrequited Craftlove

In Games, Inside on June 12, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I made an oven out of a diaper box. Impressive, I know. My motherly ingenuity made me slightly giddy, “oooh, he’s going to love this one.”

I cut a door into the front of a cardboard box, that’s about all there was to it. The little man liked it then, pretending that it was a car garage.

I then covered it with paper, and added hot plates, a backsplash, and fancy little buttons.

I even put in hooks for the little man to hang things – spoons, oven mitts, hot pads.

I spent an entire nap time on it. I even made the little man stay in the crib a few minutes longer so that I could finish setting it up: put a pot on it, hang things on the side to make it super enticing, added potatoes in the pot….

The little man walked right passed it. He went into the kitchen, took out the broom, and decided he was going to spend the better part of the hour brooming the walls, the bathroom, the table, the chairs, and the fridge.

A day and a half later, it’s still neglected. In the battle of cook vs. clean, cleaning won. Maybe I should have made a mess instead, he could have spent the afternoon actually brooming things instead of spreading the residue dust in the broom all over the entire house.

If you have a child that might appreciate my craftiness, please invite them over, so that my hour of labour may not go totally to waste.

UEFA Euro Cup Inspiration Ole, Ole!

In Games, Inside on June 6, 2012 at 12:15 am

In honour of the 2012  UEFA Euro cup that starts Friday, I present what our family did for the FIFA 2010 World Cup.  I must say that I’m a bit of a bandwagon sports fan, so I needed something to get myself excited about what is the most important sporting event in my husband’s life. It was his first world cup as a married man, and he also had a 5 month old son at home, and a job, none of which lent themselves to the watch-every-single-game-with-all-your-friends pomp that had surrounded the previous World Cups.

Building on the hubby’s love of predicting all things sports, I made a World Cup prediction board (construction paper, world flag stickers, some glue and some thick markers).

We each had a prediction column which we filled out before the games – my five month old son included. How does a five month old predict a soccer match?

Like this:

Before each game, we “sat” our little one on the floor and placed the two playing countries in front of him.

After careful deliberation (or once he lost his balance), he inched (flopped) towards the team card he believed would win, grabbed it, and, more often than not, tried to eat it.

In some cases, he grabbed both teams and put them in his mouth, a sure indication of a tie!! (Fool proof).

The little one’s predictions turned out to be so accurate we’d get pre-game phone calls to get our sooth-sayer’s prediction. By the end he had predicted %85 of the games correctly, not too shabby, enough to make you lament the fact that you didn’t place a wager on any of this stuff.

I can’t say I’d do this again for the UEFA cup – two kids leaves me partial to crafts that take 20 minutes, and I must say it took me a bit longer than that to throw this prediction board together. But in case we’ve got some sports fanatics out there that want to get their kids in on the game…. here’s a way to start.