One of my friends is one of my stay-at-home-mom heroes. She comes up with some of the most creative ideas to keep herself and her two young children entertained. For example, one week this fall she came up with “Rainbow Week”. During Rainbow Week, she, her daughter, and her son dressed in each of the seven colors of the rainbow (well, indigo got nixed because indigo is really hard to distinguish from violet) and they had activities and food around that color. Tonight, while Husband had to stay late at work, Ben and I had our mini-Rainbow Night with green foods that shouldn’t be green.
What do I mean about green foods that shouldn’t be green? Well, I’ll tell you. Ben has been a little bit of a finicky eater lately. Like karma getting me sick, karma got me back for having a baby who would eat anything. Thus, I tried to bring back that eating anything in a clever, sneaky, Mommy-you-so-smart kind of way. I made Spinach and Banana Waffles. Spinach and banana waffles? Ugh. That sounds foul, Sam-I-Am! I will not eat Green Waffles for dinner! That recipe is not a winner! However, you are a Doubting Thomas. This was a really good and toddler approved way of sneaking something green into a delightful package. Who doesn’t love waffles? Communists. That’s who.
Spinach and Banana Waffles
Makes 2 Belgian Waffles
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and all excess water squeezed out
1/2 banana, sliced thin
1 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Baking Mix
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 Tb oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sugar
- Turn on waffle maker to your desired crispness level.
- Combine all of the ingredients into a blender. Pulse slightly to allow to catch, then blend until smooth. You don’t want to go too smooth, otherwise the waffles will not be fluffy.
You put the spinach in the blender and you mix it all up.
Not a Shamrock Shake
- Spray the heck out of your waffle iron with non-stick spray. I say this because my waffle iron has been acting temperamental lately, as seen by the slight tearing of the waffle.
Mommy is soooo sneaky sticking spinach into the waffle.
- Enjoy! You can use maple syrup on these, or it might be really tasty with a sweetened ricotta or marscapone spread. Bon appetit!
To finish up Green Foods that Shouldn’t be Green Night, Ben and I read Les oeufs verts au jambon (Green Eggs and Ham) before bed. It was quite the night!
As I previously mentioned, Ben LOVES pancakes. He could and would eat them all day every day if I let him. I also really enjoy pancakes. When I went to the Netherlands a couple of years ago, I organized a trip on a pancake cruise in Rotterdam. It was a pretty epic event of all-you-can-eat pancakes and toppings. But,generally speaking, pancakes aren’t the greatest for you. I found a recipe for Oatmeal Pancakes on Pinterest, but was disappointed by the fact that there was vegetable oil and buttermilk in the batter. Then through some witchcraft and wizardry, I morphed the recipe into this delightful dish that contains NO oils and NO buttermilk. This recipe is only 185 calories per serving, less than 4 grams of fat, and very tasty.
Ben’s Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
Makes about 10 4″ pancakes
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (quick cooking)
1 medium banana, divided
1/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 vanilla yogurt
1/2 skim milk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
- Put all of the ingredients in a food processor except half of the banana. Puree until smooth.
- When the batter is smooth, slice up the rest of the banana into chunks and fold into the batter.
- Heat a griddle or large frying pan to medium-high heat. Pour the batter onto the griddle by the 1/4 cup full. Cook until golden brown on each side.
Ben loves banana oatmeal pancakes!
One of my favorite things to do is to make a random meal out of ridiculous leftovers. While on vacation, we had a bunch of bread, some eggs, cream cheese, and some peaches that were about to turn bad. Thus, my French toast casserole was born. The sad part was that we had no butter…but I improvised. This recipe fed 7 adults and two toddlers with leftovers.
French Toast Casserole with Peach Compote
Time: 90 minutes
French Toast Casserole
10 pieces of whole grain bread torn into cubes
3 cups of milk
2 tsp vanilla
4 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup cream cheese
3 packets of Splenda
6 VERY RIPE peaches, peeled and pitted
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
4 packets of Splenda
- Preheat the oven to 350. In a greased 9X13 pan, put in the chunks of bread.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, vanilla and two teaspoons of cinnamon. Pour over the bread and let stand for 10 minutes.
- While the mixture is resting, mix together the cream cheese, remaining cinnamon and Splenda. The cream cheese will get very…creamy. Use this mixture to dot on top of the casserole. Whatever you don’t use on top of the casserole, you can use as a topping with the casserole comes out.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and the egg has set.
- While the casserole is cooking, in a medium bowl, mash the peaches so that they have chunks still in them.
- Pour peaches, water, sugar and 4 packets of Splenda into a small pot. Bring to a boil.
- Once the fruit has begun to boil, reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer until the fruit becomes syrupy. Use as a topping on the French toast. Delish!
On my drive home from work today I got it into my brain that I would finally get around to throwing together the quiche I’ve been threatening to make. My friend Helen made one recently and it looked divine, so I decided that we needed some of the eggy-pastry-veggie goodness. Quiches aren’t inherently very difficult; they’re just time-consuming, especially if you make your own crust. Sadly, I think my great-grandmother would roll over in her grave if I ever used a store-bought crust. Being a good Midwestern pie baker, I had to make my own crust. Unfortunately, that adds a minimum of 1 hour to your cook time. On the plus side, while the dough is resting, it gives you time to make the rest of the ingredients.
Added bonus of this evening’s dinner: Baby approved! At Ben’s 9 month check-up the doctor gave us the go-ahead to give Ben anything we wanted except honey (due to botulism). Because this recipe is pretty healthy (minus the stick of butter in the crust), I figured it would be a good one to start Ben on eggs. It was a big hit. Even the chard didn’t seem to bother him. Granted, this is a kid who slurps up spinach, so I wasn’t terribly shocked. But it’s good to know that Ben is on his way to becoming un garçon français.
Makes one 9″ pie crust
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
8 Tb (1 stick) unsalted, MEGA COLD butter cut into 1/2″ cubes (put it in the freezer for a while)
5-6 Tb ice water
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and sugar to combine.
- Add in half of the butter and pulse 6-8 times. Repeat with the other half of the butter until the mixture looks like a course meal.
- Gradually add in the water 1-2 Tb at a time until the mixture is just coming together and you are able to crunch it together and it stays.
- Turn the mixture onto a floured surface. Knead into a ball then smoosh it to form a small disc.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let it set in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Ideally, you should let it rest over night, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.
- Take the dough and place it on a floured surface. I like to roll out pie crusts on wax paper (my grandmother’s trick). By rolling it out onto wax paper, this eases the transport into the pie tin.
- Roll the dough until it is about 14″ in circumference.
- Push the dough into the pie tin/dish so that there is a little over an 1″ overhang. Wrap the overhang over the lip of the dish. This will help prevent shrinkage.
- Poke holes in the bottom and add pie weights/dried beans. Cook in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Take out and add filling. (see below)
3 spicy Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
4 cups chard sliced into 1″ ribbons
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup water
2 cups cheese (I used 1 cup of Gruyère and 1 cup of cheddar)
salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, break-up and brown the sausage.
- When sausage is nearly done browning, add in the chard and a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wilt the chard.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until combined.
- Add in the Greek yogurt and 3/4 cup of water. If the mixture looks to thick (chunks of yogurt), add a little water until the mixture looks like thick scrambled eggs.
- Add in the cheese and chard-sausage mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust.
- Place a jelly roll pan underneath the pie dish (to avoid spillage) and bake for 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven. The quiche should not jiggle when you bump it and should have a slightly golden brown top. If you cut into it and it’s a little runny, pop that sucker back in the oven for a few. We don’t want salmonella!
Quiche….it’s what’s for dinner.
So, it’s a Sunday morning and the baby is sleeping, Husband got called into work and what do I do? Do I plan my lessons for the week? No. Do I clean the bathroom like I said I was going to? No. Do I catch up on my reading? No. I decide to bake. Growing up, my grandmother always grew zucchini in her garden. The soil in Illinois is so rich that you get ridiculous amounts of whatever you grow. My grandmother used to take the zucchini and make the most delightful bread with it. I had an extra squash from my last Washington’s Green Grocer delivery that needed to be used up, so what better way to use it but in a delightful quick bread? Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough to make a pure zucchini bread, but I did have some nice bananas to add. Thus, zucchini banana bread was born.
I took a recipe from allrecipes.com and Frankensteined it a little bit to produce this gem:
Zucchini Banana Bread
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup grated zucchini
2 bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8×4 inch bread loaf pans. You can use 2, but I like to make smaller loaves to trick myself into eating less.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flowers, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs until light yellow and frothy.
- Add oil, brown sugar, white sugar, grated zucchini, bananas, and vanilla; beat together until well combined.
- Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until well combined. As a fair warning, the batter is denser than normal quick breads because of the whole wheat flour. It looks a lot more like cookie dough, but trust me. It’s good.
- Stir in the nuts.
- Divide the batter evenly between the loaf pans.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool in the loaf pans on a wire rack before removing and serving.