Archive for Kid Suff

Chocolate & PB Frozen ‘Nanas

I have a sweet tooth. I can walk away from potato chips without flinching, because salty snacks just don’t satisfy me the way sugar does… Creamy candied pleasure, luscious chocolate gooey-ness, and the pinnacle of my dessert desire –   birthday cake. I have great affection for that hyper-sweet yellow confection, thick with  buttercream icing…

But knowledge is both a blessing and a curse, and becoming a nutritionist has really ruined a lot of sweet treats for me.  Now I know that (at least commercially) my favorite frosting is made from cheap hydrogenated soybean oil. Hydrogenated oils are a deal-breaker. When I’m shopping, if I see High Fructose Corn Syrup on an ingredient list, that item goes back on the shelf. I’m watching my added sugar intake like my life depends on it (Because  it does, with the way diabetes runs in my family!) Add to this I don’t eat gluten or dairy and what’s a gal to do?

Check out this incredibly delicious and goof proof recipe!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Covered Frozen Bananas


  • 3 bananas
  • 1 cup dark chocolate-chips
  • 2   tablespoons organic peanut butter


  • 9 wooden popsicle sticks
  • parchment paper
  1. Peel bananas and cut into three sections. Gently insert a popsicle stick into the center.
  2. Place on a parchment paper lined tray and place in the freezer while you melt your chocolate.
  3. Combine chocolate chips and peanut butter in a double boiler. I use a Pyrex mixing bowl over a pot of softly boiling water. If you must use a microwave, set it on medium (power 6-7) until melted. Stir with a spatula until smooth.
  4. Pour melted chocolate into a tall, narrow glass or container. Remove bananas from freezer. Dip, one by one, into the chocolate, letting it ooze up the sides of the glass and coat the banana.
  5. Place bananas on tray again and sprinkle with nuts, if desired. I think cashew pieces are ideal. For an extra hit of chocolate, go ahead and put more chips on top. Or mix them together…mmmm…yum!
  6. Freeze until solid.

To enjoy: remove from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for about five minutes.

The reason I like this so much (besides the fact that it hits all my pleasure centers – sweet, cold, & creamy) is the added protein from the peanut butter and nuts. In choosing a healthy treat, I look for a complex carb, a “good” fat and protein.  The banana is my complex carb, and the nuts act as both healthy fat (monounsaturated or MUFA) and protein source. I use chocolate that’s at least 65% cocoa, rich and dark and full of antioxidants.



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Baby Peas & Poops

I called my pediatrician on her cell phone this morning, and when she answered “Hello Maura, how’s MJ…?”  I thought ‘holy crap! Do I call her that often?’ It turns out if you call once, she stores the number {pheew}. I had called 3 days ago, because my son has a recurring problem. Well, actually it’s the lack of reoccurrence that’s the problem. My poor baby is constipated! One poop in four days…

I understand that digestion is a complicated process, and we’ve just started with baby’s first solid foods. Rice cereal to begin with, then avocados, after I was planing to introduce carrots, peas, zucchini…whatever looked fresh and inviting at the farmer’s market. I believe in feeding children FOOD – real food, not sugar-coated over-processed crap masquerading as food. And I was looking forward to choosing his food, and cooking it myself. Imagine my disappointment when everything (literally) came to a grinding halt!

I know constipation is completely normal during the introduction of food. Breast milk is easily digestible, and food is new. Baby’s bodies need time to adjust. So I stopped with the rice cereal and looked for foods higher in fiber. My pediatrician recommended barley cereal, but I’m hesitant to give my baby foods that I’m allergic to (wheat, rye, barley = gluten).

I decided to skip the cereal all together and concentrate on fruits and vegetables. And more breast milk. I’m going to stuff my son with liquids and fiber! First up: Prunes. Old wives tales often contain a kernel of truth and this one is no exception. Prunes are incredibly high in fiber and sweet enough to please a baby’s palate. Next up: Peas. They have an equal amount of fiber and a different set of nutrients. I really want MJ to get used to lots of green veggies.

I also tried the warm bath, tummy massage, and “bicycle legs”. Is there any problem that the trifecta of good nutrition, exercise and rest can’t fix? As it happens…Yes. Yes, there is.

24 hours later and still no poop. I know these things take time, but this morning MJ was obviously uncomfortable; straining, crying and turning an odd shade of purple. Hence the call to Dr. Lieberman. The last resort: Glycerin Suppositories.

MJ and I made the trip to Target and they only had adult size suppositories (as if I wasn’t worried enough about sticking something up my baby’s tiny bottom) It seems that you can cut an adult sized glycerin suppository in 1/2. Mommyhood is a constant learning experience!

Once home, I got the scissors, the suppository and try to psych myself up. I took off MJ’s diaper…and he had pooped! Thick (and stinky) and looking like grown-up poop…another milestone! And I totally dodged the bullet-shaped laxative.

Happy Day!

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Grillin’ & Chillin’ (Portobello Mushroom Style)

I’ve decided that tomorrow’s the day – I’m going to give MJ real food! OK – so just rice cereal mixed with a little breast milk (organic brown rice cereal, of course!) But I’m just so excited for him. FOOD! Glorious food on Independence Day. And what delightful things will I be eating? We went to the farmer’s market today, so I have fresh raspberries and blueberries – they are ridiculously sweet. I also purchased kale, bok choy, a lemon cucumber (tastes like a cucumber but is a summery yellow color inside and out), a sweet green pepper and “dragon tongue” beans (something new to me). I’m also going to make potato salad (my rustic “German-style”recipe from a previous blog post) For the main course I think I might try an alternative to meat on the grill and go with Portobello Mushroom Caps – they grill up juicy and instead of eating them on a bun, I can slice them up and use them as a salad topper. (the average hamburger bun has 150 calories, and the gluten-free varieties have even more. I’m not wasting 250 calories on a bun!)

4 large Portobello mushroom caps
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the mushroom caps, smooth side up, in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour over the mushrooms. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or so, turning twice.
Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Brush grate with oil. Place mushrooms on the grill, reserving marinade for basting. Grill for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until tender. Brush with marinade frequently.

The same marinade works well for baby bellos, which I like to grill on skewers (with some onions – yummy!) and I just put the mushrooms and the marinade in a plastic ziplock bag and let them sit til I’m ready to skewer and grill. Remember to pre-soak bamboo skewers. I actually use (and re-use) thicker metal skewers for grilling. They were more expensive than the wooden ones, but they’re not disposable, and they’re really sturdy – so they hold more weight. And I never worry about them breaking or burning!

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GF Vegan Brownies

I had a wonderful few days with my sister and nephew visiting from Chicago. I have little experience (or opportunity) to feed a 6 year old, so I wanted to try out some kid-friendly cuisine; but it still needed to fit in with my gluten & dairy free lifestyle, and I’m not a big believer in “sugar-coating”children’s foods.

I found a great recipe for gluten free vegan brownies that I just had to try:

1 can (15.5 oz) black beans
2 bananas
1/2 cup of unsweetened coca
1/3 cup agave
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla (the recipe called for vanilla extract; but I used an organic powdered vanilla)
1 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8×8 in pan – I used coconut oil. Everything (except the optional chips) goes into the food processor. I have a mini-processor, so I did it in 2 batches. Fold in the chips and bake for 35 minutes.

Makes 9 servings with a mere 100 calories each – lots of fiber, very little fat and remarkably fudge-y. I can’t taste the black beans; but there is a distinct banana flavor. According to some online feedback, using unripe bananas will cut down on that flavor, but substituting a different type of fruit wouldn’t work (it’s a texture thing, I guess) I still want to something besides banana – I’m thinking pumpkin in the fall and maybe adding walnuts; but this June heat doesn’t make pumpkin sound appealing.

Great reviews from my sister, her friend, and my nephew!

I did consider icing them – and if I had ripe avocados on hand, I would have made a yummy chocolate icing out of avocado, cocoa powder and agave. So creamy, the same ingredients also make a great chocolate mousse (just use more avocado) – avocado is my favorite creamy/dairy substitute. It has a sweetness to it, but it’s neutral enough to be a good base for other flavors – especially chocolate, which has such a yummy, bold flavor.

I love the idea of baking my own special treats. After reading Micheal Pollan’s “Food Rules” {highly recommend it!}, I love the idea of only eating special occasion food that I make myself at home. Fried chicken is a huge PIA, so making it at home, rather than eating it out, ensures that I won’t eat it very often. The same goes for desserts. Of course the problem with desserts is that it’s hard to make just a single serving. If I bake cupcakes, there will be at least a dozen cupcakes in the house. For me, I need to bake for “company” – I made 9 brownies, but there were 4 of us, so there was a built-in portion control. Even good-for-you food becomes less good if you eat 3 servings at a time 🙂

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