Tag Archives: whole grain

Banana Nut Snack Cake (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)

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I really enjoy each of the seasons as it comes. I’m always ready for the brisk air and cool nights in the fall. I get excited about the first snowflakes every winter. And, when spring finally rolls around, I embrace it.

I love cleaning out the flower beds and planning the garden for the coming summer. I enjoy getting out for some fresh air, going for a run, or chasing the kiddo around on the playground. And, when we have rainy, dreary days, I enjoy those, too.

Monday was a particularly dreary day, and I decided to embrace it. It was a bit on the chilly side, so we stayed in. I read the same book about Clifford’s First Christmas over and over again (yes, we are currently reading Christmas books… don’t ask), stopping to point out puppy Clifford on every page. We colored, and we watched it rain out the windows.

Then, in the afternoon, I took full advantage of nap time and decided to do some baking. Dreary days just call for baking, don’t they? The pile of overly ripe bananas sitting on my counter was calling my name, so I set out to bake a banana nut cake.Continue Reading

Blueberry Apple Crumble (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free)

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If you follow me on Instagram, or if we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed something different about me.  I’ve gone gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free! It’s (probably) not a permanent change, but I do plan to permanently change the way I eat. It’s kind of a long story, but stick with me on this one…

Along with a group of friends from church, I’ve set out to try to clean up my act when it comes to food… We’re following a book called The Daniel Plan (which covers much more than food, but I’ll talk about the food part here) that emphasizes eating whole foods, especially lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and cutting back on the not-so-good stuff like wheat, sugar, and all forms of processed foods. It seems rather simple. And, frankly, it is.

Honestly, nothing about the food portion of The Daniel Plan was news to me. I read a lot about food, we belong to a CSA, I cook from scratch, and we generally eat healthy meals. But, I also love to bake. And, as a result, we have been eating a lot of sweets.

It hasn’t always been that way, though.  I think the sweets have crept up on me over the years. When I started writing my blog over 5 years ago, I was writing about the food that we were eating. Gradually, as I tried to constantly share new recipes and worked my way into the baking scene, we started eating whatever I was writing about. I distinctly remember one night when I made avocado-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers for a blog post, and we ended up just eating them for dinner because I didn’t have time to make anything else. They were from scratch, made with unprocessed ingredients. But, I think we can all agree that bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers aren’t exactly a balanced dinner. And, when I was baking batch upon batch of sticky buns or cookies, trying to come up with a perfect recipe, we would end up eating a lot of those, too.Continue Reading

Honey Wheat Bagels

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We’ve had an unusual number of chilly, snowy days this winter.  In the last few years, I have often designated snowy days as my baking days in the kitchen. Preheating the oven just seems to take the chill out of the air… And, a few freshly baked treats don’t hurt either.

While I don’t quite have the freedom to spend a whole day baking like I used to, I’ve still managed to get in some snowy day baking this winter… I’ve taken advantage of nap time and worked ahead on my chores to get a few extra hours in the kitchen when snow was in the forecast.

What was I baking? Well, I’m glad you asked… I have been working on this recipe for honey wheat bagels for Red Star Yeast! Surprisingly, I am pretty new to bagel baking. I’ve done my share of baking over the years, but bagels always seemed to slip through the cracks. Early in January, I finally got around to trying out a bagel recipe from The Sophisticated Gourmet that I’ve had bookmarked for years. Kamran’s recipe was fabulous. I made it twice. Once I had a feel for it, I decided to try to mix it up and make my own version using some whole wheat flour and honey.

After a period of trial and error (and trial and error and trial and error…), I’ve come up with a recipe that I’m pretty happy with. Everyone else in my family has been pretty happy with them, too. (Yes, that includes both the toddler and the yellow lab. The are sisters, and they love to share.)

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While I originally attempted the recipe with all whole wheat flour, I’ve found that adding some traditional bread flour back in helped the bagels to have that nice chewy bagel texture that we all love. I also chose to use white whole wheat flour because it has a more delicate flavor that I think pairs beautifully with honey. I not only made them plain, but I’ve added chocolate chip and made a cinnamon raisin version. Each variety turned out well, and they were all gobbled up quickly.

Of course, my favorite way to eat a bagel is with cream cheese and jam. Not one or the other… Both. Seriously… Give it a try sometime.

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Want to give the recipe a try? Great! I’ve got plenty of photos to help you along the way (along with a tutorial at the end on how to add mix-ins like chocolate or raisins).  Of course, if you’re looking for even more help, I’d recommend checking out this Baking Steps Guide from Red Star Yeast… They’ve got great information to get you started so that you’ll be on your way to freshly baked bagels in no time! Of course, you can always connect with Red Star Yeast (@RedStarYeast) or with me (@JenSchall) on Twitter… We’d be happy to answer your questions!

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Honey Wheat Bagels
Makes 8 bagels
(Inspired by The Sophisticated Gourmet)

  • 1 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) Red Star PLATINUM Yeast
    (Note – Red Star Dry Active Yeast will work, too… It will just rise a bit more slowly.)
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • Water (for boiling)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons additional honey (optional)

In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the bread flour, salt, and yeast. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the warm water (approximately 110°F) and 2 tablespoons of honey.  Add the liquid to the mixing bowl. Fit the mixer with the beater attachment, and beat for 2 – 3 minutes on medium-low, until the mixture is smooth.

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Switch to the dough hook, and gradually add the white whole wheat flour. Add about 1 ½ cups and let the dough knead on the slowest setting for a minute or two. If the dough still seems very sticky (this will depend on the weather and other factors), add an additional ½ cup of white whole wheat flour. Continue to knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball, an additional minute or two.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in volume and the imprint of two fingers remains when pressed lightly into the dough.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover again with the damp towel and let the dough rest for 10 – 15 minutes.

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While the dough rests, prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silicone liner and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

After allowing the dough to rest, shape each piece into a smooth ball and then press your thumb down into the center of the ball to shape the dough into a bagel shape. Transfer the bagels to the prepared baking sheet, and cover the bagels again to let them rest for an additional 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add a teaspoon or two of honey to the water (optional). Gently place the bagels into the boiling water, a few at a time. Let the bagels boil for 90 seconds before flipping them over to boil on the other side for an additional 90 seconds. Transfer the bagels back to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the bagels for 20 minutes. Let the bagels cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Want to add some mix-ins to your bagels? It’s simple! Before dividing the dough into 8 pieces, simply flatten the dough into a rectangle roughly 10 inches by 16 inches. Sprinkle your mix-ins (cinnamon, raisins, dried blueberries, chocolate chips, etc.) on the dough and then roll it up into a long roll. Then, cut the dough into 8 even portions and let it rise before shaping the bagels.

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My Kitchen Addiction Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast.  Though I have been compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

Spiced Banana Muffins (Munching with Maddie)

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I may still be writing 2013 whenever I write (or type) the date, but the new year is here… I can never decide if I love or hate this time of year.

I love the holidays, and I am always slightly sad that the holiday season is over.  But, in many ways, I really love the “slow stretch” that starts in January.  Taking down the Christmas decorations is bittersweet. While I do love the twinkling lights, I also love the fresh, clean, de-cluttered house that is left once the decorations are packed away.

I feel the same way about resolutions. Part of me can relate to the desire for a fresh start.  The coming of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the coming year. At the same time, it can become a time for great extremes and unreasonable expectations.

I tend not to set resolutions each year.  Instead, I try to approach each month, week, and day with the same fresh start that comes with the new year. Instead of a December full of nothing but fudge, cakes, and cookies followed up with a January of smoothies and salads, I try to approach the entire year with an attitude of moderation. There is no reason to wait for a particular date on the calendar to start over or make a change. Sure, there are some days (and probably more of them in December than other months) where I may overindulge in sweets and treats. I’m not perfect. But, I try to balance those days out with days where I enjoy lighter foods.

I don’t really keep score, and I’m certainly not scientific about it. Perhaps the numbers on the scale would be a bit lower if I was. But, it just doesn’t fit my personality or lifestyle these days.  The honest truth is that I’m a mom with a toddler who does her best, regardless of what month it is. Sure, I could probably stand to lose a few more of those “baby pounds” but it’s not my daily focus.Continue Reading

Molasses Banana Biscuits (Munching with Maddie… And Yellowdog!)

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It’s been such a busy few weeks… I am feeling the crunch of a late Thanksgiving and fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even though we’ve pulled back on gift giving and spending over the past few years, I feel as though the hype of the Christmas season continually makes it all crazier and more stressful every year.

I have to say that all of the TV ads and barrage of emails for the “best sale of the season” every *single* day have made me want to spend less, not more.  I haven’t been to the mall yet, and I’m not sure I will even go this year at all.  Instead, I’ve been focused on making a lot more homemade gifts.

If you have furry babies (or friends and family who are doggy lovers), I’d definitely recommend making some homemade doggy treats to stuff their stockings.  After all, Santa Paws can’t do all the work, right?

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Maddie and I (which really means just me) made these yummy molasses banana doggy treats for Yellowdog’s birthday a few weeks ago.  After much research into homemade teething biscuits and a few years experience making homemade dog treats, I realized that they are pretty much the same thing. So, I had the brilliant idea that we would have a tea party for Yellowdog’s birthday and Maddie and Yellowdog could both snack on some of the treats.  It seemed like a great idea.

The only problem with making treats for both Maddie and Yellowdog to snack on is that Yellowdog doesn’t share well with Maddie.  Their relationship is built on the fact that Maddie loves to share with Yellowdog (she has figured out that affection can be bought with snacks).  Yellowdog mostly just likes to steal stuff from Maddie.

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I dressed the girls up for the tea party – Maddie in her cute red hat, and Yellowdog in a red scarf. I got them both in the playroom and we set up Maddie’s tea set and got ready to settle in for some treats. I had tasted one before hand, and they were yummy. Maddie started chomping away happily on a treat when Yellowdog snatched it right out of her hand… Maddie screamed. And, then the crazy dog proceeded to eat about a dozen more treats before I could get a hand on the situation.

So, while I can’t recommend trying to sit your energetic yellow lab down with your toddler for a tea party to share some biscuits, I can highly recommend these dog treats.  I had a quick nibble of them to make sure the texture was right for Maddie.  And, well, we all know Yellowdog approved.

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Molasses Banana Biscuits (for dogs or teething babies!)
Makes 16 cookies (approx. 2 1/2 inches long)

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
    (Note – Other molasses, including “dark” molasses should not be given to dogs… But, according to my research, blackstrap molasses is OK)
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (plus additional for sprinkling work surface)
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats

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Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, olive oil, and molasses.  Stir in the banana, mixing until smooth.  Add the whole wheat flour and oats, and stir to form a soft dough.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.  Roll out to approximately 1/2-inch thickness.

Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes, or simply use a knife to cut into squares or rectangles.  Place the cookies/biscuits on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 45 – 50 minutes.  For extra hard cookies (perfect for teething babies), turn off the oven and leave the biscuits in the oven for an additional hour or so.

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