Baking chocolate chip cookies with the kids is one of my favorite family activities. When we had to go dairy and gluten free I was a little upset but I found a way to make chocolate chip cookies with some easy substitutions. Back when we […]
Banana bread was one of those things I always meant to make but never got around to. We would put bananas in the freezer and inevitably forget about them. I have tossed so many bananas into the yard waste I can’t even remember. Part of our plan to be more frugal is to waste less food. Food waste is a huge problem, especially in America with up to 40% of all food produced wasted according to the National Resources Defense Council. Many people buy more than they need and a lot of it gets tossed out. We have always gone through the pantry a couple of times a year and donated what we are not eating but that is harder to do with the lettuce you fully intended to eat but has now formed a mushy mess in the bottom of the vegetable drawer. I have been really working hard at lowering our produce waste lately and only buying enough fruits and vegetables for us to actually eat.
Our efforts have been working and we no longer have several bananas in the freezer or mushy lettuce in the fridge but we do run out of fresh fruit and vegetables sometimes but you know what? It is completely fine. I keep frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer and when we run out I make sure to go to the store the next possible day. We have gotten much better about buying only what we need and now that our berries and squash are beginning to ripen I don’t really have to worry about running out. We just head out to the garden and see what we can find. Right now we have blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and huckleberries ripe and my kids have been out there daily munching away.
Finding a good banana bread recipe was a difficult task. We don’t like it very sweet and it needed to be easy enough for me to put together with the kids running around. I found this one at Mr.Breakfast.com several months ago that I absolutely love. We have since gone gluten and diary-free and I have been able to adapt it easily with pre-made gluten-free flour and coconut oil. I also cut the sugar in half because we are trying to reduce our sugar intake in our house.
I found some gluten-free flour at Costco that I thought I would try it with this banana bread and so far I have been really pleased with it. I can’t taste any garbanzo beans and unsuspecting family members haven’t been able to tell the difference so I may branch out to something else. I have been hearing about this butter flavored coconut oil for months in my mom’s group and I used it with the banana bread. I am not sure if it is worth the extra cost yet. The container is not very big and using 8 tablespoons for the banana bread recipe made a huge dent in it so I might just reserve it for recipes where it really matters. Ha ha don’t look at the salt I used. We have been out of Kosher salt the last couple of weeks and my husband and I kept forgetting to buy it. He is a huge salt lover though so we have many different kinds stashed away in the cupboard and the sea salt made the cut as our temporary substitute. Do you guys ever do that? A box of Kosher salt lasts us many months and we never remember to buy it when we are out. Somehow since we rarely need salt it slips our minds every time we are at the store. I should probably start buying two so we have an extra for our emergency kit.
First things first measure out your coconut oil and your sugar.
Cream them in a bowl. I am fond of the hand mixer for smaller jobs but you could use a stand mixer as well.
Beat 2 eggs into a bowl.
Mash up your bananas. I did them one by one in the egg bowl to save on dishes.
Add your flour slowly. I split it into 2 1/2 cups and 1/4 cup and slowly mixed them in.
Yum! If you like nuts or chocolate chips in your banana bread you can add them here. My son is too young for nuts so I leave them out. We also don’t eat a lot of sugar so I leave out the chocolate chips.
Pour your mixture into a greased loaf pan and tamp it down. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
There you have it! Yummy banana bread fresh out of the oven. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool!
Gluten-free Dairy-free Banana Bread
Quick and easy banana bread easily made gluten and dairy-free.
- 8 Tablespoons Coconut oil (or butter)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 beaten eggs
- 3 bananas
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 and 1/4 cups All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour mix
- Optional 1/3 cups Walnuts
- Step 1 Grease a standard loaf pan and set oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Step 2 Cream the coconut oil and sugar together in a large bowl.
- Step 3 Beat two eggs together and add them as well as two mashed bananas to the bowl.
- Step 4 Mix in salt and baking soda. Add flour, mixing slowly.
- Step 5 Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean in the center of the loaf.
My husband and three year old made these marshmallows by David Lebovitz a few weeks ago. He has made them in the past and they are delicious! Our three year old loves to cook and she is obsessed with marshmallows so it was a fun activity for them to do together. We got the recipe from David Lebovitz’s website and it can be found here. It seems like a lot of steps but it really was easy to make, most of the time was spent waiting for things to heat up or cool down.
First step dissolve the gelatin. We used standard Knox gelatin which can be found at your local grocery store or online. We usually can find it pretty cheap at Fred Meyer. It doesn’t really go bad so it is a good idea to stock up on it when it goes on sale during canning season or around the holidays. You can also use this gelatin for making homemade jello or if you are into synchronized swimming for putting your hair up into an elaborate bun that will stay beautiful under water. Just don’t ask me how long it will take to remove the gelatin from you hair…
Here is where you mix your sugar and corn syrup and cook it on the stove.
You add water and bring it to a boil while you are also completing the egg white step with the mixer.
While your sugar mixture is heating up, add your egg whites to the mixer and beat on low until they are frothy.
Yay! Frothy egg white goodness!
Once your sugar mixture has reached 245 degrees slowly add it to the egg whites.
Slowly now! Try to keep it from hitting the beater and splashing all over the sides. Add your gelatin to your warm sugar pan to dissolve it and then slowly pour that into your egg whites as well.
Add your vanilla and whisk until the outside of the bowl is cool.
Sift your mixture of potato starch and powdered sugar evenly over a pan.
Make sure to cover all of the surfaces with no gaps or your marshmallows will stick.
Pour your marshmallow mixture over the pan.
Quickly spread it so that it is even.
Let cool completely.
You can also spread the potato starch/powdered sugar mixture over a plate to make blob type shapes if you don’t want to cut out sheets of marshmallows.
We did this for the kids so that they could “sample” them sooner. Next up, cutting!
Before he cut the marshmallows my husband sprinkled more potato starch/powdered sugar over the marshmallows so the blade wouldn’t stick.
Then he peeled them back and repeated spreading the mixture on the other side.
My husband used our handy kitchen shears to cut the marshmallows into rectangles.
And a cookie cutter to cut out one Mickey Mouse one for our daughter.
We stored them in a Tupperware container in a cool, dry place but we had some friends coming over so they didn’t last long!
That’s it for our fun marshmallow project! They would be great to take to a summer party or you could dip them in chocolate when they are cool and make marshmallow pops as another fun activity with kids!
Marshmallows by David Lebovitz
Delicious Marshmallows by David Lebovitz are an easy candy to make.
- 2 envelopes (17g) powdered gelatin or 17g sheet gelatin (8 to 10 sheets)
- 1/2 cup (125ml) + 1/3 cup (80ml) cold water
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 1/3 cup (100g) light corn syrup
- 4 large egg whites (1/2 cup, 110g), at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoon teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- Step 1 One part corn starch (or potato starch), one part powdered sugar (about 1 cup, 140g, each)
- Step 2 In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup (125ml) of cold water to dissolve and soften. If using leaf gelatin, soak the leaves in about 2 cups (500ml) cold water.
- Step 3 In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and corn syrup with 1/3 cup (80ml) of water. Place over medium-to-high heat.
- Step 4 (Note that you will use this saucepan twice, to make the syrup and melt the gelatin, eliminating the need to wash it between uses).
- Step 5 In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.
- Step 6 When the syrup reaches about 210ºF (99ºC), increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy.
- Step 7 When the syrup reaches 245ºF (118ºC), while the mixer is running on high speed, slowly pour the hot syrup into the whites, pouring so that the syrup does not fall on the whisk since some of the syrup will splatter and stick to the sides of the bowl.
- Step 8 Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup, or put the gelatin sheets and 2 tablespoons of the water into the pan and swirl it to dissolve. (There should still be residual heat left in the pan from making the syrup in it to dissolve it).
- Step 9 Pour the liquified gelatin slowly into the whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla extract or paste and continue to whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is feels completely cool when you touch the outside of the bowl.
- Step 10 Dust a baking sheet evenly and completely with a generous layer of the marshmallow mixture. (I use a sifter to do this.) Make sure there are absolutely no bare spots.
- Step 11 Use a spatula to spread the marshmallows in a layer on the pan. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, uncovered.
- Step 12 Put about 1 cup (140g) of the marshmallow mixture into a large bowl.
- Step 13 Dust the top of the marshmallows with some of the marshmallow mixture. Use a pizza cutter or scissors (dusted as well with the marshmallow mixture) to cut the marshmallows into any size or shape pieces that you’d like and toss the marshmallows in the marshmallow mixture. Shake the marshmallows vigorously in a wire strainer to remove the excess powder.
- Step 14 Alternatively, you can dust a baking sheet and put scoops of the marshmallow on it, and let them cool, as shown in the post.
- Step 15 Storage: The marshmallows can be made up to one week in advance, and stored in an airtight container
We recently had to switch to a dairy-free lifestyle in an effort to see if our younger kids have a sensitivity that is causing them some serious sinus problems. I was having a hard time finding granola bars for our kids that were dairy free, mostly nut free and not expensive. We love to cook as much as we can from scratch so I tried to look up recipes. I could not find any that would work for our family’s particular needs so I decided to try and make them on my own. Children were consulted and they love peanuts and rice krispies so I used those as our base.
We buy 90% of our groceries from Costco as you can see. I bought the “Crisp Rice” at Winco and if you need to be gluten free this is where you could substitute gluten-free Rice Krispies and make the granola bars gluten-free. We are not super gluten sensitive so I did not worry about it.
I had my three year old dump all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir. It was a little sticky so I helped her a bit.
Next I pressed the granola bars into the pan using a regular spoon and put them into the oven for 20 min at 350 degrees. Your oven temperature may be different or you may want them chewier so check them after 15 minutes.
After baking I melted some chocolate chips and spread them on the top. Be careful if you use something with a handle since it could get very hot in the microwave.
I let the whole thing set a bit and my kids ate them pretty much over night so I would say they are a hit! Next time I might try adding some raisins and cinnamon or even dried apples and see how they turn out.
Easy Dairy-free Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Dairy/Gluten-free granola bars for the kids
- 2 cups Rice Cereal
- 3/4 cup Peanuts
- 1/4 cup Honey
- 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
- 1 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free)
- Step 1 Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Step 2 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Step 3 Put Rice Krispies, peanuts, honey and peanut butter into a bowl and stir.
- Step 4 Press your mixture into the baking dish and even out.
- Step 5 Bake granola bars for 15-20 min until they are firm.
- Step 6 Allow to cool for a couple of hours.
- Step 7 Microwave 1 cup chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish for 60 seconds. Stir and microwave them for an additional 30 seconds if they are not melty.
- Step 8 Spread your chocolate chips over the granola bars and enjoy!