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Family, Food & Recipes

Easy Baby Eats // Banana Date “Milkshake”

March 8, 2016

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As promised, I have another recipe to share with you in my “Easy Baby Eats” series. I’m hoping to make this a more regular part of Espresso and Cream, because feeding a baby is, well, a challenge sometimes. I’m trying my very best to feed Ainsley healthy foods and encourage good eating habits as she gets older, and at the same time it can be so frustrating when you spend a lot of time making a healthy meal only to have your kid want nothing but carbs.

Smoothies have been our friend for a while now. I eat a smoothie almost every day for lunch, and Ainsley has always had fun drinking my smoothie with me. I think it makes her feel so grown up! And I love smoothies because it’s an easy way to pack nutrition, fruits and even veggies into a single sippy cup!

This recipe certainly pushes the boundaries between meal and dessert, but since it’s sweetened naturally with bananas and dates, I feel like it’s a pretty acceptable treat from time to time. Added bonus? Adults will love this recipe, too!

Easy Baby Eats // Banana Date "Milkshake"
Serves: 2 servings
  • Makes 2 kid-sized smoothies
  • 1 cup milk, almond milk or nut milk of choice
  • ½ of a medium banana, frozen
  • 1 medium pitted date
  • 2 to 3 ice cubes
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  1. Combine all the above ingredients together in the blender and blend for 1 to 2 minutes on HIGH until dates are completely broken up and mixture is smooth. Transfer to glasses or a sippy cup to serve.


Almond-Date Energy Bites

April 7, 2010

One of my favorite energy/health bars out there is the Lara Bar. They are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan, and kosher, but that’s not why I love them. My reasons are much simpler – they taste amazing and every bar contains five or fewer ingredients. If you’ve ever taken a look at some of the health bars out there, you have probably noticed that some look like a short novel, which makes Lara Bars’ five-ingredient feat even more amazing. 

But the simplicity of these bars, and the $2/bar price tag, got me thinking how easy it would be to make something similar. And it was, though I made a few adjustments in both ingredients and shape for simplicity’s sake. Instead of making bars, I rolled the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and rolled them in sesame seeds for a little extra crunch. 
Once you get this recipe down, which shouldn’t take long, I can imagine a whole host of variations, like substituting walnuts for almonds, adding in raisins, or substituting almond butter for the peanut butter for those with peanut allergies. I’ve been eating these little energy bites atop my yogurt at breakfast and taking a couple along for a mid-afternoon snack at work and can safely say they both taste great and provide a little extra energy throughout the day.  
Almond-Date Energy Bites 
*10 oz. whole dates
*6 oz. slivered almonds
*1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
*1 Tbsp. honey 
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Sesame seeds, cocoa powder, or graham cracker crumbs 
*In a food processor, process the dates and almonds until mixture is finely ground into even ‘crumbs’ (3-5 minutes). 
*Add the peanut butter, honey, and ground cinnamon and process until the ingredients are evenly combined. 
*Scoop out the mixture by heaping tablespoons and shape into balls. Then, roll the balls in the sesame seeds, cocoa powder, or graham cracker crumbs. 
Happy Cooking!

Fruit and Nut Breakfast Muffins

October 19, 2009

Whew! After a crazy two weeks of papers, tests, and general craziness there was nothing more I wanted to do than mentally check out of school mode and into creative baking mode. Nothing even remotely related to school was allowed this past weekend, just baking and more baking. Of course, man (or woman) can not survive on decadent sweets alone.

For that reason, I give you Fruit and Nut Breakfast Muffins. Truly healthy, hearty, and utterly satisfying in every sense of the word. The whole wheat flour and fruit make these treats dense and give them a texture that’s part scone, part cakey muffin. I all but eliminated sugar in the batter, used all whole-wheat flour, tossed in some rolled oats, and cut down the oil to only 1/4 cup. The fruit in these muffins? Dates! One of Mother Nature’s most delicious, fruity gifts. Because of the natural sugar in the dates, I figured cutting the added sugar wouldn’t be a problem.

These muffins are best when straight from the oven with a bit of butter, but are also great the next day re-heated with a touch of peanut butter. Well, I say peanut butter because I think it tastes great on everything, but maybe fruit preserves would be a bit more appropriate for most people. 🙂

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/4 cups fat-free or 2% milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 package dates, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped pecans

*Preheat oven to 350F.
*Mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, rolled oats, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
*With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat in egg, milk, and oil until well combined.
*Stir in dates and pecans. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, 2/3 full.
*Bake muffins at 350 for 10 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Happy cooking!


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