Banana, chocolate and almond milkshake

Banana, chocolate and almond milkshake

Did you overindulge yesterday?  Big lunch, a ton of chocolate and possibly a few cheeky vinos?  Yeh, me too.  I’m never one to shy away from a holiday feast.  So, here it is Easter Monday and I’m not quite ready to give it up yet.  This is still a day of holiday and I want it to feel like one, but I surely know another day of excess like yesterday is probably not that the best idea I’ve ever had.  I’m easily fooled though (even by myself).  I am the kind of girl who sets her clocks a few minutes fast so although I’m always late I’m actually on time.  And no that doesn’t really work.  This milkshake does though!  If feels like I’m consuming something decadent and yet no, nothing even remotely dodgy in here.  You need to do a bit of advance prep by freezing your very ripe banana chunks the day before, but once that’s out the way, happy days!

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Almond and fruit overnight oats

Almond and fruit overnight oats

I am such a big fan of breakfast.  Maybe it’s because I’m guaranteed to be properly hungry, or that it comes with coffee, or that the possibilities are so endless.  I’m next most fond of brunch, therefore, because it is just a way of getting more breakfast options by staying in bed late!  Of course, brunch rarely occurs these days as the child is awake far too early.  We do, however, regularly feast upon the ‘second breakfast’.  Brunch by another name for when you’ve already eaten once.  What’s not to like about that?!  Which leads me to overnight oats.  Despite my love of eating breakfast, and my (misguided?) belief I am a morning person, I do not function on all cylinders until my one and only, albeit very large, coffee is brewed and inside me.  I have lost count of the times I’ve poured juice on my cereal, failed to boil the kettle and poured cold water on the coffee, or let a saucepan of oats boil dry on the stove while I was distracted elsewhere.  Therefore, the opportunity to make breakfast the night before so there is less to go wrong first thing the following morning really appeals to me.  It is a bit of a misnomer, in that you only need a few hours to make overnight oats, so I do sometimes make it very early in the morning and have it for second breakfast.  C thinks this breakfast is great, which is wonderful if you need to quickly feed a small person something healthy and filling before a day of activity, and you’ve actually remembered to make it the night before.  Otherwise my preference would be to make hot porridge, which leaves the whole thing vulnerable to my un-caffeinated brain.  This recipe is versatile – you can make it with, or top it with, almost anything.  This one comes out soft and creamy, and sweet enough for us with just the natural sugars in the nut butter and banana, but feel free to add extras. Google overnight oats for a host of suggestions – nuts, other nut butters, fruits, chocolate, cinnamon, honey, etc.  The chia seeds are quite important here because they help with the final texture, but I imagine flax would work similarly if that’s what you have.  And lot of other recipes out there use yogurt and I do sometimes do that, but this version just happens not to, and it is one of our favourites.

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Banana, sultana, buckwheat pancakes

Banana, sultana, buckwheat pancakes

Adapted from About.com’s Amazingly Easy Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancake Recipe by Nancy Lapid

Pretty much since my little girl could eat solids I’d often make drop scones.  Being of Scottish extraction it is only natural we would have these!  Now, of course, there is no gluten in my world at least and so I really wanted to find a viable alternative to a breakfast dish we would eat regularly at weekends.  So, I was very pleased to discover that buckwheat pancakes, (as I’m sure you all know already, buckwheat is not at all wheaty it is from the rhubarb family!), are every bit the saviour when it comes to a regular drop scone alternative.  They don’t taste exactly the same, because buckwheat has its own flavour, but they are delicious in their own right.  I’d urge you, therefore, to give them a try especially if you previously used to enjoy the wheat ones.  And because I developed this while doing baby-led weaning when C was very small, they are free of added sugar and only sweetened by the banana and sultanas.  I used lactose-free milk in these and also real butter.  Most butter is naturally lactose-free (check the packaging for grams of sugar) and I don’t get any reaction from this recipe, but you should use any alternatives you know work for you.  Feel free also to add any toppings you fancy.  Let me know how you make yours!  This recipe makes a lot of mini pancakes and is difficult to reduce as it only uses one egg, but you can chill any leftovers and reheat in a toaster.  Delicious with an extra little smear of butter.

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Banana date bread

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Adapted from Edible Existence’s Banana Date Bread

On Valentine’s Day I went for a splurge and made vanilla cupcakes from one of my favourite dedicated gluten-free baking books, Cake Angels by Julia Thomas.  I’ve listed some of my favourite recipe books on The Library page by the way, including this one with a link, and this is going to be a work in progress.  I’ve got a lot of books!  So, back to those cupcakes which were delicious but very indulgent.  Overcome with a need to produce something more worthy the following week, and faced with a glut of blackening bananas and a overflow of medjool dates, I searched the web.  And I was not disappointed in my quest.  This bread is very tasty, and the little kids loved it despite it not being overly sweet.  No extra sugar goes in, only that from the bananas and the dates.  If I made it again I’d pay more attention to chopping those dates.  Mine were a little bit… rustic?  I think the bread would be more evenly sweet if I did that.  We ate it again the following day and the texture was a bit more gummy than on the day it was baked.  By day three it was fairly solid, but there was only one slice left and the birds were grateful in this cold snap for it.  It may well toast at this stage but I’ve got no idea how succesful this might be.  If you try it, let me know!

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