Coconut Corn Mini-Breads (Dairy & Egg-Free!)

I knew there was a reason I bought this recipe book. Many years ago, I decided to buy a book titled ‘Quick Breads’ by Howard Early and Glenda Morris. I am a novice bread baker, so the idea of being able to make breads rapidly without much dough kneading or rising time was very appealing. However, I never made more than 2-3 recipes from this book over the past decade. This past weekend, we had company over and I decided to have another look at this dusty book on the shelves, to find something to complement the vegan lasagna I had made (we had forgotten to get dinner rolls at the store). To my surprise I found an easy recipe called Coconut Corn Bread using ingredients I already had at home, so I decided to modify the ingredients and give it a try. It was an intriguing combination: coconut and corn? I had made cornbread before but had never mixed both ingredients together before. The result? Our family and guests enjoyed it so much I wanted to share this simple modified dairy-free and egg-free recipe with you!

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used the fortified Silk brand original flavor coconut milk)
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 1 flax egg (see directions below)
  • 1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey (or maple syrup or agave nectar for those who do not want to use honey)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch cake or loaf pan (I used silicon muffin cups instead).
  2. Make the flax egg: Mix 1 tablespoon of flaxmeal combined with 3 tablespoons of water together with a whisk or fork, then let sit for 10-15 minutes. Before using, use the whisk and give it a good mix for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  4. Mix wet ingredients together.
  5. Gently combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (or when toothpick inserted comes out clean). Optional: at about 5-10 minutes before the baking time was up, I sprinkled some shredded coconut flakes on the tops of the cornbread muffins for an extra flair!
  7. Serve warm or let cool for 5-10 minutes then remove from pan.

You may adjust the ‘sweetness’ factor depending on your preference, by adding more or less honey or maple syrup. Serve warm to complement a meal, or add a little bit of vegan butter, jam or a drizzle of honey or maple syrup on top. This is such a simple recipe that you can also enlist your little helper at home to help out with measuring and mixing the ingredients together!

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Fresh Cranberry & Pear Crisp

I initially created this recipe below to use up some fresh cranberries I had on hand from the winter holidays. But my husband and child loved it so much that I’ve made it a few times since, including taking it to potluck meals. Enjoy!

Fresh Cranberry & Pear Crisp

Recipe by: DietitianMom
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 pears (ripened pears work best)
1 cup fresh cranberries, pierced
4 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼-1/2 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup or agave nectar)
1 cup old fashioned/rolled/large flake oats

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • Peel and cut pear into slices. Layer the pear slices, covering the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Rinse and wash the fresh cranberries, then pierce each with a toothpick. Then throw the cranberries into the baking dish, evenly dotting the pear slices.
  • In a bowl, mix the oats, brown sugar (add the amount you desire), cinnamon, nutmeg and oil together.
  • Sprinkle this oats combo mixture over the pear slices and cranberries in the baking dish.
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly then serve!

Feel free to double or triple the recipe if you like. This is a great recipe to involve your preschooler or older child in, as it’s easy to make and is ready to eat in no time! My preschooler had lots of fun helping me pierce each fresh cranberry with a toothpick. The best part? Since the ripened pears are already sweet, you don’t really need to add too much additional sugar to sweeten the dish. So adjust the sweetness level to what you prefer by the amount of brown sugar (or maple syrup or agave nectar) you add. This crisp keeps for a few days in the refrigerator and tastes delicious cold too!

Yum! Toastie Corn Black Bean Soup

Have you ever tried combining some toasted corn kernels with black beans? It’s a fantastic combination of health, taste, colors and texture. Our family tried out and modified a recipe we found a few years ago and it became a family favorite meal option. It’s super easy to make because it builds on a ready to heat can or carton of black bean soup as the base, with more added beans and veggies to pump up the taste and nutrition. Try it out and see for yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can or carton of ready-to-heat black bean soup (e.g., Campbell’s Red Pepper Black Bean Soup)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of frozen corn kernels (toasted first)
  • 1/4 to ½ cup of chunky salsa or salsa fresca (or to taste)
  • Pepper as desired
  • 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • Can be served with avocado wedges or guacamole and tortilla chips

Directions:

  1. Add the rinsed and drained black beans into a pot with the ready-to-heat commercial black bean soup. Add in 1 – 2 cups of water (or more depending on how thick you would like your soup). Cook over medium heat until the beans soften further and the mixture thickens.
  2. Add additional vegetables if desired (see notes below).
  3. Heat a separate saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 – 2 teaspoons of olive oil and heat the frozen corn kernels, stirring frequently until a toasted corn smell begins and the kernels begin to brown. Remove from the heat. Stir these kernels into the soup pot with black beans.
  4. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salsa (homemade or store bought) in and stir well.
  5. Serve soup with tortilla chips, guacamole or avocado wedges (see additional notes below) a sandwich or side salad.

Notes:

You can adjust the amount of water you add, depending on how thick you would like the soup. You may also decide to add the salsa individually at the table according to each person’s taste preference.

It is very easy to modify this recipe especially if you would like to add in more vegetables. For example, you could add in  ½ cup of chopped button mushrooms, a diced orange bell pepper  or a 1/4 cup of chopped mini zucchini wedges into the soup at the beginning when heating up the black beans with water. Another delicious alternative is to cook pasta separately then add some into the final soup before serving. Makes a hearty meal!

To adapt this to a toddler’s meal: You can set aside some of the black bean corn soup for your toddler, prior to adding the salsa. This is so that you can decide how much to add of the salsa (if any) before giving to your toddler. Then you can put some cooked pasta and/or broken up tortilla chips (allow the chips to soften into the soup before offering to toddler) into the soup to serve as an all-in-one meal. Alternatively, offer the black beans, pasta and corn on a plate as delicious finger food pick-me-ups!

Oo-La-La! Five-Minute Guacamole Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1-2 tablespoons onion, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 tablespoons tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-4 teaspoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or as desired
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, or as desired

Directions:

  1. Simply peel and mash avocado in a bowl. Then add all the other seasonings together!

Notes: Feel free to add more onion, salt or pepper as desired. If you would like a richer taste, after mixing first chill the bowl for 30 minutes in the refrigerator to let the flavors blend together before serving.

Serve this as a power snack alongside any of the following options:

  • Unsalted tortilla chips
  • Warm pita bread strips
  • Baked pita chips
  • Carrot/cucumber/celery sticks
  • Red, orange or yellow bell pepper sticks
  • Apple slices
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Vegan ‘cheese’ shreds and whole-wheat/corn tortillas as mini ‘roll-ups’
  • Zucchini crisps
  • In lettuce leaves as ‘mini-wrap’ sandwiches (feel free to add beans, chopped boiled egg, strips of cooked poultry meat or cheese if desired)

This is a great dish for your child’s afternoon snack or potluck/party/picnic contribution!

 

Zucchini Crisps

DSC00001_zucchinicrisps

Zucchini Crisps – Dietitianmom.com

Here is a recipe that I would like to share with you that I originally found on foodnetwork.com and then adapted. It was an immediate hit with oldest daughter (then a toddler) and my husband! In fact, when I first served it, my daughter kept asking me for more – and she would usually barely touch the zucchini on her plate! It’s super easy to make, but takes a little bit of time to bake in the oven, so plan ahead.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 zucchinis (sliced into thin 1/4 –inch thick rounds)
  • Dairy Free Vegan ‘cheese’ shreds (e.g., Daiya’s Mozzarella or Cheddar Style Shreds)
  • Bread crumbs
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 C), and line a baking tray with either aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the sliced zucchini rounds in a bowl, and mix thoroughly until the zucchini pieces are well coated. Be generous with the olive oil!
  3. In a different bowl, mix together the dairy-free ‘cheese’ shreds, breadcrumbs, pepper and a pinch of salt if desired. Mix well.
  4. Coat each zucchini piece in the breadcrumb mixture until it is coated on both sides (may need to slightly press the coating onto each zucchini surface) then lay in the baking tray. Repeat with the other zucchini pieces.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the zucchini pieces turn slightly brown and become crisp.
  6. Serve and eat while warm. Enjoy!

I tried this recipe a few different ways and found that commercial bread crumbs seem to work a bit  better than Panko bread crumbs, though Panko bread crumbs can still be used. Personally, I don’t think you need to even add a sprinkle of salt because commercial breadcrumbs tend to already have some salt (unless you find the unsalted version or make your own breadcrumbs!). These can also be made more nutritious by dipping the zucchini rounds in a flax egg mixture (made by 1 tablespoon of flax seed meal mixed with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 5-10 minutes before using it) before coating them with the breadcrumb mixture. Try this recipe with other vegetables like yellow squash!

Other tips: You can turn these into “zucchini fries” but it made trying to coat all 4 sides properly more challenging (though they still turned out well!). You can also try to bake the zucchini rounds without any ‘cheese’. I’m sure they would still come out crispy even without a ‘cheese’ component!

Sweet Potato Kale Bean Patties

Here’s another easy to make plant-based, vegan recipe that packs a lot of nutrition for growing toddlers & everyone else in the family–Sweet Potato Kale Bean Patties! Serve these as finger foods alongside cut up bits of fruits and vegetables, or dress these patties up by cutting pieces of bread into quarters and sandwiching the patties to make little sandwiches! Adding sweet potato into the recipe gives the patties a nice moistness. Once again, these patties freeze and thaw relatively well, so get out the ingredients below and make them for your next meal!

Sweet Potato Kale Bean Patties 

Recipe by: Anna @ DietitianMom
Prep time: 10 min
Bake time: 30-40 min (if baking)
Makes 10 patties (2.5 inches in diameter each)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 (15 ounce) can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh kale (or spinach)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs + additional breadcrumbs for coating
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of salt if desired
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (if needed for pan-frying)

Directions:

  1. If planning to bake these patties, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Make the flax egg: simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water in a container. Let sit for 5-10 minutes then whisk it quickly for 2-3 minutes before using.
  3. Wash and scrub the skin of a small sweet potato thoroughly, then pierce the sweet potato with a fork a few times. Cook it in the microwave in a covered dish for 3 minutes. Let it cool, before peeling off the skin and cutting the sweet potato into rough chunks. Put this into the food processor.
  4. Add into the food processor bowl the black beans, chopped kale, flax egg, paprika, oregano, fresh minced garlic or garlic powder, diced onions and pepper. Pulse a few times, stopping to scrap down the sides of the food processor, until the mixture thickens and can be molded. Don’t worry if the mixture is looking a little dry – it will still mold together nicely.
  5. Empty out the food processor contents into a large mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs and combine together. Taste the mixture and add salt if desired. 
  6. Using your hands hands, form the bean, kale and sweet potato mixture into patties. Dust both sides lightly with bread crumbs.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, well-seasoned skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the patties and cook on the first side for 5 minutes. Turn over carefully and cook 3-4 minutes longer, until browned.
  8. Alternatively, form all patties, coat with bread crumbs and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes on each side (flipping over once). Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before enjoying.

If you are using home cooked black beans, the amount needed would be about 10 ounces (or 300 grams) in weight. Salt may not need to be added if the canned beans used already have salt as an ingredient. If you are planning to serve this to a child under 1 year of age, make some mini patties first before adding salt to the rest of the mixture. Letting the patties sit out to cool down after baking also helps the patties to harden. Want a gluten-free version? Use cornmeal instead of the bread crumbs in the black bean mixture and also for coating. Adjust the size of the patties for adults and children in the family if desired. Enjoy!

blackbeanpattyvertical

Simple Dairy & Egg Free Birthday Cupcakes

chocbdaecakesRecently, my daughter’s birthday came up and I thought it was a great opportunity to make some dairy and egg free birthday cupcakes. Not that my daughter has an allergy to cow’s milk or egg, but my past experience in pediatric food allergy research has granted me a heart for families with children that have multiple food allergies and need simple easy but great tasting recipes. Plus the dietitian in me just can’t resist trying out a new recipe when I get the chance!

Below is a recipe I found but then modified slightly to reduce the sugar content. It’s super easy and not too sweet.   There’s also no need to use a mixer. Make it chocolate flavored or not! The family loved it and I hope you do too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 -¾ cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and mix thoroughly in a bowl, then set aside.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl (use a 1/2 cup of water first) and then stir to combine together.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until a smooth batter is obtained. Add a bit more water if the batter is too thick.
  5. Pour into a lightly greased and floured 9 inch pan or 12 cupcake molds.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes in the oven for cupcakes or 35 minutes for a cake until done (or when toothpick or knife inserted in the cake comes out clean).
  7. Cool before applying frosting if desired.

Tips: If you use maple syrup or agave nectar instead of the brown sugar, then mix up the batter without adding any water first. Depending on the thickness of the batter, slowly add in tablespoons of water and mix until the desired baking batter consistency is reached. For a gluten-free option, you can try to use 1 ¾ cup of gluten free flour mix instead of the wheat flour and include 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum in the recipe. For those who simply want a vanilla cake, just double the amount of vanilla in the recipe!