Tag Archives: fruit

an achievable toddler halloween party

The internet seems to be full of people hosting over-the-top Pinterest-perfect Halloween parties for their kiddos. I just don’t have that kind of time or motivation, but we hosted a lovely little party for a bunch of two-year-olds just the same. Here’s how it went down.

We scheduled the party for mid-morning since toddlers are generally least prone to melt-downs at that time of day. We also roll with a pretty healthy-eating group of families (and I didn’t want a house full of sugared up toddlers), so we kept the party food Halloween-appropriate yet simple and healthyish. I made pumpkin mini muffins, orange and black fruit (cantaloupe chunks and blackberries), and ghost toast!


The ghost toast was just bread cut into ghost shapes with my trusty ghost-shaped cookie cutter, topped with cream cheese and flax seeds for the eyes and mouths.


For drinks we had apple cider and water.

The kids weren’t old enough for complicated games and activities, so we spread out paper, Halloween stickers, crayons, and some Halloween pictures to color on a coffee table. At another table we set up a foam pumpkin decorating area.


And perhaps the most fun activity was provided by Mother Nature – a sunny day and leaf piles to play in!

grape ice cream

I made a batch of delicious and beautifully purple grape ice cream one summer weekend. The only ingredients were a can of coconut milk and a can of frozen grape juice concentrate (and  a pinch of salt), so this ice cream was incredibly easy and inexpensive to make!


After eating our yummy ice cream dessert, we had enough ice cream leftover to make popsicles from the batch as well!


You can find the recipe here.

easy strawberry chia jam


We spent several summer weekend mornings picking berries at our favorite local farm, Garden Sweet. Mostly we just gobbled those sweet berries up within a few days (or hours!), but I also got a chance to incorporate them into some yummy treats like strawberry banana pancakes and raspberry orange corn muffins. And I finally tried my hand at making jam, but the easy kind of jam…chia jam!

I liked the “easy chia jam” instructions that I found here. I opted to briefly cook our strawberries, although it’s not strictly necessary to do so. And the only other ingredients were 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 heaping tablespoon maple syrup, and 2 heaping tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chia seeds. I went light on the maple syrup since Jeff is a very low sugar kinda guy, but even he thought more maple syrup would have been nice. The consistency was great, and here’s what the finished product looked like on a pice of toast! Yum!


strawberry picking and 5-minute jam!

I have several vacation-related posts coming up, but this one is jumping the queue because I wanted to publish it while it’s still strawberry season somewhere. Jeff and I went strawberry picking (my first time ever!) with Shannon and JR at Ariel’s Farm in Wilton, NY. We only got to pick about a pint each before an approaching storm chased us off the strawberry patch, but here we are with our little harvest:

photo by Shannon!

The strawberries were so delicious (and so few) that we gobbled them all up by the next morning. But if I go strawberry picking again, I want to us this recipe to make 5-minute raw strawberry jam. The secret ingredient is chia seeds!

cherry cobbler

This super easy and yummy cherry cobbler is a gluten-free adaptation of my favorite vegan berry cobbler. Rather than going to the trouble of pitting fresh cherries, I just used frozen pitted cherries.

  • 5-6 cups frozen cherries
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Mix the above ingredients together in a 9″x9″ pan. Place the pan in oven until cherries are warm (about 15 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare the topping:
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup almond milk

Mix the above topping ingredients in a bowl until the batter is smooth. When the cherries are warm, remove the pan from the oven and stir cherries in the pan briefly. Then drop scoops of batter on top of the warm cherries in the pan. Bake for ~30 minutes.

babycakes banana nut muffins

These banana nut muffins came out so delightfully fluffy!

I followed the recipe for banana bread in the first BabyCakes cookbook (essentially this recipe), with just a few alterations to make the muffins a little less fatty and sugary. I cut the oil down to 1/4 cup, and used 1/4 cup of agave nectar and 1/4 cup maple syrup for sweeteners. Since these changes decreased the liquids going into the batter, I increased the almond milk to 2/3 cup. Then I threw in a couple of handfuls of chopped walnuts. And I added chocolate chips to half of the batch, because I’m on a serious chocolate kick lately. Yum!

chocolate chip cherry oatcake bars

It’s been a while since I last posted a recipe, because I’ve been traveling rather than baking lately. I made these bars before one of my recent trips and they were a great travel snack – tasty, filling, and didn’t fall apart when smooshed in my bag.

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9″×9″ pan with Earth Balance. In a large bowl, combine the oats through salt. In a small bowl, mix the milk through vanilla together, then pour over the dry ingredients and stir until mixed. Mix in chocolate chips and scrape batter into the prepared pan. Bake for ~30 minutes.

blueberry banana buckwheat pancakes

A little-known fact to people who don’t have any issues with wheat or gluten: despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, and is gluten-free! I’ve tried out a bunch of different pancake recipes, and this one is one of my favorites. The recipe makes enough hearty pancakes for two regular people or one pancake monster like me.

Here’s my usual adaption to make blueberry banana buckwheat pancakes:

  • 2/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 very ripe banana (mashed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2/3 cup almond milk (i like my pancakes fat, so add more if you want yours to be thinner)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

While your pan heats up on the stove, mix all the ingredients together (adding the blueberries to the batter last). Scoop batter onto hot pan, cook, flip, cook, and eat!

cherry almond muffins

If you like almonds, these muffins are for you! They are suuuper yummy.

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375ºF and prepare muffin pan. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add in wet ingredients and stir until batter is smooth, then add in the dried cherries and slivered almonds. Transfer batter to muffin pan. For mini muffins, bake for ~12 minutes. For regular-sized muffins, bake for ~20 minutes. Makes ~16 regular-sized muffins.

french apple cobbler

As much as I clearly love my muffins, cookies, and cupcakes, my true dessert love is fruit cobbler. Apple cobbler has been my very favorite dessert since I was a kid. And the good news is that it can be just as tasty when gluten-free and vegan as when mom made it back in the day.

Has anyone ever taken a beautiful photo of apple cobbler? It just doesn’t look as amazing as it tastes! Anyway, here’s how I made my yummy apple cobbler:

  • ~5 cups apples, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance, softened

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix the above ingredients (except the Earth Balance) together in a bowl and then the spread apple mixture in a lightly greased 9″x9″ pan. Dot the Earth Balance on top of the apple mixture.

  • 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup almond milk

Mix the above ingredients together until batter is smooth. Drop scoops of the batter onto the apple mixture in the pan. Bake for ~40 minutes or until the apples are tender and the topping begins to turn golden brown.