Banana Muffins, Coconuts and Play Doh

Yesterday was a blissful day at home. Monday, it was snowy, we didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything. It was lovely.

I had just had a fabulous weekend to myself “sans kids”, enjoying some great social time an amazing day at work and some time for me. By Sunday night I was singing!

It nicely carried over to Monday morning, so when they day started with the twins crying for one reason or the other from the time they got up, it really didn’t phase me. I just got them what they needed and carried on. I didn’t “buy in” to the drama and by the time breakfast was over they were both content and playing on their own. And I mean separately on their own, which is unusual as they are usually playing (or fighting) together. Chloe was content in the kitchen organizing markers into plastic cups, pretending to do the dishes in our Fisher Price sink, Luke was in the living room builiding a train track with his Thomas the Wooden Railway. Both totally content and happy to be where they were.

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

I was happy to putz around in the kitchen, cleaning up from breakfast, enjoying my green smoothie and experimenting with new recipes. I had even put dinner into the slow cooker and was basically ‘free’ for the day (ha ha). I had decided to bake, intending to try out a gluten free banana muffin recipe as well as making ginger cookies.

We are not completely gluten free at our house but I have been experimenting a little. I have found that though we are now sugar and dairy free that after eating a homemade muffin I become immediately tired. Deducing that the only thing left was gluten I decided to try out a gluten free muffin recipe. So I made some gluten free pumpkin muffins, had one and did not feel tired. Ah ha I was onto something here.

I buy rice pasta as much as possible and don’t consume a lot of bread. I have found that a little gluten is ok but have to be careful if I have too much. I would say that I am likely sensitive to it as opposed to intolerant. I have a sneaky suspicion though that my youngest son is intolerant to gluten. Just from various things that I have observed when he has it.

Vanilla Bean Cake

Besides everyone benefits; as when I do things like that I do them across the board. I am not making 4 different meals  and I find that we all feel better overall. So I have slowly started to gather a number of gluten free recipes such as Vanilla Bean Cake, Chocolate Dream Pie, Pumpkin muffins, Blueberry muffins and the Banana muffins I tried yesterday.

A fantastic website for gluten free recipes is Karina Allrich’s Gluten Free Goddess. All of her recipes are her own, tried and true. Many of them are dairy free as well but not necessarily sugar free, but I am familiar enough with what to do I simply make the sugar substitution and we are off to the races! This was the Banana muffin recipe I used yesterday and it was delicious. Moist and yummy! The kids loved them. In fact Luke and Chloe were hanging over the counter while I was making the batter, liking the bowl and waiting for them to bake.

I used coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar and boy were they yummy! I did not have any chocolate to add in or her other suggestions but it did not make a difference (and I might do that next time).

All in all it turned out well, even surviving Chloe putting Playdoh in her nose, and having to pause the baking to tend to that. (Yes seriously she did, and she screamed for 10 minutes, reminded me of the time my sister put a tiny doll shoe up her nose – what is it with children and putting small items where they shouldn’t be?)

So if you’re venturing into the world of gluten free try out some of these recipes. Many of them are dairy and sugar free too, yet you wouldn’t know it. (I have a friend who is salivating over the Chocolate Dream Pie and patiently waiting for me to make some so he can have a piece). I have found that there are enough resources and options out there these days to easily live gluten free, etc. without having to sacrifice taste or the treats that we love. True it is a bit of an adjustment but once you get your head around it, it is easy. And I have found that more and more people are going these routes for one reason or another.

Chocolate Dream Pie

If you have found any great gluten free recipes please share them by commenting below. I love to try new things and I am sure other people will benefit as well!

Bananas, Bananas and More Bananas

We go through a lot of bananas at our house. We basically use them in smoothies and general eating but we make a lot of smoothies. In the morning, I make 2 smoothies for myself, a green smoothie of some sort and a fruit one for later in the day. Then I make a peanut butter smoothie for Matthew and the babies usually have a banana each for breakfast. These all include bananas so by the time breakfast is over we have had at least 5 or 6. Then in the afternoon I will make more smoothies for the kids, a green smoothie of some kind, or more like a chocolate smoothie with greens in it. Believe me this is a great way to get greens into the kids! I find the twins especially are more apt to drink their green smoothie than eat the vegetables off of their plate. But I digress, we go through a lot of bananas. We are out at least twice a week buying 12-15 so that we have enough for a few days but not too many that they go brown before we eat them.

Bananas are a great source of potassium, vitamins C and B6, as well as a source of iron. As a result they help increase strength and reduce stress and is an instant source of energy. This makes them a great nutritious snack and natural sweetener (often you can use banana to sweeten muffins or cakes instead of using sugar). Plus they are a great ‘grab and go’ snack.

Though we eat a lot of bananas sometimes we do find that they go brown before we eat them all, and personally once a banana is too soft or ripe I cannot eat it. I don’t like the texture, it’s too mushy. So as a result I use them in recipes, like banana bread and banana muffins. And when I have too many brown bananas I toss them in the freezer to use later.

I have always loved banana bread, it is one of my favorite treats and I recently found an excellent sugar free recipe in the Clean Eating magazine. It uses flax seed and flax oil as well as other tasty ingredients. It is dairy free too; so I tried it out. It was the best banana bread that I have ever tasted! It was so moist and delicious, it melts in your mouth.

I also really enjoy banana muffins as they taste just like banana bread, and have a great recipe from my mother. I have been able to adjust the recipe to meet our new dietary requirements of no sugar or dairy and they taste delicious. The first time I made them I used date sugar as the sugar replacement and though they were very good, they were even better when I tried the  recipe using agave nectar instead. Mhmmm, they turned out so moist and fluffy! They turned out so well that I made them again within a week, not because I had leftover bananas that I needed to use, but because they were such a hit.

So I am sharing with you the banana muffin recipe with agave nectar (the banana bread recipe will come soon). Give it a whirl and try not to eat them all in one sitting! This sugar and dairy free recipe is sure to please everyone in the family!


Banana Muffins

1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. agave nectar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 large bananas

1 egg

1/3 c. melted Earth Balance

Mash bananas. Add agave nectar and slightly beaten egg. Then add melted Earth Balance. Mix in dry ingredients and mix but do not beat.

Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins