I’m a little embarrassed to admit how picky my toddler is. After all, I have a FOOD BLOG with all sorts of adventurous recipes. It’s true though. My toddler is the pickiest of all the little ones in his playgroup. I present him with all sorts of creative, healthy options, but for the longest time, his diet has been limited to “crunchy things”. He likes cereal, toast, granola, cheese, crackers and milk. He usually WON’T eat pasta, fruit, vegetables or most meats.
In order to slip in a balanced diet, I create recipes like these Popeye Pancakes. They have organic whole wheat, banana & spinach for picky toddlers who like to feed themselves.
I have peace of mind knowing my son is eating a healthy diet when I give him these. I make a big batch every week and it’s just one of the ways I slip in good nutrition.
Some other tricks I use:
If you have a picky toddler the best advice I can give is to keep trying. Don’t pressure your child to eat. Offer different foods as often as you can, even if it seems like a waste of time. Don’t fall into the trap of only offering what you know they will eat! Eventually, they come around (my son is starting to).
With a little creativity, you will find things that make both of you happy, like these Popeye Pancakes. They are packed with healthy stuff like Greek yogurt, banana, 100% whole wheat and fresh spinach.
I even add pea protein powder, and natural supplements to make sure my little guy gets everything he needs. You can even make these with breast milk if you have some (yes, breast milk pancakes!). Just switch out the milk for equal parts breast milk.
It’s up to you what you add to your Popeye pancakes-I added lots of options in the recipe. The important thing is getting your little one what they need to stay healthy and happy. Enjoy!
Use organic ingredients if possible.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl.
In small food processor or blender, add the spinach leaves, banana, egg, milk and Greek yogurt. Process until smooth. Pour into a medium-sized bowl.
Whisk sugar and vanilla and any protein powder into the spinach mixture until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir gently until just combined. Add chocolate chips if using. Do not overmix. You will have a thick pancake mix at this point.
Heat your griddle over medium heat. Coat with butter or coconut oil. Spoon pancake batter onto the griddle, 2 tablespoons per pancake.
Cook until the edges are dry and bubbles form, about 1 minute. Flip and cook a few minutes more and remove from pan. Coat griddle again with oil or butter and make another batch. You may need to lower the heat to medium-low if they are browning too quickly.
Store in the refrigerator or freeze any leftovers.
Recipe adapted from Whole Wheat & Banana Pancakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction
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I thought I was finished making baby food a while ago when I posted my last baby food recipe at the end of November. It turns out I was wrong! My son, who is now 16 months old, refused to let me feed him at 10 months. Since then, he’s been feeding himself a very picky diet of organic cheese, cereal, dried fruit, bread, crackers and the occasional strawberry. Anything else lands directly on the floor. Did you see a vegetable in that list? Nope. He will stick a handful of sand into his mouth no problem. A perfectly roasted and maple glazed carrot? No way! Since he started self-feeding, he gets his vegetables from those expensive organic baby food pouches or when I add spinach or zucchini to his daily fruit smoothies.
Those store-bought organic baby food pouches can get expensive; costing almost $2 each for just 4 ounces. He eats up to three of them a day. This is why I purchased refillable snack pouches and started making my own homemade baby food recipes again, like this apple, blueberry spinach and banana puree. I’ll be posting more “sneaky veggie” baby food recipes as I go along. They all focus on adding vegetables and protein to tasty fruit purees and are so yummy, little ones don’t mind a bit.
This recipe for apple, blueberry, banana & spinach puree is one of our favorites. It has a beautiful blue color (which hides the spinach well). It’s so tasty; I sometimes squirt some into his milk and give it a shake to make blueberry milk!
I have to mention the reusable pouches I bought. I’m trying two different brands right now to see which ones I (we) like better, the Squoochi or the Little Green Pouch. Have you tried them? So far, I love that they both are dishwasher safe and freeze well. Also, the tops are all interchangeable with the store-bought pouches—a handy thing in case you lose one. I use my handy Cuisinart Mini Prep to get a smooth puree. It’s easy to clean and the perfect size for small batches of baby food.
I hope your little ones enjoy this recipe. Stay tuned for the next hidden veggie recipe! Until then, check out 10 delicious homemade baby food recipes.
Yield: About 1 1/2 cups baby food.
In a small saucepan, heat apple and blueberries over medium heat. Add water or juice and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the apples are soft and the blueberries break down. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Allow to cool.
Using a food processor, puree the apple mixture with the banana. Add water, milk or formula if you want a thinner consistency.
Disclosure: this post contains an affiliate link to a product I use and purchased myself.
We recently went on a week-long trip to Puerto Rico, leaving a whole bunch of bananas sitting on the kitchen counter at home. We returned to find a whole bunch of very ripe bananas that needed to be used quickly or face the compost heap. Four bananas went into this tasty banana bread and two more ended up in the caramel on the top of this amazingly delicious banana bread upside down cake. It’s the best banana bread we’ve ever had and I’m excited to share the recipe!
If you read along in this blog (thank you if you do), you know I’m fond of upside-down cakes. They are easy to make and adapt well to all seasons. Living in the subtropics of Miami, we have access to all sorts of fruit. In my yard alone, there’s a papaya, coconut, starfruit, mango and sapodilla tree. Two of my favorite cakes to make with local fruit are this starfruit upside-down cake and kumquat upside-down cake.
The marriage of banana bread and upside-down cake was meant to be. Why isn’t this a thing? You end up with moist banana bread with a buttery-rich banana nut topping– similar to a Bananas Foster. It’s perfection. If you are in the mood for something really luxurious, add a bit of rum to the caramel topping. The alcohol cooks out in the oven, but the rum adds a little extra flavor. You can even take the recipe a step further and throw in some pineapple with the bananas.
I was limited in the ingredients available when I made this recipe, and walnuts were missing from my pantry. Given a choice between pine nuts or pumpkin seeds; I went with the pumpkin seeds. They worked out nicely, giving the cake a bit of crunch. Walnuts or pecans would still be my first (and second) choice.
Of course, you can make this easy banana bread upside-down cake recipe without nuts at all-it’s really up to you. However you make it, it’s a delicious treat the whole family will love—even the ones who don’t usually like banana bread. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did and I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
You can make the entire cake in an 8-inch cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a skillet, use a buttered 8-inch cake pan. You will need to make the topping on the stovetop and carefully pour it into the cake pan while it’s still hot.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C.
Melt the butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet or saucepan. Add the brown sugar and orange juice or rum. Stir until the mixture begins to boil and the sugar is melted. Remove from the heat. If you are using a cake pan, immediately pour the caramel into the bottom of the pan.
Once the caramel is cooled, arrange the sliced bananas around the outside edge of the skillet in a pinwheel design. Sprinkle nuts in the middle or arrange them in a design as well.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mashed bananas and mix until well combined.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and slowly add the wet ingredients. Add the vanilla. Stir in the nuts.
Carefully spoon the batter on top of the caramel layer and spread smooth. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out smooth.
Allow the cake to cook in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully flip the pan onto a serving platter, being careful not to burn yourself on the hot caramel that may leak out.
Banana bread recipe adapted from lkadlec’s Best Banana Bread
The Thanksgiving countdown is upon us and I’m completely unprepared. I’m not cooking Thanksgiving this year, because we will be visiting family, but it’s my first year with a food blog. What does that mean? Apparently, I need to be posting gorgeous, exciting new Thanksgiving recipes like mad. I’m looking at my fellow bloggers (those ones with much more experienced than me) and they are clearly on a mission. A well planned out mission.
I don’t have one of those, so I’m left feeling a little inadequate with my sad little banana & chocolate breakfast cookies. They don’t have pumpkin, cranberries or nutmeg (but, please, feel free to add those ingredients). These cookies are filled with healthy bits that taste like not-healthy bits and they are meant to be eaten on any regular day. Filled with banana, whole wheat, flax meal, chia seeds, nuts and chocolate chips, they have a soft, cake-like texture and are full surprises in each bite. I make these differently every time. Sometimes I add almond butter, protein powder, raisins or dried cherries. Other times, I pack them with lots of dark chocolate chips. That’s the beauty of this recipe. It’s forgiving. You get about 30 cookies, and they freeze well. Make a bunch and you have breakfast cookies to take with you to work, stick in the kid’s lunches or just enjoy for dessert.
I promise next year to post a bazillion holiday recipes. In a well-thought out fashion. I’ll start planning now. For now, we eat cookies.
Preheat oven to 350° F/ 180° C
In a small mixing bowl, combine flax meal and water. Set aside.
Mash the bananas with a fork until they are smooth. Add the nut butter, coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract and eggs. Stir until combined.
Add the whole wheat flour, flax meal, baking soda, chia seeds and salt. Stir until well combined. Stir in the oatmeal, chocolate chips, nuts, seeds and/or dried fruit.
Drop by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes. The bottom of the cookie should be very lightly browned on the bottom.
Yes. I went there. Why not? I have a freezer drawer full of breast milk and a baby who won’t take a bottle anymore. I wasn’t about to let all of those hours spent attached to a breast pump go to waste! When I saw recipes for breast milk pancakes floating around, I decided to improve on the idea, with 100% organic whole wheat and banana.
They turned out light and fluffy, with just the right natural sweetness from the banana. You really wouldn’t know they were made with breast milk (yes, I tried them). I made these small to I could give my son a whole one to eat (and play with). He loved having his own pancake to eat, and I felt good he was eating something packed with good ingredients for breakfast. This recipe makes about 15 3-4” or 30 1-2″ pancakes. They freeze well and stay moist because of the banana. I like to heat one up a tiny bit in the toaster oven if they are cold.
In a mixing bowl, combine mashed banana, milk, egg and coconut oil. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until barely mixed. You should still see some small lumps.
Using a griddle heated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or a frying pan on medium-low heat, grease the surface with a small amount of butter. Add the batter, approximately 1-2 tablespoons for each pancake. Cook for a few minutes, until you see small bubbles forming on the surface. Flip each pancake and cook for a few minutes more. Keep an eye on them and remove from the pan as soon as they are golden brown.