[baby friendly] banana oatmeal cake with greek yogurt frosting

(recipe)

For our little one’s first birthday, we wanted to make something that he can actually eat (as opposed to staring at us over a bowl of oatmeal cereal while we feast on his birthday cake). That’s how this quick and easy food processor cake came along, and with a few tweaks, you can make it yours for your little one!

You can substitute part of the liquid ingredients (mashed bananas, milk) with applesauce. You can use any nut milk, or cow’s milk (after it has been properly introduced per your pediatrician’s guidance), or even water. You could also use thinned out yogurt in place of the milk. Our munchkin loves cardamom, but you can swap it out for cinnamon (and a tiny pinch of nutmeg), or leave out the spices entirely. You can sweeten it with jaggery, which is my favorite refined sugar free sweetener for baby/toddler food, but you could use date sugar, coconut sugar, or any other sweetener you typically use.

The cake is really great also as a snacking option sans frosting. A great option for smash cakes and such to celebrate his first trip around the sun.

Cake and frosting!
Our jubilant and slightly confused 12 month old (having seen a lit candle for the first time)
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Peach cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting

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Just as blueberries own the month of July, for August it has got to be peaches – hands down. Peaches and nectarines dominate the farmers markets around here starting late June, and boy do they rule in August! These cupcakes adapted from smitten kitchen are one of my first “summer” bakes from a decade ago, and I can confidently say that I’ve made them – with a few tweaks here and there – every summer since. Light batter, juicy peaches, and brown sugar cream cheese frosting so perfectly matched to the cupcakes’ flavor, this one’s a keeper. I’ve made this into a layered cake for many summer birthdays over the years, and it just had to be the final installment of my seasonal cupcake project! In fact, when I started planning it, August was one of the first months I locked in with Peach (even though it was the last month in the series)!

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Blueberry cupcakes with blueberry cream cheese frosting

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Another no-brainer of a selection for my seasonal cupcake project – blueberries for July! No other berry, nay fruit, is better than blueberries in the month of July…at least until the peaches take over come August.

I’ve made a lot of blueberry muffins and crumb cakes over the years, and they all have a more rustic, wholesome quality to them, which I totally adore, but for these cupcakes, I wanted something more decidedly “cake” like, something more ‘dessert’ and less ‘snack’. This recipe below fits the bill perfectly. Please don’t skip the streusel-ish brown sugar and cinnamon topping – it adds amazing crunch and a really unique texture contrast with the plush cupcake and the smooth, creamy frosting! If you didn’t know already, the combination of blueberry, brown sugar and cinnamon is to die for. Now you know!

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Noodles with Chicken and Mushrooms

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An easy and flexible weeknight recipe for noodles involving ground chicken, mushrooms and a quick sauce that comes together from pantry/fridge ingredients. Add more vegetables if you have them, make it as spicy as you’d like, it’s all good!

Off late I’ve found ground chicken to be so convenient, to put together quick and delicious meals in so little time! No chopping and dicing and browning required, and it gives the recipe some heft without weighing you down. It’s a perfect ingredient for busy weeknights, as you’ll see with this recipe adapted from Bon Appetit magazine!

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Blistered Garlicky Green Beans

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Growing up, my sister and I ate all our veggies. With my mom, there was no other option – the rule was to finish everything served on the plate whether or not we like it; if we didn’t like something, the only available option was to not have seconds. As a grown up, I haven’t necessarily been “eating all my veggies”. It’s not like I will let them go to waste (there are always stews and gratins and quesadillas to make the boring veggies disappear), but I can admit that I sometimes conveniently “forget” to buy those vegetables when I’m shopping.

My husband frequently bugs me about having “favorites” when it comes to vegetables (hello, potatoes! goodbye, spinach), and now that we have a baby, he warns me that I may not have the necessary moral high ground to make our kid eat all his veggies. Reminds me of an episode of The Big Bang Theory I recently watched where Howard (Simon Helberg) finds out they are expecting a baby, and he is totally freaking out, and tells the guys “I shouldn’t be raising a kid. I don’t even eat my own vegetables.”. Green beans were probably near the top of the list of vegetables I didn’t really care for, until I made these.

These blistered green beans from the Bon Appetit magazine are the best green beans I’ve ever had, and I don’t say such things lightly. Granted I picked this recipe only to get through the mountain of green beans we had languishing in the fridge, because someone (me) didn’t want to eat them (forget about cooking them), but I’m so very glad I did!

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Infinitely Adaptable Instant Pot “end of the week” Soup

This is a template to employ some good ol’ chop therapy, clear out your fridge, and make some soup while you are at it. I call this a template because the base recipe can be adapted to any ingredients you have on hand that you want to use up, that have nowhere else to go. Random sausage links, throw them in. 2 ugly carrots, sure. Stale baguette that’s too dry to do anything with, absolutely! Old can of black beans with no future, use it up!

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