[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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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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Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting

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Easy, simple, summery strawberry cupcake recipe to help you zip through your strawberry picking/farmer’s market haul! What’s great about this recipe is that it can be made from strawberry puree, so if you can puree some peak season strawberries right now, you can recreate the summery feeling whenever you feel like it!

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Smashed Potato and Corn Bites

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I’d been eyeing Smashed Potatoes on Instagram forever, and I will never understand why I was waiting until now to put them together with a cheesy corn and pepper topping (reminiscent of “corn chili cheese toast” we used to have growing up in India).

These smashed potatoes (baby potatoes that are first boiled, then smashed, and then baked till crispy, almost frittered) are excellent by themselves, dipped into a nice garlicky aioli, or under a soft boiled egg (you know I try to put an egg on everything!). I imagine they would make a wonderful base for a “chaat” (savory Indian street food), topped with spiced yogurt, tamarind chutney and chaat masala (you’ll see that soon enough on the blog). A great side with meat or fish, too, although I have yet to try it.

Make just the potatoes, or top with anything that strikes your fancy, and enjoy the salty, fatty goodness of it all!

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Tiranga Shrikhand Bars (frozen yogurt bars)

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Ever since my friend Shruti told me how to make shortcut Shrikhand (a sweet and creamy dessert from my home state of Maharashtra in India, made with hung yogurt, sugar, ground cardamom and saffron) using Labneh, I must have made it dozens of times. It comes together in no time – whisk together Labneh (extra thick middle-eastern yogurt cheese aka yogurt that is the consistency of cream cheese) and sugar with a pinch of ground cardamom and saffron, and chill in the fridge for a bit. That’s it!

I make it quite frequently to go with elaborate Indian meals – meals that have 7 or 8 other components as it is. So making the shortcut version is an easy win, especially if you make the mango version of it, called Amrakhand (Aam = mango), with mango pureé subbing for half the sugar. I’ve had this idea of converting Shrikhand to a bite-size, easy to freeze format, so that its easy to get a quick taste of it occasionally without investing any time/effort. I thought it would be a great idea to try a “Tiranga” (Indian tricolor) version of it to celebrate the upcoming Indian Republic Day (January 26th).

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[for young chefs] Corn and Cheese Galette (Tart)

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This freeform buttery pastry tart (“galette” in French) is as beautiful as it is delicious – full of sweet corn and cheesy goodness! The puff pastry sheet makes this recipe extra easy and extra quick. In the time it takes for the oven to preheat, your galette will be ready to go in the oven. Anyway who sees (and tastes) this galette will never know just how easy it is to put together! Easy enough to make for our young chefs at home, of course under adult supervision!

Galettes have all of the deliciousness of pies and tarts, with just a fraction of the effort. Following a few basic steps when handling puff pastry sheets opens up a whole world of quick and delicious appetizers and desserts, so its definitely an ingredient worth getting to know! Typically sold frozen (by Pepperidge Farms and Pilsbury), it can be super easy to work with if handled with care!

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