Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Monday, November 22, 2010

Francesca's applesauce birthday cakes

My niece has a suspected dairy allergy and my sister called to find out how she could bake a safe birthday cake for her. I made substitutions to a Gale Gand cake recipe to bake up with these cute little applesauce cakes that are moist, delicious, and completely dairy-free. I baked them in a muffin tin and flipped them over for individual little cakes, perfect for a princess on her first birthday!

Dairy-free applesauce cakes with apple cider icing


½ cup vegan margarine (make sure to get one that is good for baking)
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 cups applesauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add brown sugar and continue mixing. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Start the mixer again, and slowly add portions of the dry mixture, alternating with the applesauce until the batter is blended together.
  4. Pour the batter into greased muffin tins (fill them about 2/3 full) and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. This recipe makes 24 cakes.

1 Tbsp vegan margarine, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp pasteurized apple cider

Stir all ingredients together with a fork or small whisk until the icing is smooth. Drizzle over applesauce cakes.

Today's tip: Delicious birthday cakes can be dairy-free.

Pumpkin spice oatmeal

This pumpkin spice oatmeal is the perfect steamy breakfast on a cool morning. Whole grain oatmeal is filling and hearty, while the bright orange pumpkin provides a day's worth of Vitamin A. The spices add warmth and delicious flavor.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

This recipe makes 3 adult-sized servings.

¾ cup pumpkin (canned or pureed from fresh)
3 cups skim milk
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp cinnamon

  1. Use a whisk to combine pumpkin, milk and spices in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add oats and cook over medium heat until the mixture boils (about 10 minutes) stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and enjoy with your favorite oatmeal toppings. The following are delicious with this pumpkin spice oatmeal: walnuts, cranberries, raisins, brown sugar, or honey.

You can portion any leftover oatmeal into small bowls and refrigerate for a quick breakfast another morning.

Today's tip: Enjoy sweet pumpkin spice oatmeal for a warm, filling breakfast.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kale chips

Kale chips seem to be all the rage these days. I've seen several recipes for different versions, and have tried a couple. I came home from my farm share pickup with a beautiful bunch of kale this week so I seasoned it, baked up these chips, and was impressed to see that my family enjoyed them.

You only have to look at kale to see that it is insanely good for you! Kale is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable (other cruciferous veggies include broccoli and cabbage). A serving of kale is very low in calories, but contains a wealth of Vitamins A, C and K, fiber and calcium; plus copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. It is an antioxidant powerhouse with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promote wellness, eye health and cancer protection. And we all know how good high-fiber foods are for us and our families, right?

I was born in Maryland and love to use Old Bay Seasoning in recipes. Here are my kale chips, try them out and let me know what you think.

Maryland kale chips

1  HUGE bunch of curly leaf kale – washed, stems removed and cut into small pieces
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
pinch of salt to taste (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add oil and seasonings to kale in a large bowl. Stir well to ensure that the oil and seasonings are distributed to each leaf (I used my hands).
  3. Place the kale on two baking sheets and make sure it is in a single layer. It is helpful to line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners, but I went without these and the recipe worked out fine.
  4. Bake the kale for 10-15 minutes or until dark green and crisp. Let it cool and enjoy.
Today's tip: Crunch on kale chips with your lunch.