Raspberry rhubarb chia jam bars

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Preschool germs. Is there a stronger force in the universe? In my memoir, this era will be titled: The time when my child who never got sick, was never not sick.

And I don't know if all kids do this when ill, but mine is like a koala bear who drank a pot of coffee. He's both lethargic and wired, wanting to be on top of me while simultaneously thrashing like he's breaking out of a human prison. In short, this has not been a fun week.

Anyway, since we're stuck in the house for the foreseeable future, I've tried my hand with chia jam a few times. The basic recipe in that link has worked well for me as long as I cook the fruit down for about 20 minutes before adding the chia seeds and letting the mixture set in the fridge for about 30 to 60 minutes before using it. 

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And this jam is really versatile! It works in sandwiches, obviously, but is also great when added to oatmeal, yogurt, and baked goods. It would also make a tremendous baby puree.

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This is as easy as dessert/snack/breakfast gets. One bowl, no extra tools, and the same batter for the base and the top crumble. This recipe also uses gluten-free flour and clarified butter, so it's free of gluten, dairy, nuts, and eggs. And I've used as little butter and sugar as possible to maximize health without losing out on taste and texture.

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This dough is definitely crumbly, but packs down nicely with a rubber spatula. If it's too crumbly, feel free to add an extra tablespoon or two of butter.

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Raspberry rhubarb chia jam bars

For the jam:
12 oz frozen raspberries (one package or about 1 ½ cups)
2 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 large green apples, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp water
4 Tbsp chia seeds  

Add raspberries, rhubarb and green apples to a medium pot. If your berries are still frozen, add 1 tablespoon of water to get things started. If your berries have unfrozen and there’s some liquid in your bag, skip the extra water and just start cooking.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium or medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is falling apart and the liquid has largely evaporated or become syrupy, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and add the chia seeds. Cool in the fridge for 30-60 minutes before using.

Yield: About 3 cups


For the bars:
1.5 cups gluten free flour
1.5 cups quick oats
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
½ tsp kosher salt
Zest of 1/2 large lemon
8 Tbsp clarified butter
4 Tbsp ice water
1.5 cups chia jam (see recipe above)

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x9 brownie pan with clarified butter or olive oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt and mix well.

In a small bowl, melt some clarified butter. Measure the butter when melted and add to the dry ingredients, stirring after adding each tablespoon. Add the ice water, also stirring between additions.

Pack about 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of your brownie pan with a rubber spatula or wet hands. Top with the chia jam and smooth out. Crumble the rest of the oat mixture over the chia jam. If possible, pack some of the oat mixture into larger pieces and place those on top.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the edges begin to darken slightly.

Let cool completely before cutting.

Yield: 16 pieces

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Apple almond bread

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Why are almonds and apples so good together? I've been on a real kick lately and luckily, a fresh apple with almond butter is a-okay on Whole 30. And we've almost made it to the bottom of our apple bucket. M is the lucky recipient of the many many many almond breads I've made, though we had a minor meltdown when I realized that one of them had gone south after I offered it to him. Oops.

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Why have I tested this recipe so much, you might ask? Well, I thought my first try was pretty darn close to perfect, but my husband thought it was too dry. I thought he was crazy, but his comment stuck in my craw. I tried this quick bread with more butter, more yogurt, more butter and yogurt, etc, but the end results never warranted the extra fat from the butter or the earlier spoilage that resulted from the extra yogurt.

If you like a wetter crumb, feel free to throw in another 1/4 cup of yogurt, but remember that you probably shave off a day from the life of your loaf. (Sans extra yogurt, you get about 4-5 days loosely wrapped at room temperature from this bad boy- not that you'll need it).

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For health purposes, you may want to leave off the topping since it's more butter and sugar, which isn't the best way to start the day if you want this bread for breakfast. HOWEVER, I encourage you to live a little and add the topping because it really makes the bread. And it adds less than a teaspoon of brown sugar to each serving while increasing the almond flavor from the raw almonds on top. No need to toast the almonds either because they'll toast while the bread cooks.

Also great about this bread? You only need one bowl (for the base, that is. Sorry)! I worried that throwing everything together in one bowl and not sifting any of the dry ingredients would affect the rise here, but every time, the one-bowl method has resulted in a tall, airy loaf.

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Apple almond bread

For the topping:
1 ½ Tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup sliced almonds (not toasted)
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
pinch of salt

For the bread:
2.5 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup whole milk yogurt (non-Greek)
¾ cup maple syrup
2 eggs
½ tsp almond extract
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup almond flour (NOT almond meal if you can avoid it)
2 heaping Tbsp flax seed meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
3 cups diced apples (about 2 large apples, not peeled)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x5 or 10x5 loaf pan with olive oil and set aside.

In small bowl, melt the butter. Add the almonds, whole wheat flour, sugar, and salt and mix well. Set aside.

In a large bowl, melt the rest of the butter and let cool slightly. (Or, melt the butter halfway and stir to melt the rest. This usually results in warm, not hot, butter.)

Add the rest of the wet ingredients and whisk lightly to break up and mix in the eggs.

Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined and no streaks remain. Set aside.

Chop the apples and add to the batter. Stir a few times to combine, but do not over mix.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Check the bread after about 30 minutes or if you start to smell the almond too strongly. Cover with foil if the topping browns too quickly and continue to bake until the tested comes out clean.

Yield: 8-10 slices.

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Apples and honey breakfast cookies

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Oh apple season, how I love you. However, baking with you in your natural state sometimes leads to a soggy mess. So, dried apples it is. I like the Trader Joe's version the best because they're dry (obviously), but not so dry that they're hard to eat. Though I still have to cut them up for M because he shoves so many of the whole ones into his mouth that he chokes. When will he learn??

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Anyway, these cookies are ever-so-slightly sweet thanks more to the dried apples and golden raisins than the honey, though the honey is necessary for binding everything together. These cookies are sort of like if granola, oatmeal, and a cinnamon raisin cookie had a baby, but with less refined sugar than most granola or cookies and more portability than oatmeal.

 

This is also a great place to sub in some store-bought sunflower seed butter to make these lunchbox appropriate. Pretty sure the rest of the ingredients would mask the sometimes glue-y taste of store-bought versions. Using gluten-free oats also makes these safe for kids with gluten allergies. And I haven't tried these with egg substitutes, but I'm assuming that two or three flax eggs would also work to bind these together. If using a flax egg, directly reduce the amount of flax seed meal that goes into the batter, but keep the baking powder the same. I would also use a full cup of honey as an increased binder. But note that I'm speculating here as I haven't tried these changes myself. I'll update the post if I do!

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Apples and honey breakfast cookies


8 oz natural peanut, almond, or sunflower seed butter
¾ cup honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup flax seed meal
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups dried apples, chopped (plus 12 whole ones for decorating the tops of the cookies)
½ cup golden raisins
Olive or coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the peanut butter, honey, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until all have been incorporated into the wet ingredients and no streaks remain.

Wet hands and form the dough into 12 large balls and gently press down onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. The dough will be sticky and crumble-y, which is why wet hands are helpful. Don’t worry if the dough feels like it will imminently fall apart. As long as it mostly sticks together, they’ll bake and cool into a solid cookie.

Press a round dried apple onto the top of each cookie and spray or brush with coconut or olive oil.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the sides just begin to brown. 

Let cool completely before removing from cookie sheet. (The cooling also helps bind the crumbly cookie together.)

Yield: 12 very large cookies

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Candy corn popsicles

The colors of candy corn, but none of the preservatives. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear #turmeric

These treats resemble candy corn in color, but not in taste. Because candy corn is disgusting.

The colors of candy corn, but none of the preservatives. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear #turmeric

However, candy corn says "childhood autumn" for me like nothing else. Mostly because we didn't have cider donuts or pumpkin spice anything back then. Dark times.

The colors of candy corn, but none of the preservatives. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear #turmeric

These fruit and vegetable purees/pops are packed with seasonal flavors while also being light and refreshing since it was 80 degrees in New York last week. Also, it's always teething season in our house, so these pops are a handy way to soothe the savage beast while also getting some vitamins and good fats into him. These purees are delicious on their own, but especially when combined.

Spices like cinnamon, coriander, ginger, and turmeric make these frozen candy corn-inspired treats so much better than the original. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear

Banana, coconut milk, and cinnamon puree (White)

Whelp, I thought I was being creative here and then I found this puree on Baby Foodie when I was searching for a different recipe. Credit where it's due: I'm sure this puree was rattling around in my brain because I saw it there originally. It's great! The author recommends microwaving the banana, but I didn't and it was fine. It also froze well. I recommend doubling Baby Foodie's recipe and using the blender for these pops.

 

Sweet potato, coconut milk, and coriander puree (Orange)

Also from Baby Foodie, this combination was one of M's very favorites when he was still eating exclusively purees. For these pops, I used a ratio of 1 cup coconut milk to 1 sweet potato, which is significantly more liquid than is called for in the original recipe, but works in these pops. I used 1 large sweet potato, 1 cup coconut milk, and 1/4 tsp coriander.

 

Pear, apple, ginger, and turmeric puree (Yellow)

2 small or medium pears, peeled
1 large apple, peeled
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp turmeric

Peel the apple and pears, if desired (though if you leave the peel on, you may not get a uniform yellow color). In a steamer basket over boiling water, steam apple chunks for 5 minutes. Add pears and steam for 5 more minutes. Let cool slightly. Combine fruit and spices in a blender and process to desired consistency.

The colors of candy corn, but none of the preservatives. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear #turmeric

Combine purees in a tall pop mold starting with the coconut, banana, and cinnamon puree. I was too lazy to freeze them in stages, but if you're more precise than I am, you could freeze the white puree for 30 minutes before adding the sweet potatoes to achieve a cleaner color barrier. But, meh.

Yield: 4 double pops (like those pictured) or 8 single pops
 

The colors of candy corn, but none of the preservatives. Candy corn popsicles | Me & the Moose #meandthemoose #candycorn #popsicles #puree #coconut #sweetpotato #pear #turmeric

Zucchini and blueberry waffles and puree

Zucchini and blueberry waffles | Me & The Moose. These naturally sweet bread-y pastries are a great way to get some veggies into your kiddos first thing in the morning, as an afternoon snack, or anytime really. #meandthemoose #waffles #blueberries #zucchini

Late summer/early fall usually means a glut of zucchini and it's one of M's favorites. Don't get me wrong: If I put a piece of zucchini in front of him (steamed, roasted, covered in chocolate), he would NOT eat it. But in a waffle with sweet blueberries and toasty whole wheat and flax, he doesn't even notice that he's eating vegetables for breakfast. I don't use syrup because the blueberries and tiny amount of sugar in the batter make them sweet enough, but a spread of almond butter on top is perfect.

Zucchini and blueberry waffles | Me & The Moose. Flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, spices, buttermilk, flaxseed, and a little butter. #meandthemoose #waffles #blueberries #zucchini #ingredients

Zucchini blueberry waffles

1 cup shredded zucchini (1/2 large zucchini)
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup AP flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 heaping Tbsp flax seed meal
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in the microwave. Set aside.

Shred the zucchini with a box grater and gently press the excess water out, but don’t go crazy. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until frothy. Your arm should hurt a little. Do it a little more. Add the melted and cooled butter, vanilla extract, and buttermilk. Whisk until combined and give a few extra turns to recreate some froth.

Add the flours, flax seed meal, baking powder, spices, and salt and fold to combine. Fold in the zucchini and blueberries.

Depending on the size of your waffle maker, spoon about ¼ cup of batter onto the hot surface and follow your appliance’s instructions.

Zucchini, spinach, blueberry, and apple puree | Me & The Moose. A whole lot of greens, plus mildly sweet apples, and superfood blueberries are a delicious and healthy baby puree. #meandthemoose #puree #babyfood #blueberries #zucchini #spinach #apple

Alternatively, zucchini and blueberry makes a tasty puree with some apples and spinach thrown in for good measure. This one is particularly good when combined with some plain yogurt. I would also use this as a sweet dip for a steak, onion, and goat cheese quesadilla.

Zucchini and blueberry puree

½ large zucchini or whole medium zucchini (about 2 cups), chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 large apples or 3 small apples, peeled and chopped
6 oz blueberries (about 1 cup)
2 cups spinach
olive oil or coconut oil

Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a steamer. Add zucchini and cook for 10 minutes. Add the apples and continue cooking until fork tender, about 5 minutes. Add blueberries and spinach and cook for 3 minutes. Put everything in a blender with a glug of olive oil or coconut oil and whizz until desired texture.

Zucchini, spinach, blueberry, and apple puree | Me & The Moose. A whole lot of greens, plus mildly sweet apples, and superfood blueberries are a delicious and healthy baby puree. #meandthemoose #puree #babyfood #blueberries #zucchini #spinach #apple