Baking With Little Hands

by Elizabeth on February 14, 2012

What little girl doesn’t love to bake?  I remember when I was old enough to finally bake on my own.  Usually it was just a box mix of fabulous chocolate brownies, but I felt really special mixing my batter.  I would pretend I was on a cooking show, explaining my every step.  Everything that goes along with baking appeals to me – the pretty aprons, flour spilling all over the counter, combining a few simple ingredients to make what seems like magic in the oven.


Sharing the joy of baking with my favorite little girl is pure enjoyment.  Louisa is finally at an age that with concentration she can mix dry ingredients without losing everything onto the floor.  She loves to help!  She loves to see the magic unfold through the oven door, and of course she loves the results too.

Now as you can imagine I’m not interested in filling my family’s belly with sugary treats, which seemed to limit my baking for a while.  Creating baked goods that won’t send your little one’s blood sugar or your own through the roof is possible with the right resources.  I’m on the road to more discoveries, but here are a few of my favorites.  I’ll warn you that these are not necessarily the “treats” you are used to, but you’ll feel good about watching your kid’s smile as they devour what may just be “kind of healthy snacks.”  Plus you get to bake with your kids, what’s better than that?


Oatmeal Muffins

Bon Appetit featured this recipe in 2010, which is originally from an Italian eatery in southern California.  The recipe calls for too much sugar, which I always cut by 1/4 cup (reducing both white and brown sugar).  They are packed with fiber and are a great use of the frozen blueberries we have stored away from last summer’s picking.  These are yummy and can be served to all your breakfast guests too, not just your health nut friends.

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 1/3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons natural oat bran
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8 large muffin cups (1-cup capacity) or 18 standard muffin cups (1/3-cup capacity) with nonstick spray. Whisk oats and next 9 ingredients in large bowl. Add buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla; whisk to blend. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and let stand 5 minutes. Fold in blueberries. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 28 minutes for large muffins and 20 minutes for standard muffins. Cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins out onto rack; cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Banana Muffins

I discovered Uprisings cookbook a few weeks ago after visiting with a preschool teacher that was baking up a storm with her students.  She has all the kids grind their whole wheat flour and uses this in all their baked goods – inspiring to say the least.  I don’t grind my own grain yet, but I’ve found the cookbook to be loaded with great whole grain recipes for the whole family.

Combine in one bowl:

  • 1 lb. mashed bananas
  • 3 Tbl. buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup safflower oil (I used canola)
  • 1/2 Tbl. vanilla
  • 1/2 Tbl. lemon extract

In another bowl combine:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Add the flour mixture to the liquid ingredients.  Add 1/2 cup of walnuts or pecans chopped.  Spoon into oiled muffin tins or 2 small bread pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

spacer Two-Two-Two Cookies

These cookies are near and dear to my heart, as well as my Dads.  As a young girl I was lucky to grow up in Ralph Nadar’s home town.  His mother Rose was an amazing woman and she was the first to teach me about eating whole foods.  Her cookbook It All Happened in the Kitchen is delightful.  The book is full of her personality and thoughts on raising healthy families.  She lived to be 100 and her Lebanese cooking probably helped keep her healthy to the very end.

Tips: Don’t skimp on any of these ingredients.  The rose water and the orange blossom water may be hard to find, but are very worth the effort.  If you can’t find orange blossom water I sometimes add a splash of orange juice.  I’ve also left out the walnuts and added chopped dates.  You can experiment a bit.

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. orange blossom water
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups wheat germ
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Mix olive oil, egg whites beaten, maple syrup, and rose and orange blossom water.  Mix dry ingredients well, then mix these well with wet ingredients.  Take a spoonful of cookie batter and form the cookies, place on a cookie sheet and bake until done in 350 degree oven – about 20 minutes.

Gluten Free Baking

If you are looking for nutritious gluten free recipes I have had good luck at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. Check them out online at Nourishing Meals.

Happy Baking!



For the Love of the Pigeon!

by Elizabeth on February 5, 2012

This week I am living a purely enjoyable life in the sun with my family in Hawaii.  We left today and after an early morning wake up call, a long flight and fun in the sun, my hips begged to be stretched.  As I spread my towel out on the hotel room floor and slowly worked my hips into Pigeon, my voice expressed what my body was excitedly announcing – “AHHHH.”  I can honestly say that I am not sure what state my low back and hips would be in if I were not introduced to the power of the Pigeon years ago.


Photo from Lululemon

I’m amazed that it has taken me ten months to blog about Pigeon Pose.  If you experience any low back or hip discomfort, or simply want to keep your low back healthy, this simple yoga posture will bring relief to an area that is chronically overworked through daily living – the external rotators of the hips.
External Rotators?
Low back pain is the pits!  Unfortunately the discomfort affects most of us at some point in our lives.  For woman the childbearing years are tough on our low backs.  Pregnant woman are especially prone to low back pain, as are new mom’s that are suddenly contorting and balancing their bodies in ways they never imagined.  One answer to relieving low back pain is to release the external rotators of the hips.
The external rotators muscles rotate the thigh outward.  So when you are standing, think of rotating your femur away from the mid-line of your body, like you are walking pigeon toed.  These muscles include the psoas, abductor muscles of the quadriceps, piriformis, and other names I won’t babble on about.  They are crucial in stabilizing the pelvis.  Achieving a stable pelvis is the answer to relieving most low back pain.  Stability of the pelvis is achieved through balancing all the muscles that attach to the pelvis.  If one muscle group is tight, which the external rotators often are, the balance of the pelvis is thrown off.

Photo from Lululemon

Gradually Easing Into Pigeon – How To:

Deep external rotator stretches of any kind should be slowly eased into.  I recommend doing a warm up, either with simple quadricep and hamstring stretches or after your chosen cardio routine.  A few Sun Salutations are always a great warm up.  Start with a beginners version and gradually work up to the full Pigeon.  Don’t over do it!  Nothing should ever be painful!  Even if you never achieve the full posture, proper form and regular practice will give you the FULL BENEFITS.

Seated Pigeon Pose: Great for traveling, pregnancy and the work place.

While sitting on a chair or bench place both feet flat on the floor, hip width apart.  Your knees should be directly over your ankles.  Your thighs should be at a 90 degree angle to your lower legs.  Lift your left leg, externally rotate your thigh and allow your left outside ankle to rest just above your right knee.  Softly place your left hand on your left knee feeling a stretch through your left buttock and thigh.  As you feel comfortable lean forward, folding at the hips with a straight back.  This will allow the stretch to become deeper.  Hold for a count of at least 30 and repeat on the right side.

Modified Pigeon Pose: Best Place to Start

Yoga Journal’s Directions: Start in Downward Facing Dog.  Step the right foot forward between the hands so that you are in a lunge position. Rest the left knee on the floor. Move your right foot so that it is exactly in the middle of your hands. Make sure that the right shin is perpendicular to the ground. As you exhale, let the right knee drop out to the right side. You will need to move your right arm out of the way. Place it where you need it for balance and then move your left leg and torso backward so that you actually open up the angle of the right knee; you will move your body slightly backward as you do this. It is important to keep the right foot slightly flexed so that you are putting weight on the outside rim of your foot and not your ankle.

Use a bolster or blanket if you need support in bringing your left thigh or right buttock to the floor.

Pairing Pigeon with quadricep stretches is ideal, as this brings further balance.

For more information on the benefits of external rotator stretches, visit Yoga Anatomy at Yoga Journal.


Winter Blues Flavor Cures

January 27, 2012

After months of being disinterested in food I am finally pulling out my cookbooks and opening my recipe binder for inspiration.  I’m 15 weeks pregnant and hungry!  I have two recipes to share with you.  These dinner ideas will knock the socks off your guests.  They are packed with protein, veggies and flavor.  As the [...]

Read the full article →

Strong Mama

January 12, 2012

As I stood in Warrior II with strength and clarity during my Monday morning yoga class a memory came into my head.  During one of my many cry sessions over a boy breaking my heart in my early 20s my mother hugged me and said very seriously “women are strong.”  It stuck in my head [...]

Read the full article →

Good Intentions for a Healthy 2012

January 2, 2012

For the last week I have been anxiously awaiting the replacement of my wall calendar.  2011 was a fantastic year for my family and I am grateful.  However for the first time since 2006, the year I decided to follow my heart back to Oregon, I am ready to ring in the new year with [...]

Read the full article →

Mahalo Jenny & John

December 1, 2011

The last few days have been a dream.  Jenny and John are now married!  The four day celebration is one I will not soon forget. When I left early Sunday morning my heart ached with sadness.  Leaving Louisa for four days was a major step in my mothering career.  My childhood best friend getting married [...]

Read the full article →

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2011

I’m officially ready for Thanksgiving.  Actually I have one more grocery store run, but my taste buds are in major anticipation mode.  Warm pumpkin pie, fresh whipped cream, and of course the vegetables!  I love this holiday.  It’s been my favorite since the beginning.  A celebration of family, friends, and all of the seasons’ bountiful [...]

Read the full article →

Jillian Michaels Kicked My A**!

November 17, 2011

Another week and another quest to find an exercise program I can do at home.  Yes, I did renew my gym membership, but I still have a 2.5 year old with me full time.  My goal is to keep Louisa out of the gym’s daycare until cold and flu season ends.  I’m currently enjoying the [...]

Read the full article →

Lost In The Woods

November 11, 2011

A New Path One of the biggest barriers to success in exercise is getting stuck in a rut.  The body needs to be constantly challenged in order for muscles to strain and grow.  The mind needs change in order to stay interested and motivated.  As I’ve mentioned recently I’m on a quest for creative fitness [...]

Read the full article →

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

November 8, 2011

There is nothing like an early morning walk, with the sun shining bright and a happy stillness in the air.  It helps to be in sunny Palm Desert, California on vacation.  Far away from muddy boots, cold noses and dirty dogs – I’m savoring these last few days of vacation. Yet I’m a routine addict, [...]

Read the full article →

← Previous Entries is neither affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its contents. This is a safe-cache copy of the original web site.