Lemon Chia Seed Blueberry Bread {dairy-free}

I made this delicious quick bread last Sunday during nap time, and it was gobbled up before work on Monday.  The chia seeds are a nice swap for butter and the typical poppy seeds.  The almond yogurt replaces the need for milk or sour cream, and the blueberries and lemon complement each other perfectly.  

Be sure to mix the 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 1/2 cup of water in advance – at least 2 hours.  This gives the seeds time to do their magic and gel.  If you prefer to mix them in advance, just cover and store in the fridge.

The fresh blueberries and lemon flavor create a nice balance of sweet and tart.  I like to keep dried lemon peel around – I never know when I’ll need it and I am not always great about keeping fresh lemons in the house, as much as I adore lemons.

The batter is a lovely golden color.

This bread shapes nicely and looks no different than bread made with dairy.  You will, however, noticed that the bread is slightly denser and moister than quick bread made with dairy.  Do not under bake this bread – be sure to check with a knife or toothpick, even if your timer has run out.  Enjoy!

Lemon Chia Seed Blueberry Bread – makes 1 loaf

1. At least 2 hours prior to baking, combine 1/2 cup water with 1 tablespoon chia seeds.  Allow to stand at room temperature.  If preparing the day before, cover and place in refrigerator.

2. Grease with margarine, and lightly flour a loaf pan.  Preheat oven to 325º.  In a medium bowl combine: 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda and set aside.

3. In a medium mixing bowl or with mixing stand, beat together 1 cup sugar, prepared chia seed mixture, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, zest of 1 lemon OR 2 teaspoons dried lemon peel, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Add in 3 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape bowl frequently.  Alternately add flour mixture and 6 oz of almond yogurt to the chia mixture, beating on low speed after each addition, just till combined.  Scrape sides frequently.  Fold in 1 cup of fresh blueberries.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake in a 325º oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.

Banana Berry Breakfast Smoothie

I made one of these bad boys on Saturday morning – it was the perfect addition to my usual toast and peanut butter for breakfast.  The berry and banana flavors mixed with oats made it taste like a blueberry muffin in a cup.  

I’ve been using the single serving cups that came with our Ninja – they are too easy.  You just throw your ingredients into the cup, attach the blade, stick on the blender, blend for a perfect single serving, then remove and add the drinking lid.  When done, throw it in the dishwasher!
The three of us headed over to the Des Moines Art Center on Saturday morning for a 2-4 year olds art class.  It was snowing and we needed to get out of the house.  Greta loved the different methods of painting – brushes attached to long sticks, cars rolled in paint, tempera sticks, and stamping methods.  Of course, mommy was collecting ideas for her classroom as well.  

After the art center, we made a quick stop at La Mie Bakery for pastries, bread, and coffee.  Eric let me run in and pick out pastries…can you tell?  So much for the healthy smoothie and toast I had for breakfast earlier in the day.  

Banana Berry Breakfast Smoothie – makes 1 serving 
1. In a blender combine: 1 banana, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 2-3 ice cubes, and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk.  
2.  Blend until smooth.  Serve immediately.  

Greta Turns 2! {Birthday Barley Pancakes and more}

Last weekend my baby turned 2!  I can hardly believe how quickly time has flown – I know it will only continue to move faster.  
We started off the birthday weekend with some fishing.  We discovered that Greta really enjoys fishing – except when the big fish comes out of the water, then we only want to run off of the dock.  
Greta is lucky enough to share her birthday weekend with her Grandpa, holding her in this photo.  We celebrated with my father in law and extended family on Saturday.  
This meant a dinner of sushi from the fantastic Miyabi 9 in the East Village of Des Moines.  Des Moines has some fantastic places to dine – I feel like I am getting to know my hometown all over again – everything is so different in the eight, more like twelve years since I last lived in town. 
Sunday morning, Greta awoke to find this mobile hanging from the kitchen light at my parents’ house.  I hastily made it the night before so she would see her favorite things in the morning.  The dog, bee, fish, and car are all made from newspaper and stuffed to appear more 3D.  The G and 2 are made from colored construction paper.  
Just as I suspected, she loved this mobile and spend a few moments going over each and every item.

I mixed up the dry and wet portions of the pancakes the night before, so all I had to do in the morning was allow them to warm up slightly before combining them and cooking.  If you plan ahead, there is no need for tasteless pancake mixes.

I like to use 1/8 cup measuring cups to make my pancakes, this way they are more manageable for small hands.

Eric got to work on some more of those tart cherries.  It is quite the bumper crop year!

We added tart cherries for the adult pancakes and blueberries for Greta’s pancakes. 

Her party was a hit – we had it outside at my parents’ house.  Greta was all smiles the entire evening.

As always, she was spoiled rotten.  Her Great Grandma got her some pink pants and her Momo (what she calls my mom) helped her open them.

The ice cream cakes from Dairy Queen were exceptionally good – I personally loved the chocolate peanut butter pretzel one (good choice, Eric).  By the way, this is Greta’s cheese face when the camera comes out.

 There may or may not have been a large pile of brush.

It may or may not have burned.

All in all, it was a lovely June.  Until next June, save your Christmas trees. 

Birthday Barley Pancakes – 16 – 20 pancakes

1. In a bowl combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup barley flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2. In a small bowl whisk together: 2 eggs, 2 cups buttermilk (or milk or milk alternative + 2 tablespoons lemon juice), and 4 tablespoons cooking oil.

3.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add egg mixture all at once.  Stir quickly, just until all ingredients are mixed.  Batter will be lumpy.

4.  Pour 1/8 – 1/4 batter onto pre-heated griddle.  Drop fresh blueberries or tart cherries into batter.  Cook 2-4 minutes per side, flipping when edges are slightly dried and center is bubbly.  Cook 2-4 more minutes on other side.  Serve warm with topping of your choice.