Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

You know summer is here when you start putting zucchini in all the things. Zucchini oatmeal, or Zoats 🙂 , is an awesome way to get veggies in at breakfast (another yummy, kid-approved option is my Cocoberry Pancakes).

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These creamy oats are cooked in almond milk and flavored like traditional zucchini bread, only there’s no refined sweeteners or other unhealthy ingredients.  This hearty oatmeal will keep you full till lunch. I shared this recipe on our farm website earlier this spring and it was a hit!

Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 15mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

  • 2 c. almond milk (or preferred milk), plus more for desired consistency
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1 tbs. chia seeds
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 c. shredded zucchini (about 1 small)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs. pure maple syrup, optional (if your banana is really ripe you might not need this)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla powder (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
  • Toppings Ideas: raisins, more freshly grated nutmeg & chopped walnuts, bee pollen, hemp seeds, blueberries, pepitas, sunflower seeds, a spoonful of nut butter, etc.

Directions

  1. Warm almond milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add oats, chia seeds, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
  2. Let the oats cook for a couple minutes, then add zucchini, mashed banana, and walnuts. Cook and stir occasionally, for about 5-6 minutes, or until the oats are soft and creamy.
  3. Add another splash of milk to thin if desired and warm through. Taste for sweetness and add maple syrup if you like. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Portion into bowls and pile on the toppings. Serve warm.

Happy Food Making, Mamas ❤

CocoBerry Pancakes

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Pancakes are such a great vessel for getting nutrition into our kiddos, aren’t they? Making them from scratch with wholesome, real ingredients is super simple. Clearly I love a good pancake recipe (find two more of my recipes here and here)!  This one checks all the boxes though: good source of protein, grain-free, naturally sweetened, AND they’re studded with fruits & veggies (yep, veggies – I’m a big proponent of eating vegetables at breakfast!).

Why veggies at breakfast? Did you know that a 2-3 year old child’s daily intake of vegetables should be one cup? A child aged 4-8 years should have 1.5 cups (source).  Making the most out of every meal and snack is key to reaching these requirements … so veggies for breakfast it is!

If you think your child would reject these pancakes because of the flecks of grated green zucchini, you can certainly toss the batter into your blender or food processor before adding the berries so that the texture is relatively smooth.  I haven’t tried that, but there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work.

I’ve included an option below for adding honey or maple syrup in the pancake batter so that there’s no need to top them with that sticky (and messy) goodness – unless you just want to!

Other delightful topping ideas include: hemp seeds,  chopped nuts & seeds, bee pollen, ground flax, raisins, more berries, berry chia jam, and/or nut butter.

This recipe makes a fairly large batch; roughly 24 3″ pancakes (measuring the batter with a tablespoon and flattening it out slightly).  We love to repurpose them as “sandwiches” with nut butter or just reheat them to enjoy as snacks or an easy out-the-door breakfast.  Pro Tip: reheat the pancakes in the toaster!  It warms them up nicely and the edges get kinda crispy.  Yum!

CocoBerry Pancakes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Grain-free, naturally sweetened pancakes that are studded with berries & shredded zucchini!


Credit: Megan @ Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

  • 2 large, really ripe (spotty) bananas
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 c. shredded zucchini (about half of one medium-sized zucchini)
  • 1 tbs. chia seeds, optional
  • 1-2 tsp. honey or pure maple syrup, optional
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla powder or extract
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 c. coconut flour
  • 1 c. blueberries
  • coconut oil, for greasing skillet/griddle

Directions

  1. Preheat large skillet or griddle over medium low.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add eggs and whisk to combine.
  3. Add zucchini, chia seeds (if using), honey (this completely depends on your child(ren)’s taste – we find the pancakes sweet enough from the bananas and usually do not add additional sweetener), cinnamon, vanilla, & sea salt and whisk again.
  4. Add coconut flour, stirring until incorporated.
  5. Spread a small amount of coconut oil over preheated skillet or griddle (how much depends on the size of your cooking surface – just a thin layer is needed, so a teaspoon or two should do the trick).
  6. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, dollop the pancake batter (it will be thick because of the coconut flour) onto the skillet/griddle. Using the back of your spoon, spread out the batter so that the pancake thickness is about 1/4″. Continue dolloping and spreading out batter until your cook surface is full, leaving about an inch in between each pancake (my griddle holds about 8 pancakes at a time).
  7. Place 5 berries onto the top of each pancake, pushing them down into the batter.
  8. Cook pancakes until golden on the underside, about 5-7 minutes. Carefully flip and flatten the pancake a little with your spatula. Cook until golden again, another 5 minutes or so.
  9. Place pancakes on cooling rack while you cook the next batch(es). A cooling rack keeps the pancakes from getting soggy on the underside.

Notes:

  • You can substitute other fruit in your pancakes – other berries or kiwi, thinly sliced, work well.
  • If you would like to try these pancakes using a different flour, the recipe will likely need twice as much.  I tested these with buckwheat flour and spelt flour, and each time, I needed 1 cup of flour instead of the 1/2 cup that is called for when using coconut flour.  Coconut flour is unlike other kinds of flour because it absorbs a lot of moisture.  We preferred the taste and texture of these when coconut flour was used, so that’s how I wrote the recipe.  They were still good with the other flours too though.
  • Instead of adding the blueberries to the top of each pancake, you can add them to your batter when you put in the coconut flour. I like to make sure that each pancake has plenty of berries though, so I prefer to add them later.
  • If you think your child might be weary of zucchini in their pancakes, consider blending the batter so that the texture is relatively smooth.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤

Maple Tahini Chocolate

Did you know you can MAKE chocolate with ingredients you likely have on hand right now?  No, I’m not fooling you! Crave-worthy, wholesome chocolate can be yours with about 5 minutes of prep time and half an hour in the freezer to set.  Amazing!

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I’ve made a batch of this yummy chocolate for my son’s Easter basket.  No junk, no refined sugar.  Cacao powder.  Virgin coconut oil.  Sea salt.  Tahini.  Pure maple syrup.  That’s it.

There’s only one downside: since the base is coconut oil, it’ll soften considerably at room temperature.  It’s best to store this in the freezer or fridge.

There’s a fun silicone mold you can use to actually make a bar of chocolate.  You can find the one I have here.  You can also use silicone muffin liners and just fill them about 1/2″ to make little chocolate cups.

The addition of cacao nibs is completely optional, but it gives the chocolate a little crunch that we find really satisfying.  Try it! 🙂

Maple Tahini Chocolate

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 35mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Delicious chocolate made from real food ingredients - dreams DO come true!


Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Sprinkle cacao nibs, if using, over the bottom of the mold(s) you are using.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over medium low heat. Add cacao powder, tahini, and sea salt. Stir until smooth.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture into mold(s) and transfer to the freezer to set. I like to place the molds onto a baking sheet before I pour the chocolate in so that its easier to move to the freezer without spilling any.
  4. Store hardened chocolate in the freezer or fridge and enjoy!

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Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤

Chicken Noodle Turmeric Soup

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When using whole food ingredients, it doesn’t get more basic or wholesome than chicken noodle soup.  Everybody knows it, almost everybody loves it.  It’s THE quintessential comfort food.  I slow-cooked a whole chicken the other day (my favorite way to do that is The Natural Nurturer’s recipe for Slow Cooker Lemon Thyme Chicken – it’s so simple and delicious). I had the shredded chicken and the bone broth I made from it afterward hanging out in the fridge.  I knew when I woke up this morning and there was a chill in the air that they were destined to become soup.

Traditional chicken noodle soup has celery.  I didn’t have any, but I did have some zucchini.  I thought that would make a fun change.  That got me to thinking what other changes I could make … turmeric.  Yes!  I love incorporating turmeric into the foods we eat because it is such a superfood spice.  Its list of benefits is extensive; in short, turmeric is an awesome anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant, and it’s considered a “brain booster”.  As I always say though, do your own research! While I am passionate about healthy cooking and eating, I am not a dietitian or a doctor.  The final change I knew I had to make was a no-brainer – I HAD to add some greens.  Always greens.

This soup comes together quickly if you already have cooked chicken on hand, making it the perfect weeknight meal.  Serve with a salad or with some crusty buttered toast.  Mm mmm.  Toddler approved, parent approved.  Healthy.  Flavorful.  What’s more – with a couple yummy and simple substitutions, it can be made vegan.  Sub chickpeas for chicken and switch out vegetable broth for the bone broth.

Chicken Noodle Turmeric Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30mins
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Chicken noodle soup with some fun & flavorful twists – zucchini, turmeric, and greens!.

Ingredients


– 1 tbs. olive oil
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 2 carrots, diced
– pinch sea salt
– 5 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 medium zucchini, chopped
– 1 tsp. turmeric
– 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
– 6-8 c. bone broth (vegetable broth for vegan option)
– 3 c. cooked shredded chicken (sub chickpeas for vegan option)
– 1 c. uncooked elbow pasta
– 2 large handfuls baby spinach

Directions


1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and a pinch of sea salt. Stir occasionally and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until onion is translucent and the carrot is softened.
2. Add garlic, zucchini, turmeric, and poultry seasoning and stir to combine again. Let spices toast for a minute.
3. Pour in just a splash of the bone broth to deglaze the pan; scrap all the yummy bits from the botton of the pan to reincorporate. Add remaining broth and shredded chicken.
4. Increase heat to medium high to bring to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until pasta is tender (read package instructions – it will likely be 6-8 minutes, depending on what type of pasta you’re using).
5. Once the noodles are tender, turn off the heat and add spinach. Stir to combine until spinach is wilted.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤

Cacao-licious Hemp Shake

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Cacao powder is amazing stuff.  It looks and tastes pretty much just like cocoa powder, but it’s better.  WAY better. Cacao is actually cold-pressed unroasted cacao beans (straight from the tree!) and its nutritional properties are still intact because it hasn’t been roasted at high temps like cocoa powder.

Cacao is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc. There are other cool health benefits to choosing cacao over cocoa too, but as always, I encourage you to do your own research.

Smoothies are such an awesome way to pack a ton of nutritional punch into a tiny toddler approved package.  What’s even more fun is when a smoothie is so thick and creamy and decadent that you can call it a shake, but it also happens to be extremely healthy.  This Cacao-licious Hemp Shake does that.  What else does it do? It satisfies even the most intense ice cream craving from an always hungry, breastfeeding mama (that’s saying something, am I right?!).  I won’t lie – I have been known to take my blender into the laundry room after toddler bedtime so that I can whip this up without the fear of waking a little human.

When your next chocolate craving strikes or you just want to offer your kiddos a guilt-free, no refined sugar chocolatey treat, I hope you’ll try this shake – and if you do – tag me on Instagram so I can see (@ mamamakesfood and #mamamakesfood).

In the recipe below, I’ve provided Amazon links to products that I use in my kitchen on an almost daily basis.  If you should purchase something by using the link(s) below, it won’t cost you anything extra, BUT it does give the mama behind Mama Makes Food a tiny commission (which might help justify staying up way past my bedtime to share recipes 😉 ).

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Cacao-licious Hemp Shake

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 10mins
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A creamy, decadent chocolatey treat that packs a nutritional and protein punch.


Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or use plain + 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
  • 2 frozen bananas, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbs. chia seeds
  • 3 tbs. cacao powder (cocoa or carob will work in a pinch)
  • 3 tbs. hemp seeds
  • 2 tbs. sunflower seed butter (or preferred nut butter)
  • 1-2 tbs. pure maple syrup, to taste
  • small handful of spinach
  • small handful of ice cubes

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients in the order listed into a high speed blender and blitz until smooth and creamy.
  2. Note: a regular blender may also be used, but it might not pulverize the hemp seeds entirely smooth like a high speed model will.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤

Grain Free Chocolate Pancakes

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Say “I love you” to your littlest Valentine with these Grain Free Chocolate Pancakes! These are a yummy, not-too-sweet chocolate treat perfect for piling high with toppings like sliced banana, fresh or freeze-dried berries, coconut cream, hemp seeds, a drizzle of maple syrup … the options are endless!

Decadent enough for dessert yet wholesome enough for breakfast, these Grain Free Chocolate Pancakes are delicious anytime of day. Leftovers store well in the fridge for about 5 days and these babies are easily reheated in the toaster.

Grain Free Chocolate Pancakes

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Time: 20 min
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Say “I love you” to your littlest Valentine with these chocolately, wholesome pancakes!.

Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

– 4 eggs
– 1 14oz. can lite coconut milk
– 2 tsp. vanilla
– 2 tbs. pure maple syrup
– 1/2 c. coconut flour
– 1/4 c. cocoa or cacao powder
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– 1/2 tsp. sea salt
– 2 tbs. chia seeds
– coconut oil, butter or ghee, for frying

Directions

1. Preheat large skillet or griddle over medium low.
2. Combine eggs, coconut milk, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, sea salt, and chia seeds in a blender and blitz until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.
3. Grease skillet or griddle with a thin layer of coconut oil (or butter or ghee) and spoon 1/8 cup sized portions of batter about an inch apart, spreading out to about 1/2″ thickness.
4. Cook until the bottoms are firm and the tops are puffy – about 5 minutes. Carefully flip and flatten slightly with the back of a spatula. Cook remaining side until firm and slightly browned, about 3-4 minutes more.
5. Remove cooked pancakes to a cooling rack (this helps keep the undersides from getting sweaty and soft).
6. Continue to cook remaining pancakes in batches, adding a new layer of coconut oil each time.

If using 1/8 cup sized portions of batter, this recipe will yield approximately 30 2-3″ pancakes.

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Happy Food Making, Mamas!

Chickpea Wild Rice Soup

 

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Our family loves soup any time of year, but of course it’s absolutely crave-worthy in the winter.  I wanted something that would warm us from the inside out, especially after coming into the house from doing our farm chores on a cold, blustery winter’s evening.  Enter this creamy, hearty, and veggie packed soup.  The wild rice adds a chewiness to the texture of this soup that we love, but brown rice will work nicely too.  The trio of onion, carrot, and celery – in addition to the poultry seasoning – make this reminiscent of Chicken Noodle Soup (only without the chicken OR the noodles 😉 ).

Surprisingly, my toddler (23 months old) fished out all of the whole chickpeas and gobbled them up.  In the past, he wasn’t so sure about them.  Another testament that we must keep offering foods over and over again, even if they’re regularly rejected.  Mister happily scooped spoonfuls up and eagerly ate, so this was all in all a super successful meal (notice I didn’t say it wasn’t messy – let’s be real here, mamas).

We’re a family of three and this made enough for us to all have for dinner one night and then lunch the next day.  Win win!

Chickpea Wild Rice Soup

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Time: 1hr 20mins
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A creamy, hearty, veggie-filled soup that is full of goodness and toddler approved.


Credit: Mama Makes Food

Ingredients


– 1-2 tbs. + 3 1/2-4 c. water, divided
– 1 1/2 c. chopped onion
– 1 c. chopped carrot
– 1 c. chopped celery
– 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
– 1 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
– 1 tsp. ground mustard
– 1/4-1/2 tsp. ground turmeric, to taste
– 1/2 tsp. sea salt
– 1/2 c. uncooked wild rice (*can sub brown rice, see note at bottom)
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 cans (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed & drained, divided
– 3 tbs. nutritional yeast
– 1/2-1 tbs. white miso, to taste
– 2 bay leaves
– 2 c. vegetable stock
– 1-2 c. chopped kale

Directions


1. Preheat large soup pot over medium heat. Add 1 tbs. water, onion, carrot, celery, oregano, poultry seasoning, ground mustard, turmeric, and sea salt. Stir to combine, cover, and let cook for 4-5 minutes. Add another tablespoon of water if it starts to stick.
2. Stir again, then add rice and garlic. Cook for another minute or two.
3. Set 1 c. of chickpeas aside. Add remaining chickpeas to the soup pot along with the nutritional yeast, miso, bay leaves, 3 1/2 c. of water, and vegetable stock. Increase heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45-50 minutes, until rice is completely cooked.
4. Remove bay leaves. With an immersion blender, slightly blend soup to add some thickness, but not enough to totally puree. A chunky texture is desired. Stir in the 1 c. of reserved chickpeas and kale, cover, and cook for 5-10 minutes more. Add a little more water to thin, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

*Note: Brown rice can be substituted for the wild rice. Cook time will be reduced to 30-35 minutes.

This soup is inspired by the Chickpea ‘N Rice Soup in Dreena Burton’s cookbook “Plant Powered Families”.

Happy Food Making, Mamas!