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Snow and cold weather always make me want to bake. With a solid layer of sleet on the ground and the snow piling high and drifting in the front yard, this morning seemed the perfect time to settle in and bake something tasty for breakfast.

These muffins are hearty and healthy. As the recipe is, it is egg-free. If you use non-dairy yogurt and milk you could easily make these tasty muffins vegan.

Gluten Free Banana Oatmeal Muffins
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup yogurt, plain low fat
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oil, sunflower or vegetable oil
2 bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon flax meal
3 tablespoons water
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine oats, yogurt and milk in a bowl and allow to soak about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl combine flax meal and water and allow to sit 3 minutes.
Combine flours, salt, spices, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk lightly to combine.
To the oat mixture, add brown sugar, mashed banana, and flax meal mixture. Mix well.
Add dry ingredients to the rolled oats mixture and mix well. Fill greased or lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes (10 minutes for mini muffins) in a 400 degree oven.

When my younger daughter was born (about 15 months ago) our
wonderful friends at church brought meals so that I wouldn’t have
to cook. With a toddler running around the house, a c-section
incision to tend, and a newborn to nurse I couldn’t have asked for
a better gift in all the world. People brought lentils and rice,
fruit, bread, pasta dishes, soups, quiche, and other delightful
meals.

Our pastor’s wife brought baked oatmeal. Randall doesn’t
like oatmeal, so I had a whole pan of baked oatmeal to myself,
until Audra found me out. Evey morning I would have a bowl of baked
oatmeal with warm milk. It was perfect and filling but I could eat
and prepare it quickly and get back to the babies demanding my
attention.

The cold weather (and promise of snow) got me thinking
about baked oatmeal again. As we waited for the now to fall, Audra
and I got out all the ingredients for baked oatmeal. I created our
assembly line and she poured and mixed to her little heart’s
content until we got to our ever-important B ingredient. Around
here, B is for blueberries. Audra carefully counted the blueberries
as she added them to the baking dish, then ate one, then fed one to
sister, then added one to the baking dish. As I’m sure you can
imagine, not as many made it into the oatmeal as I had intended.

We had a wonderful time mixing and counting and baking and eating this
simple baked oatmeal based on my pastor’s wife’s recipe. I hope you
enjoy it as much as we did.

Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries

1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup agave syrup
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal (gluten free)
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1 cup blueberries

Mix ingredients in a lightly greased 8-inch
square pan or 9-inch round pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and
turbinado sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

One of my favourite things to do in the morning is make pancakes with Audra.  I get out a all the ingredients, a big bowl, measuring cups, and two spoons.  While the pan is heating I help Audra to the table.  I measure out the ingredients.  Audra tells me what they are as she pours them into the bowl.  She’s great at mixing.  Mommy adds the eggs and makes sure everything is well-combined.  Then Audra climbs into her high chair to continue narrating while I cook.

Everyone in our house enjoys pancakes.  Daddy likes to eat them with butter and syrup.  Audra likes hers with “abutter” which is sometimes peanut butter, sometimes cashew butter, and sometimes almond butter.  She doesn’t really care what kind of butter it is, but it must be butter.  Eleanor and I usually have ours with fresh fruit or berry compote (which Audra also enjoys with her butter).

The leftovers go in the freezer.  Any time Audra wants a pancake (which is often), I just pop one in the toaster.  It works well for us…that is it did until I had to switch to a gluten-free diet.

It has been difficult finding gluten-free pancake recipes that the my whole family likes.  I’ve made several that I like and Randall doesn’t.  Others Randall and I both like but Audra and Eleanor don’t care for.

I spend a lot of time looking at recipes.  Thursday afternoon I was looking at cornbread and polenta recipes and was inspired.  So I got up early Friday morning to make blueberry corn meal pancakes.

For the best pancakes, make sure you get the finest ground corn meal/flour.  I chose to add the blueberries to each pancake individually.  This prevents the blueberries bleeding and turning your pancakes blue, and you can control how many blueberries are in each pancake.  I served ours with fresh honey butter.

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes
  2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus more for pan
  1 1/2 cups cornmeal, finely ground
  3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  1 teaspoon salt
  2 eggs, lightly beaten
  2 to 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  1 pint blueberries

In a bowl combine cornmeal, baking soda and salt.  Add eggs, butter, and 2 cups of buttermilk.  The amount of buttermilk needed will depend on the the texture of the cornmeal.  Add more if needed until the mixture is the consistency of pancake batter.

Ladle 1/4 cup of batter onto hot pan or griddle.  While the batter begins to cook add a few blueberries to the pancake.  When bubbles rise to the top of the batter flip gently.  Cook on second side until golden brown and firm.

Makes about 20 small pancakes.  Enjoy!

My G-ma was a great cook for most of her life. One summer she taught ma how to bake what everyone in our family called “G-ma Bread.” Though I have tried many times I have not been able to recreate her bread.

G-ma liked to take a recipe from a cook book and change it little by little until it was just the way she liked it. The problem: she never wrote her new recipes down. Not that you could recreate her exact dish if she had written it down. Her favourite measuring units were a pinch, a dash, and a dollop.

What are oven pancakes, you might ask. They are a crazy-looking bubbly pan of baked goodness. My recipe for oven pancakes is adapted from G-ma’s basic recipe for oven pancakes. (I usually make a half batch for our little family.)

Oven Pancakes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Melt butter in 9×13 pan.
Combine flours and milk. Add salt and nutmeg.
Beat the eggs lightly and blend into the mixture.
Carefully pour into pan with melted butter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

G-ma always made apricot syrup. My mom likes them with powdered sugar. Randall likes regular syrup. I prefer fresh berry compote. These hearty pancakes can stand up to anything you can dish out.

Enjoy.

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