He’s got my nose, but pretty much nothing else. This picky-eating business is flummoxing at best – the kid would live entirely on Nutri-Grain bars if given the option. I don’t get it. There is no “just try it,” no “just one bite.” He must get this stubbornness from his father.
Occasionally it’s nice to save ourselves a fight and just give in and give him what he wants. He wants cookies.
Fortunately he likes things like raisins and bananas, so I can make him cookies and not be tempted to eat every single one. To be honest, baking’s been a bit weird around here. It’s rare that we have a purely decadent baked good, as Toddler adjusts his standard of living very quickly and we’re trying to maintain some standards by keeping him off white flour … at least until he’s reached the age of reason and can be convinced to eat actual food. (The white flour is for me, because I have a lot of feelings to eat.)
Peanut butter and banana cookies
(Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup mashed overripe bananas (about two medium)
2 tbsp. ground flax seed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins
Optional: 2 tbsp. hemp hearts or chia seeds
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter, peanut butter, and both sugars together until the mixture is fluffy and paler in colour than when you started. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add banana, flax, raisins, and chocolate chips, and hemp or chia seeds if using, and mix well.
Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined,
Roll into balls about an inch in diameter, and placed on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each ball. Press with a fork, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden. You don’t want to over-bake these, as they should be a bit soft and chewy. Serve warm, with milk.
Store in a container with a lid, or portion them off into smaller containers or baggies and freeze.
I read the books about French babies and how they eat everything, and I assumed that mine would be an enthusiastic omnivore – how could he not be?! And in the beginning, he was – he ate his purees, grains and yogurts happily, lapping up anything I put in front of him and smacking his lips with great delight. Around the time we began to introduce textures, though, something went horribly awry.
The kid doesn’t eat.
Well, he doesn’t eat much, I should say. He’ll eat oatmeal, and applesauce, and yogurt, and peanut butter toast, and all the crackers. He likes cookies, and will eat just about anything I blend into a mush, except for purple things. He likes watermelon in slices, but won’t eat a sliced strawberry. Blueberries and grapes are untouchable, potatoes and pasta an insult. He was handed a hot dog at a birthday party and abhorred it. He tasted a bite of hummus off a cracker at Costco and burst into tears.
Needless to say, he is not an adventurous eater, though he did taste a snow pea the other day and took two bites before throwing it on the ground, which I think was progress. One day he might eat a green bean! One can hope. I keep handing him things, and putting food in front of him, which is about the best I can do, right? I don’t know.
His daycare requires us to send him meals, and I am told that he eats brilliantly when he’s there, so I send him nutrient-dense soups and things to make up for what he doesn’t eat at home. For breakfast, I send him muffins.
He gets all kinds – I made some pink ones for him last week that used up a pound of strawberries and the rest of my rolled oats. He’s had peach muffins, and subtly cheesy corn muffins, and gluten-free coconut flour muffins for something a little different; he likes a meal he can cart around, and a handful of carbs meets his almost all of his needs. My peanut butter-banana-chocolate muffins though, those are his favourite. And even though they aren’t a seasonal thing – I make them whenever the bananas at the little natural foods store on the corner are brown and sad-looking (and cheap).
I finally got a photo of him eating one today (after posting on Facebook that I figured it would be impossible). So here’s the recipe. I like to think these are reasonably healthy.
Any of the weird ingredients can be subbed for stuff you have; I bought a lifetime supply of coconut sugar when Nick was diagnosed with diabetes because it’s a low-GI sweetener, even though it later turned out that all sugar acts like refined white sugar in the blood for a diabetic no matter how pure my intentions. You can use brown sugar. Any other oil will work fine in place of the grapeseed. You can omit the ground flax if you don’t have it, but I find that by using entirely whole wheat flour in these, the recipe benefits from the bit of leavening the flax provides; if don’t have flax and like a lighter muffin, use half whole-wheat and half white all-purpose flour.
2 or 3 ripe – brown – bananas (if you have smaller bananas, use 3; if you only have those giant monster ones that are like a foot long, two will suffice), mashed
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth, whatever you prefer)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin tin, or fill the tin with 12 paper liners. I am cheap, so I just grease.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In another larger bowl, mix bananas, peanut butter, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, egg, and oil until thoroughly combined. Stir in chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed – mix well.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Spoon into your prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of one of the middle ones comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for five minutes before turning the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool. If you are going to freeze these for daycare, let them cool all the way before putting them into a large freezer bag. If you like bananas and are just going to eat these yourself, go nuts.
Here are the B-sides – a handful of this morning’s attempts to catch the toddler in action.