Fill ‘er up oatmeal smoothie

I’m always in a specific predicament — figuring out what to do with bananas that are about to go bad. My kids never eat them fast enough, and before you know it, the bananas are more brown than yellow. So I’m always game to finding new ways to use them before I lose them.

Oatmeal SmoothieOne way I use them is in smoothies.  Lately I’ve been reading about oatmeal smoothies, and thought I’d try one out, thinking it would be a nice balanced breakfast alternative. With protein, fruit, calcium, and carbs, this is a pretty well-rounded smoothie, if I do say so myself.

It’s not super-sweet, but then again, it shouldn’t be. And it does have a texture to it. I have a Ninja blender and mine came out pretty smooth, but it does still definitely have some “meat” to it with drinkable small pieces of oats and almonds.

Nora wasn’t a huge fan, but didn’t really give it a fair chance, with her sip the size of a pea. Sophia drank a whole glass, and actually said, “It tastes like breakfast!”

A 12-oz serving is a perfect breakfast or snack, and a healthy alternative to all that processed gluten-free cereal. And this one is sure to help stave off the cravings!

Fill ‘er up oatmeal smoothie
Makes about 2 12-oz servings

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 banana
1 cup almond milk
1 scoop gluten-free protein powder
14 dry roasted low-sodium almonds
1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
Dash of cinnamon

This one is pretty easy. Throw it all in a blender and blend until smooth!

Nutrition: According to the recipe calculator I used on, one serving equals: Calories: 238; Carbs: 35g; Fat: 7g; Protein: 13g; Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 15g

Try different combinations to find an oatmeal smoothie that will fill you up!

P.S. Peel and freeze your “almost bad” bananas for future smoothies!


Cinnamon swirl banana bread

Happy New Year!
It’s been a good 2 weeks since I last posted. We flew our family back to Baltimore to spend Christmas at my parents’ house. It was so nice to see the joy on my parents’ faces as we brought together all their children and grandchildren for Christmas dinner. It’s been a long time since we were all home at Christmas and my mother always does such a fantastic job at making the house feel magical.

Beautiful Christmas morning sunrise over my parents' fields.

Beautiful Christmas morning sunrise over my parents’ fields.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be Christmas without someone getting sick, and that someone was me. I came down with what I thought was a really bad cold, and then proceeded to pass it Patrick, Sophia, and both my parents. What a nice Christmas present that was to everyone! Turns out it was a version of the flu that wasn’t covered by the flu shot. Here’s my public apology — I’m sorry!

Nora, Me (with the flu), and Sophia on Christmas Eve

Nora, Me (with the flu), and Sophia on Christmas Eve

After recovering from the flu and a fantastic New Year’s Eve celebration at our neighbors’ house, I was ready to get back in the kitchen on New Year’s Day. Outside was blanketed in snow and bitter cold winds, so I decided to stay indoors and make banana bread. Wanting something on the lighter side, I found a recipe in the 2010 edition of “Light and Healthy”, from America’s Test Kitchen and the editors of Cook’s Illustrated. This recipe called for roasting the bananas, which was a new cooking technique for me and was great fun!

I adapted the recipe to make it gluten-free and dairy-free and added a cinnamon swirl to the middle for extra measure. 🙂 It turned out beautiful–naturally sweet, light, moist, and full of bold banana flavor. Truly one of the best looking and tasting breads I’ve made
to date.

Cinnamon swirl banana bread
Adapted from Cook’s Country: Low-fat banana breadgluten-free, dairy-free banana bread

Gluten-free non-stick spray
4 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
 2 tsps vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (7.5 oz.) gluten-free flour mix
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) sugar
 2 tsps baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBSP canola oil
2 oz. Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (cut into pieces and chilled)

Cinnamon swirl:
1/8 cup (1 oz) sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon


  • Heat oven to 325°F with rack in the middle. Spray bread loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  • Bake bananas directly on the oven rack for about 20 minutes or until skins turn black. Let bananas cool to room temperature.
  • Leave the oven on at 325°F.
  • Use this time to start your flour mixture. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla and set aside.
  • Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until blended.
  • Add the oil and Tofutti. Note: I wanted to make this bread dairy-free, so I used my non-dairy cream cheese preference — Tofutti Better than Cream cheese, which worked great. If you have no dairy restrictions, regular or fat-free cream cheese works equally well.
  • Add the cream cheese, one piece at a time and mix on slow speed until cream cheese pieces are pea-sized. Then slowly add in the egg mixture.
  • Now, cut the tops off your bananas and squeeze into a small bowl, and mash. Note: This was the first time I’ve ever roasted bananas. The original recipe doesn’t say anything about the water content produced through roasting. I was thinking to myself that the flour mixture looked too thick, but when peeled the bananas, I realized there was a lot of water content from the bananas, and this helped to bring the bread dough to the right consistency.
  • On low speed, mix the mashed bananas and banana-water into the flour mixture until just blended or about 30 seconds.
  • In another small bowl, combine 1/8 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  • Pour half the bread dough mixture into your bread pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and pour the remaining bread dough on top and smooth out with a spatula.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow bread to rest in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.


Just like the pumpkin bread, the flavors in this banana bread intensify after it’s had a chance to thoroughly cool and relax. So, be patient, and wait a couple of hours before
you enjoy!

Garlic and Butter Biscuits

Buttery biscuits. They taste like home, fill the house with delicious smells, and melt your troubles away from the inside out.

garlic and butter biscuits

I have yet to find a gluten-free recipe that can mimic the tall flaky biscuits that you get from Kentucky Fried Chicken or Pillsbury, but this recipe  satisfies our biscuit craving every time and has become a household favorite. The only problem is that there are never any biscuits left over.

Light and full of flavor, these are perfect for dipping into your favorite soup. And I find they hold up better to  moisture than your typical frozen gluten-free roll, which in my experience tends to fall apart when it gets wet, virtually making them unusable for dipping or for recipes that have a high moisture content or heavy sauce like sloppy joes.

These biscuits are best eaten fresh. I’ve tried to double this recipe in order to have leftovers throughout the week, but they turn a bit gummy or chewy after the first day.  And I’ve yet to discover a good way to reheat and bring them back to life.

My favorite soup to pair this with is chicken and dumplings, and I’ve successfully used the same dough as the dumpling dough. Keep an eye out for the recipe, coming soon!

Serve these with your favorite soup or use for breakfast sandwiches!

Garlic and butter biscuits
Makes about 10 biscuits
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

2 cups gluten free-flour mix
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 – 1.5 tsp garlic powder, depending on how much you like garlic
5 TBSP cold unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
1 TBSP butter, melted to brush on top


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray baking sheet with gluten-free cooking spray or line with parchment paper or silpat.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and garlic powder.
  • Add butter pieces and quickly cut in using a pastry cutter, fork, or food processor. You want to leave both small and large pieces of butter. Do not over work the butter. You want it to remain cold to help create flakiness in the biscuits.garlic and butter biscuits 2
  • With a rubber spatula, slowly mix in cold buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can quickly make it by using regular milk and adding 1-2 tsps of vinegar. Stir and let it sit in the fridge for 10 minutes before pouring into the flour mixture.garlic and butter biscuits 3
  • If the dough looks too dry, add 1-2 more TBSPs of buttermilk at a time, until it starts to come together.

garlic and butter biscuits 4

  • Once it starts to stick together, gather the dough, and use your hands to gently shape it into a ball.
  • Sprinkle a small amount of gluten-free flour or cornstarch on your counter, and press the dough out flat with your hand.  Remember, your hands are very warm, and will melt the butter, so the quicker you can do this, the better.
  • Use a biscuit cutter or drinking glass to cut out biscuits. This is a great activity for the kids, especially during the holidays, when they can use cookie cutters to make it even more fun!
  • Gather the scraps and repeat the process until all the dough is gone.garlic and butter biscuits 5
  • Brush the biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Garlic and butter biscuits 6

Share the love: Have you figured out how to get more fluff in your biscuits? Don’t keep the secret to yourself! Share it here!