Monthly Archives: August 2011

It’s Sweet Tooth Tuesday: Banana Oatmeal Bread

What fruit grows in the tropics and most people love to eat it? Maybe because of the many health benefits such as adding e.g. fibers, potassium, iron and B-Vitamines to your diet, or simply because of the taste? I’m talking about Bananas of course.

But here in paradise we don’t have the rather bland ‘Chiquita’-Banana that gets picked a very long time before you can actually eat it and arrives at the supermarket still green.

No, we are fortunate to have the tasty small or medium-sized bananas. And of course, again, we have many different varieties. One of my favorites is the red banana. By the way, it gives your liquid output a bright yellow color and a different smell, much like when you have eaten asparagus. 😉

And of course there are the Plantains the locals use for cooking, for example boiling them together with Sweet Potatoes and Cassava in Coconut Milk to make ‘La Dobe’. It’s a very yummy and very rich desert, be warned. But often they add ‘Salted Fish’ (yes, uncooked fish dried in the sun with salt on it and this is actually the only time I’m putting on a very polite (but rather ‘forced’) smile and turn down a dessert.

‘Timan’ didn’t like bananas for the longest time. Only a couple of month ago he started nibbling on them once in a while. But I guess he’s not getting really hooked anytime soon, even tough I really like him to because of the many health benefits.

Still, he always wants to give me a hand when I’m baking.

There are many different recipes for Banana Bread or Banana Cake. I always try to make a reasonable healthy one, so mine has Oats inside. The Hubs and the MIL are in charge of the local version that is very moist, also very yummy and consists of flour, eggs, sugar, secret spices and bananas, of course.

Banana Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup (150gr) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (100gr) brown sugar – loose

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

2 egg whites

1 tbsp oil

6 ripe small bananas or 3 large ones, mashed

1 cup (75gr) oats, I used instant oats

Method

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 3-4

Sift together dry ingredients without oats, stir to combine.

In separate bowl beat eggs and egg whites, add oil and beat again.

Gradually fold in dry ingredients, mix thoroughly, it is a little bit dry, but this is no problem.

Add mashed bananas and gradually add oats, mix well.

Bake in a greased square 8″ (20cm) tin for about 40 minutes or in a 4″ x 8″ (10cmx20cm) loaf tin for about 45-50 minutes or until the top is firm to touch and sounds a little hollow.

Let cool for at least 5 minutes, flip out and let completely cool on a rack.

It’s really rather bread than a cake, it’s not very moist and has a light texture. The taste of banana makes it delicious on its own, but spread a little margarine or butter on it and you have the perfect starter for the day.

Enjoy.

If you want to check out more recipes or want to share one, head over to ‘Stay At Home Babe‘ and Alli ‘n Son


Oh, here is another tip: If you have unripe bananas and want to speed up the ripening process a little, put them away in a dark place for a day or two and they ripe much faster. But don’t forget to check once in a while, they will turn rotten sooner than you think. 😉

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My tots quirks are driving me nuts sometimes

I’m writing this post in an attempt to lighten my heart, to get the evil thoughts out of my system, because most of the time once in a while my little son is driving me insane.

Not even two weeks ago he turned tree years old and everybody told me the terrible two stage miraculously comes to an end on the third birthday, right? 😉 Of course not. It’s getting worse. Much worse.

In an attempt to save the last bit of my sanity I’m writing down the things that are driving me nuts bother me just a tiny little bit in the behavior of my little devil adorable, sweet little boy. And of course, after reading them you will laugh and say, hey, they are all age appropriate, that’s the stage of development he’s currently in, everything is normal and ok.

Ok for the tot maybe, but those quirks make me kick the wall (when nobody is watching). Because ‘Timan’ knows how to do things properly, he even likes to do them. Just not very often. Sigh and sigh again.

So here they are:

  • I can’t sit somewhere during the day without ‘Timan’ running towards me and climbing on my lap. It doesn’t matter if he was peacefully playing with his toys somewhere else, as soon as I’m sitting he’s coming and trying to climb up. This is not funny anymore and not relaxing for Mommy. I don’t like to sip my coffee while standing around as if I was a parcel at the post office that somebody forgot to pick up. Grrrr.
  • He loves to bump his head into soft body parts like my belly when I’m all relaxed. He does it like a bull and it’s really painful. And tighten my abs the whole day long may be good for my appearance, I know, but it’s so tiring. Grrrr.
  • He’s taking more things and toys in his mouth than when he was 1-year old. Ok, go figure, because now, two years later he just has more toys. On top of mouthing his cars he also does it with other things like pieces of cell tape, clothespins, tubes of cream, rolls of toilet paper … the list is endless. So far he only does it with things we have at home. And he doesn’t suck his thumb. So I should be grateful, shouldn’t I? Sigh.
  • He still pees next to our main entrance. As soon as I unlock the door in the morning, he shoots outside and marks his territory. Maybe we need to get a dog that takes this task away from him. 😉 And don’t get me started with our gate. This is the next place that is frequently getting his spray.
  • The tantrums these days last much longer than they used to and the screeching and screaming is much higher and louder. Especially if he’s close to me and screeching with full lungs into my ear. This is so freekin painful and gives me a headache every time. Grrrr.
  • He’s sometimes quite opinionated for his age. Every thing he knows better and he doesn’t accept other opinions, like mine for instance. And every time when this happens it makes me wonder: Have I taught him the wrong things? Or is this the beginning of a typical single child behavior?
  • He is such a slowpoke when it comes to do things that are not his idea (brushing teeth, washing hands or getting ready and stop moving around so I can put cream on his rash for instance). But on the other hand, if he wants me to do something, it has to happen in this very second, of course.
  • Only a broken car is a good car. And here I guess we have the typical issue boy vs girl. I wouldn’t say that I’m a typical ‘girl’, but I like things neat and intact. A broken toy is worth nothing to me and has to be fixed or replaced. And here I have to learn from my tot, because a broken car is all of a sudden transformed into a new toy, with a new purpose and a new name. I guess that’s also called a vivid imagination. So I’m trying to step back and let the destructive work take place to a certain extent.

‘Timan’s favorite broken ‘new’ toys with the names ‘wagon’, ‘racing’, ‘cabrio’ and ‘special’.

And having written this last section, I’m already starting to feel a little better. Maybe because ‘Timan’ is peacefully napping right now, maybe because I’m a proud mommy of a sweet little tot with such a vivid imagination that enables him to play on his own (he just doesn’t want to do it as often as I like him to) or maybe because finally we have rain here in paradise, rain that might fill up our lakes for water storage and hopefully our water will take a turn to the better within the next couple of weeks.

And by this time ‘Timan’s chlorine rash caused by the tap water might also be a nightmare from the past, I hope. Unfortunately it’s still there, maybe a little less than before, I don’t know anymore. But it’s still very itchy, even though since two weeks we are using untreated water the Hubs has to bring down in bottles from a river way up the mountains, where nobody is living. And maybe it’s not the chlorine, but something else and I have to find out what it is.

But I’m trying to give our little son all the love, cuddles and all the mommy-time he needs.

Thanks for hearing me out and reading my outburst. I guess it’s not so bad after all.

But now, please tell me it’s me, not the tot, who has the problem. The things I’ve listed, they are age appropriate, aren’t they?

It’s Sweet Tooth Tuesday: Healthy Potato Orange Muffins

I like potatoes, I like them a lot. Any type of cooking or baking is ok with me, as long as they are not just peeled and boiled in salt water. You know, the type of side dish you eat with a good fish. I was never going for this.

Something I really miss from the country I grew up is a simple dish we call ‘Gschwellty and Chaes’ (small potatoes boiled and eaten with their skin, ok, some people peel the skin before eating them, and a variety of cheeses). It’s simple, good and tasty, and even healthy depending on the type and quantity of cheese. And you can easily add a salad and some yummy bread to go with it. Sigh.

Here in paradise I do ‘Gschwellty’ once in a while, unfortunately we don’t have the very best cheeses to choose from and the Hubs does not like it at all. However, I’m trying to get ‘Timan’ into eating and liking it.

And sometimes I just boil too many potatoes.

So what do I do? The next morning I’m baking muffins with the left over potatoes.

And again, no baking without ‘Timan’. He is very focused, as you can see.

These muffins are great for a light breakfast, they are light and smooth but not heavy on the stomach, they are just slightly sweet and have a hint of an orange taste.

Healthy Potato Orange Muffins

Ingredients

1/3 cup (100gr) unsalted butter, soft

1/2 cup (100gr) brown sugar, loose

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup (175gr) whole-wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup (250gr) potatoes, cooked and mashed

1 tsp baking soda

2 oranges, zest only

Method

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 3-4

Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy, add eggs, beating well after each addition.

In separate bowl combine flour and baking powder, fold in wet mixture, fold in mashed potatoes and orange zest, stir to combine.

Bake in a greased medium size 6-hole muffin tin for 20-25 minutes (test with wooden toothpick).

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before taking out of the tin.

If you are on the sweet side, make a drizzle with the juice of 1/2 orange and 2 tbsp icing sugar and pour it over the baked muffins.

Enjoy them plain for breakfast or with the drizzle for a sweet snack.

If you want to check out more ‘good and tasty’ recipes or want to share one, head over to ‘Stay At Home Babe‘ and link up for the

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It’s Sweet Tooth Tuesday: Wholemeal Eggplant Honey Bread

The other day, the Hubs came home with a bunch of fruit and vegetables. Enough Mangoes to feed my little monkey for the rest of the year (I guess it’s time for my super yummy Healthy Mango Cake before they all go bad), lots of lettuce and other greens for me (I love to eat salads) and some Aubergines. Ok, not some, but a lot of Aubergines.

Many people in paradise like to cook with oil, and again, not only with some, but with a lot of oil. And the preferred way of eating eggplant is to grate it and fry it in oil with some spices. For me it’s ok to eat this once every couple of month, at my MIL for example. But all these eggplants the Hubs brought home would go bad in my house with our still picky and moody eater called ‘Timan’ and the Hubs who wrinkles his nose on my pasta ‘con salsa di melanzane’ or potato-tomato-eggplant-gratin. So what do I do with the rest of them? A cake is in order.

Because whatever it is, if you put enough sugar and cinnamon in it, everything will taste like a cake. 😉 I’m serious.

I remembered the Zucchini cake a friend of mine used to bake and thought, well, eggplants are not exactly the same but they will do the trick.

‘Timan’ was my little helper, and put his full effort in, as usual.

To stay at least a little bit on the healthy side I used some whole grain flour and brown sugar and honey to sweeten it. And of course Aubergines or Eggplants instead of Zucchini.

Wholemeal Eggplant (Aubergine) Honey Bread

Ingredients

2 eggs

1/3 cup (80ml) Honey

1/3 cup (80gr) brown sugar – packed

1/6 cup (50ml) oil

1/3 tsp Vanilla Extract

2/3 cup (85gr) whole-wheat flour

1 1/3 cup (165gr) all purpose flour

2/3 tbsp ground cinnamon

2/3 tsp baking powder

2/3 tsp baking soda

2/3 tsp salt

1 1/3 cup (250gr) grated Eggplant (Aubergine)

Method

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 3-4

Whisk together eggs, honey, brown sugar, oil and vanilla extract.

In another bowl sift all purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda, add whole-wheat flour, cinnamon and salt, stir to combine.

Gradually fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until all is combined and moist.

Gently fold in aubergine until evenly distributed.

Bake in a greased 4″ x 8″ (10cmx20cm) loaf tin for about 50-60 minutes or until the inserted steel knife comes out clean.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before taking out of the tin and let completely cool on a rack.

Store it wrapped in plastic foil in the fridge for several days.

Enjoy. The cake is very moist and not too sweet, has a nutty flavor and tastes slightly of roses (weird, I know, I’ve never tried to eat a rose before, but the cake really tastes like the smell of a rose). I believe you have to let it rest in the fridge for a while to get the full aroma.

My Hubs surprised me one more time. He ate a piece, asked me what kind of cake it was and when I told him, he looked at me with big eyes and asked for another piece. So I take this as a sign of approval and a complement. 🙂

If you want to check out more ‘good and tasty’ recipes or want to share one, head over to ‘Stay At Home Babe‘ and link up for the

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The mysterious rash continues

I never thought I would write so often about ‘Timan’s health issues when I started this blog. But it seems like that’s what I’m doing every couple of weeks. Because it’s really bothering me and what parent wants to see the child suffering. Yuck.

In the first 2 1/2 years of his life the tot had no problem what so ever. Apart from a couple of throwing up incidents, which cleared within less than six hours, he didn’t have a single health problem, nothing, nada, nuet.

But starting about half a year ago it seems like we don’t get out of the sickness circle. First the stomach problems that ended with a ruptured appendix, two surgeries and a stay in UCI and now a mysterious rash that we can’t seem to get rid of.

‘Timan’ has this nasty itchy rash all over his body. It started early July and I thought it was a simple Prickly Heat Rash. But now I’m convinced it isn’t and actually never was. Another three weeks have passed since I fist wrote about it. We did three more visits to the Pediatrician and we are still dealing with it. And it actually has gotten worse.

Both times, about 2 days after the oral hydrocortisone stopped, the rash came back. Another treatment with stronger oral antibiotics followed, because by now the little one was diagnosed with a staph infection. But in spite of oral antihistamines he kept scratching himself bloody at night.

And every morning the tot wakes up with one or both eyes swollen. He was given oral hydrocortisone because the swelling didn’t go away but now his eyes look normal after one or two hours, but the itching persists.  The next thing is completely dry and itchy skin around the eyes, the excessive scratching and wiping is turning the whole area red and irritated.

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The pictures might not look too alarming, but the itching and pain the rash is causing must be very intense.

The whole situation is extremely frustrating, for ‘Timan’ maybe not so much as for me. I wake him up at night to take his 4th dose of antibiotics just to find him moving from one side to the other in his sleep and scratching his whole body. He’s taking oral antihistamine twice a day, I apply moisturizer in form of unscented petroleum jelly for sensitive baby skin numerous times a day and in the middle of the night and he still keeps scratching himself bloody, especially on the side of his thighs and behind his knees.

And the rash on the rest of his body doesn’t disappear anymore. So much I want to help my little son, but nothing seems to work. He is getting more and more restless, I feel his behaviour is changing too and I have to admit, I’m feeling I’m reaching my limit as well.

The Pediatrician, the only private one on the island, told me the next step would be looking for the reason in our house, the environment we are living in. But still, she doesn’t want to label his rash as an Atopic Dermatitis, as of yet. Which is good I guess.

My gut feeling is that it was (and still is) caused by an allergic reaction.

We need to find the cause for ‘Timan’s allergy and this is not an easy task, especially here in Paradise. There are no patch tests available here and there is no dermatologist in the country either.

I wrote about my suspicion before and now I’m almost 100% convinced that all this is caused by our tap water. The water in the two storage lakes on the island is getting less and less and the water quality worse by the minute. The PUC (Public Utilities Corporation, responsable for the water treatment) has changed or increased the chemicals. Whatever chemicals they are using, Chlorine, Chloramine or something else (nobody can tell me for sure), they are the culprits that are causing the rash. Sometimes I have the feeling I’m itching too, caused by the water or by my imagination, I don’t know.

Nevertheless I’m also considering a food allergy even tough I hardly believe it is. The only thing I can think of adding to ‘Timan’s diet in the last two or three month is olive oil.

But anyway, a couple of days ago I took him off milk, cheese, yoghurt, foods with flavor enhancers (E635 and such) and olive oil.

However the most important change was using bottled water for everything. For ‘Timan’ to drink, cook food he’s eating, brush his teeth, wash his hands and take his bath. But how do I get the chemicals out of the laundry? And we keep hoping ‘Timan’s skin is going to take a turn for the better. But when?

Did you ever have such an itchy rash all over the body or eczema caused by chemicals in the tap water (e.g. Chlorine or Chloramine)? How and after what time did the symptoms clear?


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Do you want to know what happened later? Find out here:

The mysterious rash – did we get rid of the eczema? (part 1)‘ – January 6, 2012

and read how we got rash and eczema under control without steroids:

The mysterious rash –  did we get rid of the eczema? (part 2)‘ – January 9, 2012

Every person is reacting differently, it’s a matter of finding out what works for you. Good luck. 🙂

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