Brain Boosting Banana Berry Breakfast Bars

Brain Boosting Banana Berry Breakfast Bars |

Two years into this food blogging experiment, I can tell you that it’s pretty much the most expensive, time-consuming and thankless hobby I could have picked. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE it. And I especially LOVE you for being among the 14 people who actually read and follow along. Thank you. But sometimes I wonder why I didn’t just go with stamp collecting or badminton or knitting. People love hand knitted scarves, right? No one’s nearly as excited for my tweets about baked salmon.

But there are some really awesome upsides to this food blogging thing, I will admit. Like if you hang out on social media for long enough (you know, tweeting about salmon), you are bound to discover some pretty cool people doing some pretty darn cool stuff.

Brain Boosting Banana Berry Breakfast Bars |

So it was with my discovery of Baby Brain Organics. Someone introduced me to its founder—Amy Brown—on Instagram (there is no shame in making friends on Instagram people, no shame). She’s a mom and a pilates instructor, and she’s toiling in the small business trenches, for which she (and all her fellow entrepre-mamas) deserve major props.

Her product is a blend of ground seeds (quinoa, chia, hemp and flax) that you can add to just about anything—smoothies, mashed potatoes, cereal—to give it a little boost of heart and brain-healthy fats and fibre. Amy is hoping to launch a line of Baby Brain Organics granola bars too, and she’s running an Indiegogo campaign right now to help her kickstart the project. So cool.

Brain Boosting Banana Berry Breakfast Bars |

Today Amy and I are teaming up to bring you a super dose of BBO superfood: a chance to win yourself a big ol’ three-month supply of the stuff, and a recipe for BBO-containing Brain Boosting Banana Berry Breakfast Bars (you totally tried to say that 5 times fast, didn’t you?).

Brain Boosting Banana Berry Breakfast Bars |

If you’ve been here before, you know I have something of a love affair with make-ahead breakfasts. So it shouldn’t surprise you then that my go-to BBO recipe would be a make-ahead breakfast of champions. Not only are these bars packed with the healthful goodness of chia, quinoa and flax, they are vegan, free of wheat, sweetened almost exclusively by banana (yes!) and—most importantly—super freakin’ delicious. They’ve got a jammy raspberry layer sandwiched by two lawyers of chewy, banana-y, coconut-y oats, the whole thing a little reminiscent of a date square or one of those coffee shop blueberry oat bars, but with a nutritional punch and none of the guilt. While I’ve called them breakfast bars, they also make a great afternoon snack or lunchbox treat.

If you’re jonesing to make yourself a batch of these bars (you are, I know you are), and you don’t have any Baby Brain Organics on hand, scroll on down and follow the prompts for a chance to win yourself three bags of the stuff. Or Amy sells it on her website too.

Brain Boosting Banana Berry Breakfast Bars |

Click here to view this promotion.

Brain Boosting Banana Berry Breakfast Bars


  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Baby Brain Organics
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Finely grated zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a 8 inch square baking pan with a sling of parchment paper (cut two pieces of parchment paper about 4 inches longer than the pan, and criss-cross them over each other to make a sling formation).
  2. Combine the mashed banana, rolled oats, cinnamon, sea salt, 1/4 cup Baby Brain Organics, coconut oil and coconut in a medium bowl. Combine the raspberries, remaining 2 tablespoons Baby Brain Organics, maple syrup, lemon juice and lemon zest in another bowl.
  3. Press 2/3 of the oat mixture into a thin layer in the parchment-lined pan. Distribute the raspberry mixture evenly over top. Place dollops of the remaining oat mixture over the raspberries and gently press it down. You want to distribute it somewhat evenly over top of the raspberry layer, but it won't cover the entire thing, and that's ok. Nothing wrong with a rustic look.
  4. Sprinkle the whole thing with the sugar (if using) and bake in the 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until nicely set and starting to brown around the edges.
  5. Cool for 10 minutes or so and then use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. When completely cool, cut them into squares.

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Quick Maple-Dijon Salmon

Maple Dijon Salmon | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean

So I’m slightly embarrassed to disclose that my kid has a maple syrup fetish. Is that weird? If a stranger asks for her name, she almost always responds with “Maple Syrup”. When her teacher asks her what she did over the weekend, her usual response? You got it—”Maple Syrup”. This is a real thing.

Kiwi and I have tried to make sense of this, but we haven’t come up with much.

Perhaps the best explanation is that *I* have a maple syrup fetish, and it has rubbed off on my three year old. *Fetish* is maybe too strong a word, but I will admit that I am at least mildly—and probably closer to moderately—obsessed with the stuff. The last time my mom visited my house, she actually remarked on the maple syrup supply in my basement: “Well at least you won’t run out of maple syrup anytime in the next century!”

I’m Canadian, ok, so cut me a little slack. And there was a great sale at Costco, which is always sooooo hard to resist. But I also use maple syrup as my sweetener of choice, in just about all my muffins, granola, pancakes, waffles and oatmeal.

And in my salmon, apparently. Continue Reading →

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Mushroom, Caramelized Onion & Cheddar Burgers

Mushroom, Cheddar & Caramelized Onion Burger | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean

So I had planned to share a nice warm and stewy fall recipe today, the second day of October. And then BAM, Mother Nature served up a week of sunshine and summer temps. Which, when you live in Canada especially, is something you don’t take for granted or ignore or treat with anything except the utmost respect and gratitude. So I stashed away the Dutch oven, moved aside the slow cooker for the week, and threw some burgers on the barbeque for a little summer Swan song. Continue Reading →

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Cooking for Beansprout, Part 2: Patty Cake Patty Cake

Meat Patties, Sliders and Meatballs | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean

Welcome back to my Cooking for Beansprout series, where I’m dishing up recipes that you can share with your babes. If you are the mom, dad, or caregiver of a mini person, this series is for you! If you are just joining me, check out the Introduction (and giveaway!) and this Baby-Led Weaning Primer.

Today I’ve got patty recipes! Meat patties, sliders and meatballs are perfect for beginning eaters, because (1) you can chop them into soft bite-size pieces perfect for little hands and teeth-less mouths (or even puree them if that works better for your babe), (2) you can pack them with interesting flavours (like lemongrass, ginger, fresh herbs, garlic and caramelized onions) and super-nutritious grated or mashed veggies, and (3) you can make larger adult-size versions (burgers!) for the big people in your family. They are also great for batch-cooking; I like to make a large quantity, bake them up, cool them down, and freeze them in zipper bags for quick lunches and dinners. Continue Reading →

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Pumpkin Pie Buckwheat Pancakes

Pumpkin Pie Buckwheat Pancakes | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean

More pumpkin. Because I can’t get enough of it. Can’t stop won’t stop. My kids have totally jumped on the bandwagon too, and how can I possibly deny them the pleasure: “no children, you’ve had enough squash for one day”. Continue Reading →

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Cooking for Beansprout, Part I: An Intro and a Giveaway!

Cooking for Beansprout | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean

I’m so excited to launch a new series on the blog today—Cooking for Beansprout—where I will share awesome recipes and tips for feeding the littlest member of your family. If you are a mom, dad or lover of a mini person, then this series is for you!

I started this blog when I was cooking for Kiwi and Bean, and now I’m cooking for Beansprout too. He’s 8 months old and VERY hungry. It’s honestly a challenge to keep up with his voracious appetite. The teenage years are going to be, um, expensive?

We introduced the Beansprout to solid food using my own hacked-up version of the “baby-led weaning” approach. Which is frankly just a fancy way of saying “Mama is too lazy to make purees.” But it’s also—in my humble opinion—the most fun and joyful way to set your child down a path of healthy adventurous eating. Watching a seven month old feed himself spears of watermelon, chunks of a sweet potato lamb burger, or pieces of thai chicken patties (and yes, I’m absolutely going to share these recipes) is truly magical.

To kick off the series, I’m giving one lucky reader the ultimate baby-led weaning library: Baby-Led Weaning and The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook, both by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. To enter the giveaway, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and follow the instructions. It will ask for your email address, but never fear—I won’t sell it or share it or even use it for my own promotions without your permission.

In the meantime, I’ve put together a little Baby-Led Weaning Primer, with a quick and dirty summary of how it works and why it is amaaaaaaazing.

And if you want to be notified when I share new baby-worthy recipes, subscribe below!

Click here to view this promotion.

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Crouching Turkey Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce

Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce | (Cooking for) Kiwi & BeanAmongst parents of young kids, the “hidden veggie” debate is just about as raucous as the co-sleeping, nanny vs. daycare and vaccination ones.

In one camp are the moms and dads who think that vegetable-feeding, and food generally, should be full-disclosure, and that kids should be taught to love veggies and not coerced to eat them. In the other are parents who just want their kids to eat vegetables (darn it!) and have no issue conducting covert cauliflower operations in order to make it happen.

I fall somewhere between the two camps, I think. I serve my kids lots of fresh vegetables at every meal: steamed, sautéed, roasted and mashed. But I am more than happy to sneak in a few extras for good measure. Not just for the kids’ health and longevity, but for mine and Kiwi’s too. There is no such thing as too many vegetables. Continue Reading →

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Make-Ahead Breakfast: Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal |

Yep, I said pumpkin. Are you ready for this?

I’m getting a super-head-start on pumpkin this year because (1) I still have cans of pumpkin leftover from last year’s pumpkin mania, (2) yum!, and (3) it’s a great excuse to feed my kids squash before noon. Continue Reading →

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When Food is Terrifying

Food has long been a major source of pleasure for me. Not in an emotional eating sort of way, (although I’d be lying if I said I’ve never drowned my sorrows in a cupcake or two, or three.) More like: I derive serious pleasure from simple kitchen tasks—grating fresh beets, stirring risotto, massaging kale leaves, and grinding spices. I get joy from the spin of a smoothie in my blender, the heady scent of fresh herbs under my chef’s knife, the sizzle of a chicken thigh in my cast iron skillet. The food and restaurant sections in our magazines are invariably the most dog-eared and fingered; I spend hours poring over them, making lists of restos to visit, dishes to make, recipes to adapt and ingredients to find. Watching my kids sink their teeth for the first time into a juicy summer nectarine—it literally (and I really do mean literally) brought tears to my eyes. Food is my happy place.

Shucking Peas

So when my six month old little guy broke into hives after he voraciously devoured his first scrambled egg, I was upset, to say the least. When the same thing happened after a teaspoon of peanut butter, and then a half piece of whole wheat toast, I panicked. Food allergies?! My kid?! Whaaaat?! Continue Reading →

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Summer Recap and Fall Reset

I promise I’m not ignoring you. I will be back soon with a whole bunch of new recipes, notes on feeding my youngest little Bean (including a tell-all on his scary diagnosis), and some other fun stuff.

In the meantime, I’m still recovering from this:


And this:


Continue Reading →

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