Hello old friends! It has been a while. The last time I posted I was in my second trimester of pregnancy and eating pasta and caesar salads like my life depended on it. Now, fast forward a year and a half and I have a 16 month old toddler (hardly even a baby anymore, what?!) and am still eating caesar salads far too regularly.
It would take hundreds of blog posts to tell you everything about our little girl and all of the joy and love that she has brought into our lives over the past 16 months. So instead here are a few pictures of my heart, Ruby Caroline Rada. She is such a loving, happy little girl, and never as giggly as when she’s with her daddy or as snuggly as when she’s in my arms. She is equally as feisty as she is laid back, loves music and dancing, especially to “Where You Lead” by Carole King (thank you Gilmore Girls) and her favorite activities include swinging at the park and bird watching with Fenway. We are smitten.
When Ruby was about a month old we realized that digestively something was off. After a couple of months of experimenting and trying anything possible (probiotics, gripe water, gas relieving exercises, prayer and tears) we finally figured out that she had a soy and dairy intolerance. Being able to put a name to the issue brought so much peace, but realizing what this meant for me was not as exciting. Because her sole source of nourishment at the time was breast milk, this meant I had to eliminate those two items from my diet. If you know me, you know that cheese is my love language. I knew giving up dairy would be tough, what I did not know was that soy is in just about everything we eat and would be the toughest of the two to avoid. Thankfully by about 9-10 months old, Ruby’s digestive system matured and she was able to handle both soy and dairy with ease. Thank you, Jesus!
Overhauling my diet, while trying to figure out how to keep a newborn alive was a lot to mentally process at first. There weren’t many go-to items that I could grab quickly to curb a craving or give me a little boost of energy. Most everything I was able to eat required cooking or assembling, which required time that I didn’t always have in the beginning.
My friend Natalie sent me a recipe around that time for skinny banana chocolate chip muffins. With a couple of tweaks I was able to make them soy and dairy free, and just as delicious as the original recipe (maybe even better). Once a week during Ruby’s nap, I would make these muffins and eat them all week long. They truly became my main source of food during that time.
Even now, you will almost always find these muffins in our pantry (or freezer). These days I use whole milk instead of almond milk because it’s what I have on hand. However, I have found that I still prefer substituting applesauce over greek yogurt – it adds more flavor and natural sweetness.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- nonstick cooking spray
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon whole milk (substitute almond milk for dairy-free)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (use Enjoy Life brand for dairy/soy free)
- Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl (I use the KitchenAid mixer bowl) mash the 3 bananas with a fork or potato masher.
- Add honey, vanilla, olive oil, milk, egg and applesauce. Mix on low.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, mixing as you go.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
I prefer the muffins warm. If muffins are at room temperature, microwave for 15 seconds. If they are frozen, microwave for 40-45 seconds. They freeze very well!
These muffins are Ruby approved! I typically leave the chocolate chips out of 2 of the muffins for her or make her a small batch of mini muffins using the same recipe and omitting the chocolate chips.