Category Archives: from the kitchen

{3 Ingredient} Apple Fig Fruit Leather

Apple Fig Fruit Leather | Mama Papa BubbaAmidst our packing frenzy, the figs on our lovely backyard fig tree have decided that now is the time to become perfectly ripe.  This poses a problem for a few different reasons…. 1) The tree is big and old and produces a TON of fruit,  2) I’m the only one in our family that truly enjoys fresh figs, 3) Keeping up with the daily picking of the fruit is time consuming, and 4) If I don’t keep up with the picking, our backyard becomes a sticky mess filled with wasps.

In an effort to avoid a waspy sticky mess of a backyard, I’ve been giving away boxes of figs to almost every person I’ve been in contact with, I’ve been adding 3 or 4 to our green smoothie each morning, and I’ve been eating them fresh as my nightly treat, but that just wasn’t enough.  I needed a way to use up a ton of figs all at once, and preferably it would be something that the other members of my family would enjoy too.  Enter fruit leather…

IMG 0516Gracen loves fruit leather, and though it can be a little intimidating if you’ve never made it before, it’s truly one of  the easiest, most forgiving things to make.  And no special equipment is needed!  If you have some fruit, an oven, a baking pan, and some parchment paper, you can easily make your own fruit leather at home.

IMG 0515I’ve made several batches of this stuff already, and it’s getting eaten up like nobody’s business!  Plus I’ve changed my method a little bit and it’s now even easier for me to make my own fruit leather.  Here’s how to do it…


Apple Fig Fruit Leather

  • 10 ripe figs, washed
  • 2 apples, cored and peeled
  • 1 cup of water (fresh-squeezed apple or orange juice works too!)

Preheat oven to 125 degrees (or lowest setting) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (paper should cover all edges of the pan).

Place all ingredients in a covered pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer fruit {still covered} for about 30 minutes, or until super soft.

Pour everything into a food processor or good blender and purée until smooth.  

Pour fruit mixture out onto parchment-lined baking sheet and use the back of a spatula to spread the fruit purée out so it covers the entire base of the pan. Gently shake the pan make the purée as even as possible.

Pop into the oven for approximately 8 hours (I put ours in just before going to bed).  You want to remove the fruit leather from the oven when it’s still sticky to the touch, but not at all wet.  You may find that part of your fruit leather will be done earlier than the rest.  In this case,  you’ll need to remove the fruit leather from the oven, cut off the finished part, and return the still wet to the touch part to the oven for another hour or two.

When finished, simply remove the large sheet of fruit leather from the baking sheet, cut of the excess parchment paper around the edges, and cut directly through both the remaining parchment and fruit leather to create strips.  Roll strips and secure with baker’s twine or washi tape.  Store in an air-tight container or jar.



See our other homemade fruit leather recipes here: 

Berry Banana // Apple Pear Carrot


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{3 Ingredient} Swirly Strawberry Creamsicles

Swirly 3 Ingredient Strawberry Creamsicles | Mama Papa BubbaWe’ve been making super simple {and healthy} strawberry creamsicles since Grae was a wee little thing, and they’ve always been a summer favourite.  Today, with our fridge still brimming with freshly picked berries, we made our best version yet with the addition of a simple ingredient… dates!  

IMG 9708I must admit that though I’ve known about the awesome sweetening power of dates for a long time now, I’ve been a little hesitant to jump onboard…  But, I’m so glad I did!  Using them in our cookie dough boys and our wholewheat strawberry shortcake recently has made me realize that they really aren’t all that intimidating.  Simply soak, puree, and use like honey.  Easy enough, right?  Plus they allow these popsicles to be perfectly sweet even though they’re made with plain yogurt.

IMG 9665
Healthy 3 Ingredient Strawberry Creamsicles

(makes 12 – 14 large popsicles)

  • 3 cups of fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled
  • 4 majool dates
  • boiling water
  • 2 cups of plain organic yogurt, greek or regular

Before beginning this recipe, put the 4 majool dates into a small bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Pop strawberries into a food processor (or good blender) and puree until smooth or nearly smooth.  Pour the puree into a glass measuring cup and set aside.

Without worrying about washing your food processor or blender, blend your pitted dates and about a tablespoon of the soaking water until smooth (this may require you to stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula a few times).  Add the yogurt and blend to combine.

Using a large spoon, scoop some of the yogurt mixture into each of the popsicle moulds.  Gently pour enough strawberry puree on top to cover the yogurt.  Continue to layer the two until the moulds are full.  

Freeze overnight and enjoy!


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Summer Strawberry Shortcake {with Wholewheat Date-sweetened Biscuits}

Strawberry Shortcake with Wholewheat Date sweetened biscuits | Mama Papa BubbaNothing says summer quite like fresh strawberry shortcake, and since our kitchen is currently overflowing with berries after this morning’s trip to Krause Berry Farms, I thought Miss G and I would experiment with a healthier, wholewheat, sugar-free version this afternoon.  The unfortunate part is that our little old house was sitting at 31 degrees, so turning on the oven to bake shortcakes certainly wasn’t our best plan, but you gotta do what you gotta do when you have fresh berries begging to be gobbled up! ☺

IMG 9613While I don’t mind baking with small amounts of honey and pure maple syrup, our recent {and delicious!} cookie dough boys have peeked my interest in baking with dates {and other sweet fruits} instead of the alternative sweeteners I usually turn to.  I’m happy to report, that our first experiment was a total success!  These shortcakes turned out soft, moist inside, and perfectly sweet!  Plus the tiny hint of coconut flavour from the coconut oil made them even more delicious.  

IMG 9617Brad loved them, and I think Gracen thought she’d died and gone to heaven went she saw a little plate stacked with cake, sliced strawberries, and freshly whipped cream coming her way.  

Here’s the recipe to our new favourite summer dessert….

Strawberry Shortcake with Date-sweetened Biscuits (adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 1/2 cups of wholewheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2/3 cup of buttermilk (you can make your own by adding 3/4 of a tablespoon of vinegar to 2/3 of a cup of regular milk and letting it sit for 5 or 10 minutes)
  • 8 tablespoons of coconut oil (in its liquid state)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 majool dates, soaked and pureed
  • 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
  • strawberries, sliced

Before starting this recipe, place the dates into a small bowl, cover them with boiling water, and let sit for about 15 minutes.  Remove pits and place dates, along with a tablespoon or two of the soaking water in a food processor or blender and process until smooth {or nearly smooth}.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   If you’re making your own buttermilk, mix the milk and vinegar together and set it aside.

Whisk together the wholewheat flour, baking powder, and sea salt.

In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk, coconut oil, egg, and pureed dates until as smooth as possible.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just barely combined.  Divide the dough in 8 to 10 balls and bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the tops are slightly golden.

Whip cream until peaks begin to form, then add maple syrup and whip for an extra few seconds to combine.  

Slice strawberries.

To assemble, cut shortcakes in half horizontally, placing the tops aside temporarily.  Place a heaping scoop of strawberries on each shortcake bottom, then top with a generous spoonful of freshly whipped cream, and place the tops back on.  Serve immediately.



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Nutrient-Packed Cookie Dough Boys

Nutrient Packed Cookie Dough Boys | Mama Papa BubbaThe other night, I had the absolute pleasure of joining several other Vancouver mom bloggers at Whole Foods for evening with Aspen Clean, a local eco-friendly cleaner and cleaning company.  While there, Whole Foods totally spoiled us with delicious green smoothies, all kinds of yummy nutrient-packed salads, and the yummiest ever {vegan, gluten-free} cookie dough balls.  Our healthy eating specialist, Sarah, made them while we watched, and not only were they quick and easy to whip up, but the giant bowl full disappeared in a matter of minutes – a sure sign of their deliciousness. As soon as I tasted {my first} one, I knew that Grae would just love them.  So today, we got our ingredients and whipped up a batch.  My suspicions were right – Grae did  love them.

IMG 9442Here’s our lineup of ingredients….  Pecans, dates {soaked in water}, coconut, raisins, sea salt, cinnamon, coconut oil, and vanilla.  Now, I have to say that the original recipe includes coconut manna (also known as coconut butter) and not coconut oil…  In fact, our healthy eating specialist explained that coconut oil is just the fat squeezed out of the coconut meat, while coconut manna is the coconut meat and fat combined, making it much more nutrient-rich.  The trouble is, our local grocery store doesn’t carry coconut manna, so we had to improvise.  While maybe not as healthy, the recipe still turned out great!

IMG 9445Anyways, onto actually making the cookie dough boys!  First up, we drained {almost all of} the water our dates had been soaking in and blended them in our food processor.  (Word to the wise, be sure your dates don’t still have the pits in them before blending. Oy.)

IMG 9447We processed them until nearly smooth, but not perfectly pureed.  Because it was such a small batch, it did take several rounds of stopping the machine, scraping down the sides, and then doing it again, but that just meant more jobs for my little helper, which she of course loved.

IMG 9449With the date paste saved in a separate bowl for later, Miss G added our coconut and pecans to the food processor.  Call us lazy, but we didn’t even wash out the processor bowl in between as it seemed like sort of an unnecessary step.

IMG 9453Then we pureed the coconut and pecans until they were meal-like.

IMG 9454Next up, Grae dumped all of the other ingredients (save the raisins) into the food processor with the coconut/pecan mixture.

IMG 9455Then we processed it all until it started to come together in a mass.

IMG 9459Here’s what it looked like when done.

IMG 9469The last step was to mix the raisins in by hand.

IMG 9476With our dough complete, we rolled it into balls using about a tablespoon of the mixture at a time.

IMG 9460And because Miss G is no longer a huge fan of raisins, before mixing them in, we set aside a part of the mixture.  To set Grae’s balls apart from the other, she rolled them in coconut, which was a lovely addition.

IMG 9466The verdict?  Delicious!  They’re sweet and satisfying just like a good dessert, but come sans all of the sugar and fat regular desserts have.  A definite success!

{Nutrient-packed} Cookie Dough Boys

(*this is a Health Starts Here recipe from Whole Foods)

  • 1/4 cup of date paste (we used 5 large majool dates)
  • 2 cups of pecans
  • 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut manna (or as we used, 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of raisins

Soak the dates in room temperature water for an hour (you can cut down soaking time by using hot water), drain off almost all of the water, and purée the fruit until fairly smooth.  Set aside.

Blend pecans and coconut flakes in a food processor until meal-like.  Add all other ingredients, save the raisins.  Process until the mixture starts coming together in a large mass.

Dump dough into a large bowl and incorporate raisins by hand.  Taking 1 tablespoon scoops, roll the dough to create balls.  Roll in coconut or crushed nuts if desired.

Eat, refrigerate, or freeze.



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Homemade Wholewheat Cheddar Crackers, the Lazy Man’s Way

Wholewheat Cheddar Crackers the Lazy Man s Way | Mama Papa BubbaWhenever Miss G and I have her very favourite homemade cheddar crackers out during play dates, our guests say two things – “yum!” and “how long did they take to cut out?!”  I must admit, cutting out several baking sheets full of teeny tiny moons or hearts takes a loooooong time.  And while most of the time I can muster up the energy, today I decided we’d take the easy route.

IMG 9345First up, we followed our recipe as usual and combined all of the ingredients into a soft cheesy dough using our food processor.

IMG 9347Then we placed the dough between two layers of parchment, rolled it out nice and thin, and used a pizza cutter to slice them into quick and easy squares.

IMG 9349I contemplated just placing the entire sheet onto a baking pan and cooking them in one big mass, but in the end, decided to scoop them up and flip them onto a pan while quickly separating them. 

IMG 9350And because they reminded both Brad and I of Cheez-Its (one of the only ‘Americanized’ types of crackers available during our four years in Kuwait), I added the centre holes with one of our teeny dowels just for fun.

IMG 9364We baked them as usual, and even though little squares may be a little more on the boring side, they’re every bit as delicious!

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A Delicious First {& a Recipe}

IMG 8998IMG 9007IMG 9020IMG 9019This happened tonight…  Miss G’s first ever ice cream cone.  And oh my goodness, did she ever love it.  Before we knew it, all that was left was sticky fingers and a drippy chin and dress.  

She’s already planned our next two flavours too – pumpkin with cinnamon first, and then strawberry afterwards.  There’s bound to be plenty of ice cream in our future.


{Healthier} Creamy Coconut Ice Cream with Candied Coconut Sprinkles

Ice cream:

  • 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (we used full fat)
  • 6 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla

Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl, then place in fridge to cool for a couple of hours.  Process in an ice cream machine for 20 minutes and put into the freezer for a few hours to set.


  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon of pure maple syrup

Put both ingredients into a jar or bag and shake well.  Spread coconut out on a baking sheet in a thin layer.  Roast at 250 degrees until crunchy and golden brown.


For more healthy-ish desserts, click here.


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Healthier Peanut Butter Oat Cookies

Healthier Peanut Butter Oat CookiesGracen and I have experimented with making many different versions of healthier peanut butter cookies – cream cheese ones, two ingredient ones, banana-based ones – but sadly, none have ever turned out really well.   Late this afternoon, however, when she randomly declared that “We should make cookies! Yummy no sugar ones that Gracen can have – YEAAAAAAAAH!”,  we came up with our first batch that actually taste like real peanut butter cookies.  Only they’re much healthier. ☺  Here’s our new go-to peanut butter cookie recipe…

Healthier Peanut Butter Oat Cookies (based off of this recipe by Weelicious)

  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of good honey
  • 1 cup of all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups of wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup of old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Using a mixer, cream the coconut oil and honey together until smooth.  Add the peanut butter, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix again until smooth.  

Add all of the dry ingredients to a separate bowl and whisk to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix just until combined.  Scoop out 1 tablespoon balls of dough and flatten with a floured fork. (For an additional nutrition boost, you could roll the balls in chia seeds or hemp hearts before flattening.)

Bake for 9 or 10 minutes, then cool and serve.


For more healthy-ish desserts, click here.


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Apple Sandwiches {An Old Favourite}

Apple Sandwiches | Mama Papa BubbaI’ve been making these fun and easy apple sandwiches for Miss G for a long time now (we didn’t follow the usual no nuts until the age of 2 rule) and they’ve always been a total hit.  And because we load ours up with all kinds of healthful fillings, they make a perfect breakfast or even lunch!

IMG 8812You certainly don’t need all of these things, but since we almost always have them all on hand and Miss G enjoys the variety, we usually go for it.  In today’s lineup was peanut butter, almond butter, and a pink lady apple, plus unsweetened coconut, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, old-fashioned oats, sunflower seeds, and hemp hearts. Also needed is a sharp knife and small cookie cutter of some sort (though you can do without if needed).

IMG 8814Apple sandwiches are really so simple to throw together that I’m sure instructions aren’t needed, but this is how we normally make ours…  First off, I slice them up quite thinly.  We usually get 8 or 9 slices (not including the 2 end pieces) per apple.  Then we separate them into two piles – one where the seeds have to be cut out, and the other where there really aren’t any seeds at all.

IMG 8815Next, we use our small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the centres out of the seedy slices. You can use an apple corer or a sharp knife to the trick too.  These pieces will become the sandwich tops.

IMG 8816On to the bottoms!  Since these really don’t have any seeds, there’s no cookie cutter needed.  Just slather them with your favourite nut butter…

IMG 8817And have your munchkin sprinkle them with the toppings of his or her choice.  

IMG 8823Then pop the tops  on and you’ve got a yummy snack or meal ready for your little one (or you!) to gobble up!


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Flower Garden Yogurt Parfait

Flower Garden Yogurt Parfait | Mama Papa BubbaThe other day, while quickly picking up a couple of craft supplies at the dollar store, Miss G and I stumbled upon these adorable miniature clay pots.  We both laid eyes on them at the same time, and just as I was thinking, ‘Oooh!  I must have those pots!’, she asked, ‘Mama, can we please take home those baby pots?’  Ummm, yes – we certainly can, baby girl.  

At the time of purchase, I really had no idea what we’d use them for – all I knew was that there were tons of possibilities.  This morning when I poked my head into the refrigerator to give Gracen some breakfast options, however, I knew exactly what they’d be good for…. Creating tiny edible flower gardens, of course!

IMG 8383To get started, Grae helped me gather up some things – plain organic greek yogurt, homemade granola (muesli would work too), some pineapple and melon slices (about a 1/2 inch thick), some cinnamon, our clay pot, some tiny wooden dowels (short skewers or food picks would work too), and daisy-shaped cookie cutters – then she was off to play dress-up.

IMG 8404While she was busy playing, scrubbed the pot well with hot soapy water.  Then I mixed up approximately one part yogurt with one part granola, and scooped it into the pot.  Next up, I covered the yogurt mixture with a little bit more granola and generously sprinkled cinnamon on top.

IMG 8389Using a daisy-shaped cookie cutter Miss G got in her Easter basket, I cut little flower shapes out of pineapple, cantaloupe, and watermelon.

IMG 8408Then I carefully speared them onto our tiny wooden dowels.  I did contemplate colouring the dowels green beforehand, but I didn’t have any natural green food colouring on hand and didn’t feel comfortable using the real stuff since it would be directly in the food.  Oh well!  Maybe next time…

IMG 8415To put it all together, I simply placed the ‘flower lollipops’ (as G calls them) into the yogurt mixture.  Because of the thickness of Greek yogurt, and the fact that it’s 1/2 granola, the flowers stayed up really well.  

IMG 8418Gracen was tickled pink with her edible flower garden, and not only did she request additional flower lollipops during breakfast, but she also requested another flower garden yogurt parfait for afternoon snack. Yay for healthy and fun munchkin meals!


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Make Your Own Pizza Station

Over the course of the last week or so, the one thing Gracen can’t stop talking about is ‘when she gets bigger’.  So far, she’s told me she’s excited to get bigger so she can cross the road by herself, ‘work at a job’, walk in parking lots alone, drive a car, and go to university (Eesh…slow down, baby girl).  Part of me wants to curl up and cry, and the other part is incredibly proud that she desires such independence and self-sufficiency at 2.75 years old.

Making Your Own Pizza Lunch Station | Mama Papa BubbaWhile I’m not ready to hand over the car keys or let her navigate her way across a busy road just yet, I am ready {and more than happy} to let her put together some of her own meals. Given the proper set up, it’s something she’s totally capable of and she’s so, so, sooo proud after having done so.  A couple of days ago, she created her own breakfast banana split, and today she assembled her own quick and easy pizza lunch.

To make is super simple, we skipped pizza dough all together and used wholewheat Middle Eastern flatbreads instead.  These work perfectly, but wholewheat tortilla shells, pitas, and even bagels (cut in half of course) are great too.  Together, we cut up a bunch of stuff we had in the fridge (grilled chicken, red and yellow peppers, zucchini, and mango) and I set it all out, along with some grated fresh mozzarella and pesto, in a little pizza making station for my girl.

IMG 8347We’ve done this many times now, and what I’ve learned is that it’s best to let her create her pizza masterpiece directly on the parchment-lined baking sheet we’ll use to bake the pizzas.  After that, I kind of just let her go.  I’m a big fan of not directing our activities all that much (well except when it comes to safety, I guess), and really, it doesn’t matter which order the toppings go on in all that much.  The finished product will undoubtedly be delicious no matter what.  

IMG 8349That being said, we’ve made our favourite from scratch pizza together so many times in the past, she pretty much sticks to the sauce, cheese, toppings order.  And when this girl does toppings, she does toppings!

IMG 8351Here’s her mini pizza, ready for the oven.  I cook ours for about 5 to 8 minutes at 350 degrees, then crank up the temperature and broil them for just a minute at the end.

IMG 8354I can’t even explain how proud Miss G is after creating her meal on her own… She exudes pride.  And my personal opinion is that when kids take part in creating food, they are much more likely to eat it.

IMG 8355The verdict?  A total hit.  A pizza assembling station is always a hit in our house. 


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