everyday salad w’ hasselback sweet potato

everyday salad w' hasselback potatoeseveryday salad w' hasselback potatoes

This week our sweet little Harry turns one.

I still can’t quite believe we are celebrating his first birthday.  It seems like only yesterday I was cradling the sweetest smelling cuddly snuggly newborn baby boy on my chest, beaming with pride wondering what I did to deserve such a divine little fella.  And now my bright bubbly blonde boy is racing around the house giving his big sister a run for her money.  Time truly does fly.

birthday boyhappy birthday

This weekend we are throwing our big birthday boy a special little party to celebrate.  Along with the usual decorations, family and friends there is going to be a lot of delicious (a.k.a sugar laden) food including a Peter Rabbit inspired birthday cake.  So with the sugar onslaught set to begin I decided to balance the food scales a little today and put together this super simple everyday salad with hasselback sweet potatoes for supper.

This salad couldn’t be simpler to prepare.  Just cover a serving dish in a layer of fresh greens (today I used baby spinach, rocket and mint leaves) and adorn row-by-row with your favourite salad ingredients.  After a dig around the refrigerator this afternoon I decided to use capsicum, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, carrot, avocado, corn and some delicious garlic and herb scented feta.  The results were a fresh, crunchy, delicious salad full of all of the good stuff.

little chomps

The hasselback potatoes are an old family favourite of mine.  The slits along the sweet potato help the orange hued vege roast to gorgeous golden perfection and add a lovely crunch to each deliciously creamy bite of sweet potato.  If you haven’t tried sweet potato like this you must give it a go!  The kids love it!

In terms of baby led weaning, this salad and sweet potato are perfect for the little ones!  Just be sure to slice your salad ingredients into long thin pieces so that blw beginners can easily grab the goodness and once your little one has mastered their pincer grip they’ll have no issues with the smaller pieces (corn, cherry tomatoes).   When serving the sweet potato, simply slice them up into smaller pieces to they’re easily picked up.

To create your own bright and fresh everyday salad and hasselback sweet potatoes simply…

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pesto prawn spaghetti with oven roasted truss tomatoes

pesto prawn spaghetti with oven roasted truss tomatoespesto prawn spaghetti with oven roasted truss tomatoes

Believe it or not there are evenings cooking dinner is the very last thing I feel like doing.

Yes, I am a food blogger and I absolutely adore cooking but with two little cherubs of endless energy at home all day, every day I often don’t have the time, patience or sanity for cooking.

On these evenings I usually turn to my store cupboard staples to save the day, the kind of ingredients that need very little effort (and cooking time) to come together in a low key, easy to prepare simple supper.

Pesto, pasta and frozen prawns are my favourite go-to’s at the moment and its easy to see why.  Pesto adds instant zest and herby flavour to whatever dish it nestles its way into, pasta is a hearty staple adored by all children and frozen prawns go from rock hard ice cubes to golden juicy morsels of deliciousness in less than 7 minutes.

little chomps

Tonights supper married all three ingredients to create the most gorgeously fragrant spaghetti adorned with the simplest vege, oven roasted truss tomatoes and it was amazing.

You really must give this one a go.

In terms of baby led weaning this supper is perfection.  The pesto sauce entices even the pickiest of eaters, while the spaghetti is a sensory sensation all kids love!  And the golden juicy succulent prawns are a great way to introduce seafood to beginners!

To create your own pesto prawn spaghetti with oven roasted truss tomatoes simply…

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raspberry coconut cookies

raspberry coconut cookiesraspberry coconut cookies

Yesterday my sweet little helpers and I had the pleasure of spending the entire afternoon in the kitchen.  Not only did we manage to make one gigantic mess but we stirred together these gorgeously golden raspberry and coconut cookies.

And I have to say these cookies are absolutely delicious.  Chockfull of nutritional oats, shredded coconut and wholewheat flour and sweetened with a mix of rapadura sugar and maple syrup these little babies are not only delicious but a great little treat to pop into the lunch box.  The original recipe called for 1 cup of rapadura (or coconut sugar) I cut this amount in half and only added a half cup of sugar to the dough but on tasting the cookies I think the sugar could be cut down further, so if you’re that way inclined please feel free to do so.  1/3 cup or even 1/4 cup of sugar would suffice.  Also if your unable to find rapadura or coconut sugar, brown sugar can be used too.

Thankfully these cookies only take 10 or so minutes to bake to gorgeous goldenness, because as they bake the most gorgeous aromas of coconut, maple syrup and caramelised raspberries waft from the oven and certainly get tummies rumbling.

In terms of baby led weaning, the texture of these cookies makes them perfect for blw beginners as they are soft enough to nibble on with ease yet firm enough to withstand tight little grips.  Mr H. smashed his way through one of the cookies, along side a fresh strawberry for afternoon tea.

Although I haven’t tested it myself I also imagine these cookies would freeze and thaw beautifully.  So if you do go ahead and bake  a batch please feel free to wrap the leftover cookies, pop into a freezer safe container and stash in the deep freeze for up to three months.

To create your own batch of raspberry coconut cookies simply…

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roast cauliflower orecchiette with crispy herb & parmesan crumbs

roast cauliflower orecchiette with crispy herb and parmesan crumbsroast cauliflower orecchiette with crispy herb and parmesan crumbs

Today’s roast cauliflower orecchiette with crispy herb and parmesan crumbs is the perfect baby led weaning supper.  The golden roasted florets of cauliflower are not only gorgeously sweet but are the perfect shape for little hands to pick up and nibble on with ease.  And the little rounded ears of orecchiette pasta are the ideal shape for little ones who are in the midst of developing their pincer grip (ability to grasp objects between their index finger and thumb – this usually occurs between 9-12 months of age).  If your little one is just beginning their baby led weaning journey feel free to replace the orecchiette shaped pasta with penne or eliche shaped pasta which is far more suited to their palmar grasp.

This gorgeous supper is made even more delicious thanks to the addition of herb and parmesan spiked golden sour dough crumbs strewn throughout.  The crumbs add a beautiful point of textural difference which is welcomed by most children, my little ones devoured the pasta then sat for a good ten minutes picking up each and every last piece of golden crumb.  Miss G. kept saying how me she loved the crunch, crunch.

Because I choose not to salt the water I cook the pasta in, or add any salt during the cooking process, I feel it is ok to adorn each pile of pasta served with the slightest grating of parmesan.  This adds gorgeous flavour to the kids supper without adding too much salt.  Feel free to omit the extra parmesan if your little one has eaten a snack or meal higher in salt during the day.

The recipe makes quite a bit of pasta which suits me just fine.  It means I can serve it up two nights in a row and have a night off cooking.  I wouldn’t recommend freezing this dish as the thawing/reheating process would ruin the beautiful texture of this pasta.

To create your own roast cauliflower orecchiette with crispy herb and parmesan crumbs simply…

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strawberry & pistachio flapjacks

strawberry & pistachio flapjacksstrawberry & pistachio flapjacks

These gorgeously golden flapjacks studded with gooey sticky sweet strawberries and shards of bright green pistachio are delish.

Chock full of rolled oats, sweetened with maple syrup and bound together with the help of two bananas and a grated apple these flapjacks are a wonderful baby led weaning snack full of nutritional yumminess.

The little ones and I have baked flapjacks a few times over the last month, adding different fruits and nuts to keep these oaty darlings interesting.  So far this strawberry and pistachio flapjack combination is our favourite with blueberry and coconut a very close runner up.

Traditional flapjacks contain quite a bit of sugar and butter which helps them to stick together and form firm bars.  This recipe with far less sugar and butter is less dense and the bars can be a little crumbly.  This however didn’t stop Miss G. and Mr H. from demolishing them.  Harry used his iron grip to crumble the bars into smithereens then slowly and thoughtfully picked and snacked his way through the strawberry studded rubble.  Also, I picked any whole pistachios off of Mr H.’s bar.  If your little one isn’t yet eating nuts feel free to use equal amounts of shredded coconut, or finely ground the pistachios in a food processor.

To create your own strawberry & pistachio flapjacks simply…

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pasta with broccoli pesto

pasta with broccoli pestopasta with broccoli pesto

We are off to Miss G.’s piano lesson this morning.  The little doll began piano lessons a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loves it.  Seeing her nestled in front of a grand piano smashing out a killer rendition of ‘hot cross buns’ melts my heart and makes me realise just how quickly time passes.  It only feels like yesterday I was cradling my sweet smelling teeny tiny newborn in my arms and now she’s beginning to create her own lovely little adventures.

miss g.

Mr H. is growing all too quickly too.  He has completely mastered the art of crawling, constantly chasing after his big sister, much to her delight and I don’t think he is far off walking too.  As you can see (pictured above) my little handsome fella has started to join in our cooking adventures as well and now I have two sets of chubby little hands to photograph.

mr h.

Todays recipe is this gorgeously green casarecce pasta smothered in a zesty homemade broccoli pesto.  This simple supper takes no more than 20 minutes to put together and makes more than enough for two family sizes portions.  We enjoyed our pasta last night and have more than enough for tonight’s supper too.

The broccoli pesto is a gorgeous combination of tender broccoli, mint, chives, garlic, lemon zest, parmesan, pistachios and extra virgin olive oil.  This pesto recipe makes quite a bit of the zesty sauce, so feel free to pop the extra pesto into a sterilised jar, top with olive oil and store in the fridge for a good 2-3 weeks.  I plan on using our surplus pesto to adorn grilled chicken breast, smother over steamed vegetables and slather over toasted bread.  Its delicious and such a lovely departure from traditional basil pesto.

To create your own pasta with broccoli pesto simply…

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wholemeal grapefruit & coconut muffins

wholemeal grapefruit & coconut muffinswholemeal grapefruit & coconut muffins

Miss G. is absolutely obsessed with baking muffins at the moment.

So much so, at bath time she insists on having a muffin tray in the bath with her so she can practice pouring her bath water batter into the muffin moulds.  It’s so cute but I must confess it makes finishing up bath time quite the battle.

Not to disappoint my keen little baker any further I decided we’d keep the muffin enthusiasm rolling on and bake these super simple wholemeal grapefruit and coconut muffins.

She was absolutely delighted and I think you will be too.

These muffins are delicious.  The grapefruit zest provides the muffin crumb with the most incredibly fragrant citrus flavour that works oh so perfectly with the shredded coconut and the juicy segment of caramelised grapefruit nestled on top takes these muffins to the highest heights of deliciousness.

We used our beloved H2CoCo organic virgin coconut oil once again in these muffins and I’m so happy we did.  The coconut oil not only helps to create a deliciously moist and tender crumb but also helps to echo the flavours of the shredded coconut even further.  This organic coconut oil has quickly become our go-to baking oil.

wholemeal apple muffins

These wholemeal grapefruit coconut muffins are perfect for baby led weaning beginners.  Even though the muffins texture is slightly crumbly, little ones are still able to grip large pieces of muffin and nibble on the other end with no problem.  I served the muffin alongside a few slices of fresh apple and Mr H. demolished the lot – making quite the mess in the process.

If you’re going to make a batch of these muffins I would recommend freezing half – I did.  Just be sure to allow the muffins to cool to room temperature, wrap individual portions in cling film and pop into a freezer safe container.  They last a good 3 months stashed away in the deep freeze and they’re a fabulous additions to any lunch box.

To create your own batch of wholemeal grapefruit and coconut muffins simply…

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