pea, asparagus & chicken pasta w’ lemony ricotta sauce

pea & asparagus pasta w' lemony ricotta saucepea & asparagus pasta w' lemony ricotta sauce

Today’s pea, asparagus & mint pasta with lemony ricotta sauce has to be one of Grace’s all time favourite pasta dishes.  Even more so today thanks to the cutest little elk pasta shapes I bought over the weekend.

Miss G. adores the ricotta, lemon and mint flavour combination as well as the bright green peas studded throughout and I love this pasta dish because it couldn’t be simpler to prepare.  This is the simple supper I most often turn to when I am all out of time and patience and just need to get dinner done and on the table.  It really is that easy.

For the little ones first beginning baby led weaning this dish is a winner.  The pasta, chicken and asparagus are simple for the little ones to hold and nibble on and once your little one has mastered the pincer grip the peas will be no trouble at all.

To create this easy peasy pea, asparagus & mint pasta w’ lemony ricotta sauce simply…

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baked meatballs w’ simple tomato sauce

baked meatballs w' simple tomato saucebaked meatballs w' simple tomato sauce

Scrolling through the my lovely little lunch box home page I noticed I haven’t posted a meat filled supper in a very long time.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re definitely not vegetarian but of late it seems I have been conjuring up vegetarian based suppers rather than our usual meat filled fare.

Knowing how important a balanced diet is, today I am sharing one of our all time family favourites, the ultimate comfort food, baked meatballs with simple tomato sauce.

This supper is ideal for the little ones.  The meatballs are perfect little packages just big enough for teeny tiny hands to grip and nibble on with ease and the pasta sauce is an absolute favourite of every child.  Grace demolishes these meatballs, especially along side a little pasta.

Todays incarnation of meatball have been spiked with dried basil, lemon zest, garlic and spring onions making them light and full of flavour.  And they couldn’t be simpler to prepare, simply pop all of the ingredients into a bowl, stir to combine and shape into balls.  Grace helped with the mixing and shaping this morning and loved it.

I also love that these little darlings are baked.  It means I can simply pop the meatballs into the oven and get on with the hundred thousand other ‘to do’s’ on my list without a care in the world.  And I don’t have to worry about scrubbing the greasy fry pan clean!

These effortless meatballs are a must try and I promise will become a family favourite of yours too.

To create these easy peasy baked meatballs in simple tomato sauce simply…

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spinach & ricotta fritters

spinach & ricotta frittersspinach & ricotta fritters

What I love most about sharing my baby led weaning recipes on my lovely little lunch box is meeting and talking to you beautiful mama’s!

I love receiving your emails and comments and adore hearing all about your baby led weaning wins.

Lately, a lot of mama’s about to embark on the baby led weaning journey have been asking me the same question, ‘I am really confused about what foods to begin baby led weaning with, do you have any recommendations?’.

My answer each and every time: vegetable fritters.

When we first began baby led weaning with Miss G. vegetable fritters were our go to meal!

No only are they super simple to prepare and jam packed with a tonne of wonderful vegetables but they’re the perfect shape and texture for teeny tiny little hands to hold and nibble on with ease.  When beginning baby led weaning always keep in mind food offered to your little one should be chip shaped (i.e. long and rectangle) and have a texture that is able to be squished between your finger and thumb.

So far I have conjured up batches of sweet corn fritters, zucchini fritters, pea fritters, sweet potato fritters and carrot fritters and Miss G. has adored them all.

And although we may be nine months into our baby led weaning journey, Miss G’s. still adores her vege packed fritters so today I cooked us up a batch of gorgeously golden spinach and ricotta fritters.  Unbelievably simple to prepare, these delicious fritters are chock full of spinach and flavoured with lemon zest and a little parmesan cheese.

spinach & ricotta fritters

Miss G. couldn’t wait to tuck in and quickly gobbled up two spinach flecked fritters along with a simple salad of tomato and zucchini ribbons.

To read more of my tips on getting started with baby led weaning click here.

To create a batch of these gorgeously golden spinach & ricotta fritters simply…

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ricotta, herb & tomato pie

ricotta, herb & tomato piericotta, herb & tomato pie

Summer is here with full force.

Our first weeks of the new year have brought sweltering heat, long muggy days and overwhelming humidity.

For the scorching month of January our days are spent seeking respite.

So far Grace and I have found sweet salvation wading in the pool, skipping under the sprinkler, taking dips in the ocean and air conditioned outings to the state library and museum.

Although this summer heat is almost to the point of unbearable, I have to say the extended days that stretch early into the evening are simply sublime.

ricotta, herb & tomato pie

The extra hours of sunshine are a wonderful chance for a little more playtime and our routine of late has been to spend our extra precious moments of sunlight in the back garden.

Usually Grace runs through the grass as I collect the fresh herbs and salad leaves for supper but over the past couple of days she has been more and more interested in doing the picking herself.

Watching her pluck fresh basil leaves and breathe in their gorgeous aroma simply melts my heart and as we stir them through dinner I can see the cogs of thought turning in her little mind.

ricotta, herb & tomato pie

Todays harvest of fresh basil, mint and rocket made their way into this delightful ricotta, herb and tomato tart.

Once baked, this tart nestles serenely in the fridge just waiting for a simple salad to accompany it in the perfect simple summer supper.

And this little darling only requires moments of effort before being popped into an oven.  But I can hardly call it an effort, simply pop all of the ingredients into a food processor, blitz, decant into an oven tray, top with slices of fresh tomato and bake.  Easy peasy.

In terms of baby led weaning, this pie is fantastic.  Not only is this delicious little number simple for mum/dad to prepare, but it’s the perfect texture for little hands to pick up and eat with ease. Firm enough for little hands to grip yet soft enough to nibble on, the texture of this pie really is baby led weaning perfection.  Its also not too messy which makes it great for lunch on the run.  In fact, Grace and I popped a couple of slices into a lunch box to take along with us for a mummy and me morning at the state library.

To create this easy peasy ricotta, herb and tomato pie simply…

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ultimate roasted vegetables

ultimate roast vegesultimate roast veges

Even though we celebrate Christmas in the middle of an Australian summer, gorgeous golden crispy roasted vegetables are still a must on our festive table.  But rather than enjoying them straight from the oven I opt to bake them Christmas eve and serve them at room temperature along with a cool crunchy zesty salad of greens for a much lighter christmas lunch.

Over the years and thanks to the genius of Jamie Oliver my roast vegetables have evolved into divine little babies that are wonderfully fluffy in the middle and gorgeously golden and crispy on the outside.  The secret to creating the ultimate roast vege is to parboil the starchy vegetables prior to roasting.

Once the vegetables are parboiled, I drain them and as instructed by Jamie give them a good shake to break up the surface of the vegetables in order to create super crispy, gorgeous golden edges.  I then pop the manhandled vegetables onto a baking tray along with a few greens, a big handful of garlic cloves, sprigs of fresh herbs and a good drizzle of olive oil.

After a good hour or so in the oven the vegetables are pure perfection.  Golden, crispy edges with a light fluffy soft interior.

To ensure these little darlings are baby led weaning appropriate I didn’t season the vegetables whatsoever this year and opted to cut the vegetables into rather large chunky pieces so that teeny tiny little hands would be able to pick them up and nibble away with ease.

To create the ultimate roast veges for your christmas supper simply…

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festive pasta salad

festive pasta saladfestive pasta salad

I love this time of year.

The air is filled with the scent of just cut grass, the market shelves are groaning under the weight of mangoes, cherries and stone fruit and afternoons are spent escaping the hot sun in the back yard wading pool.

The long hot summer days leading up to Christmas are just wonderful.

summer days

During the summer months I love to take full advantage of this beautiful weather so we usually begin our day with a huge walk around the park, building up a sweat, breathing in the fresh air and soaking in the early morning still tolerable sun.

Returning home we dive into our summertime breakfast of mango smoothies, alongside a little stone fruit and toast and then the summer times fun begins.

With a one year old on my hands, keeping little Miss entertained and busy through the extra long days is challenging so I usually devise a rough plan or to do list for the day and travel around an array of fun little activities I have set up.

We spend the day playing, reading books, riding trikes, enjoying the park playground and our favourite summer past time swimming in the pool.

Tuckered out from all of the action, Miss G. usually winds down for a early afternoon nap which gives me a chance to run around like a mad woman and accomplish a few chores and hopefully get onto dinner.  I love to get dinner done and out of the way before evening rolls around.  I find the more relaxed I am around bed time, the easy little miss is to get to sleep.

Thanks to a few extra loads of washing today I didn’t quite get to dinner before Miss G. was awake.  So with my lovely little helper by my side I put together this super simple pasta salad of perfectly aldente calice, fresh juicy tomatoes, punchy herbs, olives and creamy bocconcini all smothered in a gorgeous basil pesto dressing.

This pasta salad is a family favourite and the perfect salad to serve christmas day.  It’s fresh, light, full of flavour, easy to prepare and a complete crowd pleaser.

To create this wonderfully fragrant pasta salad perfect for the entire family simply…

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spinach & ricotta pie

spinach & ricotta pie

spinach & ricotta pie

Spinach and ricotta pie is an all time family favourite of ours but I don’t make it often enough because I loath dealing with fiddly pastry.

With a walking one year old toddling around the house I simply do not have time for pastry making, blind baking or layering filo.

So when I stumbled across this super simple spinach and ricotta pie recipe thanks to Teresa Cutter, I couldn’t have been happier.

I love that The Healthy Chef has replaced fussy, hard to handle and stress inducing pastry with simple, gorgeous, healthy ribbons of lovely sweet potato.  Pure genius.

I also adore that the entire pie can be whipped up in less than ten minutes.  Simply pop all of the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy.

Not only a joy to prepare, this pie is also completely delicious to eat.

The creamy mellow ricotta is studded with handfuls of baby spinach, zesty coins of spring onion, as well as an array of punchy fresh herbs; basil, sage and parsley.  The large pinch of nutmeg adds a beautiful warm depth to the pie and smells divine whilst baking away in the oven.

The texture of the baked pie is wonderful for the little ones, especially for baby led weaning beginners!  The pie is firm enough to be handled by little hands but soft enough to be nibbled on easily.  Miss G. loved it!  This recipe is also fantastic to pop into the lunch box!

With this recipe now in my arsenal I’ll be whipping up our family favourite all. the. time.

To create this gorgeous spinach & ricotta pie simply…

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