Now that the days are long and hot we’re spending more and more time outdoors. Most balmy afternoons the kids play in the backyard, digging around in the sandpit, skipping through the sprinkler or playing in the cubby house right up until the sun begins to sink beneath the horizon turning the ever darkening sky the most beautiful shades of burnt orange.
It’s usually right at this moment I see the pangs of hunger flash across their tired and weary eyes and I quickly realise in the midst of the beautiful spring afternoon I haven’t yet prepared dinner.
These evenings I usually make a mad dash to the kitchen to rescue a stack of wholemeal pita breads from the pantry and get about making a simple pizza or two for supper. Tonight’s pizza’s celebrated the best of spring produce and were adorned with ribbons of fresh asparagus and zucchini and really couldn’t be more simple to prepare.
The pizza base’s were smothered in a generous layer of ricotta spiked with a little parmesan, lemon zest and fresh thyme leaves. Nestled in the ricotta were the silky ribbons of zucchini and asparagus as well as shaved morsels of turkey breast. And to top things off a thin layer of shredded mozzarella cheese was added along with a few dots of gorgeously green and beautifully fragrant basil pesto.
After a ten minute trip to a very hot oven the pizza’s returned golden and completely gorgeous. I popped the kids into a warm bath whilst the pizza’s cooled and once snuggled in fresh pyjamas we sat at the kitchen table and tucked into slices of delicious home made pizza alongside juicy wedges of fresh tomatoes.
Seeing their little faces eagerly devour our very simple supper of beautiful spring produce my heart sang and beckoned for more stunning spring days just like these.
To create the best spring time pizza ever simply…
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.
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.
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…
These zucchini studded pancakes spiked with fresh basil and lemon zest make the perfect baby led weaning simple supper, especially when served alongside our beautiful caprese salad.
And these gorgeously golden pan fried babies couldn’t be simpler to prepare. I was easily able to whip these up with my two little cherubs dancing around my feet in well under 15 minutes. Simply whisk the wet ingredients into the dry, add the shredded zucchini, basil and lemon zest and get frying.
To serve alongside our pancakes I decided to put together a family sized super simple caprese salad because after a naughty mother’s day lunch we were all in need of a good hit of nutritional yumminess. This salad is a simple arrangement of ripe juicy tomato slices, pieces of creamy bocconcini and torn basil leaves drizzled under a light blanket of pesto lemon dressing.
If you’re looking for a meat free dinner idea I really can’t recommend these pancakes enough. They are light, fluffy and totally scrumptious.
To create your own batch of zucchini studded pancakes and tomato basil salad simply…
I don’t think a week goes by without me frying up a batch of gorgeously golden vegetable fritters. Easy for little hands to pick up and nibble on and jam packed with wonderfully nutritious vegetable, fritters make the perfect baby led weaning food, especially for blw beginners!
I also adore the fact that fritters freeze beautifully and last up to three months in the deep freeze. When days go to the doghouse and I have no chance (or desire) to rustle up dinner I often pull out a few fritters from the freezer for a simple stress free supper.
This weeks batch is made up of sweet corn, carrot, zucchini, sweet potato and flavoured with a little lemon zest and fresh basil and they are delicious.
After stirring the batter together, I decided to add another egg and more flour to create a little more batter around the veggies. This helps them to cook evenly and also makes the fritters easier to flip. I recommend frying a ‘test’ fritter to begin with to check that you have the right consistency, i.e. the fritter holds shape. If you’re having a little trouble simply add another egg and a further half cup of plain flour. I also recommending cooking these fritters in a non stick frypan over low to medium heat. A lower heat will ensure the fritter cooks evenly and through the middle without over browning on the outside.
I served these fritters alongside a very simple salad of tomato wedges and fresh basil leaves and the kids gobbled them up.
To create your own batch of easy peasy vege packed vegetable fritters simply…
These mini pea & pesto frittatas are the perfect ‘go-to’ baby led weaning lunch or dinner recipe when you are low on time and energy.
They take mere moments to prepare and once nestled in the oven these little pea studded babies only take ten minutes or so to bake to golden gorgeousness.
I often bake a batch of these when dinner or lunch time has crept up and I am fresh out of ingredients and ideas of what to cook.
This recipe is also wonderful because its infinitely adaptable. The peas can be replaced with pretty much any vegetable you have sitting in your refrigerator, I often use leftover roasted sweet potato and pumpkin which is just as delicious. Thinly sliced asparagus is yummy too!
These mini frittatas also make a wonderful addition to any lunch box. Chock full of vege and calcium rich cheese they are wonderfully nutritious and perfect for growing bodies.
I don’t recommend freezing these frittatas. Once frozen and defrosted I find the frittatas texture changes to slightly rubbery and not very enjoyable. That said, the zingy pesto and fresh basil add so much gorgeous flavour to the frittatas they vanish all too quickly.
To create a batch of these mini pea & pesto frittatas simply…
Wanting to cram a little more vege into Miss G. after a nasty tummy bug I decided a batch of savoury muffins hiding 3 cups of gorgeous vegetables and a little cheese were needed.
And these gorgeously golden vege flecked cheesy darlings are delightful.
The golden yellow crispy crust is the perfect contrast to the tender vege flecked crumb and the combination of the sweet vegetables with the tasty cheese creates the most wonderful flavour. Miss G. gobbled hers up still warm from the oven along with a few sticks of cucumber and a couple of halved cherry tomatoes.
Instead of mixing the muffin batter together by hand, I opted instead to use my food processor. Firstly the grating attachment makes light work of shredding the carrot, zucchini and cheese and the blade effortlessly pulses together the batter and further distributes the vege and cheese into the crumb which is perfect for those little ones that tend to eat around chunks of nutritional goodness in their food.
If you’re looking for a batch of muffins to freeze and pop into lunch boxes during the week, these babies freeze beautifully. Simply wrap the individual muffins in a little cling film, pop into a freezer bag or container and stash in the deep freeze for up to 3 months. I pop the frozen muffins into our lunch box and by the time lunch rolls around they are perfectly defrosted and ready to eat. These muffins are also a great no-fuss less-mess eating option for when you’re out and about.
Also, for those little ones just beginning their baby led weaning journey the texture of these muffins is perfect. The muffins are firm enough to withstand a tight grip yet soft enough to be easily eaten. When Grace was this age I used to slice the muffin into quarters and she had no trouble picking up the pieces to devour.
To create these gorgeously golden savoury muffins chock full of vege simply…
Keeping lunch time fun and interesting day after day can be quite the challenge.
Most days we resort to either left overs from the night before, a simple salad based sandwich or a snack plate of cheese, tomato and crackers.
Yesterday however I decided to tempt Grace into the kitchen and away from the steaming hot sandpit outside to cook an extra special lunch and we came up with these gorgeously golden ricotta and sweet potato pizzas.
These pizzas, although a lovely treat, are no way challenging to cook. Simply smother two pita bread with a lovely ricotta mix spiked with lemon, basil and parmesan, top with sweet potato ribbons and cheese and grill. Miss G. and I had the whipped up in less than 15 minutes.
I love making pizzas using pita bread pockets. Even after a quick grilling they remain tender and soft making them perfect for little ones, especially those new to baby led weaning.
Grace devoured her pieces of pizza along with a simple blueberry banana smoothie for lunch before returning to the sandpit.
To create your own easy peasy ricotta & sweet potato pizza simply…