caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries

caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberriescaramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries

I adore everything about winter.

The cosy clothes, endless cups of hot tea and days spent with the slow cooker bubbling away in the kitchen are my idea of heaven.

The late winter sunrise also guarantees a greatly appreciated sleep in most mornings and when Miss G. finally stirs she is more than happy to huddle, snuggle and cuddle under the warm cosy covers until we finally pluck up enough courage to face the frosty morning together.

Most mornings we make our way straight to the kitchen to heat up our beloved oats with a little stewed apple but this morning I decided something a little extra special was required so we put together this super simple caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries.

Although I have a very special place in my heart for traditional pancakes, on a frosty winter morning when immediate warming nourishment is required I much prefer the fuss free nature of the Dutch pancake.  There is no standing over a fry pan endlessly flipping pancakes, simply pour the batter over a little caramelised fruit and pop into a piping hot oven.  Fifteen minutes later a perfectly puffed and gorgeously golden fruit studded pancake emerges ready to be devoured.

Todays incarnation of our fuss free pancake included caramelised banana and fresh strawberries and really was baby led weaning winter breakfast perfection.  The texture of the pancake is perfect for little hands to hold and nibble away on with ease and when served alongside fresh strawberries and a little yoghurt, this breakfast will have your little one satisfied all morning long.

To create this winter warming caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries simply…

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strawberry & apple oat crisp bars

strawberry & apple oat crisp barsstrawberry & apple oat crisp bars

Oh it feels so wonderful to be back in the kitchen and baking once again.

We’ve just experienced one of the most unbelievably crazy months.

Between teething molars, tummy bugs, trips to emergency (both Grace and I), the flu, spring cleaning, redecorating the house and a family beach vacay we have been completely out of our usual routine.

The good news is we made it through and today we’re back with these totally gorgeous strawberry and apple oat crisp bars.

These bars are amazing and come from one of my all-time favourite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  The moment these gorgeously golden fruit layered oat bars hit my inbox I knew Grace and I had to bake them.  They’re everything we look for in a morning tea snack; they’re chock full of oats and fruit, taste incredible and are the perfect portable snack.  We made a few adjustments to the original recipe (mostly in the method so that Grace could get involved in the baking) and we also swapped the rhubarb for apple.

These bars really are a breeze to prepare, Grace and I managed to get them into the oven in less than 10 minutes and only used one mixing bowl, which is great when you’re trying to clean with an eager 18 month old chasing you around the kitchen.

Once baked, I popped a couple of the crispy golden strawberry and apple strewn bars into the lunch box and Grace devoured them alongside a little fruit for her snack at the park this morning.

To create these gorgeous strawberry & apple oat crisp bars simply…

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sweetcorn pasta salad

sweetcorn pasta saladsweetcorn pasta salad

It’s not often Miss G. becomes fanatical about her food but of late our little miss has become utterly obsessed with sweet corn.

Each and every time I make my way into the kitchen and stand at the bench I hear the chants of a toddler demanding ‘corn, corn, corn’ pacing incessantly behind me.

So not to disappoint (or more importantly to avoid the dreaded terrible toddler terror tantrum) I’ve managed to work the bright yellow kernels of sunshine sweetness into most meals of late and this sweetcorn pasta salad is our favourite corn incarnation by far.

Not only is this gorgeously zesty salad chock full of nutritious goodness but it couldn’t be simpler to prepare.  It can be on the table and ready to devour in the time it takes to boil a little pasta and stored in an air tight container nestled in the fridge this salad is just as wonderful the next day.

Although Miss G. concentrates most of her eating efforts on the corn and pasta, she also manages to gobble up a good amount of fresh tomato, cucumber and mint as well, making for a very happy mummy.

To create this gorgeously fresh and zesty sweetcorn pasta salad simply…

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banana choc muffins

banana choc muffinsbanana choc muffins

Tummy bugs, teething and the sniffles.  Yep this pretty much sums up our life for the past couple of weeks.

Poor little Miss G. has seen it all.  Just as the little trooper managed to get over one ailment she was barraged with yet another.

Between the tears, runny noses, sore gums and high temps there were no real food opportunities to share.  Grace’s appetite all but vanished.  The only bits and pieces she managed to eat were butter on toast, a few crackers and a little fruit here and there.

Thankfully our bouncy, bubbly, full of beans bubba soon returned, along with a mammoth like appetite and I couldn’t have been happier.  After mentally calculating the number of meals she had missed I instantly hit the kitchen to stock up once again on her favourites meals and snacks and the first cab off the rank were these gorgeously dark banana choc muffins.

I adore this muffin recipe.  Not only is it sugar-free and chock full of wonderful banana , it truly is one of the simplest recipes around.  Grace and I managed to stir them together in less than 5.

And the results are sublime.  The banana strewn throughout the deep dark choc muffins is delicious.  Not only does it create a moist and tender crumb but the banana flavour works beautifully with the cocoa.  I’m also really digging the macadamia nut oil, it adds a rich buttery flavour and is jam packed with goodness.

To create your own batch of these gorgeously dark banana choc muffins simply…

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cranberry pecan oat bars

cranberry pecan oat barscranberry pecan oat bars

With a busier than usual weekend coming up, this morning we decided to get a little uncharacteristically organised and prepare a few lovely little snacks for the lunch box to keep us satisfied whilst on the road.

Along with an easy peasy batch of blueberry muffins and sweet corn fritters, Grace and I stirred together this gorgeously simple batch of cranberry pecan oat bars.

I love these cranberry pecan oat bars.  Not only are they sugar free and chock full of amazingly nutritious bananas, dates, oats, cranberries, coconut and pecans but they couldn’t be simpler to prepare thanks to the muscle of a food processor.  Miss G. and I were easily able to whip these bars up and have them baking away in the oven in less than 10 minutes.

And these gorgeously golden bars make the perfect baby led weaning snack.  They are firm enough to withstand tight little grips whilst soft enough for little mouths to nibble on with ease.  Grace had no trouble demolishing the chopped pecans strewn throughout the bars, however if you think your little one isn’t yet up to the task simply leave them out.

To create these gorgeous cranberry pecan oat bars simply…

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banana date loaf

banana date loafbanana date loaf

We’re definitely the kind of family that has to have a baked goodie of some kind perched on the kitchen bench each and every day.

For us, it just doesn’t feel like home without a fresh batch of muffins or fruit loaf nestled on the kitchen counter ready to be devoured.

Pre baby our baked goodies were more often than not based on the traditional concoction of sickening sugar, heart stopping butter and overrefined white flour.  Yuck.

However since beginning baby led weaning and wanting to feed Grace lovely little nutritious and delicious treats my baked goodies have been given quite the health conscious make over.  Butter has been replaced with healthier oils like coconut, macadamia or olive.  Sugar has been kicked out and replaced with naturally sweet fruit (banana is our favourite) or agave syrup and overrefined white flour has been replaced with almond meal, wholemeal or spelt flour.

And todays banana date loaf is the perfect example of my new baking style.  Both free of sugar and gluten this little darling is not only totally good for you but absolutely delicious.  This loaf is gorgeously sweet thanks to the banana and dates and heady in the scent of cinnamon and almond.  The almond meal also provides the loaf with the most wonderful moist texture.  Miss G. loved this loaf for morning tea alongside her usual yoghurt cup and raspberries.

To create this sugar-free and gluten-free gorgeously golden banana date loaf 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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