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.
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…
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…
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…
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…
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.
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.
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…
I adore winter. It truly is my favourite season.
As the days shorten and the weather turns frosty there is nothing I love more than retreating home to spend long lazy afternoons nestled by the kitchen bench slow cooking beautiful cuts of meat or baking up a storm. Filling our home with hearty warming dishes during these frosty winter months delights me like no other. I treasure these precious moments with my little family and love nothing more than spending an evening snuggled under a warm cozy throw watching movies and sipping my favourite glass of red.
There is, however, one down side to my love and adoration of winter and that is the nasty colds and flus that always seem to come with it. The last two weeks have been hijacked by one very nasty flu and unfortunately my little babies felt the worst of it. After lots of cuddles, a little pain relief, plenty of rest and a good dose of pumpkin soup I am very happy to say we’re all well and truly on the mend.
That said, to ward off any future winter born bugs I’ve been incorporating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables into our diets as well as a gorgeously green smoothie most mornings (I’ll be sharing our smoothie recipe next week). I’ve also made a conscious effort to incorporate as many healthy ingredients into our baking repertoire as well. My latest love is H2CoCo’s delicious organic virgin coconut oil. I’ve been using it in lieu of olive oil when I cook and have even managed to incorporate it into our baked goodies including these apricot pistachio quinoa bars and blueberry banana and chia loaf.
Today’s wholemeal lemon, ricotta and chia muffins also use the organic and 100% raw and natural oil. The coconut oil not only provides the muffins with gorgeous moisture to create a very tender crumb but gives the muffins a slight coconut flavour that works beautifully with the lemon and ricotta. The kids absolutely adored them for morning tea and gobbled up a muffin each along with a few sliced perfectly ripe strawberries.
To create your own batch of wholemeal lemon, ricotta & chia muffins simply…
Earlier this week my lovely little helpers and I also managed to bake these gorgeously golden apricot and pistachio quinoa bars.
These bars are absolutely delicious and another adapted recipe I picked up from the gorgeous Donna Hay Magazine, Fresh and Light. I am so happy I picked up this magazine, it has all of Donna’s usual stunning food styling plus an array of new, healthier ingredients that I am so delighted to have discovered.
These apricot and pistachio studded quinoa bars are made up of a few of my new found favourite ingredients like quinoa flakes, buckwheat flour and rice malt syrup and they couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Simply toast the quinoa flakes, quinoa, coconut and almonds and mix these thoroughly with the rest of the lovely ingredients. After a quick trip to the oven these bars a golden and set and once cooled ready to be cut into squares and served alongside a slice of apple or two for a lovely little snack.
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Although Mr H. (nine months old) chomped through his bar containing crunchy pistachios and almonds with little issue I would only recommend serving these bars to little ones who are well versed in eating crunchy style muesli or oat bars. I’ve served home made crunchy oat bars to Mr H. for the past couple of months so his eating style has developed to that of being able to chomp away on nuts strewn through bars quite easily. If your little one isn’t yet up to eating nuts you may want to give these raspberry oat bars a try instead.
To create your own apricot & pistachio quinoa bars simply…