baked french toast

baked french toastbaked french toast

Mr H. has officially started baby led weaning and he couldn’t be happier.

For the past couple of weeks he’s been so interested in watching his big sister, mummy and daddy eat and when he started to display the skills needed to self feed we couldn’t wait to get started.

So far our little guy is a huge fan of sweet potato wedges, banana, strawberries, rockmelon, wholemeal toast and zucchini fritters.

And to officially welcome Mr H. into the wonderful world of food we celebrated over Sunday brunch with this lovely batch of gorgeously golden baked french toast.

This french toast is perfect for baby led weaning beginners for so many reasons.  Firstly the recipe has no added sugar, the eggy mixture is simply sweetened with a dash of maple syrup and a good squeeze of orange juice and zest.  And because this version of french toast is baked rather than fried there is no need for any butter or cooking oil.  This method of cooking also creates perfectly textured bread that can withstand the iron grip of a baby led weaning beginner yet is soft enough to nibble on with ease.  Mr H. had no problem whatsoever gobbling up his Sunday morning breakfast along with some fresh berries.

To create your own batch of gorgeously golden baked french toast simply…

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orange cranberry soda bread

cranberry orange soda breadcranberry orange soda bread

Sunday mornings usually mean some type of pancakes at our place.  This weekend however, we decided to try something a little different and bake a gorgeously golden loaf of orange cranberry soda bread and I am so glad we did.

This bread is not only a breeze to bake, we had our fruit spiked loaf nestled in the oven in less than 10 minutes but is a delicious alternative to our usual pancakes.

Preparing this loaf is much like baking a batch of scones, you rub a little butter into flour, add milk to create a dough, shape and bake until golden and cooked.  Its very simple and just like scones, this loaf also freezes beautifully.  Our surplus loaf was cut into thick slices, wrap individually and popped into the deep freeze ready to be enjoyed later in the week.

Grace had the best fun making this loaf, not only because she was in charge of measuring the ingredients which resulted in flour absolutely everywhere but playing and kneading the dough has to be the best fun a 2 year old can have in the kitchen.

The flavour of this bread is just lovely.  The cranberry and orange work together beautifully to create the most amazingly flavoured loaf and I just love that the cranberries caramelise throughout the orange scented dough.  We served our loaf, still warm, alongside a little fresh fruit and fresh orange juice.

To create your own gorgeously golden loaf of cranberry orange soda bread simply…

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mini pea & pesto frittatas

mini pea & pesto frittatasmini pea & pesto frittatas

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…

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strawberry heart scones

strawberry sconesstrawberry scones

Miss G. and I did a little Valentine’s Day inspired baking yesterday and came up with these gorgeous little heart shaped strawberry scones.

They are delish.

Chock full of fresh strawberries and laced with a good dollop of vanilla bean paste these pink hued babies smell and taste of summertime strawberries and cream.

Rather than following the traditional route I decided we’d skip mixing the scones together by hand and opt instead for the food processor.  And thanks to our favourite kitchen gadget the strawberry studded scone dough came together almost effortlessly and in a matter of just moments.

Grace had the most fun though once we started playing with the dough.  Watching her flatten the dough into a chubby disc and cut out the little heart shaped scones melted my heart.   Yes it got a little messy but it was totally worth it.  Her little face was so proud and full of excitement as she plonked the heart shaped scones onto our baking sheet.  And of course she was in charge of ‘painting’ the scones with their obligatory adornment of milk.

Once nestled in the oven the scones grew and turned the most wonderful shade of gorgeous goldenness.  And thankfully the scones didn’t take long to cool down as Grace could hardly wait to dig in.  Once cool enough I sliced a strawberry studded scone in half, topped with strawberry jam and a dollop of Greek yoghurt and my lovely little taste tester gobbled it up praising her cooking efforts.

In terms of baby led weaning, scones make a wonderful morning or afternoon tea treat.  They’re texture is perfect for baby led weaning beginners, firm enough to withstand a tight grip yet soft enough to be nibbled on with ease.  So far I have baked mango coconut scones, raspberry almond scones, carrot cake scones, and even a batch of pumpkin scones.  All recipes include a good serving of fruit (or vege) and have been gobbled up and enjoyed by little kids (and big).  Scones also freeze beautifully.  I often bake big batches of scones to stash in the deep freeze, they not only last up to 3 months frozen but defrost and reheat beautifully!

To bake your own batch of Valentine’s Day inspired strawberry heart scones simply…

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savoury muffins

savoury muffinssavoury muffins

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…

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apricot coconut squares

apricot coconut squaresapricot coconut squares

Miss G. and I did a little messing about in the kitchen yesterday afternoon and came up with these gorgeous apricot coconut squares.

The flavours were definitely inspired by last weeks apricot coconut breakfast cookies.  Grace enjoyed the breakfast cookies so much I just had to find another recipe to weave apricot and coconut into and these bars were just the place.

These little darlings are chock full of natural goodness and are a simple mix of bananas, oats, dates, natural peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and of course apricot and coconut.  Pictured below are flaked almonds, however I decided to leave them out of the batter and replace instead with extra shredded coconut.  Doing so created a much more friendly baby led weaning texture and these squares are suitable for bubs approximately 8 months and older.  Younger bubs may find the dried apricot a little too challenging.

Thanks to the food processor the apricot and coconut studded batter comes together in just moments and can be baking away to golden perfection in less than 10 minutes.  Grace really enjoyed making these bars and made sure she was in charge of measuring the ingredients, popping them into the processor and of course turning the processor on (her favourite thing to do in the kitchen).  She also managed to flatten the dough into our prepared baking tin thanks to her pint sized rubber spatula.

Once the squares had baked to golden perfection and cooled we stirred together a little melted white chocolate with greek yoghurt and vanilla bean paste to create a luscious drizzle to adorn the cooled squares with.

Along with a few fresh strawberries these apricot coconut squares make the perfect baby led weaning morning or afternoon tea snack.

To make your own batch of apricot coconut squares simply…

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blueberry hazelnut muffins

blueberry hazelnut muffinsblueberry hazelnut muffins

During the week Miss G. and I did a little recipe testing and came up with these gorgeously golden hazelnut muffins bursting with blueberries.

Not only are these little darlings absolutely delicious but with a little tweaking we also managed to bake these babies using no sugar, just a little maple syrup for sweetness.  The maple syrup also helped to create the most amazing golden cracked crust.

The addition of hazelnut meal and yoghurt to the muffin batter also helped to create a wonderfully tender crumb and moist texture, which is perfect for little hands to pick up and nibble on.

But the most wonderful part of these muffins has to be the gorgeously juicy blueberries.  When folded through the muffin batter the blueberries leave the most gorgeous trail of blue stained juice creating the prettiest blue coloured swirls.  And once baked the tart blueberries burst throughout the crumb creating sweet caramelised jammy pockets of blueberry goodness.

These muffins are an absolute must try.  They are chock full of natural goodness, not overly sweet and full of wonderful blueberries.  And I know for a fact that any surplus muffins freeze wonderfully.  Simply wrap individual portions, pop into a freezer safe container and stash in the deep freeze for up to three months.  I often pop frozen muffins straight into our lunch box and by morning tea they’re ready to enjoy.

To create your own batch of sugar-free blueberry hazelnut muffins simply…

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