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…
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…
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…
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…
Todays lovely lemon loaf really couldn’t be more simple.
It so simple that Miss G. and I managed to stir the batter together and have this heavenly loaf baking away in the oven in less than 10 minutes.
And the results though couldn’t be more sublime.
This gorgeously golden loaf is not only heady in lovely lemony scent but is chock full of wholesome, totally good for you ingredients; yoghurt, macadamia nut oil, agave syrup and wholemeal flour.
Along with a little fruit, this loaf makes the perfect baby led weaning morning or afternoon tea snack and is also the perfect addition to any lunch box.
To create this lovely lemon loaf simply…
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…