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.
Get better protection & a faster clean-up with a Little Chomps Messy Mealtime Smock
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…
These gorgeously golden jam drop cookies are absolutely delicious thanks to my new found love, buckwheat flour.
Buckwheat flour is rich and nutty and creates the most wonderfully textured cookies. And despite its name, buckwheat flour doesn’t actually contain any wheat, making it a wonderful gluten free flour alternative. Buckwheat flour can be found at some major supermarkets or most health food stores.
I also love these cookies because the dough comes together in mere moments. It’s as simple as popping all of the ingredients into a big bowl and giving it all a good mix. Miss G. had the best fun stirring these babies together and enjoyed rolling them into little balls even more. I did however take over once the jam had to be added to the centre of each cookie as my lovely little helper was hell bent on emptying the entire blueberry jam jar onto one cookie.
The texture of these jam drop cookies make them perfect for baby led weaning beginners. And although they have the most wonderful crunchy outer layer, the inside of the cookie is tender enough to be gnawed on without breaking up too badly. My little Harry had the best fun devouring his for morning tea alongside a few slices of apple.
Being free of refined sugar, eggs and gluten these jam drop cookies also make the perfect addition to any lunch box.
Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to test whether these cookies freeze well, they disappeared way too quickly but given the texture and ingredients I imagine they would freeze and defrost with little issues.
To create your own batch of gorgeously golden jam drop cookies simply…
We’re heading away for the weekend to one of our favourite island destinations in the whole wide world to watch my beautiful baby sister marry the man of her dreams.
We are all so excited but very busy. There is so much to organise when travelling with little ones and no matter how planned and thought out I think I am there always seems to be bits and pieces I miss and last minute dashes to the store are inevitable. Today’s mad rush involved hunting down a pair of stockings for Miss G.
Packing food for the kids is always a challenge too. So at the beginning of the week we got busy in the kitchen and baked a whole heap of goodies to freeze and take with us. In our lunch box we have coconut banana pancakes, delicious oat choc chip cookies, pea and mint fritters and a batch of these gorgeous golden mighty morning muffins.
These muffins really are mighty and so jam packed with nutritional goodness. The combination of oats, sultanas, carrot and banana make them a hearty baby led weaning breakfast and will keep the little ones going well and truly until lunch time.
These muffins couldn’t be simpler to prepare simply whisk together the wet ingredients along with the banana and carrot, fold through the dry ingredients, pop into a muffin tin and bake. This particular recipe makes approximately 15 muffins and freezes beautifully. Simply allow the muffins to cool completely, wrap individual portions, pop into a freezer safe container and stash in the deep freeze for up to three months.
To create your own batch of mighty morning muffins simply…
I did the unthinkable yesterday and ventured solo to Ikea with my two lovely little cherubs.
By some miracle they both behaved (very uncharacteristically) like angels.
So I took advantage of their great moods and shopped, shopped and shopped whilst Harry giggled at Grace as she pushed him in the trolley through the maze of furniture and homewares.
We did stop halfway though for a lovely snack and my little shoppers were so happy to munch on these raspberry oat bars I’d packed into our lunch box.
These bars are delicious and couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Just pop the ingredients into a food processor and blitz. Once the batter is nestled in the tin gently press a few raspberries into the bars and bake for 20-25 minutes or until gorgeously golden.
This recipe makes 16 bars that will vanish all too quickly. They really are delicious. And did I mention this recipe contains no eggs and no sugar! These bars are instead sweetened by a couple of ripe bananas and a handful of mejool dates. The vanilla extract and ground cinnamon also provide the bars with a good hit of gorgeous flavour.
The texture of these bars is soft and squishy yet firm which makes them wonderful for baby led weaning beginners as they will withstand their tight grip.
My little ones also enjoy these bars for breakfast. I serve them alongside a little fresh fruit and they are gobbled up in no time.
To create your own batch of raspberry oat bars 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…
To celebrate the arrival of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge we did a little princess inspired baking and came up with these raspberry swirled teacakes.
These pink hued babies are absolutely delicious and a complete breeze to prepare. My little princess and I stirred these darlings together and had them nestled in the oven baking away to gorgeous goldeness in less than ten minutes. To accompany the teacakes we rippled a little of our raspberry sauce throughout a tub of vanilla bean specked greek thick yoghurt. The combination of teacake, raspberry swirled yoghurt and fresh berries creates a lovely little dessert fitting for any princess.
We made a few changes to the original teacake recipe to ensure these raspberry swirl teacakes are also full of nutritional goodness. We opted for wholemeal flour instead of regular plain, we also added a cup of almond meal which is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and low in sugars. We also left out the white sugar and instead sweetened our batter with a half cup of maple syrup instead.
In terms of baby led weaning these little teacakes make a wonderful treat when served alongside a good dollop of yoghurt and a handful of fresh berries. The shape and soft texture of the teacakes also make them wonderful for baby led weaning beginners. Mr H. had no problem demolishing his teacake for morning tea. These teacakes also freeze beautifully. Simply wrap individual portions, pop into a freezer safe container and stash in the deep freeze for up to three months.
To make your own batch of pink hued raspberry swirl tea cakes simply…