banana coconut mini loaves

banana coconut breakfast loavesbanana coconut breakfast loaves

As the spring sun begins to rise earlier and earlier each day so too do my little ones.

Our days now officially begin the moments the first rays of spring sunshine sneakily peak through the cracks of the curtains.

I don’t mind too much though as we’ve been making the most of these early mornings either by going for a gorgeous walk in the beautiful sunshine or spending the first hour of the morning nestled by the kitchen bench baking up a storm.

This morning we opted for the latter and decided to bake a special batch of banana and coconut loaves chockfull of deliciousness.

These banana and coconut mini loaves couldn’t be simpler to prepare, they come together in mere moments with very little effort and all in the one big mixing bowl.  Miss G. had the best fun mashing the bananas!  And thanks to the loaves being so cute and teeny tiny they take no time at all to bake.

Baby led weaning is messy

These mini loaves are taken to the heights of deliciousness thanks to the adornment of a scrumptious layer of banana, coconut, cinnamon and sprinkle of rapadura sugar.  Once baked this layer of goodness caramelises to gorgeous goldenness and fills the house with most divine aromas of comforting banana and cinnamon.

This recipe creates 12 mini loaves so please feel free to cool half the loaves, wrap individual portions and pop into a freezer bag or container.  They will keep beautifully in the deep freeze for up to 3 months and make a wonderful addition to any lunch box.

In terms of baby led weaning, these loaves are very easy for beginners to pick up and nibble on.  The loaves texture is firm enough to withstand tight little grips yet soft enough to be nibbled on.  These loaves are sweetened thanks to the lovely combination of mashed banana and a half cup of rapadura sugar.  However, a lot of sweetness and flavour also comes from the fragrant ground cinnamon and vanilla bean paste so if your bananas are especially sweet, please feel free to half the amount of sugar.

To create your own divine little batch of banana coconut breakfast loaves simply…

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blueberry coconut cookies with dark choc drizzle

blueberry coconut cookies with choc drizzleblueberry coconut cookies with choc drizzle

Spring has definitely sprung.  Along with the gorgeously warm and sunny days comes a whole heap of much desired playtime that my kids are absolutely gobbling up.  Most days are spent in the back garden, digging around in the sandpit, playing in the cubby house or riding their little cars round and round the garden.  I absolutely love it because let’s be honest, it gives me a few extra moments of peace.

With all of the extra running around I thought the kids could indulge in a little ‘sometimes’ sweet, something a little bit special and extra sweet than our normal snacks.  Most days I try to keep snack time pretty healthy but with all of the extra activity I figure a little blueberry coconut cookie drizzled with a little dark chocolate couldn’t hurt.

That said, these cookies aren’t too bad.  Yes they are sweetened with rapadura sugar and a little maple syrup but they’re also chockfull of blueberries, oats, shredded unsweetened coconut and wholemeal flour.  And whilst the chocolate drizzled over each cookie looks quite impressive and decadent, by weight the amount is quite minimal.  I melted 50 grams of dark chocolate (that adorned over 20 cookies) and a lot of it met the baking paper rather than the cookies, especially when Miss G. was in charge of the drizzle.

As you can imagine both of my little ones absolutely adored the cookies, especially Mr H.

Mr H. wearing the little chomps messy mealtimes smock

By the end of his cookie he had completely covered himself in dark chocolate and smashed blueberry but I didn’t mind at all thanks to his Little Chomps messy mealtime smock.

This gorgeous smock (I adore the bright red colour) has been an absolute lifesaver since Mr H. began his baby led weaning journey.  Not only has my washing pile been cut in half but his clothes have remained stain free giving them a longer shelf life and saving me money yippee!

Baby led weaning is messy

I also love that the smock is completely waterproof, wipeable and machine-washable.  Following a really messy meal I simply peel the smock off Mr H. and pop it straight into the washing machine!  I have four of the gorgeous smocks (they come in the coolest colours) so that they are always on hand and ready to go!  I even keep one in the nappy bag for when we are out and about!

Mr H. wearing his Little Chomps messy mealtimes smock

Another feature I simply adore is the elastic sleeves, they are intelligently designed to cuff little wrists perfectly to stop food and drinks destroying sleeves without being too tight around chubby little arms.

Mr H. wearing his Little Chomps messy mealtimes smock

The smock comes in one size designed to grow with your little ones from 6 months to 2+ years, always remaining long enough to cover their little lap perfectly.  Meanwhile, how gorgeous are Mr H.’s baby toes…

The smock is made from a soft, breathable, biodegradable fabric that is  BPA and PVC-free.  I also love that the fabric isn’t plastic so it doesn’t distract little ones with that terrible sounds only plastic makes.

What I love most though is the messy mealtime smock is proudly designed by a beautiful and very talented Australian mum.  You can really see the thought, attention and detail that has gone into the smock to create such an amazing product.  If you’re in the market for a smock I really can’t recommend this one more.

To create your own batch of blueberry coconut cookies drizzled with luscious dark chocolate simply…

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everyday salad w’ hasselback sweet potato

everyday salad w' hasselback potatoeseveryday salad w' hasselback potatoes

This week our sweet little Harry turns one.

I still can’t quite believe we are celebrating his first birthday.  It seems like only yesterday I was cradling the sweetest smelling cuddly snuggly newborn baby boy on my chest, beaming with pride wondering what I did to deserve such a divine little fella.  And now my bright bubbly blonde boy is racing around the house giving his big sister a run for her money.  Time truly does fly.

birthday boyhappy birthday

This weekend we are throwing our big birthday boy a special little party to celebrate.  Along with the usual decorations, family and friends there is going to be a lot of delicious (a.k.a sugar laden) food including a Peter Rabbit inspired birthday cake.  So with the sugar onslaught set to begin I decided to balance the food scales a little today and put together this super simple everyday salad with hasselback sweet potatoes for supper.

This salad couldn’t be simpler to prepare.  Just cover a serving dish in a layer of fresh greens (today I used baby spinach, rocket and mint leaves) and adorn row-by-row with your favourite salad ingredients.  After a dig around the refrigerator this afternoon I decided to use capsicum, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, carrot, avocado, corn and some delicious garlic and herb scented feta.  The results were a fresh, crunchy, delicious salad full of all of the good stuff.

little chomps

The hasselback potatoes are an old family favourite of mine.  The slits along the sweet potato help the orange hued vege roast to gorgeous golden perfection and add a lovely crunch to each deliciously creamy bite of sweet potato.  If you haven’t tried sweet potato like this you must give it a go!  The kids love it!

In terms of baby led weaning, this salad and sweet potato are perfect for the little ones!  Just be sure to slice your salad ingredients into long thin pieces so that blw beginners can easily grab the goodness and once your little one has mastered their pincer grip they’ll have no issues with the smaller pieces (corn, cherry tomatoes).   When serving the sweet potato, simply slice them up into smaller pieces to they’re easily picked up.

To create your own bright and fresh everyday salad and hasselback sweet potatoes simply…

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raspberry coconut cookies

raspberry coconut cookiesraspberry coconut cookies

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…

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wholemeal lemon, ricotta & chia muffins

wholemeal lemon, ricotta & chia muffinswholemeal lemon, ricotta & chia muffins

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.

wholemeal apple muffins

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…

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apricot & pistachio quinoa bars

apricot & pistachio quinoa barsapricot & pistachio quinoa bars

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

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…

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jam drop cookies

jam drop cookiesjam drop cookies

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…

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