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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mighty morning muffins

mighty morning muffinsmighty morning muffins

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…

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wholemeal apple muffins

wholemeal apple muffinswholemeal apple muffins

Both my little darlings must be going through growth spurts because they won’t stop eating.

So far this week they have devoured a batch of vegetable fritters (will post the easy peasy recipe next blog post), an entire roast chicken, a batch of breakfast cookies and have made quite the dent in this batch of gorgeously golden and wonderfully wholesome wholemeal apple muffins.

These muffins are not only delicious but contain no processed sugar (sweetened instead with a little maple syrup and cinnamon) and are a breeze to prepare, Miss G. and I had these apple studded babies in the oven in less than ten minutes.  These muffins are also loaded with fruit, the batter contains two diced apples plus another apple sliced thinly and nestled on top of each muffin.

Once baked I opted to store the muffins in the refrigerator as they contain so much fruit and have a much longer shelf life when kept cool.  I have also had great success freezing these muffins.  Simply wrap individual muffins, pop into a freezer safe container and stash in the deep freeze for up to three months.

Along with a little fresh fruit these apple loaded wholemeal muffins make the perfect baby led weaning breakfast or morning tea and are a great addition to any lunch box.

To create your own batch of wholemeal apple muffins simply…

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wholemeal carrot muffins

wholemeal carrot muffinswholemeal carrot muffins

It’s no secret Miss G. loves to cook and now that she fully understands her little brother enjoys her culinary creations too, she adores her time in the kitchen that little bit more.

Today, with Mr H. happily playing away on his play mat my budding little chef and I decided to stir together a super simple batch of wholemeal carrot muffins.

These muffins are not only delicious (and full of nutritional goodness) but couldn’t be simpler to bake.  Simply whisk together the wet ingredients, stir through the dry ingredients then gently fold through a couple of cups of gorgeously bright shredded carrot.  Once nestled in the oven these orange hued little darlings take just over 10 minutes to bake to golden gorgeousness and smell amazing thanks to our spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger.

I also love the fact that we managed to make these muffins using no sugar.   Instead, the grated carrot adds most of the needed sweetness along with a little maple syrup.  Our gorgeous spice mix also did a lot to flavour the wholesome muffins.

Once baked and cooled, Mr H. was more than happy to tuck in.  Along with a few fresh strawberries the wholemeal carrot muffin quickly disappeared thanks to his very unique eating style.  I don’t quite remember Grace eating like this at his age but Mr H. loves to crumble the muffin and lick the crumbs off of his little hands.  It’s so cute to watch, the intense look on his face just melts my heart.

wholemeal carrot muffins

These muffins are also perfect to freeze.  Simply allow the muffins to cool to room temperature, wrap individual portions, pop into a freezer safe container and stash in the deep freeze for up to 3 months.  I often pop frozen muffins straight into our lunch box and by lunch time they are perfectly thawed and ready to enjoy.

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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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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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strawberry & mandarin muffins

strawberry & mandarin muffinsstrawberry & mandarin muffins

Mandarins this time of year are simply divine.

Full of juice, amazingly sweet and perfectly packaged these little babies make the ultimate on-the-go baby led weaning snack.

Lately, a day doesn’t go by without one of these bright orange autumnal fruits finding its way into our lunch box and ultimately Miss G’s. tummy.  She absolutely adores them.

So in celebration of our go-to fruit of the moment I conjured up this batch of wonderful wholemeal strawberry and mandarin muffins.

And I couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised by the flavour combination. The strawberry and mandarin work beautifully together.  While the mandarin adds a delightful aromatic citrus zest and flavour to the muffins the strawberries provide natural sweetness which is needed due to the intentional lack of sugar in the recipe.

For a little extra goodness I also decided to replace the white refined flour with the more hearty, wholesome and nourishing wholemeal variety.

This particular muffin recipe makes 12 strawberry studded beauties and I am more the happy to say they freeze wonderfully.  Simply allow the muffins to cool completely, wrap individually, pop into a freezer bag or container and stash in the deep freeze for up to 3 months.  I often pop a muffin straight from the freezer into Grace’s lunch box and by lunch time the muffin is defrosted and ready to devour.

I know I’ve said it before but muffins, along with a little fresh fruit, really do make a wonderful baby led weaning breakfast or morning tea snack.  They’re the perfect shape for little hands to grip and nibble away on with ease and they’re gorgeously soft texture makes them an effortless snack from the very beginning of your baby led weaning journey.  In fact, if Grace has been fussy with teething and off her food I’ll often bake a quick batch of fruit filled muffins to induce her appetite once again.

To create these super simple strawberry mandarin muffins simply…

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