strawberry & apple oat crisp bars

strawberry & apple oat crisp barsstrawberry & apple oat crisp bars

Oh it feels so wonderful to be back in the kitchen and baking once again.

We’ve just experienced one of the most unbelievably crazy months.

Between teething molars, tummy bugs, trips to emergency (both Grace and I), the flu, spring cleaning, redecorating the house and a family beach vacay we have been completely out of our usual routine.

The good news is we made it through and today we’re back with these totally gorgeous strawberry and apple oat crisp bars.

These bars are amazing and come from one of my all-time favourite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  The moment these gorgeously golden fruit layered oat bars hit my inbox I knew Grace and I had to bake them.  They’re everything we look for in a morning tea snack; they’re chock full of oats and fruit, taste incredible and are the perfect portable snack.  We made a few adjustments to the original recipe (mostly in the method so that Grace could get involved in the baking) and we also swapped the rhubarb for apple.

These bars really are a breeze to prepare, Grace and I managed to get them into the oven in less than 10 minutes and only used one mixing bowl, which is great when you’re trying to clean with an eager 18 month old chasing you around the kitchen.

Once baked, I popped a couple of the crispy golden strawberry and apple strewn bars into the lunch box and Grace devoured them alongside a little fruit for her snack at the park this morning.

To create these gorgeous strawberry & apple oat crisp bars simply…

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cranberry pecan oat bars

cranberry pecan oat barscranberry pecan oat bars

With a busier than usual weekend coming up, this morning we decided to get a little uncharacteristically organised and prepare a few lovely little snacks for the lunch box to keep us satisfied whilst on the road.

Along with an easy peasy batch of blueberry muffins and sweet corn fritters, Grace and I stirred together this gorgeously simple batch of cranberry pecan oat bars.

I love these cranberry pecan oat bars.  Not only are they sugar free and chock full of amazingly nutritious bananas, dates, oats, cranberries, coconut and pecans but they couldn’t be simpler to prepare thanks to the muscle of a food processor.  Miss G. and I were easily able to whip these bars up and have them baking away in the oven in less than 10 minutes.

And these gorgeously golden bars make the perfect baby led weaning snack.  They are firm enough to withstand tight little grips whilst soft enough for little mouths to nibble on with ease.  Grace had no trouble demolishing the chopped pecans strewn throughout the bars, however if you think your little one isn’t yet up to the task simply leave them out.

To create these gorgeous cranberry pecan oat bars simply…

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oat choc chip cookies

oat chocolate chip cookies

oat chocolate chip cookies

How do you know your baby is finished eating?

This can be one of the trickiest parts of baby led weaning and a question I get asked a lot.

Each baby has their own unique way of letting mummy and daddy know she’s done but I thought I’d share the cues Miss G. gives me in the hope they’ll help you better understand your little ones signals.

Usually I know Miss G. is finished eating when she:

  • begins to look bored
  • stops ferrying food to mouth and instead plays with her food
  • starts to squish food and mash it into her high chair tray
  • looks me directly in the eye, throws food & then giggles (my personal favourite)
  • places food into her nappy
  • generally pushes food away from her
  • uses her arms to sweep food across her high chair tray
  • attempts to climb out of her high chair
  • interested in absolutely everything other than what’s on her high chair tray
  • and when offered a little more food simply shakes her head

Learning your little ones cues can be difficult but over time it does get easier.  If you’re still unsure as to whether your little one is finished I’ve found the best thing to do is offer a little more food, usually a new flavour and see how they respond.

Now onto today’s cookies.

Still obsessed with last weeks easy peasy banana oat cookies today I decided to whip up a batch of oat chocolate chip cookies.

These little beauties are chock full of oats, coconut, dark chocolate chips and are flavoured with a little maple syrup and vanilla.

And this cookie dough couldn’t be simpler to prepare, just pop all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix with your hands, squishing and squeezing to create a soft sticky texture.  Once the dough has rested for 5 minutes or so (just until the oats a lovely and soft), add the dark chocolate chips, shape into rounds and pop into the oven to bake until golden and delicious.

To  create your own batch of oat chocolate chip cookies simply…

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pumpkin scones

pumpkin scones

pumpkin scones

Over the weekend we cooked a simple roast pumpkin & feta pasta salad.

Whilst preparing our gorgeously bright orange organic pumpkin I decide to chop a little extra to pop into a batch of scones for our sunday morning brunch.

Usually my scone dough is based on the classic butter/flour/sugar combination but thanks to last weeks banana oat cookie recipe I am now inspired to explore healthier versions of my beloved baking favourites.

So with Miss G. tucked into bed sound asleep I took a much needed mummy moment, poured a glass of wine, sunk into the lounge and flicked through my ipad in search of a little clean eating inspiration.  It didn’t take long for me to find this pumpkin scone recipe thanks to the gorgeous site The Healthy Chef – Teresa Cutter.  Teresa is a qualified chef and nutritionist and I was in awe scanning through her collection of healthy yet utterly delicious recipes, so many of which, with a few little tweaks, will make fantastic additions to my baby led weaning repertoire.  Teresa also offers nutritional advice along with each recipe which is fantastic for a nutritional novice like me.

The next morning I was so excited to pull out our gorgeously roasted pumpkin to stir together these lovely little scones which couldn’t have been easier.  Simply combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another and mix them together to form a dough.  Cut into rounds, pop on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or so.  Easy peasy.

For our sunday morning brunch we all sat together on the sun drenched balcony to enjoy our pumpkin scones.  Miss G. enjoyed hers alongside wedges of apple whilst daddy smothered his with lashings of butter and maple syrup undoing all of the nutritional value I’m sure.  What’s the saying…you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink?

To create a lovely little batch of gorgeously healthy pumpkin scones simply…

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easy peasy banana oat cookies

banana oat cookies

banana oat cookies

One of my gorgeous friends was lovely enough to share this unbelievably simple and completely delicious banana oat cookie recipe.

Using only three ingredients; banana, oats and cinnamon, these gorgeous cookies are not only simple to prepare but super duper healthy.

I really wanted to share this recipe because I’ve received quite a few requests from mama’s looking for easy-to-eat, non-messy snacks for bubs on-the-go and these lovely little cookies are just that!  Chock full of banana and oats these cookies are a fabulously healthy snack to be nestled in the lunchbox.

I am also really excited about these cookies because they’re infinitely adaptable.  I can’t wait to get creative and whip up batches with sultanas, coconut, dried apricots or perhaps a few cheeky chocolate chips.

To create these lovely little banana oat babies simply…

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strawberry oat bread

strawberry oat bread

strawberry oat bread

Last week we baked a lovely banana oat bread.  It was delicious.  Grace really enjoyed it and I really enjoyed the fact she was eating a healthy loaf chock full of banana, oats and yoghurt.

Ever since I have been racking my brain for a reason to bake another loaf and with a bench full of fresh strawberries teetering on the edge of over-ripeness I took that as a sign from the food gods this morning and pulled out my mixing bowl to stir together a lovely little strawberry oat loaf.

This recipe is as complicated as mixing dry ingredients into wet and can be easily stirred together and in the oven in less than ten minutes.  And once nestled in the oven the baking loaf fills the kitchen with the delicious fragrance of baked strawberries and cream.  Divine.

For morning tea Grace happily gobbled up a slice of the strawberry and oat studded loaf along with a yoghurt cup adorned with a fresh strawberry.

To create your own loaf of delicious strawberry oat bread simply…

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oat slice

oat slice

oat slice

Over the weekend we were lucky enough to be gifted a lovely batch of home made oat and sultana cookies.

They were divine.

Thick, chewy, gooey and chock full of sultanas and oats they were everything a cookie should be.

And like most delicious treats at our place this packet of cookies disappeared faster than my sanity after a long sleepless night.

With just an empty cookie packet to stare at and a deep desire for more cookies I decided to pull out my favourite baking cook book in order to whip up a batch of cookies myself.

oat slice

Reading through the recipe I did the time/effort calculations in my mind and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to ‘whip up a batch’ without world war three erupting in our living room.  This particular oat and sultana cookie recipe required electric beaters, resting time and endless rolling of 36 cookies.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

With Grace now up and about and getting around with ninja like precision and ‘black caviar’ speed I now have a ten minute ‘happy baby’ window which to bake in.  Best to leave this recipe to those bakers without children I thought.

Not to be defeated I flicked through the ‘lazy baking’ file in my mind to see if I  could retrieve a more simple recipe to which I could add delicious oats and sultanas to that would still be sticky, oozy and gooey.  And then I remember my simple, easy peasy, ten minute oat slice recipe.  Winning!

With Grace happily playing with her ‘toys’ i.e. my car keys, credit cards and mobile phone (why is it that children are always interested in playing with everything other than their own toys?) I quickly stirred together the oat and sultana slice.  I hate to admit it (bad naughty mother moment) but the trick to keeping this slice deliciously luscious and gooey is the combination of butter and brown sugar.

I know, I know!  It’s terrible!

‘Somebody please think of the children!’

Call the food police!

Yep this recipe is definitely not going to be on the clean eating, green smoothie, protein bar wielding mothers baking list but it made it on my mine and happily so.  As a once in a while treat this ooey, gooey, fudgy, luscious slice studded with oats and sultanas is truly wonderful and I hope my lazy baking inspired moment of genius can bring a naughty yet unbelievably delicious recipe into your homes and tummies too.

To create your own batch of oat sultana cookie inspired slice simply…

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