caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries

caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberriescaramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries

I adore everything about winter.

The cosy clothes, endless cups of hot tea and days spent with the slow cooker bubbling away in the kitchen are my idea of heaven.

The late winter sunrise also guarantees a greatly appreciated sleep in most mornings and when Miss G. finally stirs she is more than happy to huddle, snuggle and cuddle under the warm cosy covers until we finally pluck up enough courage to face the frosty morning together.

Most mornings we make our way straight to the kitchen to heat up our beloved oats with a little stewed apple but this morning I decided something a little extra special was required so we put together this super simple caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries.

Although I have a very special place in my heart for traditional pancakes, on a frosty winter morning when immediate warming nourishment is required I much prefer the fuss free nature of the Dutch pancake.  There is no standing over a fry pan endlessly flipping pancakes, simply pour the batter over a little caramelised fruit and pop into a piping hot oven.  Fifteen minutes later a perfectly puffed and gorgeously golden fruit studded pancake emerges ready to be devoured.

Todays incarnation of our fuss free pancake included caramelised banana and fresh strawberries and really was baby led weaning winter breakfast perfection.  The texture of the pancake is perfect for little hands to hold and nibble away on with ease and when served alongside fresh strawberries and a little yoghurt, this breakfast will have your little one satisfied all morning long.

To create this winter warming caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries 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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lovely lemon loaf

lovely lemon loaflovely lemon loaf

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…

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banana choc muffins

banana choc muffinsbanana choc muffins

Tummy bugs, teething and the sniffles.  Yep this pretty much sums up our life for the past couple of weeks.

Poor little Miss G. has seen it all.  Just as the little trooper managed to get over one ailment she was barraged with yet another.

Between the tears, runny noses, sore gums and high temps there were no real food opportunities to share.  Grace’s appetite all but vanished.  The only bits and pieces she managed to eat were butter on toast, a few crackers and a little fruit here and there.

Thankfully our bouncy, bubbly, full of beans bubba soon returned, along with a mammoth like appetite and I couldn’t have been happier.  After mentally calculating the number of meals she had missed I instantly hit the kitchen to stock up once again on her favourites meals and snacks and the first cab off the rank were these gorgeously dark banana choc muffins.

I adore this muffin recipe.  Not only is it sugar-free and chock full of wonderful banana , it truly is one of the simplest recipes around.  Grace and I managed to stir them together in less than 5.

And the results are sublime.  The banana strewn throughout the deep dark choc muffins is delicious.  Not only does it create a moist and tender crumb but the banana flavour works beautifully with the cocoa.  I’m also really digging the macadamia nut oil, it adds a rich buttery flavour and is jam packed with goodness.

To create your own batch of these gorgeously dark banana choc muffins 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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banana date loaf

banana date loafbanana date loaf

We’re definitely the kind of family that has to have a baked goodie of some kind perched on the kitchen bench each and every day.

For us, it just doesn’t feel like home without a fresh batch of muffins or fruit loaf nestled on the kitchen counter ready to be devoured.

Pre baby our baked goodies were more often than not based on the traditional concoction of sickening sugar, heart stopping butter and overrefined white flour.  Yuck.

However since beginning baby led weaning and wanting to feed Grace lovely little nutritious and delicious treats my baked goodies have been given quite the health conscious make over.  Butter has been replaced with healthier oils like coconut, macadamia or olive.  Sugar has been kicked out and replaced with naturally sweet fruit (banana is our favourite) or agave syrup and overrefined white flour has been replaced with almond meal, wholemeal or spelt flour.

And todays banana date loaf is the perfect example of my new baking style.  Both free of sugar and gluten this little darling is not only totally good for you but absolutely delicious.  This loaf is gorgeously sweet thanks to the banana and dates and heady in the scent of cinnamon and almond.  The almond meal also provides the loaf with the most wonderful moist texture.  Miss G. loved this loaf for morning tea alongside her usual yoghurt cup and raspberries.

To create this sugar-free and gluten-free gorgeously golden banana date loaf simply…

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raspberry & almond scones

raspberry & almond sconesraspberry & almond scones

Over the weekend we were lucky enough to escape to the beach for a much needed family vacay.

We spent the weekend laying in the sun, swimming in the ocean, collection seashells and building sandcastles.

Miss G. loved every moment.

beach

Especially the ocean.

Miss G. was infatuated with the clear blue waves and stood in awe as she watched the waves crash and wash over her teeny tiny feet nestled in the sand.

beachbeach

She loved the ocean so much we could only pry her away from the waters edge to refuel and enjoy a few summer snacks.

Nestled on a towel we munched away on the best summer snacks, wedges of fresh watermelon and refreshing cool salads scrunched into fresh golden bread rolls.

It was perfection.

beach

The moment we returned home we instantly longed for the beach.

So in the hope of cheering us up I decided to bake these lovely little raspberry and almond scones.

They did the trick.

The raspberry spiked dough is perfection.  Not only does the marbled raspberry add natural sweetness to the scone but it also helps the scones remain tender and moist.  And the almond meal is a gorgeous alternative to the usual all flour scone, it creates a gorgeous texture and deep almond flavour.  And rather than using sugar I decided to opt for a little honey instead (NOTE: honey is not suitable for children under the age of one, please use agave or maple syrup instead if your child is under the age of one).

To create these gorgeous raspberry and almond scones simply…

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