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.

To create your own batch of wholemeal carrot muffins simply…

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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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apricot coconut squares

apricot coconut squaresapricot coconut squares

Miss G. and I did a little messing about in the kitchen yesterday afternoon and came up with these gorgeous apricot coconut squares.

The flavours were definitely inspired by last weeks apricot coconut breakfast cookies.  Grace enjoyed the breakfast cookies so much I just had to find another recipe to weave apricot and coconut into and these bars were just the place.

These little darlings are chock full of natural goodness and are a simple mix of bananas, oats, dates, natural peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and of course apricot and coconut.  Pictured below are flaked almonds, however I decided to leave them out of the batter and replace instead with extra shredded coconut.  Doing so created a much more friendly baby led weaning texture and these squares are suitable for bubs approximately 8 months and older.  Younger bubs may find the dried apricot a little too challenging.

Thanks to the food processor the apricot and coconut studded batter comes together in just moments and can be baking away to golden perfection in less than 10 minutes.  Grace really enjoyed making these bars and made sure she was in charge of measuring the ingredients, popping them into the processor and of course turning the processor on (her favourite thing to do in the kitchen).  She also managed to flatten the dough into our prepared baking tin thanks to her pint sized rubber spatula.

Once the squares had baked to golden perfection and cooled we stirred together a little melted white chocolate with greek yoghurt and vanilla bean paste to create a luscious drizzle to adorn the cooled squares with.

Along with a few fresh strawberries these apricot coconut squares make the perfect baby led weaning morning or afternoon tea snack.

To make your own batch of apricot coconut squares 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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apple, cinnamon & hazelnut loaf

apple, cinnamon & hazelnut loafphoto-2159

We moved house over the weekend and it was the single most stressful experience of my life.

Packing up your entire existence whilst caring for a newborn and almost two year old should be an olympic sport.

It’s tough.

Really tough.

Looking back and considering the feat, we did pretty well.

And I have to say that settling into our new home feels wonderful.

Especially the kitchen.

The first creation to emerge from my new favourite place is this wonderful little apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf.

Loaf cakes have become a bit of a go-to for breakfast of late.  Jam packed with fruit and able to be whipped up and in the oven in less than 10 minutes they’re a great breakfast alternative to the usual toast or cereal routine which can get pretty boring after a while.

Today’s apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf is not only completely delish but really good for the little ones too.  I managed to get 4 apples into this little darling, and because of the natural sweetness from the apples I used a mere half cup of brown sugar in the entire loaf.  If you’re keen to skip the sugar completely, simply replace with a half cup of maple or a third cup of agave syrup which would also work beautifully.

The hazelnut meal in this loaf is genius.  It not only creates a tender and wholesome crumb but a gorgeous earthy nutty flavour that works beautifully with the classic apple and cinnamon flavour combination.  And the smells that wafts from the oven as the loaf bakes to gorgeous goldenness is simply divine.  So much so that Miss G. kept hovering around the oven saying ‘yum yum’ until it was finally cooked.

This loaf is also the perfect texture for little ones just beginning their baby led weaning journey.  The abundance of apple strewn throughout the loaf creates a dense and moist crumb that won’t be too easily squished by little hands making it simple for beginners to hold and nibble on with ease.  Just slice the loaf into thick batons and your little one should have no trouble at all.

This apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf also freezes wonderfully.  Simply slice and wrap individual pieces in a little cling wrap, pop into a freezer safe container and stash in the deep freeze for up to 3 months.  Allow to thaw by simply resting on the bench or in a lunch box.

To create your own apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf simply…

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raspberry & pistachio loaf cake

raspberry & pistachio loaf cakeraspberry & pistachio loaf cake

I know I’ve been a little quiet lately, but I have the most wonderful excuse…

cutie pie

I’ve been busy baking this little cutie pie.

Although I did manage to post a few recipes during my pregnancy, constant morning sickness made cooking, photographing and writing about food pretty unbearable.

Now that I am feeling human once again, I am thrilled to be back in the kitchen alongside my lovely little helper to share more of our favourite baby led weaning recipes and today with our beautiful little man fast asleep Grace and I crept into the kitchen to put together this wonderful raspberry and pistachio loaf cake.

This pistachio flecked and raspberry studded gorgeously golden creation is delicious and thanks to the use of the food processor couldn’t be simpler to prepare. We had the cake nestled in the oven in less than ten minutes.  And Grace loved loved loved using the processor, anything with buttons!  If you do ever have trouble getting your little ones eating, my top tip is to get them involved in the cooking whenever possible.  Now that Grace is that little bit older she really loves spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing dinner most evenings.  And seeing her beam with pride when we sit down to eat is just lovely.   In fact her new favourite game is to name the ingredients as she quickly devours them and today was no exception.  As we sat down to morning tea with two slithers of loaf and a little fresh fruit, Miss G. recalled the ingredients giving her own unique pronunciation to most of them.

To create your own raspberry & pistachio loaf simply…

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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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