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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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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baby friendly maple french toast

baby friendly french toast

baby friendly french toast

Most mornings breakfast is a pretty simple affair.

A little avocado on toast, fresh strawberries and half a banana is our usual fare.

However most mornings I wonder why I bother with the toast.

Rather than eating the bread and avocado together old school style Miss G.’s unique approach is to lick the toast clean of avocado leaving most of the golden bread behind.

A little worried about her clear lack of carb loading I have experimented with each and every type of loaf under the sun.

Wholemeal, multigrain, soy and linseed, farmers loaves, sourdough, pita bread, toasted turkish, english muffins, you name it I’ve tried it but still no luck.

It seems Miss G. just isn’t digging toast (or bread of any kind) which leaves me short on quick and easy baby led weaning breakfast options.  Something this sleep deprived mama most definitely doesn’t need first thing in the morning.

Todays breakfast of baby friendly french toast is my last ditch attempt to see if Miss G. will enjoy toast for breakfast.  I figure the golden eggy softer texture and lashings of  maple syrup might just sway her.

Miss G.

And it did.

She loved the french toast.

The softer texture was definitely more up her alley and I was so pleased to see her gobble up an entire piece of maple soaked toast along with a handful of fresh berries and dollop of yoghurt.

From now on I’ll be whipping up a batch on the weekend when I have a little more time on my hands and freezing the leftovers to enjoy when the midweek madness hits.

To create your own gorgeously golden eggy toast smothered in maple syrup and fresh berries simply…

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strawberry & orange buttermilk pikelets

strawberry & orange buttermilk pikeletsstrawberry & orange buttermilk pikelets

Over the weekend I gave Miss G. a piece of toast spread with a little strawberry jam.

Big. Sticky. Mistake.

Sticky sweet strawberry Jam was absolutely everywhere.

Miss G. was covered head to toe as was the floor, sofa, cupboards and everything else little Miss managed to lay her sticky little hands on.

I should have known better.

So today making a batch of pikelets I knew there was no way the jam jar was seeing the light of day.

Instead I opted to press sliced fresh strawberries straight into the pikelet batter as they cooked.

Perfection.

All of the fruity goodness with none of the sticky mess.

To create a batch of strawberry orange buttermilk pike lets simply…

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strawberry & almond skillet cake

strawberry & almond skillet cake

strawberry & almond skillet cake

Strolling through the supermarket yesterday I noticed the ridiculously cheap price of strawberries.

I got completely caught up in the strawberry sale frenzy and returned home with what seemed like a years worth of the bright red and perfectly ripe beauties.

Staring at the everest pile of my favourite fruit I knew I had to do something with them as they teetered on the edge of overripeness.

I considered going old school style and making a batch of homemade strawberry jam but the thought of pectin, sterilising jars and hot sticky jam around a crawling bub instantly had me searching for other means of using up my wonderful fruity purchase.  So after freezing a decent amount for later enjoyment the remaining berries were to adorn a cake I decided.

A little while back I cooked up a lovely almond cake nestled under a beautiful layer of pears, flaked almonds and sugar.  Ever since I’ve been looking for an excuse to bake it once again and these strawberries are just that.

This almond cake is easy to prepare and really delicious on its own but when adorned with a layer of sticky, jammy, gooey, super sweet strawberries this cake is truly something special.

To create your own slice of strawberry heaven 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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