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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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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lime & coconut loaf

lime & coconut loaflime & coconut loaf

Grace is now officially 15 months old!

YIPPEE!!!

The days of constant napping, seemingly never-ending milk feeds, long sleepless nights and new born cries are long gone and I absolutely adore the lovely little adventures we now share.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss those precious newborn snuggles but watching your little one grow into a bright, bubbly and very inquisitive teeny tiny human being is just wonderful.  At times stressful, very stressful but mostly wonderful.

Lately, trips to the state library have become a lovely little weekly ritual of ours and we both cherish the day out.

Miss G.

Miss G. spends the morning painting, drawing, colouring, reading, singing, clapping and playing games with the other children.

There is always so much for her to do by the time we head home she is absolutely exhausted.

Miss G.

But just before she’s almost tuckered out Miss G. and I head to our favourite grassy spot next to the river to sit on our blanket and nibble on the goodies I’ve popped into the lunch box.

Today, along with fresh rockmelon slices and a yoghurt cup I added a couple of slices of this heavenly lime and coconut loaf.

WOW.

Chock full of zesty fragrant lime and shredded coconut this loaf is divine and couldn’t be simpler to prepare.  This gorgeous batter takes no more than a few minutes to stir together and after a quick trip to the oven the gorgeously golden loaf emerges smelling of sweet summer lime and coconut goodness.

To create this heavenly lime and coconut studded loaf simply…

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wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies

wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookieswholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies

This morning we awoke to unseasonably cool, dark and drizzly weather.

With the sky blanketed in a thick layer of grey rain clouds there was little hope of our daily walk to the park.

Surrendering to this much welcomed change in weather, I decided we would spend the day cuddled up at home, playing, reading and baking these beautifully wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies.

wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies

This recipe came from the wonderful website of Teresa Cutter – The Healthy Chef.  Teresa has the most amazing knack for creating unbelievably delicious goodies out of pure, wholesome and totally good for you ingredients.  I have also made a batch of her gorgeous scones, you can find the recipe here.

These apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies are divine.

They’re sugar free, egg free, full of whole natural foods and are the perfect texture for little hands to pick up and nibble on with ease.  In terms of a baby led weaning snacks, these apple and cinnamon studded delights are pretty close to perfection.  Not only are they a fuss-free and non-messy snack (ideal for outings) they’re super simple to prepare and only require ten minutes of attention before being popped into the oven to bake to golden perfection.

The main alteration to Teresa’s recipe that I made was using the food processor to whip up the cookies rather than doing them by hand.  I find the processor binds the dough more thoroughly and makes the cookies easier to shape.  It’s also a huge time saver, ideal when you have an impatient 15 month old on your hands.

And these little darlings make the perfect addition to any lunch box.  I’ve stashed a few away in the deep freeze to add to Grace’s lunch box when we’re out and about over the next couple of weeks.

wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies

Although Miss G. waited quite patiently for the cookies to bake, as soon as the golden darlings emerged from the oven bringing with them the unmistakable fragrance of baked apple and cinnamon her patience all but vanished.

As I photographed the baked golden darlings she plucked a still warm cookie straight from the tray and nibbled away.

wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies

It wasn’t long until I did the same.

Fresh from the oven these cookies are perfection.  Golden and chewy with a soft, fluffy, sultana and dried apple studded centre they really are moorish.

To create this gorgeous batch of wholesome apple & cinnamon breakfast cookies simply…

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gingerbread christmas cookies

gingerbread cookiesgingerbread cookies

It just wouldn’t be christmas without a big batch of wonderfully fragrant gingerbread cookies in the house.

The heady scent of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg wafting from the oven as these little babies bake is pure festive joy and I am delighted to be ending the year with this perfect baby led weaning holiday treat.

These cookies are not like most gingerbread biscuits, they are much softer, with a gorgeously chewy texture thanks to the use of almond meal instead of flour and are perfectly suited for little ones to nibble on with ease.  The dates studded throughout the dough give the cookies sweetness along with the help of a little golden syrup.  These cookies are also sugar and gluten free making them a great treat to have on hand for those with dietary requirements.

And in the midst of holiday madness I am so pleased to tell you these gingerbread christmas cookies are an absolute breeze to prepare and can easily be whipped up with a little one nestled by your side.  The best part of this recipe for the kids is cutting out the cookies using an array of different christmas shapes.  Today Miss G. and I went with the obligatory gingerbread man as well as a lovely little christmas tree and star.  Miss G. loved pressing each cutter into the date flecked golden dough and was amazed to see the shapes appear.

After a short trip to the oven we decorated the golden gingerbread cookies with a little white chocolate and ate quickly after.  We did however manage to save a few for Santa Claus.

As mentioned earlier this will be my last recipe for 2013.  We are going to spend the holidays enjoying the sun, sand, beach, hot long balmy days and perfectly ripe mangoes.  Thank you all so much for taking the time out of your very busy lives to visit my lovely little lunch box and share in our cooking and baby led weaning adventure.  From the bottom of my heart I hope you all have a wonderful, love filled, peaceful and joyful holiday with your loved ones x

To create these wonderfully wholesome sugar-free gingerbread christmas cookies simply…

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