Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homemade muesli bars



I really wanted to make my own muesli bars as we seem to be buying them all the time. Freya loves all the ingredients that are in these so i thought 'why not?'. You'd be amazed at how easy it is to make these. It was really quick and they are beautiful. Once again I have eaten more than one slice. This blog is certainly not helping me get my pre-pregnancy body back! That excuse that I am breastfeeding might not work anymore! It's not that the food is unhealthy, it's just that I don't know how to stop at one. I'm sending the other 10 or so slices to my hubby's work so I don't have any more! One word of caution, they might be a bit tough for little people!  Frey was not a massive fan (but i was.....)!!


I have since made these again and this time i didn't push all the ingredients down into the tin, i just gently packed them in. This made them perfect. They were soft and Freya really enjoyed them. These really are a must to make. Oh, i also used 1/2 the sugar mentioned as they are sweet enough! 

MAKES
16

INGREDIENTS
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup wheatgerm
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup sultanas
125g butter
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar

METHOD
1. Grease and line a 3cm deep, 16cm x 28cm (base) baking pan with baking paper. Cook oats, coconut, wheatgerm, sesame seeds, sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside to cool. Stir in sultanas.
2. Cook butter, honey and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, without stirring, for 7 minutes or until mixture forms a soft ball when a little is dropped into ice-cold water. Add to dry ingredients. Stir until combined.
3. Spoon mixture into pan. Use a large metal spoon to press down firmly. Allow to cool. Cut into squares. Store in a foil-lined airtight container for up to 7 days.

This recipe was sourced from www.taste.com

Weetbix and banana muffins



I wanted to take some muffins over to a friends place today so went searching for a recipe. These weetbix and banana muffins looked ideal and they sounded a lot healthier than your average muffins. Now, I have to say, these are very tasty indeed! I would confidently serve these to adults and know that they would be a hit. I love it when you cook something that both kids and adults love. It goes without saying that because these are a cake, and Freya loves cakes, she absolutely loved them. She helped me cook this batch and as you can see the raw mixture was tasty too! 



MAKES
12

INGREDIENTS
3 ripe bananas
4 Weet-Bix
185ml (3/4 cup) milk 
2 eggs
80g (4 tbs) margarine
225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
2 tbs brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips (I only used 1/2 cup and that was plenty)

METHOD
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Grease a 12-hole muffin pan. Mash bananas in a bowl, then crumble in Weet-Bix and stir in the milk.
3. Set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, beat together the eggs and margarine, then add to the banana mixture. Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl and add wet ingredients and choc chips.
4. Stir until just combined, then spoon into muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

This recipe was sourced from www.taste.com.au



Monday, March 28, 2011

Chicken & Apple Balls


Yay, another reader's recipe. We have Gemma to thank for this one. These are a real hit with Gemma's daughter Zara. These are great and so quick to make (15 mins). Freya loved them which actually surprised me as she's not the biggest fan of chicken. I'm starting to learn that she likes her food in bite sized pieces and having a pot of sauce always helps! 

Please keep sending in some recipes, I am in dire need for some more ideas.

MAKES
Around 24 balls depending on sizes.

INGREDIENTS
500gm chicken mince - organic or free range preferable
1 cup approx breadcrumbs
1 large apple - grated
Handful finely chopped parsley + basil or a decent shake of dried Italian style herbs
Olive oil
Flour for dusting

METHOD 

1. Mix the chicken mince, grated apple, herbs, breadcrumbs and a splash of olive oil together till well combined. If mixture is too sticky add some more breadcrumbs. 
2. Get about a dessertspoon size amount of the mixture and shape into round balls and dust in flour. 
3. Pan fry the balls in a little olive oil till golden and cooked through.

Easy for little fingers to pick up and eat with their favourite steamed veges, pasta, rice or mash spud and the obligatory splash of tomato sauce. Good eaten cold too. Makes about 24 balls depending on size and keeps in the fridge for a few days.

Mini quiches



Wahoo, our first recipe from a reader. A very big thank you to Susie, for sending in a recipe her little girl loves! I cooked these today, and my two year old was also a big fan of these!  The quiches took me about 10 minutes to prepare, then 20 mins in the oven. At first I cut one up for Freya and she wouldn't touch it. However, when I gave her a whole one, she loved it. I left the parsley out of ours as that might be bit gourmet for Freya! They're are lovely, and I have to admit that i just had two for lunch. 


MAKES 8


INGREDIENTS
2 sheets puff pastry 
1 teaspoon olive oil 
100g rindless shortcut bacon or ham, chopped 
100g button mushrooms, sliced 
1/2 capsicum, diced 
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)
2 eggs 1/2 cup reduced-fat milk 
1/4 cup grated reduced-fat cheese 


METHOD
1.Preheat oven to 200°C/180° fan-forced. Lightly grease muffin tin.
2. Place puff pastry in each hole. Press down firmly to line base and sides.
3.Heat oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until bacon is crisp and mushrooms tender. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside to cool
4. Add capsicum and parsley to bacon mixture. Whisk eggs and milk together in a jug. Divide bacon mixture between muffin holes. Pour over egg mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until egg is set. Cool in pan for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve.
Freeze any left overs by wrapping in cling film and then foil.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crispy quinoa and peanut biscuits


I discovered these beauties from a friend one Friday at the park. It was when I got home and was thinking about these biscuits that i thought about creating this blog. We always talk about swapping recipes but it's rare that any of us actually get around to doing so. 

So, these biscuits are beautiful. I don't like peanut butter but love these biscuits nonetheless. The words 'portion control' is not really known in this household and this showed when I was making these. When reading the recipe I skipped over the fact that each biscuit only needs 1tsp of dough. I was making massive biscuits (1 tbs or more). I was then left wondering why they were taking so long to cook. I then made the last batch the way the method said (1 tsp) and they turned out perfectly. 

All kids love these. 


INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup rice flour
3/4 cup quinoa flakes ( these can be bought at any supermarket)
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 cup nuts (optional, personally i don't think they are needed.)
1/2 tsp baking soda

METHOD
1. Preheat over at 175 deg C.
2. Beat honey, sugar, butter, peanut butter and vanilla in a medium sized bowl until creamy. 
3. Combine rice flour, quinoa flakes, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
4. Add to honey mixture and beat well until blended. Add nuts if desired.
5. Drop round teaspoon portions about 2 inches apart onto baking paper.
6. Bake for 12-15 mins or until golden brown.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mamma mia pizza


I have been totally amazed by everyone's response to the idea of this blog. Thank you. There have been some great recipes sent in, so i will head to the shops and will start cooking. Both Frey and i are so excited about trying new things. 

Here's another fave of ours, pizza. The good thing about making your own dough is that it's not only healthier but it's a million times cheaper. If you make this batch, it should be enough dough for about 7 little pizza's. So i freeze portion sized batches in cling film and sandwich bags. They only take about an hour to defrost. Too easy.

I made one today, i cut everything up into tiny pieces in the hope that Freya couldn't pick off all the healthy bits. Sadly she threw the whole thing straight onto the floor. I was slightly worried until she then threw her nuggets and jelly onto the floor. So it's not my cooking, just the mood that she was in!

Go crazy with the toppings. Cheese, tomato and ham are normally our faves.

MAKES
About 7 mini pizzas

INGREDIENTS
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
Pinch sugar
2/3 cup (5 fl oz) warm water
2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon sea salt ( i only use a pinch)
1 tablespoon olive oil

METHOD
1. Place the yeast, sugar, and water in a bowl. Set aside until bubbles form.
2.  Add the four, salt, and oil, and mix to form a smooth dough. Knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
3. Place in a clean, oiled bowl, cover, and allow to stand in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

(from Modern Classics I by Donna Hay)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A cupcake to celebrate our first blog



I found this recipe online and used it for Freya’s first birthday party. You can go crazy with the decorations. I founds these great animal sticks, but smarties and sprinkles look just as good. These were a real hit with both bubs and parents. The frosting is delicious and there’s plenty to go around. 

COOKING TIME
20 minutes

MAKES
24

INGREDIENTS
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups (450g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup milk
Assorted sweets, to decorate

Frosting
125g unsalted butter, softened
250g cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups (640g) icing sugar, sifted

Method
1.Preheat oven to 180°C. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

2.Add 1/2 the sifted flour and 1/2 milk and stir until combined, then add remaining flour and milk and stir until combined.

3.Line two 12-hole (1/3-cup capacity) muffin tins with paper cake cases. Spoon 2 tbs mixture into each paper case, then bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cake comes out clean. Cool cakes in tin.

4.For frosting, using an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Gradually add icing sugar, beating until incorporated. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

5.With a spoon or palette knife, spread frosting over tops of cooled cakes, then decorate as desired with assorted sweets. Un-iced cakes can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.


This recipe was found on Taste.com.au

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sausage rolls that both you and your little ones will love.

Photography by Amanda McLauchlan

I've made these pork and fennel sausage rolls on a number of occasions and it seems that the oldies love these just as much as the kids. They are slightly more gourmet than you average sausage roll, but the flavours are not too much for the little ones. I always make double the amount and then divide them all up into serving sizes and store them in sandwich bags. Just add a little bit of mash potato and some veg, and this makes for a very easy meal. 

MAKES
16

INGREDIENTS
1 tsp fennel seeds, plus extra to sprinkle
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
80g sliced pancetta, chopped
450g pork mince
2 cups (140g) fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 eggs, lightly beaten
375g block frozen puff pastry, thawed
Sesame to sprinkle
Tomato sauce, to serve

METHOD
1.Preheat oven to 200°C and line a tray with baking paper. Toast spices in a dry frypan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Set aside. Return pan to medium heat. Cook onion and pancetta for 5 minutes or until onion softens, stirring. Add spices, then cool.

2.Add onion mixture to a large bowl with pork, crumbs, parsley, zest and half the egg. Season and mix well, then refrigerate until needed.

3.Roll out pastry on a floured surface to a 5mm-thick, 40cm x 28cm rectangle, then halve into 2 long rectangles. Shape pork into two 40cm sausages, about 4cm wide. Place 1 sausage on each pastry rectangle, then roll up to enclose. Turn rolls seamside down, brush with egg and sprinkle with fennel, sesame and poppyseed. Cut on an angle into 5cm pieces, then place on tray and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked. 


This recipe was found on taste.com.au

Quinoa muffins anyone?


Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) dates back to 3000 BC, when it was revered as a sacred and sustaining staple food. 

Nutritionally, this seed has a lot to offer; that’s right quinoa is a seed not a grain and is closely related to spinach and beets. It is high in fibre (6%), high in good quality carbohydrate (68%), relatively low in fat (5%) and it has twice the protein as comparable grains such as rice and pasta (12-20%). The protein in quinoa is high quality, making it excellent for healing and repair. It also contains iron which can be made easier to absorb by eating it with a food rich in vitamin C – like red capsicum as used in our recipe. Quinoa also provides zinc, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E and B vitamins. It also has high antioxidant activity and gluten free. Due to the formation of resistant starch after cooking and cooling, cold or reheated quinoa has a low GI. Oh, and it comes in different colours too; black and red looks really great on your plate.



I had some Quinoa in the cupboard and was wondering how i could get some into Freya’s mouth. Something that resembles a cake is always our best option. I found this recipe on the Martha Stewart website. I made a batch yesterday and they were better than i was expecting. On the first bite you miss all the nice things like chocolate, nuts, sugar etc but then your senses come around and you start to really enjoy them. I ate a few in one sitting, so that’s a good sign. Freya is eating one now, so they are a success. 

To change this slightly you could omit the sultanas and replace with 3/4 cup of peanut butter. You may have to add a little extra milk. Enjoy. 

MAKES
12

INGREDIENTS 
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup vegetable oil, such as safflower, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

METHOD
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover, and cook until water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, 11 to 13 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, brush a standard 12-cup muffin pan with oil; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, raisins, and 2 cups cooked quinoa; reserve any leftover quinoa for another use.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined; divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

4. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool muffins in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 5 days.


This recipe was found at www.marthastewart.com