Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tofu chips and little white lies



Hi, my name is Sascha and I like tofu. I know there are not many of us out there but I will come out and will be proud. I have to say that convincing both Hubbie and Miss F to like it as much as I do is not the easiest task. 

I found these tofu chips on a great blog a few months ago and was really keen to try them.  I’ve only got around to doing so today. My hubbie is now considering himself lucky as he’s at work and misses out on the taste test! 

I had to work out how to get these into Miss F’s mouth. I resorted to lying! White lies are ok aren’t they? It’s like Santa; these lies are for the best and bring joy and health to the little ones. My lie…. Miss F, let’s have some marshmallows for lunch. That’s what these chips look like, coconut marshmallow. I even added the fact that she could have some sauce with them. So I’m proud to say that she put a couple into her mouth. Around 3 were probably eaten. That’s better than none. I ate the rest for lunch. They were great. I tried them with both chilli sauce and soy sauce. I would say that soy is the way to go. 

Give these a go; it takes around 3 mins to prepare and only 30 mins to cook.

As always, please let me know if you try these. 

Also, I just wanted to say thanks for all the recipes that are being sent in. I plan to start cooking them in the next couple of days. 

INGREDIENTS
1 block of extra firm tofu, sliced into “fingers”
panko crumbs (available in supermarkets)
paprika
salt & pepper
oregano
1 egg, beaten
the dipping sauce of your choice

METHOD
1. Heat oven to 200 and spray a baking paper with vegetable oil. On a large plate, dump some panko crumbs and season with paprika, oregano & salt and pepper. Mix well with fork. In a separate bowl, beat 1 egg and dip each piece of tofu into the egg mixture and then the crumb mixture and place on cookie sheet.
2. Bake in the oven until the tofu is golden brown, about 30 minutes or so. Remove from oven and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.




Monday, July 25, 2011

Baby food, spinach smoothies and kale chips...



This is a bit of a different post today. I’ve had a sick little baby so cooking new things hasn’t been possible. This is where all the leftovers from previous recipes have certainly come in handy. So this post will be all about sharing the love, things that have inspired some meals for me to put on my must do list.

Something that has been playing on my mind recently is actually my little SS. She’s just turned 6 months and already I have become lazy with her solid foods The prepacked foods out there are so good now. I’ve been buying these gourmet mixes that have rosehip, quinoa, chi, blueberries etc and everything is organic. I actually felt that I was doing her a favour by buying these. But the guilt of doing this has been playing on my mind. Poor SS gets these and Miss F not only gets home cooked meals (sometimes several for each course) and she has a BLOG that is based about her meals. Poor SS is already suffering the second child syndrome and she’s just turned 6 months. So I’m going to make a big batch of food tomorrow for little SS. I’m going to be heading over to ecomilf, as I love her meal suggestionsI'm sure i will continue to use packaged food when we are out and about as they are perfect for travelling with and they are just so damn good these days. Did you make your own baby food? Do you have any great recipes that little SS can try?

Now there are two things that have surprised me on a friends blog. Have you ever thought to add spinach to a smoothie? I certainly haven’t but apparently it works and it comes out as the most beautiful colour green (I think that shows I’m a graphic designer, everything is about colours!).  You must go check it out here at come parent with me.  I plan to make this for both Miss F and myself.

The next thing that totally amazed both my hubbie and myself is how good Kale chips can be. I had never heard of them and had an extremely hard time trying to convince my hubby to try them. But once they were made I was wishing that I had made more. You must try these, you will be so surprised. They almost taste like potato crisps but nicer. I’m going to make these for Miss F next time. Here’s the link

Hopefully I will be back in the kitchen tomorrow.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wholemeal and oat berry muffins


The rain here in Sydney has been torrential for days now. So, I’m doing everything that I can to both stay indoors and to entertain the little ones. Baking is a favourite for both Miss F and myself. Something that I always stock in the freezer are frozen berries. So, after searching the net for some wholemeal muffins, this is the best recipe that I could find. The original recipe suggests using vegetable oil but I mixed thing up a little and used rice bran oil.

These turned out really well. They were (yes, they have already been consumed!) really moist and tasted divine. You will have to have more than one. Miss F and I certainly did!

PREP TIME
40mins

MAKES
12

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1 cup rolled oats - can use quick cooking oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup rice bran oil
1 cup frozen mixed berries - can add more if you like alot
Milk to soften mixture (If needed ) 
Cinnamon (optional)

METHOD
1. Mix dry ingredients together.
2. Make well in centre and add the eggs, oil and milk and mix well. Mixture is meant to be quite dough like however if finding hard to mix add more milk. Once all mixed through, gently stir in blueberries. Place mixture into the large muffin tin (6 muffin tin).
3. Bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 25 mins. Make sure they spring back when touched.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Holy moly where are the crusts?


Stop the press; look above Miss F ate some of her crusts!!! What an achievement! 

This got me thinking about other changes that have been made since starting this blog. 

Since discovering that a lot of the antioxidants in a slice of bread are found in the crusts I have stopped cutting them off (laziness on my behalf might also play a role here). But since doing this Miss F sometimes forgets to ignore them and will accidently bite into them. On some glorious days her plate is completely empty and on others there those crusts lie in all of their glory.  So we can say that improvements have been made on the crust front. Tick.

Now, back to my grand statement of not feeding Miss F anything that comes out of a package? How’s that going? Terribly! Muesli bars and tidy teddies are no longer in my nappy bag. And I do make most snacks. But when it comes to things like crumpets, rice crackers etc I buy, buy, buy. I don’t have time or the inclination to be cooking every single meal from scratch. I wish I was one of those Mum’s, I really do but sadly I’m not. Making this grand statement has changed things though. My freezer is full of snacks that I just pull out when needed. So I do feel better about things.

Is Miss F eating more than just nuggets and spaghetti bolognaise? She most certainly is. Having these recipes sent in has really helped. I’m not saying that she eats anything and everything but we can be a little more experimental now.  Sometimes she will still just have toast for dinner and there are still times when she will just look at the meal and will demand that it be put into the bin.  But we can’t build Rome in a day. So we are all happy. So thank you for your help, keep those recipes coming in. 

Have you seen any improvements in your little munchkins lately? 

We are now on both facebook and twitter, so come and find us. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Avocado dip with pita bread



I make this dip a lot for parties at Christmas time because of its beautiful colours. It always proves to be a massive hit so I thought I would try it out on Miss F. I have adapted the usual recipe for the young ones, as I know most littlies aren’t a fan of spicy foods. 

This is a very easy meal to make, but the only thing that catches me out every time is the 2 hours setting time. Every time, without fail I forget to allow time for this. I forgot again today but we still ate it for lunch without the setting time. It still tastes the same, it’s just a little messier to eat! 

Miss F and I just shared this whilst sitting at the table. It was a fun meal to eat. Miss F loved the whole novelty of dipping, and her love of avocados was confirmed.

This meal makes me want to cook some nachos next. I’m pretty sure that’s a meal that the whole family would love, and that would be a great dinner! 

PREP TIME
5 minutes (with 2 hours setting time)

SERVES
4

INGREDIENTS
2 ripe avocados, halved, stones removed, peeled
2 tsp fresh lime juice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 x 300g ctn light sour cream
1 tbs taco seasoning
1 ripe tomato, quartered, deseeded, finely chopped
1 tbs coarsely chopped fresh coriander
3 Pita bread pockets

METHOD
1. Place the avocado in a large bowl and use a fork to mash until almost smooth and add the lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the avocado mixture into 2 small serving bowls and smooth the surface.
2. Combine the sour cream and taco seasoning in a medium bowl. Spread a thick layer of the sour cream mixture over the avocado mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours to set.
3. Preheat over to 180C. Cut pita bread into little triangles and place into the over for 5mins. Once they are dry and crispy remove and place on a plate. 
4. Combine the tomato and coriander in a small bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the tomato mixture over the sour cream mixture to cover. 
5. Serve immediately with pita bread

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pumpkin and pea risotto



………….I need to take a deep breath……………

We just had a photographer here to take a few shots of Miss F eating because my local paper is doing a story on this blog (yay!). So, I thought I’d cook up this risotto to be the featured dish, as I was certain that Miss F would love it.  

I’m generally very lucky that both Miss F and SS are very chilled and happy all the time. Te be honest, the only thing I was worried about with this shoot was the way I was going to look. Were my fine (not so fine) lines going to show? Were my love handles going to pop out from under my jumper? You know, the standard issues that we all worry about!

However, in walked the photographer, and with her so did two completely new personalities! I don’t know where my calm sweet girls went. Miss F refused to eat this risotto, she could have just said “no thank you” but instead she chucked a massive tantrum that went on for what seemed like hours. Meanwhile little SS is screaming her head off for no reason at all, must be teething!  

We have to wait till next week to see the end result but I know that it won’t be picture perfect, far from it. Miss F will have big red eyes and little SS might not have even made it into the final shot. I would have created more lines thanks to my frowning and embarrassment, my love handles were probably out for all to see as they were probably trying to escape the scene just as I wish I could have.

Thankfully, just as the two different personalities came in with the photographer, they also left with the photographer leaving behind a very calm house but one furious mother.

I used to direct shoots for parenting magazines, so I know what it’s like to work with kids that aren’t happy. But it’s completely different when the kids are your own. Wow, I’m speechless.

Soooo, back to the risotto. Just because Miss F didn’t eat it doesn’t mean a thing. I think it might have been the big camera that was in her face that might have turned her off the meal. I’ve just had this for lunch and it was beautiful. I added some parmesan cheese to mine. I will be freezing the rest for Miss F to try on a normal day.

Thanks Camille for sending this in to us. I switched the chicken to bacon, as that’s what we had in the fridge. Please keep the recipes coming in.


INGREDIENTS
1 brown onion diced
1 clove garlic
Half pumpkin cut into 1cm by 1cm pieces
4 chicken thighs cut into small pieces (I used bacon)
1 cup about Arborio rice
1L chicken stock
1 cup minted peas
Parmesan cheese (optional)

METHOD
1. Cook onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add pumpkin and chicken/bacon and brown.
2. Add rice, stirring to coat with all the oils in the pan. Add chicken stock to cover mixture and simmer, stirring. When stock is almost soaked up, continue adding, stirring occasionally.
3. Add minted peas near the end of the process so they can cook in the stock. Keep adding stock until the rice is cooked - it expands in size. Serve and enjoy. 


Monday, July 11, 2011

Having fun with pasta necklaces




If you are ever looking for a cheap craft idea that you can do indoors on a rainy day, then perhaps consider making pasta necklaces! This is a fun way to keep you and your little ones occupied for a while.

I dyed some pasta many months ago using the instructions below and it was very easy. The colours turned out to be really vibrant and rich. 

The great thing about doing this is that you can just use what you need at the time, and then store the rest of the pasta in bags for their next use. I have bag full of different colours and strings, so, when we are stuck inside, out comes the bag and the necklace-making begins.


Instructions

Things You’ll Need
Variety of pasta shapes
Alcohol
Food Colouring
Zip Lock Bag or Small Bowl
Newspaper
1 Pour about 1/4 cup of alcohol and about 10 drops of food coloring in a zip lock baggie and mix thoroughly.


2 Add 1 to 2 cups of pasta to the zip lock baggie and shake the mixtures vigorously to completely cover the pasta with the alcohol and food coloring mixture.

3 Let the pasta mixture sit for one hour and then turn the baggie over and let it sit for another hour. You can let the pasta, alcohol, and food colouring mixture sit for as long as it takes to get the deepest color pasta you are looking for. If your pasta is not dark enough then just repeat steps 1-3 until your pasta reaches the desired shade of colouring you are looking for. The longer the pasta sits in the alcohol and food colouring mixture, the deeper the color will get.

4 Once your pasta has reached the desired colour, drain the pasta and separate it into groups of like colors on some newspaper. Let the coloured pasta dry overnight. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baked homemade chicken nuggets



What toddler doesn’t like the infamous chicken nugget? I think these are one of the staples that a lot of us would have in our freezers, right next to the fish fingers and peas. I’ve served up the frozen variety to Miss F on many occasions, but every time I do, i have a niggling guilty thought that asks “ what is really in these?”. When you look at the side of the packet there are numbers and ingredients that I have never heard of! 

So, I thought it was about time that I started to make homemade nuggets instead. It’s a very quick meal to prepare. The longest part is leaving the nuggets in the fridge for 30mins. 

Surprisingly, these taste great, we just had them for lunch. We have to eat these meals for lunch as I have to take the photos in the daylight! Miss F was very excited about having nuggets for lunch and we both loved these. I had sweet chilli sauce with mine, and Miss F stuck to her staple tomato sauce.  These will certainly be a regular meal for us. It’s so nice biting into these nuggets and knowing what exactly is in them. 

Give them a go and let me know what you think. You won’t be disappointed.


Don't forget to check out our facebook page for more information and tips.



SERVES
4

INGREDIENTS
2-3 chicken breast fillets (about 600g)
½ cup plain flour
2 eggs
4 slices day old bread
1/3 cup cornflake crumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

METHOD
1.Tear bread into pieces and whiz in a food processor to get fine bread crumbs.
2. Slice chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Put the flour on a large square of baking paper.
3. Whisk eggs in a small bowl. Mix breadcrumbs, cornflake crumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Coat the chicken pieces in flour, dust off, dip in egg wash and then coat in crumb mix. You may need to press the crumbs on. Place the coated chicken pieces onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 180°C and bake the chicken for 10 minutes or until cooked through. To make the dipping sauce, combine mayonnaise and sweet chilli sauce in a small bowl.
5. Serve nuggets with dipping sauce.

This recipe was sourced from Kidspot.com.au

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Daily nutrition guide for our little munchkins (not that we have a say!)

Ever wondered just how much dairy, meat etc that our little ones should be eating? I certainly do, especially as there are some days that Miss F will only eat tomato sauce. It is then that I wonder what other food groups she is missing. I thought I would include all this information as a guide just in case you ‘d also thought about this. Even though I now have this guide I know I will struggle to get her to eat anything that she doesn’t feel like. Today, I cooked her favorite vegetable slice for lunch, and before it even hit her table, I was being told to put it in the bin! 


What do you do in this situation? Do you cook another meal, or do you let your little munchkin go a little hungry so that they will finally eat the first original first meal? Would I be a terrible mother if I had done this? Should I be admitting this?! 

There is more information about nutrition requirements below.


How big is one serve?

Fruit:
Your toddler needs 1 cup of fruit each day for his vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and fibre needs. A typical serving size to offer at meal or snack time is 1/4 cup. Below are some examples of a cup of fruit:

1 medium piece of fruit
1 cup fresh, frozen or canned frui
200ml 100% fruit juice
1/2 cup dried fruit

Vegetables:
Toddlers need about 3/4 cup of vegies each day. You can divide this up and offer vegetables throughout the day with meals and as snacks. Offer a variety of coloured vegetables to ensure you’re giving your tot a wide assortment of nutrients. Here’s some examples of what constitutes 3/4 cup of 
vegetables:

3/4 cup raw or cooked vegetables
2 cups raw leafy vegetables
200ml vegetable juice
1 small potato
1 medium tomato
12 baby carrots

Protein:
For protein, Vitamin B , iron and zinc, toddler’s need about 30g of meat or meat equivalent per day such as:

30g meat, poultry or fish
1/4 cup dry beans or baked beans
1 egg
1 tablespoon peanut butter
A small handful of nuts or seeds
1/4 cup tofu
2 tablespoons hummus

Grains:
Carbohydrates, Vitamin B and iron are found in grains and your toddler needs 55g from the grain food group per day. Examples of 55g include:

1 slice bread
1/2 cup cooked hot cereal
1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta
3/4 cup cold cereal

Dairy:
Your toddler’s growing bones need calcium, riboflavin and protein found in dairy foods. A daily serve of 2 cups of dairy will fulfil this need. You can divide the 2 cups into a between meal snack serving size of 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup if you like.

1/3 cup shredded cheese
1 cup yogurt

This information was all found on www.kidspot.com.au


Monday, July 4, 2011

Lamb and vegetable party pies


Happy Monday! Back to routine! 

As I have mentioned before Miss F seems to love eating meals that she can hold in her hands. I’m on a bit of a mission at the moment to get her to eat more meat. She seems to have slipped back into her ultra sensitive eating habits, preferring things like cereal and toast. I’m back to cooking meal after meal, trying to find something that she will eat, which is more than frustrating! Sometimes I wonder why I just didn't start off with toast in the first place.

So yesterday I made some pies. I snuck a few veggies into them in the hope that they might slide into her mouth unnoticed. These are great pies, I like to make these when we hold parties, but these are a slightly different version for the littlies. 

This is the first time that I have made my own short crust pastry. I couldn't believe how easy it was. I highly recommend doing it yourself. I’m sure you have all the ingredients in your cupbord already. 

Miss F ate most of one pie and I did notice that a few of the peas went in her mouth unnoticed! These pies are tasty so I really think they are worth the effort. We now have them in the freezer ready to be pulled out when needed. 

MAKES
24 muffin sized pies

INGREDIENTS
Pastry
1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour
125g unsalted butter, chilled, finely chopped
1 egg, chilled

Pies
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 garlic cloves, crushed
500g minced lamb
1/3 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup (40g) plain flour
1 cup (250ml) beef stock
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs HP sauce
¼ cup of frozen peas
4 sheets (25cm) ready-rolled shortcrust pastry, thawed
2 large pontiac potatoes, peeled, chopped
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
Grated tasty cheese for sprinkling (optional)

METHOD
Pastry
1. Process flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Whisk egg and 1 tbs chilled water in a bowl until combined, then with food processor motor running, add to flour mixture. Process until mixture begins to form large clumps, stopping machine before mixture forms a ball.
3. Turn pastry out on to a work surface and knead gently to bring together. Form into a disc for a round tart or into a log shape for a rectangular tart. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.

Pie 
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add the mince and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until mince changes colour. Add the carrot and flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until well combined. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, HP sauce, peas and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, use an 8cm round pastry cutter to cut discs from the pastry sheets. Line the base and sides of 48 30ml (1 1/2 tbs capacity) mini muffin pans. Use a fork to lightly prick the bases of pastry cases. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
3. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Use a potato masher or fork to mash until smooth. Add the milk and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon the lamb mixture among the pastry cases. Spoon the mashed potato over the lamb mixture. Sprinkle with tasty cheese. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until heated through and golden brown. Enjoy.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The big, big world of blogs


As I search around the net for hours every day I come across some amazing sites that have content that should be shared. So I’m going to bring some of my favourites to you on a weekly basis. After all, sharing is caring! 


I’m really keen to try this tofu dish from everyone likes sandwiches. I plan to make it this weekend.



I’m putting this pie dish on my wish list. Design is mine is a site that I read daily. I find it inspiring, creative and always makes me want to buy things that I never knew I needed.


Lola Nova has the most beautiful photography and makes me want to be more creative. Sadly I can’t sew to save my life but I think I might have to give it another go.


Megan from Mouse House does a soup swap. I love this idea. Anybody keen? 



And finally, aren't these the cutest little cookies??? Check out munchkin munchies for more unique sweets



If you have any awesome sites that you would like to share with us, please let us know.