Category Archives: Baby Friendly Food

Sweet Potato Pancakes

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For a long time my son Callum didn’t like toast for breakfast. He preferred cooked breakfasts, pancakes, waffles, bacon and eggs. I had neither the time nor the energy to indulge him so I created some cheats. This was one of them. A sweet potato pancake that I made in bulk and froze. Easy to whip out of the freezer and defrost even on a morning before work.

In fact, the day of little Miss M’s arrival I was making a large batch of these, in a valiant attempt to prepare for the madness that would follow. I dropped Callum at daycare and made a triple batch of this recipe. I cooked them, lay them on baking trays and left them to cool while I visited the Ob/Gyn. Sadly, I never made it back home, I just continued onto hospital. It was only a few days later when my sister-in-law was at our house, waiting for a tradie of some sort, that she texted me and said “What should I do with all the pancakes?” I sadly had to tell her they’d been sitting on the counter for days and would need to be binned.

The idea for the pancakes came from Jessica Seinfeld’s book, Deceptively Delicious. While I like the ideas for her recipes, hers have more of an “increase veg, decrease calorie” philosophy. I love the increased veg idea, but both my little mini humans need all the calories they can get. So nothing but full fat here.

 

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup of self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 1/2 cups full cream milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup steamed sweet potato, mashed (about 1 medium sweet potato)

Preparation

In a large bowl whisk together the the flours. Add the milk and butter and mix well. Whisk the two eggs lightly and add to the mix, mixing till there are no lumps. Finally add the the sweet potato and mix well until it’s even distributed.

Butter a large skillet or pan and place over a low to medium heat. When the pan is hot, place 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pan, leaving a few cm between each pancake to allow for spread.

Flip the pancake gently when bubbles cover the surface. I find these pancakes get more brown, as compared to the plain ones, the sugar content in the sweet potato will do that.

Cook for the few minutes on the flip side before cooling and serving to your demanding clientale.

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If you want to freeze, just lay them flat on a tray with some baking paper and freezer for an hour or two before placing in zip lock bags.

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Filed under "Something" Free Cooking, Baby Friendly Food, Non-Sri Lankan Food, Snacks and Sides, Uncategorized, Vegetable Dishes

Wild blueberry muffins with crumble topping

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Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week at Mister C’s school. It’s an American tradition, a rather nice one I’d say, where you spend the week honouring and celebrating teachers. C’s daycare did a whole host of things, one of which was a potluck breakfast. I asked Mr Firehouse to sign me up for some baking. We both agreed on muffins.  When he came home later that day and I asked him what he’d signed me up for, he confirmed that I needed to deliver some muffins on the Wednesday following.

“What flavour?” I asked, hoping for some helpful suggestions.

“Bacon”, he replied. I laughed, certain he was being ridiculous. “The teachers and I got into a big discussion and we all decided that a bacon flavoured muffin would be amazing.”

“True,” I replied. “But how about a blueberry one with a crumble topping?” He heartily agreed and I set to work making these wild blueberry muffins.

We delivered them as agreed on Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon I went to pick up Master C and as I’m walking past the staffroom I hear the director’s voice calling out to me.

” So, what happened to the bacon muffins?”

Now, I need to give you a bit of context. I never got in trouble at school. Mr Firehouse laughs at me, but I would tear up if the teacher looked at me the wrong way. Never mind the principal. The Principal at Mr C’s school (read Director) is a lovely lady, but when she called at me from the office I was seized by the same fear that had seized the 7 year old me…. ahh.

” I didn’t think you were being serious.” I stammered.

” We’re always serious about bacon,” she replied, looking stern and somewhat ominous . Thankfully, before I could feel too bad about it, and break down,  she informed me that a kindly parent had bought a tray of bacon.

So, I apologise that these contain no bacon. However, even Mr Firehouse, the great champion of bacon, declared they are pretty good. Even the teachers at Cal’s school agreed!  Originally inspired by a Bouchon recipe, I’ve simplified this recipe and made it nut free to cater to kids and schools alike.

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Ingredients

( Recipe based on a recipe from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. unsulfured blackstrap molasses/golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract/vanilla paste
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

for berries:

  • 1/2- 1 cup frozen blueberries ( I used wild and recommend them if you can get them)
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

for crumble topping

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown/raw sugar
  • 1/3-1/2 cup butter

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To make the muffins: In a small bowl, toss the frozen blueberries and 10 g (1 tablespoon) of the flour until the blueberries are coated. Place the bowl in your freezer.

Add the remaining flour to a bowl, add baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl and whisk to combine. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-low speed until it has a mayonnaise-like consistency. Mix in the sugar on medium-low speed until the butter-sugar mixture is fluffy. Add the molasses and honey, beating until well combined, and scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until just incorporated. Alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 2 additions each, beginning with the dry ingredients and finishing with the buttermilk.

Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is combined, then cover the bowl and refrigerate at least overnight, or up to 36 hours. I usually do it overnight.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 F/220C. Line muffin pan with paper liners. Take the muffin batter from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so it’ll soften slightly. Grab the blueberries from the freezer, and add them to the batter, folding to incorporate. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared liners, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Top each muffin with about 2 tablespoons of the crumble topping.

Transfer the muffins to the oven, and immediately lower the oven temperature to 325 F/ 170C. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the muffins to cool for about 5-10 minutes, then remove them to the rack to cool completely.

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Chocolate chip cookies with brown butter and pecans

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I used to pooh-pooh brown butter. Can you imagine? That was until I smelled it and had it drizzled over ricotta and butternut squash ravioli. Now, I’m of the opinion that everything is enhanced, made better, improved a million-fold by it’s mere presence.

The sun has been out in Seattle this week. The sun! This is a big deal. It feels like it’s all everyone is talking about. ‘Have you seen the sun?’, ‘ Are you going to get out and see the sun today.’, hope they sun’s still out when I get home’ . You get the gist.

So this week, in honour of the sun coming out, Cal and I decided to have lunch and snacks outside.

These are Mister C’s favourite cookies! The pecans are all for me though, he’ll pick them out and hand them to me with a “no like it!” and continuing foraging for chocolate. Fabulous for afternoon tea and even more fabulous if you eat them in the sun.

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Ingredients

Inspired by this recipe from the little red house

  • 170g butter (the amount remaining after I browned 1/2 lb butter)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Brown Butter – Based on the Bouchon Bakery cookbook method. 

I bought the Bouchon bakery cookbook while in Napa recently and have fallen in love with their way of browning butter. It’s simple and involves a little more work but I think the results are totally worth it. If you can’t be bothered straining, it shouldn’t make too much difference.

Ingredients/ Materials

  • 2 sticks/ 225 g unsalted butter
  • small heavy bottomed saucepan
  • cheesecloth to strain
  • whisk

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Place your butter in the saucepan and melt over a gentle heat. Once the butter has completely melted, begin to whisk to prevent the solids from catching at the bottom. Continue whisky for about 5 minutes as the butter changes colour and the smells becomes nutty and almost caramel-like. The butter will bubble and continue to cook. Once the butter is golden brown (just pour a drop onto a white saucer to check) pour through the cheesecloth to strain. Place in a lidded container if not using immediately.

For the cookies 

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Cream the (solid) brown butter and the sugars until mixed well. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Mix well for a few minutes until batter it light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Combine the flour, soda and salt in another bowl. With a whisk, stir to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix. With a spatula fold in the chocolate and pecans.
Drop by spoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheet. I used a 2 tbsp. ice cream scoop.*
Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes. They should be lightly golden on the outside but still look gooey on the inside.

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* I also only baked half. I scooped spoonfuls onto a  paper lined oven trays and popped it into the freezer. I then pulled them out the next day and placed in ziploc bag for cookies that can be baked anytime! Just add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time if you’re cooking from frozen.

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No Churn Mango Macadamia Ice Cream

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I love mango macadamia! In fact, it’s my favourite ice cream flavour.  If you want to hear me wax lyrical about it, read this post here on Sharon’s Blog.

Nowadays, when I get a craving for mango macadamia ice cream, I have to make it myself.  It’s actually not that hard.

When I bought my first ice cream maker at a cool 25 dollars from Aldi, I thought it was going to be a bit of a gimmick. An appliance that came out maybe once a year, something that would eventually become part of a goodwill donation. It wasn’t to be, 5 minutes into my second batch of French vanilla, the ice cream maker carked it. I hadn’t saved the receipt so I forfeited the 25 dollars to Aldi.

Mr Firehouse was deeply offended by the idea of store bought ice cream and dragged me to the shops moments later to replace the ice cream maker. He spent a good deal of the drive there chewing my ear off about my habit of bargain shopping,

” some things are worth paying money for” he said.

The one that he purchased this time was several times more expensive than the Aldi iteration. Conscious of the fact that this machine had cost a fair bit more, and my plan to relegate it to a dusty cupboard may not suffice, I got to ice creaming.

I recognise that not everyone has the space or the desire for an ice cream maker, hence a recipe that doesn’t require one seemed in order.

Nowadays we generally always have homemade ice cream in the freezer. Especially since Mister C is a bit of a fiend for the stuff. I love the freedom of giving him something that I know all the ingredients to. I figure it’s a little effort for piece of mind.

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Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups cubed frozen mango
  • 1.5 cups of cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tbsp. of honey
  • 2 tbsp. lemon
  • 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts

Preparation

In the jug of a blender place the mango, cream and milk. Blitz until smooth. Add the honey and lemon and mix well.

Pour ice cream into a plastic, freezer safe container and stir in the nuts before placing in the freezer.

Bring the ice cream out of the freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

 

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Healthier Oat & Raisin Cookies

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Raisins are one of Mister C’s current favourite foods. They are the bane of my existence, I find the little black shrivelled masses everywhere. They’re especially hard to clean out off the black leather seats in my car. Having said that they usually keep him calm for extended car trips, relieve the sudden onset of tantrums and generally make my life more pleasant, so I’ll deal.

A week or so after we returned from Sri Lanka Mister C and I headed to Green Lake Park in Seattle for a walk with some friends. It wasn’t raining, which is all that can be said for the weather. Now Green Lake was one of those places that sounded amazing, the kind of “hip” place that the radio station I listen to (admittedly it’s NPR) refers to all the time. It’s full of joggers and mums with strollers. I was excited to get out and get some exercise in after being struck down with jet lag.

Now something I forgot in all my excitement was that Green Lake is 2.8 miles around. That’s a long way. That’s 4.5 km long way. Callum started complaining a mile in. Whinging turned to crying and crying turned to full blown hysteria. I threw everything I had at him, spoons, forks, phones….and even raisins. Nada. When the raisins didn’t work, I knew the jig was up. I scooped him up and proceeded to walk while pushing the stroller. He may be a featherweight but even lifting feathers will get to you after 4.5km. I felt terrible that my friends had to stop and start with us. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before the other two babies raised their objections to the long,cold walk. Unfortunately there was only one thing to do, keep walking around! That’s the beauty of walking around a body of water.

Lessons learned, walking 4.5 kms around a lake with a baby, even with raisins, is probably a bridge too far… to start with.

I made these for Callum for a special treat. They’ve got a bit of sugar but also have goodness like oats, raisins and wheat germ. Callum will happily munch on a small, Callum hand-sized one of these on our walk home from the park. Maybe Green Lake would have been less disastrous if there had been some cookie surrounding the raisins. These are not “healthy” but I’ve made them healthier by adding whole meal flour, some wheat germ (leave this out if you don’t have it) and cutting down the sugar. But oats and raisins, which this recipe has oodles of, do have their own goodness so don’t despair if you can’t stop at one!

These are based on a recipe I found here at the Beantown Baker.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 oz, or 115 grams) butter, at room temp
  • 1/3 cup (125 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup (95 grams) wholemeal flour
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup (120 grams) raisins

Preparation

Cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in the bowl of your mixer. In a second bowl combine, the flours, wheat germ, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir. Finally add the raisins and rolled oats. Pop in the fridge for an hour to chill.

When ready to bake, preheat the over to 350F/180C and line 2 tray with baking paper. I use an ice cream scoop to portion out the dough. I give the dough a slight roll and flatten with my fingers.

Bake for 13-15 minutes until the edges are just golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then gobble these babies up!

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Super Simple Tomato Sauce

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One of Mister C’s favourite foods is pasta with tomato sauce. Of course, when my high-alert new mummy radar saw how much salt was in tinned tomatoes, I flipped out. Seriously? Ever since then I’ve been buying the ‘no salt added’ and much more expensive tin or making my own sauce.

This is one of those recipes that takes 5 minutes at the beginning, 5 minutes at the end and a lot of waiting in between. Do it on a day that’s not too hot as the oven will be on for a while. I popped these in the oven and went for a walk around the neighbourhood because my oven has a stop time where I can tell it when the oven should turn off. Roasting the tomatoes makes them lovely and unctuous and sweet. Even the slightly sad, end of summer tomatoes we have now taste pretty good this way. I find that this sauce really doesn’t need anything added to it except some lovely fresh pasta and maybe some cheese and Mister C certainly agrees.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 egg (roma) tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. dried herbs (italian, rosemary, thyme)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 a small red onion sliced

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 fahrenheit (180 celsius)

Place the tomatoes on an oiled or lined oven tray and sprinkle the oil, garlic and herbs on top.

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Bake in the oven for 1 and a half hours until the tomatoes are soft and juicy

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Place tomatoes, garlic and onions in a bowl and blend using a stick (or immerision) blender blitz them up. You can also place the tomatoes in a food processor and blender and blitz that way.

Serve as is over cooked pasta or freeze in ice-cube trays to serve later.

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Filed under Baby Friendly Food, Snacks and Sides, Tips and Tricks, Vegetable Dishes

Banana Kinda Ice cream

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Do you know what happens when you get frozen chopped bananas and blitz them in a food processor…ICE CREAM!

As discussed earlier, my husband has a tendency to let bananas go bad. Now, when I see bananas threatening to spoil I chop them, stick them in a freezer bag and pop them in the deep freeze. Then, when I’m feeling like a lovely, kind mummy I pull them out and turn them into “ice cream” for Mr C.

Don’t be fooled, there is no sugar, cream or anything bad in this!

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen chopped bananas

Preparation

Seriously, this is so easy, the pictures speak for themselves! Whack the bananas in the food processor, blitz.

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In a few minutes you’ll find this in the bowl. Amazing right?

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I was feeling particularly generous tonight so I added some blackberries into the mix too….mmm yummo!

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