Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme

Everybody loves a good homemade roast chicken! Well maybe the vegans and vegetarians don’t… but everyone else loves a homemade roast chicken! I love the simplicity, ease and minimal cost that comes with such a delicious and soul satisfying meal. I also love that my whole family enjoys sitting down and sharing a lovely roast chicken. It makes an ideal toddler dinner and is wonderful for baby led weaning too.

My Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme was just what the doctor ordered today after a day at work, a toddler who hadn’t slept, plus minimal supplies in the fridge and pantry. Hello trusty garlic and home grown herbs! A few minutes chopping and prepping and you will have a wonderful meal in the oven. You can then spend the next hour that it’s cooking catching your breath, enjoying a hot cup of tea (put Play School on, seriously) or getting some odd jobs done (that cup of tea is looking mighty fine).

Roast Chicken Possum

The wonderful thing with Roast Chicken is that the story doesn’t end at that first meal. Leftovers can be used to make:

  • freezable sandwiches for work and school lunches. Simply put chicken and mayonnaise on a sandwich, wrap in Cling Wrap then freeze. On the day you want one, take it out and let thaw in your bag. By lunch it will be perfect!
  • healthy and delicious homemade chicken stock
  • kid friendly Chicken Noodle Soup

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme – serves 4

1 1-1.5kg chicken (preferable free range or organic)

3-10 cloves of garlic, peeled (depending on how much you love it!)

5 fresh sage leaves finely chopped

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

salt and pepper

extra virgin olive oil

1 leek (secret ingredient!), sliced and rinsed

3 medium potatoes, washed, cut into wedges

1 medium sweet potato, washed, cut into chunks or wedges

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.

2. Slice your leek and rinse in a colander under running water. This is very important as the many layers of a leek hide a lot of dirt and grit. Place sliced leek in a large roasting pan.

3. Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Place chicken on top of the sliced leek.

4. Place desired number of garlic cloves in the cavity and you can also pierce the flesh and push the bulbs into the chicken itself. I also like to cut one clove in half and rub it over the skin.

5. Place your chopped vegetables around the chicken.

6. Drizzle both chicken and vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place herbs over the top of the chicken.

7. Place roasting pan in the oven to roast for 25 minutes per 500g of chicken. I had a 1.4kg chicken and roasting for 1h 15 minutes.

8. Now for the hot tip… When you take the chicken out of the oven, place it upside down either in the pan or on a plate to rest, covered in foil. This allows all the lovely juices to run back into the chicken breasts and keep them lovely and moist. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving up.

Serve your delicious Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme with the roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes and some steamed vegetables (Possum loves her carrots and broccoli). Nom nom nom.

roast chicken

***Want something delicious for dessert? Check out my Egg Free Spiced Pear Cake.

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Easy Toddler Craft – Put old food magazines to good use

Easy Toddler Craft - Put old food magazines to good use

Hi my name is Ruth and I’m addicted to cookbooks and food magazines. If I had my way, I know of at least 4 food magazines I would subscribe to PLUS there is my want list of cookbooks. This easy toddler craft activity came about as I have recently started to run out of room for all the cookbooks and food magazines I actually do have (plus our little family has been trying to get rid of stuff). This put me in the unpleasant position of sitting down and having a bit of an honest and upfront chat with some of my dear old friends.

I had foodie mags on my bookcase from 10 years ago. 10 years. I don’t think I have any clothes I still wear from 10 years ago! And like clothes, food fashion has changed a lot. As I sat there flicking through, it became very clear and obvious there was no way I was going to cook anything out of most of these treasured tomes. The one recipe I pulled out was for bread. Yes, simple old bread. The little black dress of food.

So how did we get from saying good bye to these old food magazines to spending some quality time with my now 2 year old? The conversation went a little bit like this…

Possum: Mummy, I want to do some craft.

Me: Sure sweetheart, what craft would you like to do?

Possum: Black craft.

Me: Okay… how about some cutting and pasting instead?

And so this is what we did.

equipment

You will need:

  • old food magazines that you have said your final goodbyes to (look how young Jamie Oliver looks on that cover!)
  • Scissors (we haven’t reached scissor skills yet so these were just for Mummy to use)
  • Glue stick
  • A scrapbook or old notebook for pasting into

Possum and I sat down at her craft table with the food magazine, scissors, glue and notebook. I asked her to point to and tell me what pictures she wanted me to cut out. It was then her job to paste them into the book where ever she wanted. If your child was a bit older, they could have the job of cutting and you could ask them to find a picture of someone smiling, someone cooking, a tomato, a car etc. This activity is great for:

  • Spending one on one time with your little person
  • Developing language skills. Get them to talk to you about the pictures. For example “You want me to cut out the picture of the man? What’s the man doing? Oh you think he’s cooking? What do you think he is cooking?”
  • Developing fine motor skills. There’s pointing, cutting with scissors, using a glue stick, turning and orientating the picture, placing the picture. All wonderful things for little hands to practice.
  • Developing spatial awareness. How many pictures fit on the page? Where do you want that picture to go? Is that picture too big for the page? I was amazed to see how carefully Possum wanted to stick her pictures. There was absolutely overlap and bits hanging out of the book, but everything had it’s place. Really wonderful to watch.
  • Developing a love and interest in real food! “What’s in that picture? You think it’s chicken? Do you like chicken? What vegetables are there? What colours are they? Maybe we can buy some … next time we are shopping?”

Possum and I sat down and cut and pasted for about 30 minutes before she had had enough. And we both had a really lovely time together. And since then she now asks for cutting and pasting (instead of black craft!).

So instead of putting those old food magazines into the recycling, how about you sit down and share some time with your toddler for this easy toddler craft. Put those old food magazines to good use!

Easy toddler craft

***Want something else fun to do with your toddler? Check this out!

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How to have a stress free toddler birthday party + free party planner printable

How to have a stress free toddler party + free party planner printable

In case you missed it, my beautiful daughter turned 2 this week! So of course we had a lovely little party for her over the weekend. And I have to say the whole event was relatively stress free.

How was having a gaggle of toddlers and family around stress free? Well let me tell you why…

  1. Don’t have the party at your house. Possum’s first birthday was at our house. This meant the house had to be clean. Need I say more. This year we went to the park, literally around the corner from our house. It has kick arse swings, two slides, toilets and under cover picnic areas. Perfect. There was plenty of room for happy toddlers to run around, grass for younger bubs to roll around on and plenty of breathing room for this pregnant mumma.
  2. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Repeat after me. “I don’t have to do everything, I don’t have to do everything”. This is what friends and family are for. Grandparents are wonderful in so many ways. Their amazing cooking, cleaning and entertaining skills can all be put to good use when planning a party. For example my mother in law cleaned up the undercover picnic areas for us the morning of the party. Amazing. My parents came to our house to help do morning dishes, entertain Possum and my Mum was wonderful and whipped up some cream cheese icing at the last minute for Possum’s birthday cake. My sister loves shiny pretty things and is wonderfully creative. So her job was decorations. I literally said “balloons and streamers in rainbow colours”. I arrived to find home made paper chains, balloons, streamers, glittery shapes and a happy birthday banner. Way more than my brain could even compute!
  3. Keep things simple. Toddlers are wonderful little creatures and get crazy excited at even the littlest of things. Like having party hats and a cake. They don’t need a live band, 20 animal petting zoo AND a decorator cake. The little ones had so much fun dancing around the park with streamers, hiding in bushes and watching balloons make farting noises as they zoomed through the air. Nice and simple.
  4. Get someone else to take photos. Kind of like your wedding day, you want to enjoy the fact you have kept a tiny little person alive for so long despite horrible sleep, a diet of food scraps and cold tea and a complete and utter sense of having no idea what the hell you are doing. Celebrate! But do get someone else to capture your happy faces. Make sure that person understands your camera and are happy to be the camera person for the day. Reassure them you don’t want Ansel Adams images, just your typical family happy snaps.
  5. Skip the presents. I don’t mean all together, but just from party guests. I think Possum’s Grandparents would have a meltdown if we said no gifts from them! Ask guests to bring a plate of food to share instead. This is a double win. Your party gets catered plus you don’t have to deal with bringing even more stuff into your home. Also, many kids/adults have food allergies and sensitivities. Bring a plate allows families to bring known safe food. It also saves you having to make gluten free, dairy free, nut free, egg free anything.
  6. Have an amazing husband. I am beyond grateful for having a husband who is great with logistics and event planning. He used to organise logistics for ultra marathons and the such, so a toddler birthday party is easy! Lovely little touches he thought of were things like having a camping stove to make the nanas and grandmas hot cups of tea, packing camping chairs and picnic blankets, having camping plates rather than throw aways. So thank you so much Legoman for not only being an awesome father but also a wonderful husband! xx
  7. Have a plan. It’s a good idea to have at least a vague idea of what you need/want for this party. To make this easier for you I have made a free party planner printable. Stick it on the fridge (next to your free printable meal planner!) and add to it as you think of things. Click Pea Fritters Party Planner Free Printable to download.

I truly hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your little person! Have a friend who you think might find this post and free party planner printable helpful? Simply share this post on Facebook, Pinterest or email!

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Delicious and Easy Chicken Schnitzel

Easy and Delicious Chicken Schnitzel

Once you’ve written Chicken Schnitzel a few times it starts to look super ridiculous! Chicken Schnitzel. Chicken Schnitzel. Chicken Schnitzel. Teehee. Anyway! This delicious and easy, very easy, chicken schnitzel was a way to use up the last bit of Buttermilk in the fridge after making Possum’s Birthday Cake and also these delicious Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones. Every meal planners dream! No food waste!

The weather in the mountains yesterday was cold and misty, perfect for a belly warming schnitzel teamed with creamy (and I mean creamy, I used pure cream and butter) mashed potato, roast pumpkin and steamed vegetables. Nom nom nom nom.

This version of Chicken Schnitzel is also egg free, so allergy friendly. Hurray! If you can’t do gluten you can substitute the bread crumbs for rice crumbs or gluten free bread crumbs. Rice crumbs actually turns out super crunchy.

This would be a great meal to make if you had a bit of mummy anger going on after a rough day as you get to bash the chicken with something heavy. Just watch your knuckles! I learnt the hard way.

This is a lovely meal for the whole family to enjoy with enough variety on the plate to ensure something for everyone.

I was thinking this would be a big hit with Possum as she loves chicken. But by the end of dinner she had eaten all her vegetables and wanted more vegetables but had hardly touched her chicken or mash. Clearly what her body wanted. Poor old mummy got to gobble up her serve of chicken schnitzel after Possum was asleep. Yes, I am a human seagull.

Can I just say, as delicious as Chicken Schnitzel is, it ain’t very photogenic. But the photo below shows you my secret weapon to a good Chicken Schnitzel. My marble rolling pin. This also doubles as my home security system. This baby has some serious weight to it and flattens out a chicken breast in minimal time and effort. Possum was also using it to practice her weight lifting skills (with my very nervous supervision).

Chicken Schnitzel Secret Weapon

Delicious and Easy Chicken Schnitzel – Serves 2 adults and 2 kidlets

2 chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthways (to make them a bit flatter)

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (amp this up if you like a bit more of a kick to your schnit)

salt and pepper

1-2 cups of breadcrumbs

Olive oil for frying

After you have sliced your chicken breasts lengthways, lay down a large piece of baking paper, place 1-2 chicken pieces on the paper, then cover with another equal sized piece of baking paper. Use something heavy to hit the chicken (thanks to my marble rolling pin I don’t have to hit very hard) until the chicken is 5-10mm thick. Set aside flattened chicken and repeat with remaining pieces.

In a bowl mix together buttermilk, mustard and salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces and stir to coat. Allow to soak for 30 minutes. Then, using tongs, remove each piece and coat in bread crumbs. To make this easier I place the crumbs on a dinner plate, starting with ~1 cup, and add more if needed (another little kitchen hack is to place crumbs and chicken in a plastic bag and shake to coat). Place crumbed pieces on a clean plate ready to cook.

Meanwhile get your vegetables sorted. I roasted pumpkin pieces in the oven at 180°C in some olive oil, boiled some potatoes (ready for mashing) and steamed some broccoli, beans and carrots.

When you’re ready, heat oil over medium heat in a non stick pan, preferably cast iron (I love my cast iron pans). There should be about 2mm of oil in the whole base of the pan.

Place 1-2 chicken pieces in the hot oil. Cook for a few minutes each side until beautiful and golden. Place cooked pieces on paper towel. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Serve with all your delicious veg and enjoy!

Easy and Delicious Chicken Schnitzel 2

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Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake (Happy Birthday my gorgeous Possum!)

Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake - Egg Free

Birthday’s deserve cake, and it’s nice to know this Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake not only passed the picky toddler test, it also passed the tired hungry mum test! Hurray! One mummy friend shouted out “Can you blog this one? Little man is loving it!”.

This time two years ago I was swaying and vocalising my way through early labour. By 7:30 tomorrow morning I would’ve given birth to the most wonderful little bundle I have ever met. My gorgeous little Possum. What a proud mummy I am! This birthday, Possum specifically requested an apple cake, so her birthday cake was a Toddler Friendly Apple and Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.

Possum asked for there to be one red apple and one green apple in her cake, and I suggested a carrot (as she loves carrots) which she agreed whole heartedly. There was a decent meltdown over whether the gooey seeds (chia) would end up in the cake or in her belly, but a timely arrival of Grandpa and Grandma put all to rest *phew*. There’s some creamy buttermilk and just a touch of cinnamon to round off this moist yummy Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake. Of course this cake is egg free, as little Possum has an egg allergy. I think I’m getting the hang of this egg free baking now though!

We had a little party for our Birthday Girl today at our local park. A handful of happy chatty friends, a bevy of proud family to play and eat and giggle with our precious Possum. I have to say it was a lot more fun than her first birthday and much less emotional. It was so wonderful watching her play with her little buddies, hiding in bushes, sharing the swings, giving cuddles and kisses. What a wonderful age this is.

A big thankyou goes to my Mum who made the cream cheese icing at the last minute at my request. It really topped off this Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake! She recommends even adding a little lemon zest to give it some extra zing.

I hope you and your birthday toddler (or not so little person!) enjoy this cake as much as we did!

grated apple and carrot

Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake aka Egg Free Apple and Carrot Cake

1 1/2 cups SR flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 green apple, peeled and grated

1 red apple, peeled and grated

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp No Egg replacer with 2 Tbsp water (or use 1 egg)

2 Tbsp butter melted

2 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1/2 cup water for 15 minutes

ICING:

Philadelphia cream cheese

Pure cream

Caster sugar

Vanilla essence

Preheat Oven to 180°C fan forced/200°C conventional. Grease and line a spring form baking tin. Mix your chia and water and let sit for 15 mintues

Meanwhile, mix together your SR flour, almond meal, baking powder and cinnamon,

Add your grated apples and carrot, stir to combine.

In a seperate bowl, beat together your brown sugar, buttermilk, vanilla and No Egg (or 1 whole egg if no allergies).Add to your flour/apple mix. Stir through chia seeds and melted butter until all just combined.

Pour into your prepared baking tin and bake for 1 hour.

To make the icing, use a spoon to briskly mix together your cream cheese, cream, sugar and vanilla to suit your taste. (I think my Mum didn’t use a whole block of cream cheese…). Once the cake has cooled, spread icing over cake. Place as many candles as needed/wanted, sing, horray, cut and be merry!

I can't believe she's 2

Carob Almond Poppy Biscuits

Carob Almond Poppy Biscuits

Last night Legoman and I tackled the totally un-fun task of clearing out one of our food cupboards. This meant pulling everything out of the cupboard, checking used by dates and ingredients, and then either throwing out, giving away or putting it back in the cupboard. We hadn’t really done that since Possum was diagnosed with her allergies. Or since I started meal planning. And coming from a long line of hoarders, turns out we could have survived some kind of apocalyptic event just on the amount of almond meal I have stashed away….

So these delicious Carob Almond Poppy Biscuits were a result of all the wonderful things I rediscovered hiding in my cupboard! I found Carob Powder left over from doing the elimination diet with Possum, almond meal (lots of almond meal), poppy seeds and an awful lot of self raising flour.

carob biscuit 1

Quite often when you mention carob people screw their faces up and remember the waxy little carob buds sold at school canteen’s across Australia in the 80s and 90s. But I have found the most delicious Australian made carob and it’s an absolute winner! I’m not paid to say how tasty it is (they don’t even know I exist!), but The Carob Kitchen’s carob products are to die for. Especially their Carob Almond Bar and their little Banjo Bars (which I often scoff after doing the grocery shopping!).Why carob? It’s gluten free, caffeine free (hello pregnancy and breastfeeding!) plus their bars have no added sugar or sweeteners as the carob is sweet enough. Winner!

carob biscuit 2

I love the texture the Poppy Seeds add to these Carob Almond Poppy Biscuits. Little bursts of POP when you bite in. Yum! The little bit of cinnamon adds just a hint of spice and the combo of almond and butter gives them a certain richness.

So go clear out your cupboards! Who knows what you might find in there!

carob biscuit 3

Carob Almond Poppy Biscuits – Makes 16

1 cup self raising flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1/3 cup carob powder (The Carob Kitchen if you can get some)

6 tsp poppy seeds (I couldn’t find my Tbsp!)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

125g butter melted

1 tsp No Egg mixed into 2 Tbsp water or I egg whisked

1/4 cup raw sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/3 cup maple syrup

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 220°C conventional/200°C fan forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix together flour, carob, almond, poppy seeds, cinnamon, and raw sugar.

Meanwhile mix together your No Egg or whisk your egg.

Melt the butter over a low heat then add the vanilla and maple syrup. Swish to combine.

Make a well in centre on mixing bowl. First add your No Egg mix or egg, then add your melted butter mix. Stir until just combined.

Spoon mix onto baking tray. Bake in oven for 13 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before gobbling them all up!

carob biscuit 5

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Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones

Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones

After Mother’s Day on Sunday you may have some roast pumpkin swimming around in your fridge. Or maybe you totally forgot Mother’s Day and are looking for a way to make it up to the person who gave you life! Either way, these  Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones are delicious!

Mother’s Day was a bit of a non event in our house. Legoman went to work and Possum and I went to a birthday party. I did get to stay in bed an extra 30 minutes and we had croissants for breakfast. Win! Possum gave me a very sweet book called I Love You Mummy and Legoman gave me/us welding gloves, a small shovel and a metal bucket. Romance hey! The romantic thing is that they are all used with our fire place, and they have already been put to good use.

The scones were made for the birthday party Possum and I went to, which was a combined 2nd birthday party for Possum and a few of her little buddies. We had such an amazing afternoon on a friend’s property in the Kanimbla Valley. Amazing views, a beautiful large creek, heaps of space for happy toddlers plus we even all chipped in and got a jumping castle. Needless to say poor Possum was beyond tired by the time we got home.  And the scones were a success!

These Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones are great for kids as they are low in sugar and actually have some veg in them. If you like you could play around with the buttermilk and pumpkin ratios if you want more pumpkin in there. Possum and I just had to do some quality control when they came out of the oven! Yummo!

Pumpkin Buttermilk Scones – makes 12-15

2 cups self raising flour

1 Tbsp caster sugar

pinch salt

60g butter chilled and chopped

3/4 cup buttermilk

freshly grated nutmeg ~1/4 tsp

1/3 cup roasted pumpkin

extra buttermilk for brushing

Preheat oven to 220°C standard/200°C fan forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Add flour, nutmeg, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Combine. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour until the mix resembles fine bread crumbs (I used to love doing this as a kid growing up).

Make a well into the centre of mix. Add buttermilk and pumpkin. Use a butter knife to combine until it forms a sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface (also put a little flour on your hands). Knead gently until smooth.

Press out the dough until ~2cm thick. You can either cut into desired number of scones or use a cutter to make shapes (I did love hearts, surprise surprise!). Place the scones on the baking tray so that they are just touching. Brush the tops with some buttermilk.

Bake in the top half of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Serve with butter, ricotta or even mascarpone for a special touch of yum!

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