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

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Egg-Free Cinnamon and Apple Muffins

Egg Free Apple and CInnamon Muffins

What makes a tired toddler happy? Fresh out of the oven muffins made by mum! You know that something is going to be delicious when the raw batter smells AMAZING! This afternoon scrummy yummy was destined for my belly. We are very fortunate to have a beautiful and productive Jonathon Apple tree in our backyard. This year we have picked bucket loads of beautiful crispy, juicy apples. The season is all finished now and the final fruit were picked this week. They aren’t the prettiest of apples and some never really grew up, bit like little Peter Pan apples. They were even a bit green. These apples were perfect for this Egg-Free Cinnamon and Apple Muffin recipe. Possum has been our quality control master, testing each apple… with just one bite.

Our final apple bounty

Our final bounty, with bites taken out by our dear Possum (human!)

Egg-Free Cinnamon and Apple Muffins – makes 16 mini muffins

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1/2 cup water

200g full fat plain yoghurt

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 cup milk

50g butter melted

3 small apples, peeled and chopped (or 2 medium)

Preheat oven to 200°C fan forced or 180°C standard. Grease a mini muffin tray (i always use butter).

Soak your chia seeds in water and leave for 15 minutes.

Once chia seeds are ready (they should look a bit like frog spawn…), mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I like to add all dry first to combine then all my wet ingredients. Just personal preference.

Spoon mixture into the greased mini muffin tray. Bake in your preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.

Allow to cool on cooling rack, or just gobble them up straight out of the oven!

You can thank me later for how amazing your house will smell 😉

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Patient Possum

Patient Possum

I’m Alive! Alive!!!

Apologies for the prolonged quiet from this end of the the interwebs. Life just seemed to amp it up for a little while there! So what happened while I was gone?

My Mum had her birthday.

A week later I had my first Mother’s Day.

A week later Possum turned 1!! Huzzah! We celebrated with Vegan Cupcakes which were dense but delicious! Funnily enough I went to the trouble of making an egg free cake for Possum as we are wondering about an allergy. Turns out she doesn’t like cake much and would prefer to chow down on sausages and cheese. Takes after her Mum 🙂

A week later Lego Man had his birthday.

Add into the mix a very fun and cute 2nd birthday party at a miniature working train park, work, mothers group, 4 new molar’s, cold weather and you can see why I BOUGHT MYSELF A SLOW COOKER!!!

I so feel like a Mum now.

Our trusty Flavour Maker (cheesy name hey) has stretched it’s slow moving legs 3 times since I had it arrive on my doorstep 2 weeks ago. I even got to use the Slow Cooker cookbook I bought about 3 months ago! Yes I bought a slow cooker cookbook BEFORE actually owning a slow cooker. But that purchase is now justified 🙂

Hopefully this Flavour Maker will help us churn through the kilos of meat I bought on impulse (who can resist half a kilo of organic scotch fillet for $3??? thankyou quick sale at Woolworths!). That amazing day that I got distracted by the cheap meat (and yes I am literally referring to meat and not any male performers), I managed to get so excited I drove home to realise I had forgotten milk and nappies.

So far we have made Devilled Beef (sounds so old school, meat tasted as old as it sounds), Moroccan Beef (I think some of the flavour got left behind in Morocco) and then tonight Cinnamon and Lemon Lamb Shanks (must find a cheaper place to get lamb shanks… $26 for 4 is a bit rich). Tomorrow night is a Vietnamese Chicken Curry ($2.06 for 8 free range drumsticks! booya!).

My aim in the next week or two is to get back into the groove of sharing our meal plans and recipes with you.

Got a good slow cooker recipe? I would love you to share!

Here’s a pic of Possum on her birthday wearing the crocheted dress/top I made her (using amazing yarn from Nunnaba, was like crocheting with rainbow butter!). I was surprised at how emotional having Possum turn 1 was. I am starting to understand why my Mum cries at sentimental car ads now…Image

Coconut and Macadamia Granola

Coconut and Macadamia Granola

My anniversary gift to Legoman, was a surprise batch of this yummy coconut and macadamia granola. He was at an end of work season party last night, the perfect time to whip up a surprise food gift. He has muesli every morning for breakfast, but is particular about the type he has. So I thought, why not make him a tasty alternative. Here’s how I did it…

Coconut and Macadamia Granola

2 cups oats

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 cup chopped macadamias

3 Tbsp coconut oil melted

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Place some baking paper on a baking tray then lay out the mix on the tray. Bake in the oven at 160 C for 30-40 minutes, checking every 10 and stirring to ensure it doesn’t burn. Allow to cool before storing.

A gift of love

A gift of love

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Pop chop on top and a rare raw treat

Ah sweet Sunday. How I love you. Family day, time to myself day, cooking day. Why must there be only one of you in the week! It has been 2 weeks since I’ve got to do the grocery shopping on my own, so today was savoured. I went to a cafe and drank my coffee while it was still hot! And read some of the newspaper (which was so depressing I had to stop). I had the lovely man at the fruit and veg shop carry my shopping to my car. I ran into friends and could chat without getting distracted. Trust me, I love my daughter beyond words. But to have a few hours just to myself is something rare and wonderful. The best bit? Coming home and having Possum give me a huge smile and a big sloppy open mouth heavy breathing 10 month old kind of kiss.

The second best bit? Having Legoman home so the two of them can hang out while I plonk myself in the kitchen to make stuff! Hurray!

Our meat free week starts tomorrow, so I thought we could have a lamb stew as a final meat farewell. I even made the recipe up myself. And we lived to tell the tale! Double rainbow!

I also finally got around to using the medjool dates I bought 2 weeks ago to make my first “raw” sweet treat. I have seen so many recipes for sweets and snacks using fresh dates and a food processor lately. My poor little Possum is absolutely terrified by our food processor though (can’t blame her really, it sounds like you’ve got your head stuck in a jet engine). So my opportunity to use the darn thing is reserved to her awake time when Legoman is home to take out for a walk outside. Basically Sunday afternoons between 3 and 5pm. I didn’t get round to taking a picture before putting the yummies in the fridge, but i did get to have a taste test. Delicious! Will have to make something again next Sunday between the hours of 3 and 5pm!

Medjool Dates

Medjool Dates

I will take the time to write out the two recipes from today for you. I’m really happy with how the lamb turned out and would love for someone else to give it a go and see if it worked out well for you too! The sweet recipe is super tasty and worth sharing! Enjoy!

Lamb and Quince Stew, Serves 4

8 forequarter lamb chops, torn or cut into 3 pieces each

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 brown onions cut roughly

4 cloves of garlic chopped

3 carrots roughly diced

2 potatoes roughly chopped

1/2 sweet potato roughly chopped

1 quince, peeled and chopped

3 cups of stock and 2 cups of water (I used 1 cup of beef stock and 2 cups of vegetable stock)

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp fennel seeds

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

ground pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees (celsius).
  2. In a large cast iron casserole pot, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium – high heat. Brown the meat in batches. Set aside.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook for a minute until starting to soften. Then add carrot and garlic. Stir for another couple of minutes.
  4. Add your chopped vegetables and quince. Stir to mix.
  5. Add your meat, spices and stock. Stir to combine (as best as you can stir chops…). Put on the lid and place into the oven.
  6. Cook for 2 hours.
  7. Serve with rice, couscous or quinoa. I suggest steaming some vegetables for on the side.

Fudgy Choc-Orange Pistachio Bars, makes 16 squares (taken from Taste Magazine March 2014, p77)

500g fresh medjool dates, pitted, halved

35g (1/3 cup) raw cacao powder

60ml (1/4 cup) cocnut oil

2 Tbsp LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal)

1 1/2 Tbsp fresh orange juice

3 tsp finely grated orange rind (I used my microplane)

75g (1/2 cup) dried cranberries

80g packet pistachios, toasted, chopped

Raw cacao powder, extra, to dust

  1. Grease and line the base and sides of a 11 x 21 cm loaf pan, allowing the sides to overhang.
  2. Place the dates, cacao powder, coconut oil, LSA, orange juice and orange rind in a food processor and process until smooth and well combined (mine turned into a giant ball).
  3. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the cranberries and pistachio.
  4. Dust a little extra cacao powder over the base of the prepared pan. Spoon in date mixture and use a greased spatula (I found just my hands worked best) to smooth the surface.
  5. Place in fridge for 8 hours or overnight until firm. Remove from pan. Use a hot, dry knife to cut into squares (mixture will be sticky).

And now for the scale…

Lamb and Quince Stew

Affordability : MODERATE – EXCELLENT. In terms of meat dishes, stews are one of the most economical. They take advantage of lovely slow cooking cuts on the bone as well as combining with cheap veg like potatoes and sweet potato. Easy to feed a lot of people for not much. I picked up my chops on quick sale (I swear I have a special eye that can spot sale stickers from the car park). The 8 of them cost me $6.50. 

Time Factor : MODERATE. It does take a bit of time to chop everything and brown the meat. But once in the oven you can forget about it for 2 hours!

Complexity : LOW. Easy peasy. This would also work in a slow cooker if you have one. I’m not sure how to convert a recipe over to slow cooker use though.

Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Not an overpowering flavour, but not dull or boring either. Just lovely.

Mess : MODERATE. Browning the meat does send off a fair bit of fat splatter. But that’s easy to clean up. Otherwise this is a lovely one dish wonder.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Some steamed veg and carbs on the side complete this dish nicely.

Possum Friendly? YES. Low in salt (none added apart from whatever is in the stock I used). Slow cooked meats and veg are perfect to offer bubs as they as soft and easy for them to digest. The veg also would’ve soaked up all the goodness that comes from cooking with bones. Highly nutritious. Just pull some meat off the bones as the chop bones are quite sharp.

Would I make it again? Yes, I think I will. Maybe even for guests!

Lamb and Quince Stew

Lamb and Quince Stew