Mango and Coconut Smoothie

Mango and Coconut Smoothie

I must be missing summer at the moment. Pina Colada Muffins one week, Mango and Coconut Smoothie the next! We live in the Blue Mountains, Australia, which is a remarkably beautiful place. But come winter time, it’s really bloody cold! Our fruit bowl is full of pears, apples and bananas. Nothing like the melons, mangoes and stone fruit we devour in the summer months. Thankfully I have found that you can buy 1 kg (yes 1kg!!) of frozen mango for around $6 at Aldi! Woohoo!!

And the other week, while I was in hospital, a foodie friend of mine not only brought me two trays of Italian pastries (he knows me well!) but he also brought some amazingly delicious coconut milk. I’m so used to coconut milk in tins from the supermarket, that this cold bottle of light sweet coconut milk was a revelation!

Mango and Coconut Smoothie

Now I know smoothies are all the rage at the moment and people are loading them up with avocado, quinoa, protein powders and the milk of yaks from outer west mongolia. In our house smoothies are a much more simple affair, with one main purpose. To cheer up a tired and cranky two year old. This Mango and Coconut Smoothie can be prepared with a toddler in one hand and your ingredients in the other. It comes together in a moment so little people don’t have to wait. And it is super delicious!! And healthy too! Huzzah!

This Mango and Coconut smoothie was a mega super amazing hit with my little Possum. Initially she wanted to save some for Daddy, but poor Legoman never got to taste it as Possum decided the extra glass was probably better off in her belly.

So go grab yourself some frozen mango, some coconut milk not in a tin and some healthy bacteria packed yoghurt to whip together this delicious Mango and Coconut Smoothie. Enjoy!

Mango and Coconut Smoothie – makes 1 big smoothie or enough to share with a hangry toddler

1 cup frozen mango

1/2 cup plain full fat yoghurt (or a few big spoonfuls)

1/2 cup coconut milk

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and whizz together until smooth.

That’s it! So simple and delicious! A great snack for pregnant mums, breastfeeding mums, busy mums, tired mums, happy mums, hangry mums and your little folk too. Add frozen mango to your shopping list on your meal plan this week (click here for your free printable meal planning template)!

Mango and Coconut Smoothie

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Make Friends With Your Kitchen

Make Friends With Your Kitchen
As a working mother, it can feel overwhelming having to feed my little clan. Plus I have standards darn it! Which means no takeaway and minimal processed food, because really not only is home made better for you and cheaper, a lot of the time it’s more delicious too!

Chatting to my mummy pals, basically what we all want is for meal times to be calm, simple and hopefully even enjoyable.

I have made a list for you of some hints and tips to help make your kitchen your friend. Hopefully a life long friend that you share with your family rather than a friend you only talk to because you have to.

Make Friends With Your Kitchen

1. Have a plan. Meal planning has been a huge life saver for me and my family. Huge. I started when my daughter (now 2!) started having solids. I realised I couldn’t have a panic every day at 5pm trying to figure out what we were going to have for dinner. That just ain’t sustainable. Instead, I sit down once a week and write a meal plan. I shop once a week knowing exactly what we need. To learn more about meal planning click here. To download my free meal planning printable click here.

2. Have a clear working space. This is probably the thing I struggle with the most. I love cooking and hate cleaning. However, the wise mature me has learnt that doing the dishes makes me happy. Eventually. I try to have a clean kitchen before going to bed, but failing that (some nights it is too much) then after breakfast the kitchen gets a full clean. Come crazy dinner time you’ve got clear space and all equipment is clean and ready to go.

3. Keep it simple. Yes we could all make every single thing from scratch using organic ingredients. But really. Who has the time or money? Know your limits. Don’t plan a banquet feast on a day you have something on. Allow for tired days. Buy snacks. Have an idea of your emergency family favorite meals.

4. Clean as you go. When you start cooking, fill the sink with hot soapy water. Even if you just throw things in, it will make cleaning up easier later. Plus you will have an easy way of washing your hands.

5. Share the load. I love to cook but I love that I don’t have to do it every night even more!! I am so grateful that Legoman cooks dinner twice a week (2 of my 3 workdays). He is home with our daughter those days and so meals are his job. Does he love cooking? No. Does he love us? Surely does. This has helped me not be such a control freak in the kitchen too. Don’t have a hubby? Do a bulk cook up with girlfriends or plan to have meal swaps with families close by.

I hope these simple tips help you make friends with your kitchen. Not sure what to cook for dinner tonight? Try my delicious Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme or perhaps my Pumpkin, Leek and Millet Oven baked Risotto.

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Pina Colada Muffins

Pina Colada Muffins

Ahhhh sweet summer nights, sipping Pina Colada’s on a beach front somewhere wonderful… all just a dream for this heavily pregnant mother of a toddler! Doesn’t mean I can’t bake some super tasty muffins! Because cocktails and muffins totally compare. Excuse me while I go sob in the corner for a moment…. Rightio! Back again! This pregnant mumma is also living in the icy start of winter, where our pipes are already starting to freeze in the mornings and our windscreens need to be scraped of ice before driving anywhere. So sure, why not tropicana on your tastebuds! Liven things up!

These Pina Colada Muffins are a delicious combination of some of my favourite things.

Coconut, lots of coconut.

Pineapple. Mmmmmmmm

Lime. Sweet, sweet (or sour) lime.

Pina Colada Muffins

Plus a few other healthy yummos like chia seeds, yoghurt and banana to make these Pina Colada Muffins totally guilt free. They are both egg free and nut free making them perfect for school lunches and toddler afternoon teas. And with only 2 Tbsp of coconut sugar added you can confidently even give these as a little baby led weaning treat too!

Legoman’s verdict… “They’re sweet. They’re good.”

Possum’s verdict… “Deliiiccccciiiiioooooooooouuuusssss. I want more muffin!”

Pina Colada Muffins

I have really wonderful memories of sipping Pina Colada’s on Tonsai Beach in Thailand, with the freshest of fresh coconut and pineapple in them. Swinging in a hammock. Watching the lightning flash across the ocean. Off I go day dreaming again…

These Pina Colada Muffins are quite a moist mix so when baking make sure to give them a little skewer test to check if they are done. I had to keep putting them back in the first round, I think I was a bit too excited to try them!

Pina Colada Muffins – Makes ~16 mini muffins

225g tin pineapple pieces in natural juice

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1 cup SR flour

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 tsp baking powder

270ml tin coconut cream (I use Ayam brand as it’s 100% pure coconut, not watered down or thickened)

2 bananas, mashed

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

2/3 cup full fat plain yoghurt

2 Tbsp coconut oil melted

Zest of 1 lime

1. Strain off the juice from the pineapple into a medium bowl. Add the chia seeds to the juice and let soak for 15 mintues

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a mini muffin pan.

3. Combine desiccated coconut, SR flour, baking powder, coconut sugar and lime zest in a large mixing bowl.

4. Mash bananas and stir through pineapple pieces.

5. Whisk together coconut cream and the chia seed mixture.

6. Combine chia/coconut mix, pineapple/banana mix, dry mix and yoghurt.

7. Spoon into muffin pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, check with a skewer that they are cooked right through as this is quite a moist mixture.

Pina Colada Muffins

I had to add in this photo of the pineapple pieces. The sunshine through the bowl was making such beautiful patterns. And that photo of the whisk is actually a colour photo, looks black and white. Pretty groovy 🙂 I hope these Pina Colada Muffins add some tropical sunshine to your day! Enjoy!

Pina Colada Muffins

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Easy Chicken Alphabet Soup

Easy Chicken Alphabet Soup

Do you remember having alphabet soup as a kid?? When I saw these alphabet pasta shapes at our local ALDI I just had to buy some! More for me than anyone else. Possum has been really getting into the alphabet lately and can even sing the whole alphabet song (proud beaming mumma over here! hello!). I thought this would be a fun way for her to play, learn and enjoy delicious homemade chicken alphabet soup. Possum makes soup at most meals. This involves putting a bit of everything into her cup of water, stirring it and then drinking it……… delicious……

This Easy Chicken Alphabet Soup is the perfect way to use up leftover roast chicken. A nice bonus when you’re using meal planning is this 2 for 1 kind of cooking! Less fuss, less stress and less cost. Bingo!

And yes I did have just a bit of fun picking out the letters to spell “alphabet” for my nice pic up the top 🙂 You likey? I used a Lego keyring (guess who owns that one!) as my lighting. So fancy! So professional!

Alphabet Noodles

As a little side story, it’s funny how sometimes the universe knows things way before you do. I cooked this soup on Saturday night. I did the grocery shopping during Saturday day, I normally do it Monday. I also strangely had the house pretty darn clean and organised by the time I went to bed that night. Plus Possum hadn’t had any Mummy Milk for 3 days… That night I was rushed to hospital with bleeding. I am 30 weeks pregnant and have placenta praevia. Legoman was out bush and out of phone reception. Not a fun situation.

To cut a long story short, I am now home again after a couple of nights in hospital. Both baby and I are absolutely fine. I was joking that had the hospital had a kitchen, a DSLR and wifi I could’ve happily blogged whilst there! Instead I used up all my data on my phone reading everyone else’s blogs (I found a few new ones here and here)!

Easy Chicken Noodles Soup cooking

Easy Chicken Alphabet Noodle Soup – Serves 4

For the broth:

Leftover Roast Chicken (I had nearly half a chicken left), skin and bones included

3 carrots very roughly chopped

1 onion peeled and quartered

2 bay leaves

10 peppercorns

a pinch of salt

1/2 red capsicum very roughly chopped

5 cups of water

large handful fresh parsley

For the remainder of the soup

1/2 cup of alphabet soup noodles

2 carrots sliced

2 cups broccoli florets

1. Place all ingredients for the broth into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 10-11 hours. Or do as I did and start it on high for a few hours while you go do the grocery shopping then turn in to low until close to dinner time.

2. After cooking the broth, strain it through a pasta strainer. Strip chicken carcass of as much meat as you can. I still had nearly half a chicken on my leftovers so this was quite a meaty soup.

3. Add the strained broth and chicken meat to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add your sliced carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add your alphabet pasta and broccoli. Cook for 5 minutes.

4. Then serve! It’s really that crazy simple!!

If you don’t have a slow cooker you can easily make the broth by sitting all the ingredients in a large saucepan on very low heat on the stove top. You could reduce the cooking time this way too.

I could’ve tried to style this soup, but really it’s such a kiddie classic and nostalgic wonder, I just had to put a picture of Possum’s cute little pink bowl and teaspoon instead. I hope your family enjoys this Easy Chicken Noodle Soup!

Toddler Serve of Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

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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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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