Tag Archives: Kids

Little People: Cooking for Kids

Standard

While I like the idea of having a family dinner time, it’s not really practical for our family at the moment. My kids are young and like to be in bed between 6.30-7pm, they still get messy enough at dinner to need a bath afterwards, and my husband isn’t generally home from work until around 6pm. So, for the moment, the kids have dinner around 5pm and my husband and I eat later. For the kids I often heat up some of our leftover dinner from the night before or serve a portion of our dinner to them and keep it warm for us to eat later.

Although I always serve vegetables with their dinner, I do often ‘hide’ pureed vegetables in the meal too. I still have a stockpile of frozen veggie puree cubes in the freezer so they’re easy to add. Curries are great for hiding veggies in, and I add pureed cauliflower to bechamel cheese sauce. Finely grated vegetables are also a great addition to many meals – I use a microplane grater to get really fine shavings of vegetables. I mix microplaned carrot and zucchini to tomato paste, dried italian herbs and seasoning for use on pizzas and pizza scrolls. I also add them to the pot when cooking my asian 2 minute noodles.

Asian 2 minute noodles

The other night I was cooking chicken and leek pie for dinner. This dish is delicious but when I serve it to the kids as leftovers it ends up looking a bit like mush! I don’t have a microwave so generally reheat it on the stove and have to mix everything together. Feeling inspired I cooked up the sauce in the TMX with the chicken steaming on top (one of my daughter’s mostly eats vegetarian food so I often keep the meat separate). I top the pie with feta and filo pastry then bake in the oven for dinner, but to serve early for the kids I decided to bake some puff pastry ‘pie tops’. I just used frozen puff pastry, cut circles with a large cookie cutter, placed on a lined tray, brushed with egg and baked for 12-15 min at 200C. I served the pie filling in the kids bowls, let them add their own feta and chicken, then popped a pie top on. It was a huge hit. My general rule is that the kids have to clean their bowl before they get another serving with another pie top. I use the same rule for soup and bread – clean your bowl before getting more bread. It usually works well but can end with tantrums so be prepared to stand your ground!

IMG_3313

Of course, I don’t have the time and energy to make little pie toppers and the like every night, but it is fun from time to time. I try to have a few quick kids meal options on hand too for those nights when you come in late and need a fast, nutritious dinner. Some ideas include having frozen pasta sauce in the freezer, I always have my winning pasta sauce and bechamel sauce frozen in cubes ready to use. Asian 2 minute noodles are really quick and easy. Of course you can’t go past eggs on toast for dinner either. Another quick and delicious recipe is Quirky Cooking’s Baked Beans – so good you’ll be wanting them for dinner too. I often save leftover mash to go with these beans. I also try to have mini frittatas or quiches in the freezer – you can pop these on a baking tray and heat under the grill to make a yummy dinner. Last, but not least, pesto of any kind is great to have frozen or in a jar to mix through pasta or spread on flat bread, sprinkle with cheese and bake like pizza.

Well, hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas. All the recipes I post on this blog are things I cook for my family, and  most of my kids eat most of the dishes! Hope yours like them too 🙂

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Easy Peasy Healthy Ice Creams

Standard

Nothing makes my kids happier than when I offer them ice cream for afternoon tea! It is so easy to have your own healthy ice creams in the freezer and ready to go. Here are 2 of my (and my kids!) favourite recipes.

Green Ice Cream

 

Green Ice Cream

My friend K passed this recipe onto me. It is really yummy, healthy and filling for little tummies (good for mums and dads too!). My kids aren’t big fans of avocado so this is a great way for them to enjoy eating it.

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 bananas (the riper the banana, the stronger the banana flavour)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 4 tbs natural pot set yogurt

Place all ingredients in TMX or food processor. Blitz until smooth. Pour into moulds. Freeze & enjoy.

You can add 1-2tsp of cacao or cocoa to make chocolate ice creams

Pink Ice Cream

Mix together and pour into moulds. Freeze & enjoy.

Use any homemade jam, berry sauce or pureed fruit to make these different flavours and colours.

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Caramel Cannellini Cakes

Standard

I have made Chocolate Magic Bean Cakes many, many times now and they are always fantastic, but I wanted to try a vanilla version of the magic bean style cake. I chose to use cannellini beans, which  are high in fibre, high in protein, low in fat and a good source of iron. Using the chocolate recipe as a base I gave it a go, but used rapadura instead of sugar. Rapadura is the product of evaporated sugar cane juice. It is a brown, grainy sugar that has a caramel quality. Rapadura is a Wholefood as it has not been cooked at high temperatures, had the molasses separated from it, had any chemicals added to it or had the vitamins and minerals removed from it. It works really well as a substitute for refined sugar in biscuits and cakes. I buy my rapadura online for $5.95/kg from 2Brothers Foods, but it is also available in health food stores and through other online retailers. 

The result of my experimenting – caramel cakes! These are a really yummy, healthy cake and freeze well for lunch boxes.

Caramel Cannellini Cake

Ingredients

  • 420g can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed or 110g dried cannellini beans soaked and cooked
  • 1 tbls water
  • 1 tbls vanilla essence
  • 5 eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp  baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 65g (1/3 cup) oil or 125g butter
  • 180g rapadura

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Place cannellini beans, water, eggs and vanilla essence in TMX and blitz 2 min, Sp 7
  3. Add all other ingredients
  4. Mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  5. Spoon into patty pans and bake 20-25 min in 2tbls/40ml patty pans or 15-20 min in 1tbls/20ml mini patty pans
  6. Alternately, pour into ring tin and bake 30 min

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Black Bean Brownies

Standard
So here it is (drumroll please), my first guest blogger! How exciting. My good friend Em makes these gorgeous black bean brownies which are a healthy treat that the whole family can enjoy. They are an absolute hit with the kids and are packed with nutrients. Great for an after school snack or in their lunchbox, and yum for everyone else too!
Black beans are considered a ‘superfood’ because they are packed with a rare combination of protein and fibre which is great for the digestive system, the cardiovascular system, and for regulating blood sugar. This protein-fibre combination is not found in fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, nuts, seeds or seafood. Only in legumes, including black beans.
Em says “These are fantastic, always moist and chocolatey, and without a hint of the goodness of the beans hidden within. They can be made dairy free using milk free chocolate. I have not tried to make gluten free but I believe the plain flour can be replaced with a GF option”.
Preparation: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Black Bean Brownies
Ingredients
  • 250g (3/4 cup) cooked black beans*
  • 100g (1/2 cup) oil (Em uses rice bran oil or vegetable oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 20g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 110g (2/3 cup) rapadura
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g chocolate, divided in two
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g (1/3 cup) cup plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt

*How to cook black beans

  • Firstly soak your beans overnight (or for 8 hours) in a large bowl with plenty of clean water, then drain the beans (discarding the water) and rinse well
  • Cook black beans on the stovetop using My New Roots method by placing 1 cup of beans and 3 cups water in a large pot, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cooking beans until tender (approx 45-60min).
  • Cook black beans in the TMX using Tenina’s method by placing them in the simmering basket in the TMX, then filling the bowl with enough water to just cover the beans. Cook 30 min, 100C, Sp 3.
  • Cook black beans in the pressure cooker using Em’s method by placing 1 cup of beans and 3 cups of water in the pressure cooker and cooking for 20 minutes.
To make the brownies: 
TMX Method
  1. Pre Heat oven to 180C
  2. Melt half of the chocolate (50g) and set aside
  3. Put the other half (50g) into TMX bowl and chop 3-5 sec, Sp 5 and set aside
  4. Place black beans and oil in TMX and blend to a paste 2 min, Sp 7
  5. Add eggs, cocoa powder, rapadura, vanilla extract and melted chocolate, mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  6. Add baking powder, flour and salt, mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  7. Add the chopped chocolate and mix 10 sec, Rev Sp 3
  8. Pour into a well greased and/or lined brownie tin (approx 20cmx20cm)
  9. Bake at 180C for 20-30 minutes – Em says “My oven is a big old gas oven without a fan and therefore everything takes a while. The brownie should be matte at the sides and shiny in the centre, it should still be slightly soft in the centre”.
  10. Allow to rest and then cut into cubes
  11. Enjoy!
Non-TMX Method
  1. Pre Heat oven to 180C
  2. Melt half of the chocolate (50g) and set aside
  3. Break or chop the other half (50g) into small pieces (Em says “I usually do this in the food processor before beginning the remainder of the recipe”)
  4. Using a  food processor or blender,  blend the black beans and oil to a paste
  5. Add eggs, cocoa powder, rapadura, vanilla extract and melted chocolate, and mix until well combined in a food processor or by hand
  6. Add baking powder, flour and salt, and mix until well combined in a food processor or by hand
  7. Add the chopped chocolate and mix until just combined in a food processor or by hand
  8. Pour into a well greased and/or lined brownie tin (approx 20cmx20cm)
  9. Bake at 180C for 20-30 minutes – Em says “My oven is a big old gas oven without a fan and therefore everything takes a while. The brownie should be matte at the sides and shiny in the centre, it should still be slightly soft in the centre”.
  10. Allow to rest and then cut into cubes
  11. Enjoy!

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Asian 2 Minute Noodles

Standard

My husband enjoys the occasional Indo Mee packet noodle lunch at home on the weekend, and the kids always love having some. I wanted to recreate that 2 minute asian noodle meal without the crazy amount of additives and preservatives (and heaven knows what else!) that are in the packet ones. My husband was keen to find an alternative too, as long as it tasted as good. So with a little experimentation I whipped up this quick and easy recipe. The kids were eating so fast they couldn’t even comment and my husband says it tastes just like the packet. Winner! This is a quick and easy meal, with only a few wholesome ingredients. You could definitely add steamed or stir-fried meat and/or veg if you wanted to, or serve this as a side dish, but at my place just noodles for a quick weekend lunch.

Asian 2 minute noodles

Ingredients

I cook 100g of noodles which makes 4 children sized portions or 1 hungry husband portion. If you cook more noodles, increase the sauce component amounts accordingly.

  • 100g Organic Noodles (I use Hakubaku Japanese Noodles – cooking time will depend on your noodles. Somen cook in 2 min and the others range from 4-10 min cooking time)
  • 2 tsp TMX Vegetable Stock Concentrate
  • 2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 tsp honey (add up to 1 tsp honey depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • optional – dried onion flakes to taste (I use 1 tsp)
  • optional – dried chilli flakes to taste (I use 1 tsp)

Method

  1. Bring water to the boil, add noodles and cook for time recommended on the packet
  2. Place all other ingredients in a bowl
  3. Add cooked, drained noodles to the bowl and mix until coated in sauce
  4. Serve and enjoy

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Wholemeal Parmesan Cracker Biscuits

Standard

In my never ending search for yummy, homemade cracker type foods for my kids I have created these which are a bit of a cross between a cracker and a savoury biscuit. They are very tasty and a healthy option for after school, lunch boxes or with pre-dinner nibblies. They’re good with dip too – I often whip up the herb & garlic dip from the EDC to go on these. 

The dough comes together very quickly and is easy to work with. There’s no need to flour the bench either, it’s not a sticky dough. Try not to over-handle the dough, just push the left-overs together roughly after cutting each lot of cracker biscuits, and roll out again for the next lot. 

IMG_0704

 

Ingredients – Makes approx 36 cracker biscuits

  • 120g cubed parmesan cheese
  • 20g butter
  • 120g plain flour or white spelt flour
  • 120g wholemeal flour or wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 110g hot (not boiling) water

Method

  1. Preheat oven 180C
  2. Place parmesan cheese in TMX and blitz 10 sec, Sp 9 & set aside in a separate bowl
  3. Place butter in TMX and melt 50C, 30 sec, Sp 1
  4. Add all other ingredients including parmesan cheese
  5. Mix 5 sec, Sp 7
  6. Knead 2 min
  7. Mixture should look like big breadcrumbs with all flour mixed in, if not scrape down the bowl and knead for a further 30 sec
  8. Tip mixture onto clean bench and push together to form a ball
  9. Roll out to approx 4mm thickness
  10. Cut into shapes as desired – I just use the MC as a round cookie cutter
  11. Place on lined tray
  12. Bake 12-15min until golden
  13. Cool then store in an air tight container

Cracker Biscuit MixtureCracker Biscuit DoughIMG_0698 

Lunchbox Legends: Sneak Peek #5

Standard

Lunchbox Sneak Peek #5

 

This was yesterdays lunch and it was extremely well received. Clean lunch boxes all round.

  • Leftover pasta with my veggie packed Winning Pasta Sauce and some grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 mini chocolate magic bean cake
  • Corn cake
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fruit salad of apple, rockmelon and grapes
  • Frozen water bottle to keep everything cold & fresh

Lunchbox Legends: Sneak Peek #4

Standard

Lunch Box Sneak Peek #4

Left overs from last nights dinner and a chocolate treat from a dinner party on the weekend make for a delicious lunch today.

  • Left over home made fish & chips with a little pot of tomato sauce
  • Fruit salad of apple, grapes and rockmelon
  • Chocolate Brownie (totally decadent Maggie Beer recipe)
  • Boiled egg – I peel all the shell off except for the little face so it doesn’t take the kids too long at school
  • Frozen water bottle to keep everything cold & fresh

Read Sneak Peek #5

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Tiny Teddies & Co

Standard

Arnotts Tiny Teddies appear to have universal appeal to children of all ages. I prefer not to buy commercial biscuits so except for the odd packet of Tiny Teddies from a party bag or as a treat on holidays they generally don’t make an appearance in my cupboard. However, with a few cute cookie cutters and a very simple recipe you can easily whip up a batch of your own little biscuits at home. I’ve found that these keep well in an air-tight container for up to a week and they’re a big hit with the kids.

IMG_3602

The basic recipe is the Foundation Biscuit Mixture from the Nursing Mothers Association Cookbook (a must have in any kitchen!) and I’ve added a TMX version below.

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 125g castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 125g plain flour
  • For chocolate biscuits omit 1 tbs of plain flour and replace with 1 tbs cocoa powder

TMX Method

  1. Pre heat oven 180C
  2. Place raw sugar in TMX and blitz 3 sec, Sp 9 to make castor sugar
  3. Place castor sugar and butter in TMX and cream 20 sec, Sp 4
  4. Add egg and mix 10 sec, Sp 4
  5. Add flours and knead, closed lid position, 2 min
  6. Roll dough on a floured surface to approx 3mm and cut out shapes
  7. Place on lined baking tray and bake 12-15 min

Non-TMX Method

  1. Pre heat oven 180C
  2. Place castor sugar and butter in mixer and cream together
  3. Add egg and mix thoroughly
  4. Add flours and mix to a smooth dough
  5. Roll dough on a floured surface to approx 3mm and cut out shapes
  6. Place on lined baking tray and bake 12-15 min

I have this great set of cookie cutters – the small cutters slot inside the round cutter and are interchangeable, or can be used on their own. It is ‘Baker’s Secret’ Brand which I purchased at Myer a few years ago. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find them online but i’m sure there are similar products at good homewares stores.

IMG_3651 Tiny Teddies & Co Raw DoughIMG_3591

 

 

 

 

Lunchbox Legends: Sneak Peek #3

Standard

Lunchbox Sneak Peek #3

  • Salad tub with chopped cucumber and cherry tomatoes
  • Puffed Corn (Abundant Earth brand; 100% corn – available in the health food aisle at the supermarket)
  • Gingernut biscuit
  • Fruit Salad of apple & grapes
  • Wholemeal sandwich with strawberry jam
  • Frozen water bottle to keep everything cold & fresh

Read Sneak Peek #4