1

Valentines Biscuits

Today we did some heart shaped biscuits. The didn’t turn out exactly how I planned but were really nice and easy to make. I was going to melt some white chocolate and mix in pink food colouring, then dip the biscuits in, but somehow I managed to burn the white chocolate. It went all lumpy so used dark chocolate instead. Maybe didn’t look as pretty but I know I prefer the taste of dark chocolate.

I followed a basic biscuit recipe that I’ve used before.

Ingredients

100g (4oz) butter or margarine (we used Stork)
100g (4oz) caster sugar
1 egg
175g (6oz) plain flour

1) Grease two baking sheets with butter to stop the biscuits sticking, and preheat oven to 180°/ gas mark 4

2) Sift the flour into large bowl and add the butter.

3) Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.

4) Stir the sugar into the mixture. Break the egg into a small bowl and beat well. Add to mixture in big bowl and stir until it forms a dou

5) Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and put dough onto it. Roll the dough out until it it is about a quarter of an inch thick.

6) Use a cutter to cut out the shapes (we obviously used hearts) and carefully place onto the greased baking tray.

7) Bake for 12-15minutes or until golden brown. Leave them to cool completely on a wire rack.

That’s the basic recipe.
Like I said, I intended to melt white cooking chocolate and mix in a drop of food colouring to make it pink, but it went all lumpy. Typically, I had no more white chocolate ! We melted a bar of dark cooking chocolate in the microwave, taking it out and stirring every ten seconds or so to make sure it didn’t burn. We them had loads of fun dipping the biscuits into the chocolate and then sprinkling red sugar on to make them pretty, and left them to cool and set in the fridge.

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The gorgeous Rachel at Candy Floss Cloud had a go at these biscuits with her little one, along with some other lovely Valentines activities…check her blog out here

5

Oaty fruity spicy cookies

These biscuits are actually not too unhealthy, so perfect for kid lunchboxes. They’re really easy to make as well – if I can make them then anyone can – so kids can get involved in making them.

Ingredients

80g butter
80g sugar
1 egg
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon or mixed spice
50g oats (I used a packet of plain oat so simple!)
50g mixed fruit

Heat the oven to gas mark five
Cream butter and sugar in a bowl
Beat egg in a separate bowl and mix into butter and sugar
Add the flour, spice, fruit and oats and mix well. (Harrison loved this bit!)
Roll into balls and place on a baking tray. Flatten down slightly.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or when they are golden brown.
Eat!

I’ve had a go at making these without the spice and fruit, and with chocolate chips. Not quite as healthy but equally as yummy!!

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There should have been six fairly big ones but a certain small person was found helping himself before I got a photo!

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Toddler food: Vegetable Soup

Another day where the kids have demolished a big bowl of homemade soup. This definitely goes a way towards having 5 a day!

Ingredients

4 large potatoes
1 leek
2 large carrots
1/2 cabbage
2 onions
1 litre of veg stock

I literally peeled, chopped and chucked it in the saucepan until all the veggies were soft – about twenty minutes –  and then whacked it in the blender until it was smooth. We had it with chopped up wraps to dip in.

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Toddler food: leek and potato soup

I make this soup a lot, especially in the winter. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s super healthy. The kids absolutely love it! Its a brilliant way to get loads of veggies in them and it’s really filling and especially nice with crusty bread on a cold day! I make lots of it and then put a tub of it in fridge for the next day and freeze some. It’s perfect for toddler lunches!

Ingredients:

225g potatoes in small chunks
3 leeks
large onion, sliced
1.5 pints vegetable stock
Teaspoon of butter or splash of oil

Put the butter in a saucepan and lightly brown the onion. Add the potatoes and leeks and vegetable stock and leave to cook until all the veg is soft. Take it off the heat and whack it all in the blender until it is as smooth as you want it – we have outs quite thick and chunky.

We eat quite a lot of homemade soup so watch out for more recipes!

The photo isn’t of my soup, its from the BBC food website – I’m a bit rubbish at making food look pretty!

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0

Toddler food: leek and potato soup

I make this soup a lot, especially in the winter. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s super healthy. The kids absolutely love it! Its a brilliant way to get loads of veggies in them and it’s really filling and especially nice with crusty bread on a cold day! I make lots of it and then put a tub of it in fridge for the next day and freeze some. It’s perfect for toddler lunches!

Ingredients:

225g potatoes in small chunks
3 leeks
large onion, sliced
1.5 pints vegetable stock
Teaspoon of butter or splash of oil

Put the butter in a saucepan and lightly brown the onion. Add the potatoes and leeks and vegetable stock and leave to cook until all the veg is soft. Take it off the heat and whack it all in the blender until it is as smooth as you want it – we have outs quite thick and chunky.

We eat quite a lot of homemade soup so watch out for more recipes!

The photo isn’t of my soup, its from the BBC food website – I’m a but rubbish at making food look pretty!

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5

Boozy brandy truffles (definitely not for kids!)

Ok, so I know this is supposed to be all about kids, but couldn’t resist sharing this. These boozy truffles are definitely not for kids!
My lovely sister in law, Kim, makes these every year. Let me tell you, they are usually demolished within seconds. She’s so far taunted me with these pictures, and I know that there is a box waiting to be eaten at my parents.
She’s been lovely enough to share her recipe with me (and you!)

Ingredients:
150g Bournville or other good quality dark chocolate
40ml brandy or rum
50g unsalted butter
60g icing sugar, sieved
50g ground almonds
About 16 small paper cases

Break about two thirds of the chocolate into a bowl and put this over a pan of hot water. Add the alcohol and leave to melt. Take off the heat and stir in the butter, which shouldn’t be too hard. Mix in the sieved icing sugar and group almonds until well blended.

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Leave in a cool place until the mixture is firm enough to handle. Divide into about 16 even sized pieces and roll into balls. Grate the remaining chocolate, place on greaseproof paper and roll the truffles in it – you could also roll it in those chocolate hundreds and thousand bits. Put into the little cake cases.

These are gorgeous. A little tub of them would make a fab gift – if you could resist eating them first!!

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Thanks to Kim for sharing the recipe and for the photos!

3

Chocolate peanut butter crispy cakes

Catchy name eh?
We wanted to make some cakes today but it’s the day before shopping day and we have no eggs so that blew that out…until I remembered good old crispy cakes!

We always have rice crispies in the cupboard. We don’t really eat them as the kids prefer porridge or weetabix but they’re handy for making cakes. We’ve also always got cooking chocolate in the baking cupboard. I wanted to make them a bit different though. I had a mooch through the cupboard and found half a tub of crunchy peanut butter – aha!!

Now, this recipe may not be suitable for some kids. I know some people don’t like giving their kids peanut butter, or only smooth peanut butter (which would work just as well). We let ours have the crunchy stuff – we don’t have any allergies and they’re always really supervised whilst eating it as I know it can be seen as a choking hazard.

As this was a bit of an experiment I don’t really have any measurements for you. I know we used 600g of cooking chocolate (dark) and about a third of a biggish jar of peanut butter.
We heated the chocolate over a low heat, stirring constantly. When it was nice and smooth we poured it over some rice crispies in a bowl and gave it a good mix. We had to keep adding the cereal until all the cereal was coated but not swimming in the chocolate. We then mixed in the peanut butter and spooned into muffin cases. After a couple of hours in the fridge they were done! They were lovely.

Have a go!

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0

Chocolate and Banana Muffins

Whilst waiting for the spaghetti to cook and cool down for out latest art project (will reveal more tomorrow!), we did a bit of baking!

We are terrible for wasting bananas. The kids go through phases when one minute they’re demolishing them, and them when I buy loads they go off them, meaning I end up chucking them. I love making banana cake but if it’s cut into slices the kids won’t eat it, so today when I saw the bananas being just a couple of days away
from being inedible I decided to make
kid friendly banana cupcakes. We made them even more yummy by making them chocolatey! These are bite sized little muffins and would make a perfect breakfast treat! The banana keeps the cake really moist for several days.

Ingredients

4oz flour
4oz butter
4 oz sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe mashed bananas
2oz cocoa powder

I am a bit of a chuck it all in kind of cook, so once I preheated the oven to gas mark 5 (no idea for electric cookers!) we washed our hands, and after helping me weigh all the ingredients out carefully (perfect numeracy teaching/learning opportunity!) Harrison put all the ingredients in a plastic bowl – I couldn’t get any photos as my battery died! We then mixed it all together with a wooden spoon. Harrison carefully counted out the muffin cases and put them in the tin and then helped me to spoon the lovely smooth mixture into the cases. Of course, we just HAD to lick bowl afterwards to check it was ok! (Contains raw egg before cooking so be careful if you’re pregnant, babies under 12 months etc). We put them in the oven for about 20 minutes until cooked. We let them cool and sprinkled some snowy icing sugar on before sampling. They were delicious! Really moist and lovely. These aren’t going to last very long….

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What’s your favourite muffin or cupcake recipe?

Kelly has been baking cakes with her toddler, check out her recipe here

2

Christmas cookies

We haven’t done much baking lately so on Tuesday evening we decided to make some Christmas cookies!
We used a Mary Berry recipe but as usual adapted it 🙂 I’m no cook but these were easy to make and the kids enjoyed helping to mix and decorate!

Ingredients

100g/4oz softened butter
225g/8oz self raising flour
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated (we improvised & used some lemon juice!)
100g/4oz caster sugar
1 beaten egg
1 tbspn milk

To decorate: 2tbsp lemon juice, 175g/6oz icing sugar

Preheat oven to 190c/gas mark 5
Grease and line two baking trays
Place butter and flour into a bowl and rib with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add zest of lemon, sugar, egg and milk. Bring together dough by hand and chill in fridge for 30 mins before rolling.
Roll out the dough thinly onto a floured surface and cut out shapes using a pastry cutter.
Place the shapes on the baking trays.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until they’re a pale golden brown and firm in the middle. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Sieve icing sugar into a bowl and stir in lemon juice until spreadable consistency. Pipe or spread on and finish with silver balls or other decorations.

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We used blue food colouring in our icing (and was slightly heavy-handed!) so we dripped it onto biscuits and then decorated it with Christmassy decorations. What do you think?

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For another yummy Christmas cookie recipe hop over to Ellie bear Babi to have a go at her lovely biscuits.
We’re attempting these next week!

1

Cooking with Kids

I’m not a natural cook. I’m definitely more of a ‘stick it in the slow cooker and hope it’s edible’ kind of girl. However, I do enjoy cooking and so does the other half so we take every opportunity to get the kids involved in cooking.
Cooking with kids, especially two toddlers can sound like a daunting task but it needn’t be. With a little bit of preparation and lots of patience it can be a brilliant and rewarding experience, and a fantastic way to bond with them and make them feel useful.
It’s also an amazing learning and development opportunity.

It teaches:

Numeracy skills – ordering, counting, weighing, measuring, timing
Literacy skills – reading recipes, new vocabulary
Fine motor skills – mixing, stirring, pouring, scooping, cutting
Bi-lateral coordination – understanding how to use both hands together to do a task
Multi-tasking
Sensory development
Learning about food, where it comes from & healthy diets

My youngest isn’t quite 13 months and my eldest is 2.5years so when they ‘help’ it does get rather messy but there’s so much they can do!

Basic skills

Mixing (mix was Alex’s first proper word at ten months!)
Stirring
Pouring
Putting mixtures into cake cases/tins
Spreading icing on cakes/biscuits
Mashing
Cutting (bananas are great to teach cutting skills with)
Sprinkling
Crumbling

You could do simple things like buy ready made fairy cakes or biscuits and use squirty or spreadable icing and all the fancy edible decorations you can but these days!

Smoothies are another great thing to do & a great way of getting fruit into their diet. You just need milk and fruit (bananas, strawberries, blackberries & raspberries are all lovely!) and a scoop of ice cream. The fruits are usually easy enough for kids to cut up or break up and plop in. We love making banana smoothie with chocolate ice cream. Harrison loves pressing the button on the blender and watching it all whiz round.

Building pizzas

Most kids love pizza, but instead of buying one, buy (or make if you’re very clever!) a pizza base and spread on some tomato ketchup or purée, sprinkle on some grated cheese and let them loose! Provide little lots of toppings – chopped meat, peppers, mushroom, pineapple chunks, sweet corn etc. You could even make face pizza!

You could do the same with wraps. My two aren’t massive sandwich fans but love wraps so I give them a wrap and then let them choose their own fillings from bowls of grated cheese, ham, salad etc, and put them together (maybe not so much Alex just yet!)

A couple of months ago my friend sent me a link to a great idea which we tried. Unfortunately I can’t remember the original link to credit them.
Basically we used mini Milky Way bars and stuck smarties on with icing to look
like wheels, then stuck a mini gingerbread man on top. Great fun to make and even more fun to eat!

It goes without saying that safety and hygiene is super important.
Encourage kids to wash their hands before they start and tie long hair back. Talk to them about the dangers of hot
cookers, sharp knives etc. If appropriate, teach them how to handle sharp kitchen equipment sensibly. And of course, never leave them unattended, not even for a second. That’s all it takes for an accident to happen!!!

I will leave you with links to some basic recipes that are great for kids!

Pizza

chocolate cornflake cakes

fairy cake

gingerbread men

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Baked Potato Mummy has also written a post about cooking with little ones – check it out here.