Happy Calm and Easy Homemade Playdough Recipe

Play dough has got to be one of my must-have parenting items. Along with Lego and a library of course! But I’ll write more about must haves another time πŸ™‚

This is a simple recipe using easy to find ingredients and including another twist which I find makes the experience more enjoyable for both parents and children – oil blends!

Choose and mix your own colours, oil blends, and quantities according to your wishes. This makes enough for about 1&1/2 cups of dough, and I like it because even toddlers can make it themselves! And they smell gorgeous and not like salt or oil haha!

Ingredients;

  • 1 cup water
  • Β½ cup cooking salt 
  • 1 tbs cream of tartar
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • A few drops of essential oil/s of choice (a few different ones can be used) – if desired
  • 2 or three drops each of your choice of food colouring (if desired). Use 4-5 drops for a stronger colour.

My oil blend of choice for kids!


Method;

  1. Heat water, oil, salt and cream of tartar in a pan over low-medium heat, until salt is mostly dissolved (if not entirely dissolved).
  2. Remove pan from stove and add flour, mixing quickly to form dough. 
  3. Remove from pan and place on a play board or similar, and knead for a couple of minutes. Section into desired number of portions for your different colour/oil blend combinations. Roll into balls.
  4. Use your finger to poke a hole in the Centre of each ball, dropping in food colouring and/or oils of choice. Knead carefully, until thoroughly combined. I usually make 4 balls out of this size mixture.
  5. Now play! And be sure to seal in an airtight container or bag – they should last 4-6 months. 

    Half mixed blue

Completely mixed and ready to have fun!

Have fun!

C xx

Caramel Beef Curry Family Friendly Recipe!

Prep: 2 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes

Caramel Beef Curry on a bed of cabbage and snow peas!


Another beautiful kitchen experiment turned winning recipe! 

This is a basic (very) mild curry which the family will love – I usually make meat dishes to last our family over 3 meals so that’s why the amount of beef is 1-1.2kgs. Half the recipe if desired.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 large fresh garlic glove, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 heaped tsp turmeric (ground)
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin (ground)
  • 1&Β½ heaped tsp Garam Masala powder
  • 1-1.2kgs beef, cubed 
  • Pinch salt
  • Approx β…” cup pitted dates
  • 1 can coconut milk

Method;

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot, add the garlic and bay leaves and cook until the garlic is gently browned. Add spices and stir for 45 seconds then add beef.
  2. Brown beef on high heat with spices, turning as necessary. Add salt. Cover.
  3. Bring meat to the boil and continue boiling for 5-10 minutes. Stir and cover. Then add dates and bring to the boil again with lid on pot, then add coconut milk, stir, cover and bring to the boil again.
  4. Stir thoroughly then reduce heat to a bubbling simmer for 30 minutes. Stir appropriately every 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Keep pot lid on but tilt it to allow steam to escape. Sauce should be noticibly thicker but not thick and lumpy, or to the other extreme – runny like water!
  5. Remove from heat and allow to sit with lid tilted for 5-10 minutes before serving.

To serve: thinly slice some raw cabbage and raw snow peas and place them on the plate to form a bed to dollop the curry over – yum! Add some rice or bread to the side if required as well πŸ™‚

To Taste:

If you like a stronger curry taste simply add a diced onion in when cooking the garlic initially, and double your spices when adding them.
Enjoy!

C xx

Easy Mini Cheesecakes Recipe

It’s been a while since I posted any recipes so I thought I’d pop up this one as it’s a frequent request in my household πŸ™‚

This recipe is reduced sugar, and I’ve chosen all the ingredients from the supermarket with the least additives. To make it easier just go with products which have the most whole items or items you can pronounce, in the ingredients list. For example, the sour cream is only; Pasteurized cream, culture. Ideally, one might choose all gluten free and organic, or even sugar free, but sometimes we don’t always have access to these items so I’ve given the basic recipe here. Any plain biscuits work with this (I’ve tried making it with gluten free ginger nut biscuits and it comes up a treat). 

This takes about 10 mins to prep, 25 minutes to cook, and a few hours to cool. Making 24 in total. I always freeze half at least of them and thawed they’re just fine too.

Ingredients;

Base:

  • 250g plain biscuits (digestives, ginger nut, nice)
  • 140g butter, melted

Filling:

  • 2 x 250g cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 300g sour cream
  • 3 x eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • β…“-Β½ cup raw sugar


Method
;

  1. Process biscuits in a food processor until fine, then add butter and mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. Line cupcake trays (2 x 12) with two paper liners each. Spoon base mixture evenly between them. I use about 1-2 teaspoons for each.
  3. Flatten with the back of your spoon then refrigerate while you prepare filling. (See picture). Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  4. In a clean processor, combine cream cheese & sour cream until smooth.
  5. Add eggs, sugar and vanilla until just combined.
  6. Pour evenly into cupcake liners and bake for 25mins. Because I have to swap my top & bottom trays (small oven) I tend to bake them for 25-30 mins and they crack and lose some form but no-one complains lol!
  7. Remove from oven & allow to cool for at least an hour  before transferring to fridge or freezer. Set for 2-4 hours before eating.



You might like to top with cinnamon, or grated chocolate, or top with berries to serve.

Enjoy! Happy baking!!

Celese xx

Easy Chicken PΓ’tΓ© Recipe

A family favorite of ours is this easy chicken liver pate recipe. My children go in and out of their taste for this depending on what their body needs but it’s a great side dish full of vitamins, protein and yummy-ness. Clearly I enjoy it πŸ˜‰


Ingredients;

  • 300-500g chicken livers, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 small-medium onion sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tbs Butter
  • Fresh rosemary / mixed dried herbs / fresh oregano / your favorite French herb mix (approx 1-2 tsp)
  • ΒΌ to β…“ cup pouring cream
  • Optional: 1 tbs brandy 

Method;

  1. SautΓ© onion and garlic in butter before adding bay leaves, cook for a few minutes.
  2. Add chicken livers, cook for 5 minutes. Add herbs and salt and pepper. 
  3. Stir livers then cook until just done. Remove bay leaves.
  4. If adding brandy, do so now then light with a match or lighter in order to burn off the alcohol, then simmer for a few minutes until well incorporated into the mix.
  5. Remove from heat and then allow to cool for a few minutes before moving everything into a food processor or blender (I use a stick blender). Add cream and process until smooth. 
  6. Pour into a glass bowl/container and refrigerate for a few hours until firm. 

Enjoy!! Xx

Totally Healthy Mini Cupcakes recipe for everyone!

After a small amount of tinkering here is my latest recipe for healthy kids snacks. A friend suggested to me a couple of days ago to use kidney beans instead of flour and I was reminded of the ever popular chickpea cookies I used to make and thought about trying it out.

Now, substitute where necessary as we all have different requirements but this recipe proved to be another absolute winner in my house. Except my husband never got to taste any because they were finished too quickly – oops! 

TOTALLY HEALTHY CUPCAKES 

Ingredients – makes 24

  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1 tbs vanilla paste
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs baking powder 
  • 1 can red kidney beans (or bean of choice eg. Butter bean, chickpea maybe although I haven’t tried)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk powder
  • 2 tbs coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup honey (or sweetener of choice eg. Maple syrup)

Note: to make these chocolate, simply replace the coconut flour & powder with cacao/cocoa powder. 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180β€’C and line mini cupcake tray with papers.
  2. Blend eggs, vanilla, coconut oil and baking powder until well combined, almost creamy.
  3. Add rinsed & drained beans, and remaining ingredients and process until well combined and smooth.
  4. Spoon by teaspoon into paper cases and bake for 25 mins.
  5. Try to let them cool a little before eating!

Enjoy xx

Easy Gluten Free Sweet Cake Recipe


I have constructed a winner!

We don’t often have cake and tonight I felt like something totally different (beef stew and cake for dinner anyone?) so here’s the recipe for you to try;

Ingredients;

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom ground
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • A squeeze of honey
  • 1&1/2 cups gluten-free plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk

Method;

  1. Preheat oven to 180Β°C. Grease & line a 20cm (approx) round cake pan. 
  2. With an electric mixer, beat butter, cardamom, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  3. Add honey then the eggs, beating after each one. 
  4. Stir in flour, baking powder and milk until combined.
  5. Pour mixture into baking pan and smooth the surface. Bake for for 40/45 minutes or until cooked through .

Optional extras – I sprinkled then roughly mixed through some sultanas on one side of the cake only for my kids πŸ™‚

With the flavour combination in this cake and the moist and fluffy texture it doesn’t need any cream or topping or anything! Feels really light in my tummy which is always a bonus. Even after 2 pieces πŸ˜‰

Enjoy!

Quick Rice Pudding Recipe


Left over rice or not, this recipe is a winner in my family and on the effort scale is only 0 to 1! Win win win πŸ˜‰

Ingredients;

  • Cooked rice in whatever quantity you need or have – I generally make this from leftover rice so I can’t be exact!
  • Milk of choice (1/3 to 1/2 quantity of rice)
  • Vanilla bean paste (1/2 tsp per cup of rice)
  • Sweetener of choice (1/2 tsp per cup of rice)

Method;

In a pot, place all ingredients and cook on medium high heat until bubbling. Simmer until milk reduces and it’s like a pudding.

Serve by itself, with fruit or other treats, or refrigerate for a cool snack later πŸ™‚

Enjoy! Xx

Yummy Moon Balls Recipe

  
Keeping children satiated with fats in their diet can sometimes be tricky. My two are generally calmer and more easy going when I keep up the fats but for anyone whose children don’t eat dairy, or are sick of dairy, or messy avocado in the lunchbox, you may want to try this!
This is a complete (winning) experiment which came about one day when we’d run out of cheese haha! My two loved them!

So, see what you come up with – I’ve added a few choices in the ingredient list for inspiration.

Makes approximately 24.

Ingredients;

  • 2 cups cooked rice of choice
  • 1/3 cup sultanas (or dates)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2-3/4 cup creamed coconut
  • A bit of honey (1-2 tsp? I just squirted it lol)
  • Optional flavouring: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg
  • Desiccated coconut or chopped nuts for coating.

Or, turn them into protein balls for yourself or other adults by adding your choice of protein powder! (I wouldn’t recommend feeding children protein powder in general).

  
 Method;

  1. Combine all ingredients except dessicated coconut in a mixing bowl and process until well combined. I just used a hand blender but a food processor is fine.
  2. Scoop by 1/2 tablespoonful and roll into balls, coat with dessicated coconut and place on a lined baking tray.
  3. Once all balls are done refrigerate for 30 mins or until firm/er. Store in the fridge until ready to eat.

  
Enjoy!

Cooking and Toddlers: Yes, it CAN work!

  

I’ll make this quick because, who has spare time when you need to prepare a meal or 10?

As of a few months ago, I have extra chefs in the kitchen when I need them, and boy does this take the frustration out of the “witching hour”! It means they get focussed time developing fine motor skills, they learn to respect the cooking and food handling (and potentially food growing) processes, AND they spend quality one-on-one time with me – it’s a win-win-win as I like to call it!

Usually, my eldest is finished first with her cooking task simply because she is more experienced and skilled. My 2yo however will spend 20 solid minutes or more cooking if necessary as she loves to be a part of what I’m doing (don’t all toddlers?). So today I’m sharing how I got it to work, and a few recipe outlines to get you and your toddler started – hooray!

  1. Ask them, with joy, whether they’d like to help.
  2. Explain the importance of, and how much love goes into home cooked meals.
  3. Teach knife and stove skills early.
  4. Have trust (and patience!) with their rustic artistry.
  5. Thank them for their part in creating the family meal.

Setting up a workstation in the kitchen.

I set up a stable footstool by the bench or dining table. Arrange a small chopping board, paring knife (or spoon if spooning or other utensils), and the food items, with as much space surrounding this area as possible. Place a hand cloth and the dish/bowl/cup next to them for transferring the food into. Have the child stand up on the stool in front of the workstation and explain the items and what they’ll need to do.

Try these simple, toddler friendly recipes;

Salad (fruit or green). Select, or have them select foods that can be easily cut, set up their work station, and until you’re confident they won’t cut themselves, stay nearby to guide them.

Yoghurt with berries. This one is great for practicing pouring and scooping. Again, guide them lightly until you see they can manage scooping the weight of the items, then relax and let them handle it!

Pancakes. This one is slightly more complex and you will need to supervise for a longer period but when they’re confident, pancakes for Mum or Dad in bed with yoghurt and berries on top is excellent!

Scrambled eggs. I have a small frying pan the children can lift and place on the stove. Have them place the butter/oils in and turn the stove dial to the appropriate setting, and have them crack the eggs into a separate bowl before pouring into the pan. Once they’re confident enough they can crack them straight into the pan. With this, I handle the transfer of eggs to plate.

Sandwiches. You can get creative with your workstation here and line everything up like a train!

Pouring liquids. Juice, milk, water, gelatin drinks. This is a great one to start small then work upwards with the quantity.

Rice cakes with toppings. My little one loves preparing the bedtime snack for herself and her sister. Coconut oil (solid of course), butter, tahini, jam, honey … whatever works πŸ™‚

So – one more reminder before you get started – allow an extra 10-20 minutes for meal preparation πŸ™‚ 

It may be slow to begin with but such skills can only improve and serve your children in the future. Good luck and have fun!!!!

Xx

Best Kid’s Icecream EVER! Why did I not do this earlier?

  Ok here’s the thing – we’re an ice-cream loving family and I blame this almost entirely on the climate where we’re currently living. 

Queensland, Australia.

Home of heat, humidity, flies, sunshine, surf, and… Ice cream!

But as we’ve chosen to avoid excess (processed cane) sugar, thickeners, artificial Colouring and pretty much all of the ingredients one finds in modern ice cream, finding our favorite treat is sometimes hard. 

Until one day, someone mentioned using frozen bananas! I don’t know who it was or when but I wish I had’ve done this sooner!

Absolute gold (that’s Queenslander for amazing, the best ever, etc).

Gluten free, dairy free, nasty free ice cream woo hoo! It takes about 3 – 5 minutes to make, is cheap, and healthy, and takes sooooooo good! Creamy, sorbet-like texture, full taste, and did I mention that it’s great for us grown-ups too?!

Here is my recipe but dabble with your own creations;

Ingredients;

  • 2 X medium to large frozen bananas  (peeled before freezing), cut into chunks.
  • 3/4 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla extract/bean
  • 2 tsp honey of choice

Method;

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and whizz until nicely combined into a smooth, sorbet consistency. 
  2. Makes about 6-8 serves.

“Yummy yummy in my tummy” my kidlets say.

You’re welcome xx