Herby cheese muffins!

The soundtrack to the summer school holidays this year has been “Mum, I’m hungry”……. I feel like I am being eaten out of house and home! I am always trying to find snacks for the kids which are cheap and easy to make. I decided to make some of my favourite herb and cheese muffins this week – super simple and yummy!

Recipe for herby cheese muffins – 280g plain flour, 1 tsp salt, 125g grated cheddar cheese, 3 – 4 tsp dried mixed herbs, 2 eggs, 75g melted butter and 200 ml milk.

1 – Preheat oven to 190c and line a muffin tin with cases.

2 – Sieve the salt and flour into a bowl and mix. Add the herbs and cheese and mix thoroughly.

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3 – In a different bowl, beat the eggs, butter and milk together, then pour into the dry ingredient bowl.

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4 – Stir the ingredients together to form a lumpy batter.

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5 – Spoon the batter mixture into the cases and bake for approx 20 – 25 minutes, until firm.

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These savoury muffins were so easy to make and use ingredients which can usually be found already in your kitchen. The kids really enjoyed them and they disappeared super quickly (note to self – make two batches next time)! They also taste really good spread with a little butter!

 

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We hope you like our herby cheese muffins! Let me know what you enjoy making for the kids snacks (Hey, I need more food inspiration here)!

Happy Sunday guys!

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I have (finally) started to master the piping bag (and couldn’t be happier)!

I will let you into a little secret….. I have been trying for what feels like forever to master the art of piping icing! I have wanted to be able to recreate those pretty little peaks and roses for so long and have tried and failed endless times.

I was speaking to one of my friends at work about yet another disastrous attempt when she told me about a fail- proof recipe for buttercream which she uses for her piped icing. She wrote it down for me and off I went (not feeling too hopeful to be fair)!

Buttercream recipe – 225g sieved icing sugar, 85g butter, 1-2 tbs milk and a few drops of vanilla essence.

1 – Mix all the ingredients into a large bowl until smooth. Make sure that it is thoroughly mixed to ensure it will go through the nozzle of the piping bag. I also added  a little cocoa powder to give a chocolate flavour to the icing!

2-Use different nozzles to create different effects. Make sure you wait until your cakes are completely cool or the icing will just melt! (I’ve done this too)!

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I was so shocked that it worked! I was jumping around my kitchen in sheer happiness that I had finally managed to use the piping bag without it being a huge mess! I cannot wait to try out more using different nozzles! They went down an absolute treat and the kids had a go using the bag too! A fun filled baking session!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Pitta bread pizzas!

One thing which my kids love doing is helping to cook their own meals! I am always on the lookout for simple, quick food ideas which the kids can get involved with. One of our favourite things is Pitta Bread Pizzas! These are so ridiculously simple that even young kids can do the majority themselves, and they actually taste really, really good!

All you need is – pitta breads, tomato puree, cheese (and other things for toppings – we used ham and tomatoes).

Begin by spreading out the tomato puree onto the pitta bread. Make sure the bread is covered or it will burn). Then cover with grated cheese. It is completely up to you how much prep beforehand that you let your kids do. My daughter is now at an age where she loves and is quite capable of grating, chopping foods etc. It really builds kids confidence to allow them that little bit of independence, and will develop their cooking skills greatly.

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Next choose which toppings you would like. We used a mix of ham, cheese and tomatoes!

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Next pop them in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. They are super yummy served with fresh salad!

(Now you must forgive me at this point as I completely forgot to take photos of the finished pizzas – I’m so sorry! We were in too much of a rush to eat them)! Please trust me when I say they looked and tasted delicious!

A really quick, easy meal to make with the kids. The confidence the kids get from helping to make their own (and Mum and Dads!) food is brilliant!

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!

Eeek! It’s a monster!

I got busy with the kids fruit snacks again the other day and decided to make some edible monster faces! (There’s nothing better than destroying monsters made from fruit right?!)

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I used banana for the monsters hair, strawberries and raisins for the eyes, a grape nose and melon and raisins to form the mouth! All the kids ate their fruity faces super fast and even had seconds!

I hope you like our fruity monster faces! Have a brilliant weekend guys!

Another birthday party!

So this weekend marked another big event in our family – my daughters 8th birthday! I feel like I have only just recovered from my sons birthday a couple of weeks ago and we are doing the birthday thing all over again!

My daughter wanted a little party in our home with a few of her close friends, and she chose to have a princess theme for her party. (After all, if you can’t be a princess on your birthday when can you?!)

I made some home made decorations for her including some simple glittery name bunting. This was so easy to make and looked lovely and sparkly above the food table (I was originally going to make her a castle backdrop but I completely ran out of time)! She was super happy with her glittery alternative!

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To make her name bunting, I cut out pieces of yellow card and used glue to write each letter of her name onto each piece of card. I then shook gold glitter flakes onto the glue to form glittery letters. I punched holes in the top of each piece of card and threaded some pretty ribbon through to attach them together. I then hung the bunting up above the food table! It looked very pretty and effective!

I also added a princess theme to some of the food. I made Marshmallow Pops as my daughter loves them and had requested them especially! I mainly used pink sugar sparkles, hundreds and thousands and white chocolate to make them look extra princessy! (There were a few milk chocolate ones thrown in for luck too mind)!

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If you would like to make your own Marshmallow Pops, find the recipe here – https://paintboxmum.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/marshmallow-pops/

My daughter is a huge fan of salad so I knew I needed to get a healthy option onto the party food table too! I found a brilliant idea on Pinterest, which placed the salad into pretty little tubs. Such a simple idea but looks very pretty. I didn’t have any tubs so I improvised and used some cute cake cases. I popped some salad leaves into each one, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices, which I cut the edges off using a cookie cutter. I placed the cases into a flower shaped serving plate to serve them. The salad looked very lovely and pretty and was eaten all up! It definitely disappeared far quicker presented like this, rather than just placed in the usual salad bowl!

I also used cookie cutters to make shaped sandwiches. The kids loved these and they made a nice change from the usual squares or triangles!

IMG_3450.JPGWe had a lovely day celebrating and partying! I saved lots of money by making things myself, and the extra touches made her party extra special!

Hope you are all enjoying your weekends whatever you are up to!

A party for my own mini superhero!

It was my (not so) little boys fifth birthday this week and I wanted to make it super special for him. It was the first time he would be having school friends to his party, as he has always just wanted family members before. I let him choose a theme for his party and he chose to have a superhero theme! IMG_3172

I decided to try and make the majority of the decorations for his birthday myself as at this time of year, money is not exactly in abundance!

I started by making some superhero swirls. You can see the post just below if you fancy making some yourself. These can be adapted to fit in with any type of party theme. I hung quite a few in the doorway to the ‘party room’ so that the kids had to push through them all to get into the room! Great fun!IMG_3099

https://paintboxmum.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/superhero-swirls/

I also made some fantastic Spider-man webs made out of bin liners to hang around the room. He loved these! IMG_3154.JPGI also wanted to have something to put behind the dining table as a backdrop. When I looked on – line for Superhero backdrops and wall posters I could not believe the price of them! There was no way I was paying that much money! I decided I could probably make a ‘city scape’ myself to use as a backdrop. I used sheets of black card and arranged them into building shapes. I cut out different types of roofs and used blue tack to attach them to the wall. I then painted on windows with white paint and added superheroes which I cut out from the left over gift wrap. IMG_3159.JPGI also added a little superhero feel to some of the party food! I found a fantastic idea on Pinterest to add a web design onto Babybel cheese. It looked super effective and was so simple! They were a huge hit with the party guests and there were none left over at the end of the party! (A little tip if you do use this idea is to draw your web design onto the wax, then place in the fridge as it seems to set the design better). You can use Babybels for lots of different party themes. Cutting out shapes (gently) from the wax with a cookie cutter is another way to use these lovely little cheeses in your party.  (Eg – cutting out star shapes are fantastic for princess or space themed parties)!IMG_3157.JPG

Everyone commented on how lovely the decorations were. The city scape seemed to catch everyone’s eye! My daughter has requested a princess castle backdrop for her birthday (which falls in two weeks time – aaargggh!!!)

He had a wonderful birthday and his huge smile when he walked into the house after school, and saw the decorated room was well worth the time and effort! A super, lovely day (and a stress free party)!

Superhero swirls!

My little boy’s birthday is fast approaching! He will be turning five next week – I honestly don’t know where the time goes. It seems to disappear faster than sand falling in an hourglass! He still feels like my baby boy, that tiny little newborn with the big blue eyes staring up at me. I try so hard to treasure each crazy moment – it goes by so quickly!62192b6602c79e280efec26bb26b8c95

Whilst he was in school today I thought it would be a good idea to make a start on some of his party decorations. He would like an Avengers themed party so I wanted to make something to fit in with his theme. I had some Avengers gift wrap so I thought I could use that and make some superhero paper plate swirls!

I love paper plate swirls as they are so easy and look really effective. They can be so easily adapted to fit in with any kind of theme (not just the usual swirly snakes)! They are also super cheap to make which is such a bonus, as party decorations can become very expensive!

To make your superhero swirls you will need – superhero gift wrap or old comics, glue, scissors, paper plates, hole punch and thread.

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Begin by covering your paper plate in your gift wrap and glueing it down.

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Next, cut a spiral shape from your paper plate, starting in the centre and working your way outwards. Then punch a hole into the centre using a hole puncher.

String a piece of thread through the hole so that you can hang it up.

(If you cut your swirl wide you will get a shorter swirl than cutting it more narrow).

I think these swirls look brilliant and will add a little fun to your party! They can be adapted for any party / celebration theme by changing the gift paper you use. A simple way to make some themed party decorations!