Fruity dragonflies!

So for the kids snack time this morning, I decided to get a little creative again! Over the summer months the kids have loved seeing the dragonflies in our garden, so I thought I would try and make them some fruity dragonflies!

I used halved grapes to form the main body, apple pieces for the wings, a banana slice for the head and raisins for the antenna. 

Theses little dragonflies disappeared super quickly into little mouths – the kids absolutely loved them! If you have kids who struggle to try new foods, I say give this a try! Kids tend to love it if you get creative with their food, and will be much more willing to try it if it’s presented in a cute, fun way! 

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! 

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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!

A fruity bird!

I shook up snack time again today for my daughter! She asked for “some type of pretty bird please mum”….. I must admit I wasn’t sure how to start this one but I reached for the strawberries (her favourite fruit) and the ideas started flowing pretty quick!

I made the ‘exotic’ bird using strawberries for the head, body, wings and beak. I added apple pieces for his crest and his legs. Finally, I added a raisin for our birds eye.

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If you would like more inspiration for making food more fun for children please take a peek at my food ideas category page. There are some yummy meal recipes and snack ideas like this one. Making food fun for kids really helps encourage healthy eating and good food choices!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

My Daughters Sticky Jam Cake!

My daughter loves baking and as she gets older she is starting to tweak and adapt recipes so that they suit her own personal tastes. I love that she has her own ideas when baking and that she doesn’t feel she has to strictly follow recipes.

She decided to make her own recipe for jam cake the other day and I thought I would share it with you all (with her permission of course)! Be warned – this is a pretty sticky cake! She has a sweet tooth like most kids!

Recipe for Sticky Jam Cake – 125g butter, 200g self raising flour, 30g icing sugar, 3/4 tsp salt, 6 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbs cold water, 230g berry jam (we used strawberry), 400g granulated sugar.

1 – Preheat oven to 180c and grease a baking tin. (Ignore that my daughter is greasing two tins, she was making  a cake for a friend too)!

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2 – Put the butter into a mixing bowl and mix until creamy. Then add 150g of the flour, the icing sugar, water, vanilla and half teaspoon of salt. Mix until you have a ball.

3 – Put the ball into the tin and press it down to form an even layer covering the tin bottom. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

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4 – Once chilled, bake for approximately 15 minutes. Then let it cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 170c.

5 – Once the base is cooled, spread the jam over it evenly.

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6 – Mix the eggs, sugar, remaining flour and the remaining salt in a bowl, until smooth.

7 – Pour the egg mixture over the base and spread it out so that it is even.

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8 – Put into the oven until the top is set. This usually takes about 30 minutes. Once cooked, let it cool completely, remove from tin and then serve!

My daughter served hers with strawberries to complement the jam flavour. Raspberries would also work brilliantly if you use raspberry jam.

This is a super delicious cake which is a family favourite in our home, thanks to my wonderful baking daughter! A lovely weekend treat!

Christmas biscuits!

Today we decided to spend the afternoon baking as it was so wet and windy outside (again)! I must admit a little part of me quite enjoys the winter weather, as there is nothing nicer than being cosy inside with the little ones baking or making!

We chose to bake butter biscuits as they are a huge favourite in our house. They are simple to make and taste amazing. I usually make a few batches at a time, as they seem to disappear very quickly! I was also looking after my 6 year old niece and my (very nearly!) 2 year old nephew, and the kids all decided they would like to turn the biscuits into Christmas biscuits by adding some fun decorations! So we got plenty of ingredients and set to work…… (when I say work, I mean throwing ingredients around and getting covered in flour and icing)!

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To make your Christmas biscuits you will need – 

Biscuit recipe – 110g (4 oz) softened butter, 55g (2 oz) caster sugar, 2 – 3 tbs cold water, few drops of vanilla extract and 175g (6 oz) plain flour Topping – icing sugar, water and decorations of your choice (we used sugar sprinkles, sugar balls and mini sugar gingerbread men) You will also need cookie cutters in ‘Christmas’ themed shapes!

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Begin by preheating your oven to 160C. Then put your butter and sugar into a bowl and mix until fluffy.

Add your vanilla extract and water and mix. Slowly add your flour, mixing it in well. (We tend to use our hands at this point to form a ball, ready to roll out – I split it into two balls here to share between the kids).IMG_3249.JPGRoll your biscuit dough out onto a floured surface. We always pop some flour onto the rolling pin too, to stop it from sticking.IMG_3251.JPGThen use your cookie cutters to cut out some Christmassy shapes! Place them onto greaseproof paper on a baking tray.

Bake them in the oven for approx 15 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool and sprinkle with some caster sugar.

Now you can make some icing with your icing sugar and add whatever decorations you like! We went crazy with sprinkles, sugar balls and sugar gingerbread men!

Our finished biscuits were completely yummy and went down a treat! The kids all had brilliant fun and my nephew especially enjoyed decorating his biscuits (even if it did mean sending him home covered in icing – sorry mum)! We sent some biscuits home for my sister too from my niece and nephew and she loved them!IMG_3287.JPG

These biscuits would make a lovely Christmas gift for teachers, wrapped in pretty cellophane and tied with a cute ribbon. (This was what we made for teachers last year and all of the teachers loved them. My daughter said they ate them at break time with their cups of coffee)!

Crazy cupcakes!

One of my kids favourite things to bake are what we call ‘crazy cupcakes’! They are a little bit of a fun baking idea which we started baking a couple of years ago when my daughter had been poorly. She had lost her appetite whilst ill and it hadn’t really returned! Nothing was tempting her, so I had a brainwave to try these little beauties! I thought if she helped make them and we added a surprise, fun element she may want to try some. It certainly worked and she loved them! They have since become a little bit of a family tradition!

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Crazy cupcake recipe (makes 24 cakes) – 

Ingredients –

Cake mix – 6 oz softened butter, 6 oz caster sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 3 eggs and 6 oz self raising flour

Filler ideas – glacé cherries, chocolate chips, raisins etc

Topping ideas – icing, sugar strands, sprinkles, chocolate strands, mini mallows, sugar stars, mini chocolate balls, sugar flowers, strawberries, tangerine pieces

Method – Preheat oven to 170 c. Put the sugar and butter into a bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix again. Add the flour and mix. Make sure the mixture is smooth. Now for the fun, surprise part of the crazy cupcakes! Divide the mixture into different bowls ready to add the different fillers to each. (We use three bowls as we tend to use three different fillers.) Next add each of your fillers to each bowl. I put cherries in one bowl, chocolate chips in another and raisins in the third bowl. Mix each bowl thoroughly, and pour into cake cases. My little ones love this part as it is a big surprise to what filler you are going to have when you get to eat your cakes! Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool and then decorate. We use icing and then the kids get to go a little crazy with their toppings. This time they used chocolate strands, sugar stars and mini mallows!

The cupcakes tasted super yummy and the kids have great fun helping to make them. A lovely, fun way to bake with your very own mini bakers!

Beep Beep – A fruity car!

I got creative at snack time for my little boy again. I decided to turn his fruit snack into cars for him!

Most followers of my blog know how much I love getting creative with food, and what a big believer I am in making food fun for children. My son has been very fussy with food in the past, which is why I started trying to make his food more interesting for him (Hey, I was a desperate mummy)! I was so chuffed that it worked and he improved, that I kind of ran with it! I love making food more interesting now as it has made such a difference to my boys eating habits! My daughter loves it too, even though she has always been a fabulous eater and needed no extra encouragement. It is a lovely, fun way to serve a snack!

To make his fruity cars I used grapes to make a road, pear to form the cars, banana for the wheels and strawberry for the windows! I also added a cheese savoury biscuit to make a sunshine.

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My little boy loved his vehicle themed snack and it zoomed off in no time! A very big hit!

Grandmas cheesy bacon bake!

As the evenings grow darker and the temperature drops, I find myself craving simple, home – made comfort food like my Grandma used to cook when I was a little girl.happy-quotes-832

One of my favourite things she used to cook was her cheesy bacon bake. As I grew older, she taught me how to make it and I love cooking it for my family. It is one of our family favourites and there are never any leftovers!

Here is how to make my lovely Grandmas cheesy bacon bake. A lovely, simple (but very tasty) meal. Perfect for Autumn!

Ingredients – 8 large washed white potatoes, 3 washed leeks, 6 rashers of bacon, little milk, knob of butter and approx 200g grated cheddar cheese. (Serves 4).

Method – First, preheat your grill to a medium heat. Next, peel and chop the potatoes and put into a large saucepan. Trim and chop the leeks and add to the pan with enough cold water to cover the vegetables. Put the pan on the hob to boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

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Whilst the potatoes and leeks are cooking, grill the bacon. When the bacon is cooked, cut into small pieces, and set aside in a bowl. (Keep the grill on, as you will need to use it again later).

Once the potatoes and leeks are cooked drain the water from the saucepan, then mash together. Add a knob of butter and a little milk if you wish (just like making mashed potato)! Then add 3/4 of the cheese and mix into the mash mix.IMG_2126Next, add the chopped bacon and mix it all together.IMG_2129Next, spoon the mixture into a large oven dish or smaller dishes. I like to use several small individual dishes. Then top with the remaining grated cheese. IMG_2134IMG_2133

To finish, place the dish under the grill until the cheese is golden brown. IMG_2142

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I like to serve my bake with herby baked beans or green beans, but it is completely up to you! A yummy meal for the whole family!

Hope you enjoy!

Fruity Butterfly!

I thought I would share another one of my fruity creations with you! Being a little adventurous with food really helps to encourage little ones to eat more and make healthier food choices!

I made a butterfly for my daughter using sliced banana for the body and apple for the wings. I also added pear strips and cherries to decorate. Yoghurt drops made perfect little eyes too!

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She loved her super cute fruity snack!