The Very Hungry Caterpillar – a snack!

If you have been following my blog for a while you will know that I love getting creative with food! It helps encourage my kids to eat well, and really helps fussy eaters to try new foods. Take a look at my food ideas page for inspiration on encouraging kids to eat healthier and for family food ideas and recipes.

For snack time this morning I decided to make my own version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar for my little ones to munch on! I used cucumber slices for the catepillar’s body, a strawberry slice for his head and grape pieces as the antennae and mouth. I also added raspberries to form the ground and some more strawberries as butterflies.

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The kids loved their story themed snack and even asked for more. A fantastic way to encourage kids to eat!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Sweetie Cupcakes!

The one good thing about all this rain we are having here in Wales is that it gives me lots of time to bake with the kids! I love cooking and baking with the kids as it teaches them some very useful skills (as well as the actual cooking techniques) which they will need in later life including responsibility, confidence, reading and spelling, following instructions, and risk. It is amazing how much a little cooking activity can help kids when you really sit and think about what the activity is teaching them.

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As I had my niece and nephew with me too the other day I thought it would be a cute idea to make Sweetie Cupcakes with them all!

To make your Sweetie cupcakes you will need – For the cakes: 170g self raising flour, 170g butter, 170g sugar and 3 eggs. For the topping: 250g butter, 600g icing sugar and 2 tbs milk. To decorate: sweets of your choice (we used Smarties).

1 – Begin by preheating the oven to 180c and lining a cupcake tin with cake cases.

2 – Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix together.

3 – Add the flour and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the cake cases and bake for approx fifteen minutes or until golden.

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4 – Allow the cakes to cool thoroughly. Now make your butter cream which will decorate the top of the cakes. Make the butter cream by putting the butter and sugar into a large bowl and mixing. Then add the milk and stir it in. Spread the butter cream over the cakes then decorate with sweeties! We used Smarties to add a splash of colour! The kids also decided to add some sprinkles and hundreds and thousands!

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Our cakes looked lovely and tasted really good! The kids loved them and they disappeared super fast! Hubby wasn’t impressed that by the time he returned home from work they had all been eaten! (Mental note to make more next time)!

Hope you are all having a perfect Sunday!

A dino snack!

My five year old son loves dinosaurs at the moment so I thought it would be a cute idea to turn his snack into something of the dinosaur variety! (You can see my other food ideas for kids here)!

I used cucumber to make the dinosaurs body, raspberries for his eye and for the ground, and satsuma segments and a raspberry for a sun.

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My little boy was thrilled with his dinosaur snack! A cute fun way to encourage kids to eat!

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Fruity fish!

My little boy was feeling a little hungry the other morning so off I went to the kitchen to prepare him a snack. I decided to make him a fruity fish to add a little fun to his snack time!

I used carrots as the body, cucumber and grapes for the eye, cucumber seaweed and grapes for bubbles.

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My son loved his fruity fish and ate it super fast! For more inspiration to make fruit time fun check out my food ideas page!

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!

Fruity flower!

I got creative again today at snack time! My daughter wanted some strawberries so I thought I would make them extra fun for her! I love making food fun for my kids. It really helps kids to try new foods and to eat well.

I decided to turn her fruit snack into a fruity flower, complete with a bumblebee too! I used a banana slice for the centre of the flower and strawberry slices for the petals. I also added cucumber sticks to make the stem and leaves. For the bumblebee I used banana slices with raisins and popped on some strawberry wings.

My daughter loves her fun snacks and this has been one of her favourites yet!

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Check out my food ideas category page for more snack ideas, as well as things to cook with the little ones!

 

Festive Jam Bakes!

One of my family’s favourite bakes are jam tarts. My grandma used to make them for me when I was a little girl, and now I make them for my two little ones (and my hubby)! The only difference is that my kids especially love my pastry so I make the tarts quite thick, and we call them jam bakes.

My kids don’t particularly like mince pies, so I thought it would be nice to make some jam bakes with a festive twist this weekend!

Festive Jam bakes recipe – 350g (12 oz) plain flour, 3 tsp caster sugar, 1 tsp salt, 175g (6 oz) butter, 120ml COLD water and jam of your choice (Makes 12 bakes).

Begin by putting the flour, salt, sugar and butter into a bowl and mix until you have something similar to breadcrumbs.

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Next, add the water slowly and mix until it forms a ball. (I always use my hands for this part). Then chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.

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Once chilled, preheat your oven to 180c and grease a cake tray. Roll out the pastry then use cutters to cut out rounds. Place the rounds into your tray and cook for 10 minutes. Whilst they are cooking, use the remaining pastry to cut out some shapes for your toppers. I used a star cutter to give the bakes a more festive feel!

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When the bake bases have cooked for the 10 minutes, take them from the oven and add some jam into the centre of the bases.

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Add your topper to each of your bakes.

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Cook for a further 10 minutes, until golden brown.

We ate our jam bakes with cream whilst watching a Christmas movie. A very yummy sweet treat!

 

 

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!

Marshmallow Pops!

We love Marshmallow Pops in our home and I serve them a lot at family celebrations. Friends are always asking me how to make them! They are always shocked when I tell them how easy they are to make so I thought I would write a little blog post showing how simple and easy they are to do!

To make Marshmallow Pops you will need – marshmallows, lollipop sticks, chocolate, sprinkles etc to decorate.

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Begin by placing two marshmallows onto each lollipop stick.

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Next melt your chocolate of choice. I do this in a bowl in a microwave, checking and stirring it frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once your chocolate is melted pour it over your marshmallows. You can choose to cover the whole of the marshmallows, or just partially. I covered all of the mallows! I always allow the excess chocolate to drip off a little at this point, as otherwise it can sometimes drip off later taking all of your decorations with it! Once some of the excess chocolate has dripped off, sprinkle on the decoration of choice. I love using sugar strands, chocolate strands and hundreds and thousands!

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Place your Pop onto a plate gently and put straight into the fridge. (I find if you do all of the Pops first and then place into the fridge a lot of the chocolate begins dripping off, so it is easier to place each Pop into the fridge once you have made it, so it can begin chilling (and setting) straight away).

Repeat until you have made all of your Pops. Allow to chill in the fridge until set. Then enjoy!

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