Baking with Kids: Healthy Brownies and Muffins

Carrot and Courgette Muffins zucchini baking

Distract distract distract shout sums up my parenting method with my middle child right now. He gets very jealous of his big brother and his seemingly endless stream of playdates.  I try my best to make our time together fun in some way to make up for the fact he has to hang out with his mum and a baby. We visit cafes and the park and the nearby museum and surprisingly, bringing just two children places feels *almost* easy now. But when we’re at home, we enjoy baking together.

This is the same boy that saw a tiny brown mouse sitting on the path in the park recently, and squatted down for a good chat with it. I am not kidding, it made his week, once I had reassured him that mousey’s mum and dad were nearby and that he wasn’t scared on his own. You see, the bar for entertaining him can be set quite low, although, the window in which the day goes from ‘best day ever’ to ‘worstest day ever’ is also very narrow. He likes to keep me on my toes.

Let’s not kids ourselves now; when it comes to baking the mess and the bowl licking are his highlights, and eating the end product is mine. Everything in between runs the gamut from delightful bonding time to me grinding my teeth in stress at flour on the floor and maple syrup on the counter.

Of course you’re always going to find shiny videos of pristine parents and even cleaner kitchens with everyone wearing aprons if you look for videos of baking with kids on line. This is not that. We love Insta Stories and find it a fun way to share our baking escapades. Teddy particularly likes the camera and watching himself back – unsurprisingly. I like it for the rough and readiness  (see the dark chocolate on my face, some teary interruptions from Ivy and Ted wanting to lick things all the time) and for the feedback from viewers. I’ve shared the videos of us making these recipes below.

We made Black Bean Brownies with Raspberries, which I have made numerous times before and Carrot and Courgette Muffins, which were a new recipe to us. Baby Ivy is going to be starting solids in the next month so I’m keeping an eye out for things to try. These muffins will be great, I’ll just sub out the honey and use maple syrup instead. Continue reading

Five Family Dinners

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If you follow me on social media (and if not why not? No excuse now, buttons are on the right or underneath on mobile) you’ll know how often I meal plan. I mean, I post a picture of it each time I do, so I know it’s not that frequent – I guess that’s about every few months. Right now, I have some potatoes in the oven baking, and I’m trying to get some writing done before yer man gets in with the two Tasmanian Devils. We decided on baked potatoes about half an hour ago, while he was getting up from his desk to leave work and I was on the bus home. Plan-schman. That makes me an idiosyncratic parenting/food blogger really; to neither meal plan, nor batch cook. We’ll soldier on…

Here’s a selection of family dinners we’ve eaten recently, old favourites and new attempts. The one thing they have in common is I’ll make them again. We all ate them happily, including the fussier four year old. (Proof is below!) Continue reading

Be my veggie guest! Barbecue edition

VEGGIE BBQ FEATURE-

IMG_1634While plenty of you are not vegetarian, I know lots of people like to try a meat free day or two most weeks. And isn’t it nice to look beyond meat at a barbecue? Do you really feel great after craploads of grilled burgers and sausages? So whether you’re veggie yourself (woot! woot!) or just want to add a few options for the not so carnivorous amongst us, here’s some quick ideas for your scorching hot al day al fresco meal.* Featuring no frozen fake meat, at all!

Continue reading

Glenisk Paneer Tikka. Yum.

See over there on the left (or down the bottom on yer mobile)? Yeah that, the Irish Parenting Blog Awards! I’ve gotten a couple of nominations, and excitement is building in the IPB community. I don’t get out much and now I’ve a glitzy awards ceremony to look forward to. Eep!

One of the awards sponsors is the fabulous Glenisk – who I’m on record as loving already in case you think I’m sucking up. I’m gonna represent on behalf of vegetarians and show how we use their products outside Go-Yo’s in the lunchbox. We use them a lot.  So, me and the boys had a little think about dinner while we indulged in a breakfast smoothie…

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Bitta brekkie

We decided on curry. This particular one is a real treat meal, but still lacks the guilt of a takeaway. I dunno about you but I love curry. I have eight million herbs and spices but sometimes I want some shortcuts. I don’t like using jars so the compromise option for me is to buy a spice mix from Green Saffron (another great Irish company). As usual, the packet recipe is for a meaty curry, so I adapted it to suit us.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 tbsp coconut oillf nat big pot
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped.
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 pack of paneer
  • 1 pack Green Saffron Tantalizing Tikka Spice Mix
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 a courgette
  • 75 mls Glenisk low fat yogurtImage courtesy of Green Saffron
  • 75 mls Glenisk creme fraiche
  • 1/2 lemon, juice & zest

To garnish:

  • 1/2 cup of cashew nuts
  • Some coriander
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Jamie Oliver has a paneer recipe. But it comes in a pack too!
  1. Heat 1.5 tbsp coconut oil in a large pan. Sweat the onions, garlic & ginger with the lid on til they’re all nice and soft.
  2. In the meantime, chop the paneer into cubes. Melt the other tablespoon of coconut oil at a medium-high heat in a non-stick pan, and toss in the paneer cubes. It takes about 6 minutes each side to crisp up a bit. A spatter guard will come in handy. You’re frying cheese here people, you’re frying cheese. Mmm, fried cheese…
  3. Back to your oniony mix. Add half the spice mix, and stir for a minute or so. Yes! Good news, I find half of the 25g is enough to feed two adults and two kids, so you can get two full meals out of one packet.
  4. Add your tomatoes and simmer for ten minutes.
  5. While they simmer away, chop up your veggies nice and small. You want them to cook through in the sauce and you don’t necessarily want the kids to notice huge chunks of veg. Get your lemon zest done now too. Quick! The kids’ tv show is nearly over and you set up Netflix not to automatically play the next one in a fit of good parenting.IMG_6822
  6. Move the pan off the heat and blend the tomato sauce. I really recommend a stick blender in your kitchen gadget arsenal.
  7. Put it back on the heat, add your veggies along with the Glenisk yogurt and lemon juice.
  8. Let this simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  9. Add the cooked paneer, Glenisk creme fraiche and lemon zest, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Ta-da! Done.
  10. Toast the cashew nuts on a dry pan for a few minutes. Keep a really close eye, they can burn very easily.

Now, in case you think “ah here, I’m never going to get through all this lark the kids will be all over me looking for their dinner” I like to chop up extra veggies and just leave them on the side as if they’re an ingredient, and then, just watch them disappear. They sneak in and grab them, thinking they’re hilarious. Joke’s on you kiddo, you just ate raw veggies.

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He thinks he robbed these from me.

Serve up your curry on a bed of brown basmati rice with a sprinkling of coriander and the crushed up toasted cashews scattered on top for a protein boost.

I made an extra serving of yogurt with some dried mint and more lemon zest mixed in. My kids are generally ok with a mild curry, but I often add yogurt to their dinner just to cool the temperature when they can’t wait to get stuck in.

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Dinnertime!
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Hungry after a good run about outside.

During dinner prep we even managed to make a bit of dessert. Lime (veggie) jelly with raspberries and blueberries. I stuck it in the freezer so it would be ready after dinner. The colour of the fruit ran so it wasn’t as pretty after. Never fear, it was eaten, but we had run out of yogurt to serve with it.

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Pack shot images courtesy of Glenisk & Green Saffron