Throwback Thursday – Orange and Sultana Cake

This week’s trip down memory lane is a SUPER quick and easy orange and sultana cake.  After a week of Liam deciding he doesn’t want to sleep in his big boy bed (in reality it’s still his cot, just with one side rail removed) and the subsequent crankiness and tantrums, I was after a recipe that wouldn’t take up too much time.

I find that most of the McAlpins cakes require creaming. This one is different, all the ingredients are just popped in together, mix, and you are all done.  It certainly isn’t the best cake I’ve ever made. But for little time and ingredients it needs, it will do the job for a quick arvo tea.

 

1 heaped cup self raising flour

1 cup castor sugar

Juice & rind of 1 orange made up to 1/2 a cup by adding milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 egg

1/2 cup sultanas

 

* Place all ingredients together in a bowl and mix for 3 minutes

* Pour into greased cake tin (I used a loaf tin) and bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes

That is seriously all there is to it!!

Super simple

Super simple

Then and Now Inspiration

Yesterday when I saw FMS Photo a Day prompt – Then & Now, it took me all of two seconds to decide what my photo would be.  Those of you who know me, or have seen my photo on instagram will know that our two beautiful boys both arrived early – Liam at 30 weeks & 6 days and Aiden at 32 weeks & 1 day (as a premmie parent all those extra days sure do count!!!).  We are incredibly lucky to have two healthy boys, Liam is now 21 months old, and Aiden will be 5 months old this Sunday.

Liam loves his little brother

Liam loves his little brother

He can be a little too enthusiastic sometimes though!

He can be a little too enthusiastic sometimes though!

It is such an overwhelming experience having a prem baby – even if you think you are prepared for it, as we were prior to having Liam.  I spent 6 weeks in hospital before he was born, had visited the NICU, spoken to lactation consultants re: how to express/feed a prem baby, knew what would happen at his birth, understood he would probably require help breathing (despite the cocktail of drugs I had taken to help mature his lungs) and was educated about the ‘typical prem health issues’.  Each week I would check the handout I had been given by the neonatologist outlining the improving survival/disability rates for each week of gestation, and watch the odds slowly improve each week – but when he arrived at 4.12am on the 11th of January 2012, all of that preparation and information went straight out of the window.

We were thrown into a world that revolved around weight gain/loss, feeding tolerances, oxygen saturation levels, heart rate and breathing monitors,  and of course – expressing!  Liam was five days old before I was able to hold him for the first time, even then when his condition had stabilised, we still had to ask permission and seek assistance to hold our own baby and take him out of his humidicrib.  The day he graduated to a ‘big boy cot’ was one of our happiest days, we no longer had to ask permission or for help to hold him!

During this time we received a mountain of support and advice not only from the wonderful midwives at the Mater Mothers Hospital, but also from organisations such as Life’s Little Treasures, PIPA (Preterm Infants Parents Association) and Lil Aussie Prems – all of which helped us survive the NICU/SCN journey.  I found the online parent forums really helpful and also comforting to read in those lonely hours during the night when I was expressing.

When it became apparent that Aiden was also going to make an early arrival, the knowledge and experience we had gained from Liam’s journey was invaluable.  With every gain he made, we knew it was inevitable there would be a couple of steps backwards – as is the life of a prem (in Aiden’s case it was being diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease at 12 days old and going back onto Oxygen).

Just looking back at the early photos when picking then out for the photo challenge, it bought back a flood of memories from the constant beeping and alarms of monitors, to the smell of antiseptic as you walked out the lift doors.

This Sunday our family is participating in the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation Walk for Prems.  This charity provides a wealth of support and information to families and friends of premature babies.  I am proud to say we will be walking together as a family of six – we will be walking not only for Liam and Aiden, but also their big sister Amber and brother Riley, who were also born prematurely and sadly did not survive. We will be walking for all of the premature babies and their families out there and hope we are able to raise much needed funds to support these families during this tough time.

Sending lots of love to all the families with a baby in nicu/scn xx

 

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

First cuddle/family photo with Liam - 5 days old

First cuddle/family photo with Liam – 5 days old

First cuddle with Aiden - 2 days old

First cuddle with Aiden – 2 days old

Breakfast Bars

Don’t let the name fool you, although this recipe is called ‘Breakfast Bars’ (from the lovely Donna Hay), I dare you to try to resist these throughout the day!  Instead of making the muesli slab into bars, I cut it into small slices, which are perfect for morning tea.

I couldn’t resist adding to the original recipe, I used it more as a base to start from and then added various ingredients we had in the pantry.  I added the honey as due to the extra ingredients I had added, I felt it needed a bit more help to bind together.

I LOVE these, even Scott and Liam were also impressed.  Liam even swiped a piece whilst I was taking photos of the slice and I found him sitting back on the couch quite happy with himself.  After cutting the slice, there was a bit of leftovers on the baking paper – these were awesome mixed with vanilla yoghurt and strawberries!  I’m now thinking of even making this combination up as a muesli mix.

Enjoying afternoon tea

Enjoying afternoon tea

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup flaked almonds (I used blanched almonds)

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup quinoa flakes

2 tablespoons wheat germ

2/3 cup plain whole-wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup dried cranberries

I also added:

Replaced 1 cup of dried cranberries with 1/4 cup goji berries and 3/4 cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons coconut

2 tablespoons LSA mix

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/4 cup pepitas

1/4 cup honey/or honey substitute if you would prefer

* Preheat oven to 160 degrees

* Place oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, quinoa (and pepitas if using) on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for around 10 minutes until golden

* Place the wheat germ, flour, baking powder, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and stir to combine (add coconut, LSA mix and chia seeds also if using)

* Add the oil, egg, honey (if using) and vanilla and stir until smooth

* Add the oat mixture and the cranberry/goji berry mixture and stir to combine

* Spoon mixture into a slice tin lined with baking paper and push down using the back of a spoon. Bake in over for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

* Cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning onto a rack to cool further, then cut into bars/slices and enjoy!

breakfast muesli bar

 

Linking up with the Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

A good day

I’m just over halfway through FatMumSlim October Photo a Day Challenge, and I’m very pleased to say I haven’t  missed a day since I started in August!  Yesterday’s prompt was ‘a good day’ and my interpretation was capturing a feeling/experience during the day which symbolised this.  As per the rules, you only post one photo per prompt/day.

Such a beautiful day!

Such a beautiful day!

Normally this isn’t a problem for me, but yesterday I found it really hard.  Throughout the day, there were many moments where I reflected on how lucky I am to be having these experiences with my family:

* Running 3km in 23mins (non stop) at the gym this morning – woohoo!

* Watching the big smiles on Liam’s face during his swimming lesson with Dad

* Finding an awesome pink chair for the study – thanks Ikea!

How awesome is this chair!

How awesome is this chair!

* Pretending to be potential home buyers whilst we sticky beaked at an open home near us!

* Going out for lunch with all of my boys

* Enjoying the gorgeous Spring weather whilst we explored the city

Liam loved spending time with his Dad today!

Liam loved spending time with his Dad today!

* Watching Liam hold Aiden’s hand whilst in the pram together

* Finding the perfect dress for Scott’s Christmas party!

Love it!

Love it!

* Watching the boys sleeping peacefully after their big day

Goodnight Aiden xx

Goodnight Aiden xx

I hope you are all having a great weekend, and had a great day no matter what you got up to x

Apple Tea Cake

Earlier this week, after a disastrous outing with the boys, I visited a newly opened woolies  in one of the trendier inner city suburbs (it even has a coffee bar INSIDE the store)!  All of the produce looked super fresh, and when I saw large shiny Granny Smith Apples, I had to buy some. Originally I had set out to make apple and cinnamon muffins (which I probably will still do), but when looking through my Margaret Fulton ‘Baking’ book, I decided to try her recipe for Apple Tea Cake instead.  This recipe is different to other tea cakes I’ve made in the past – I’ve never whisked egg whites for this kind of cake before.  I didn’t have an 18cm round tin, I used my 20cm tin instead and the cake still looked fine.

I’m a sucker for anything with apples in it, and I did enjoy the slice (a very small one) that I tried.  Compared to the Apple and Blueberry Cake I have previously made, I think I prefer the apple/blueberry combination better.

Apple Tea Cake

1 egg – separated

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

30g butter – melted

1 cup self raising flour – sifted

1 apple – peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Topping

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 1 tablespoon caster sugar

  • Preheat over to 190 degrees and grease an 18cm round tin (I used a 20cm tin)
  • Whisk the egg white until stiff, gradually beat in the sugar, then egg yolk
  • Stir in the milk, vanilla and melted butter
  • Fold the flour carefully into mixture
  • Spoon into cake tin and arrange apple slices on the top
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes
  • When cooked, turn out and place top side up onto a wire rack. While still hot, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar

Art Overload!

Since Liam was quite young, I’ve always encouraged him to draw/paint/create.  As well as it being a great activity we can enjoy together, it’s also a brilliant sensory experience for him.

Our artist in action on his 1st birthday

Our artist in action on his 1st birthday

The above resulted in a great memento of his first birthday

1st birthday

1st birthday

This may have created the ‘monster’ I now have, who loves to draw and paint any chance he gets (especially it seems when he is dressed up ready to go somewhere – oh well, it could be worse!).

This morning I spent some time going through Liam’s PILE of artwork.  As hard as it was, I have parted with some of the ‘lesser’ creations (I feel terrible even writing that), as if we continue to keep EVERYTHING he creates the house will be overrun in no time.

We have a couple of display areas throughout the house – my favourite is the display in the study which I updated this morning.

 

It's a wall of art!

It’s a wall of art!

I used removable hooks from Bunnings (around $7 for a pack of 20) to hang the string from, and I also used the same hooks to hang the canvases from.

Once Aiden starts creating, I have no idea how I’m going to display/store it all!  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Arrgh… It’s another packet mix!

I’ve sure started something now! After my success making Adriano Zumbo’s Salted Caramel Macarons, I took up the Betty Crocker Facebook Challenge to make her Chocolate Fudge Cake using only the materials from the box – the winner will have their cake featured on the side of the box.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

I must admit, my entry was a bit rushed.  I would have loved to have had more chocolate icing to play with, as I wanted to ice the middle as well as the top of the cake.  Unfortunately I just ended up with a super thin layer in the middle and not as much icing as I would have liked on the top.  I was planning to take the cake to a morning tea, so I prettied it up with chocolate freckles and vanilla frosting.

Very plain :(

Very plain 😦

I resisted the urge to taste this cake, by all accounts though, it tasted great and when I halved the cake, I could tell it was really moist.

Would I make it again?  Not sure… One of the main reasons I bake is for the ‘experience’. I find it relaxing and I really enjoy creating beautiful and delicious goodies (well at least I hope they are!).  I still enjoyed making it, but the ‘baking experience’ was over so quickly. At least with the Zumbo mixes, there is a little more involved.  I’m now thinking I may have to work my way through the rest of the Adriano Zumbo mixes available….

choc fudge cake