What I’m thankful for this week….

I’m jumping on the Thanksgiving bandwagon and putting together a list of what I have been thankful for this week:

– Aiden received a great report at his six month check up with our paediatrician, and he has also finally reached 6kg!!

Our little boy is 6 months old

Our little boy is 6 months old

– Feeling inspired after receiving my copy of Wholefood for Children this week – I just LOVE the Book Depository

– Speaking of food, Liam’s appetite has returned with a vengeance after being unwell

Really need to work on table manners

Really need to work on table manners

– The arrival of yet another beautiful baby into our ever growing Mum’s group – and it’s a boy!!  (We have very few boys in our group!)

– I am incredibly lucky to have such beautiful and thoughtful friends – I received a card this week from a close friend that bought me to tears (they were happy tears!!)

– The boys and I had a lovely morning out earlier in the week, they both behaved whilst I drank my ‘bucket sized’ iced latte (of course there has to be something about coffee in this post!)

Make mine a bucket!

Make mine a bucket!

– That I am able to be at home with our boys, we’ve had a great week and Liam has loved playing outside in his truck in this warm weather.

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What have you been thankful for this week?

Have a great weekend

x

Chocolate Wheaten Cookies

During my pregnancies, there have only three things that I have really craved, McDonald’s chicken nuggets (with sweet and sour sauce of course!), Berri fruit ice blocks and chocolate coated wheat biscuits.  Luckily I have only recently come across this recipe, I think if I’d known about whilst pregnant, I would have ended up the size of a bus!

These cookies taste great.  In an effort to be good, I only added chocolate bits to half of the cookies, and still really enjoyed them.  To be a ‘true’ chocolate wheaten biscuit, you could dip the back of the cookies in melted chocolate – as suggested in the book. I decided against doing this, as it would have made them even harder to resist.

This recipe comes from an Australian Women’s Weekly book – Cupcakes, Cheescakes and Cookies.  It’s filled to the brim with lots of yummy treats, and has given me lots of ideas…. if only there was enough time to make them all!

Chocolate Wheaten Cookies

90g butter softened

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/4 cup wheat germ

3/4 cup wholemeal plain flour

1/3 cup white self raising flour

1/4 cup dark chocolate bits

* Beat butter & sugar together until smooth, add egg and beat until well combined. Stir in coconut, wheat germ and sifted flours

* Roll sought between 2 sheets of baking paper until it’s around half a cm thick.  Place in fridge for approx 30 minutes

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees and cover two trays with baking paper

* Using a round cutter, cut into dough and place on baking trays approx 3cm apart.  Bring off cut dough together, cover again with baking paper and roll out to make more cookies.

* Lightly press chocolate bits into the top of cookies & bake for 12 minutes.

* Allow cookies to cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack

Summer Peach Cakes

Last Friday we had a busy morning out and about, catching up with Liam’s friends for a playdate.  He was on the go the whole two hours that we were out, so was understandably exhausted when we  got home.  Normally I’m lucky if he sleeps for an hour to an hour and a half hour during the day, but when he had been asleep for two hours, I decided to make the most of it and get some baking done!

There were two peaches sitting all alone in the fridge which I wanted to use before they turned bad (and I’d also paid $8 a kilo for them and couldn’t stand the thought of throwing them out).  It had felt like awhile since I’d made anything from my Donna Hay recipe books, so I looked through her Simple Essentials – Fruit for some ideas.  This recipe is based on ‘Summer Nectarine Cakes’ and I followed the ingredients, apart from substituting the nectarines for pears (you could use any summer stone fruit though), and using approx 1/4 cup of hazelnut meal as I didn’t quite have enough almond meal for the 1 cup required.  These little cakes we so light and tasted divine.  I also really liked the taste of the hazelnut meal, it gave them a really nice flavour.  These will definitely be going on the ‘make again’ list.

These are too cute!

These are too cute!

3 egg whites

1 cup almond meal (I used approximately 3/4 cup of almond meal and 1/4 cup of hazelnut meal)

1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted

1/4 cup self raising flour

50g melted butter

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind

1 large nectarine, halved and thinly sliced (I used 2 medium sized peaches)

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees

* Place egg whites, almond meal, sugar, flour, butter and lemon rind in a bowl and mix to combine.

*Spoon 1 tablespoon of the mixture into 12 lightly greased, 1/4 cup capacity patty tins and top with slices of nectarines/peaches etc.

* Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden

Stepping out from behind the camera

Recently I was asked for a photo of myself with the boys.  Like many Mums, I’m normally the one behind the camera and while I take a few ‘selfless’ of us all, there are very few ‘proper’ photos of us all together.  I’m also not a huge fan of having my photo taken at the moment, however I realise the importance of having pictures of myself and the boys together while they are young.

Looking through the small (and to be honest, very dodgy) collection of photos of the three of us, it reminded me that I need to make a much bigger effort to have photos taken with both of the boys

I’m now going to be really brave and post some of these stunning photos – this is going to be my inspiration to make sure I get more ‘proper’ photos of the three of us together.

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Do you have many photos with your children?  Feel free to share your pics on my Facebook page

Linking up with The Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

Dear Aiden- 6 months

Dear Aiden,

Tomorrow it will be six months since you came into our world.  You are our happy and cuddly little man. You are relaxed and content, just happy to sit back and take in the chaos around you.

I love how your eyes light up when you see me first thing in the morning

I love that you will break out into a big happy smile when I talk and sing to you

I love watching you laugh and smile at your big brother

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I love watching you explore and take in the world around you

I love the time we spend together, just the two of us

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I love that you need me

I love that I am more confident looking after you than I was with your brother

I love that you are with us

You have come so far over the past six months, and I love seeing more of your little personality coming through. Although in some ways I feel like I am grieving the newborn phase.

I miss our special, quiet moments during the night when it was just the two of us awake.

I miss your happy and contented face as you would drift back to sleep with a full tummy.

I even miss the times when you would wake up just for a cuddle, when all you wanted was your Mum.

There are no words special enough to describe the joy and love you have bought our family.  My heart swells when I hear you cheeky little laugh, when you grab hold of my finger and simply when you stare into my eyes and smile.

We love you Aiden

Love Mum xx

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Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

 

 

Dark Chocolate Cookies with White Choc Chips

YUM! That’s really the only introduction these cookies need.  They are super rich and indulgent with the inclusion of dark brown sugar and cacao powder.  Yes, they may be similar to the Triple Chocolate Cookies I have made in the past – but let’s be honest, you can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes, and I’m happy to keep baking them until I find the perfect recipe!  Do you have an amazing choc chip cookie recipe you would like to share?

Yum!

Yum!

125g softened butter

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup caster sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

1/2 cup cacao powder

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

* Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

* Sift flour and cacao over butter/sugar mixture, add chocolate chips and stir until combined

* Cover two trays with baking paper, and place tablespoon sized balls of mixture onto trays, leaving approx 3cm between cookies.  Press down the top of each cookie with the back of a spoon and bake for 15 minutes.

* Allow cookies to cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to rack.

Linking up with The Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

Yoghurt Cake with Raspberry and Pomegrantate Jam Glaze

I may have gotten a little carried away at the Maggie Beer stand at the Good Food & Wine show recently.  It was a little hard not to, there were so many yummy products, the staff were lovely and there were heaps of samples to suck you in.

When I visit our local cafe, my standing order is an extra large double shot skinny iced latte (keep that in your memory bank if anyone ever feels like dropping by) and two slices of raisin toast with a beautiful homemade raspberry jam.  So when I spied Maggie’s (I can call her that since I know her so well from watching her on tv) Raspberry and pomegranate jam, it was a no brainer that I was going to buy it.

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As well as saving the $4.50 I normally would spend, and being delicious on my toast at home, it has the added bonus of using as a glaze over cakes – yoghurt cake specifically as that is what Maggie recommends on the side of the jar.

I went searching online for a yoghurt cake recipe and found a reader’s recipe on Nigella Lawson’s site.  The cake was easy to make and as soon as it was out of the oven I eagerly covered it with a layer of Maggie’s jam – not too generously though, as I didn’t want to ‘waste’ my special jam.  After only 10 minutes I was too impatient any longer and cut the cake….  I was a little disappointed, the cake wasn’t the best and I was starting to get annoyed that I’d wasted my jam on it.  Thankfully I went back to the website to read through some of the comments (probably should have done that originally) and noted it said the cake was best eaten cold.

The next day when I returned to it, I could see why eating it cold was recommended.  It tasted much better, and the jam on top turned it into something a lot more special.

Look at that lovely jam!

Look at that lovely jam!

1 cup natural yoghurt

2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

½ cup oil

3 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees, and line the bottom of a round 25cm cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides.

* Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.

* Pour into cake tin and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and it’s cooked through

* While cake is still warm, brush Raspberry and pomegranate jam over the top.

* Allow the cake to completely cool before cutting and serving.

Throwback Thursday – Rock Cakes

Earlier this week, Liam had one of his little friends come over for a play.  I’d had the best intentions of tidying up the night before, but it just didn’t happen.  That morning I was madly racing around trying to make the house at least semi presentable, Liam on the other hand seemed to be following me around unpacking everything I had just put away.

I’d wanted to do some baking for the kids morning tea, but when it was apparent I was quickly running out of time, I thought about making some scones, but changed my mind at the last minute and made Rock Cakes.  This recipe is from my old McAlpins baking book, so I knew it was going to be easy to put together.  When adding the dried fruit I decided to go with currants and chopped dates which were super yummy.

These tasted great straight out of the oven.  If you wanted to, you could cut them in half and add butter or jam, but we were happy to eat them on their own.  The kids enjoyed them, as did Saxon (our dog), who always does well when the kids are outside eating!

Simple & Delicious

Simple & Delicious

2 cups self raising flour

90g unsalted butter, chilled & cubed

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (I used currants and dates)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

* Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper

* Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

* Stir through the sugar, dried fruit and ginger.

* Whisk together the egg and milk in a bowl and add to the dry ingredients, mixing until a dough forms.

* Drop rough heaps of mixture (I used a soup spoon) onto the trays and bake for 10 – 12 minutes (I found mine were ready after 10 minutes).

* Transfer onto a wire rack to cool

Trail Mix Cookies with Carob and Goji Berries

Once again I started out with the best intentions of following this recipe to the letter, but I just couldn’t stop myself.

We’ve been a bit muesli crazy at our house lately, and instead of making yet another muesli slice I wanted to try something different.  I started with a recipe from Great Family Favourites by The Australian Women’s Weekly for Cruchy Muesli Cookies.  I followed the recipe for the first two ingredients, but then I let myself get carried away.  I did start with good intentions, as I thought the amount of caster sugar seemed too much and it just went from there.

I may have gone a bit overboard with the amount of ingredients I added, I was a bit worried when I was rolling the mixture into balls that they just wouldn’t hold together, but luckily they managed to hold themselves together.

I really enjoyed these, and they reminded me a little of the breakfast bars I made a little while ago.  The boys also enjoyed them too, luckily I wrote down what I was putting in them as I went so they can be made again!  Enjoy xx

Trail Mix Cookies with Carob & Goji Berries

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup caster sugar – I think you could get away with reducing this even further, or omitting completely.

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons raw carob powder

250g of trail mix (or you could use any combination of nuts/fruit that you have)

2 tablespoons goji berries

1 tablespoon chia seeds

2 tablespoons shredded coconut

1 tablespoon wheatgerm

125g butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 tablespoon boiling water

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees & cover two oven trays with baking paper

* Combine all dry ingredients (except bicarb soda) in a large bowl

* Melt butter with golden syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat.  Add combined bicarb soda and boiling water mixture.  Pour into dry ingredients and mix until well combined

* Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls & place onto trays, allowing approx 4cm space between balls.  Flatten the balls slightly with your hand/back of a spoon

* Check biscuits at 15 minutes – they should be starting to brown on the edges. You can cook for longer if you prefer a super crunchy cookie.

* Leave to cool on trays for 10 minutes before transferring to rack