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.

IMG_8851

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

Self Confidence

Yesterday’s photo a day prompt was mirror, and all day I was thinking about what kind of shot I could take – preferably one that doesn’t have me in it! You see the thing is I’m not super happy with the way I look at the moment.  I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my body shape/size, and long ago I accepted that I am one of those people who has to watch what they eat and exercise regularly to maintain a ‘healthy’ weight.  I’ve also come to terms  with the fact that I’m also not someone whose weight just ‘falls off’ while they breast feed, in fact for me it is the opposite…. damn you hormones!

The thing is that I enjoy exercising, and I feel great about myself whilst I’m doing it, and afterwards as well… it’s just getting and perhaps more importantly keeping the motivation to do it.  I’ve recently switched to a gym that is much closer to home and has more ‘friendly’ class times and this seems to be helping.

I know that I am lacking a bit of self confidence. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to unrealistic expectations (my due date was around the same as Princess Kate & Kim Kardashian and look at them now….), that we unfairingly (that is so a word!) compare ourselves to others.

A few weeks ago I spent a few self indulgent hours at the hairdresser, and whilst reading the November issue of Marie Claire I came across the article ‘Instant Confidence’. It outlined some simple strategies which researchers believe will improve your self belief/self confidence and let’s be honest, we could all do with a bit more self belief I think.

* Coffee!!!  YAY!!  I’m happy to go along with any research that supports drinking coffee!  Admittedly, I do really enjoy my early morning coffee before the chaos of the day starts, and I do miss it when I skip it (I’m so not addicted).

* Sit up straight – hmmm.. I do agree, I’m trying to sit up as straight as I can now and admittedly I feel a bit more important!!

* Change your hair colour – sorted, appointment in two weeks!

* Clean out your wallet- with the theory being by managing this everyday area of your life, it will help you feel more in control in other aspects of your life. I took this challenge and also included cleaning out my handbag.  Considering I found sultanas that I believe started off as grapes in a container down the bottom of my bag, I’m feeling much more in control!

* Exercise!  Well this one is a bit of a no brainer, and I totally agree with it.  The research they quote is exercising for at lease 20 minutes at the gym will improve your mood for up to 12 hours.  I totally agree with this, I feel so much better about myself (and others!!) after exercising.

I know that I am being tough on myself, and realistically I know that I probably won’t ever be completely happy with the way I look.  It seems as though we are hardwired to always have one aspect of ourselves that we think needs improvement.

In the meantime, I’m trying to work on improving my self confidence and be proud of the way I look – this body of mine has spent the majority of the past three years either pregnant, or being pumped full of hormones for IVF, and has produced four children – so I probably should cut it some slack!

In the end I compromised and included a head shot in my photo, and with the magic of filters, I was pretty happy with how the shot turned out.

So I’m putting it out there – what strategies/tips do you have to help improve self confidence?

mirror

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

Milk Chocolate Mousse Tart

I have again gone over to the dark side…. I bought another packet mix this week!  In my defence, after the delicious success that was Adriano Zumbo’s Salted Caramel Macarons, when I saw this Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake, I knew I had to try it out.

Another packet mix!

Another packet mix!

I’m calling my version a tart, I didn’t have a small enough cake tin, so mine is a bit bigger and thinner. Regardless of this, it turned out well and tasted divine.  Even the mixture tasted great, with Liam and I licking the bowl clean, and him asking for ‘more’ when it was all gone.

Yum!

Yum!

As I’ve mentioned before, when I’ve made Adriano’s mixes, I still feel as though there is a little cooking and skill involved, rather than just pouring the pack straight into a bowl and adding water.

This was $7.95 well spent, the only problem is it’s calling out to me from the fridge just begging to be eaten!

milk chocolate mousse tart

World Prematurity Day

Reaching 20 weeks is a major milestone in pregnancy.  You’re ‘halfway’ through, you have a scan to check on bub (and find out the sex if you can’t wait like me!), the excitement builds and you start preparing for the arrival of your special baby.

If you are at risk of premature birth, this can change, with the arrival of 20 weeks bringing you all the more closer to the 24 week milestone, otherwise known as ‘viability’.

It feels like such a cold and clinical way to describe your baby.  However it is at this point that most Doctors and Hospitals will go ahead with lifesaving measures to help your baby survive (although I have heard of some babies being treated at 23 weeks).

We were introduced to the term viability during our first pregnancy, when I was admitted to hospital at 20 weeks.  In a short space of time, we went from being blissfully unaware of the complications which can occur during a pregnancy, to discussing how much further along I would need to be before I would be given steroid injections (to help our babies lungs), and at what point they would perform ‘life saving measures’ on our babies.  For us, we fell short of the ‘magic’ 24 weeks, with our daughter and son being born just shy of 21 weeks.

Knowing from the outset of our next pregnancy that it was going to be high risk, and the risk of another premature delivery was there, our goal was 24 weeks.  I started counting down the days to this milestone from the time our pregnancy was confirmed. We didn’t tell many people that I was pregnant, initially I didn’t want anyone to know until we were past that 24 week mark.  Then after numerous hospital admissions starting at 17 weeks, we started to share our news, with the thought that if something did happen to our baby, we wanted people to know about him, and acknowledge him.

I reached 24 weeks with the celebration being marred with the news I would be staying in hospital until Liam arrived.  We knew all the stats. We knew each week the chances of Liam surviving if he arrived early increased, as the chances of him developing a disability decreased.  We toured the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Nursery (SCN).  I met with lactation consultants who educated me about expressing and feeding a premature baby.

We thought we were prepared.  We weren’t.  When Liam arrived at 30 weeks + 6 days, he was quickly shown to us and whisked away.  It wasn’t until several minutes later that we could hear his faint cries, and while I couldn’t see him, and was straining to hear, that small sound bought me to tears – our baby was alive.

There were similar feelings when I became pregnant with Aiden.  Again the countdown to 24 weeks started, with this milestone coinciding with Easter, I again eagerly counted down the days, with a strange mix of apprehension and relief as the day drew closer. Then when I was still pregnant (and at home!!) at 31 weeks, we celebrated…  thinking it may be possible that I could go close to full term! Like our babies, our celebration was premature.  Four days later I was back in hospital – just two doors up from where I’d stayed prior to having Liam, and chatting with the midwives who had previously looked after me.  The sense of deja vu continued, when Aiden was born at 32 weeks + 1 day – we were in the same theatre, our same obstetrician, the same ob assisting and the same anethatist.  This time, Aiden cried when he was delivered (and also weed all over me!), and we got to spend a few seconds more with him before he was taken to NICU.  Being thrown back into the NICU/SCN world after only leaving it 16 months before felt like we had never left.  As soon as I walked onto the floor, the smell of the NICU hits you and all of the memories come flooding back with a huge force.

We are fortunate, we had relatively smooth journeys with both of the boys during their NICU/SCN stays and there are no long term issues that we are aware of.  Once home, there have been the odd bumps in the road, and the anxiety of having a prem baby/child never fully goes away.   You are often anxious, are they putting on enough weight, is their development delayed, will a simple cold put them back into hospital? Often this isn’t helped by well meaning people,  who will compare their full term child’s development with yours or strangers who comment on how small your child is, when they ask how old they are, and when you say they were born early they go so far as to ask what the cause of their prematurity was – I was once asked ‘what was wrong with you?’ by a complete stranger whilst shopping with Liam in Woolies.

Today is World Prematurity Day.  The aim of today is to raise the awareness of premature birth and the journey families go on not only whilst their little ones are in hospital, but often for the rest of their lives.  It is a day to celebrate our little fighters and an opportunity to remember those babies who didn’t survive, by lighting a candle at 7pm.

Today I will be giving our little miracles extra hugs, and reflect on the long and crazy journey we have been through to have them here with us.  We will also be lighting a candle tonight in memory of Amber and Riley, and all the other babies who were born too soon and taken from us.

Have a wonderful Sunday

xx

world prematurity day 2013

Linking up with the Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

A milestone not listed in any baby record books

Yesterday I had what may possibly be my best parenting moment yet (asides from bringing both of the boys home from hospital of course).

Our first cuddle - 5 days old

Our first cuddle – 5 days old

Drumroll……   Liam said ‘love you Mum’.  Ok, so maybe it sounded a little more like ‘ruv you mum’ – but I’m going with it.  To say that my heart melted would be an understatement, I was so overcome by emotion it sent a shiver through me. Initially I wasn’t sure if I had heard him right, and asked him to say it again just to be sure (and I just wanted to hear it again!), and there it was –  I was right.

After a week of illness and a suspected case of the measles (thankfully the test was negative), hearing these three beautiful words nearly bought me to tears.

Once again I am reminded of just how special my little boy is, and that I don’t think I could love him anymore if I tried.

Enjoying some Mummy & Liam cuddles before Aiden was born

Enjoying some Mummy & Liam cuddles before Aiden was born

What has been your best parenting moment?

Happy Saturday everyone x