Banana Berry Crunch Smoothie

This is a great summer smoothie to wake-up to in the morning.  With a mixture of fruits it gives the perfect blend of sweetness and contains ingredients which are enough to keep you fuelled for a portion of the morning.  The mixed seeds pack a protein punch too, this is one I love to make during the summer months…enjoy!

Makes: One 400ml Glass

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Apples
  • 80g Mixed Berries
  • 3 Tablespoons of Soya Yoghurt (Natural or Vanilla)
  • 1/2 Ripe Banana sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Mixed Seeds
  • Handful of Ice

Instructions

  1. Put the apples through a juicer to give about 150ml-200ml of fresh apple juice
  2. Pour the juice into the blender and add the berries, yoghurt, banana, seeds and a handful of ice.
  3. Blend for just a few seconds.

Tip: If you are using frozen berries, there is no need to add extra ice to the blender.

 

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Oaty Cinnamon Seed Granola

This Oaty Cinnamon Seed Granola is a wonderful recipe for those looking for what I call ‘brain-food’ first thing in the morning. The slow release carbohydrates really keep you going and the pecans, almonds and pumpkin seeds are a brilliant source of protein. Serve 40g of this granola in the morning with a handful of fresh fruit and some almond milk and you will be enjoying a deliciously healthy vegan breakfast all week long!

Ingredients

  • 180g Pecans
  • 150g flaked Almonds
  • 300g Rolled Oats
  • 175g Pumpkin Seeds
  • 75g Sunflower Seeds
  • 110g Flaxseed
  • 4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 4 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon 
  • 4 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 120g Raisins

To Mix Up

  1. In a food processor blend in the almonds and pecans until light and crumbly.
  2. Add the crumbled mixture to a mixing bowl filled with the dry ingredients of oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseed.
  3. In a saucepan over a low heat melt the coconut oil, cinnamon and maple syrup, stirring gently, pour the melted mixture into the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly using a wooden spoon.
  4. Once mixed pour the mixture into a baking tray and place in the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven for forty-five minutes. Stir the mixture regularly and thoroughly every 10-15 minutes to ensure that it is toasted well. 
  5. Remove from the oven after this time and allow to cool before mixing in the raisins and pouring into a cereal container.

Another great element with this granola is that any fruit can be added to brighten it up further, try goji berries, fresh blueberries or raspberries with strawberries to give it some kick.

Midnight Mint Teacake

This midnight mint tea cake is a deliciously rich addition to any tea break and is inspired by a tried and tested recipe for mint chocolate-chip cookies. It didn’t last long in my house!  The finished cake is a rare find and an even rarer bake, with the powerful scent of american peppermint extract it’s a treat I love to bake. This recipe can be baked in a cake tin but lately I’ve taken to baking a lot of my recipes in a loaf in because they fit easily and snugly.

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Serves: 8 pieces

Ingredients

  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 120g butter, softened
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 55g porridge oats
  • 55g roasted chopped hazelnuts

Getting to Midnight Heaven

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. Whisk together using an electric whisk, the butter and sugar to produce a smooth and creamy consistency. Whisk in the eggs one at a time before stirring in the peppermint extract.
  3. Fold in the self-raising flour using a wooden spoon before folding in the hazelnuts, porriage oats and chopped dark chocolate.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and well risen. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

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Cheesy Sweet Potato and Tomato Pasta

As a die hard for Mediterranean food it’s safe to say that this recipe makes a meal I love giving to our little girl. Really because she devours it so it’s a sign her mummy cooked well. The list below makes six portions which can be frozen too…so it’s not a bad recipe for busy working parents either.

Ingredients

  • 100g Chopped Onion
  • 250g Chopped and Peeled Sweet Potato
  • 75g Grated Medium or Mature Cheddar Cheese
  • 95g Organic Baby Shell Pasta Shapes
  • 120gs Peeled and Diced Organic Carrots
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 225ml Vegetable Stock

Chopped Carrots and Sweet Potato

To Create…

1. Add the olive oil to a pre-heated saucepan and add the onions to sizzle until they turn a golden brown colour.

2. Add the sweet potato and carrots and mix well before pouring in the vegetable stock.  Allow to simmer for 4-6minutes.

3. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and simmer for a further 4minutes whilst stirring frequently.

4. In a separate pot prepare the pasta shapes by filling the pot with boiling water and bringing to the boil for 8-10minutes.

5. In the pot of veggie sauce place the grated cheese and spoon about one-third to half of the cooked veggie sauce mix into a food processor, pulse a little before adding half of the cooked pasta shells and blend well.

6. Add the remaining vegetables and pasta and continue to blend until you reach the perfect consistency.  Spoon the meals equally into food storage containers.

At about 7-9 months of age many babies will start to love the texture of foods so it’s an idea to not blend the pasta shells down too much.  Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s so easy to adapt to satisfy everyone else at the table, simply swap the organic baby pasta shells for organic wholegrain penne and when you separate the pasta for adults and baby, simply blend the pasta for you little one and add the rest to the sauce for the older foodies.

Pear, Pea and Broccali Purée 

It’s usually time to start trying baby purees when your little one is 4-6 months of age. 20170709_105447771_iOS (2) Official advice in the UK states that 6months is ideal, however as I have found with my own little girl every baby is unique and nobody knows a child as well as their parents. So  you have to go with your instincts.

This recipe for Pear, Pea and Broccali purée is an early basic to give little ones a taste for their greens. It’s not too bitter and the pear adds a hint of sweetness to the deal. It’s also really quick to whip up six portions which can be frozen too.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 stalks of broccoli chopped
  • One large Pear, cored and diced
  • 200g Garden Peas
  • 1-2 tablespoons of organic baby rice
  • Sprinkle of Coriander

To Make

  1. Chop the broccoli and place in a pot of boiling water for 8-12 minutes, cover this and allow to steam.
  2. Chop and core the pear and add to the remaining vegetables about half-way through.
  3. Once the veggies have simmered drain them using a sieve or colander and add to a food processor.  Pulse these well for 2-3 minutes until completely pureed.
  4. Add a sprinkle of coriander and 2 tablespoons of organic baby rice and pulse for a further 30 seconds.
  5. Separate into six individual food containers and serve or freeze where needed.

Vegetarianism Baby…!

It’s one thing to decide for yourself that you are going to eat a meat-free20170709_075410445_iOS diet, but it’s another when you are making this decision for your child.  During pregnancy we decided that our little girl would eat meat in the same way my husband does. However at seven months I realised that the early stage meals I had been making her hadn’t yet contained meat…it just didn’t feel right to give her meat. Considering why, it went back to my core principles – although I would never be in a position to refuse her from trying meat when she is old enough to ask to, in the mean time her palette is in my hands and I couldn’t feed her meat unless she explicitly wanted it.

Where does this leave us now? Well it leaves us with a mummy who has done some pretty intense recipe exploration, discovering different taste combinations along the way for our little girl.  In doing so I’ve found tasty recipes which are perfect for the different stages of weaning in that first year.  However there’s also a range of pre-prepared baby foods and brands which I’ve come to trust and love for our little girl, which if you are a relatively new parent you might consider exploring.

20170629_112141318_iOSYes the aim is to make home cooked meals, yes on the whole I do but occasionally giving into a healthy and organic prepared veggie meal for my baby girl isn’t such a bad thing.  When tricky situations arise (including emergencies were you need to grab baby food supplies to come lunchtime and run on) the Ellas kitchen range is perfect.  And not to be too corny but the big smiles Cheesy pie with veggies wins hands down where my little girl is concerned.

20170629_112229800_iOSThe Organix brand can help give your little one a great start to the day, with their cereal range including baby rice suitable from four months and a gorgeous multigrain porridge at seven months, not to mention fruit-flavoured cereals and porridge such as strawberry and banana. My little girl loves these as a tasty breakfast when 20170629_111808293_ios.jpgmade with her own milk.

In terms of snacking, especially when out-and-about my default is either Farleys Rusks or the Organix Rice Cakes.  The bite-sized apple-flavour rice cakes keep babies from about seven months nibbling happily – especially when teething is an issue.

White Chocolate Brownies

These  white chocolate brownies have a light and bouncy texture but a rich and sweet
white chocolate flavour throughout. The sultanas add to the delicious combination by giving them the bit more bite to work with. I loved creating these because the recipe has the potential to be altered and tweaked by the baker to formulate something new and experimenting in the kitchen is definitely worth the time and effort if you end up with a delicious dessert which is truly memorable.

Stock Up On…

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 400g chopped white chocolate
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 90g sultanas
  • 200g plain flour

Making and Baking…

  1. To begin pre-heat the over to 190 degrees Celsius and grease and line a rectangular baking tray.
  2. Place the butter and 300g of the white chocolate in a bowl and melt over a saucepan of simmering water on a low heat – stir frequently until the mixture in completely melted and smooth to work with.
  3. Remove the bowl from the heat when completely melted and whisk in the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the caster sugar there after and add the vanilla essence.
  4. Using a wooden spoon fold in the flour, sultanas and remaining 100g of chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon the mixture gently into a rectangular brownie tin and bake for 20-30 minutes until lightly golden in colour, risen and firm to the touch. When fully baked remove the brownies from the oven and allow to cool for 30-60 minutes, cut into twelve long pieces and serve to be enjoyed.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

This recipe for white chocolate cookies with cranberries is one of my more experienced recipes which has been tried and tested without fail, at 45 minutes to prep and bake this recipe doesn’t fit into my quick and easy category but the final product is well worth the effort. Small dollops of the final mixture on the baking tray makes cute and quirky bite-sized cookies, whilst larger spoonfuls can produce elegantly indulgent biscuits.

Cooking Time: 45 Minutes. Makes 2 Dozen large cookies or 45 small to medium-sized cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 x 200g/7oz white chocolate bars, chopped
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 100g macadamia nuts , chopped

To Bake

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Melt 170g of the white chocolate in a baking bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then allow to cool.
  2. Beat in the butter, eggs, sugars and vanilla, preferably with an electric hand whisk.
  3. Using a wooden spoon stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cranberries with two-thirds of the remaining chocolate and macadamias, to make a stiff dough.
  4. Using a tablespoon measure or a small ice-cream scoop, drop small mounds onto a large baking dish, spacing them well apart, then poke in the reserved chocolate, nuts and cranberries.
  5. Bake in batches for 12 mins until pale golden and leave to harden for 1-2 mins before cooling on a wire rack.

One thing I love about this recipe is that can last about two weeks simply by freezing the cookie dough and baking small amounts of the biscuits if and when you feel like enjoying them, to do so open-freeze the raw cookie dough scoops on baking trays; when solid, pack them into a freezer container, interleaving the layers with baking parchment. You can bake them from frozen within about 15-20 minutes but it’s always best to make sure the cookie dough is used within 3 months but on the up side I really can’t see your mix lasting that long!