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Pyjama Party Play Date

29 May

We have regular play dates with our neighbours. The kids have recently become quite interested (bordering on obsessed in Thomas’ case) in each others pyjama’s so we thought it would be fun to have a pyjama party.

I wanted to make some fun food for our pyjama party to make it extra special…

Savouries to start with:-

Savoury Stars and Moons

These are really easy to make and you could do them for any theme.

They are just puff pastry cut into shapes of your choice (in this case stars and moons), put some grated cheese on to the star or moon, brush the edges with a slightly beaten egg and place a star or moon on top, push down around the edges, brush top with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in a moderate oven for approximately 10 mins.

Then on to the sweet stuff…

Bacon and Eggs

These were just too cute. I found them online somewhere and adapted my own version. They are chocolate wafer biscuits – split in half. Melt some white chocolate and allow to harden slightly, dollop some chocolate onto middle of wafer and put an m&m in the middle… Voila! 

Teddies in Blankets Cupcakes

We had a great morning. The kids loved wearing their pj’s for the morning. It was really easy to get ready in the morning too!

I think the Mum’s were a bit more excited than the little ones :-). We are going to have some more themed play dates… Have you got any suggestions? Would love to hear them!


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Spiced Chickpeas

26 Feb

Ok, I will admit that these didn’t really go down all that well with Thomas. However he didn’t gag on them (which is a sure sign he doesn’t like something). He just didn’t want another one. They are probably a little spicier than he is used to so they might be an acquired taste… They did go down quite well with hubby who has taken them to work with him today.

I got the recipe from the Vegie Smugglers Lunchbox ebook. If you’re looking for some great healthy lunchbox ideas this little ebook is great (and it’s only $4.95).  You can sign up to receive new posts from the blog also, there’s lots of great ideas.

These were very easy to make and would be great for children to make with you. I wanted to test this recipe myself before I got Thomas involved but there is lots of measuring, sprinkling and mixing to be done which I’m sure he would enjoy. The recipe also introduces children to different spices that they might not have been exposed to before. It’s so easy to stick to ‘safe’ foods – ones that you know they will eat but it’s also important to branch out and try new things as well. I encourage Thomas to try new things and explain to him that he shouldn’t say he doesn’t like something if he hasn’t tried it. If he tastes something and doesn’t like it, I don’t force him to eat it but offer it to him again to try again another time. Research shows that children children will reject new foods up to 15 times before they will eat and enjoy it. Persistence pays off!

Ingredients:

400g can chickpeas

1 tbsp olive oil

1⁄4 tsp cumin powder

1⁄4 tsp smoked paprika

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a tray with baking paper.

Rince and drain the chickpeas. Remove any loose skins. Leave them to dry or dry on paper towel.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil and spices, mix until chickpeas are completely covered.

Place on baking tray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly crunchy.

I also made a batch using garlic and chilli flakes which are really yummy. They can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Sneaky Pork and Veal Meatballs

16 Jan

I was cooking these meatballs for dinner to have with a tomato sauce and spaghetti and I thought they would make quite a good lunch time food just by themselves.

Your little cook can help you mix all the ingredients together and then roll them into balls (Thomas still isn’t that good at getting his hands dirty so he’s only up to the mixing stage – using a utensil). Great for helping fine motor skills, bi-lateral co ordination and sensory awareness.

Ingredients:

  • 500g pork and veal mince
  • 1 medium brown onion, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
  • 1 carrot finely grated (drain on paper towel to get out excess moisture)
  • 1 zucchini finely grated (drain as above)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs olive oil

Method:

  1. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine the veal and pork mince, onion, breadcrumbs, zucchini, carrot garlic and egg in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper (optional). Use your hands to mix until combined. Roll 1 heaped tablespoonful of mince mixture into a ball and place on prepared tray. Repeat with the remaining mince mixture.
  2. Heat one-third of the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add one-half of the meatballs and cook, turning, for 8 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Repeat, with next batch, with the remaining oil and meatballs, reheating pan between batches.
You could make a big batch of these too and freeze them in individual portions to make life a little easier :-).

I added some little toothpicks to the meatballs to serve and attached some little ‘Thomas’ stickers that I had in the drawer – so we don’t have any injuries with the toothpicks and also for a bit of fun. Serve with dipping sauce of your choice. 🙂

Cheese and Vegemite Scrolls

31 Aug


My friend Claire shared this recipe with me a while back and I finally got around to making them today for lunch. Great simple, easy to make recipe and a winner with the kids (and Daddy).

Thomas is needing a bit more of a challenge in the kitchen these days and really enjoyed spreading the vegemite. I gave him a butter knife to use and he did really well (with a little guidance). There were a few chunks out here and there :-).

The activity of spreading something onto bread etc is a great way to develop children’s bi-lateral co-ordination. This is where you are using both sides of your body to perform different tasks ie. holding the dough with one hand and spreading the vegemite with the other. Activities like making sandwiches, washing the dishes, cutting with scissors and threading can also be helpful in developing this skill.

Thomas really enjoyed watching the colour transformation too as he spread the vegemite and the dough went from white to brown. He commented “its getting darker”.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups self raising flour

30g cold butter chopped

Salt and pepper to taste  

1 cup milk

Vegemite to taste

1/2 cup grated cheese

Method:

 Preheat oven to 200°C

Line baking tray with baking paper or grease.

Process flour, butter and seasonings in a food processor – or rub the butter into the flour with your fingers – until mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs.

Add milk and mix until just combined.

Tip dough out onto a lightly floured bench top and roll out into a 30 x 45cm rectangle, approximately 5mm thickness.

Spread generously with Vegemite and top with the grated cheese. Roll in to a log shape and cut into 2cm slices and place side by side onto a greased or lined oven tray.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This is a very versatile recipe, use the dough mixture to create your own scrolls… pesto and cheese, pizza scrolls, I used some olive pickles that I had in the fridge. Be creative and enjoy!

Homemade Pizzas

8 Aug

Very easy and very enjoyable, a great lunch or dinner or even an afternoon snack… You can be creative and use toppings that your children enjoy (and maybe add a couple of new tastes in there too – Thomas hadn’t tried pineapple before today). Thomas and his friend had a great time making pizzas together for their lunch today.

Sprinkling toppings on is good for children’s hand eye co-ordination and also for fine motor skills. Older children could help with the preparation by cutting up some of the ingredients. Making pizzas also develops children’s sense of independence and decision making skills. They have control over what they put on the pizza and therefore are more likely to eat it.

Ingredients:

English muffins (1 per child)

Tomato sauce (or pizza sauce if you prefer a stronger flavour)

Toppings of your choice – we started with the basics ham, pineapple and cheese. Chop your ingredients into small pieces and put in individual bowls so children can make the choice of what they’d like to put on their pizzas.

Grated cheese

What you do:

Preheat oven to 180°C

Cut muffin in half.

Using a butter knife, help your child spread some sauce over each of the muffins.

Show your child how to put the toppings on and then let them create their own pizzas.

Finish by sprinkling  some cheese and put in oven for approximately 10-15 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Eat while still warm… YUM!

Pumpkin, Spinach and Ham Muffins

19 Jun

When I first tasted these muffins I wasn’t fussed (neither was Thomas) but they do grow on you with more bites… They are actually quite good. I think Thomas was expecting his usual carrot and zucchini muffins – always good to mix things up!

I always have leftover pumpkin in the fridge which inevitably gets thrown out so I thought these muffins might be a good way to use it up rather than throw it out.

The recipe was one that I found on the internet a long time ago (not sure where) and I just added a few things to it.

Ingredients:

300g pumpkin peeled and chopped

2 cups self raising flour (I used 1 cup self raising and 1 cup wholemeal self raising)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup cheese

100g shaved ham sliced finely

1 cup baby spinach

Extra grated cheese for topping

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and use an olive oil spray to grease 12 cup muffin pan
  2. Steam pumpkin for 10 minutes or until soft
  3. Allow to cool then mash with oil
  4. Combine pumpkin mash and eggs in a bowl whisk to combine
  5. Sift flour into bowl, add cheese, spinach and ham and stir until combined
  6. Spoon into muffin pans and sprinkle with extra cheese
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden (or until skewer inserted into middle comes out clean).
Can be frozen and defrosted in the microwave or lunch box.

Tasty Mince Pinwheels

28 Apr

I remember making these pinwheels when I was in high school. No idea why I can still remember it but it has obviously left a lasting impression on me. The actual recipe is long gone. I did try to make some a while ago using a recipe I found on the internet but they weren’t the same, so I thought I would try and make up my own version based on what I can remember (with a couple of healthy additions!).

It was a miserable rainy day today, a perfect day for doing some cooking with my little helper!

Ingredients:

500g beef mince (you could really use any mince you like – chicken, pork, sausage or beef)

2 eggs

1 medium carrot grated

1 medium zucchini grated

1 onion finely chopped

1 green apple grated and squeezed to remove excess juice

2 teaspoons mango chutney

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 cup packaged breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

3 sheets frozen puff pastry (defrosted)

Sesame seeds

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°C, line baking trays with baking paper.

Combine mince, 1 egg (lightly beaten), breadcrumbs, carrot, zucchini, onion, chutney, curry powder and seasoning in a bowl and mix to combine. Beat remaining egg in a small bowl.

Put 1/3 of the mixture onto each sheet of the puff pastry leaving approximately 1 cm around edges. Roll up like a swiss roll.

Using a serrated knife, cut rolls into 1 cm pieces and place pieces on baking trays approximately 2 cm apart.

Brush with egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Rest for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Serve warm with “dippy” sauce (tomato sauce) – optional.

Note: To freeze, place rolls (unsliced and uncooked) in glad wrap and freeze for up to a month.Cut into slices when almost defrosted and brush with egg before baking. Its great for fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination.

I really only added the sesame seeds to give Thomas an extra step to help with. He’s very into sprinkles at the moment so he really enjoyed this part of the activity.