I am not a huge breakfast eater at home. Now I don’t mind going out to a cafè, sit, relax and eat till my tummy is satisfied but that’s a luxury we don’t have at the moment so home cooked breakfasts it shall be. I usually have egg or avo on toast, and there was a time when I enjoyed muesli, fruit and yogurt but the trend seems to wear off and I get bored with my meals.
I’ve seen some incredible creations lately of oatmeal and/or smoothie bowls so this morning I tried making something hearty and warm for myself and the kids. Luckily my pantry is stocked with rolled oats as I often use it for baking the kids’ school treats. The rest of the ingredients I sourced from the freezer and fridge. I made a mixed berry oatmeal, topped with sliced plum, almonds and additional berries. I lightly sprinkled cinnamon sugar over as I know my kids will ask if they can add some sweetner.
Breakfast took me 10 minutes to make and it was filling and satisfying. With winter approaching this will surely become a favorite in the house.
A few weeks ago we went out to dinner at a local restaurant and I had kale for the first time. I’ve heard of this greenery before as most cooking series now shows its watchers how to use kale in a hundred plus ways. I was still a bit apprehensive with what it would taste like when the plate was presented to me. They served it deep fried, so it was crunchy, crispy and I must say very tasty. What doesn’t taste good deep fried!
Over the weekend my husband needed baby spinach for a dish he was making. I couldn’t find any at the grocery store so I bought a bag of curly kale. I now understand why there’s such a fuss over it. The serving options are endless. In my husband’s dish the kale was lightly blanched and then added just before serving. There wasn’t much taste to it, but it still provided texture.
Today I decided to incorporate it into the coleslaw salad I was making for the kids’ lunchbox as a wrap filling. In its natural raw state there is a slight peppery taste to it, which adds flavour to the salad. The kids LOVED it and what a great way to get more healthy greens into them.
Experimenting with this green goddess is fully satisfactory.
There is a lovely green and aromatic fruit called Feijoa which is widely found in New Zealand during the autumn and winter months. It is a fruit which our family loves to eat, whether we eat it fresh by scooping the flesh out with a spoon or use it in desserts and baking.
My husband bought 2 bags today, and after dinner the kids each had a few fresh ones to munch on while I contemplated what to bake 😊 I had before baked feijoa and white chocolate muffins but wanted to explore the versatility of this fruit. I found a feijoa muffins with a sticky coconut topping recipe and after reading the reviews I decided to turn it into a cake instead. I made a few changes:
I changed the baking time to 35-40 minutes
I changed the temperature to 190C and after 25 minutes turned it down to 160C
I added approximately 10 ml more cream to the topping (while it was on the stove) as it didn’t seem like enough to cover the entire cake.
The caramelized coconut certainly smelled tropical while baking and the cake came out without a hitch. I definitely recommend eating the cake soon after as the heat provides it with the needed moisture, otherwise you can add a syrup or even a decent dollop of cream. The feijoa looses it’s aromatic flavor once baked so a feijoa syrup will provide it with a burst of fruitiness.
Which seasonal fruits to you enjoy baking with during autumn and winter?
We tend to have this recurring problem at home and that is to run out of bread. And it is not that we really eat a lot of bread either. The only reason we will buy bread is to make sandwiches for the kids’ lunch. I have found that looking for alternative lunch meals for them means that we are slowly moving away from buying bread on a weekly basis. Yes it is easier to just slather something on a slice of bread, but I want to not only be more creative but also give them more substance to get them through a busy school day.
A filled sandwich is yummy as I will pack it to the brim with meat, salad fillings, egg and mayo, but we don’t always have these fresh items in the fridge. Today was such a day, when the fridge was looking a bit empty and I still had two lunchboxes to fill. We had 1/2 a head of lettuce left from the weekend’s salad, so I decided to use the lettuce leaves as the bread. I had freshly cooked and packed chicken in the fridge, so I sliced it up, mixed it with mayo, hard boiled some eggs, placed them on top, wrapped the lettuce up and done. It was so easy!
And with a resounding ‘Please make that again mommy, it was so good” from the kids, I am a happy camper.
In an attempt to keep the kids interested and excited over their school lunches, I decided to make them a salad in a jar. Why a jar? Because I have a shelve stacked with jars but no Tupperware containers to put the salad in.
What at first seemed complicated, turned out to be an easy and effective way to create a salad. The salad jars contained:
They each had a small non-leak container with a balsamic vinaigrette in to drizzle over the salad. I was at first sceptical knowing my son is a bit of a fussy eater and I surely don’t want to waste fresh produce. He was however the first to say how much he enjoyed the salad and that he ate it all! One very happy mother here.
With tomorrow being Valentines Day, I decided to dress my kids’ lunchboxes up in yummy and easy to make VDay inspired treats. Please don’t think that I do this on a daily basis, I honestly don’t have the patience, but every now and again it is fun putting my thinking cap on and playing with themes.
I’ve had these heart shape cookie cutters for years and usually only take them out when I bake shortbread biscuits, but they surely came in handy today for cutting out heart shaped watermelon pieces. Beside the watermelon the lunchbox also contains:
white chocolate and raspberry flavoured popcorn (self-made)
sandwiches with hearts cut out and teeny tiny heart shaped sandwiches
I love how food can be inventive, playful and provide much excitement, even in its most simplest form.
Making treats, regardless of the difficulty level, brings me a great deal of satisfaction. Some recipes read like a mystery novel, are often hard to execute and I mumble words of profanities trying to perfect them, but once the aroma of the final product fills the nooks and crannies of the house, I am pleasantly content.
I saw this recipe today while scrolling through my newsfeed. I am always looking for lunchbox and gymnastics treats for the kids and I have not yet tried making muesli bars. They were so easy to put together and cramped with goodness that I will surely be stocking up once the school year starts. Most importantly the kids thoroughly enjoyed them!
You can find the recipe on Be A Fun Mum’s website. It had other great lunchbox ideas plus other little helpful hints and tricks to every day life.